My Shingle

Solos and the Power of Just Showing Up

by Carolyn Elefant on April 28, 2009 · 0 comments

in Encouragement, MyShingle Solo

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Each morning as @carolynelefant, I check in on Twitter for my dose of innovation-overload.   Twitter is always brimming with updates on great minds undertaking great change-the-world-or-the-legal-profession ventures and 140-character insights that inspire and offer new perspectives that I’d love to put to action if I only had the time.

As author of MyShingle, I straddle dual worlds – that of legal observers and innovators who write about reforming the profession and that of the independent practitioner with a day job, clients to serve and not enough time to reflect about changing the practice of law, let alone do it on a daily basis.  I must confess though that many days, serving clients, arguing cases or striving for excellence just doesn’t hold a candle to the sexiness of being a thought-leader, a trend-setter or an innovator.

So that’s why I found the above TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (which I wasn’t crazy about) so inspiring.  Gilbert is grappling with the thought that moving forward as a writer, she may never match the success of Eat, Pray, Love, a dehibilitating thought that makes it tough to get up in the morning.   But at the same time, Gilbert recognizes that she’s a writer and she’s incapable of giving up her life’s work.   So Gilbert finds solace and inspiration in the power of just showing up to write every day, and if the gods of creativity show up as well, then it’s an added bonus that are beside the point. (you can fast forward to the 15 min. mark for this).

Gilbert’s words ring true for those of us who practice law, particularly solos.  Because what the best of solos do best is simply showing up, day after day, year after year.   By showing up, we can make a client’s life a little less stressful.  We can change a judge’s perspective or reverse an injustice.  We can keep a family in their home or help a client get a fresh start.  Most importantly, we keep the wheels of our judicial system turning by ensuring that access to justice isn’t determined solely by access to huge amounts of money.

So to my fellow solo and small firm colleagues, keep on showing up every day.  It may not seem important and it sure isn’t trendy, but wow, how it matters.

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