Now you really will think I have gone Soft: an ex-Litigation lawyer talking about being kind!
In the good old days of practice, I was paid to be tough. Tough in negotiations; tough in the way I dealt with cross-examination; tough generally on the other side.
But just because that was how I was perceived didn’t mean that I was disrespectful to the other side or wasn’t prepared to help them out from time if I thought, over the long haul, it would make for a better outcome for my client.
However, leaving to one side the actual job, what about the idea of kindness?
At a macro level, the profession is not particularly kind to you. It puts enormous stress on you and your only recompense is the remuneration.
Likewise it does not bear on the internal dynamic. Some people, particularly those who had a tough upbringing in the profession, feel obliged to carry on the tradition of expecting a lot but not giving much appreciation in return: take, take, take. May be that is the nature of the partnership model.
Kindness is free.
Kindness is something that should be part of your daily life – remember the Golden Rule: treat others as you would expect to be treated.
Kindness is spiritual.
Kindness is uplifting.
Kindness regularly practised will make you a better person.
Kindness brings about a change that is hard to measure.
I have had the privilege to work with some amazing people. They were mentors in the truest sense of the word. At their core they were kind. Kind beyond measure. They appreciated that it was not just about the quid pro quo (“What can I get out of this relationship”) but wanting to see me grow as a human being, and being kind was essential.
I challenge you to think of a situation and think how you might act differently by being thoughtful, kind and appreciative.
All of us could be kinder.
Kinder to our family.
Kinder to our colleagues.
Kinder to the other side.
Kindness does not connote weakness, although showing that you are vulnerable sometimes is not so awful.
Kindness is a daily practice and your sharp tongue can undo things very quickly. Think of it like an emotional bank account. All those kindness deposits that you have built up can be gone in an instant if you forget to add a “please” or “thank you” on to the end of your sentence.
Express your gratitude more often. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. It is the small things that make the biggest difference personally or professionally.
~ Julian Summerhayes ~