Back in July, this quote by Rick Friedman got posted in the From Hostage to Hero FB group:
"Fear is unprofessional."
And even though I gave context for the quote in my podcast, and used Rick's analogy of why he said it, people.had.thoughts.
LOTS of thoughts.
I've been DYING to comment on this ever since, because here's the thing: Fear is TOTALLY normal. It's also TOTALLY optional.
And if that statement pisses you off, you most definitely need to listen to this podcast.
👀 Check out the free H2H training below!
EPISODE 129 TRANSCRIPTION
When you are up against a hostile room of people who don't want to be there, you need real strategies that get results. Welcome to From Hostage To Hero. The show that gives you practical advice you can use right now in the courtroom, boardroom, or classroom. Learn how to move your unwilling audience to one that is invested in what you're saying, eager to participate, and engaged in the process. Learn from the attorney whisperer herself, your host, Sari de la Motte.
Sari de la Motte:
Well, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage To Hero, Sari de la Motte, the attorney whisperer here with you today, and thank you again for all the reviews coming in. I'm so excited to read another one today from Hank. S. who says, "Keeper". That's how he titles his review. He says, "I buy lots of trial books. I've gotten useful things from most of them, read this one from cover to cover, which I don't always do. I know I will be going back to this one before every trial." Well, thank you, Hank. I so appreciate your review. And if you haven't reviewed the book yet, you can go to trialguides.com to do that. And don't forget, when you're out there doing your reviews that you make a review for the podcast. That's our next goal is to get the podcast to a hundred reviews.
And of course, the book to 500 reviews. Okay, well, I have just been dying to do this podcast. In fact, this content has been on my mind throughout the medical leave because of something that happened in the Facebook group. And I ended up doing a whole training on this for the H2H Crew just a few days ago. Well, I guess it'd be a week or so ago when this podcast hits, but I've just been so thinking about this concept, and by the way, if you join the Crew, which we're going to be opening in October, go to fromhostagetohero.com to get on the wait list, you will have access to that training in there. You have access to all the old trainings, a lot of subscription services or memberships don't do that. They start you right when you come in. Whenever you join, you get everything that's been uploaded from the beginning of time in there.
There's more stuff in there that you could ever watch. It's like the best deal ever. Can I just say, it's the best deal ever that's going right now. We give you a place to practice. We give you mindset coaching. You've got a full From Hostage To Hero course in there. You get the book when you join, you get all this support from the Facebook community and everything is recorded. You get absolutely everything. Plus, if you want to work with me, you have to be an H2H member. You don't even get to me without being in there, so get in there. All right. So what's this thing that got everybody riled up. Well, it was a quote and I've said this quote in the podcast before, but then it got posted from the podcast, that podcast I did on fear about two or three months ago.
And boy did it ever rile some feathers. So the quote was from Rick Friedman when he was back in From Hostage To Hero Facebook group, our big free group. If you're not in there, go to Facebook, you can join that for free. That's not the membership. That's a community of nearly 1500 trial lawyers. And we're just talking about the podcast, the book, and anything else that comes up, having some fun over there, and you can go there and join. Also, there in the video archive is all these webinars from guests before. And so Rick Friedman was back in 2020, and he did a webinar for us. And again, I said this in the podcast, but in case you didn't catch that one several months ago. And he said, this quote, he said, that fear is unprofessional.
Now he was using it in the context, or I wouldn't say he was using it in the context. He gave an example of a doctor the night before surgery saying to a patient, I'm really nervous about surgery tomorrow. I hope it goes well. And how unprofessional that was. So when that quote got posted, which we always quote post a quote after every podcast, here's some of the things that people commented on the Facebook post, the analogy to the surgeon is not a great one. There's not an opposing surgeon trying to stop your work while at the same time you need to effectively and persuasively communicate what you're doing to an audience. There are very few variables not under the surgeon's control and compared to a trial attorney. Fear is normal when you care for your client, but cannot control the outcome. Someone else said any analogy of what we trial lawyers do with what a surgeon does is inaccurate and unfair.
A better analogy to our profession is with a boxer, other kind of fighter. We hit and get hit and trial with words, with evidence, with everything. As a surgeon is about to make the first cut, there's not another surgeon standing there pointing and saying loudly wrong place to cut. What we do is scary. We are literally being judged. Fear is completely natural. Someone else said, fear is a normal human feeling. Don't deny it, don't ignore it, don't let it paralyze you, let it motivate. And finally, well, not finally, there are other quotes. These are the ones that I pulled out for today. This quote terrifies me, which I think they're saying I'm scared all the time, and does that mean I'm being unprofessional? Here's what I found so fascinating about this conversation is that y'all are fighting. I mean, fighting for your right to stay and be in fear.
Take the name of this podcast episode. Fear is totally normal and it is totally optional. What does that bring up for you? I think for most of you that pisses you off, you want to hold on your fear. Now, if you're pissed off right now, it's exactly where you need to be. Stay with me, I think this podcast is going to blow your fucking mind because once you recognize that fear is totally optional and how this has not been serving you, you're going to be unstoppable. Now, before we go on, I want to be really clear here. That is fear normal? Absolutely. The brain is wired that way. Our brain is wired to seek out danger and scare us so that we don't get hurt. That is how our brain is wired. So therefore there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you at times feel fearful.
But we're going to show you today the difference between real fear and self-created fear and how 99.9% of your fear is the latter. And even with the former, there are things that you can do so that you are not consistently being triggered. Fear is normal, but it's also optional. Now to understand what we're talking about today, let's talk a little brain science, which I know y'all love. So you've got your amygdala. That's your emotional or reactionary part of your brain. It's the oldest part of your brain. It's that habit brain. And then you've got the prefrontal cortex, which is really the newest part of our brain, which is the thinking or rational part of the brain. Now your amygdala is where your fight or flight response normally gets activated. Meaning you see a bear or you're out on a hike and you see a snake and boom, it overrides the prefrontal cortex, thinking is not even in the equation anymore.
And it triggers a bodily sensation for you to run, to get the hell out of there or freeze, right? And if you have to maybe fight. But the point is that the amygdala hijacks the prefrontal cortex when you are in a life threatening situation, and you cannot think in those moments, you are literally operating from instinct. And so when we talk about fear, people constantly use this example, they'll say to me, and they said this in the training a week and a half ago, they said, yeah, but fear is instinctual. It's something that happens to the body. It's something that I can't control. And my question to you is when is the last time that you met a bear on your way to work or sink or were in mortal danger? I'm calling bullshit y'all. This is not the kind of fear that we are experiencing in our everyday lives as trial attorneys.
And thinking that fear is normal does a couple of things. We're going to talk about that in just a minute, but let's talk first about what's actually causing your fear, because we know it's not a bear or a snake, or if it is, where the hell are you living and working? This is a problem. So if it's not that, what is it? Well, if there's any predominant emotion, because fear is an emotion that I see in this work, it's fear. It's so prevalent, in fact, that you've tried to normalize it, you've even been told it's useful and motivating. And here's what I have to say about that, hell to the fucking no, it is not a good motivator. It may motivate you, but it is not a good fuel because if you are using fear to fuel you, you're going to burn the fuck out, period. Not to mention that fear is a terrible motivator.
Remember, fear is communicated by and through the amygdala, which activates your fight or flight system. When you're in fight or flight, you are in survival mode, you are looking out for yourself. You are looking out for yourself. Betrayal isn't about you, it's about the jurors and what they need. So if you are using fear as a motivator, you're making decisions from a survival place and those decisions just aren't going to serve you or the jury. Not to mention, there's a much better fuel you can be using, which I will talk about a little bit later. And if you're in the H2H Crew, you already know what it is because I talked all about these things in our training. But fear is so prevalent and normalized in this industry we've come from using it to scare jurors. I mean, if we're freaked the hell out, might as well freak them out too. Right?
But you know what happens when you scare jurors? You get them to act from their amygdala. You activate their fight or flight system. Now I know that there's a certain book out there and a whole methodology that advises you to do exactly that, that activating a jurors' survival mechanism is what we want because jurors only care about themselves and their families. They're going to do whatever possible to keep themselves and their families safe. I get it, that's out there. But this is going to backfire too, because for one, you cannot scare jurors and not be scared yourself, unless you're a psychopath, which I don't think you are. And again, if you're scared, remember you're going to make decisions from that survival place, which is not going to serve you or the jury. But more importantly, scaring the jury into voting your way does not create the type of change that we want to create in the world.
It may get you a verdict, it doesn't always, and I know this because clients tell me all the time about using that particular method and having it backfire spectacularly. But fear, even if it does work, doesn't change the world. And you might say to me, well, I'm not here to change the world. Well, here at H2H we are here to change the world. That's what we're in this for. Verdicts are great, but we're in it for a bigger win. And fear does not make our community safer. Fear doesn't make jurors feel good at the end of trial. They may extinguish their fear by voting for you because that protects their families, but it doesn't touch their hearts and minds. It doesn't create real change in the world. Trial law has to be bigger than winning verdicts or otherwise it's empty as fuck. I'm just going to say it.
And here's the thing about fear is that the career that you've chosen requires that you face fear, not be fearful, in order for other people to be safe, meaning you put yourself at risk so that other people, the jurors, your clients, the world at large, will remain safe. In that way, you are a hero. Absolutely and totally. But so many of you are unwilling to go there. You want to stay in your fear. Here's the truth, you're not afraid of being physically harmed because as we just pointed out, that's rarely the case doing this job. You're afraid of being emotionally harmed, emotionally harmed, and that my friends, we can manage and overcome. You know, if you go back to the CTFAR model, which I've talked a lot about, but in case this is your first time hearing about it. C stands for circumstance, T stands for thought, F stands for feeling, A stands for action, and R stands for a result. When you have a real fear like the snake or the bear example.
So the circumstances, there's a bear that just jumped out or there's a snake in the road. You, as I said, the amygdala hijacks the prefrontal cortex and it absolutely shuts it down and you have an instinctual reaction. So you jump over the T-line. There's no time to think and go immediately to the feeling which is fear, which is exactly how your system was designed. And your action is to run away or to fight or to freeze. And the result, hopefully helps save your life. All right? So that is the real fear example in the CTFAR model. But here's what I want you to recognize is that because 99.9% of our fear is not physical harm, it's emotional harm, what's happening instead is we are allowing our fear to override the T-line. And if you want to sit and write this down, CTFAR, just down lengthwise on the left side of piece of paper, you can do this exercise with me.
So for example, let's take a circumstance that may activate your fear response. Okay? So maybe it's losing a trial or the jury brought back a question as they're deliberating that makes you fearful, whatever it may be that's the circumstance. And remember, the circumstances are always neutral. I'm going to talk more about circumstances and our issues with circumstances in a couple of podcasts. So stay tuned for that. The thought, however, is what causes the feeling. Now here's what's important to recognize. We act from feelings or emotion. We like to think that we're rational beings, but we are not. We act from emotions. So emotions are generated by thoughts. You may have heard me say before that emotions are thoughts reflected in the body. So for you to get to an emotional state outside of the physical harm example, you must be thinking a certain thought to get to that state.
So my question is to you, when you have a circumstance like the jury asked a question, what thought are you having about that circumstance? That's what creates the fear. That T-line is everything. Because if you think, oh my God, that means that they're going to vote the other way. That creates fear, boom, we're in fear. Guess who created that shit? You did, not a bear, not a snake, you did. And that is why fear is totally optional. Because when that jury question comes in, when that objection happens, when you lose trial for Christ's sake, you have a choice about how you think about things, period. That's probably one of the only things we have control over is how we're choosing to think about this. You know, this brings up the opportunity to talk about what you're really afraid of.
Because here's the other thing about fear and normalizing and say, oh, it's normal, everybody has it. Is that we just use this one word to explain it. Just fear, this big gray cloud of just stuff. We're not actually looking at what we're actually afraid of. Like sometimes people will say, well, I'm afraid the jury won't like me. And I'm like, well, what happens if they don't like you? That's not the real fear. But notice if that is the real fear, if you hang onto that is the real fear, what are you going to do? You're going to buy books on how to be more likable. You're going to attend CLEs on how to be more likable. You're going to think that your likability is the problem because you never dug further. So I'm asking you to dig further if that's a fear of yours, what's the real fear? Well, if they don't like me, then they'll vote against me and I'll lose trial. Aha, but we still haven't gotten there yet. If they vote against you and you lose trial, what are you making that mean?
What are you making that mean? Because if you make that mean I'm a bad trial lawyer, now we've gotten to the real fear. Your real fear is that you just don't feel like you're a good trial lawyer. And that's where your work is. Do you see how much time is wasted when we just talk about fear as the one word that covers all manner of sins? We don't ever have to look at anything. We never have to deal with anything. And this is true of just of normalizing fear. Why do we normalize fear? Because if it's normal, I don't have to look at it. If I say that everybody feels it, then I don't have to look at my shit. I never have to deal with my stuff. I never have to take risks. It keeps me safe to say fear is normal instead of digging in and really looking at what it is because this second one, this self-created fear.
What's so amazing about this is that when you have a circumstance, you can now use your prefrontal cortex if you catch yourself, which I'm going to show you how to do in just a minute to create a thought that you want to think. Like at losing trial, thinking instead of this, I'm a bad trial attorney of I fought my hardest. The result was out of my hands, which it is always, always, if you're not the person in there voting, and even if you are, you're only one 12th of that vote, it's out of your fucking hands. Let it go. Fear is an excuse. When we normalize it, when we say this is so normal, and it allows us to not have to look at our shit and work on ourselves. Like it or not, you have picked a career where you have to constantly rub up against, okay, gross, your fear.
And if you don't learn how to manage your mind, this shit is awful. And I see it all the time. You're just running yourself ragged because you just keep saying, well, fear is normal and you just keep living into that place. You keep letting your amygdala hijack you, even in the self-created because the circumstance comes down, you create a thought about that circumstance. And now we trigger fear and boom, the show is on in fight or flight survival mode, it doesn't serve anybody. Y'all are heroes, heroes. Hear me, heroes don't do that. Heroes choose what they want to think about their circumstances. Y'all have to listen the podcast that's coming out I think two from now about circumstances and what we do with circumstances and bullshit that we think about circumstances. But the point of today's podcast is you have control over this shit.
You even have control over the real fear examples because outside of the bear and snake, yes, we have other surprises like you get objected to, or something happens at trial totally out of nowhere, that comes out of nowhere. Right? And it activates your physiological response. Okay? So here's how you manage both real fear and self-created fear. Again, remembering that self-created fear is 99% of your problem. The first thing is to notice it and label what's actually happening. So again, instead of just saying, I feel fear, what is it that you're actually feeling? We in the training and you can just Google emotions wheel. If you look up emotions wheel, most of us just, we're either angry or we're sad. We're happy. What are some of the other ones? I can't remember the ones, but there's four. That's our emotional palette, period.
Those are the four emotions we feel or six, if I could remember the other two, which I can't. We're not emotionally intelligent. In fact, I think that's what we're going to be focusing on in Q4, in the Crew. So if you join in October, you're going to get emotional intelligence. We don't do it in the fall. I'm definitely planning on doing it. So I don't know exactly. But this idea of not being able to name our emotions, why? Because when we can name what we're actually feeling, we have power over it. Then I want you to breathe and feel it. Breathing is huge here because sometimes people feel they're afraid their emotions going to overwhelm them. It will overwhelm you if you don't breathe, breathing calms your nervous system down. It gets that parasympathetic system operating instead of the sympathetic system, which is your fight or flight.
So it allows you to feel it. And here's what's really cool, is you can now generate whatever emotion you want to feel. People are like, what? How do I generate an emotion what I feel what I feel? Nope. Nope. You feel what you think. Let me say that again. You don't feel what you feel, you feel what you think. You have control over this shit. You get to decide what you are feeling. So what thought would I have to think? If I want to feel confident in trial, what thought would I have to think? If I want to feel powerful at trial, what thought would I have to think? Now you might be thinking, okay, how am I going to all do this? I got objected to and boom, the fear hits me in the midst of it. Well, you're not waiting until trial to do this, you're practicing in your everyday life, managing your brain so that you are practiced at this when you do get caught off guard.
But again, most of your fear is happening before trial with all this shit that's running through your brain. So what I'll leave you with is that fuel is a shit motivator. It'll burn you out. Scaring jurors is not the way to go. So if that's not the way to motivate you, what is motivating? Well, the fuel we're using at H2H is love. It's love, love for your work, love for your client, love for the jury, love for justice. That's why we do this. You've heard me say many times we are going to love ourselves to better lives. We're going to love ourselves to better trials. We're going to love ourselves to better mindsets. Nobody out there will be listening to this and start beating yourself up for having those negative thoughts. You are wired that way, but here's the great thing, you can rewire your brain.
You can rewire it to respond now from a loving place and to be attracted to love. And the fact of the matter is that you are in the midst of a fearful culture. That is the culture of trial, but that's what we're doing at H2H, we're changing that shit. We're going to start changing the way law is practiced and how you feel about being in that space. And the first step is learning that fears totally normal and totally optional. I'll talk to you next week.
Thanks for joining me today. If you benefited from what we talked about or just want to let me know you enjoy the podcast, go ahead and leave me a review on whichever platform you use to listen to From Hostage To Hero. Add a comment and I just might give you a shout on an upcoming episode. In the meantime, head over to fromhostagetohero.com to order your copy of my book, From Hostage To Hero: Captivate the Jury by Setting Them Free and to get on my mailing list. I send out trial tips and encouragement right to your inbox every single week. And while you're there, make sure you join the wait list to become an H2H Crew member when we reopen. We only open a few times each year and you do not want to miss out. I look forward to our time together in next week's episode, talk then.
3 pOWERFUL STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU READ A JUROR'S MIND
Let the Jury Solve Your Problems in 3 Easy Steps
Join me for a free training to understand what the jury is thinking so you have the confidence to trust them - and yourself - in the courtroom.
Use the H2H Funnel Method so that jurors tell YOU the principles of the case instead of you telling THEM.
Subscribe to the Podcast
Tune in weekly as Sari shares tips that will help you up your game at trial, connect with jurors, and build confidence in your abilities so that you’ll never worry about winning again.
Sign up for trial tips, mindset shifts, and whatever else is on Sari’s brilliant fucking mind.