You want it all. So do I. We want to be successful, whatever that means to us. We want our families to be successful. We want more money, more love, more fun and more applause. We want what we want, when we want it. All of this wanting is great if it drives you forward, makes you curious, and lights your fire. But you have to know when to settle. I learned this lesson in the courtroom.

Courtroom trials are enormously stressful. Studies show that anxiety, depression and PTSD often plague those who sue. In fact, they call it “litigation response syndrome.” And it’s not just those who sue. I’ve seen many of my clients, the defendants, suffer the stress of trial. Worst of all, I watched my mentor and my uncle have a heart attack in the courtroom, an event that changed my approach forever and one I go into more deeply in my upcoming book. Bottom line–sometimes the best thing you can do is settle.

This is a conversation I often have to have with my clients. I represent doctors, men and women who have spent their adult lives studying, training and working to learn the skills to save lives. When they’re accused of hurting people, it’s devastating. They want to fight to the end. And yet, they also want to be healthy, to help other patients, to control their own destiny. There’s a reason lawyers are also called counselors, and why my psychology degree is often more useful than my law degree. Because together my client and I have to determine what she really wants, and the best way to get it.

You may have to settle too. TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO SETTLE. No one has it all. I once heard someone say that balance is impossible. He gave the example of a ballerina on pointe–she may look perfectly balanced, but in truth her feet are constantly moving back and forth, making little corrections. That’s what settling is all about. Push, then pull. Fight, then rest. Give up, to get. Put down the weapons, then open your arms for an embrace. Settling often looks like surrender, but letting go just might leave your hands free for exactly what you need.

Where will you settle today? Remember, we need YOUR ideas so that we can all learn from each other And please share this challenge if it resonates with you. We’re trying to grow a community here, and to do that we need your help. See you tomorrow.


  1. Wow, sometimes I think you writes these just for me, hahahaha. I don’t like settling and my constitution is to die fighting for what I believe in but I do like what you say about letting go might find my hands free to do something else. In my political campaigning, I’ll remember that BUT in my personal life sometimes I can’t catch my breath several times a day for 30 seconds an episode. If I settled, I might as well go rock in a chair and wait but I rather die fighting to improve my capacity to breath better.

    Point taken though, I’ll work on it in some areas!

  2. The litigation response syndrome really struck a chord with me. My husband has been involved in a court case for nearly 1.5 yrs all because his client refused to pay my husband for work completed. It was amazing how awe-dropping nasty it got. My husband filed a lien on the property to protect his interest while he tried to figure out what went wrong but in the meantime, the client countersued for 4x the lien amount. I find the concept of settling fine in theory but to play it out in real-terms seems unlikely. I do understand the need to let go or settle if the personal implications are big, but as in the case with my husband losing the money has serious implications, personally and professionally. Choosing is definitely up to the person but that decision may not bring resolution or peace.

  3. As you know, I have been toggling between a few things: the High Holidays, feeding my hospitalized husband kosher food, visiting him, bringing him things to occupy himself with and clothing, my jobs, and tomorrow, the BIG DAY: a plumber doing a complicated intervention (in my absence), a business proposal to a StartUp incubator, and my husband’s surgery at 12:30 pm.

    My settling, now that you mention it, is coming in the next few moments. I am about to not finish my proposal and to provide just enough information to brainstorm and ask for help. My new young partner is accompanying me. It’ll be a good first meeting, but only with a good night’s sleep and up early for a swim exercise, and oatmeal!

    Thank you for your timely “permission” to settle. This is an important moment that I’ve never had in my driven life.

  4. Wanting more was something I chased when I first got my CPA. Now I look to simplify. It took a long time to learn that lesson and to understand the wisdom of “pick your battles”. For too long every battle was worth “dying for.” But as you state, its knowing what is truly important so you can focus on it and have your hands free for the important items. Discerning that in the various “opportunities and challenges” presented for the rest of this year.

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