Are you channeling a successful person as your model, as I suggested in an earlier blog?
I bet that person does not blather throughout the work day about annoying personal stuff, or speak in a nasty tone, or explode uncontrollably when dealing with normal aggravations.
So, think about this:
- Don’t impose your bad mood on your team or your legal adversary. It works against you.
- Leaving your negative emotions at home does not mean that you must avoid conflict. We are lawyers in an adversarial system; we embrace conflict. Deliberate and respectful conflict among friends and opponents can be productive.
- We know that you cannot always agree with everyone on everything. But know what you want to argue about, and don’t pile on anger you brought from home.
- Control your emotions. You will not impress your client at a negation table if you fuel your words to opposing counsel with anger left over from this morning’s shouting match with your teenager. You’ll just seem a little crazy. Control your emotions, and use them deliberately as a lawyer. Your anger is uncomfortable for those around you if they don’t see a reasonable cause. Unexplained anger is kind of scary.
- Establish a pattern. Be calm, be cool, be clear.
BONUS: If this isn’t already obvious, please don’t share all the maddening frustrations in your personal life with your professional colleagues unless they are licensed therapists and invite you to take up their time. Talk to your dog before you set out for work– he will agree with everything you say.