An Early Christmas Present-the Power of Could Be

In the courtroom, a good advocate knows the power of Could Be. Every witness could be the key to a win. Every piece of evidence could be the thing that helps the jury understand. Could Be’s win cases.  After 20 years as a trial attorney, I knew that.

But if you want to stand up for yourself, your ideas, your business and your family you can use the power of Could Be as well. A few years ago, I read a psychological study about the power of  “could be” I talked about it here. In that study, when researchers told subjects that a rubber band “is” a rubber band, only 3% of them thought to use it as the eraser they needed to complete a task. But when they said this “could be” a rubber band, 40% of them used it as an eraser. That is the power of could be–all of a sudden you can see things you didn’t see, and do things you couldn’t do. I decided to explore the power of “could be”

I came up with a 30 day Could Be challenge. Every day for 30 days I offered people something else they could be, and we all tried it together. But I ran out of ideas. I was having trouble seeing all of the possibilities. That’s where my friends came in, and they offered so many things we could be as well. Together we came up with 30 things.

Every day I wrote up the challenge and offered it to my community. And that community grew. Then we came together, and shared what worked for us and what didn’t. People shared their victories and defeats.  Day by day, we became closer–it could be that the internet does allow for closer relationships.

Heather Hansen

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30 Days of Trials Challenge – Thank You!

Thank you!!! I can’t believe another challenge is over, and I can’t believe how much you all taught me! Your comments were fabulous, and I appreciate you more than you know.

Hopefully you’ve realized that you are your own best advocate. You know yourself–what you want, what you need, what you can do and what you can’t–better than anyone. You know when to challenge yourself, and when to pamper yourself.

We feel like we have a lot to prove. We want to prove that we are enough, we are strong/ we are lovable and we are worthy. But before you can prove yourself to anyone else, you have to believe it. Proof starts inward. You need to believe it, and once you prove it to yourself, you can prove yourself to others. Advocate for yourself and then advocate for others. Put you first. 

I promised you a little gift at the end of the challenge. Anyone who wants one of the bracelets pictured, send me an email with your address and I will send them out in the coming weeks. And it was a tight race for the bigger gift, which is a judge’s gavel with the same words on it. Ultimately one person shared the challenge the most. Cathie O’Donnell–if you want the gavel, send me the best address to send it to! If not it will go to the runner up (and it was close!)

Get out there and advocate for yourself, my friends. Be your own advocate. That’s the best kind of self help there is. 

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 30 – Advocate

Can you believe that this challenge is over? I’ll be sending an email this weekend about the surprises I’d promised but for now–our last challenge. Lots of our challenges have brought us to this point. Making objections, asking questions, and using your voice are all skills you must learn in order to be a strong advocate. But even with these skills, it can be hard to advocate for yourself.

You’ll fight for your friends, but not your own freedom. You’ll do anything for your team, but not your own needs. And you’ll battle to the death for your children, but not for your own perspective to be heard and honored. When we’re done advocating for others, we often have nothing left to advocate for ourselves. 

Today’s challenge–TRY TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF.  It starts with being prepared. Know what you feel strongly enough about that you’re willing to fight for yourself. Not everything deserves a fight, but when you know what does you are more ready for battle. Then, know your argument, and the counter argument. When you have that kind of preparation, you’re ready for the moments when you lose your train of thought.  Be patient, with yourself and with others. And finally, look at things from as many points of view as possible. Gain perspective, and your advocacy is more likely to succeed.

Once you’ve stood up, used your voice and set your own boundaries, you find the power to do so for others. Be your own best advocate.

How will you advocate for yourself today?

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 29 – Try To Persuade

If you want to persuade someone, you don’t do it with judgment. You don’t do it with fury, or even anger. You don’t do it with the strength of your conviction, or the weight of your emotion. Most of the time, these things have no authority over those we wish to convince. You persuade with credibility. 

We’ve talked about credibility before. It’s the bedrock of a win in the courtroom. Credible evidence wins cases. The reason it does so is because the jury finds credible evidence persuasive. If you want people to find you persuasive, you have to be credible too. 

That means you persuade with empathy. When you understand your opponent’s perspective, you can find persuasion that will most resonate with him. You persuade with stillness, and time for your argument to ring true. You persuade with logic and stories that make your adversary feel emotion. Persuasion is not about you–it’s about them. 

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO PERSUADE. If you are a leader, a mother, a father, a salesperson, a lover, a friend or anyone who provides a service, you need to know how to persuade.  When winning means winning someone over to your point of view, judgment, violence and insistence rarely work. I promise if you focus on empathy, stillness and the other’s perspective, you’ll come much closer to victory.

How will you persuade today?

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 28 – Detach

It helps to detach from your outcomes. You are not your failures. You are not your successes either. You aren’t this argument,  this fight. You’re so much more than that. And when you realize all that you are, you can put all that you aren’t in perspective. The strange thing is the ability to detach  often means more successes, better arguments and fewer fights. Somehow when you detach from the outcome, everything expands. You see more opportunities and more possibilities when you aren’t attached to just one. 

It is especially hard for lawyers not to attach to the outcome of our cases. We use the wins as support for our confidence, and the losses as support for our doubt. But when you attach to the outcome of one case, you risk letting the next client down. Trial lawyers have to roll with punches and that can’t happen if you’re hanging on to one opponent’s fist. 

The challenge for today–TRY TO DETACH FROM OUTCOMES. You can give everything you have and not lose it. Put it all out there, and then be willing to accept what happens. Remind yourself of who you are, and you’ll see all you can be.

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 27 – Try To Err

When you think trial and error, don’t forget the error. A scientist can make discoveries without many failed attempts, and often the biggest discovery is in the error. Think penicillin. If you’re not willing to err, you aren’t going to succeed. Victory takes time

I love the phrase “not yet”.  Appellate lawyers are the kings and queens of “not yet”. When I win a case, I consider it over. But the other side doesn’t always see it that way. I’ve had many adversaries file appeals, in an attempt to overturn the verdict and try again. They claim that the judge made an error, and they should get another chance. That’s when my partner who focuses on appeals takes over. He knows all about error. And that all an error does is give you another chance.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO ERR. Be willing to make a mistake, and to say not yet. Be willing to try, again and again, without losing your faith or your enthusiasm. Be like an appellate lawyer, and see a “failure” as an opportunity to try again. 

Tell us about your error. Let’s make both trial AND error fun.

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 26 – Try To Try

Everything you do is a type of trial. Not the type that is hard and difficult, like trials and tribulations. But more the type that is a test, like trial and error. In court we test our evidence in front of the jury. In life, you test yourself. You try.

Trying means putting yourself out there. It means being comfortable with uncertainty, because not all trials will end in victory. Sometimes you have to try things over and over before you can win. We rarely get the change to try a case over and over in the courtroom. In life we get that chance all the time. In life outside the courtroom, you get many shots. Take them.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO TRY. I know it’s harder than it sounds. I know that putting yourself out there can seem like it is just too much sometimes. That’s when proof becomes even more important. You have to prove yourself, to yourself. You are capable, and strong, and full of so many things that this world needs. Prove (it to) yourself. Give it a try.

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 25 – Honor Dignity

Every time I get up to cross examine an adverse witness, I remind myself of his dignity. Every human being has it, simply by virtue of being alive. As I approach this witness, I can attack his evidence, her story, his credibility, or her bias, but I cannot take her dignity. I will not try.  In trying to take another’s dignity, you also risk your own. 

In times of conflict, it is tempting to go for the jugular. While the courtroom feels like the gladiators arena, we aren’t allowed to take lives. And in your life’s conflicts, you aren’t either. Instead, though, you may be tempted to make the adversary less human. Don’t give in to that temptation. When you work to make someone less human, the loss is yours. 

I promise, you don’t need to go low to win. I’ve had many adverse witnesses thank me for being nice. I still won those cases.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO HONOR DIGNITY. Be aware of your own and don’t let your anger steal it. Be aware of others, and don’t try to take it. You end up empty handed, and a little less for the effort.

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 24 – Collaborate

In my job as a trial attorney, I see more conflict than collaboration. While I work with my team to prepare for trial, the actual case is inherently a conflict. More often than not, there’s a lot of yelling. However, now I work with companies and individuals, giving them specific tools to ask better questions, master objections and use evidence to improve themselves, their teams, and their lives. It’s a collaborative effort, and it feels different. When we collaborate, the results come faster, and with more fun on the way. When we work together, things change.

So many times we think we should, or we must, go it alone. We feel alone, so there’s no choice. Or we feel like no one can do what needs to be done as well as we can, so we make the choice to believe that we are alone. Your belief becomes your reality. And being alone is not fun, but it’s also not healthy. Studies on “Blue Zones” (areas where residents live to be much older than the rest of the world) show that community is strong in those areas. They collaborate.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO COLLABORATE.  Find something that needs to be done, then find someone to do it with you. Tap into human resources at your disposal–the savvy friend, the smart colleague, the sage mentor. Give and take, take and give. When you work with other, you’re all more likely to win.

Then collaborate with us! What did you do to work with others today? How did it make you feel? We all can benefit from one another, and I believe that’s what we’re here to do. See you tomorrow!

Heather Hansen

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Trial Day 23 – Look For The Laughter

I used to think trials had to be serious things. Often my cases involve patients with catastrophic injuries–brain damage, paralysis, and death. Always, the cases are vitally important to my clients. Theses are doctors who went to school and studied and trained to help people. Now they are accused of hurting. It’s serious business.

And yet–we have to find space for laughter. I’ve learned that even in the depths of conflict or sorrow, there is room for laughter. It reminds me of the Mary Tyler Moore show where she gets the giggles at the funeral. Sometimes we just have to laugh and the laughter finds us. Other times, we have to go looking for the laughter. Don’t forget to do so.

Laughing is good for you. The benefits are physical, emotional, and spiritual. Laughter creates connections. Laughter even helps us learn.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO FIND LAUGHTER You could try thinking of it like a scavenger hunt and challenge yourself to find laughter where it is hiding. I find that if I start my day by asking myself where I’ll find the laughter, and then end the day noting where it was found, I am much more likely to find it. What you focus on does grow. Focus on laughter today, and let us know where you found it!

And please continue to share–both your thoughts, and the challenge itself. The more we share the more we grow.

Heather Hansen

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