Bell Nunnally Partner Heath Cheek authored The Texas Lawbook article “‘Be a Goldfish’ – The Wisdom of Ted Lasso for Lawyers.” The piece conveys leadership lessons gleaned from Ted Lasso, a fictional American football coach now coaching soccer in the English Premier League and the title character of the show Ted Lasso. Adapting a recent CLE presentation to the Association of Corporate Counsel – Dallas/Forth Worth Chapter (ACC DFW), Cheek encourages law firm leaders to: 1) lead with empathy; 2) be happy warriors; 3) be curious, not judgmental; 4) empower their people; and, finally, 5) be a goldfish.
On leading with empathy:
Empathy is understanding someone by seeing the world through their point of view. This skill is important for attorneys for several aspects of our jobs, including being able to understand how opposing counsel may argue a case, what an opposing party needs to get out of a transaction and even how to get the best out of our colleagues.
On empowering others:
As attorneys, all we have to sell is our time (of which there is a finite amount). The only way to expand your reach is by having people you trust who can not only perform tasks, but can take ownership for you. You cannot micromanage someone into owning a matter. You have to empower and trust them.
On being a goldfish:
“You know what the happiest animal in the world is? It’s a goldfish. It’s got a 10-second memory.” This is a clever repackaging of some ancient wisdom (i.e., Matthew 6:27: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”), but it’s incredibly important for attorneys.
How many nights have you laid in bed, unable to fall asleep because of some worry facing you on one of your matters? We have inherently stressful jobs with real consequences for our clients; but, having the ability to divorce the incident’s emotions from the way to learn from it, is a gift to our own mental health.
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