Katherine Frye, Frye Law Offices
Our world is a rough one. We are all expected to help solve problems and help represent our clients. How often do we put all of our effort into items for our clients over our own or over those around us? I can only answer for myself by saying that I do that far too often.
I want to discuss self-care in a different way—our ability to offer care and kindness to others in our profession. The NC Chief Justice’s Commission has a Lawyer’s Professionalism Creed, and one of the tenants is the following: To the profession, I offer assistance. Each of us, as part of our professional duty, should strive to offer care to other lawyers and to be kind to other lawyers. These actions to others create a reciprocal response to the giver; it is called “The Caring Effect” according to Psychology Today. Our brains want to be social, and our reaching out to others creates a benefit to our brains.
Two years ago, I made a personal commitment to be kind. I decided I would first set aside one day a week to write one personal notecard to another lawyer. It is referred to as “Notecard Friday” on my calendar. I just take a few moments of the morning to think of one attorney I had interacted with that week and send the person a note. It could be a note of encouragement, thanks, congratulations, or a “just because.” I want attorneys that I interact with to know that I was listening and noticing. I want the attorney to know that someone cares.
This year I realized that I find peace when my mind has “dumped” all of its information somewhere, so I have a notebook to keep my random thoughts. In this notebook, I keep track of small comments attorneys make about themselves or other attorneys. I will then try to mention a nicety to the other attorney at some time in the future or make a note to follow up with an attorney if they mentioned someone was sick in their family. This notebook allows me another way to improve on my goal of being kind.
Admittedly I am twisting the language of the creed, but I suspect no one will be upset. We have a responsibility to our own—I contend a responsibility to be of assistance to our fellow attorneys. I use my notecards and notebook to be kind, but what one thing can you do today to be of assistance to a fellow lawyer?