Emotional Well-Being: the debrief video

It’s time for Friday’s debriefing.  Today’s discussion was so thoughtful that there’s no way my recap will do it justice.

Again, it’s Well-Being Week in Law.  Today’s topic is Emotional Well-Being.  I focused on the importance of learning to accept that we will experience negative emotions and learning to control our responses to them.  Earlier today, I posted this blog advance of a group discussion that took place at lunch.

As have been the others this week, the discussion was fantastic. Here’s the debrief video with my takeaways.

Thanks to everyone who participated today and this week!

Enjoy the weekend.


Related Material from the Institute for Well-Being in Law

Related Posts

Emotional Well-Being: W.I.N. your 3 feet of influence.

Welcome to Friday of Well-Being Week in Law.

Today’s topic is Emotional Well-Being.  The focus is on learning to understand and identify our emotions.  Here’s a video (8:36) in which I share some thoughts.  The headlines:

  • It’s okay to feel negative emotions
  • W.I.N.
  • W.I.N. your 3-feet of influence
  • It’s okay to ask for help, and help is available.
  • Be 1 of somebody’s 3 or 4

I’m hosting a Zoom discussion today at noon.  The invite is here.  If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts on emotional intelligence, listening to others share theirs, or both – please join!


Related Material from the Institute for Well-Being in Law

Related Posts

Communities & Connections: the debrief video

It’s time for Thursday’s debriefing.

Again, it’s Well-Being Week in Law.  Today’s topic is Social Well-Being and the importance of communities and connections.  Earlier today, I posted this video in advance of a group discussion that took place at lunch.

As have been the others this week, the discussion was fantastic.  Here’s the debrief video (7:34) with my takeaways.

Tomorrow’s topic is Emotional Intelligence and the critical role it plays in our well-being. I intend to frame the conversation around an idea (not my own) that I used as a coach:  W.I.N.  Or, “What’s Important Now.”  From there, we’ll talk about how emotional intelligence can help us to W.I.N our three feet of influence.  Feel free to join to share your thoughts, listen to others share theirs, or do both! I’ll include the link in tomorrow morning’s blog post.

Thanks again to everyone who participated today.


Related Material from the Institute for Well-Being in Law

Communities & Connections

Welcome to Thursday of Well-Being Week in Law.

Today’s topic is Social Well-Being and the importance of communities and connections.  Here’s a video in which I offer to be your guide as you hunt for connections.

I’m not sure that today’s theme is amenable to discussion as yesterday’s or tomorrow’s, but I’m hosting the noon time chat anyway!  Whether to share your thoughts on communities & connections or to listen to others share theirs, you can join the discussion here.


Related Material from the Institute for Well-Being in Law


Venue, the Electric Slide, and Impostor Syndrome: thoughts on intellectual engagement & growth.

Welcome to Wednesday of Well-Being Week in Law.

Today’s topic is Intellectual Well-Being, with the mantra “Engage and Grow.”  We’re focusing on striving for continuous intellectual engagement and growth in our work and personal lives.

Here’s a video in which I go into more detail.  The video ranges from my personal (and borderline frivolous) engagement and growth – venue in federal criminal cases and mastering the Electric Slide – to a serious discussion of Impostor Syndrome.

I’d love to learn your thoughts & strategies for intellectual growth.  Please consider joining this Zoom discussion at noon to share & listen as others share theirs!

 Links to material referenced in my video are below:

Engage & Grow!

  • An article in Elemental on the connection between curiosity and well-being.
  • An article in Courthouse News about a 9th Circuit opinion that involves an international arms dealer and proper venue in federal criminal cases.
  • Joanna Litt’s letter to The American Lawyer about her husband’s suicide.
  • Neha Sampat’s post in the ABA Journal calling on the profession to address Impostor Syndrome.


Related Posts:

Align: the debrief video.

It’s time for Tuesday’s debriefing.

This morning I posted Align! It introduced today’s virtual meeting in which we discussed a critical component of wellness: spiritual well-being.  The focus was on striving to align our work lives with our personal values.

Here’s the video debrief.  It’s only 4:31 and includes references to The Office and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It also goes into more detail on three takeaways from our discussion:

  1. It’s okay if finding meaning in your work is not a core value. Wellness is not one-size fits all. For reasons that could be the topic of their own CLE, there are some among us whose wellness is better served by work that appears rote or boring to others of us.
  2. Just because your work lacks meaning to you doesn’t make it meaningless.  What you do is important to someone, perhaps a client, others with whom you work, or Future You.
  3. A few of us are going to use this exercise to identify & commit to our core values. If nothing else, I like the idea of writing to Future Me.  Probably something I should’ve started doing long ago.

Don’t worry if you missed today’s discussion.  We will reconvene tomorrow at noon to discuss Wednesday’s theme:  Engage & Grow.  The focus will be intellectual well-being, constant curiosity, and striving for growth in both our personal and work lives.  You can join the discussion here.

I’ve not yet finalized the agenda, but it might include me talking about the Electric Slide.

But for now, Align!


Welcome to Tuesday of Well-Being Week in Law.

Before we begin, how about a nod to Disciplinary Counsel’s well-being?  Happy Birthday Sarah Katz!

Onto business.

Today’s focus is Spiritual Well-Being, with the cue being “Align.”  The goal is to consider how we can “foster a sense of meaning and purpose in all aspects of life” so as to “align life and work to serve your values.”

Last year, I posted this video on Spiritual Well-Being.  I tried to make three points.

  1. “Incivility is corrosive” in the profession. It causes stress, anxiety, and burnout. In turn, these corrode a sense of meaning and purpose.
  2. Supervisors should strive to ensure that those who work for them feel a sense of meaning in what they do.
  3. Younger legal professionals should remember Future You. Not every task is what Younger Me expected I’d be doing once I began my career.  Some feel meaningless.  But every task I complete matters to someone.  Most importantly, Future Me is far more likely to find meaning in my future work if I invest in myself now. And treating every task, no matter how small, as if it is the most meaningful is a form of investment.

I’d love to learn how others strive to find meaning & purpose. What are your thoughts and strategies on how align your work and professional live?  Today at noon, I’m hosting a Zoom meeting.  Everyone is invited.  It won’t be a lecture, but a discussion.  The link is here.  Please consider joining!

In the meantime, here are resources on “Align: Spiritual Well-Being” from the Institute for Well-Being in Law.



Stay Strong!

Welcome to 2021 Well-Being Week in Law!

Today’s theme is Stay Strong.  We are focusing on physical well-being and its importance to our overall well-being.

A few minutes ago, I recorded this video.  In it, I shared some thoughts on physical well-being.  The key takeaway is to remember what I’m NOT asking you to do.

Medical science types know that physical well-being can help to reduce anxiety and calm stress. In turn, reduced anxiety & stress helps to avoid burnout and depression.

So, I’m not asking you to commit to run a 5K.  Or to take up cycling.  Or to hike the Long Trail.

I’m asking you to take a few minutes to consider whether you could:

  • Get more regular activity;
  • Eat better;
  • Sleep better;
  • Reduce or limit the addictive substances that you put into your bodies.

Each is an aspect of physical well-being.

And, for those of you in supervisory roles, I’m asking you to take a few minutes to consider whether, as a legal employer, there are ways that you could do more to promote the physical well-being of those who you supervise.

Don’t know where to start?  The Institute for Well-Being in Law has resources galore.  For instance,

  • Could you stand up for 2 or 3 phone calls or virtual meetings?
  • Could you go for a walk a few days a week?
  • Could desk yoga be for you?
  • Do you have 2 or 3 minutes for a breathing exercise?
  • Can you turn off your devices before you get into bed?

Each can help.

Finally, don’t forget to exercise your brain.  Your brain is as part of the physical you as any other body part.  Personally, I suggest playing Hunt-A-Killer with your mom & brother, but that’s just me.  For you, it might be chess, or crossword puzzles, or mindfulness.

That’s right: mindfulness is a form of brain exercise.  And if mindfulness interests you, the VBA scheduled two mindfulness courses for this month alone!  For more info, check out the events calendar on the VBA’ sleek new website.

Whatever it is for you, I invite you to take steps to improve your physical well-being.

More importantly, I invite you to start small.  It’ll add up.

Stay strong.


Let’s Light Some Candles

Here’s a quote to ponder as you read this post.  At the end, I’m going to ask you to remember it.

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

~ James Keller


Next week is Well-Being Week in the Law.  A project of the Institute for Well-Being in the Law, one of the goals is to provide resources that will help lawyers & legal employers to bolster well-being throughout the year.  As the infographic at the bottom of this page shows, each day has a different theme, with each theme a component of overall well-being.

The Institute’s website includes a plethora of ideas for individuals and organizations to participate in Well-Being Week.  In a way, the plethora can be dizzying.  The tools & suggestions run the gamut from desk yoga to this Alcohol Use Policy Template for Legal Employers.

Indeed, the more I learn, the more I’m convinced that while the profession must prioritize the wellness and well-being of its members, it’s not one-size-fits-all.  Each member’s journey to wellness and well-being will be along the path of their choosing.

For instance, Monday’s theme is “Stay Strong” and is intended to focus on physical well-being.  I tend to my physical well-being by running as often as possible and doing yoga 2 or 3 days per week.  Yet, having a 5K on Monday wouldn’t necessarily benefit someone who prefers biking (or walking, hiking, or swimming) and occasional breathing exercises.

The same goes for emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.  To each their own.  The square peg does little for the round hole’s well-being.

In short, I’m not holding a 5K Monday.  Rather, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes on Monday to consider how you might improve your physical well-being over the course of the year, or how your firm or office might do the same for all who work there. Then, throughout the week, do the same for each of the daily themes.

Here’s where I might be able to help.

Next week, I’ll open a Zoom meeting everyday at noon.  All are welcome.  Whoever joins, we’ll share thoughts and ideas on the day’s theme.  Take what works for you, leave the rest. All I ask is that you come ready to share.  I’ll get each discussion started, but they will remain discussions, not lectures.  You can email me for the links, and I’ll include them in the daily blog posts that tee up each discussion.

The schedule:

  • Tuesday, May 5. Align: Spiritual Well-Being.  We will share ideas related to aligning our work with our values, enabling ourselves to find meaning and purpose in what we do.
  • Wednesday, May 6. Engage & Grow: Occupational and Intellectual Well-Being.  We will share ideas on how to continuously learn and develop, within the legal profession and, as importantly, outside the law.
  • Thursday, May 7. Connect: Social Well-Being. We will share ideas on the importance of forging connections that help us to build communities and support networks.
  • Friday, May 8. Feel Well: Emotional Well-Being.  We will share ideas related to emotional intelligence and learning to identify how our emotions impact us.

You’ll note that I’ve not provided a link for Monday.  That’s because Monday’s focus is physical well-being.  Instead of logging at noon, go for a walk! Or turn off your devices for 15 minutes and do nothing!  Tech breaks help to improve physical well-being!

Again, my goal is to promote the concepts of well-being and wellness. How you go about it is up to you.

That said, here again is the quote:

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

~ James Keller

On wellness and well-being, many of you are candles burning brightly.  Next week, consider joining to share your thoughts and ideas. You might light another.


Save The Date: Well-Being Week In Law

The inaugural National Lawyer Well-BeingWeek took place last May. If you missed it, don’t worry. – it’s back!


Rebranded as Well-Being Week In Law (WWIL), the event will run from May 3 – May 7.  Each day will focus on a different aspect of wellness.  Per the Institute for Well-Being in Law,

  • “The aim of WWIL is to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve well-being.”

There’s a lot more information on WWIL here.  Check it out.  The Institute has done a great job providing firms, offices, and employers with resources to make well-being part of the day-to-day instead of something we do one week per year.  That said, if a dedicated week in May is what gets you to the starting line, then save the date!

Stay tuned.  I will have updates on WWIL as we get closer to the event.

Related Posts:

Last week’s National Lawyer Well-Being Week Videos:

And speaking of resources, I’d be remiss not to include the Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers.