Heidi Brown: Flourishing as an Introverted Lawyer

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Heidi Brown discuss:

  • Overcoming stress, fear, and anxiety.
  • Introversion, shyness, and social anxiety…and how they are not the same.
  • Learning to speak for what you need for processing and energy replenishment.
  • Flourishing in your character strengths.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introverts process internally, extroverts process externally. Neither is better, neither is more engaged, neither is a better student or employee, they just think differently.
  • Authentically embrace who you are. You do not need to pretend to be someone else or a different personality type in order to do your job effectively and brilliantly.
  • If you have anxiety around performances, you may be overpreparing. Consider tweaking your preparation process to figure out what works for you without getting in your own way.
  • Find the things that energize and revitalize you and focus on those as much as you can.

“What it means to flourish as a human being, or as a lawyer, is to set up systems that help you function well, even when you hit stress and anxiety. It’s not pretending stress, anxiety, and fear don’t exist, but instead knowing that our jobs are hard and our lives are hard we’re going to encounter them.” —  Heidi Brown

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Episode References: 

About Heidi Brown: Professor Heidi K. Brown is a graduate of The University of Virginia School of Law, Associate Dean for Upper-Level Writing at New York Law School, and a former litigator in the construction industry. Heidi is the author of three books about well-being for law students and lawyers, including The Introverted Lawyer, Untangling Fear in Lawyering, and The Flourishing Lawyer: A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Performance and Well-Being. In 2021, Heidi earned a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the 2023 Recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Well-Being in Legal Education from the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Section on Balance and Well-Being in Legal Education. Building on a foundation of thirty years of experience in legal practice and academia, Heidi champions the importance of openly discussing stressors, anxieties, and fears in lawyering, and helping quiet and anxious law students and lawyers tap into individual strengths to become profoundly effective advocates—in their authentic voices. Heidi resides in New York City. She loves writing books, traveling solo internationally, taking boxing lessons, and jumping up-and-down at U2 concerts around the world. Heidi’s website is TheFlourishingLawyer.org.

Connect with Heidi Brown:  

Website: https://www.theflourishinglawyer.org/

Email: heidi@theintrovertedlawyer.com

Book: https://www.theintrovertedlawyer.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theintrovertedlawyerbook/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/introvertlawyer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/introvertedlawyer/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theflourishinglawyer

Connect with Steve Fretzin:

LinkedIn: Steve Fretzin

Twitter: @stevefretzin

Instagram: @fretzinsteve

Facebook: Fretzin, Inc.

Website: Fretzin.com

Email: Steve@Fretzin.com

Book: Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science and more!

YouTube: Steve Fretzin

Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911

Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] Heidi Brown: So what it means to flourish as a human being or as a lawyer is to set up, again, kind of like an athlete or performer, set up systems. They help you function well, even when you hit stress and anxiety, so it’s not pretending stress and anxiety and fear don’t exist, but instead knowing that our jobs are hard and we’re going to, our lives are hard, we’re going to encounter them.

[00:00:26] Heidi Brown: You’re listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive, helping you grow your law practice in less time, with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.

[00:00:48] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody. Welcome to Be That Lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin. Hello. Hello. How’s it going? I hope you’re doing well, and I hope that you are working every day as a lawyer to live the best life you can. That is on health and wellness. That is on your time management, your ability to grow business, your ability to take care of clients.

[00:01:07] Steve Fretzin: All of the stuff that you’re hearing on this show every single week, twice a week. And to help you be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, um, ambitious, wait, I just screwed up my tagline. Yeah. What is it? Confident? Uh, what is it? Confident? Oh my God. This has been a very long day for me, Heidi. Heidi, how you doing?

[00:01:25] Heidi Brown: I’m doing great. Thank you for having

[00:01:26] Steve Fretzin: me on the show. See, I told you, didn’t I tell you I was going to make a fool of myself like right now? Authenticity is where it’s at. I just mentioned that to you. Confident, organized, and a skilled rainmaker. Holy mackerel. What a mess. All right, everybody, listen, it has been a long day, but that’s all right.

[00:01:40] Steve Fretzin: I’m going to bring up my game, I’m going to, I’m going to let Heidi do most of the talking, I hope, because she’s the one that’s got everything to share today, but, um, listen, we, we want to have some fun today, and that always starts with our quote of the show, and first of all, Heidi, welcome to the show, I’m so happy that you’re with us, um, and we’re going to have some fun today.

[00:01:57] Steve Fretzin: Thank you. I’m happy to be here. All right. All right. You can give me a hard time too, by the way. It’s okay. We’re screwed up already. So your quote of the show, and I think you happen to be, um, you happen to be a fan of you too. That’s what I’m gauging from the things that I’ve picked up so far, cause I’m, I’m very observant.

[00:02:12] Steve Fretzin: Is don’t fear the world, it isn’t there.

[00:02:16] Heidi Brown: Yes, it’s a lyric from a song, so Bono sings it, and I’m a huge U2 fan, in fact, it’s almost a problem, it’s a huge, huge effect to my life, I can work a U2 quote into basically any public speaking engagement. Nice. Uh, but that quote really means a lot to me, because as a law student, as a construction litigator for 15 years, and as a law professor for the past 14 years, I have wrestled with a lot of fear, extreme public speaking anxiety, and when I first heard that song, and heard that lyric, it just reverberated in my head, and Bono uses it as a quote, as kind of a flashback to like his mother, who died when he was 14, basically, those words echoing in his mind, she would say, you know, don’t fear the world, it isn’t there.

[00:03:04] Heidi Brown: And to me that, I don’t know what it really means to Bono or the band, but to me, it means we conjure up all these fears and let them really run our lives, which I did for really three decades as, as a professional. But when we peel back the layers of fear, what we really think we’re afraid of isn’t actually there.

[00:03:23] Heidi Brown: And I’m a big fan of tangling fear. I actually wrote a book called Untangling Fear because I don’t like the message, just, just fake it till you make it or pretend fear doesn’t exist. I think we can. Heal back the layers of fear and often figure out that what, what we think we’re afraid of isn’t actually what we’re afraid of.

[00:03:41] Heidi Brown: And then once we dig down to what we really are afraid of, then we can work with

[00:03:45] Steve Fretzin: that. Yeah. It’s really great and so true and there’s an acronym in sales for fear that’s been around forever and you know it as well as anyone I’m sure it’s false evidence appearing real or something of that manner and you know it’s like all these things that we fear and after we get done doing them like roller coaster you know killing a spider or public speaking we go you know that actually wasn’t that scary ultimately I’m still here I’m okay I’m still breathing you You know, so what was I really so afraid of?

[00:04:15] Steve Fretzin: But that doesn’t matter in the moment, right? In the moment, we’re paralyzed, you know, with, with, you know, there’s a spider next to me or whatever it is.

[00:04:21] Heidi Brown: Exactly. And until we have the time and take the time to do the work to untangle the fear, until we do that, we’re just going to keep feeling that fear.

[00:04:31] Heidi Brown: And so I also don’t like messages like, feel the fear and do it anyway. But, you know, I, I felt fear my whole life and slogans like that didn’t help me in the slightest. It was only until I really stopped. Trying to fake it and instead listen to my body, try to understand what was happening and the connections between my body and my brain and my emotions when I started doing that, that was just revolution.

[00:04:55] Heidi Brown: Yeah, that’s

[00:04:56] Steve Fretzin: fantastic. And for everybody listening, Heidi Brown is not only a three time author, but she’s associate dean at New York Law School. And we’d love to, I mean, you gave us a little bit of a flavor of your background in construction law leading into your, you know, working at the school and all that.

[00:05:11] Steve Fretzin: Give us, give us that background leading into your, be that lawyer tipping point. I’d love to, for the audience to get to know you a little bit.

[00:05:17] Heidi Brown: Absolutely. So I grew up in Virginia and went to UVA for undergrad and law school and I was a really quiet but good student in college. I loved college. I was.

[00:05:25] Heidi Brown: Studying all these different things, and I was never the student with my hand in the air, but I did really well in school. I loved researching and writing. Went straight through to law school at the age of 21, had no idea what I was doing. My dad’s a minister, my mom’s a piano teacher. And I don’t have that, that sort of gregarious lawyer personality, but, you know, I got through law school.

[00:05:46] Heidi Brown: The performance at law school really gave me a hard time, but I loved the research and writing aspects of it. I sent out a hundred resumes because my, my grades honestly weren’t the best in law school, not like college, but I landed an amazing job at a law firm that just happened to specialize in construction litigation.

[00:06:04] Heidi Brown: So here this quiet kind of mousy girl, you know, 20, 24 year old at this point was thrown into the fray of high stakes, like 80 million litigations over power plants and football stadiums and baseball stadiums, hospitals, et cetera. So, again, really, honestly, 15 years, I practiced law in this hard hitting environment, and I loved figuring out my clients problems and solving problems, especially through the art of writing.

[00:06:35] Heidi Brown: But every time I had to go take a deposition or go negotiate a big contract or negotiate a settlement in court, that performance anxiety and fear would just, again, rattle me. I also have a very robust blushing response. You might see it on screen today. And it’s something I can’t control. So back then when I got really nervous, my face bright red and the guys across the table for me back then, they were all guys usually.

[00:07:00] Heidi Brown: Can see it and they just went for it and that just try to, you know, throw me off my game and it worked. So really my tipping point in this for 15 years, I practiced law. I worked at a firm in Virginia, moved to New York, worked in big law for about a year and then switch to become a chief brief writer for a small boutique litigation firm.

[00:07:22] Heidi Brown: And I had moved out to California to work on one of our cases, which was a big power plant project. And out there I got the opportunity to start teaching legal writing, because legal writing was my specialty. Love writing briefs. I, that’s what puts me in a state of flow, you know, that awesome state when you just kind of lose all sense of time and space, feel great about what you’re doing.

[00:07:41] Heidi Brown: So anyway, I was teaching legal writing for the first time, walked in the classroom as a professor for the first time. And again, I was nervous. I thought, what, why am I so nervous? I, you know, I have tons of experience in this. But what I observed over that first year of teaching was that my best legal writing students, my most creative think, creative problem solvers, most thoughtful about the words they put on the page, were also the students who would confide in me and say they were scared.

[00:08:10] Heidi Brown: They were the most afraid of being called on, you know, cold called in class in the Socratic classroom. They were afraid to try out for these kind of intense, aggressive, competitive teams, moot court teams, trial teams, et cetera. That was the tipping point for me because I realized, wow, I don’t want my students to go through the 15 years of stress and anxiety and fear that I did.

[00:08:35] Heidi Brown: Why don’t we start figuring this out? So that really led me to start figuring out how to solve it first because I realized in that year that I’m an introvert. I was always taught that that was a weakness, which I now know it’s absolutely not. But the tipping point was really diving into scientific research.

[00:08:54] Heidi Brown: Distinguishing between introversion, shyness, and social anxiety, because those are three totally different things from one another. And then that you, uh, well, I wrote the first well being book called The Introverted Lawyer. That then led me to a deep dive into the science of fear, which led me to the second one, untangling fear and lawyering, and then to dig even deeper in the science, I went back to school while I was working and got a master’s in applied positive psychology from University of Pennsylvania, and I started to understand the science of flourishing and wrote a book called The Flirt.

[00:09:29] Heidi Brown: That’s quite some journey. My journey in academia has led me, I just left a position where I, that I held for seven years directing the writing program at Brooklyn Law School and I am now excited and reinvigorated to be the associate dean for upper level writing at New York Law School so I can create.

[00:09:51] Heidi Brown: All new stuff.

[00:09:52] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Just awesome. And, and I, I do work with a lot of introverts in particular, you know, mostly a lot of IP attorneys and folks that write, love the engineers and that love the, the detail oriented stuff. And it is, it is, it’s a very different sort of person than the extroverts I work with that the litigators and the folks that love to get up and run the trials and everything.

[00:10:15] Steve Fretzin: So, talk to me about the introverted lawyer and introverts in general, and I think you mentioned the difference between like introverts and people that are shy or anxiety. Glea, I’d love for you to break that down

[00:10:26] Heidi Brown: a little further. Introversion is one of my favorite topics to talk about, so I’m glad you asked.

[00:10:31] Heidi Brown: My entire life, because I was quiet and kind of loved to read and write and research, um, I didn’t know that I was introvert, but people would constantly tell me, Oh, just, you know, be louder, be more assertive, be more aggressive. Even my mom, who’s a total extrovert. You know, we, my, in growing up, my family would be sort of put up in front of the church and my brother and I would be expected to talk to everybody and we’re like, we don’t want to do that.

[00:10:57] Heidi Brown: But I thought there was something wrong with, and in law practice too, like I loved figuring out the problems and I loved creating these matrices for negotiating these complex contracts and I loved crafting these

[00:11:11] Heidi Brown: really intricate briefs. But I was never the first person to speak in a meeting, and I was never, like, I was a little, my objections during depositions, things like that. So when I started researching this, I realized, wow, introverts bring a tremendous number of assets to every interpersonal dynamic that get completely introversion and extroversion are Basically, in the way that we process stimuli coming at us and also in the way that we replenish energy.

[00:11:45] Heidi Brown: So, introverts process competing stimuli, um, internally. So, we are really good listeners. We can listen to, you know, eight people talking in a meeting and be processing all that. But we don’t want to jump into the fray until we’ve kind of vetted and tested our, our ideas and theories and solutions to problems internally.

[00:12:04] Heidi Brown: And then we take it externally. Whereas, extroverts… Do that processing out loud. So in our American society seem like extroverted people are much more engaged or smarter or more competent. But in reality, it’s, it’s not an even comparison at all because introverts are doing this deep thinking, analytical thinking, really methodical thinking.

[00:12:30] Heidi Brown: Because they want to get it right, and quite often it’s the introvert in the room because they’re such good active listeners, they’re able to piece together a lot of chaos and produce an answer, if given the right amount of time, that really can change the entire game. So, when I was researching this, I, I realized, okay, it’s time to call attention to the assets and strengths that introverts bring to lawyering.

[00:12:55] Heidi Brown: And then, also, because, you know, we don’t have the luxury to sit around behind closed doors and never speak. We can learn how to amplify our voices, but authentically. My entire life, I was told, pretend you’re an extrovert. To me, that’s like telling a dog to be a cat, or a cat to be a dog. You know, why? Why can’t I be a quiet, thoughtful human being as a lawyer, and then be I will be so prepared that you will not even know what hit you.

[00:13:25] Heidi Brown: I see you have to go back and redo all those awful

[00:13:30] Steve Fretzin: depositions. If we could all go back, you know, if we could all go back, we always, you know, want to fix stuff. But, um, I, you know, thinking about the clients that I work with that are introverts and what I love about working with them is they’re hungry for proof and evidence, yes, but they’re also searching for process methodology systems.

[00:13:49] Steve Fretzin: That are gonna take away the guesswork, right? Well, what is business development? Most people are figuring it out on their own. They’re winging it. And that’s not it. You tell me if I’m wrong, but that’s not an introvert’s jam, right? But if you say, Hey, step one, do this, say that let’s make it, you know, in your own words so that you feel even more comfortable.

[00:14:08] Steve Fretzin: And they’re just like, yes, that’s exactly now I feel comfortable. And then, by the way, once I do it and I see that it works, now I have that evidence in proof. Now I’m, now I’m bought in a hundred percent.

[00:14:19] Heidi Brown: I agree with all of that. And, and so what I like to try to empower introverts to do is to be able to say that out loud, that if someone’s pressuring us for an answer, or we just need to speak to be heard, you know, to get on, on the list of people that have spoken, that’s, that’s not effective for us.

[00:14:36] Heidi Brown: We need to be able to say out loud, Hey, I’m still processing this. I need five minutes, or I need a half an hour. I need two days. And when I get back to you, I’ll have. thoughtful, you know, methodological, um, solution to this, to this problem. But I do, as an introvert, I need that processing. And you asked me to kind of distinguish between introversion and shyness and social anxiety.

[00:15:00] Heidi Brown: You can be a completely confident introvert and really like social engagement, but to replenish energy, you need to retreat. You know that you hit a wall and you need to retreat. I can go out and give public speaking engagements or go to conferences, et cetera. But when I hit my limit of peopling I need to be alone, and I know that about myself.

[00:15:21] Heidi Brown: Shyness and throw shanghai is totally different, that’s Fear, again, that’s that fear word, fear of judgment, fear of criticism, now I grapple with that too, because I kind of grew up in kind of a shame based culture, so, but that’s a different animal from being an introvert, you do not, you’re not necessarily shy or socially anxious, which is a more intense version of shyness.

[00:15:44] Heidi Brown: You’re not necessarily shy or anxious if you’re an introvert, you might just be a quiet, thoughtful person as you describe.

[00:15:50] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I told, I tell people that when I was younger, you know, in high school and college, I was actually shy with the girls, you know, and, and I’m an extrovert through and through, there’s nothing about me, right, that you’re going to, anyone’s going to identify as an introvert, but that was fear, that was absolute fear of rejection, fear of, of, You know, whatever, and it happened to me plenty, but that being said, like, but that, that, that, that explanation is so helpful to me and to others that think that, you know, they’re the same thing when

[00:16:19] Heidi Brown: they’re not right, right.

[00:16:21] Heidi Brown: And it’s good for each of words and naturally quiet people to understand the difference because we label ourselves too, because we’re used to being, we’re used to all those labels being kind of lobbed or lumped together. But if we can realize, oh, hey, I’m feeling this right now because I’m an introvert and I’m not ready to contribute to this meeting because I haven’t processed all this yet, versus, oh, I’m scared about what that person’s going to think, or for me with the blushing and all that, you know, I, I was worried about being judged or criticized by my opposing counselor or my clients even, and, and that’s different, that’s a different thing we can work on.

[00:16:57] Heidi Brown: Then. Hey everybody,

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[00:18:45] Steve Fretzin: stand out. You know, I’m just remembering back. That, you know, you, you people were trying to change you or be more like this or be more like that way.

[00:18:52] Steve Fretzin: What was the worst advice that you received, you know, around introversion or being an introvert? I

[00:18:58] Heidi Brown: mean, just those, those kind of trite slogans or messages. Fake it till you make it. I have been just . Practice and prepare and you’ll be fine. Just do it like, just put on your awesome pair of Nikes and bungee jump into Socratic Bliss.

[00:19:12] Heidi Brown: None of that works for me. It works for some people, but for me, fake it till you make it, I can’t fake it. Because, because when I blush, it’s so obvious. Yeah. Like, the only thing that worked for me was getting myself permission to finally reject fake it till you make it. Oof. Reject stuff like, just prepare and you’ll be fine.

[00:19:31] Heidi Brown: No, I’m sorry. I was always prepared. That was not the problem. The only thing that worked for me was rejecting those slogans. Treating myself like an athlete, honestly, for the first time, or a performer, like, you know, I really admire performers like Bono. So treating myself like an athlete and performer.

[00:19:48] Heidi Brown: And getting to know physicality, what was happening in my physical body when I get nervous or stressed or anxious. It was only until I started doing that, that I was able to really channel all my introverted power into something productive and effective. And it

[00:20:05] Steve Fretzin: probably helps too, that as an introvert, you’re highly prepared, right?

[00:20:10] Steve Fretzin: I mean, there’s people that can fake it till they make it, but they’re not prepared. Generally doesn’t come out well. But when you’re like, I’m so over prepared for a presentation or for things that I’m do not for this, this podcast a little bit, I’m, I’m prepared. I think, you know, the mo, the notes I have and everything, I’m not over prepared, but I’m prepared enough where I know we’re gonna, you know, get everything out of you that I can in 30 minutes, you know, that I wanna get at it either to make it a good show.

[00:20:36] Steve Fretzin: Is that kind of one of the key assets that introverts have?

[00:20:40] Heidi Brown: Yes. And I, you’re absolutely right. I mean, we, we are prepared. We take, we listen, as I mentioned before, and we take a lot of notes and we tend to process. So, so we’re prepared because we, we process. What I had to train myself with the anxiety piece though, introversion, was to actually prepare a little bit less.

[00:21:02] Heidi Brown: in the short period of time leading up to a big performance. I was actually over performing because I’m an introvert. But on the performance level, I had to learn through my process, my processes, that making myself practice over and over and over again, leading right up to the minute before I’m about to go do something was, was ineffective for using my performance power.

[00:21:29] Heidi Brown: But I didn’t know that. And I was following everybody else’s advice. So to me, introverts can, can honor their preparation. But if, if you’re an introvert that also experiences performance anxiety, start tweaking your system a little bit in the hours of the day before leading up to the big arena, because you might actually be overprepared.

[00:21:52] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, and then the quote, um, perfection is the enemy of good comes into play. And I’ve, I’ve given. Introverts assignments like, um, we work on a business plan. That’s like the first thing I do with the new client is we put together a marketing business plan of like how they’re going to spend their time and energy to build business.

[00:22:11] Steve Fretzin: Right. And so I go through enough of it to like say, all right, now, you know what I need from you go do it and schedule it a couple hours to do it. And they overthink it and get into their own head about it. And then they start second guessing and they eventually come back to me and say, I need more time to like work on this or any more time.

[00:22:29] Steve Fretzin: Like, can you talk me through this again? I go, of course, you know, not a problem. But, but I noticed that that happens, you know, on a, on a fairly regular basis. It

[00:22:37] Heidi Brown: definitely happened. It used to happen to me a lot too. So I had to set up part of this work that I’ve done on myself is set up kind of rituals or routines or scripts, even that when I start to get in my head like that, I have to catch myself and, and, and then walk myself through my, my new script.

[00:22:53] Heidi Brown: Okay, you’re, you’re prepared for this. Let it go Now, move on. Or you get, or sometimes I’ll say, you get five more minutes to worry about . I

[00:23:02] Steve Fretzin: love that you give yourself, that’s it. I, wow. All right. So I have to, You know, you’re going through the, the, um, the introverted lawyer and then the one on fear and anxiety and then the one that now you’ve got the flourishing lawyer.

[00:23:17] Steve Fretzin: So it’s like this whole journey that you’ve been on leading into the flourishing lawyer and a talk about that book and like, what is that really covering? Because it sounds like, I don’t know if it’s the end of the story, but it sounds like it is like that’s, that’s where everybody wants to be started

[00:23:35] Heidi Brown: at the end of my story.

[00:23:36] Heidi Brown: But, um, but yes, it’s sort of the culmination of everything that I’ve learned through this process. Because I started with introversion. I did a deep dive into the physical science of fear or the physicality of fear. And then when I got my master’s, it was the first year of the pandemic, I learned about this.

[00:23:54] Heidi Brown: What is really the concept of flourishing? And it’s, it’s not just hedonic well being, which is, you know, hedonic or hedonism, feeling good. And it’s. It’s what they, what the positive psychologists call eudaimonic well being. The EU is the Greek root for good. And what that means is functioning well. So what it means to flourish as a human being or as a lawyer is to set up, again, kind of like an athlete or, or performer, set up systems that help you function well, even when you hit stress and anxiety.

[00:24:26] Heidi Brown: So it’s not pretending stress and anxiety and fear don’t exist, but instead knowing that our jobs are hard and we’re going to, our lives are hard, we’re going to encounter them. Setting up these systems like athletes and performers do for multidimensional fitness to practice law. So, the book really kind of takes ten different dimensions of well being and performance.

[00:24:49] Heidi Brown: Because I, yeah, I think the pushback I get a lot with law firms or law firm managers. Or, you know, people that are worried about the bottom line is, you know, Hey, we don’t have time for this. But what I’m trying to do is say, no, we do because athletes and performers don’t just focus on the one skill that brings them glory on the field or on the stage, right?

[00:25:09] Heidi Brown: They have coaches and trainers and experts that, that help them multi dimensionally stay fit for their sport or for their, whatever they do and perform. So the book kind of takes 10 different dimensions of well being. Hi to performance and happiness and getting meaning and purpose out of our lives as lawyers.

[00:25:30] Heidi Brown: If we want to do this for 20, 30, 40 years, you want to actually enjoy it. So the book just kind of is the culmination of a ton of research of experts that know what they’re doing. I learned from them and then putting it together and in a practical manual really for for people who have busy lives and busy jobs to work on some of this stuff incrementally, not flipping a light switch and we’re all going to be happy, happy and healthy overnight, but it’s a process.

[00:25:59] Heidi Brown: I like process as an introvert. So to me, the book kind of spells out a process that. A lawyer athlete or a lawyer performer could undertake realistic, right?

[00:26:10] Steve Fretzin: So let’s, let’s unpack that for another couple of minutes as we, as we kind of wrap things up in the next five, what are a couple of things that you talk about in the flourishing lawyer that would be something that someone’s listening to right now that they could like take action on and accomplish, you know, this year, or, you know, that, that, that would be easy to, to work on, you know, without having to read the whole book, although I would recommend people go grab it.

[00:26:33] Heidi Brown: You know, one, one great place to start truly got me excited about this is, you know, I, I want us as a profession, you know, we all have to satisfy character and fitness evaluations become a member, right? May have been a long time ago for a lot of us, but my students have to fill out the forms. We don’t really talk that much about what it means to have character, what it means to be multi dimensionally fit for practice.

[00:26:54] Heidi Brown: So one thing that I highly recommend people to do, it’s, it’s part of this whole get to know ourselves thing. Remember Socrates mantra was know thyself. There’s a great scientifically validated assessment or survey that was created, 55 scientists got together in the Values in Action Institute on Character and designed this survey.

[00:27:16] Heidi Brown: And it takes 15 minutes, and what it does is it gives you a report of your 24 character strengths, which these, these scientists, historians, and philosophers studied and then chose 24 character strengths, so strengths, but also these are character strengths. Situated within six virtues and you get this report and it’s so illuminating.

[00:27:38] Heidi Brown: It tells you what your top five signature strengths are and your top and your ranks all 24. But I want people to do this and, and focus on your top five because here’s how it’s, it’s helpful right now. The top five are what Dr. Ryan Nemec, who is sort of the guru of character strengths says have the three E’s.

[00:27:57] Heidi Brown: They energize, excite, and come easily for you. So they energize, excite, and come easily for you. Then you take a look at your lowest strength, and, and you might be a little bummed out or disappointed or shocked that you’re at your lowest strengths. I shared with you, I’ve been leading a team for the last seven years, guess what my lowest strengths are?

[00:28:16] Heidi Brown: Leadership and teamwork. And when, and when I look at my top five, they’re perseverance, zest, curiosity, creativity, and love of learning. That is so neat, and they energize, excite, and come easily for me. Leading a team doesn’t. Guess why? Because I’m an introvert. Doesn’t mean I can’t do it, but this, this VIA character strength survey to me is so helpful for us as lawyers to understand what gets us out of bed in the morning, what gets us excited, energized, and comes easily for us to make us completely awesome at our jobs.

[00:28:48] Heidi Brown: And one of the aspects of our jobs that we were being paid to do, like, we’re, we’re all leaders in some way, some of you might, perhaps for me, I had to realize, okay, that’s why on, on a Thursday, if I have a bunch of team meetings, I’m exhausted. But maybe I can schedule my work day differently, so I don’t let it de energize or deplete me.

[00:29:12] Heidi Brown: So I’m just suggesting that as a tangible thing that anybody listening could do to get to know yourself or do other sort of self inventory activities. And don’t look at it as kind of like touchy feely, whatever. It’s actually scientific stuff that we can use to make us better at our jobs and develop a shared language and vocabulary around our strengths.

[00:29:35] Heidi Brown: Like, I think introversion is strength. Let’s start talking to each other about stuff like that on our teams. And that’s just, gives us more knowledge, self knowledge to help us be much better at our jobs, perform like athletes or performers and enjoy the practice. Yeah. Well,

[00:29:51] Steve Fretzin: very cool. And I, I so appreciate you being on the show.

[00:29:54] Steve Fretzin: Let’s wrap things up if it’s okay, Heidi, with your game changing book, which is a flow.

[00:30:00] Heidi Brown: Yes. So I mentioned, um, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book called Flow. And I also think it’s so important for anybody listening to figure out what aspect of your life do you feel like you experience that athlete feeling of being in flow.

[00:30:17] Heidi Brown: And that’s, that’s when the challenge in front of you, you know, you’ve got the skill to handle it. So challenge and skill kind of settle into this equilibrium. And you lose all sense of time and space, and for me, that’s writing. And so when I read the book, Flow, I finally understood, oh, okay, when I’m writing, when I’m in my apartment, you know, surrounded by all the things that I love, and I have three hours to just write something I’m really excited about, that puts me in a flow state.

[00:30:44] Heidi Brown: But me going to court or depositions, that never, Again, a huge piece of information I wish I’d known, you know, 20 years ago, cause I could have cultivated more environmental circumstances to help me be in flow more often. So I love that.

[00:31:00] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. Very cool. People check that out. And as we wrap up, I want to thank our sponsors.

[00:31:04] Steve Fretzin: Of course, we’ve got Money Penny, we’ve got Get Visible and Overture. law. Check them out. And if you’re interested in picking up my book, Sales Free Selling, it is now free for you as a download on my website. By going to fretson. com slash sales dash free dash selling. And Heidi, if people want to reach out and get, you know, get in touch with you, if they want to pick up your books, I mean, there’s introverts listening right now that are chomping at the bit to figure out which one of the three to get.

[00:31:31] Steve Fretzin: How do they reach you? How do, what, what’s the

[00:31:33] Heidi Brown: digits? Absolutely. So I’ve put all this information and a lot of the stuff that I talked about today on my website, theflourishinglawyer. org. I’m now also reachable at New York Law School. It’s heidi. brown at nyls. edu, but you can also email me at heidi at the introvertedlawyer.

[00:31:51] Heidi Brown: com. And I’m, I love hearing from people about your stories. So I’m on Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn Yeah.

[00:31:59] Steve Fretzin: Oh, very cool. And thank you so much for being on the show. I mean, this is so incredibly helpful and I think a refreshing for, you know, 50% of the legal community that fall into that, into that introverted, you know, side of things.

[00:32:12] Steve Fretzin: And um, I think it’s just an important topic and I was just so thrilled that you were willing to come on the show and kind of share that wisdom and your, your insights and expertise in this, in this arena. Really

[00:32:22] Heidi Brown: great. Thank you. It was awesome to meet you and I really appreciate it.

[00:32:26] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And thank you everybody for spending some time with Heidi and I today.

[00:32:29] Steve Fretzin: Another opportunity to help you be that lawyer, someone who’s confident, organized and a skilled rainmaker. I nailed it on the second shot, ruined it on the first, got it on the second. I’ll take it. I’ll take what I can get. Right. But anyway, everybody, great to have you on, you know, with us and take care, be safe, be well.

[00:32:45] Steve Fretzin: We’ll talk again soon.

[00:32:50] Heidi Brown: Thanks for listening. To be that lawyer, life-changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice, visit Steve’s website Fretzin.com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes.