When I was a young associate, I’d often get frustrated with opposing counsel. They wouldn’t return my calls about a late expert report, or answer my discovery, or set the case for trial. When I had finally had enough of the roadblocks, I’d go into my mentor’s office.

Not only was my mentor, John, the lead on most of my cases and therefore the final arbiter of all decisions, he was also a retired DEA agent. That meant that he didn’t get in a lather about much.

“They won’t answer my discovery, they won’t answer my phone calls and it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s disrespectful.” I’d sputter indignantly.

“Heather–is anyone shooting at you?”

This was always John’s response when I was upset about something going on in one of our cases. Once you’ve had a job where your day includes dodging bullets, you aren’t likely to get ruffled over a motion. I’d confirm that no, no one was shooting at me–and then we’d get to work on a solution to the problem at hand. Most of the time, motion was the solution.

In legal cases, we file motions when we we need to make progress. If a lawyer wasn’t answering my phone calls, I’d file a motion and he would call. If she wasn’t answering my discovery, I’d file a motion and she’d have the discovery in my hands in short order.  Motions created progress, got people talking, and changed perspectives. When you want to motivate lawyers to act, motion sparks that motivation. 

You can do the same in life and in business. Whether it’s getting up to do your workout, leaving a relationship that’s unhealthy, or going for the promotion you’ve always wanted, I bet you often think you’ll move when you’re motivated. I have news for you. The best way to get motivated is to move.

Call that prospective customer, and you’ll find the pitch. Apply for that job, and you’ll see the next step.  Get your butt out of bed and you’re one step closer to the treadmill. In my book, The Elegant Warrior-How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself, I share that lawyers file motions when things get stuck. If you’re stuck–at work or at home, personally or professionally, move.  Motivation just might follow wherever you go. 

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