Hillel the Elder taught, “If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” These watchwords came to mind when I was asked me to become a featured blogger on Be-Fulfilled.org. They came to mind when I was asked to present at the San Antonio forum. They were on my mind each time I drove to the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio working for passage of the Ohio Collaborative Family Law Act and, they helped me say “Yes” when I was asked, in 2005, to chair the organization then known as the Collaborative Family Lawyers of Cincinnati.
When I decided to limit my practice to non-adversarial Collaborative practice and mediation; when I acknowledge my representation on all the Participation Agreements I am fortunate enough to present; when we de-brief at the end of a team meeting; I am for myself; I am for my colleagues; I am for the family participating in the Process.
If I were not for myself, I would still be litigating; I would be taking depositions; I would be sending out subpoenas; I would be numbering exhibits. This is so, because what I am for is transparency; I am for efficiency; I am for facing fears and increasing self-awareness. I am for bringing expert opinion to the table, and I am for creating options, assessing consequences and negotiating in complete good faith.
Ten years ago we were developing protocols for meetings; debating the merits of one- or two-coach models; and we struggled “to sell” Collaborative and fine-tune our elevator speeches. Today we are enacting statutes; recognizing the higher callings of our professions and speaking of evolution, not just revolution. If not now, when?
What is next for you? What is next for your state or local practice group? What is next for the IACP? What is next for your profession? Modern-day scholar Viktor Frankl wrote, “…being human means being confronted continually with situations, each of which is at once a chance and a challenge, giving us a ‘chance’ to fulfill ourselves by meeting the ‘challenge’ to fulfill its meaning. Each situation is a call, first to listen, and then to respond.” This is what I love about Collaborative work. The moments of silence between the call and the response; it's electric!
What do you love about it? In what new ways can we collaborate and create meaning for our lives? Do you have inspirational sources to share?
I am so looking forward to this Be Fulfilled project and I am so looking forward to hearing from you.