Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Regaining Control

I moved into the Frederick office three years ago.  My contractor set up the office so I could install rope lighting in the soffit area of all the rooms in the office except the copy room and bathroom.  Then, he didn't install it.  A year ago, I installed the lighting in the conference room.  It looked great.  I ran the rope lighting in my office, but didn't finish it up.  So, for the last two years, the view from my desk was two coils of rope lighting and cords in my bookcase.  It annoyed me every day.  Today, we had office cleanup day. We closed and destroyed files, and installed the rope lighting in my office and the other office.  I am ridiculously happy.  I mean it - ridiculously happy.  Such a little thing, just an hour of work, and I am thrilled.  Now, about the hood emblem that was taken off my car.....

Life is all about what you will tolerate and what you won't.  Most people tolerate a lot of things in their marriage.  That's part of living with another person.  When the marriage is going well, it's no big deal to tolerate imperfections or different ways of doing things.  When a marriage is ending, all those little things are major annoyances.  Then, when a couple separates, things are usually not just as perfect as either of them wants - more tolerations.  

This is what I want you to do. Make a list of all the things that aren't as you want, but that you're tolerating.  It will be a very long list, trust me.  Some of them will be big and others will be small.  Now, get to work getting rid of them, one at a time.  When you're here in the Trenches, you have no control over whether you're getting a divorce, you may be in a process which gives you no control, and your life is changing in unexpected ways.  Here's a place you can exercise some control.  It will make you feel better, and make all the rest of the things you can't control tolerable.  Trust me.  Give it a try.  Here in the Trenches. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

If You Don't Know Where You're Going.....

A few weeks ago, I ran the Navy/Air Force Half Marathon.  I try to run one race besides the Disney Princess each year.  Why, you may ask?  For the time, of course.  Here's the deal.  Disney has a rolling start to its races.  They line you up by corrals A-P.  They corral you're in depends on the qualifying race time you submit.  I run Disney with Daughter.  As Daughter only runs two days per year, the Enchanted 10k and the Princess Half Marathon, and as she is not a runner, I know my times on those two races are not my fastest.  I always run the Princess with Daughter, so I know I'll be starting in her corral no matter what.  I like to see what I can do, and where my corral would be at my fastest, so I try to do one race during the year just for me.

Why don't I start in the corral for which I qualify on Princess weekend?  Because speed's not my purpose for running the Princess.  I run the Princess to spend time with Daughter (and Cousin).  I'm very clear that my purpose on Princess weekend is family and fun, not speed.  I run for speed at another time.  At the Princess, I have fun.

I run my races like I run my cases here in the Trenches.  There is nothing I do that doesn't have a purpose, and I'm clear about the purpose before I do anything.  I ask myself why I'm doing something and what I hope to accomplish before I take any action.  I think about whether my action will lead to my desired result, and consider if there is something else that could meet my end as well or better.  I don't just take a deposition because that's what lawyers do; I have a specific reason in mind before I note that date.  If a client tells me they want me to do something, I always ask why.  I know my purpose and it guides my actions.

I try to help my clients do the same.  If they don't have a purpose, then they're kind of like the colloquy in Alice in Wonderland between Alice and the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

If the client doesn't know their purpose, then I don't know which process to suggest they use.  I don't know what information to gather, so I have to gather more than I need (which costs more money).  WHen the client doesn't know their purpose, we end up running in circles and that takes a lot of time, and time in the Trenches is money.  It's why I spend a lot of time with my clients talking to them about their purpose, their goals and their needs.  Spending that time now saves them time and money later, and it obtains a result with which the client can be satisfied.  Purpose determines process; process determines outcome.  Here in the Trenches.