It's time to take off the emotional armour and unleash your potential
We think the phrase “unleash your potential” is an anathema to many in the legal profession, or at the very least we see this through the narrow perspective of technical expertise.
We don't do vulnerability as a profession. We just don't.
The route to law and the rigorous training that we undertake is not for the faint-hearted. We are smart, talented, hard-working people. We wear the intellect, the long hours, the complexity of the role and sometimes, the exhaustion, as a badge of honour. It’s an emotional armour that we use to protect ourselves. Self-selecting into this profession means (for most) that we don’t do failure or at the very least, it is trained into us from a very early stage that we should get things right.
So, it is pretty hard to admit to our vulnerability that we simply don’t know and might not have all the answers. When I reflect on my life so far, some of my most difficult moments, both professionally and personally, have led to me to places I could not have foreseen but for that struggle and failure. It has become increasingly obvious, well to me at least, that as a profession we need to do better by each other and have a better conversation around our development. When I say “better”, what do I mean?
Our education has just not changed
One of the fundamental elements of this is our (legal) education. It has not changed in any meaningful way since I did the LPC. This means that there is a hole in learning and development. We can take steps ourselves to help with our own development and we should. However, in the broader context, there are limited offerings in terms of tools and training that address what is traditionally referred to as “soft skills”. I use quote marks - because those technical skills that we have already got under our belt, those are the “hard skills” are they not? I don’t think so but that’s certainly the language we see used every day. When I refer to soft skills, I think of “human” or “people” skills. These get to the core of who you are and a lot of us don’t want to go there.
It is much easier to put on that suit of armour even when the weight of it sits heavy on your shoulders. But when you are intentional about developing yourself, looking at your credibility, how you show up, where your strengths lie, where you lack self-awareness and start to dig deep, you start to peel away that emotional armour. I can also tell you there is nothing soft or easy about that.
Shouting into the void
Through the MOSAIC Collective, Emma and I are working to change the conversation about our development. When we stop learning, we stop growing and we dull our potential.
The mentoring program that we run underpins all that we do. We believe that mentoring has the ability to change your perceptions, to refocus the lens through which you view their personal and professional lives, and thus build deeper and more meaningful connections. Our commitment is to bring you something different in terms of development. It will push you. It will give you pause. It will unleash your potential.
We may fail. We may not get it right the first time, but we will try and continue to try because we believe in a better, more connected legal community. You tell us what you need. We have some insight having in the legal profession for many years, but this is building together, a true collaboration.
We don't want to be shouting into the void. It’s a cliché but honestly, it could not be more apt:
"What got us here will not get us there"
Together we can do more and be more.
Claire Debney The MOSAIC Collective