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Being Grateful

Many attorneys (and I assume others) have this somewhat canned response when someone asks them how it’s going. It’s generally some version of “It’s another day” or “Different day, same stuff.” The message being communicated is that the day and stuff is the same, is a slog, and what they’re saying is negative in tone. They focus on the negative and not what they have to be positive about or grateful for. Maybe they truly feel that way. I feel at times that it’s some odd form of attorney bonding on the alleged misery of the work being done, their career choice, or maybe they think it rings truer than telling the other person they’re doing well, and work is great.

Mindset and intention matter. Any of us can control our feelings and emotions in a manner that allows us to be happy or causes us to be sad. Know that statement has nothing to do with those who suffer from depression or a similar condition. Instead, it has to do with the negative and positive loops we sometimes allow ourselves to spiral in. And yes, there is a cliché for this, which is about seeing the glass half empty or half full. Even if you’re a glass half empty person, likely you have much to be grateful for, ranging from things you take for granted, to things you know are great and bring you joy.

I am happy in my work and enjoy helping clients deal with both positive and negative situations, looking towards the best result they can achieve. Despite that, when another attorney asks me how I’m doing I sometimes unconsciously lapse into the “it’s another day” mindset. I think it’s a commiseration thing with certain people I know. On some days it is a true answer. If I’m honest with myself, on most days it’s not and I feel lucky that’s the case. I like walking into my office and my work, clients, and co-workers.

A good exercise is to write a list of things you’re grateful for. It can be in your personal life, your professional life, or both. If you want to be transparent with yourself you can do the same on things that are negative in your life because, being honest, we all have positives and negatives going on every day. Realizing what you have to be grateful for does positive things for your body and brain. And remember, you’re the only one who can decide whether you focus on positives or negatives on a given day or in each moment.

Now is a good time to take a moment to think about what you have to be grateful for and the next time someone asks you how you’re doing, provide the honest answer instead of unconsciously resorting to the canned negative one.

As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.

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