An elite mind is required of any successful lawyer. Practising law entails the ability to focus, pay close attention to detail, and think critically and quickly. Lawyers are usually operating under intense stress and pushing themselves mentally, which leads to the heightened importance of well-being in the law profession.
While professional athletes set time aside every day for strengthening and conditioning lawyers are usually consumed by a list of daily to-dos and events. However, what if lawyers took a play out of athletes agenda and began to train their minds for peak performances using strength and conditioning strategies? Intellectual agility and focus aren’t static things, rather they can be changed and built upon.
Lawyers provide their clients with a service. In order to be capable of providing the best service possible, it’s necessary to have an understanding of how to operate at the best possible level. In order to do that, one must have not only physical fitness but more importantly, mental clarity and emotional stability. The demands of a law practice can be intense and many lawyers suffer from anxiety, depression, and feelings of burnout. By using a few powerful tools and practices like those that athletes use lawyers can gain the ability to handle the demands of their job in a much more meaningful and sustainable manner.
When a runner is preparing for a marathon often part of the training is switching between high-intensity workouts and periods of recovery. As a lawyer, it’s not always realistic to take a long break after doing something particularly tasking. However, you can alternate between more and less intense tasks. For instance, instead of answering emails on the way to a client meeting, use the few minutes as a short break. Take a few breaths on your walk to the bathroom or spend 60 seconds every hour to simply look out the window or stretch without your phone in your hand. Using the small breaks that happen throughout a busy day as a way to ‘sprint and recover’ can begin to shift everything into a more positive light.
Another great way to achieve peace and to increase focus is by practising mindfulness. This is something that many great athletes do when competing. Begin by noticing when you’re become lost in thought or distracting than simply redirect your attention to something productive. Do not dwell on the fact that you’re distracted, rather shift your focus. Practising mindfulness allows you to be more present which will, in turn, allow you to operate on a higher level. By cultivating these skills your mental flexibility and productivity will increase.
Just like the mantra of athletes, practice makes perfect. Continue to build on these skills and you will be better equipped next time a challenge or major crisis occurs.