Bravery vs. Perfection
Updated: May 12
In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we’re talking about perfectionism. Perfectionism seems (falsely) to have many rewards, particularly as we’re growing up. But the costs of perfectionism are often higher than we realize. My guest this week, Elise Holtzman, and I explore the roots of perfectionism, how it keeps us playing small and what we can do about it.
About Elise Holtzman:
Elise Holtzman is a former practicing attorney, certified executive coach, and the founder of The Lawyer’s Edge, where she and her coaching team work with law firms to grow thriving businesses by helping lawyers become better business developers and leaders.
Prior to practicing law at Fried Frank and Morgan Lewis, Elise earned a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Columbia Law Review.
In addition to providing consulting, training and coaching for her clients, Elise speaks frequently for legal organizations such as state bar associations, ABA Women Rainmakers, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). She writes articles on the subject of business development for publications such as Law.com and Law360 and is the host of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast.
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Kim Meninger Good morning, Elise. I really looking forward to continuing the conversation you and I started privately and then bringing it to the listening audience. Before we jump in, I’d love to invite you to introduce yourself.
Elise Holtzman Thanks so much, Kim. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about what I think is a really important topic for professionals, especially for women professionals. So I’m Elise Holtzman, I am a former practicing lawyer who became a certified professional coach, and I’m the founder and CEO of a company called The Lawyers Edge. And what we do there is we do coaching and training exclusively for lawyers and law firms. And it can be on a variety of topics. So we can talk, we talk to lawyers, about business development, how to bring in business to your law firm, so many professionals, whether lawyers or not, we’re never taught how to do that sort of thing. You were just taught your craft. And then you’re expected to know how to bring in clients, do marketing, develop relationships with people. And so we’ve got these super smart, very, very competent professionals who don’t know how to do that they’re afraid to do it. And yet, it’s really important for their businesses, for them to be able to do it. We also do a lot of coaching and training on a variety of leadership topics. And so that’s one of the things that we’re going to talk about today.
Kim Meninger Thank you so much, Elise. And you and I connected through a mutual contact. And I remember when we were talking, you were sharing a little bit about what you do. And I was sharing a little bit about what I do. And what really caught my attention was when you talked about perfectionism, and that is such a strong, I would say, I don’t know how to, I don’t know if this is the right word, but a correlates so strongly with impostor syndrome, they’re usually you find those two going hand in hand. And I, when as soon as you said that, I thought, oh, my gosh, I need to have this conversation with you. Because it is something that I think we all recognize when we have it. But we don’t necessarily know what to do about it. And we may confuse it with having high standards for ourselves. There’s all kinds of layers to this conversation. And so I really want to ask you, what’s your relationship to perfectionism?
Elise Holtzman For me personally, that’s a great question. So I guess I would say that, for me, it was about partly about being the oldest, the older child, and the first child in my generation. So I’m the oldest cousin on both sides of the family. And I come from people who really wanted their children to do better than they had. And to pursue education. That’s the culture, the cultural background I come from, it’s very much about education, and making sure that you’re working really hard and all that sort of thing. So as the first child with all of that attention put on me, I think that, that became a driving factor for me was making sure that my parents and my grandparents and aunts and uncles knew that I was doing my best, and wanting them to be proud of me and wanting them to think that I was doing a great job. And so it’s not that anybody did anything to me intentionally. These are people who absolutely loved me and doted on me and adored me and continue to do so to this very day. And yet, in all of their efforts to help me succeed, I think I was given the idea, really, through nobody’s fault that everything had to be perfect, it all has to be done a certain way. And, you know, I’ve had these conversations with my parents. And they said, Well, of course, we didn’t expect perfectionism, we just wanted you to do the best job you could. So I think for many of us, when people say, you know, do the best you can, whatever that is, is, is great. Some of us internalize that and interpret it as it’s got to be not just your best but the best.
Kim Meninger Yes, that’s a great point. And I can relate to what you’re saying too, about the, you know, obviously, I am the oldest child to have a lot of internal pressure to do things just right, always wanted to make other people happy. And, you know, when you think about perfectionism, and you start to look at some of the beliefs that we’re talking about, like I want, I want to prove that I’m doing a great job, but I’m doing my best it can be confused with, I want to do my best work, right? I want to achieve, I have high standards for myself that I want to achieve. How did it undermine you, if at all, Has it hurt you in any way?
Elise Holtzman I think that, like many people, one of the things that it does for me is it just creates stress, right? It creates I’m very hard on myself. I’ve gotten much, much better at that over the years. You know, I’ve been around the block a few times. And so I think that you know, and I have, I have daughters is in their 20s. And so when I look back at the pressure I used to put on myself in the past, I think it really just created a lot of stress for me like, I’m not doing well enough, I’m not working hard enough, what if I did it better? What will people think of me? All of those sorts of things. And, you know, I think that it’s important for people to understand where it comes from. Because I think that when we do these things to ourselves, we also start wondering, what is my problem? Right? What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I let anything go? Why am I so hard on myself, and people will probably say things like, oh, so and so you’re so hard on yourself, you’ve got to learn to let it go, it becomes another thing that people are expecting us to do better stop being such a perfectionist. So now I have to worry about that, too. So I think it’s important for people to recognize where perfectionism comes from so that we’re not blaming ourselves for that as well. And I think that I want to, I want to mention, the, the person that first taught me about this was it was through a book. So there’s a book called Brave, not perfect by Reshma Saujani. And she also has a TED talk. And what she talks about is this idea, and I think this will resonate with a lot of people, particularly your women listeners, the idea that women are, and men are socialized different way differently. And we know that’s true. Even in today’s world, we know that’s true. You know, I remember when my son was born, my third child is a boy, which was a huge shock, as if there were 47 choices. And I had never heard of a boy before. But after two girls, I had this boy. And I remember my aunt saying, like, we immediately treat them differently. Instead of you know, sweetie, honey, lovey all of that stuff that we see the little girls, all of a sudden, it’s like, Hey, buddy, you know, we’re the first minute, right, we’re treating them differently. And so what Reshma Saujani said in her book really resonated with me. And that’s why I developed programming around this, these ideas, that girls are socialized, to be polite, to help other people to put others first to, you know, be quiet and smile and do a good job and get good grades. And essentially, to please other people, we’re programmed to be people pleasers, as Reshma Saujani would say, in short, to be perfect. Whereas boys are socialized from the very beginning to get dirty, and take risks and jump off the top of the monkey bars and be brave and shake it off and try new things. And what happens is, I think for women, early on, we are rewarded for doing all of those things. So we do get good grades. And we do, please teachers, and we do please our parents, and everyone says, Oh, that Kim, she’s such a nice girl. And she’s such a smart girl. And understandably, we keep jumping through those hoops, because we were receiving positive feedback for all of that sort of thing. And early on, it does get us additional rewards, such as awards in high school, getting into the college of your choice, getting the job that you want, getting early promotions, those sorts of things. The challenge becomes, as we start to move ahead, and as we start to become more senior, we start to notice that perfectionism is a double-edged sword. Because it has gotten us in many ways where we want to go, doesn’t mean it’s always been, you know, the greatest thing in the world for us. I mean, we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves trying to get things perfect, but it does bring rewards for a time. The challenge is that leadership requires something different, you know, leadership as we become more senior, and we become eligible for leadership roles, where the, whether they’re official leadership roles with a title or they’re unofficial leadership roles, our job description changes. And the things that we prize in leaders in our society include things like a willingness to fail, you know, big picture, big vision thinking, a high tolerance for taking risks, the ability to innovate or drive change, you know, something, something now is happening in the organization, and they’re expecting us to make it happen. Even things like delegating to other people, motivating other people. And the challenge is that you haven’t been practicing those things. So when you are pursuing perfectionism, you really can’t be that leader, because all of that involves taking risks and there’s the potential to fail there.
Kim Meninger Oh, my gosh, so much of what you’re saying resonates with me. And I think that really one of the things that I think about a lot is this idea of, how can you be creative and a perfectionist at the same time, right, because to your point, perfectionism means meeting someone else’s definition of what success looks like, right? I’m going to do it perfectly for you, I’m going to follow the whatever the blueprint is in that, in my mind exists around this, that makes it really hard to color outside the lines, right? And when you’re talking about being innovative, when you’re talking about creating change and taking risks, you have to be willing to set aside the notion that there’s a right way to do something, and really go out into the scary world of creating something new.
Elise Holtzman I think that’s absolutely true. It’s fear-based. We don’t want to disappoint other people, we internalize it and don’t want to disappoint ourselves. I think sometimes it can be hard to find that line between, am I doing this, so somebody else will think I’m great, or am I doing this so that I will think I’m great, right? That I’ll be upholding my own standards. And I think over time, that line becomes blurrier and blurrier. Because we just, we take on those things, as I said earlier, we internalize them, I also think it’s important to remember that different people may be perfectionistic, about different things. So there are things that I can be perfectionistic about, I care about them deeply, I really want to do a good job. And then there are other things where I just don’t care that much. So a perfect example, you know, my joke is, and other people have, have talked about me this way, and even, even mentioned my own job, which is that I like to call myself a control enthusiast, not a control freak. And, you know, even even though I am a control enthusiast, there are certain things I just don’t care about. So for example, we recently went on a vacation with another couple, the other couple happens to be my, my cousin and his wife, that we’re very, very close with, and we don’t get to see enough, so we went on vacation with them. And my view was telling me where to be and what we’re doing. And I’ll be there, you know, tell me and I even called My cousin I and you know, my cousin’s wife, and I said to her, what am I packing? You know, just tell me what clothes I need. So it’s, it’s strange because we’re not necessarily perfectionistic about everything. And I think that that goes to what we’re most motivated by what are our core drivers and motivators? What are the things that we most care about. And, you know, I do a lot of work with a set of personality tools called type coach. And it’s all based on Carl Jung’s theories of personality. And, you know, for those listeners who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs model type, because she uses the same letters, I just happen to really love the type coach model. But the idea is that we also have certain temperaments. So there are two, there are four two-letter combinations. And those describe our core motivators and four drivers. So if you’re someone who is very driven, to come up with new ideas, and think outside the box, and have a huge impact, you might be really perfectionistic about that, like, I have to have the big idea, I have to come up with something that’s really going to change the world. So for example, one of my daughters is very much that way. You know, she is somebody who thinks big thoughts, and she wants to cure, you know, solve for climate change, and all the cybersecurity problems of the world. And all of those sorts of things where somebody like me is more detail-oriented. And so I’m very concerned with dotting eyes and crossing T’s and God forbid, there’s a typographical error and something that I put out, I think about it for, you know, a day and a half and that sort of thing. And so I think that if you think about yourself, and what your core motivators and drivers are, what’s so baked into you, that you feel is just a part of who you are, you may start to see that you get perfectionistic about those things because those are the things that are really important to you.
Kim Meninger That’s a really good point too because I do think of myself as in some ways, I try to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist, I know that there’s always work to do. But it’s interesting that you say that, because there are definitely areas of my life where I am not a perfectionist, I am not, you know, overly organized. I’m not incredibly detail oriented, I am a bit of a grammar nerd. And so I take very seriously how I frame my language and things like that. But I do not really get hung up on you know, if I’m doing a presentation, I’ll write the slides, and then I just show up and see what happens. I don’t practice I don’t really spend a lot of time preparing, it’s more of a, I’d like to just get out there and start talking. But where I become perfectionistic is really more in the social realm. Because that was an area of struggle for me as a child having moved every couple of years, I always felt like I had all this pressure to fit in. And I wanted people to like me. And so I’ve struggled with a lot of social anxiety throughout my life because I’m always afraid of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing making people unhappy. And so I get really perfectionistic around conversations that I have or interactions that I have with people that I care about because I don’t want to get that wrong. And so it’s really interesting for everyone listening to really think about where are those places in your life, where you tend to be more perfectionistic and what does that tell you? Do about what you value. And also,
Elise Holtzman I think, recognizing what it is that it’s getting in the way up. So, asking yourself the question, what is something I want to do but I have held back from doing it? And why? And that is often around fear. I mean, it’s usually all-around fear, right? And it can be fear of a number of different things. What if I fail? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I make an idiot out of myself? What if my mom thinks it was a bad idea? You know, what if somebody gets annoyed with me for, for trying it or saying it or doing it? And once you recognize that, that it’s getting in your way, and how specifically it’s getting in your way, then I think you can do something with it? Because the challenge here is yes, it got us rewards in the beginning. But again, now we’re becoming as you become more senior or older, you know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the workplace. What is it preventing? What is this perfectionism and this adherence to someone else’s rules, actually holding you back from and when you think about that, then you see what you might be missing? And that’s not to beat yourself up about it. But just to recognize, hmm, that’s interesting. If I had it, you know, if I had my way I would be doing this thing. But I keep making excuses for why I can’t do it. Or I keep saying, well, I’ll do it next year, I keep saying, Well, I’m too busy, I can’t get to it. And it may be all of those things. And it may be perfectionism that’s getting in your way.
Kim Meninger It’s a really good point. And I think one of the other themes that I often talk about is the all-or-nothing thinking that we tend to fall into, because I think that the for those of us who can identify with some element of perfectionism, there’s often this feeling that either I’m going to do it and do it really well, or I’m not going to do it at all, as opposed to recognizing that there’s a lot in between. And so if the fear of making a mistake, is keeping us from doing something, it’s also keeping us from learning and challenging ourselves in growing and new areas.
Elise Holtzman Well, I’ll give you an example. So as I mentioned, I have two daughters who are in their 20s. And they’re both extremely academically inclined. So they did very, very well, in high school, they went, interestingly, went to the same university, which is, you know, a top school, their peers are highly intelligent and motivated. And they’re really, really good at school, you know, they’re really, really good at doing well in school. And now they’re both out in the work world. And you know, they’re doing well, one is out for four years one is out for one year, they’re doing very well. But it’s interesting to watch, the kinds of things that come up for them, and the kinds of things that aggravate them, freak them out, get them concerned, there’s so many new little lessons to learn, that you learn when you start working, that you’ve never learned before. It’s an entirely different world. And I have heard them say things that are kind of perfectionistic. And they beat themselves up about sometimes about the things that they don’t know how to do. Well, how could you possibly know how to do these things if you’ve never done them before? And so no, nobody wants to see their kids suffer or being, you know, briefly miserable, or whatever it is. But, you know, I was just talking to my mom about this last night like it has to happen. We know this intellectually, we know that we have to fail, we have to try things and not get them right. We have to ask other people for their advice and have people correct our work. And have people say, Well, here’s a better way of doing it. Why don’t you give this a shot? And so, fortunately, they’re in pretty supportive workplaces where people are willing to teach them and they are able to grow. And that’s a lesson that they’re continuing to learn. There’s, they’re starting to learn how to accept the fact that they are going to get things wrong, and they aren’t going to figure it out all upfront, but especially for people who have been so used to excelling. Early on, that can be very challenging, and but there’s no way for us to move ahead. There’s no way for us to learn without making those mistakes.
Kim Meninger You’re right. And it’s so interesting because you would think in some ways that people who have done really well in school would be that much better positioned to learn something new and a different phase of life. However, it really is a paradigm shift. Because when you think about how you are set up for sex success in an academic environment, right, that the table is set very differently, you know, they tell you what the curriculum is going to look like. They tell you what you’re going to be tested on, you know what the, the model of success looks like, and you’re just trying to march towards what the teacher has already laid out as what you need to know or do. Whereas in the workplace, a lot of assumptions are made a lot of, you know, rules are unwritten and you’re feeling this sense of being very out of control over your own learning process.
Elise Holtzman And I think that that’s true for most professionals. You know, if you’re talking about If If your audience is, is a lot of professional people, a lot of those people did extremely well in school, you know, these are some really bright people that we’re talking about and that we’re talking to. And then they get out into the world. And it’s like, okay, great, you know, you’ve learned how to be an engineer, you’ve learned how to be an architect, you’ve learned how to be a doctor or a lawyer, or whatever it may be. Now go do it. Great, I’m going to do it. But all of a sudden, I have to manage people, I have to manage, you know… What’s the word I’m looking for? Projects, I have to, I have to deal with some people who aren’t happy, some people who are happy. I mean, there are things that are so baked into the life of a business that we’ve never had to deal with before, I’m just speaking with my daughter over the weekend. You know, there are so many things that she’s learning to do, she’s moving up in terms of management, she’s doing less and managing more. And so that’s something new for her, you know, people show up very differently. Now, you’ve got to manage this one, or anybody who’s a parent knows this, right? You’ve got, you’ve got different people you could have, you know, your kids are like you’re in the workplace, the analogy would be your kids or your employees, but all of a sudden, you think you’re managing one way. And then you’ve got these people who show up completely differently. So you’ve got to manage them differently. So there are so many little tiny nuances of our lives. And it, if we get perfectionistic about it, I think what happens is we just start, we beat ourselves up, I think it’s exhausting. As I said, I think it’s holding us back from being who we really are capable of being and doing the things that we really want to do. And so I do think it’s worth being aware of how it came to pass, not blaming people, right, I could blame my parents for my perfection. I mean, God knows it’s fun to blame your parents for all sorts of things. But, you know, I can blame my parents for my perfectionism. But meanwhile, even though I, my husband, and I decided very early on, let you know, we’re gonna raise these strong, independent women, I still socialize them for perfectionism. To some extent, as soon as I saw that, they were academically inclined, you know, I definitely encourage them to be the best they could be. Do you think that they really heard be the best you can be or be perfect? And so I’m not immune to it either. I just think it’s worth being aware of it. You know, forgiving yourself for it. We’re fallible, you’re a human being, you’re fallible, and so forgiving yourself for being fallible. Understanding that it’s not you being kooky, these cultural expectations are baked in and then understanding the difference between what you believe and what’s true. Right. So we tend to believe we drink our own Kool-Aid, if you will, we tend to believe the thoughts that we have. And so you know, there’s truth with a capital T, like, the earth is a globe, although there are flat earthers out there, and so with all due respect to them, the earth is a globe. But then there’s your truth, like, Oh, I’m terrible at this, or oh, I’m never going to succeed. Well, how is that? Is that your truth? Or is that global truth? Right. And so I think that that’s something that’s important to, to think about. Also, this idea that, what it, what it is that perfectionism is really doing for us. And what it is, is it’s keeping us safe. We’ve talked about this, right? The idea that it’s keeping us safe because maybe we’ll make fewer mistakes if we’re super perfectionistic about things. But it’s keeping you small. It’s, you know, and that’s the, I think there’s a constant tension there. Do I want to be safe? Of course, nobody wants to suffer. And at the same time, if I’m safe, I’m also keeping myself small, and not doing some of the things that I could be doing. So I guess recognizing, even if it’s just intellectually at first, right, because I think it’s easy to recognize these things intellectually, but not as easy to actually have them baked into you and how you behave. But when you recognize, to start with intellectually, that imperfection actually allows you to be you. It allows you to be the best of who you are because it keeps you moving, and it keeps you learning and it keeps you growing. So I think that starting with the awareness, I think that’s the first step is understanding how all of this stuff plays out, recognizing it, being open to it, not beating yourself up about it, not beating anybody else up about it, but simply observing it is a good place to start.
Kim Meninger I think it’s such a great point. I’m glad that you use that term, being small because I think about that a lot in the context of perfectionism because I have also a lifelong anxiety disorder. And when I find myself, trying to stay safe, and protect myself, what that inevitably means is that I curate my world in such a way that I only interact with things that I know I can do really well or that are very predictable, which cuts off all of the interesting, challenging parts of life. And I think the more we do that, the scarier things become. We, we still have increased the magnitude of what it might mean to make a mistake. Because we haven’t built the resilience muscles around it. One of the things that I often recommend is put yourself in a position where you have no choice but to make a mistake, because it reminds your brain, oh, this actually isn’t as bad as I thought it was. You don’t have to do that in the boardroom. Right. But to do it in your personal life, like, one of the things that I often joke about is, you know, I’m really hard on myself when my husband and I take the kids bowling, like, once or twice a year, I’m like, Oh my God, why am I not a perfect bowler? And my husband’s like, why would you think you would be you do this once or twice a year? Why can’t you just have fun with it? Right? And I, I think about that to have like, what are the things we can introduce into our lives that we know we’re not good at for their, for the sake of having fun, challenging ourselves, letting our brains know, you know what, it’s okay to get it wrong, it’s okay to practice something new.
Elise Holtzman Well, and it might turn out that you aren’t good at it. I mean, I write because you have no way of knowing, as you say, until you give it a try. I mean, there’s my neighbor’s son had never tried running before. And I guess they were looking for something to him for him to do in high school. So they sent him out running, I guess, you tried for the track team, he had no idea if he was going to be any good at it. And then it turned out, he was amazing at it. And, you know, he he actually wrote about it in his college essay. Because he had, you know, the kids have all these stickers, the teenagers have these stickers on their, on their laptops. And one of the stickers on his laptop, says something like love yourself, like Kanye loves Kanye. And he wrote, he wrote his his essay about this, the idea that, you know, he really didn’t know where he fit in. And he really didn’t know if he didn’t think he was good at anything. But he tried a few different things. And running was one of them. And it turned out he was really quite good at it. So you know, it’s, it’s a great example. And also, you know, younger people, I think sometimes are much more willing to try things. And so I think sometimes looking and seeing what they’re doing will give us a little bit of, a little bit of impetus to do something different.
Kim Meninger I agree. I think that’s a great idea. Anything else that you would suggest to people who are saying, This is me that you’re talking to? How do I get out of this?
Elise Holtzman Well, I think going back to the, the example of my neighbor is really about taking action. So I think there are two things around this one is the awareness that I talked about, right, all of those things that we discussed. And then the second piece is, is action, you can practice being brave. You can conduct many experiments, you know, you don’t have to be married to anything, you can say, Well, I’m gonna give this a shot. Like, I’ll give you an example. Last summer, we wound up going out on a lake and doing some kayaking and things like that. And we decided to try you know, motor boating, which I know nothing about. I think I’ve been a passenger in a motorboat a couple of times in my life. But let me tell you something, when you get out on, on a lake in a boat, they’re boats coming from every direction. They’re people, you know, they’re, they’re towing kids on floats, they’re towing, there’s wave surfing, wake surfing going on their sailboats. I mean, it’s a little bit terrifying out there. And so we said, Okay, we’ll give it a shot, we’ll get someone to teach us. And so we’re conducting these mini experiments, like, we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna try to dock the boat today. Because driving the boat, as I found out is actually not the problem. It’s the docking, that’s a problem. But, you know, being willing to conduct many experiments, and then also, I think challenging those thoughts in your head, right? You don’t have to listen to everything that that Gremlin, you know, that negative voice in your head says to you, you can she’s, she’s there to keep you safe. As I said, before, you know, she, she’s there because she loves you. And she talks smack to you and tells you, you know, you’re not good enough for you to do this. Or, you know, why can’t you do that? But you don’t have to believe everything she says, right? Again, that’s sort of the lowercase t truth. So I think that, you know, being willing to put a toe outside your comfort zone, you know, you don’t have to throw yourself, you know, up off a bungee you know, with a bungee cord attached to your ankle off a bridge. I think that you know, the idea of putting a toe outside of your comfort zone. We all know intellectually, that’s where the growth is. But again, it’s scary. So if you put a toe outside your comfort zone, pick something that you’re a little nervous about and give it a try. I think that reward yourself for trying, right? Especially when you fail, don’t, don’t be like, Oh, well, there you go. You tried something and obviously failed. No, this was important, right? This is an important exercise. It’s awesome that you tried something and it didn’t work out just right. Because you survived. You’re still here, you are resilient. So the another thing that I think is important is to, to speak up and ask, you can ask for. You can ask for new opportunities. You can ask for help. You know, one of my kids never wanted to ask for help. And she would wait until she got into a really difficult situation. And it turned into a crisis and we kept saying to her, why didn’t you ask for help? Well, what would people think of me if I couldn’t do this myself? And so she got herself into, into some pickles. So I think speaking up and being willing to ask other people for help, maybe there’s someone who can mentor you, maybe there’s someone who can come out on the boat with me and so I don’t crash into docks, and trees and things like that. And then I think, surround yourself with other people who are just willing to talk about these things, and they’re just sort of badass people, right? You know, there are some badass women you can surround yourself with, if that’s, if that’s what you’d like to do. And people who were out there trying to be the best version of themselves, even if that means getting it wrong, sometimes.
Kim Meninger Such great points. And I think about a couple of things as you’re talking, it’s like relating it back to other things that we understand and accept at face value, too. Because when you’re talking about asking for help, I think it’s really important to recognize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but it’s actually an, a sign of leadership to leverage your resources. And I think of it as you know, the workplace your job is a team sport. And it’s like assuming that you would need to be the pitcher, the catcher in every other role on a baseball team in order to do your job effectively. And so if you kind of think about your own mindsets, and connection to other models that exist, it can be really helpful to reframe, and another one I was thinking about when you talked about the experiments is I think about this a lot to act like a scientist in your life, don’t get emotionally attached to the outcome. Be curious, do those little experiments, what would happen if I try that, right? My, my whole world is not gonna come crumbling down, people aren’t going to hate me or think I’m a loser, right, I’m just gonna try, I’m gonna like, pull some levers and see what happens. And I think if we can sort of think differently about ourselves in relationship to our environments, it frees us to try different things in new ways.
Elise Holtzman Those are great points, especially this idea that we’re not individual contributors anymore. As you age, whether it’s in a family system, or Community System, or a work system, we’re not just individual contributors anymore, we really are in a position of collaborating with other people. So it may be I’ll just use an example from the legal world, you know, if you’re an associate at a law firm, you may be the one doing the initial draft of a brief or a transactional document. When you become more senior, you’re the person who’s making sure it gets done. But it doesn’t mean you’re the one doing it, you may be working with a transactional team or a bunch of people on a particular litigation. And you’re not necessarily the one sitting there doing the proofreading and writing the document. So none of us really operates in a silo. And you can’t ever do anything brave or move ahead if you’re worried about what other people will think. And that’s actually from Brene. Brown. So she says that you can’t ever do anything brave if you’re worried about what people think. And you know, another quote that I really liked around this topic is, and this from Reshma Saujani, who wrote, Brave, not Perfect, who I mentioned earlier, she talks about this in it in the context of women versus men, and she says being brave like women, right is, is about making choices based on what we want. And what makes us happy, not what others expect or want from us or for us. And so I think that’s the shift that has to happen is that if I do something, hey, whether I get it right or not, if it makes me happy, then it doesn’t necessarily really matter what other people think.
Kim Meninger That’s right, exactly. I think that, you know, in general, I’m a big believer in adopting a service-based mindset, I don’t encourage people to be ego-driven in every decision that they make or every interaction that they have. But I do think that too often we put other people’s needs ahead of our own. And if we’re coming from a place of these are my core values, this is what I believe to be the right thing for the moment. There were going to be people who don’t like that in too bad.
Elise Holtzman Right. And to be clear, I agree with you that coming from a place of service, excuse me is extremely important. Going out there and being of service to other people is really important, but not at the expense of one’s mental health, not at the expense of one’s physical health, not at the expense of doing the things that you want to do. So for example, you can be in service and hate what you’re doing. And, and there’s another way to be of service that’s going to fill you up and make you jump out of bed every morning excited about what you do. And so I think that every person on the planet deserves to find peace somewhere and to find happiness and motivation and excitement somewhere. And you can do that and serve other people. At the same time. It doesn’t have to be an either or it can be a both and.
Kim Meninger Yeah, great, great points. Wow, at least I know I could. I could sit here all day. It’s conversation with you. Where can people find you any final thoughts as we’re wrapping up today?
Elise Holtzman I’m easy to find on LinkedIn. You can just find me at Elise Holtzman on LinkedIn. You can also come visit us on the web at thelawyersedge.com. And I’m always happy to hear from people who are interested in this topic or any other.
Kim Meninger Wonderful well thank you again for this great conversation. I have no doubt it will be helpful and, and wishing you all the best.
Elise Holtzman Same to you, Kim. Thanks so much.