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encore episode transcription
Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte here with you today. You know we're a little over a month out from reopening the crew and come April we are adding mock jury on tap where there's six hot seats available every month to practice your voir dire or conducting your voir dire and getting feedback from a jury. But you have to be an H2H member to get that and let me ask you how much money do you spend focus grouping things? How much money do you spend on books and CLEs and all the things? Well, I'm telling you right now, it's going to be way more than what you're going to spend on joining the H2H crew. You're definitely going to want to get in there. www.fromhostagetohero.com to get on the wait list and join the crew when we open in April. Alrighty, we're going to start with a reader shout out today, and this is from the trial guides website.
And if you have the book and want to go review it, go to trialguides.com and review it there and this is by Steven M. who titles his five star book review, "this information is priceless." He says, "This information is priceless and available to me 24/7. I cannot imagine what it might cost me to spend hours with the author learning all of the gems contained between the covers of From Hostage to Hero." It would cost a lot Steven. "I guess I could say that for very little money I have held the author hostage. The truth of the matter is that I was the one held hostage because I could not put the book down. I decided quickly that I would read it a second time as soon as I finished so that I could highlight all the stuff I dog eared as I read it the first time. Having this book is like having a jury consultant of your own on standby. Buy it. Every plaintiff attorney needs this book."
Steven, that's one of my favorite reviews of all time, just so beautifully written and thank you so much for that review. And thank you to all of you who are planning to review the book. I can't wait to read them. Well today we're talking about how to manage your brain. I've been wanting to do this podcast for a long time, but there's just other things that have been coming up. And so here we are. And I got to tell you when it comes to brain management this is the number one key to your success. Number one. And we're going to talk about why that is in today's podcast episode and I'm going to give you some tips on how to begin managing your brain. But first let's understand the brain. We really have not two brains, but we have kind of an older part of the brain and a newer part of the brain.
So the older part of the brain is the amygdala. That's our fear center. That's where we are wired for fight or flight. So if we are in danger the brain will send signals to the arms, if we are getting ready to fight and to the legs, if we are getting ready to flee, and sometimes the whole system goes haywire and we just freeze, right in the fear, in danger. Now the entire role of the amygdala is to keep you alive. All right. The newest part of the brain is the prefrontal cortex and that is the brain that is the most energy suck. It takes a lot of energy to use the prefrontal brain. So any time that something can be automated as a habit where you don't have to use your thinking or rational part of your brain, the brain will do that.
It'll just automate that process like it does breathing and all the other things that, you know, pumping blood through our body so that it can conserve energy. Now, this is what's really important for you to understand is that the brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain and this is a huge problem for most humans, but particularly for trial lawyers, because being a trial lawyer is the opposite of pleasurable for most of you and has lots of pain involved.
This is why being able to manage your brain is the number one key to your success. See the brain doesn't understand what you are trying to do. It's trying to keep you alive, but it hasn't evolved past the need to keep you alive. It still doesn't understand the difference between a saber tooth tiger trying to kill and eat you and a jury that may decide against you.
Both of those things the brain views as a threat to your life and so we need to use the prefrontal cortex to override this. Now here's the great thing about the brain is that you can rewire your brain. All of you were born with kind of preloaded software. This wiring to keep you safe. And the problem with that is that the one thing that you are after, that all humans are after is the one thing that you ain't ever going to get, ever. And that is safety. You will never be in a position where you can keep yourself totally safe. Why? First off, we're all going to die. That's the ultimate thing the brain is trying to prevent, but it's looming and it's out there and it's going to happen. But second of all, we can't control most things.
We can't control other people. We can't control what they say. We can't control what they do. We can't control a lot of the things that are happening in the world.
And yet, as you've heard me talk about in previous podcasts we continually try to game the system by attempting to control what I'm calling a circumstance, by changing our circumstances all the time or believing that we somehow can eventually control the circumstance and therefore give ourselves safety and never be in this position where we are under the imminent threat of harm. Most of the time in our case, emotional harm. Even the things that you think are going to happen, financial collapse, all the things that you were like, they're not just emotional harm. They rarely come true. Rarely ever do they come true. I was always afraid that I would never make enough money and that I'd go bankrupt.
And in my life I ended up having to declare bankruptcy at a certain point. I'm still here. I'm still alive. I'm now making more money than I ever made before and my credit rating is in eight hundreds. We will survive this shit, but the point is, is that the brain doesn't think so because here's the thing. The brain relies on the past to understand what to do. It looks for previous experience when attempting to do or live in the world now, but you or the brain can't look to the past because if you've never done something before the evidence won't be there. Think about that for a minute. So if you're a brand new lawyer, or if you're trying something new, or if you've just joined the H2H community and we're having you do things differently than you ever done then what the brain is going to do is it's going to look in its past.
It's going to say, okay, has this been done before? And if so, was it done safely? And it's not going to find anything because it's not there. There's no evidence there.
So we've got to shift our focus to the future, but the brain doesn't like that because the future is unknown and it's scary. So the brain wants to keep doing what we've always done before because up to this point the brain has been able to keep us alive.
So the prefrontal cortex will get an idea like, ooh, this is fun, let's do this and then the brain will seize up and go, wait a minute. There's no evidence for this working. This is dangerous. Let's just stop this shit right now. And this is what happens particularly to trial attorneys, because what you all do consistently requires that you risk, that you do things that you've never done before, that you try things that you've never tried before.
It constantly has you adapting in the moment at trial. I mean trial's not a scripted event. I mean, trial is a huge threat to the brain, both yours and the jurors. If you read the From Hostage to Hero book, we talk about how the jurors brain is under attacked just by going through jury selection. Why? If we go back to the concept of SCARF, so these are the five factors that either reward or threaten the brain. So status. What status do jurors have? We tell them that they're very important, but they don't feel very important. We label them. We make them wear name tags. We tell them where to sit. We tell them what time it to go to the bathroom or when they can go to the bathroom. We tell them they can't leave. We tell them they have to stay.
Their status as far as they're concerned is in the toilet. That's an attack on the brain. Certainty is the second piece. The brain loves to have lots of certainty. How much certainty do jurors have? They hardly have any. They don't know how this process works. They don't know if they're going to be let go. They don't know how they get chosen. They don't know if they're going to be chosen, which then ties into the third one, which is autonomy. They can't make those decisions for themselves. Someone else is making that decision. That's a huge attack on the brain. And then relatedness. They don't know anybody else. One of the ways that we make ourselves safe in the world is by being and belonging to a tribe. They don't have anyone. They have to go it alone, which is why we talk so much about group dynamics and forming the group to help create that safety in the book.
And because of all this it feels unfair. Why do I have to go through jury selection? Why did I get picked?
So SCARF model, which is that reward or attack, we ding jurors on all five of them. It creates a major brain attack for them, but it also creates a major brain attack for you. Meaning your status is in the toilet. Is it not? You're plaintiff attorney, you deal in money. You are asking people for money, for somebody who died, how the hell is that going to bring them back? You horrible, awful person. This is how the world looks at plaintiff attorneys.
So you don't have great status. You don't have any certainty. What's the method that I should use? Should I do rules of the road? Should I do from hostage to hero? What should I do? There's no certainty. You don't know the right way to do this.
You don't have autonomy. You can't choose. You can't argue. You don't get, like I argued this and there's certain points and I got more points than the other side so I win. It doesn't work that way. It's not straight up like a basketball game. You get decide on all kinds of factors that are outside of your control. That's a horrible attack on the brain, especially with something that means so much to you and your client. Relatedness. You don't know the jurors, you don't know them and fair, I don't think this process is fair. We've tried to make, it's the best we've got, but in many ways it's incredibly unfair to plaintiffs particularly. So you're in the same boat as jurors. You and the jurors are both under an attack. Your brain is under an attack, which is why it is so important.
One, that you understand the brain science behind all of this and two, that you fucking get your mind right by learning how to manage your brain or else you and the jurors are consistently going to swirl around in fear and you're not going to get the results that you're hoping to get, and you're going to be unhappy.
And that is not what I want for you. It can be better. It absolutely can be better. How? You can rewire your brain and you can manage your brain. This is nothing new. You've heard me talk about this, but I just wanted to put it in this podcast about how important this is, because the way that you do that is recognizing that it's not circumstances that cause your results or even your feelings or even your actions. It's your thoughts about the circumstance that trigger the whole sequence.
Whatever you think about what's happening to you will then generate a feeling which will then feed into an emotion or feed into an action, which will then get you your result. Thoughts create feelings. Feelings fuel actions, and actions are what get you your results. What you are doing in the world gets you your results. But what most people don't understand is that those, the things that they're doing is because they're feeling a certain way. Most of you it's fear. That's what your brain's wired for. And because you are operating from fear you are taking certain actions that are getting you, not the results that you really want, but why are you feeling fear in the first place is not because of what's actually happening, but because of your thoughts about what is happening.
When you can manage your brain around this whole thing called trial lawyering, that's where success lies.
Because as I said before, you're never going to get what you think you're going to get, which is safety. You're never going to get to a place where this isn't scary. This being life for one, but particularly trial lawyering. What you're doing is risky and scary. That's never not going to be the case, but you can manage your brain around that. Now you say, well, Sari you have a whole podcast on how fear is optional. Yeah. Doesn't mean that the things aren't scary.
That whole podcast is about that you can choose not to be scared about the scary things. That's what I'm talking about today. When you start managing your brain, because here's the thing, most of your fear is self-created. You are telling yourself things about your circumstances that are freaking you the fuck out. And that's the part we can cut out. That's the part we can manage. We can't manage circumstances. We can't manage what the jurors are thinking. We can't manage what the judge is doing. We can't manage the shit the defense pulls. The only thing we can manage is our brain around that shit and that is where success comes from. Because when you're managing your brain and you're choosing your thoughts, just as carefully as you choose where to live or choose what to wear or choose what to eat, maybe you aren't being careful there either, maybe you should be. That's when things start to change.
Now what we're not going to do is make you wrong. So we're not going to make what got you here wrong. We're not going to say that you thinking all these horrible things before is awful and who could ever think those things and why did I ever think those things and blah, blah, blah. Your brain is wired for that. So let yourself off the hook. Your brain is wired to think those things. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. But just like we say in From Hostage to Hero, in the H2H community, coaching is a way to make you become a better observer of yourself. That's why it's so powerful because most of us never even check the things we think, we just accept them as gospel. So once you recognize, oh, I was thinking those things because that's exactly the way I'm wired to think, that gives you some freedom right there and some compassion and then you start to choose what you want to think instead.
Now when you choose what you want to think instead, it doesn't work as easily as you might think. I just want to, I want to think that the jurors love me. It's got to be super compelling. I mean, you can't just replace your thoughts and just expect that to work. One, it's got to be super compelling so that you actually feel the emotion behind the thoughts. You got to feel what it would feel like for the jurors to love you. You've got to really get into that space. And the second thing is you've got to have repetition. We know about how to create new neuro pathways is that we've got to connect to the feeling behind the thought, really get there. That's why your thoughts are so powerful is because they're charged with your emotions. That's why when people tell you, well just calm down or stop thinking that, it doesn't work, because there's no emotional charge there.
You've got to really get into the emotion behind the thought and then you've got to repeat that over and over and over again.
That's how we create new neuro pathways. You are going to feel scared at times. You're going to have to stop and do a pattern interrupt and go, wait a minute. What am I telling myself right now? Standing in front of a group in itself is not scary. It's the thoughts you're having about standing in front of that group that is creating your fear. Literally, just let's take it literally physically standing in front of a group of people is not scary. How can it be? You're just standing there. It's kind of like when I was teaching piano and I would have the person hit a key on the piano and hold it and then I would come underneath their hand and I would feel that they are pushing into the key.
Even though the key can't go any further they're pushing instead of just resting on top of the key after they've pressed it, they're pushing, they're using extra muscular activity. So I'd have them stand and I'd say, okay, now push into the floor and they're like, well, what do you mean? I'm like push in the floor like you're pushing with your fingers. Oh I can't. I'm just standing. That's what I want you to do on the key. No extra physical motion. Just let your hand rest, your finger rest. It's a very hard thing to do because we feel like we have to push to make the key sound when all we have to do is let the weight of our hand fall on the key and that actually frees you out to be able to play faster and more nimbly. So same thing here is that it's not standing in front of the jury that's the problem.
It's what you're telling yourself about that. Am I going to remember my content? If I don't remember my content I'm going to look stupid. Oh my God, what there's jurors here that want to kill me. That's all the stuff. And that's the part that can't be managed. And that's where success comes from. So the way to manage your brain is to first recognize all of the negative shit you're telling yourself about your circumstances and realize it's not your circumstance that's causing your feelings, it's your thoughts about the circumstance that's causing your feelings. That's the first part, is just noticing that you have these neural pathways there already and then doing a pattern interrupt and saying, wait a minute, what do I want to think instead? And choosing a thought and really getting behind it emotionally. What would it feel like if I really believed that the jurors are here to help me and then telling yourself that and feeling that over and over and over again, until it becomes a habit. It's not going to feel natural at first.
It just isn't because your brain again is going to keep looking to the past for evidence that this is going to work and it's not going to find it. You got to lead the way here with your prefrontal cortex and say, wait, I'm creating new neuro pathways, meaning they haven't been created before and you're just going to have to trust me on this brain, that this is going to work. And I tell you it is going to work because we have so many people in the crew where it has worked and they're rewiring their brains and it's awesome. Join us next month. We open again and you can have fun with our mock juries and in our learning labs and getting coaching from me on your presentation skills and on your conducting voir dire and case workshop and book clubs and all the things and really learn how to rewire your brain with our mindset coaching. All right, talk soon to my friends.
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