I’m training myself to accept failure. More than that, I’m trying to actively identify and deal with how I process failure emotionally. And that’s not easy for someone whose perfectionism (not a positive trait) and guilt can sometimes prevent me from actually getting things done at work or actively engaging with the world, e.g. if you don’t start, then you can’t fail, and if you can’t fail, then you can’t feel the pain - but you can’t succeed either. Basically, when I fail, it’s often because I can’t get out of my own way, and not because of external reasons. I’ve failed many, many times – many times: in business, in life, in love, in friends, in family. And I keep failing. And that will certainly continue.
When people learn that I am a lawyer, I am often asked the question, “What kind of lawyer are you?” When I answer that I predominantly work in family law, the response is normally something akin to, “Oh, you poor thing. I don’t know how you do it.”
To be honest, I am not surprised with the response.
We're grateful - even for the times that we forgot to give thanks.
Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during someone else's therapy session? In this podcast, Susanne Gabriele and Andreas Kalogiannides admit to some personal and professional realizations and, despite being warned by their Inner Critics not to, they've decided to share them with you.
The other week, I was putting on a suit for work; I had a client meeting in the afternoon and I was speaking on a legal panel that evening, and I wanted to look sharp. But on this morning, I observed a new feeling that I hadn’t ever experienced: putting it on just didn’t feel right. This was a suit that I’d worn many times before; as I looked in the mirror to put on my tie, I felt that something was “off”. Like many feelings, it was hard to pin down at first. All I knew was that this was a new feeling and something wasn’t right. The feeling was of contradiction; conflict, even. After sitting with it for a while, I narrowed it down: I no longer needed to wear a suit in order to feel like, well…me.
Are lawyers suffering from an identity crisis? Is it an occupational hazard that our training has made us good at our jobs, but bad at life? In many instances, we are legally and ethically compelled to subvert our personal interests and identities in favour of our professional interests and obligations. As lawyers we are typically pessimistic, risk-averse, adversarial, argumentative, confrontational, overly opinionated, critical, over-achieving, “type-A” and blame-avoidant on our clients’ behalf. Admit nothing. Say nothing. Give nothing. Defend, defend, defend. Attack, parry, thrust. Are our personal identities slightly subverted to these interests or have they been completely eradicated?
I see music as a vehicle for a soul's expression of itself. And I think that musicians and artists innately know what it means to bare their souls. More than that, that they know how to do so without judgement.
That's why I love my music clients.
Once upon a time, I found myself visiting the studios of a major media broadcaster. As it was the first time I was there, I was meeting new people for the first time. This is how the conversation with one woman went:
Me: "Hi, I'm Andreas Kalogiannides. Nice to meet you!"
Woman: "A pleasure to meet you, Andreas. My name is Stephanie". (not her real name)
[Enter our mutual friend who introduced us]
Friend: "Andreas is a lawyer!"
Woman: "Oh wow - I had better watch out around you, then! Ha. Ha. Ha"
As she said it, her tone and demeanour changed from being comfortable, friendly and warm to somewhat stand-off-ish, cautiously guarded and even slightly reverential. In literally 2.8 seconds, the information that I work as a lawyer changed how she perceived me. Why - WHY? - would you have to "watch out" around me? Am I going to use anything you say against you in the inevitable future claim which I will rush off to file in court as soon as I leave the building?
I read an interesting article recently in the Globe and Mail. High profile, professional women were interviewed to provide insight into the ongoing struggle for gender parity. Adrienne Clarkson was one of the interviewees, and her advice to younger women was never to believe in other people’s expectations of you; only believe in your expectations of yourself.
Some of you may know that a list of Toronto’s Most Beautiful Female Lawyers has been circulating around the Internet. I happened to be on that list, in addition to other colleagues I respect. Try to take a guess what my first thought was – it should have been something like this:
‘’… how horrible, how demeaning to me, what if my colleagues or Judges see this, this takes women back 100000 years!’’
But it wasn’t.