“There is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.”
It’s hard to believe that 2014 is drawing to a close. It’s been an extraordinary year for the Academy as we’ve rolled out many new programs, strategies and tools for Members, but the longer we’re at this business of coaching estate planning attorneys, the more we realize that everything is about mindset. Sure, strategies, tactics and tools are helpful, but they mean nothing without a fertile state of mind that can effectively make things happen. Whether it’s your close family relationships, your team or your clients, all interactions succeed or fail based on our ability to clearly understand the source of human experiences.
Unfortunately, we’ve all been sold a huge bill of goods about life, based on a massive misunderstanding. We’ve been taught since our earliest days that it’s an outside-in world. Our feelings of happiness, success, security and love, in other words, all our core states, are based on the quality of our outside circumstances. If we just strive hard enough to create or change our circumstances, we will magically experience the feelings we crave. Feeling unsuccessful, just create a law firm filled with clients and a huge bank account and success is yours. Feeling lonely, attract the guy or gal of your dreams. And so it goes, change your circumstances and your core feelings will follow.
But we all know, at some level, it’s a huge lie. Otherwise, all wealthy people would be happy and all those in the slums of Calcutta would be miserable. But the delusion continues and our lives are sacrificed on this endless quest. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with wonderful circumstances. A successful law firm, a wonderful mate, a full bank account and wide circle of friends are, as Shakespeare so eloquently put it, “A consummation devoutly to be wished.”
If our circumstances are not the real source of our core feelings, then what is? Well, our message to you as we wrap up 2014 is to look inside. All of life experiences emanate from an inside-out view of the world. It’s not our circumstances that determine our experiences. It’s our thinking about our circumstances that are key. Irrepressible thoughts that bubble up from the instant we open our eyes in the morning to the moment sleep overtakes us at night, mold our reality.
Recognizing this fundamental truth restores our power and places our attention on what matters most, not the quality of our circumstances but the role of thought in shaping our experiences. This is not some shallow tribute to positive thinking or an attempt to control your thoughts. It’s a wake-up call to notice what thoughts you believe and the stories that accompany them. It takes your gaze off the object of concern, whether it’s a difficult client, a poor performing staff member or a loved one who disappoints you, and places it squarely where it belongs, on your relationship with your thoughts in the moment.
Once we become fully aware of these automatic thoughts and recognize their content, we can pause before taking action or assuming the reality of another is the same as ours. It is in this moment of awareness, where we can have the most powerful insights and choose to change an unconscious course to an intentional one. These moments of insight can also open up a place for other views, opinions and possibilities to be considered. This purposeful consideration can have far reaching effects for yourself and others.
We know this is a lot to digest, so allow yourself to sit with it for a bit and reflect on how your thoughts, right now, are generating your reality.
Are your daily thoughts and reactions moving you forward or are they holding you back in some areas? Are you resolved to making your life and business the best it possibly can be? What are you willing to do to have laser focus on the things that matter most to you and to create the practice you want? What do you need to let go of or eliminate that get in the way of the things that matter most?
Yes, we all have these ongoing thoughts and chatter in our heads, but it is up to us to notice those voices and choose to give power to the ones which will get us to where we want to be.
We want to thank you for being part of our unique community. We appreciate your involvement and enthusiasm that you bring to each other throughout the year and we look forward to an amazing 2015.
To Your Continued Success,
Robert Armstrong and Sanford M. Fisch
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555