The Resilient Lawyer – An Open Mind, a New Routine, and a Little Bit of Hay

In the article I posted last week, I talked about my “aha” moment when I vowed to take action about improving my resilience.  At the time, I did not know what action I was going to take, but I did know at least one thing – that I had to have an open mind.  With my only training in resilience being the “suck it up buttercup” method, I firmly believed that the “touchy feely” kind of stuff that I was going to get from self-help books was just “mumbo jumbo” that would never work.  Given the state that I was in, I told myself that I might as well try something new since clearly what I was doing was not working.

Several years previously, I had started working out in the morning.  My routine went like this:  I would get up at 5 in the morning, make a protein shake, drink it while reading the newspaper (later on my CTV news app and my TSN app), and then head to the gym.  So, I decided to change my routine a little and read a self-help book for 30 minutes instead of the newspaper.  I was hopeful that I would get more out of the “mumbo jumbo” than I would get out of learning about whatever was going on in the world.

Thankfully, I have a spouse who I can talk to about mental health issues.  When I mentioned to her what I wanted to do, she gave me a book by Louise Hay called “You Can Heal Your Life.”  A friend had given her the book, and she felt that it might be able to help me.  So, armed with Louise Hay’s book, I got up at 5 a.m. the next morning, made my protein shake, and began reading.  I did this day, after day, after day, until my new routine was entrenched.  

This simple change of routine and reading Louise Hay’s book did two major things for improving my resilience.  The first thing that it did for me was it put me in a good mood each morning, which was never the case when I read the newspaper.  As we are all too painfully aware, most of the news that is reported in the newspaper is bad news, and the bad news had a negative affect on my mood.  I soon noticed that my positive mood from reading Louise Hay’s book carried into my workout – so by the time I got into my car to drive into work each day, I was feeling pretty darn good.  I had now discovered a great way to start my day, and with that simple act, and change in routine, my resilience was already starting to improve.

As for the second major thing, I will forever be indebted to Louise Hay.  You see, at 49, I realized that I did not like myself that much.  Despite the fact that I had built a successful law practice for over 22 years, was a partner at a law firm, happily married, had two great, well-adjusted children, and some pretty great friends, in my own mind I was just not good enough and would never be good enough – not a good enough lawyer, not a good enough husband, not a good enough parent, not a good enough friend, not a good enough…  For many of us who engage in incessant negative self-talk, you know the drill.  

However, my feelings of inadequacy began to change after I started reading Louise Hay’s book.   Not only did I start to realize that I was good enough and that I had a unique and valuable contribution to make to this world, I started to realize how damaging all my negative self-talk had been on my psyche.   Why would I want to do that to myself?  It no longer made any sense.

I wish I could say that simply reading this one book was enough, but we all know that nothing worth having in life is really that easy.  What I can say though is that it was the first step in turning myself around – and that first step made every subsequent one possible.  After all, if I did not feel like I was truly worthy of turning myself around, how could I even continue with the effort that it would take?  Armed with this new sense of being good enough, my journey to improving my resilience was destined for success.

To end this post, I ask you the following questions:

What routine can you develop to help improve your resilience?

What will it take for you to accept that you are worthy?