This is a post about how I fired my inner critic and began blogging on The Huffington Post (yes, I know, it's meta.)
About a year ago, I was talking to my friend Marina Illich. She blogs on The Huffington Post. She's great. Go check out her articles. She suggested I email Arianna Huffington and ask for a column and sent me Ms. Huffington's email address.
When Marina's email arrived in my Inbox, I sat there and stared at it for a bit and thought "I can't email Arianna. She's Arianna, THE Huffington in Huffington Post!" My inner critic happily piped in and said "Don't you dare email her! She's going to laugh at you. Who do you think you are???" After much inner dialogue, I flagged the email for another day and hit the Archive button.
Fast forward to two weeks ago; I went to a two day women's leadership workshop at Stanford University. In the workshop, we talked about our Saboteur AKA the "Inner Critic." That voice inside of our head that says you're never good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, nobody loves you. We talked about the Saboteur, recognized it, gave it a name, and told her to go shove it.
At the conclusion of the workshop, I made two commitments to myself. One, email Arianna and two, email a partner at a big law firm that I've been wanting to reconnect with.
I procrastinated writing the email for a full day, but by the second day, the part of me that hates having things linger on my to-do list got to work. I drafted the two emails and hit send. My pulse quickened, and I immediately had the sensation of wanting to retrieve the emails.
What happened next was completely magical.
To my delight and surprise, Ms. Huffington wrote me back and said yes! A week later, I submitted my first post "Stop Training Lawyers to Be Jerks."
This post is intimately tied to my life's mission - to bring mindfulness into the legal community. I believe this is the key for bringing civility into our system. I believe every lawyer's practice can be eudaimonic.
Up until I published the post on Huffington Post, this journey mostly felt like a solo activity. I talk to lawyers and they nod politely in agreement with what I'm saying. Some will agree that mindfulness would be helpful to lawyers. Some even practice mindfulness.
I have been writing regularly on various blogs over the past couple of years. I'm writing my second book. I enjoy writing and I've received varying degrees of positive feedback. I wasn't expecting much from The Huffington Post piece. The article was very similar to another article I wrote for Ms. JD. I figured I'd get some likes, a few people will comment on it and I'll work on the next post.
I don't know if it's because something magical happens to you when you step up and say yes to yourself, to your life, but the response was beyond anything I could've ever hoped for.
The post itself has been liked over 13,000 times and shared 1,405 times. My most popular post to date Fashionable, Professional Bags for Women Lawyers on Lawyerist by contrast was shared 300 times.
Aside from the "likes" and shares, what blew me away was the feedback. After the article went live, my Inbox started filling with emails from lawyers from around the country thanking me for writing the article. They have been feeling the way I did - that there must be a better way of being a lawyer. One that doesn't involve being a jerk or a bully. Several law professors wrote to say they shared it with their students. One judge wrote and said "good on you for blowing the whistle and refusing to be inveigled into jerkdom!"
I took a risk and asked despite my inner critic. I stood by what I know to be true. What I know to be possible. And despite what my inner critic has to say, people didn't send me hate mail or make fun of me. Arianna didn't say "no." (Neither did the partner at the big law firm.)
The opposite happened. I stumbled into a whole network of supporters, cheering me on and connecting with me.
None of this would've happened if I continued to listen to my inner critic. Which leads me to ask: why do I let her sit in the driver seat so often?
Today, I'm firing my inner critic. Actually, she decided to resign. I proved to her that I don't need constant supervision. That there is nothing wrong with me. I am not broken. I don't need fixing.
I learned to ask despite the fear of rejection.
I encourage you ask for what you want. Speak your truth. Tell what you know. Be daring. Fire your inner critic.