I love y’all, but you sure take yourself too damn seriously sometimes. (*cough* most of the time)
Yes, I know your work is heavy, and you deal with tough fucking shit on the daily. I am not making light of that.
But, I am strongly suggesting that you practice getting out of your head a LOT more often.
The best way to do that is to play more! Yes. Play.
Play is not only a fun thing to do, but it is integral for you to do as a human being, particularly a human being who is also a plaintiff attorney.
Tune in to the new episode of the FHTH podcast to discover my “3 Ps of Play” and why play is so important!
EPISODE 219 TRANSCRIPTION
Well, hello, hello. Today we are talking about how to incorporate more play into your practice. So I posted in the From Hostage to Hero Facebook group. If you're not in that group, it's a free group. You have to be plaintiff only, civil plaintiff or criminal defense to be in there. So just go, they'll ask you some questions. Just search it in Facebook. If you find the H2H Sandbox, that's only for H2H crew members so unfortunately you can't join that one unless you're in the crew. But in our big group, I asked what are some things that you want me to cover in the podcast? And someone said how to incorporate more play into your practice. So this one's for you, my darling, Jen. All right, so here at our company when we went through our rebrand a couple years ago, or I guess it's a year ago, we decided that there were four values.
It's not anyone decided. We discovered because this is how we operate, that there are four values that we really hold dear in our company. The four are love, trust, play, and freedom. So we love ourselves first and foremost. We love the jury, and because of that, we trust ourselves and we trust the jury. We trust the process, and because of that, we can play and not take things so seriously, which really leads to freedom. And I didn't even realize how those four things work together until I was putting together today's podcast, but they really do work in that order. It all starts with self-love. And when you love yourself, then you can love others. When you love others, you can trust. When you trust, you can play. When you play, you have freedom. So those are our four values that we really hold dear here at Team Sari.
So it totally made sense when we rebranded to not just call it the H2H crew. I mean it still is the H2H crew. Those are our crew members, but we called where they play the H2H Playground. And the reason for that is when you think about it, think about all the things that are out there. There's trial university, trial school, trial college, which says to me brings up the energy of studying and exams and information. And all of that is great, and you get information obviously in the H2H Playground, but what we recognized and what I want to share with you today is that play is not only a fun thing to do, it's something that's absolutely integral for you to do, particularly as a trial attorney, but just as a functioning human. We tend to think of play for kids, right?
Play is very important for children. When I was looking up some statistics on this, I was looking at recess. We've been cutting recess quite a bit across the board in the United States, and the research on that has said this is not a good thing, that children need breaks from learning, yes, but not only is it just a break, it's that recess actually helps children learn. It helps them learn when they're back in the classroom. It helps them develop relationships. It helps them develop problem solving skills and negotiating with the playground relationships. It's absolutely essential. But then I went and looked and said, "Well, is this also true for adults? Is play for adults also important?" And guess what? It absolutely is. There's research on play for adults that says it releases endorphins, it improves brain function, it stimulates creativity. In fact, in my research I found a book called Play, which is a New York Times bestseller by Stuart Brown.
I'm going to go get that immediately, so I recommend it without having read it, but it had really fantastic reviews and so I want to go take a look at that. But the point is that play isn't something that we do because it's fun. That's one reason to do it, but that it absolutely is essential in helping us reclaim our freedom, reclaim our self-love, our trust. And this is what this podcast is all about, is how to incorporate play into your practice. If you are in the H2H crew, you know that when you come into one of our events that I'm leading, we have several with our other coaches too, but I'll often say, I'll use the phrase and I do it on purpose, "Let's play with this" instead of "Let's work on this." The language matters because the minute that I say let's work on this, whether it's an opening statement or voir dire, we go into a different part of our brain.
We go into the part of our brain that's logical. We think work, we think hard work, and we're going to think through this. And that's rarely where the good stuff happens, at least when we get to the point where we're starting to perform and play with it. The play part of our brain is where we are okay with making mistakes, where we will risk. And this is in fact why the H2H Playground is so important because we say come and fail here first. Don't fail in trial, even though that would be okay. We're trying to avoid that, even though if that happens, you're still worthy and you're still an amazing human being, but come in here and fail. Now, you're not going to come in front of your colleagues and fail easily and try big things and swing out if you are really trying to work on something.
But if you're trying to play with something and push the boundaries and see what you can get away with and use your voice in a little different way and really go all out in storytelling, that's where all this good stuff happens. I always think back to when I had my VIP clients out here last year and one of my clients, I just needed to get him to loosen up. And, it wasn't because he's not a fun person or any of the things. He's a terrifically fun person, just a riot. But when he was in voir dire, he was in his head. He couldn't get out of that logical place and into the play space because even when you come out and you're working with my mock juries out here, now you've moved from online and working with your colleagues to actual mock jurors. It's still not trial, it's still not real. It's more real.
We have you wear your clothes that you would wear to court, we're in a different building, these are people who've never seen you before. You're going to perform in front of them and in front of me. So, it brings on some of that but it's still not real. This is still a place where you can experiment. And, he just wasn't going there.
So I thought, "How can I get this guy out of his head?", just to give you an example of the power of play. So I came over and I said, "All right, are you willing to experiment?" And he said, "Sure, that's why I'm here." And I said, "Great. I want you to go and I want you to do the voir dire that you've done this morning. I want you to do it now this afternoon with this new jury like you're on meth." And he said, "I'm sorry?"
I said, "I want you to go out there and I want you to do your voir dire from the character of someone who is on meth, on speed. It's so fast and it's just crazy fast." Bless him, he was like, "Great, got it." So, he went out there and he was just talking really fast. He was like, "Okay, let me ask you guys. Let me ask you guys. What do you guys think about this?"
We're trying not to laugh but the jury didn't know. They'd never seen him so they just figured this was him, and they were all in. They didn't think anything was amiss. And, the voir dire was amazing because he literally didn't have time to think, and he went and he just played and he had to go with instincts and muscle memory and things he knew were there but that his brain was convincing him, "Oh, you're going to forget, so really take your time and really think about this. Really look at your notes."
He couldn't do any of that, and it proved to him that he could do voir dire without having to be such a deep thinker and inside of his head. That's the power of play. Oftentimes we'll have people do their openings, and I suggest you try this, from different characters. We'll say, "Okay, great. Now let's try your opening rule from Goofy," the Disney Goofy. "Okay, now let's try your teaching section and you are a drag performer." And what it does is allows you to have some range. So many of you, when you are teaching or doing your opening, you will have this static kind of, I wouldn't even say monotone, but it's just your voice is exactly the same. And even though many of you have very lovely voices, that gets boring even if you only do the 30-minute opening like I suggest.
So it allows you to play again with different voice patterns and different mannerisms. We'll have you perfect your play in front of the jury. So I'll have you do these interesting things. The point is that play can get you where you need to go. When sitting behind your laptop, typing your opening word for word is never going to get you there. That's working on your opening. In fact, I used to do that with clients, but now I never create an opening with clients behind a laptop. We start even before we know what the fuck we're doing standing up. I'm like, "All right, let's play." That's what I say all the time. Let's just try it.
When I had three more VIPs out just a couple weeks ago, we were working on voir dire and what we kept doing and I modeled it and they would do it, too, and they're like, "Okay, hold on. Let me try this." And they'd get up and they'd try it and we'd go, "Okay, but that doesn't work. Let's try this. Let's play with this. Oh, let's play with that. Oh, now we've got it." Very different than sitting and discussing, "Well, we could use this question, and then what if we then asked this question?" Type, type, type, type, type.
We got up and we attempted it and saw how it landed and then kept changing it, shaping it, molding it. This is the power of play, and this is where I think so many of you are not playing, to use our word of the day, and where you need to be. And, it's exactly why we created the H2H Playground because this is where the magic happens is when you get out of your brain space and you get into your play space. So to answer your question, Jen, I've got three things for you and everybody else listening to how to incorporate more play into your practice.
They're the Three P's of Play. As you know, I love doing that.
The first one is to get some perspective.
So you knew a mindset shift is going to have to come first. You cannot play in your trial prep, in your practice, in your wherever, even in trial if you are afraid you're going to lose, if you're afraid of what the jury's going to think, if you're afraid of swinging out, if you're afraid of taking risks. This is why the H2H method, one of our cornerstones, our three cornerstones, one of the cornerstones is claim your freedom. We work on your mindset because if you do not have a mindset of play, which I know Jen does because she asked this question. She wants more of this, is you can't do the play. It's not another technique. Play is a frame of mind.
It's not taking everything so goddamn seriously all the time. Now, I know what y'all do is serious and we see serious things all the time in this work, and it's sad and people have died or have been injured. I'm not saying that we make light of that. What I'm saying is that y'all have to do this as your career. When this trial is over for this person, they move on with their lives. Win or lose, by the way, they move on. They do. But you have to live with this all the time, just with different clients, different people. You've got to have a mindset that says you cannot take this too seriously. And in the cornerstone that we have in the membership, there are three things underneath that. The first one is to let go of winning. And that just seems so ass backwards, but it is so true.
You have to let go of your need to win because that is not your job. Your job is not to win. Your job is to fight. I said that recently at TLC seminar that I was asked to come and do storytelling with, and somebody stopped me and they go, "I'm sorry, what? Can you say that again?" I have to tell you, I was shocked that this person had never thought about that. It was like a revelation when I said it, but it's true. It's not your job to win. Your job is to fight. Winning is great. We do everything in H2H to equip you to win, to empower you to win but that's not your job. Your job is to go and fight because you don't get to decide who the winner is. The jury gets to decide that.
So you can't have that as a goal. It's something you work toward. It's something we hope for. It's something that we put our effort into, but it's not our job. It's not our job. Period. Our job is to do our part, which is to fight for the client and help them navigate the legal system. So, you got to let go of winning. You've got to conquer your fear. That's the second piece under that cornerstone. When you are constantly in fear, now letting go of winning is a huge way to start conquering that, you cannot play because you're going to take everything so seriously. You're going to be always worried about winning. You're always going to be thinking about, "Well, I'd like to do this, but what if it doesn't work?" Or, "I want to tell a story this way, but what if the jury doesn't like it?"
You got to conquer your fear and start trusting your instincts and yourself and what feels right and go with it. And you got to own your greatness. That's the biggest thing that I see is so many of you, all of you are so talented. If you just recoiled just even hearing me say that, "I'm not. That's not me," there's where your work is. You are talented. I just read a quote the other day. I thought this was beautiful is that "Talent is the gift that God gives you, and what you do with it is what you give back to God." Now whether you believe in God or not, I have a messy relationship as far as that's concerned. I totally was an atheist and now I'm coming more back into that eastern spiritual realm, but I just thought that was beautiful.
We all have talent. Stop hiding that shit. That's what jurors want. They want to see you shine. They want to see you own the shit out of the courtroom. And the number one way to do that is not to mimic other people and do what you think other people do. It's to own how you are amazing and then come in like a baller and own that shit. So the first thing, the first three P's of play is perspective. You got to realize that this isn't as serious as you are making it out. "Yeah, but if my client loses, then their life is ..." No, they're not. Humans are resilient. They will continue. That is how we are built to work. And, it is not your responsibility. It's something we want for them. It's something that you fought for them. We don't always win. Didn't you learn that back in school?
We don't always win. We tell our kid that all the time. You can't always be a winner. There's going to be winners. Sometimes you're going to be a loser. That's just how it is. So get some perspective. That's the first thing. Release that shit. Now, I know I say that and it sounds easy. It's not easy. Again, that's why we have the H2H Playground. We know it's not easy. So that's why we have that.
Two, place. Play needs a place.
So one of my very, very dear friends has just left a toxic as fuck place. This person who is a mindset master has for years attempted to try and make it work where he was because there didn't seem to be a way out. And so if there's no way out, then we're going to attempt to do everything we can in our power to either change the place or change ourselves. And what I told him is let's take this and look at it in terms of being a battered woman. It could be a battered man too, but more likely it's a woman. We don't tell a battered woman, "Listen, just think better about this, just mindset your way out of this." Right? "Just have a better attitude."
No, it's toxic as fuck. Get out. Now, I know I'm not blaming because there's all kinds of psychological stuff that's happening when you are in a toxic situation, both for battered women and my friend, where we can convince ourselves why we can't leave. And, he just left and it's a beautiful thing and I'm so happy for him. But you need to have a place where you can play, and if you are in a firm where that is not encouraged, if you are in a place where they look down on that, then it's going to be much harder to play. And, I want to be realistic about that.
Now you can play, of course, in your own way, and I'm going to talk about that in the next P, but you have to really be careful about, I guess what I'm trying to say is I see a lot of my clients and people in the crew who are banging their head against the wall trying to do the things that I'm suggesting, and they are not in a place where they can bloom, where they can play. And they're blaming themselves. Sometimes it's the place. So, you got to look at what you're surrounding yourself with and ask yourself, "Is this a place that is going to support my wanting to play?"
The third one is people. People.
So if you are wanting to play, you need other people. Unless you're going to play with yourself, which I guess has its place, but I'm telling you when it comes to play, people are key. Collaboration is key. Look, when we all get together, in fact I'm not going to be working one-on-one with clients anymore. I've just decided. It's just way too much fun to have groups here. When we have three people, which is to me the magic number for a small group, three to six, we have so much fun it's unbelievable.
So there is a lot of different ways that you can collaborate with each other. Obviously in the H2H Playground, that's a big thing for us. We encourage people to get together and practice and play. In fact, this fall we're going to start collaboration groups, or play groups. Yes, if you're in the crew, that's something we're going to be starting this fall where you can have time to just get together and throw some ideas around, get together and stand up and go, "Okay, let me try this." Get together and say, "Let me give you a little bit of my opening." Play takes people. That's' what makes it fun.
So if you are on your own, if you are isolated in a firm, or by yourself, you need to find yourself a community where you can play.
So perspective, change your mind. Have a more playful attitude about this. Get real clear what your job is. It's to fight. Place, make sure that you are planted where you can grow and that your place is supportive. And if it's not, start thinking about where you want to be. And, people. You need to collaborate with people so that you can play and get up on your feet and do all the fun things that we're talking about.
All right, so what are some practical things though that you can do to bring more play into your practice? Well, I have a very long list, so get out your pen and paper, unless you're driving. Do it later.
A couple things that just came to mind that our clients do, that we do, going to read them down. First one is take it outside. So oftentimes when I'm stuck with something that I'm trying to create, whether it's a training or a podcast or whatnot, I'll literally move. I'll go do some yoga. I'll go outside. I'll take a walk. Great way, just get out of your office and just give yourself a creative break so you can get more into the place of play. Try on different characters like I mentioned. So, try your opening statement from your favorite actors, mannerisms and voice, or a cartoon character. This is great to do in front of your kids. Do your opening statement in front of your kids. One of our clients will set his two young children in front of him and deliver part of his opening and ask them what they thought. Great way to play.
Take an improv class or try standup. I tried standup for the first time in a keynote that I did several months ago. It went great, I think, but a great way to just practice being a presenter in a different way. Join the H2H Playground. We're playing constantly back there. You can go to sariswears.com/play to get on the waitlist.
Videotape yourself. So if you're like, "It feels weird to just stand up and try things," turn on a video camera and perform for it, and then watch it back and make fun of yourself and all the weird things you do, like picking this out of your butt or scratching your nose or whatever you're doing. Give a dinner party and practice your voir dire questions, but just use them as questions you're asking your guests. Super fun. The more you do this, the better you'll get at voir dire.
Talk up strangers. Instead of being in such a hurry when you're getting your coffee, talk to the barista. Talk to people at lunch. Just talk up strangers. There's a great game. I don't think it's available anymore, but it's called Identic, and the basic gist is you pull a card from the deck and it's a picture of something and then you have to describe it and everybody else has to draw it. It's a great way to see if you know how to describe something correctly. So, try doing the same thing with your family members or friends or colleagues where you're describing what happened, let's say in the defendant's story part of your case, and see if they can draw it. Great way to see if you're describing something the way people are seeing it in the picture in their heads.
Play the game Celebrity, where you all put pieces of paper into a bowl about celebrities. Each of you puts in five celebrities, if there's several of you, and then you pick it out and you have to act it out and people have to guess who you are. Great way to get into characters.
When I was at the TLC storytelling and I was teaching storytelling, what I had people do is in groups of four, they would tell the story of their case, like a play. It's a great way to do storytelling. So, you're going to be the doctor, you're going to be the plaintiff, I'll be the narrator and you be the nurse. And, they'd act it out and then I'd say, "Great, now everybody except for narrator," and that's the person's case, "Go away. Now narrator, you do it. Play all the parts." It's a great way to have you see how it will work when everybody of different people in the different roles, and then you can go and actually play those parts. And, it's so much fun to actually put this together with a bunch of people.
Again, another reason why you need people. The last thing that I'll say, there's tons of ways, and I'd love to hear you give some ideas, too, the listeners about how you incorporate play into your practice is to actually play. Go and play board games with your family. Go and play sports, go and play, if you have young kids, with your kids. Just get back into a sense of play. I take lots of vacation for this reason so that I can go and play with my soul cards that I make, or that I can just read a book, that I can just play with my kid in the jacuzzi or on the beach. Get into a sense of play in general so that it's not isolated, it's part of who you are and then it'll be easier to bring it into your practice.
Hope that helps. Talk next week.
Have you ever wished that you knew what the jury was thinking? Well, grab a pen and paper because I'm about to give you instant access to a free training I created for plaintiff trial attorneys called 3 Powerful Strategies to Help You Read a Juror's Mind. It's going to help you to understand what the jury is thinking so you'll feel confident to trust them and yourself in the courtroom. Ready for the address, go to sariswears.com/jury. Enjoy.
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.