I was covering a class-action trial. The lead defense attorney was a major brandname in that niche.
No surprise, then, a BigLaw partner not involved in the case emailed me. He was swinging by the courtroom to observe "the show." Would I like to have lunch to discuss that lead's performance?
Well, what we wind up talking about at lunch was this: if the defense lawyer was having a bad day or was, well, now a has-been. His performance art was all style. No real energy. He strutted, not leaned-in to the judge and jury.
The defense lost that trial. That particular lawyer then lost another. It was clear to me that he had to be classified as has-been. That's the last he was heard from. No longer was he allowed into the Big Tent.
That withdrawal from the game might heen premature. The lawyer could have attempted a comeback.
Why this issue is critical is because more of us, not just famous trial lawyers, are finding our unique magic gone. We can feel those around us not listening. Fresh opportunities are not being dropped in our lap.
What to do about that? Plenty. Here are just 5 tips.
Lay low. When Jesus was determined to go from unknown to change agent, he spent three years in the desert.
It takes time to regroup. ln April 2014, I relocated from New York Metro, where my performance was stuck, to the desert of Tucson, Arizona. Off the radar I could figure out what I should keep and what to purge in my playbook. Executive coach Henry Cloud's book "Necessary Endings" describes why it's imperative to shed parts of the past. And continue to do that.
Analyze the new as well as the sustained winners. Ask what could be their secret sauce. For Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, it seems to be the ability to shift strategic direction without being unduly defensive.
Try on some of that mindset and behavior. Hold on to what is effective.
Analyze the professional derailers. A film is being made about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. But we don't have time for that critique to be in the movie theatres.
Examine what in attitude and moves derailed that career. Even superlawyer David Boies, on her board and "advising" her, couldn't keep that train on the tracks.
Seek 3rd party input. The fall from grace has likely isolated you. Just reaching out for guidance liberates you from being trapped in your own bad air. The input can come from a minister, executive coach, therapist, close friend, sponsor in recovery, or even the party who didn't hire you.
In 2004, then-executive director of Boundless Playgrounds in Connecticut, Amy Jaffe Barzach, rejected me for a full-time communications job. She had established Jonathan's Dream which provides recreational facilities for the disabled child to play right along with those who have no special needs. Had her young son Jonathan lived, he would have been disabled.
After the "no," I asked Barzach why. She popped for lunch and gently told me that I would thrive in Manhattan as an entrepreneur. To get that new identity going, she introduced me to my first client. Currently, Barzack is with the University of Hartford.
Don't try to restore the past. Since we got stale the world had changed. Our industry had changed. And we had changed. Regarding the latter, catastrophe changes us.
That's what I found out during a summer seminar at St. Philip's in the Hills in Tucson, Arizona. To build a future, we had to put together a new platform. That included a support system of personal friends. That tutorial gave us insight about the raw reality that we were now different people than we had been before our life went dark.
Those of us who can carve out a comeback are the new superheroes of the professional class. That's because we create the template for how to make the moves needed in the disruptive 21st century.