THE 30 DAYS OF TRIALS CHALLENGE

TRIAL DAY 1-HANDLE COMPLAINTS

In civil cases, we start with Complaints. The injured person files a Complaint listing all of the ways she’s been wronged. Then the other side objects or denies. Does this sound familiar? We often spend our days filing complaints. “You left the dishes out” .” You never want to do anything”. “My hair looks horrible.” “I don’t want to work out.”

Then we respond, with objections or denials. “It was your turn to do the dishes.” “We just don’t want to do the same things.” “I’ll just never have good hair.” “It won’t help anyway.”

In lawsuits, Complaints don’t get us very far. They’re a start, but if we end there, nothing happens.  Nothing is resolved. The same is true for our complaints outside of the courtroom. It’s time to try another way.  Complaining itself may be bad for your health. But worse, complaining doesn’t  get anything done. It may be a beginning, but complaints have to be followed with action or nothing changes.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO HANDLE YOUR COMPLAINTS. Look at them closely and honestly to see what comes next. If you’re dealing with someone else’s complaint, explore whether or not there is truth to it. Objecting or denying might feel good in the moment, but it won’t  get things resolved. You might find there’s something you’re willing to change, or a way you can communicate to resolve the complaint. You may find the complaint is actually a gift, leading you to a better relationship or a happy compromise.

Handling your own complaints is even more rewarding. Realize that the complaint itself isn’t getting things moving, and determine what comes next. Feelings aren’t always facts, and examining complaints may lead to a different way of looking at things and different feelings might follow. Other times, the complaint may lead to action. Do what you can do about the complaint. Complaint, then action. Otherwise we stand still.

What complaints do you face today? Are they your own, or someone else’s? And most important–how will you handle them? What action will you take to ensure that you won’t be facing the same complaint tomorrow? Share your experience, and how you choose to respond below! And be sure to share the 30 Days of Trials Challenge. The bigger our community, the more we will learn. I’ll be back tomorrow with TRIAL DAY 2.

If you think this is worthwhile,  I’d SO appreciate it if you’d share it.  Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email it out to your tribe. Thank you so much!

TRIAL DAY 2-MOVE

Lawyers file motions when things get stuck. We file them to make progress, to move things along. We also file motions to create friction–to show the other side who is boss, to light a spark. Motion works the same in life. You can move to create progress, or you can move to create a spark. But movement is necessary to win any sort of trial.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO MOVE. Action precedes motivation. This is especially true when we’re facing things we don’t want to do, or things we are afraid to do. You can’t always think your way into doing things, but once you start moving your feelings change. A little movement can give you momentum. It can change your perspective, and when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Yesterday we handled our complaints, and took action. Today we take that one step further and we move. There’s something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t done There’s an action you know you should take, but you’ve been stuck in inertia. It’s time to move. An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Get in motion today, and see where it takes you.

The motion itself is up to you. What will you do today to move things forward? What step have you been unwilling or unable to take that will get things moving, or light that spark? It might be a phone call to someone you’ve been meaning to call. It may be starting that website, applying for that job, or having that conversation with your boss. And it may be to move your body. If that is the motion you choose, I highly recommend my friend Laura Kovall. She has an online fitness practice that will get you moving, but more than that, she will support your inner motion as well.

Move, and then tell us about it. What was your motion, and how did it make you feel? If your motion got you a step closer to your goal, it created progress. If your motion lit a fire inside,  it created friction. Did you make progress, or did you light a fire? Let us know what it was, and how it made you feel, below. Remember, you have to comment to get the little something at the end of the challenge. And if you know someone else who could use some movement, share this challenge with them. I’ll see you tomorrow.

TRIAL DAY 3-DISCOVER

When I was a kid, I liked to ride my bike and look for fossils. I was sure if I found one I’d be in the paper and on TV, famous for having found something special. While I never found a fossil, I have been in the paper and on TV. I have found something special–that the skills I’ve learned in the courtroom can be applied so that we ALL can win. That discovery took some work. You can’t find search for treasure without getting your fingers dirty. But the moment when you reach gold is worth it.

THE CHALLENGE FOR TODAY-TRY TO DISCOVER. If that seems a bit broad, it is meant to be. It could be that you’ll discover something about yourself that you’ve never known. It might be that you discover something about someone you work with, someone you love, or someone you don’t like at all. Choose a situation or a person to focus upon, and then start digging. You dig with questions. If you attended my recent webinar, you know that I’m a little obsessed with questions. They’re magic. They can be used to impress, to learn, to engage and to build relationships. But most of all, questions are the key to discovery.

In my courtroom trials, after the complaint we engage in discovery. We ask questions, and the answers lead us to more questions. The answers also lead us to the piece of evidence we need to win, or resolve, the case. Questions will do the same for you. If you want to make a discovery about yourself, ask yourself some questions. Write them down, and write down the answers. Then let them be, and come back to them in a few hours. Your answers may change, and you may have more questions. The process is the same if you’re focused on someone else. Dig with questions, see what you find, come back for more.

By the end of the day, you should have discovered something about yourself, your work, or your relationships. Share what you’ve found with the community, and let us know how it made you feel. Discovery is an ongoing process, but once you start digging you often don’t want to stop. Get your fingers dirty. Treasure awaits.

TRIAL DAY 4-WAIT

Today’s trial is the hardest for me. Patience has never been my strong suit, but it is an imperative skill to build if you want to win trials inside and outside the courtroom. Yesterday, we tried discovering with questions. Asking the questions is important, but pausing to wait for the answers is more so. I see this all the time in my practice. Lawyers ask questions of their clients or the people they’re deposing, and then they jump in to answer the questions. They’ve lost the answer, and all of the benefit that answer could bring.

I’ve learned to wait for answers in my professional life, but I struggle in my personal life. I ask a friend, a boyfriend, or a family member a question and then don’t wait for the answer. Worse, I’ll meditate and ask for guidance, then act before I get the chance to receive it. There is an enormous amount of value in the waiting.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO WAIT. Ask questions, and then wait for a response. Let the silence do its job. Take an action, and then wait. See what the results are before you jump into the next action. For this one day, practice waiting, and let us know what happens. You may find you breathe deeper, you walk slower, and you feel less stressed. When you take time to wait, you take time. And that time opens things up for you and for the people around you. Clients feel heard. Customers feel respected. Colleagues feel cared for. Patience is a gift, and you and the people around you can benefit from it. For today, try patience on for size. Let us know how it fits. And know that being forced to wait for things makes us more successful.

Then share! Share your experiences with us, and share the challenge with others! Remember, it’s never too late to join the challenge. Ask your friends and family to join in! And if you comment, you get a little something at the end of the 30 days. The person who shares the MOST gets a bigger something! We’re growing a community here. That takes your help. And my patience–thus the trial for today……

TRIAL DAY 5-ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY

If I’m not credible, I’m lost. The jury has to believe me in order for me to win. You need to be credible as well. You need your friends, your family, and your colleagues to believe you in order to win. Most important, you need to believe yourself.

THE CHALLENGE FOR TODAY–TRY TO BUILD CREDIBILITY. This takes time, and it takes the patience we tried yesterday. In my trials in the courtroom, I build credibility one promise at a time. I tell the jury they will see something, and then I show it to them. I tell them they will hear something, and then it is spoken. And I tell them I will prove something, and I prove it. Step by step, one piece of evidence at a time, I build credibility. The jury trusts me. And that trust allows me to win.

You need to build credibility as well. If you tell yourself you’re going to do something, do it. It may be moving your body, getting up on time, eating well, being patient. Each time you make yourself a promise, keep that promise. One of the worst things in the world is when you don’t trust yourself, because then you won’t take risks, you won’t make commitments, and you’ll excuse the inexcusable. You have to build credibility with yourself first. Others follow. Stand by your promises. Make your word count. The credibility you build is the basis of any win you want to attain. And without it, any win will be hollow.

How will you build credibility today? What promises will you make, and keep, and how will you hold yourself accountable? Share your experiences with us. If you do, I will keep my promise and you’ll get a little something from me when this challenge is over.

TRIAL DAY 6-ALLOW VULNERABILITY

I’m a crier. I come from it honestly. My mother is a crier, and her mother before her. It’s genetics, and at a certain point there’s just nothing I can do about it. But I work at keeping tears in, especially at work and most especially in the courtroom. I’ve seen male attorneys choke up during closing, and I think the jury sees it as a reflection of the emotional nature of the case. But I fear that if I were to choke up, the jury would see it as the emotional nature of me. So I swallow the tears when I’m before the jury. But outside the courtroom, I think vulnerability can be an asset. That doesn’t mean we should cry, necessarily. It does mean that we should admit to being human. 

THE CHALLENGE FOR TODAY–TRY TO ALLOW  VULNERABILITY. We all have soft spots. Often, they’re the very things that make others feel close to us. I once had a client, a doctor, who was afraid she’d cry during her testimony. It was a tragic case, and she was heartbroken about it. I told her that it was ok. While I’ve had losses I could attribute to a witness’s arrogance, I’ve never lost a case because of a witness’ vulnerability. 

Try to be a little more vulnerable. Tell your colleagues you’re nervous about your presentation.  Ask your spouse for help, or a tender touch. Let the person behind you in line know that you’re having a challenging day .When we expose our soft spots to one another, they often become the very place we can rest. When we are secure in feeling vulnerable, we allow others to do the same. That type of honest connection brings results you can’t find anywhere else. The Queen of this topic is Brene Brown. Watch her TED talk on vulnerability here.

How can you be vulnerable today? What scares you about being vulnerable, and how do you feel when others are vulnerable around you? Share with us–that might be just the way that you try to be vulnerable today! Plus, it gets you closer to the little gift you get at the end for commenting on the challenge. See you tomorrow!

TRIAL DAY 7-BEWARE THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know about the Curse of Knowledge. But it bears repeating, because part of the Curse is that we forget that it exists. An example of the Curse of Knowledge is Name that Tune.

Have you ever played? It’s a game I use in my keynotes and workshops, and also to occupy my nieces, my nephew, and my friends’ children. They love it. But for the person who knows the tune, the game can get really frustrating really fast. That person hums, then looks at the listener expectantly When the listener doesn’t know the song, the hummer often looks around incredulously. How can we not know the song? The hummer has the Curse of Knowledge. She knows the song so well that she can’t imagine what it’s like not to know it.

Elizabeth Newton did a study at Stanford on the Curse of Knowledge. It is a real thing. And I know you have the Curse too. You have it at work, where no one knows exactly how you do what you do. You have it at home, where no one else can load the dishwasher exactly the way you like it done. When it comes to relationships, all of those things that you know so well about who you are and what you want are part of the Curse. And it is a Curse. Because until you overcome it, connection is almost impossible.

We can overcome the Curse. It takes communication, perspective and empathy. That means you need imagination. Imagine what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. Imagine what he is seeing, hearing and thinking. You also need curiosity. Ask him what he sees, what he thinks, what he wants.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO OVERCOME THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE. If you really want to connect with your colleagues, your clients, your customers or your children you need to overcome the Curse of Knowledge. First, identify where it might be lurking. Then, use your imagination and your curiosity to overcome it. And share. Let us know whether you identified where you might have the curse, and how you tried to overcome it. This is a great one to discuss, as the discussion might show us even more places where the Curse might be lurking So share below, and remember that if you comment you get a token of my appreciation at the end. And the person who shares the Challenge the most–on social, via email, etc–gets an even bigger token. So stop humming a tune no one else recognizes and get to work! See you tomorrow….

TRIAL DAY 8-CHOOSE ELEGANCE

Anyone who has followed my blogs for a while knows that I believe words matter, and I like to look into the origins of words. Often that helps me to understand the word more deeply, and to use it in a different way. One such word is elegance. I’ve always aspired to be elegant, and I believe it is something that both men and women can personify. Elegant is defined as many things–simple,  ingenious, graceful, neat, and stylish to name a few.  But the root of the word is eligere, which means to choose. You get to choose your elegance.

I’ve written a book, coming out in 2019, called The Elegant Warrior–How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself. My editor initially wondered whether the title was too limiting. What if people didn’t want to be elegant? What if that wasn’t something everyone aspired to? But I believe you choose your elegance, and therefore everyone gets to choose what kind of warrior he or she will be.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO CHOOSE.  Choose your elegance. How do you want to be? And how will you put that choice into action? Too often, we live our lives in default. The alarm goes off, and we go off–into a million directions, a million thoughts, and all of it happens without any conscious choice. But you can press pause and choose who you will be in a moment. When that person cuts you off in traffic, you choose your response. When your little one comes to you with a new discovery, choose to put down your phone and explore it with her. You choose your elegance, and keep choosing until you become it.

Studies show that people value having choices more than making choices. That makes sense. When we make choices, we have to live with those choices. But one of the great things about being human is that we get to choose again, over and over, until we get it right. Who will you choose to be today? Let us know. Tell us what elegance means to you, and how you’ll choose to make that elegance apparent in your actions today.  Share your choices with us. We learn from our own choices, but we also learn from one another. And don’t forget to share the challenge if you like it. It’s never too late for someone to join us, and the more warriors in our army the better.

TRIAL DAY 9-LISTEN
Your ears are your secret weapon. They have magical powers. But in order for your ears to work, you have to use them actively and consciously. You have to listen, and it has to be with intent. That means listening with all of your senses, and with no distraction. It’s not easy, but the return is worth the investment.

You can learn so much by listening. Let’s start with tone. Did you know that you can tell more about a person’s emotion from their tone of voice than from their facial expressions? In fact, if you want to read a person’s emotion you should focus solely on listening. This may be because we’ve become good at hiding our emotions on our faces, but we’ve not yet mastered changing our tone of voice. If you want more empathy, more perspective, better relationships and better outcomes, listening is key.

That means putting down distractions. If you say you’re listening but you’re looking at your phone, you’re lying to yourself and whomever is speaking. Listening takes focus, time and intent. I listen best when I concentrate. One of the best listeners I know is a friend who reads lips. All of his attention is on the speaker, as he is listening with his ears and with his eyes. You can do the same.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO LISTEN. Listen with all of your senses. Use your ears, but also use your eyes. Feel the words, but also feel the tone. Listen for the words said but also sniff out the words left unsaid. In Chris Voss book Never Split the Difference, he shares that he believes the most powerful person in the room is the one doing the most listening. If you want better relationships, better insight, better perspective and more power, try closing your mouth and opening your ears.

But don’t clam up completely! We want to know about your experience. What tools did you use to be sure you were listening? How did it work for you, and what were your distractions? Share how you felt with today’s challenge. I promise–we will listen.

TRIAL DAY 10–TRY TO RISK

 I’ve seen the value of risks. Here is a small example from when I was a waitress at a very busy restaurant in Cape Cod. It took a lot of time and a lot of training to become a waitress there, and in my first shifts I’d get the easiest stations. Three tables, none of them too big. But as I get better, I’d get the harder stations. Four tables. And then, sometimes, the boss would ask if I could take on another table. Now I was  looking at 5 tables of people who want their chowder, their mudslides, the lobster salad on portuguese bread, and their swordfish. It felt risky. I remember the first time Fuzzy (my boss) asked me if I’d take another table. The timid voice inside was screaming at me to say no. I acknowledged that voice, and then I said yes, knowing that it was a risk. If I messed up, I might go back to those easy stations. But I’d never know what I could do unless I risked not being able to do it. That’s just how it works. The risks create the rewards.

Years after I took on my fifth table for the first time, I had the opportunity to try my first jury trial. The timid voice screamed that I wasn’t ready. Once again, I acknowledged that voice. But once again, I took the risk. With that risk I became stronger, which in itself was a reward. Timid gets you nowhere, but risks create rewards. One of those rewards is that we learn.

As we get older, we tend to take less risks. Research shows we have 80% excitatory cells and 20% inhibitory cells in the decision making area of our brain. The inhibitory cells don’t start really working until we get older though. And once they do, they can reduce the number of risks we take and impede learning.  You’ve got to take risks to learn. Taking risks taught me how to handle chowder, lobster sandwiches and mudslides. It also taught me to try cases. Doing these challenges is risky for me also. What if you don’t like it? What if you think it’s stupid? But I tell that timid voice to take a seat, and I stand up for risk. You can too.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO TAKE A RISK. That could mean smiling at someone in the street. It could mean being the first to speak at a meeting, or the first to say I love you. It could mean being the first to say I don’t understand. All of these things feel risky. All have enormous rewards.

Share what you’ve risked, and the reward you gained. Maybe sharing feels risky–then do it.