When I tell my clients their case is good, a look of horror comes over their face.
"What? Don't say that!"
Um. This is a problem. If saying "this case is good" makes you feel like I'll jinx it, something else is going on underneath the surface. And until you fix it, you're going to struggle at trial.
Find out what that is by giving this episode a listen.
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EPISODE 148 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 welcome, everyone, to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte with you today, the attorney whisper, and I am so excited because a couple of weeks ago we opened the crew just for three days, it was one of our short opens, and we had one of the biggest openings ever in the history of the crew, we welcomed so many crewbies, and I'm so glad that you are here if you are in the H2H community. I'm glad you're here if you're not in the H2H community.
But what I love about it is we have people post videos once they join the crew and the private member group, and so many of you in your videos talked about how you came to the book and then that brought you to the podcast and how we walked together in the mornings, me in your ear, as you either walk your dogs or walk alone or you're driving somewhere and I just love that. I love that we can be together even though we're not physically together. So I really see that as an honor to be in your ear in the mornings on your walk. And I'm so glad that I can be that for you. So welcome to the crewbies to the H2H Crew. If you want to join the H2H Crew, we reopen again in April.
Well, we're going to start with a reader shout-out. This is from... from hostage, this is from the Trial Guides website by Patrick C., he gives a five-star review and titles it "A must-read". He says, "The concept is simple, jurors are hostages. How do we set them free? Sari walks you through that process and it's a wonderful journey." Well, thank you, Patrick, for your review. And if you haven't reviewed the podcast or the book yet, you can do so wherever you listen to your podcast or go to trialguides.com to review the book there. I thank you in advance.
Well, today we're talking about the power of belief because something weird is happening and has happened for years as I work with my clients. And they've almost all said the same thing when I say something to them. And so today I want to pull this apart and hopefully inspire you to not do this anymore, to stop doing this. And that is when I'm working up a case with a client, I'll say something like this, I'll say, "Oh man, this is a good case." And in every single case, my client will say, "Don't say that. Don't say that. Don't say that it's a good case." A look of horror will come on their face. And I find this to be so incredibly interesting because it's almost like this superstitious thing. And you know how I love to look at what words mean so I looked up superstitious and the definition is a belief or way of behaving based on a fear of the unknown.
So there's this fear, I believe, that when you say or when I say, "It's a good case," or low and behold, you believe you have a good case and you say it out loud, that somehow you're afraid that's going to jinx it somehow. And so I want to talk about that today and talk about why I think that is and how that's not serving you.
When we're talking about this concept of jinxing ourselves, when we believe in our case being great, it really comes down, I believe, to us not wanting to be surprised or taken off guard.
A week ago today I had my last formal cancer treatment, I'll still have to do this weird bone infusion thing to make sure it doesn't come back in my bones for a whole other two years, but my active cancer treatment ended a week ago today, which I'm very grateful for. But it's also frightening because, for that whole year, I was "protected" from the cancer growing in my body because I was either doing chemo or this targeted treatment and now I'm not. And I've been noticing that I've been saying to people, "And now we wait." I thought, "How interesting is that?" It's like I'm going to sit and I'm going to wait for the cancer to come back, and somehow that's going to cushion the blow. I think that's what y'all are doing too when I tell you that your cases are good. And you know me, I'll tell you if I don't think it's good. But when it's good, I'm going to tell you. And I think you refuse that or reject that because you don't want to be surprised if, in fact, it doesn't turn out good.
And I also think there's another belief underneath that, which is, "If I believe that my case is good, then I'm going to get lazy." And let's talk about that for a minute. This is something I've been super fired up about. In fact, just this morning, I was posting on the H2H Crew, the private Facebook group, and I saw this meme, it's attributed to Leo Tolstoy, but who knows if it actually he said this, but it's a quote and people posted it. And I see stuff like this all the time, and here's the quote, "An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person's main task in life, becoming a better person."
Now, that seems good, right? I mean, don't be arrogant, be humble, you're not perfect, no one is. But you know what that meme is really saying underneath? It's saying you're broken. You need to constantly be improving. Don't go thinking you're awesome now.
And see here's the thing, we are addicted to this belief that if we tell ourselves that we are good as is, if we celebrate our victories, if we actually start loving ourselves, then that's going to make us lazy and get our eye off the prize, and somehow we'll miss something. And I think that's the big belief under me telling you, "Hey, this case is great," and you rejecting it because you think on some level if you believe that, that you're going to get lazy and you're going to miss something. And nothing could be further from the truth.
I said in the post in Facebook, I said, "Here at H2H we believe that you're perfect as is, that you should celebrate your awesomeness all the time, and that you are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole." I mean, here's the thing, we've somehow gotten to the point where we think we would naturally be lazy if we let ourselves off the hook and declare ourselves perfect right now. But you know what I've found? Loving yourself as is and creating a life that's awesome makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and do epic shit. And the same can be true about absolutely and totally believing in your case and believing it is awesome now.
Because this whole idea of, two things, one that we are trying to make sure we don't get lazy and miss anything, but two, we're trying to kind of cushion the blow, should it not work out... I just want to... actually say what you're doing there, what we're all doing there. Same thing for me with this whole, "It could come back now. Now I'm out of protection, it could come back." What we're doing, let's just name it, is we're feeling bad now in case we feel bad later.
Now let me ask you what the hell kind of sense does that make? It doesn't make any fucking sense to feel bad now in case we're going to feel bad later. That is not how we want to run this show. Not to mention that there is power in believing.
Now, before we talk about that, let me just do a side note here, a caveat. There is also power in feeling the bad thing that you're afraid of. You may remember when I was going through my cancer journey last year, that one of the things that kept coming up for me, and of course is still coming up for me, that was really, really holding me back was, "Oh my God, this could come back. Oh my God, this could come back." And the way that I got through that was I took a moment and I laid in bed and I said, "Okay, it's come back. Let's feel it. Let's just pretend it's here. What does this feel like? What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What am I going through?" And I let all of that wash over me, and by doing that, I recognized in that moment I could handle it, I would deal with it if that in fact happened, and there was a lot of power in that.
So one of the steps in this may be for you to actually ahead of time, just once, feel what it would feel like to lose the case you're working on. Just let it pass through, otherwise, it gets stuck. But once you do that, I want to convince you or talk you into the idea that believing in your case is the way to go, primarily because you'll communicate it.
Look, your number one job is to point jurors to the right thing to do. And the fuel for that is to get them excited about this journey that they're going to go on. Here's the thing you have to remember, the jurors are not going to get excited if you're not excited. You've heard me talk about this before, what you think you will communicate non-verbally. So you cannot be scared as fuck about your case and then stand in front of the jury and get them excited about your case. It just doesn't work that way. And yet, so many of you are standing in front of the jury and you're totally scared out of your freaking mind and you're crossing your fingers and hoping it works out. Where's the belief? Makes me feel like I want to say, "Where's the beef?" Kevin said the other night to our daughter and she was like, "What are you talking about?" And we had to explain to her this Wendy's commercial. Yeah, we felt old.
But where's the belief? There's power in belief. There's power for the jury because they are going to take their cues from you. You set the tone at trial. You need to walk in there believing in your case because if you don't believe in it, then why the fuck with the juries believe in it?
I mean, think about that for a minute. You're putting all of the work on them, you're making them do the work you should be doing. You got to go first. You got to love and believe in your case 100%. And yes, that includes when I say to you, "This is a great case," you saying, "Oh, hell the fuck yeah it is." That's not going to make you lazy, that's not going to take your eye off the prize, because here's the other thing is when you are excited for your case and you believe in your case, that's going to change how you prep for it. When you come into the office every day prepping for your case from a place of belief and love, that's going to make you so certain to look for the things you may have forgotten because you love it, not because you're scared.
You guys, you got to give up this idea that fear is the great motivator. It's not. I just said in a training yesterday with the crew that so many of you, because of fear, over-prepare your cases, over-prepare. And you know what that does? When you go into the deposition or you go into your cross exam or you go into your voir dire, you're so over-prepared, you're so in your head because you're so fearful that you miss what is happening right in front of you, you are not present to the juror or to the person who's being deposed, where there's great stuff there. It just goes right over your head. That right there is proof that fear is not a great motivator.
When you're excited about your case and you love your case and you believe in your case, you can go like a recent client of mine to a deposition instead of preparing for four hours the evening before, you can trust your preparation and relax and watch Netflix, which is exactly what he did and had a terrific result the next day for the deposition. You got to get excited and you got to start believing and stop thinking that believing in your case is somehow going to jinx it because what's actually happening there, because I know y'all aren't superstitious, you just aren't, you're too logical, you're too much in your heads to be superstitious, what you're really trying to do is emotionally protect yourself. And again, what you're doing is feeling bad now in case you have to feel bad later.
It's funny, when I got out of my gallbladder surgery, my foot surgery, in like January 1, I was like, "Okay, I'm back on the weight loss journey, on the health journey." I had gained 15 pounds by being off my feet and the holidays and the whole thing, and I was like, "I'm back at it," and I could not fucking get back at it for the whole month of January. I just struggled. I was on the struggle bus. I gained a couple of pounds. And so I brought it to my coach and I'm like, "What the hell? Why is this happening? I'm like ready to get back and be healthy." And what we really found in that coaching session is that I was coming from fear. Why did I want to get healthy? Because if I don't, I'm going to die. Because if I don't, the cancer is going to come back."
My coach, who's terrific, was like, "Well, who the hell is going to get motivated from that? That's not going to get you on a treadmill because you're scared of losing your life. If that motivated people, nobody would ever eat a hamburger, nobody would ever smoke, nobody would ever have a drink." Fear of death is not a motivator and neither is fear of trial and losing, by the way. It doesn't motivate. Research backs me up on this. It is not a motivator, it's not a healthy motivator at least. I had to switch my thinking to, "I am nursing myself back to health. How would I treat my body if I was nursing myself back to health?"
Yes, I'm done with active treatment, but my body went through the wringer last year, four surgeries, five if you count my port surgery, to put the port in, 25 rounds of radiation, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, I lost count of how many targeted treatments I had to have every three weeks for a year, so do the math on that, gallbladder surgery, foot surgery. I mean, my body has been through the wringer. I don't want to keep punishing it and saying, "Well you better get it together or else the cancer is coming back, idiot," that's not going to do it, as I've just proved to myself in January.
I said in the Facebook post, I said, "What you need to do instead of constantly trying to "improve" is fully accept and embrace yourself as is, and then live fully into your life." That means treating your body with respect and giving it rest, clean water, nutritious food, and movement, not dieting and exercising like mad because you're so "fat and lazy", learning trial skills because it makes trial fun and exciting, not because you're scared to death of losing and being humiliated, managing yourself, not time, by really putting your fulfillment in the front seat and deciding to quit hustle culture.
This is what I'm talking about when we need to embrace the power of belief. The cancer may come back, y'all, and when and if it does, it's going to feel bad, but I am not going to feel bad now waiting for that to happen to cushion the blow because I know that feeling bad is not going to kill me, feeling bad is something that I can handle. And guess what? You can handle it too. You don't need to pre-op that, you don't need to put that in your schedule ahead of time. If you go to trial and you lose, you'll feel bad. It doesn't feel great. You can handle it. But you're less likely to have that loss, and even if you do, you're less likely to be unhappy if you believe now. I'm going to believe the cancer isn't coming back. I'm going to believe that your case is great if it, in fact, is great, and most of your cases are because you stand on the side of the right. I want you to believe that too because there's power in belief.
All right, 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.
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