Winning During a Pandemic

I help my clients win. And I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. First, it was in the courtroom as a defense attorney for doctors, nurses, and hospitals. I gave my legal clients the tools to advocate for themselves and their ideas, and win. Now it is in the boardroom, the Zoom call, the kitchen and the bedroom. Still, I give my clients the tools to advocate for themselves and their ideas, and win. But what is winning during a pandemic?

One of the definitions of win is “to receive something positive because you have earned it”. That is the definition I embrace and encourage my clients to do the same. When I first met with my legal clients to discuss their case, I’d ask them what they wanted. We needed to know their something positive in order to start advocating for it. “Something positive” could be any number of things.

Some wanted to see the case go away. They wanted to not have the stress of litigation on top of the stress of caring for their patients. Others wanted a verdict in their favor–to clear their name, their reputation and their conscience. Most weren’t sure what they wanted. They’d never been sued, never knew the overwhelming stress of a lawsuit or the unbelievable buzz of a verdict in their favor. So I checked in with them regularly, asking the same questions.

“What is a win for you today?” Once we know the win, we can start advocating for it with the tools of a trial lawyer. Some wins need words, questions, and evidence. Other wins call for perspective, credibility, reception and presentation. Some wins are earned with negotiation, and others with argument. These are the tools of a trial lawyers, and I help my clients use them to win.

Now I work with CEOs, entrepreneurs, college grads and thought leaders. And when I first meet with them, I ask the same question. What is a win? It’s sometimes investment money for their idea. Sometimes it’s a new clients, a sale, a promotion or a raise. And other times it’s more support, more respect, more fun or more love. Whatever it is, we start there. We start earning our way to that something positive by advocating.

But we have to be careful. Because in moments of stress and conflict it’s easy to become confused. You can lose sight of your win. It always reminds me of the time my niece and her friend went with me to walk the dog. They fought like crazy over who would get to take the bag and pick up the mess. When you get emotional and caught up in the moment, it’s easy to end up carrying a bag of mess and thinking you’ve won.

That’s why every day I ask my clients to consider this question. “What’s a win for you today?” And in this crazy time, that question becomes even more important. Some days it might simply be getting through the day without crying. Other days it could be a phenomenal pitch on a Zoom call, a new job, praise from a manager, or a hug from a child. Winning during a pandemic is different than winning a year ago, and will be different than winning a year from now.

“What’s a win for you today?”

Start with that question. Your answer to that question is your something positive. And you can earn it by advocating, even during a pandemic.

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