A month or so ago I got an email telling me to “stop telling lawyers not to buy books or attend CLE’s.”
You know when someone tells me -not- to do something, I’m gonna do it, right? (I’m a toddler like that.)
But is that REALLY my message? Do I honestly want you to stop buying books and attending CLE’s?
Tune in to find out. I’m going on the record, y’all. Buckle up.
EPISODE 182 TRANSCRIPTION
Sari de la Motte:
Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte here with you wearing my comfy sweater on this kind of cold afternoon in October. Glad to be with you today.
And so today, you got to buckle up for today, because we're talking about some things. But before we talk about that, I am going to read a actual email that came in from a presentation I did a couple weeks ago and it says, "Sari, your method slash systems slash just talk to the jury and be a human person resonated with me in a way that, as you said, scaring the out of them, did not. I am grateful to have been introduced to you and your awesome method. My book gets here tomorrow." Well I'm so glad that you're getting the book and if you've not gotten the book yet, I would suggest that you do that. You can go to trialguides.com and order it there and once you've read it, let me know what do you think about it.
All right, so what are we talking about today? Well, we're talking about how I want you to stop reading books and going to CLEs. Actually, we're talking about whether that statement is true or not. And the reason that this all comes up is because that is exactly what I have been accused of doing.
In fact, I got a very strongly worded series of emails about said things. In fact, this is what it said. I'm not going to name who it was from, says, "Forgive the intrusion. But to my surprise, I see you're starting to put down the work of others. When you say things like, 'You don't need all that other stuff,' you're making the most negative possible comment about everyone else's work. And I'm pretty sure this was inadvertent. I hope you can walk it back so we don't fall again into the inevitable turf wars that can result. They hurt everyone, including the lawyers we're trying to help and especially Trial Guides. I want lawyers to have the benefit of you, Mitnick, Artemis, Nick, Courtney, Oliver, Carton, Friedman, Jury Project, Jesse, Leizerman, Kaposi, Sims, and a host of others. Again, I'm pretty sure this was unintended. You seem to be too smart to think they need only you. I hope you'll join those of us who are trying to keep a profession working in the other direction."
So when I received this email, I was very confused because I wasn't sure where I had said that y'all don't need all that other stuff and I was also confused as to where the hell this person gets off telling me to do anything. But you knew that I would think that. So when I asked for clarification, we found out where this very offensive thing that I said is, and it's in the voir dire training, the free training on my website. And there is a little thing in one of the emails you get that says, "Attending CLE after CLE and buying every book you can find that might teach you how to be great." This my friends, was the most possible negative comment I could have made about everyone else who is a trial consultant or in this profession. Here's what I want to say about that. I call bullshit.
So today's podcast is all about not defending myself because I fucking don't have to defend myself, but I want to go on record about what I mean exactly from that and other statements that I have made.
Now I have all kinds of problems with this email, the preachiness of it, first of all, the talking down to me as a woman and I'm not going to stand for it and neither should any of you, right? Even if this person thinks that I did what he or she thinks I did, they have no right to tell me to do anything. In fact, their last email to me was the exact title of this podcast, which is "Stop Telling People to Stop Reading Books and Going to CLEs". So you know what happens when you tell me to stop doing something, I'm going to do it even more because I'm a toddler like that.
So here's the question. Let me set the record straight. The question is, do I want you, my listeners, my fans to stop reading books and attending CLEs? Here is my answer on record. And do not take this out of context. Listen to the whole thing. Yes and no. Let's talk about yes first.
I absolutely 100% want you to stop reading every book out there and it attending every CLE for these things I want to talk about right now. First, if you're doing it because you're scared out of your fucking mind, fear is the absolute worst thing that you can use to motivate you to learn anything. And this is what I see in our profession. This is what I see is that all of your attempts at learning are because you are scared. And we know, at least I know, that brain science shows that you're not going to learn fucking shit when you are scared out of your mind. Fear is a horrible motivator for learning. And yet I believe so many of you are buying every single book that you can buy, attending every CLE that you can attend because you're scared of losing.
In our office hours that we had a few weeks ago, I was talking about this idea that we have here at H2H, it's radical I know, which is, in order to win more cases, you have to let go of your need to win. And in fact, you, even if you don't want to win more cases, which of course all of you do, you can't be attached to winning because you do not have full control over that process. And one of the attorneys who's new to H2H put in the chat and she said, "My clients do not hire me to lose. My job is to win." And I said, "Fuck that." How can your job be to win when you do not have complete control over that? You're going to do everything possible to win, yes, but it's thinking like that that makes y'all go crazy and do the things I'm talking about in today's podcast.
I was thinking about this, If you had a doctor who was working with a patient who had several health problems and they were doing everything they possibly could to ensure that this person would survive and that person ended up dying, would we blame the doctor? If there was no medical malpractice involved, I know who I'm talking to here, but assuming they did everything they could and they did it by the book, will we blame the doctor? No, the doctor does not have full control over whether or not someone's body decides to give up on them. This is very similar to your job. You're going to do everything in your control to fight for your client, to fight for justice, to fight for what is right, but you do not have ultimate control over that outcome. And therefore you cannot use that outcome to look at how you're doing as a trial attorney and evaluate that and make that the determination of whether you're a good lawyer or bad lawyer.
So when I see all y'all buy in the books and attending all the CLEs and you're doing it because you're so afraid that you're going to lose, that's why I'm telling you to fucking stop that shit. Because that's serving no one. It's not serving the people who write the books, it's not serving the people who are, well it is. I'm going to fucking call it out right now. It is. Because a lot of people in our industry, they are making bank on your fear. That's how they make their money is by scaring the shit out of you and telling you that there is a way and there is a formula and there is an answer to all of your problems if you would just learn their method.
Because that's the other thing. I don't want you attending the CLEs and buying all the books if you believe that there's some answer out there. And if you just keep buying all the things, you'll eventually find it. There is no answer. Every trial is different, every attorney is different, every plaintiff is different, every jury is different. It's such a fucking roll of the dice. You know what the answer is? The answer is you. Not the book, not the trial consultant, it's you.
So no, I don't want you buying all the books, attending the CLEs. If you're on the search for a formula that you think exists and you're doing it because you're fucking scared out of your mind.
Now, I also don't want you buying the books and attending all the CLEs because so many of those people are attempting to try and teach you style. Style cannot be taught. But oftentimes it is what wins.
So here's what I mean is that when you have an attorney, any attorney you included who is really cued in to how they work best, how they show up best, how they really enjoy being in trial, that translates to a jury because it's real and it's authentic. And so those people will go into trial and they will have amazing results and then they will try to teach their style to you. And you attempt to go and attempt that style and it's a disaster. Why? Because it's not your style.
Now this I'm not blaming or faulting the people that have the style and are trying to teach it, right? Because that's what they know and that's what helping them win. And God bless them for trying to share that so others can win. I really believe that most of the lawyers and trial consultants that I work with and know and run in circles with are really beautiful humans and we all want to help you. So they're not doing it for gain, unlike some of the people that I have seen that are doing it for gain. I think most people are not, they're just trying to help this profession. They found something that works and they want to teach it to you.
But see, here's the thing, again, you're thinking that the answer is somehow outside of you. If it's not the formula, then it's got to be the trial lawyer. It's got to be their style. That's what wins cases. So I got to learn how to be like that trial lawyer. And if you've read my book, you know that that's not going to work for you either, because as a disaster when that happens. So no, I don't want you attending a CLE or reading a famous trial lawyer's book if you're attempting to be like them.
I also don't want you to be reading books or attending CLEs if it distracts you from your craft. Here's what I mean. If you're reading all of the books and attending all the CLEs and this is most of what your time is spent doing, then you feel like you're doing something, right? I mean, you're attempting to be a good trial lawyer because you're reading all the things and you're attending all the CLEs that everybody says you should go to. And what I'm seeing for most of you is it's a fucking distraction. Books don't win cases. CLEs don't win cases, you know what wins cases? You learning how to communicate with a jury. Period. End of story.
If you are not spending time developing your craft in front of juries, in front of focus groups, working in with your colleagues, actually getting on your feet and practicing the craft of trial lawyering, then I do not want you buying the books, attending CLEs because you're using it as a distraction. It's a easy one, isn't it? Well, at least I'm learning about my craft, but you're not fucking doing anything about it. It's like buying a bunch of books on how to paint or draw and then never painting and drawing. It feels like we're doing something. It feels like a worthy thing to do. I'm learning about my craft, but I'm not actually practicing my craft. All the while you're sitting back settling cases because you're telling yourself, "Well I don't know enough yet." Or "If this book didn't make sense, so I need to buy the next book."
So you're in this confusion space and you're distracting yourself from actually getting on your feet and risking and learning what it really means to be a trial lawyer, which is on your feet in the moment, communicating with other people, communicating with regular people like jurors. We created the H2H playground, which is our crew, where our crew plays, around four principles of how to master anything.
The first one is you need the training. So that could be a book, that could be a video, that could be live training, a CLE, right? But we also give you a place to practice. We give you feedback so you know how you're doing and we give you community that supports you. That's what it really takes to master anything. And this is what y'all are avoiding by just buying all the things and letting them sit on your shelf because you get that dopamine hit from, "Ooh, I put that in my cart." Now do I want Trial Guides to do well? Yeah, I do. They're my publisher for Christ's sakes. I want my books to do well. I want other people's books to do well. I don't want to take away from what they're doing. I think they do the best job out there of all the legal publishers. But if it comes between whether Trial Guides survives or whether you survive, I'm going to choose you every fucking time. Every fucking time. Because y'all are driving yourself crazy thinking all these things that I'm talking about today.
I do not want you buying books. I want you to stop buying books and stop going to CLEs and hiring the consultants if you're substituting their wisdom for yours, right? So if you're thinking, I don't know shit, and they know everything, and so I'm just going to plunk down my $20,000, my $50,000, my $80,000 for four days in Napa, y'all know who I'm talking about there, not the person who sent me the email, by the way, because you think they have the answer and you don't, then I want you to stop fucking doing that. Why? Because they don't have the answer. No one has the answer. And you might think, well this is rich coming from you. You're a trial consultant, you take people's money, you charge a lot of money to come work with you. Yeah, absolutely. And you know what else is, I am certified as a coactive coach.
And let me tell you how that's different than other people. What coactive coaching does is it says, I am not the person that holds all of the information, all the wisdom, and you pay me money to give it to you. What coactive coaching is that you hold all the information, you hold all the wisdom, and my job is to help you find it. Now notice how that's very different.
Now, do I have a method? Absolutely. But I've sourced it from my clients. Every fucking thing I'm teaching you, I'm teaching it to you because I saw it work with a client and I adapted it and now I teach it. It's not like I'm stealing shit. Together, me and the client work something up. The funnel method came from working with one of my VIPs. I'm taking stuff from you and packaging it in a way that is easily accessible and makes common sense. And that's how I'm different because I'm not one of the people out there telling you that you're full of shit and you don't know anything.
In fact, here at H2H, we're all about saying you are the expert in your case. Your intuition is always going to win over anything that Sari says or any of her coaches. You are the answer. So if you are attending the CLEs, buying the books or hiring the consultants because you think you're substituting their wisdom for yours, stop that shit now.
Now, why should you attend CLEs, read books, hire consultants? Well, here are the reasons why. Because you want to learn. I love learning. It is one of my personal goals or values. Learning and growth are my top two. So I want you to be learning as much as possible, but you cannot learn, as I just said, if coming from a place of fear. If you're coming from a place of adding to your knowledge, buy every single book available. I sure have because I love to fucking learn.
I probably own the majority of Trial Guides' catalog along with other books. So if you love learning, and I hope you do, that's why you should buy books and attend CLEs.
Another reason why you should buy books, attend CLEs, all the things, is to connect. CLEs are a great place to get together with fellow trial lawyers and learn and grow as long as what the place that you're doing that is all about that. If it's about inducing more fear, keeping you separate from each other, creating a competitive environment, then you don't want to do that. But all of you reading the same books, all of you attending the CLEs, because it's a way to connect with your community, that's a fantastic reason to keep buying the books and attending the CLEs.
Keep buying the books and reading and attending the CLEs because you want to experiment, you want to try different things at trial. That's an awesome reason to go in and see what people are doing going, "Oh, I want to take that. I want to make it my own." Not I'm trying to attempt someone else's style. Ooh, I know what I can do with that. And so I'm going to have fun trying that out.
And finally, to grow yourself as a trial attorney. If you use Trial Guides or CLEs as a university of sorts, then that's a great way to keep growing as a trial attorney. To know what's on the cutting edge, to understand all the different methods that people are using as long, again, as you are coming from a place of love for yourself and for your clients and for the jury, and it's a place of you growing versus a place of you being scared and thinking that the answer is outside of you. Now, if you're not sure why you're doing the things, I got three questions for you to ask yourself, because you know I love my threes.
The first one is, am I coming from love or am I coming from fear? Do I want to buy this book because I'm scared? Or do I want to buy this book because it sounds really interesting and cool? If it's the latter, then buy the book and enjoy the hell out of it and share what you're learning even better. But if it's, "Oh my God, I've got a trial coming up, I'm freaking the hell out." Stop. Stop. Back away slowly take a breath and recognize you have everything you need to win your trial because you have you. And that's really all you need.
The second question is, am I giving away my power or am I being empowered? So often I will hear from clients who go to these events and they are forced to stand in front of a group and have so-and-so famous trial consultant rip them to absolute shreds, and then they feel like shit, and then they're told that this is all part of the process. And how awesome was that? And pat on the back.
Listen, if you're feeling like you're giving away your power, if you're being humiliated, if you are being told that you're dumb, stupid not to listen to your intuition, then that is a reason not to go to that CLE. But if you feel empowered, if you leave those CLEs and you feel like you could take on the world and there's so many cool things you want to try, then that's a good reason to go.
And finally, you can ask yourself, does this book or CLE or consultant serve me or hinder me? If you're reading a book, including mine, and it's confusing you and what you already planned for trial and you start getting all into your, well, maybe Sari knows better than I was planning this, but maybe she knows better and it's coming from that fear place versus, "Ooh, that's a cool thing I hadn't thought of before," then put the book down. It's not serving you. It's not serving you. Does it serve you? Are you going to a CLE because everyone else is going, but you actually prefer to spend the weekend with your family? Spend the weekend with your family. It's not going to serve you to go to the CLE just because everyone else is going.
So here's what I want to end with as I go on the record with whether or not I want you to stop buying the books, attending the CLEs and hiring the consultants. My big answer is if you're doing it for the reasons we talked about today, yes, the fucking hell, I want you to stop doing that. Because no book, CLE, or consultant is in any position to know better than you. They have information to impart. But if you're doing it from that fear-based place, I don't want you doing it. But if you're doing it because you want to learn, you want to grow, you want to connect with your community, then fucking buy everything you can buy and attend everything you can attend from a place of loving yourself to better lives.
Now, for anyone else who believes that it is appropriate to tell me to stop swearing, to stop telling people to fill in the blank, to stop promoting myself in the way I promote myself or whatever else, I want to end this podcast by saying, a hearty fuck you to you. Talk next week.
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