Admit it. The practice of law is like everything being on fire, and we are all trying to race to put out the hottest fire.
Because we have the mentality of “More I can do—the more I can succeed”.
We have “do it all mentality”. We think the secret to super success is working more and handling more. Multi-tasking our attention to more clients, more cases, more demands and thus, more phone calls, text, emails makes us ineffective in many directions. Maybe, instead of “multi-tasking”, we should call it “multi-attention”. The solicitation of our attention in different directions is overwhelming and unsustainable. We are failing at trying to keep up.
For a moment, stop and think about it. If working long hours, sacrificing nights and weekends, giving up hobbies, having less time for quality relationships was the key to success, then most lawyers would be wealthier and happier beyond their dreams.
Lack of success or happiness in the practice of law is not because of lack of willingness to work hard.
The “multi-attention” mentality of “the more I can handle, then the more successful I will be” is not just wrong, it is killing our creativity and problem solving and is the number one path to burn out.
So how do we move from being overwhelmed overachievers to super-achievers–having more joy and happiness and impact with less time and stress?
The Secret: Focus.
Definition: Radical Focus-ability to focus with purpose in every single moment.
We are wasting our lives on being busy and distracted and struggling to over achieve. If we want to be more effective lawyers, having greater impact with our clients, we have to unlearn the skill of multi-tasking our attention and energy and learn the skill of radical focus.
It begins with the present moment. All the ways we try to spread our attention includes constantly reviewing the past or planning on the future. As lawyers, the skill of analyzing the past to determine what happened and analyzing the future to control what will happen is part of what we are paid to do. What went wrong to cause a problem? What can we create to prevent future problems?
We have to untrain our minds from always analyzing.
The first step to radical focus is awareness of the present moment. Being a witness to what is present right now. It is a place for the brain to not engage but to be the observer of what is present. It’s the practice of taking a mental break from engaging, analyzing, and responding.
As you become more present, you’ll feel calm and relaxed, clear and focused. As your mind has time to rest, you have the ability to purposefully focus before responding. You see more clearly what is happening. You understand how the mind repeats thoughts and patterns. You begin to see how not engaging helps you to be more impactful You can do less with more tangible results. This is the fastest way to be more powerful and effective in the world.
Awareness brings answers pause in the present moment.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
-Victor Frankl, M.D. (holocaust survivor)
How do you train the brain to focus? How do you slow the mind from multi-attention drain?
It just takes practice. Practice focusing. Practice witnessing. Practicing space.