Overcoming Challenges With The Tools 

We’ll seek advice from established professionals as we continue our conversation about mental health in the legal industry. If you have seen a documentary called Stutz, you will have a better idea of some of the things I will discuss. The focus of it is a psychiatrist named Phil Stutz, who also co-wrote a book called The Tools with psychotherapist Barry Michels. The unique element of this book is that it offers a series of techniques or “tools” to help people shift their perspectives when faced with personal challenges. 

Although people do not always have mental health professionals with them, they can carry these mental exercises and tools. Using them is not just about coping with difficulties; it’s about transforming adversity into a pathway for personal and professional growth. Attorneys and people in the legal profession are forced to take on stress and pressure on behalf of their clients, and the insights from this book can be beneficial. The Tools outline five different strategies, but I will describe the first one to give you a better understanding of how they can be used daily. 

Tool #1: Welcoming Adversity

The first tool challenges readers to confront their fears and discomforts head-on. Think of something you dread or would do anything to put off for one more day. As a lawyer, this could be as complex as preparing for a case or as simple as addressing workflow inefficiencies in your practice. Here’s how you can apply the first tool:

  • Visualize the Emotion: Identify the emotion linked to the task or situation you dread. It could be fear, anxiety, humiliation, or any other discomforting feeling. Give this emotion a form in your mind. Think of it as this dark cloud before you and say, “Bring it on.”
  • Embrace the Emotion: Instead of pushing the emotion away, allow it to envelop you completely. Welcome it with openness and an eagerness to see what it brings. Allow yourself to sit in it, feel the emotions you have been avoiding, and say, “I love pain.” 
  • Focus on the Potential Good: As you mentally and emotionally wrap yourself in this challenge, focus on the potential benefits and positive outcomes of facing this adversity. Move through the emotion and come out on the other side by saying, “Pain sets me free.” 

The Power of Welcoming Adversity

This tool transforms your approach to challenges from avoidance to acceptance and even eagerness. By doing so, you overcome the immediate obstacle and build a resilience that prepares you for future challenges. For a legal professional, this could mean better handling of complex cases, improved negotiations, or enhanced ability to manage the stresses of the job.
While the first tool of The Tools helps you overcome daunting situations, subsequent tools address other aspects, such as dealing with difficult people and creating enduring positive changes in your behavior and outlook. Mastering them in your competitive and often stressful environment can lead to greater professional success and contribute to personal well-being and job satisfaction. Each tool builds upon the other, creating a comprehensive framework for personal and professional development that any law professional can benefit from.

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