My friend Ben (hi Ben!) berates me for filling his social media with what he calls #gymspam. Regular readers will know I am a group fitness instructor. I teach about 6 different classes, everything from pump, to spin, to dance, and I'm also a lawyer dammit.
I started teaching fitness classes during my undergrad some 11 or so years ago and I just kept on doing it because it's a fun way to stay fit and get paid for it; you learn a fair bit about fitness and exercise in 11 years- or so you think.
I've recently started training with a brilliant personal traine (hi Faye!). She's always telling me she's making me fit for every day life and not just to look better in a tee-shirt, one follows the other. She's not wrong - here combined is the wisdom I've gained from my personal trainer that's helped me in my everyday life to become a good lawyer.
There Is Shit You Know, Shit You Don't Know, and Shit You Don't Know You Don't Know.
So, after 11 years of making people sweat myself I thought I had a really good handle on exercise. No, I knew nothing. I knew what I knew and was good at that, but there was so much to learn!
Faye has made me do exercises, and combinations of exercises I didn't even knew were possible; so much so that the morning after training sessions even my eyebrows hurt.
Moral of the story: Sometimes you need to find someone that knows more than you to show you the ropes, a mentor if you will. If you're a new lawyer in a firm, or if you're a seasoned lawyer anywhere we can all benefit from having some expert coaching- you may even actually learn something.
Our training sessions usually start like this:
Faye: how are you feeling today.
Me: Oh look, my kidney/ soul/ back/ eyelashes/ spleen/ hurts.
Faye: Ok, well let's not make your [insert condition here] worse, but let's SMASH the rest.
When I first begun training with her I knew what I was getting in to. She's super knowledgeable and she works you hard. She has a rep of making 6'2" 90kg men (like me) cry; I knew this when I signed up. There are always a million excuses, but it's not like I didn't know what I signed up for!
Moral of the story: Yep, sometimes your clients are assholes, yep, sometimes you have to work for 12 or 15 hours straight. Yep, sometimes all that reading is fucking boring and awful, yes sometimes you'll be so busy you'll want to cry, yes our job is hard but it's not like we didn't know what we were in for. Sometimes you just have to get on with it.
The Bar Weights 20kgs, the Plates Weigh 40Kgs- You Have Ten Minutes- Go!
You can't cheat time, the weights or the exercises These things don't change, in fact they are there to keep you honest. If you do it wrong, you'll end up hating it and you can even hurt yourself.
You can't cheat a bar that weighs 20Kgs and make it lighter just because you wish it were. The bar weighs 20kgs, the plates weigh 40kgs and you have to do x amount of squats in ten minutes- the only variable here is your attitude. If you approach the task with a good attitude, yes it's still horrible but it's a lot less horrible than if you started with a bad attitude.
Moral of the story: Do things that keep you honest, whether it's something you've never done before or something that you don't like doing and avoid but know you really should do. These tasks that take you out of your comfort zone will challenge what you know, what you think you know, and keep you honest and focused.
Align yourself with people who are good at what you're not good at and make them help you get better!
I've had three knee operations before I took myself to train with Faye. What that meant was that, even though the physio told me to work on my gluteals and general leg strength I just didn't do it because- HELLO, I'VE HAD 3 KNEE OPERATIONS!
I told Faye about my surgical procedures expecting pity and comfort; she smiled and nodded and said something to the effect of: "ok we'll work on that."
EXCUSE ME FAYE- did you maybe not hear me at all? I've had three knee operations. I. AM. FRAGILE.
Lucky for me Faye has a very good grasp on working the parts of me I'm not good at working myself. It means a stronger me, and now I have a much stronger behind!
Moral of the story: Find those people that are great at complimenting your weaknesses and use them to turn weaknesses into strengths. These people are not necessarily the people in your team, or even your supervisor. If your firm or workplace has a formal mentoring network take that up with both hands, if it doesn't the Law Institute has a fantastic program!
It's good having someone spot you
I'm eventually going to stop texting Faye on Saturday mornings when I venture to the gym on my own. I usually annoy her with an SMS that goes a little like this:
OH MY GOD I JUST FRONT SQUAT 70KGS OMFG WTF BBQ!
It's just so good to have someone to watch out for you and be tracking your progress.
Moral of the story: Lawyers, young, old, not so young and not so old- basically what I'm telling you to do is, go find a mentor.