From my perspective, speaking wasn't something you aspired to. It wasn't a sexy platform, the way football was. I always knew that speakers could help people if they spoke the truth, but it just wasn't anything I could get excited about. When I was growing up, my friends and I didn't sit around saying things like, Hey, you know what I'm gonna be when I grow up? I'm gonna be a speaker. I had a vision for myself, and being a speaker wasn't part of that vision in any way. What's the difference between a goal and a process? If you're a manager, your goal is to develop your employees. Your process is how you identify areas for improvement, create implementation plans, follow through on training and coaching and feedback. Your process is what you do to make your goal happen. If you're a teacher, your goal is to help your students reach their potential. Your process is how you craft your lectures, create slides and ancillary materials, find ways to motivate individual students. Your process is what you do to make your goal happen. If you're a parent, your goal is to raise healthy, happy kids. Your process is how you build your children's self-confidence and self-esteem, nurture their dreams, instill important values. Your process is what you do to make your goal happen. We call our tales from the courtroom war stories, and the rooms where we prepare for trial war rooms. You also have war stories and war rooms, be they the bedroom, the boardroom, or the operating room. No matter your battlefield, you can use these tools, too--with your loved ones, your colleagues, and especially with yourself. I believe there are two ways to have the tallest building in town: you can build it, or you can knock down everyone else's building.
In the courtroom, I have to do both. I build my case and my credibility with evidence. However, sometimes my job is to knock the other side down by attacking the evidence they use to build their cases. In life, you have similar choices. You get the chance to build, and your foundation will be the choices you make. You also get the chance to destroy, when the situation calls for it. At that point, I had two options. I could wind up on the floor in a puddle of tears, or I could do what I did, which was to get mad. I ripped up the letter and refused to take on his belief about me. Just because he believed I would never amount to anything, didn't mean I had to believe it. That's part of the unconscious programming our parents give us when we are kids. We take on their beliefs because our parents are the authority, so it must be true. Beliefs aren't called make-believe for no reason. They are not real. As such, we can choose to take them on or not. The good news is we can get rid of them at any time. I'm sure in some part of my mind I knew that my real purpose was right there waiting to be discovered, but I kept looking away from it and toward football because football better fit how I saw myself and the life I thought I wanted to lead. This kind of thing comes up all the time when I'm talking to people about purpose. They'll say things to me like, Well, yeah, I'm really good at being a salesclerk, but what kind of purpose is that? Maybe this person has dreams of becoming a TV personality or a CEO, so she can't see that what she's good at is something that makes a real contribution and can affect the lives of others in a positive way.
You see, there's a big difference between purpose and dreams. Dreams are usually influenced by the world. The world celebrates certain professions and accomplishments, so we tend to dream about being the kind of person who attains those things. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have dreams. Dreaming of a bigger life for yourself can be motivational and push you to do more than you would do otherwise, and it's entirely possible that you have it within yourself to fulfill these dreams. But you need to take stock of your dreams and think about whether they're achievable or just fantasies. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. Olympia contest, but on a daily basis he cared only about reps. In his mind, each repetition of an exercise took him one step closer to becoming Mr. At the gym, he wasn't focused on winning the contest; He set that goal . Everyone has goals. The people who actually achieve their goals create routines. They build systems. They consistently take the steps that, in time, will ensure they reach their ultimate goal. They don't wish. But most of the time, outside of the courtroom, there is room for compromise. The great thing about life's trials is that most of them aren't a zero-sum game. The law is nice and orderly. Life is not.
So while this article is laid out to follow the order of a typical lawsuit and trial, your battles will be far less organized. That's okay. Take what you need and leave the rest. Each article focuses on a different aspect of the law or how I approached a trial, and the lesson it taught me. But as I tell my juries, you don't have to take my word for it. My job is to prove my cases with evidence. First, you have to know what yours are. After my dad wrote that to me, you can imagine he wasn't high on my list. If I had taken on his belief about me, I probably wouldn't be writing this article. The Grateful Soul: The Art And Practice Of Gratitude or had an award-winning sales career. Instead of internal-izing his beliefs about me, I refused to take them on. By not taking on that toxic belief and clearing out others I held about myself, I was able to have a successful career. Incidentally, many years later, after I had created my business, he told me that he was proud of me for doing so. When I became a parent, I realized it was time to forgive my dad and be thankful for all he had done for me. If I had not, I doubt we would've gotten to that point in our relationship where he would admit he was proud of me. Once I let forgiveness and gratitude into my heart, we were able to have a loving relationship. If you dream of curing a disease, but you don't like science, there's a pretty good chance you're never going to fulfill that dream. If you dream of being the next Beyonce but you're too shy to sing in front of a crowd, you might want to limit that dream to when you're in the shower and take a closer look at what you were really meant to do. I've found that an awful lot of people fail to see their purpose because that purpose doesn't put them in the spotlight. But let me make something clear to you right now: purpose is never about the spotlight.
Sometimes your purpose will get you to the spotlight, but that's just a by-product. If you're living your purpose, you're doing the thing you were put on this earth to do. If that leads to your becoming a household name or making big bucks or winning awards, great, but if those things are going to happen, it'll be because you're living your purpose. It doesn't work the other way around. So instead of rejecting what may very well be your true purpose because it doesn't match your dreams or it doesn't give you a big enough platform, think about what you were really meant to do. There is something honorable about nearly every pursuit as long as you follow that pursuit with passion and dedication. They don't hope. They just do what their plan says, consistently and without fail. They forget the goal and focus solely on the process. The main point of this article is to debunk the idea that maintaining a laser focus on your end goal is both motivating and a requirement for eventual success. But there's another goal-setting premise that also gets in your way, especially if you're trying to accomplish a major goal. Conventional wisdom--and a boatload of articles and articles--say we should establish SMART goals: Every goal should be specific, meaningful, attainable, realistic, and time bound. I'm cool with specific. Every goal should be specific. How will you know you've arrived if you never knew where you were going? And how will you follow the right process to get there? I will do the same for you, ending each article with scientific evidence to back up my claims. And then I'll give you a short Summary of the Case--because let's face it, you're busy, just like judges. Most judges I know have law clerks who read our briefs before they do, and those law clerks tend to go right to the Summary of the Case. Since you'll be the judge of my article, I want to give you the same option.