Lawyers — Solicitors: What Kind of Actions Can Stop Your Success?
Tracy complained. “I find myself becoming tense when it is time to go into my firm. My chest feels tight, my shoulders are tense my legs feel like they weigh one hundred pounds each and my throat is dry. No matter how much I try, I feel this anxiety and the worst part is it doesn’t go away. I feel anxious every single day. Does this mean I am not suited to be a good lawyer?”
Have you ever noticed that “knee-jerk” response to your everyday life keeps you repeating the same thing over and over again?
What is Autopilot?
Believe it or not, we are all on automatic. I call this autopilot.
Drive home, you get into your car, turn the ignition, and the rest is a blur. The next thing you are pulling into your driveway and you have no idea how you got there. You made every turn, maneuvered through traffic and you were on automatic.
When you think about this phenomenon, it is a bit scary. Instead of drivers focusing on what they are doing and where they are going, everyone is on the road thinking about everything but what they are doing, which is driving their car.
You live most of your life on autopilot. You brush your teeth, talk with your spouse, your manager. Many times you eat a meal you don’t taste it or remember eating it. You are physically doing these things, but mentally you are far away.
Your brain is in charge.
Just like your heart beats, you blink your eyes, swallow your saliva, and you take deep breaths. We perform these everyday actions without being consciously aware or even trying.
How Autopilot Affects Our Success
The problems begin when we speak with a client, complete a task at work and if you have done it a few times, it becomes automatic, just as if you were driving your car. I call this phenomenon AUTOPILOT.
Autopilot also happens at your law firm in your relationships. When we are on autopilot, we have no choice but to act in certain ways. Autopilot takes over when we feel stressed, threatened, hurt, disappointed, or frustrated.
Tracy began to understand autopilot. She realized that the reaction she experienced when going to her office was a pre-programmed response that she could change.
Learn How Your Auto-Pilot Works
To get an understanding of how autopilot kicks in, consider the following story.
THE JOB INTERVIEW
Let’s say you’re looking for a job with a new firm, and you’ve been invited to an informal job interview with Dave, a hiring partner.
Dave says he’s heard wonderful things about you through a mutual friend. He leaves you a voicemail. “I want to take you out to dinner Saturday night. Bring your spouse; we’ll meet at my favorite restaurant. It’s near where I live. I want to get to know you.”
Dave gives you excellent directions.
You have heard that Dave is a sharp, successful, partner, a man who has used his “gut instincts” and his ability to read people and build a phenomenal stable of lawyers. He prides himself on hiring only the best attorneys in the country. You realize that his first impression of you is going to be paramount.
You prepare carefully. You make sure your hair looks great, your suit is impeccable, and your shoes are polished. As usual, your mate looks magnificent. You try to think of every detail that could affect Dave’s first impression of you. You even have the car detailed just in case you have to drive Dave and his wife anywhere.
So there you are. You’re in the car, going to the restaurant, feeling great and looking great. You’re quite confident that the meeting is going to go well.
You’re looking forward to meeting Dave face to face. You follow Dave’s detailed directions pull up to the front of the restaurant.
In Front of the Restaurant
You can tell right away this is an expensive restaurant — and, given how crowded it is tonight; it seems to be popular as well. Cars are everywhere, and the valet’s parking station is quite a distance away.
No problem, you think. You’ll just hand over the keys and walk to the restaurant. You get out of the car — and as you step out, you notice that one of the valets has a big ferocious-looking dog.
You freeze. You go on autopilot. This dog becomes like every dog you have ever seen because you are afraid of ALL dogs!
You must pass this dog to get into the restaurant for your job interview!
(to be continued)