INSPIRATION GAL Is Back! Whether You Think You Can Or You Can’t…. You’re Right.By Inspiration Gal | March 1, 2021 | Relationships
Our lovely Divas! When DivaGalsDaily started a decade ago, we had a column called “Inspiration Gal.” Well, she’s back and ready to inspire you to achieve your greatness! Read her the first Mondays of the month right here!
I have always accepted the fact that I am good at some things but not at other things. I am a trial lawyer and have seen myself as someone who gives great closing arguments but is horrible at legal research. Once I became a senior attorney I would pawn my legal research on new attorneys. I would make great excuses why I could not do the research, “I’m writing this amazing, earth-shattering closing to put this murdered away for life — I don’t have time to research!”
For the most part, I avoided legal research. However, there was always that instance where I could not find someone to pawn my work off on. Would I attack the research head-on? No, I would usually procrastinate. I would do everything else from cleaning my desk to answering old emails and save the research to the end of the day when I was tired and ready to go home.
The odd thing is that I did not mind the actual work of research, I just never felt that I was finding the correct answers. I wasn’t good at it so why waste my time doing it after all? My mind would always return to my first year of law school and my first research assignment in my legal research class. The assignment was to find a certain statue and I didn’t find the statue. I remember talking with the professor about what I did wrong and feeling like an idiot. “I guess I am not good at legal research I thought.” Twenty years later, when I have a research task I go back to that same place of fear and inferiority.
It never occurred to me that there might be a benefit in improving my research skills. Why should I even try? I was a great lawyer just as I was. But truthfully, how can you be great at your job when there is a part of that job, no matter how minor, that you continue to run and hide from? Was not addressing the issue going to make me a better or more confident lawyer? Is avoidance and procrastinating ever really helpful?
Covid-19 has changed the world in so many ways. Working at home meant I couldn’t pop into a young lawyer’s office with a research project. It meant I had to do it myself. Like my typical pattern, I would procrastinate until the eleventh hour. This would inevitably produce a poor quality product. But one morning, I decided to just go ahead and start the day with the ugliest task I had — was researching an issue.
“I hate this,” I said sitting in my living room that I now used as my Covid office. My mind wandered to law school and the feeling of being an idiot surfaced again. But then I really thought about what happened: had my professor called me an idiot? No. He told me I would get it next time. I was the person telling myself that I could not do the research. What if I told myself something different? What if I was the best researcher in my office — or the state! “You are great at legal research. This research project will be so easy!” Who said that I wondered? It was me!
I said it again, louder, and more convincingly. At that moment, I decided I would say it several times a day for the next few weeks. I was going to “fake it until I make it.” I made that mantra my screensaver so I would see it every time I stopped researching and my computer screen went into hibernation.
Fast forward to today. My office has reopened and there are the junior attorneys I can pawn things on again. Do I? Well, not as much as I used to. I would love to tell you that I am now the best researcher in the state, but that likely isn’t true. I don’t even know if I’m great at it. But I do know I am not afraid of it anymore and I know I am getting better at it. I do my own research assignments now because, with each assignment, I become a better researcher. And the better I become at legal research the better I become as an attorney. I no longer believe that if I wasn’t born good at something I can’t do it. I realize that I can improve or learn anything if I tell myself that I can.
Do you have areas in your life where you’ve given up — accepted that you are no good at it and just avoided the issue? Maybe it’s job-related or something in your personal life? You’re thinking, “I can’t keep a clean car/house/office because I am just not a neat person.” Or maybe it’s, “I am never going to lose this baby weight.” Why do you believe you are not a success in that area of your life? What are you really telling yourself? As long as you tell yourself that you are not good at something you won’t be good at it. You have to change what you believe. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.
Resolve today to change your beliefs in one area of your life. Write out that new identity and put it someplace you can see it daily. Repeat your mantra. Then start planning the actions that will get you there. Because if you think about it, you’ve been that new person all along, you just needed to claim it.
To Being The Best You,
photo credit: Flickr