Leadership Requires Awareness

Leadership Requires Awareness

Leadership Requires Awareness

With a goal of being an effective leader, I’ve been reading about how to cultivate leadership skills. What comes up again and again is the importance of building awareness.

Have you ever been somewhere, and your mind wanders to another place? Perhaps you’re worrying about something, or anticipating your next meeting. You don’t really focus on what’s happening NOW. Do you know what it feels like to be somewhere, but not really be there?

Learn to Be Present

I know what that’s like, especially when I’m juggling client cases, professional development, managing my law firm, and oh yeah, personal life, too!

Becoming aware is the best way to effectively lead others. When we are aware, we can focus 100% on what is happening RIGHT NOW.

Check out these books on how to build awareness!

The benefit of awareness is that we listen when someone speaks, they feel heard, and we respond with integrity and focus.

I see how this new stance improves my client relations. I am fully entrenched in this client, right now, while they sit across from me or I face them on a Zoom call.

Focusing on My Clients

Nothing else is in my mind or focus; they know their issues are my present priority. And we get things done because we are fully present and connected.

Also, building awareness means we stop filtering situations through a lens of bias or perception. We see it objectively, which helps lead to productive solutions.

Being more aware has helped me question my inherent biases. With a goal of truly adopting an anti-racist stance, this is essential!

When I hear my inner thoughts going in a new direction, I examine them and ask whether I am bringing bias unnecessarily into a situation. I always want to be the best divorce lawyer I can be!


Image by John Hain from Pixabay

The Benefits of Awareness

Building awareness can have beneficial outcomes, including the following:

The ability to tune into your own thoughts, and triggers, so you can release them.
You investigate automatic interpretations – which often leads to letting them go.
You observe, objectively, what is happening.
You explore a variety of possibilities, without attachment to being right or a certain outcome.
You reduce or eliminate judgment about people or situations being good or bad, right or wrong.
You reduce stress (I am a BIG fan of this!)
You find the best solution or approach, because you are CLEAR.

I’ve learned that building awareness is the ONLY option if I am to be a good leader!

Read more about Family Law

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It’s not often you get sucked into a TV show set in the 1950s where the main character leaves her husband and children to focus on her own career. But that’s one of the main story lines in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Prime Video’s wildly popular show that premiered March 17, 2017 and recently released its third season.

I like so many things about this show.

First, the quirky main character, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is funny and original. In the way that she’s not so into parenting, I kind of want to dislike her, but I can’t. And then I play tug-of-war with my own emotions about whether I think she should stay with her husband Joel, with whom she continues to have great chemistry and friendship, or leave him and make room for her great new self.

As a family law attorney, I applaud the brazenness of the story, which does not apologize for a 1950s divorce. But as a woman in the middle of my life, I know that was probably unrealistic for the times.

In season two, Midge does experience some backlash at the Catskills resort they always spent summers, when she can no longer lead the swimsuit competition because she’s no longer married. It’s a humiliating, but realistic, situation.


Rachel Brosnahan | Greg2600 [CC BY-SA]

Still, viewers can’t help but admire her, like her, want to be her. And by the end of season three (SPOILER!), she remains very much alone – reconciling the idea that she might have to be alone in order to fulfill her career dreams.
travel work

Cast of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Peabody Awards [CC BY-SA]

I have a hard time accepting that talented women can’t have both successful relationships and successful careers. But is there a truth lurking beneath this assertion?

What I love most about this show and its commentary on the complicated nature of all marriages, is the fluidity it accepts and demands from a relationship. In season three, we see Midge and Joel in court to finalize their divorce – and they get along so surprisingly well, that the judge does not want to grant it. It’s as if the judge expects a divorce to come from utter hatred and an inability to be civil to one another.

Because I am such a champion of Collaborative Divorce, I know this is not the only way. It’s reassuring to see such a popular show depict divorce in an amicable and, dare I say it, human way.

Read more Collaborative Divorce posts

Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

The value of networking cannot be underestimated.

Whether you’re working for someone else, trying to grow in an area of your career or industry, or contemplating going out on your own, networking is very valuable. First, because networking leads to building new relationships. And relationships are everything.

There is always something that somebody else can help provide to you and you can provide to somebody else. 

travel work

3D Social Networking” by Chris Potter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s important to know what you bring to the table – and to realize that you can’t possibly know everything. Listening to others, learning from them, is how we expand our intellectual capabilities and move forward.
travel work

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Of course, I’m the first to admit that I get nervous walking into a networking event. All those people circulating, shoving their business cards in my face. Not my favorite setting.

But, once there, it can be very confidence-building.

And, it’s not an immediate gratification, so it builds patience, and the long view. You might meet somebody in May and wait two years before that person pops into your mind because their service or offer or talent is valuable to you in a new way. Or vice versa.

I firmly believe that no meeting is ever in vain. There is always a next step, even if you don’t see it immediately. You just never know where one interaction will lead, or the long chain of connections that weaves through our lives.

For me, it’s important to network within my legal community, but opportunities outside of my industry are also important.

One of my favorite legal community networking opportunities brings professionals involved in family law together monthly for lunch and a speaker through the Michigan Interprofessional Association – attorneys, judges, Friend of the Court referees, mental health professionals, financial people, and more. It’s low-key and you can talk one-on-one with people at your table, at a leisurely pace.

Sometimes I go to events because I know it’s good to be seen. I tell my Collaborative friends, you have to show up at meetings if you want to get more cases, to show that you’re interested in working on relationships. Simply put, you have to put in the effort to reap the reward. Always. In every situation, be it personal or professional.

travel work

I also network through the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. I participate in the Chamber’s Business Pioneers Action Group, where I am the only family law attorney. Sometimes I feel like I can’t take that hour out of my day but I do it anyway because I’m building long-term powerful relationships.

Finally, networking has to happen in areas where you are passionate. I get involved in political campaigns, and I am dedicated to my spiritual community.

I am involved with Hazon and AIPAC, growing my reach in areas of great interest to me. Maybe it will help my career, and maybe it won’t. But it helps me as a person, which always boosts every realm of your life.

To be successful in your work, you basically have to know who you are and what matters to you – and share that with others. Where are you going to start?

Read more Off Topic posts