Be a Positive Force in the Midst of Anger and Fear

It’s the end of the world…as we know it.

I survived Oklahoma 2011.

Thanks to blizzards, tornadoes, droughts, and earthquakes (oh, and a top-ranked divorce rate), “I survived” t-shirts were a big hit in O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A this past fall.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, I’m sure you’ve heard that December 21, 2012 has been interpreted as the end of the world, referred to as the “2012 Phenomenon” on Wikipedia. I hope Nostradamus is right – at least in the R.E.M. sense of the phrase.

“It’s the end of the world AS WE KNOW IT (and I feel fine).”

A quick read down my Twitter stream tells me the world is full of people who are angry, hurt, and afraid. I turn the news on and I see more pain and confusion. The uplifting “feel good” stories often shared in public media tend to feel trite and empty.

I know there is amazing goodness in the world, we get glimpses now and then, but I’m ready to see more of it. The world as we know it is skewed negative and shallow. And I’m ready for that to end.

So what about divorce attorneys? Their job is to help people navigate a process that emanates from a relationship gone bad. Outside that client-driven process, there are family law attorneys, men and women, who deal with too many (or too few) cases, unpaid client fees, challenging colleagues, massive student loans, and a saturated market in which “attorney” is often the subject of a poor-tasting joke.

How can you find hope and goodness in the field of family law where clients reach out to you because they are angry, hurt, confused, and afraid? Clients seek your services because they feel they have no other choice, but may be distrusting and skeptical because they’ve been failed by so many systems, so many times before.

What about all the people who wish they were your clients, but won’t even inquire about their needs because they know they can’t afford you?

How do you remain healthy, productive, and compassionate in the midst of chaos and uncertainty?

I suggest you frequently recenter or recalibrate your sense of purpose and well-being. Practical ways of doing this can be found throughout the ADR Blogs found on the Winter Garden Family Law Firm of Grossman & Grossman, P.A.

Remember why you chose family law as your practice area. What is it about helping a family that gets you out of bed every morning? Do you ever feel pangs of overwhelming contentment? Do you have moments when you feel that you are exactly where you should be, doing exactly what you should be doing? Do you ever feel those moments so strongly that it almost hurts?

Collegial wisdom and advice about how to handle specific client issues or litigation challenges are helpful from a process perspective. But it all begins with you. Think about your role in the divorce process in terms of client outcomes, but also your own outcomes. Helping people is important – it’s the reason you signed up for this gig.

But you must nest your desire to help others within the greater context of your life. We frequently talk about helping our clients gain perspective about their relationships and experiences. While you are helping your clients become more insightful and contemplative – better versions of themselves – remain mindful of your own evolution as a family law attorney, as a professional, and as a person.

If 2012 will be the end of the world as we know it, how will you know the world, and your role within it, in 2013?

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