Free Transcript Project #10

The Law Practice Doctor : Burnout Prevention and Stress Resilience
http://thelawpracticedoctor.com/podcastpauladavislaack/

Host : Sam Gaylord : http://thelawpracticedoctor.com ,
Twitter : ( https://twitter.com/sgaylordesq )

Guest : Paula Dais Laack (JD, MAPP) –  http://www.pauladavislaack.com

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[intro music]

Announcer : Hello, and welcome to “The Law Practice Doctor”, the ONLY podcast dedicated to providing you the EASIEST, most PRACTICAL, and PROFITABLE ways to grow your firm and still have a life. Attorney Sam Gaylord is the founding partner of Gaylord Popp (http://www.gaylordpopp.com/ ), a prestigious law firm specializing in worker’s compensation, social security disability, and personal injury law. Using Sam’s unique gift for marketing and business development, Gaylord Popp  has seen dramatic growth by focusing on finding the right clients, delivering an outstanding experience for those clients, and seeing that their partners and associates enjoy a well-balanced home life. So if you’re looking for inspiration, techniques, and proven strategies on how to grow a more profitable and enjoyable law practice, you’ve come to the right place. Please welcome your host, the “law practice doctor” himself, Sam Gaylord.

Sam Gaylord : Welcome to another episode of “The Law Practice Doctor”, the only podcast designed to helping solo and small law firms succeed by providing the easiest, most practical solutions, to grow, practice, and still have a life. Today we are absolutely lucky and thrilled to have with us Paula Davis-Laack – I hope I pronounced that correctly, right?

Paula Davis-Laack : Yes.

Sam Gaylord : Okay. Perfect. Today we’re going to work on the “still having a life” portion of the “The Law Practice Doctor”. Paula Is a former practicing attorney, publisher, writer, and media contributor, on topics near and dear to, I think, EVERY practicing attorney’s heart, which are burnout prevention and stress resilience. She has [had] her articles appear in The Huffington Post, US News and World Report, and Psychology Today. And I know that she is the founder and CEO of the Davis Laack Stress & Resilience Institute (http://www.pauladavislaack.com/about/davis-laack-stress-resilience-institute/ ). We’re going to get through all of that, and where you can [get and] stay in touch with Paula throughout the course of our interview. First of all. Thank you for joining me today on “The Law Practice Doctor”.

Paula : You are welcome. Thanks so much for HAVING me, Sam .

Sam :  Absolutely my pleasure. So before we get into all of the great content which everybody can certainly find on your web site [at] : http://www.pauladavislaack.com/ . Is that correct?

Paula : That’s correct.

Sam :  Perfect…. So before we get into all of the good content, and what’s going on, I want to make sure that we get the opportunity to get to know you a little bit better. And as any good doctor knows, the idea of meeting a new patient the first time is to take a good history.  So without much ado, why don’t you give us a little more on your background, how you got to this point, and talk a little about the Stress and Resilience Institute.

Paula : Great. So, as you mentioned, I practiced law. I practiced for seven years, practicing commercial real estate law. And as we were briefly talking about, I practiced right when real estate was in a boom. It was all through the 2000s, before the economy crashed, and to say that I and my fellow real estate attorneys were busy is an UNDERSTATEMENT.

Sam :  Right.

Paula : And I found that I was burning out during the last year of my law practice, and I didn’t really know, kind of, WHAT I was going through. It was just all of a sudden feeling like, “Why can’t I handle stress? ” It seemed like I was able to before, [and] seems like everybody ELSE was able to, [so] what [was] it about ME all of a sudden that was making it so that I [didn’t] really feel like I [could] manage that. So I finally – after MULTIPLE trips to the HOSPITAL, and all kinds of other things – basically zeroed in on the fact that stress and burnout were causing all of the things that were going on.

[However] I actually LOOKED at still staying in the legal profession, because I felt like I came to a point where I really had to reevaluate  my career and [ask myself], “Is this REALLY something that I want to continue? Maybe I want to go into a different AREA or law? [Or] maybe a different area of the COMPANY I was at?” I decided that I was going to take a CHANCE.

My parents had owned a business for a LONG time, and so I grew up in a very entrepreneurial world. [I] had wanted to OWN my own business at SOME point, and thought, “Why not NOW? Let’s do it now.” And I just became interested trying to study and understand and learn more about stress, what causes burnout, and not only that, but what can you do to PREVENT it?

Sam :  Terrific. I know that as part of what you are doing  that there’s a coaching component to the materials, and other things, so I would THINK that you’ve had the opportunity to, sort of,  really ANALYZE, and get a good sense, or feeling, of what is CAUSING the stress, and then potentially how to avoid it.

Paula : Yes. It’s not only the COACHING component, – which is a little bit on the smaller side of what I do – but it’s also a lot from the training and workshops that I do. So really, in THAT sense, meeting the people and getting to have a better understanding of – ESPECIALLY in the LEGAL profession – what’s driving a lot of this.

Sam :  Okay. Good. So then there’s multiple ways in which you can provide assistance with these particular important topics, and we’ll get into that in terms of how people can have access to that. But in terms of diagnosing the problems, in terms of either stress or burnout – I mean, I can always say that, “Oh, I’m stressed.” But what are some of the SPECIFIC signs that you’re seeing , either in the workshops or the other types of [situations] where you’re dealing with people – what do you commonly see as,  sort of, SIMILAR diagnoses of problems, [or] similar things that you can,  sort of, recognize across the board?

Paula : Sure. I know that the research points to three very specific, big DIMENSIONS of burnout, and I see these three going on very consistently with the people who I coach, and teach, and talk to. The FIRST one is the sense of chronic, low energy.  So there’s this EXHAUSTION component going on. For me it [included]  having a hard time getting to sleep, having restless sleep, waking up not feeling refreshed, dreading Monday morning. Just feeling like I couldn’t get the energy to get myself motivated. One of the things to punctuate with that is that this is CHRONIC. So this is not like you wake up one day and you’re tired, or you’re having a tired week, or what-not. This is something that happens over a period of time. So there’s THAT piece.

The second piece is cynicism. I think of it as everyone and everything just irks you, or runs you the wrong way.  I always joke with people [that] it’s funny that when LAWYERS notice that you’re being too cynical, then you know you must REALLY be cynical.

Sam :  [laughter] You KNOW you have a problem WHEN ….

Paula : [laughter] Yeah. What this looked like for me – and what I hear similarly from [other] people – is [that] I was always, of course, very cordial with my clients, and always willing to help. But what would happen more and more is [that] privately, after conversations, I would think to myself, “Man, do you REALLY need my help with this? Didn’t we talk about this already? Isn’t this something YOU can fix? Why are you bringing me in on this?”

And, of course, I never SIAD that to anybody, but that’s how I felt. So that was the cynicism at work.

Then the last big dimension is something called “inefficacy”. So feeling like you’re not able to produce the results you were once able to. Like you’re trying, and it’s like, “Gosh, I’m, showing up and I’m really trying to get my work done, and get things done and out, but I just don’t have that same sense of connection, or engagement, with what I was doing.” So those are three big ones, for sure.

Sam :  Okay, so now that I’ve checked off ALL THREE [laughter]. Seriously [I assume that] when you’re talking to people, I’ve got to imagine – with a room full of lawyers – that there’s this, sort of, this “Ah-hah!” [where]  people are out there in the audience like, “Oh yeah. That’s me.” And there HAS to be sort of a sense of relief, that it’s like, “Hey, I’m NOT messed up. There may actually be something REAL out there?”

Paula : Yes. What’s funny, though, is that there’s still RELUCTANCE for somebody, or for a couple of people in the audience to raise their hand and say, “Yup! This sounds like me. I’m going through this.” Because I think there’s still a bit of a stigma attached to SAYING that you’re burned out.  [It seems that] the fear is that you might be perceived as not being TOUGH enough, not being able to handle it, maybe you’re not as serious about your career as these other people over here who seem to be able to handle their stress just fine. In reality, [though], LOTS of lawyers are having a hard time managing their stress, and I feel like if we could just TALK about it a little more it might be a lot easier for people to get some tools. Because often times, when I’m talking about this, people are definitely looking at each other and shaking their heads, and I often don’t get the full story until after I’m done speaking, and [then] someone will grab me at a reception or something and tell me a little bit about what’s going on, or they’ll contact me after the fact.

Sam :  Right. Well – and I have to say in all fairness, 1000% – I mean, how many bar association functions or events have you been at where we’re all sitting there saying the same thing, like “How’s it going?”, “Oh, it’s going good. How are you?, “Oh, I’m fine.” And nobody has a REAL conversation about what’s ACTUALLY  happening. Then if somebody was to say, “Oh my God. I’m dying, and this is going on…I don’t know what to do..” You’d be like, “Uh, why are you dumping on ME? I don’t know what the heck to do [to] help you.” Right? It’s like we’re almost INSTRUCTED or almost TRAINED to NOT talk about it.

Paula : Exactly, and I’ve done a lot of work with soldiers. My post-graduate training for my master’s degree – once  I stopped my law practice and went back to school [to] get] my master’s degree in something called “Applied Positive Psychology” – my post-graduate training was spent teaching drill sergeants, and other soldiers, stress management and resilience-building skills. So one of their sayings is, “Suck it up and drive on!” And I feel like there’s a “Suck it up and drive on!” mentality in the legal profession, and until we can start talking about the fact that, “Yeah. I’m going home and having three beers and seventeen chocolate chip cookies every night just to try and cope with the stress of what is going on”, I think it’s going to be a struggle to make headway with the issue.

Sam :  Nope. I couldn’t agree more. Okay. So now that we’re identified, or diagnosed, some of the issues and problems that you typically see, let’s get to the meat of the things. How can we FIX some of this stuff?

Paula : Mmm…Hmm.  So I’ve basically [taken] the best of what we know about stress – the latest and greatest – and mixed that with the best of what we know about how to help somebody BUILD their RESILIENCE. That’s really ultimately what I a trained in. [That] is, the SOLUTION side of it. How do we build our resilience? I define resilience as “a person’s capacity for stress-related GROWTH”.  So how can you get GOOD at stress? How can I make you better at stress so that you’re GROWING from it, instead of CRUMBLING from it.

So I just created a little sub-category of resilience called “stress resilience”. So how can I help make people better at stress? So there are FIVE big categories that I have come up with in my little model here. The first one is something that I just call “Practice Safe Stress” [laughter]. It’s really just a combination of incorporating more positive emotions into your diet, incorporating a couple of very key MINDFULNESS strategies and techniques. Then just generally figuring out a different mindset when it comes to stress, and there’s some really cool research around how to do that.

Sam :  Okay.

Paula : The second component is just building more motivation,  engagement, and energy. We know that a big part of what causes burnout is that you’re “unplugging”, as I call it, from the things that give you a lot of energy, and vitality, and zest, and enthusiasm. So we have to figure out how to get you plugged back in.

Sam :  Mmm…Hmm.

Paula : The third component  [is what I call] being a “FAT” thinker. So it’s “Flexible, Accurate, and Thorough” in your thinking. It’s figuring out how to turn that inner critic in your head into your “inner coach”. So how do you think better under stress, pressure and challenge?

Sam :  Okay.

Paula : The fourth component is just maintaining high quality connections with other people. So having really solid relationships is a great way to build resilience. And the last one is something I call “Improve your meaning quotient”. So, what are the sources of meaning in your life? What’s giving you meaning at WORK, [and] HOME? I know these are not conversations that lawyers often have [laughter], especially about, “What’s giving me meaning at work?””

Sam :  Right, and instantly I’m [thinking], “Oh, great! We’ve got “warm fuzzies”, and we’re going to be doing woo-woo in the office, and burning incense, right?

Paula : [laughter] Yeah right. Now that would be the case if I didn’t have TRUCKLOADS of evidence, and data, and research supporting how GREAT a lot of these tools are. So believe me, I am not a “woo-woo, warm and fuzzy” [laughter].

Sam :  [laughter] No, and I am just teasing you.

Paula : Of course.

Sam :  But right. What is it? The little box of feng shui sand in my thing, with the little rake, and all the other things, right?

Paula : Sing a lot of “Koom-ba-ya” [to get focused?]

Sam :  There you go. Terrific. Well there [are] a couple of things that I really want to try and highlight, because I think they’re really critical, [and they’re] certainly some of the things that I practice, or try to as best as possible.  The first one I actually like [is] that “Practice Safe Stress”. But from what I was gathering from what you were saying it really does talk, to me, about somebody’s mindset. That [is] that if you have more of a GRATITUDE thought process, or allow yourself to be grateful, and express that, kind of, gratitude – even if it’s just out loud, to yourself – saying, “Today I’m grateful for the fact that the sun is out, [and] that my wife and kids are having a good time at the Jersey shore today.” At least VERBALIZE some of those things POSITIVE though processes, that that actually provides – for ME anyway – some help.

Paula : Spot on! And I think it’s EVEN MORE important for lawyers, because we are trained pessimistic thinkers. We are trained to see : What could go wrong? Who’s responsible? Who’s at fault? Where’s the bad thing? What’s the problem in the contract lurking that I have to find so that my client doesn’t get sued? That’s just how we’re trained. So we OVER-EXPERIENCE pessimistic thinking, and so we also then over-experience a lot of negative emotions. We over-experience a lot of anxiety, anger between us and opposing counsel, frustration, [and] all of those things. So what THIS is meant to do is just, sort of, tip the scales at least a LITTLE BIT in the other direction, so that we can at least have a little bit more of some of that other stuff in our diet.

You mentioned gratitude, and gratitude is, sort of, the granddaddy of positive emotions, in my opinion. The research shows that when you have enough, or start to take that stance of incorporating gratitude into your life, you see greater life satisfaction, people are more productive, they sleep better, they’re less depressed, they have fewer physical symptoms in terms of colds, headaches, and fewer biomarkers for inflammation. So there are just these great BENEFITS that come from just introducing little things like gratitude.

Sam :  Sure. I also – and again this is just  from my own personal experiences – have found that even doing SMALL things, which may NOT – in the grand scheme of things – SEEM important, but where, like for example, you hold the door for somebody and make eye contact and say “Thank you”, or, “Have a nice day.”, as silly or simple as it may seems, to me it’s a way of saying, “Look. I’m trying to connect.”, and it’s as simple as just wishing [someone] a good day, or holding the umbrella for somebody, [and] silly things like that. But they really provide that, sort of, BOOST to whatever it is that makes you feel better, and eve n if it’s just a LITTLE bit, it makes you FEEL better.

Paula : Yeah. It really is THAT SIMPLE. I think we’ve gotten away from – especially in our “hustle and bustle, 24/7, always on busy, law firms and workplaces” that simple things like when your assistant hands you a redline of a document that he or she just did, say, “Thank you.” Actually look up from your computer, or iPhone, and say, “Thank you. I appreciate what you just did.” I mean, something that takes five seconds is really something that can have a lot of feedback.

One of the things that I talk about, too, is something called the “Ten-Five Rule”. So if you’re within 10 feet of somebody, actually look them in the eye and give them a nice little smile, and if you’re within five feet of somebody, actually say hello to them.

Sam :  [laughter]

Paula : Yet it’s easy to SAY, but it’s not necessarily easy to DO, because we’re so stuck to our devices, and we’re thinking about the court case that we have to deal with later on this afternoon, and so we’re not PRESENT often times.

Sam :  Well, and there’s the phrase. I think it was Brendan Burchard, but I was at a conference, and the discussion was that we are becoming a society so focused on always looking forward into the future that we’re really forgetting about trying to enjoy the moments that we’re IN, and not having an appreciation for how well things are going RIGHT NOW as you’re going through them. And the more you can DO that, [to] BE PRESENT, and  if you’re at a baseball or soccer game for your kid, NOT be on your device checking email, but actually be present and involved and engaged with that particular moment [which] provides you with a better sense of self.

Paula : Oh, without question. And I think you said it perfectly, and that’s the challenge. When you’re watching your kid’s ballgame, can you actually sit there and focus on the game for 45 minutes or an hour that the game is going on WITHOUT having seventeen side conversations, and looking at your phone every three minutes, and slipping out to make a call that you have to make?

People FEEL that. I had a boss – one of the only boss/partner folks who I worked with – who was SO good at this. So whenever I went into his office and had a question, or needed to talk to him about something, he would actually shut the lid of his laptop and actually look at me and listen to me, instead of typing and texting and all of the other things.  So I really, actually felt heard and listened to, and it built a really solid relationship between the two of us.

Sam :  Yup. No doubt. Then that goes down to the FOURTH item, which is the connection with people. You were talking about connections , and as you were saying it I immediately think [about] my family – my wife and kids – but then I start thinking of all of my friends – my non-lawyer [and] lawyer friends – and I always try and think of when I’m doing things during the course of the day, whatever it may be – where I’ll read an article, or see something – and think, “Hey. John might really like that. Why don’t I print that out and send it to John?” So it becomes a situation where I try and continue to keep that connection going so that I feel better.

Paula : Absolutely. And, you know, relationships take work. They’re, kind of, a living thing that has to actually be nurtured if you want it to continue to stay strong and go in the right direction. So I think that’s a mistake that sometimes lawyers make – especially with our FAMILY members – because we get so focused on work and we think, “Ah yes! My wife or husband, or significant other, and my kids are always going to be there, and they’re [people] I can just ignore for a little while, and not spend as much time with.” And I think really, at the end of the day, comes back to bite you on some level.

Sam :  Oh, no doubt. Again, from my own personal experience, [when I was growing up] my father was always traveling for business, was never around, didn’t get to the games and all of the other stuff, was always working , and we understood what it was all about. But that was one of the [reasons] why I left a big firm and went and set up my own law firm, because I swore to myself forever ago that if I were going to start a family that I was going to have the ability to go to the school events, and teacher things, and sporting activities, and concerts, and all of the other things. I wasn’t going to miss ANY of that.  I think that experience then creates the experience that I pass forward to MY children.

Paula : Absolutely. And you know, quite honestly, in thinking about whether to stay in the legal profession or start my own business, one of the things that I thought about too was the fact that MY parents were always [there] – my brother and I each played three sports, so we were constantly playing SOMETHING during the school year. And having your own business DOES give you a measure of autonomy and flexibility to be able to say, “Yup, sorry. I really AM leaving at 4:30pm today to see my kid’s game.”  That was appealing to me. I saw that, and it made an impact.

Sam :   Right. So these tools that you’ve now discussed, I would say, “Okay. So now we’ve been able to IDENTIFY some of the things that you can say, “Yeah, I’m falling into that category.”” Now those are some of the TOOLS that you can say, “Okay. If we do a FEW of these things…” One of the thing that I like to try and do as part of “The Law Practice Doctor” is to say, “If tomorrow I open the book to page one, and I started in the top left-hand corner, by the time I got to the end of page twenty [of] chapter one I would know the first two or three steps to do.” Is there something that you can [advise, such as] “Okay. You really want to try and work on THIS first, THIS second, [and] THIS third, as part of taking those tools and putting them into practice”?

Paula : That’s a great question.  Thinking back to the three big dimensions of burnout that we talked about, with the exhaustion and cynicism and inefficacy, I think the great place to start is to start to chip away at ALL THREE of those things. So one of the easiest things you can do is start to BUILD that sense of energy, and get that sense of energy back. One of the things that I do with folks is have everybody do [what I call] an “energy audit”. So I actually have them track, “How are you spending your energy – not your time – both AT WORK and OUTSIDE of work?” Then I have people assign percentages to each of the categories, and it’s amazing how many people go, “Whoa! I’m spending a TON of time – like 60% of my time – on things that drain my energy, both AT work and OUTSIDE of work.”  So then the question becomes, “Okay. What can you start to DO to get some of that back? Can you delegate things? If you have to deal with it then you have to deal with it, but start thinking about them. What can you offload? What can you change? What can you modify, to get a little bit of that energy reserve back?” Because we can’t go and go and go and go. It’s unsustainable, without taking some sort of a break.

Sam : Okay. So then what’s next?

Paula : Then I think the part we were talking about with the positive emotion piece. [That is] just injecting more little moments of positive emotions on some level during the day is NOT ONLY going to give you energy, but it’s also going to combat that cynicism piece. We’re going to start to swing the pendulum back in the other direction.  So we talked about the importance of gratitude, and just saying, “Thank You”. There’s [another] skill that I teach all of the time, and it’s something called “Find the good stuff.” Typically people do it at the end of the day. A lot of people tell me that they do it in the car when they’re leaving work and going home. They just think about a couple of good things that happened during the day, and why those things were important to them. We know that people who do that SIMPLE activity on regular basis report better sleep, less depression, better relationships, and higher life satisfaction.

Sam :  That’s great.

Paula : It was actually really interesting. I was teaching this skill to some law students that I have, and I think it’s because of just doing this for five minutes in the evening before I go to bed.

Sam :  Right. Neat.  It’s funny, because one of the thing in terms of energy, [is] I recently attended Tony Robbins’ “Business Mastery” out in Las Vegas. It’s an event where you’re in a conference room for the better part of anywhere from  15 to 17 hours [on] any given day. You’re there, and it’s like 12 o’clock at night, and you still have all of these people jumping up and down in a constant form of energy. And one of the things he always talks about is “being in state”. So just thinking to yourself, “I AM going to succeed. I WILL do better. This is not going to BREAK me.” Creating those kinds of MENTAL STATES really generates that kind of energy that I think you’re talking about.

Paula : Yeah, absolutely. And you can do that very intentionally.

Sam :  Yeah. And it’s not just MENTAL either. It’s [also] PHYSICAL. For example, there are times during MY day where I’ll get up and actually work standing up. I’ll make phone calls, but I’ll actually be walking back and forth in my office while I’ve got a headset on, because it’s a change of direction [in getting]  the blood flow and motion going. I’m a big Red Sox fan, so I’ve got a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. So I’m walking up and down and I’m just grinding away at the bottom of the bat. But it makes me FEEL good. It’s like [getting] the energy going, get some pumping going, or music, or any kind of thing that,  sort of, changes you mental state to [help] make you feel better, gives you that energy to get through the day.

Paula : Absolutely. And what you’re actually giving examples of are {pieces of research] I talk about which points to the fact that we need to be taking BREAKS while we’re at work, during our day, every 90 to 120 minutes, to stay in peak performance. So when I cite that research to folks a lot of them either just roll their eyes, or they outright LAUGH, because not many people are, with any sort of regularity, taking a break every 90 to 120 minutes. And really what it is is doing EXACTLY what you were just talking about. [It’s] grabbing the Louisville Slugger and just walking back and forth, just so you can think.  It switches the channel of your brain for just a little bit. It’s walking to grab a cup of coffee. It’s going next door to the next office to say,  ”HI.” It’s the same type of listening to music [type] strategies that you were talking about.

Sam :  Yeah, and it’s interesting because the articles that I’ve read [suggest] LESS than that. They [recommend that] out of every hour you really want to try and work 45 to 50 minutes and then take that 10 minute break, [or] whatever it may be, and refresh. Then actually, what I’ve started to do – although I’m trying to get better at it – is to keep a CLOCK on my desk – a countdown clock – so if I say, “Okay. I’m going to work for 45 minutes on THIS.”, then try to block that time to just work on that, and at the end of 45 minutes –done or NOT – “Okay. Now it’s on to the next thing.” I’ve actually found that it becomes MORE PRODUCTIVE. It’s almost like you’re PACING yourself, or RACING yourself, to try and get done as much as you can in that project for that set period of time.

Paula : Yes, and you’re also FOCUSING yourself as well., which is important. What you’re doing is an example of “chunking”. Chunking is a really great strategy to help people e more productive, and manage their time better. Because one of the problems that we have is that we, sort of, unintentionally come into the office and maybe check a couple of emails, and then we see an email [where] we go, “Oh, I have to address this right away!” Then that takes us in one direction. I’m reading a great book called “Two Awesome Hours” (http://www.amazon.com/Two-Awesome-Hours-Science-Based-Strategies/dp/0062326112 ), and one of the things that the author talks about are the decision points that we have when we’re DONE with a project, and how important it is to be really INTENTIONAL, when we have those pauses,  to make the decision points, because you might only get a FEW of them, really, during the day. [It’s important] to say, “Okay. I’m done with this project, and I’m now going to focus on THIS.”

Sam :  Yup. And email is a perfect example, where if you come in with a PLAN, and then you start checking email, you’ve now immediately thrown out what’s important to you, and now you’re basically being reactive to whatever everybody else’s agenda is, and you’ve lost your own agenda.

Paula : Absolutely.  Stephen Covet [in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People]( https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php ), I believe, is the one who talked about distinguishing the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important, and we’re making EVERYTHING urgent and important, and NOT everything is.

Sam :  Yup. Absolutely. That’s 1000% right. Okay. So now the last question I have in terms of what we’ve been talking about is, have you seen a scenario where things are just so bad that you have to take the patient into the emergency room and chop off the arm to save the patient, in terms of all of these burnout and stress thing?

Paula : [laughter] That’s actually what happened to ME! I landed in the emergency room a few times just with various stress-related ailments and illness and things that had gotten a little out of control. So I DEFINITELY DO NOT want people to get to that point.  So there’s a number of different tools and strategies that I can work with folks on. A lot of people come to me and they’re like, “I DON’T want to LEAVE my job? Can I do something and not have to leave my job?” And leaving your job is NOT the answer for everybody. In fact, it’s not the answer for MOST people. I’m probably the exception to the rule. So anytime I’m able to help people AT LEAST work through the process of INTENTIONALLY making their NEXT STEP is something that gives me a lot of joy.

Sam :  Terrific. Excellent. Well listen, I want to thank you. It has been AWESOME, and I’m sure [that] my audience has gotten as much out of this as I did. I now have two full pages of notes on a yellow pad which I’m going to convert into my own diary. [So] I did want to say thank you. I absolutely appreciate you’re having taken the time to join us today on “The Law Practice Doctor”. And before I let you go, if somebody is interested in getting more information about what it is that you’re doing, and how they can hopefully reduce their stress and prevent burnout, how is it that they [can] get in touch with you? What’s the best way to contact you and get that that great information?

Paula : Sure. So I have lots of resources on my web site, which is as you mentioned earlier : http://www.pauladavislaack.com . It [presents] all of my speaking engagement type topics, my workshops and training programs and my one-on-one coaching. Then if anyone wants to email me directly it’s just paula@pauladavislaack.com .

Sam :  And just so everybody knows, it’s Paula Davis LAAck (with TWO “A”s).

Paula : Thank you.

Sam :  Oh, my pleasure. Listen, it’s been great. Thank you very much for joining me, and I just want to say [that] I hope everybody – and I’m sure they did – got as much  out of this as I did. I want to thank you for joining us on “The Law Practice Doctor”, the only podcast designed to helping solo and small law firms succeed by providing the easiest [and] most practical advice to grow a practice and still have a life. Today we were privileged to have with us Paula Davis Laack talking to us about burning out and preventing stress and burnout, and all those good things. Definitely please try and go to her web site. There’s some GREAT information [at] : http://www.pauladavislaack.com . Thanks again Paula.

Paula : Thanks so much Sam.

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Source video
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Title : “15 Minutes Of Fact : Want to Transform the Economy? Start by Transforming Your Thinking?”

URL : http://youtu.be/TLio1YWOkzY

Organization         : 15 Minutes of Fact podcast :
Web Site                 : http://writtenoffamerica.com/
Host                        : Jerry Ashton
Contact                  : jerryashton1@gmail.com

Guest                      : Zeus Yiamouyiannis

Web Sites                 :
http://citizenzeus.com/
http://www.transformingeconomy.com

Contact                   : LinkedIn Profile , Email : zeus@citizenzeus.com

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Transcript
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Jerry Ashton : We’ve had some interesting guests on “15 Minutes of Fact” over time, and explored some compelling topics. When it comes to the intricacies of economic theory and abstract financial systems, however, I get a bit nervous. Even my bravest listeners are brightfully weary, even though they know that they will be subjected to no more than 15 minutes on one subject – hence, “15 Minutes of Fact”. So, I don’t propose that we’re going to lose even one member of our audience today with our audience with our guest Zeus Yiamouyiannis. Is that the correct pronunciation, Zeus?

Zeus Yiamouyiannis :  Yiamouyiannis.

Jerry Ashton : Yiamouyiannis. Thank you so much. He is reached by way of Skype at his home in the Philippines.Here’s why you’ll be interested. Somehow Zeus is able to deliver – in understandable English – clear answers to today’s economic train wreck. He magically reduces the complexity of trillions of dollars of currency, trade and debt, and reduces things down to simple accounting – almost the type of thing you’d be able to do at your kitchen table, but not quite. Because he is a PhD, after all, he’s an economics blogger, a futurist, and author of the newly published book “Transforming Economy : From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities”. He writes for zerohedgefund.com and oftwominds.com – two top alternative economic web sites – and is considered a performance educator in the way that he delivers information that informs as well as excites. Let’s see if he can make that happen on the show today. Welcome to “15 Minutes of Fact”, Zeus.

Zeus : Thank you so much for having me Jerry.

Jerry : Well, it’s a pleasure.So let me start out with that rather slippery word that you seem to use when you talk about the work that you do in economics – and that’s “transform”. Now, is this a use of semantics to get past everyone’s natural disinclination to accept change?

Zeus : Well, I think there are a couple of issues when you use a word like “transformation”. The first is the notion of resistance to change. I address this specifically in my book. I mean, many people are under the delusion that you can choose not to change. We’re in an era – as I said in my book – that things cannot go on as before. We know we will change. The only issues are, “Will change be done to us, or will it proceed from us?” So I think at this point the only thing that you would be doing is essentially using your perception to avoid reality that is already upon us. The second is also important, and that is romanticized notions of change that sort of substitute ineffective replacements – a kind of “new age fantastic thinking” that if we just hold hands together enough, or there’s a technological solution that’s going to come out of the woodwork and save us all –

Jerry : Wait…. wait,… wait. You’re telling me that “Kumbaya” and Google is not going to save us in this particular world we’re living in?

Zeus : Not without human consciousness and decision to let that change and transformation in consciousness work. And that’s what I really advocate for, and work with others to provide. I mean, there’s a necessity of change, there’s a reality of change , and then there’s the opportunity for change. I’m excited by that notion, and I think we could get more people on board if we show that change can be an exciting and purposeful and deep way to live.

Jerry : Well, let’s get to the subject at hand – the economic disaster that we’re calling the “Great Recession”. I’ve read through some of your earlier works and two stand out for me. One is called “Five Courageous Steps” – I like it when people give me numbers and quantities to work with. The other is called “Ten Shocking Practices”. Now, are they part of your just-released books? Or are they precursors? Tell us about them?

Zeus : Well, they’re both companion pieces to the book. The first one “Five Courageous Steps to Transform Your Economy” really is about what you can personally do to, sort of, see through the haze provided by our current economic situation. It’s actually available to your audience for free – if they just go to transformingeconomy.com and sign up for the newsletter, or email list signup – they will get a free copy mailed to them through their email. That’s, again, more focused on how you can translate some of the broader principles I have in my book to actual personal practices. The second, “Ten Shocking Practices in the U.S. and Global Economy” are really a “greatest hits list” of some of the most outrageous things happening in the economy – and then some follow up questions to stimulate discussion. It’s meant to be a companion piece to my book, and if people do get it – for the first people doing this, especially activists – I’m writing out a personal email and sending that along regardless of whether you buy just one book or more.

Jerry : Well, I want the listener to know that there are some really excellent, shocking items there that we’re aware of, but not aware of how really horrendous they are. Can you name three of them for us?

Zeus : Well, my greatest hit is “fraudclosure”. I’m astounded that two things happened with “fraudclosure”. One, there were hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of forged documents, that are clearly – I mean, there’s no dispute that they were forged. People have admitted that they were forged. Basically, there was an electronic system set up to do an end run around filing requirements, for property.

Jerry : Oh you’re talking about the famous “robo-signing” and things like that.

Zeus : “Robo-signing”, and there was nothing done about that. There was no real prosecution. There was not even really any investigation. What I found when I did research is that this $25 billion Attorney’s General solution ended up being – most of it, only about $8.5 billion was supposed to be in cash – that was never really done. Only $1.5 billion was spent on consultants. And I found out as recently as January of this year not a single dime has really been spent on a homeowner. So it’s really a big, huge smokescreen. Money is the whole chain of private property, which is supposed to be the bedrock of economy in terms of who owns what, and what an asset really is – and nothing has been done about it. It’s been swept completely under the rug.

Jerry : Which, of course, leads me to my next statement of dismay, and that is one of the unquenched calls of anger regarding the recession is that the culprits – the big banks, their thieving executives – have not been held accountable for what are clearly financial crimes. Now, nobody else has answered it. Why is that?

Zeus : Well, there are two parts to that that I can see in writing this book. The first is simply this. It is obvious that the people who are working on enforcement have been members of these banks that are not being investigated – as it turns out – and they are trying to protect their own former turf and relationships. They cannot separate their own lives and what they consider to be of benefit to themselves personally, and their official duties. That’s the first part – the more obvious. The other one is really sneaky – and incredibly condescending – and that is this notion that we have to excuse high crimes to prevent the suffering of the “little guy”. If these firms collapse, how many people will be thrown out of work? Lenny Brewer , who was part of the criminal division of the Department of Justice, resigned after a “Frontline” piece in which he said, “If we indited them, the company might fail.” It’s like, “Really! A criminal company might fail if you indict them.”

Jerry : The people I want to see thrown out on the streets are exactly the people you are talking about.

Zeus : Exactly. The main point is this. There can be no market without accountability, and in the present system there really isn’t accountability. This is what I want to say to them, “You’re trying to protect what? The market? Well, if you’re trying to protect the market you need accountability, which means you need to prosecute people who do crimes.”

Jerry : Well, that brings up the larger picture of debt. Something that seems to afflict everyone but the famed 1%. Some people say that we should simply walk away from debt as individuals, and even as a country. Now, are these debts so toxic that they cannot be converted into something that is usable? What is your opinion about this?

Zeus : Well, many of them are. The entire derivatives market, and the debt that was created out of them – something like a trillion dollars of so-called “toxic derivatives” were bought up by the Federal Reserve – are nothing but junk. They were constructed vehicles that referred to, basically, fantasy assets and collateral – and had no real purpose, except to generate fees and cash flow from nothing.

Jerry : And bonuses. Don’t forget the bonuses.

Zeus : Absolutely. Wall Street rewarded themselves – after they collapsed the world economy – with a near-record $144 billion in compensation. And they do that by basically extending counterfeit value in the form of these constructed, “fantastic” – not fantastic meaning, like, pure fantasy – economic vehicles that are not backed by anything. They just simply refer to assets, and then they make off with the transaction fees and bonuses on false paper profits. So this gets at the core of debt as asset. Debts have been considered assets, and this is a very twisted notion. And they certainly aren’t assets if people start defaulting on them. Debts require ability to pay, and because that has been forgotten we now have a situation where these so-called “toxic assets” and “toxic debts” really are junk. I advocate, in two chapters in this book, not only debt forgiveness but also finding ways to administer debt forgiveness. Because when you have something built on fraud – I mean, one of the titles is “Endgame : When Debt is Fraud, Debt Forgiveness is the Last and Only Remedy”. So we don’t expect a person to pay for a crime. If they are extended money in a fraudulent way, why should they have to pay it back? Now there is intricacies in how to deal with that, but we really should get –

Jerry : Well, I was listening to an interview you had done with Max Keiser on his show “On The Edge”, and I was struck by two things. First, the show was all about – and this was two year ago. As a matter-of-fact it was on September 17th, 2011. It was all about the Wall Street meltdown, and coincidentally enough on September 17th that’s the exact day that Occupy took over Zuccati Park. Is this something coincidental, or something you just pulled together yourself?

Zeus : Hahaha! I would call it auspicious – a meeting of the minds. What it is showing is that voice is a way to coordinate and pop-out in ways that we don’t expect. And it gives me real hope, because voice is the start of action. Real people need real food, water, clothing and shelter. They can’t go on extend and pretend. Finally, especially with Occupy Wall Street, people are finally saying, “And we need real accountability.” They’re starting to come out, and we’re finding that one of our basic needs – which people have forgotten about – is our need for community, and our need for voice. So to me I see it as a universal upsurge, and an auspicious coming together of people who care.

Jerry : Well, how could your book be of value to Occupiers and activists – not even considering the mainstream “Mom and Pop” out there, who haven’t given it a lot of thought, except a lot of their pain and blood, sweat and tears to surviving. How can your book possibly help in the face of the implacable and resolute enemies that we have both in the government and in banking. How would you, for example. counsel students with their staggering debts?

Zeus : Well, first of all, I would simply say, “Get active, creative, imaginative and organized.” One of the best ways to do this is to “stop feeding the beast” – that’s one of my steps in the “Five Courageous Steps To Transform Your Economy”, and there are specific ways to do that in the book. I think the most important thing about that is to start taking leadership, not to be reactive to the current system. To take as much energy away from it as you can, identify toxic practices – which I do in my book – and then take as much of your time and money away from that system as possible and use your leadership to organize and create the creative alternative. The last chapter in my book is called “Youth of the World Unite : How the Younger Generation Can Lead the Way To A New Frontier”. There is so much talent and ability there, and so much responsibility and liability being dumped on young people. I think they just need to go ahead and face that. Organize together and find ways to be really resourceful, and pull themselves out of that – essentially “death spiral” that former generations have provided for them – and develop their own leadership going forward. There are specific ways to do that.

Jerry : Okay. So what would it look like if we actually had an economy and a society built around the things that matter most to us. What would those things be, and what would that world look like?

Zeus : Basically my book is about going toward a democratic capitalism. We’ve never had it, but basically it is money serving people – not the other way around – people serving money. It also involves – because we have a sustainability issue – us really going from a more material to a non-material basis for our purpose of living. That is already kind of happening. We want to move from a : taking, exploiting and consuming society to a creating, giving and sharing society. Now that’s not kumbaya. That tag line that I like to use sometimes, that I’ve created is that, “I am a more fulfilled me by a more effective we.” If we can begin to develop that notion – and it is already coming up for the younger generations who not only believe that but experience that as a quality of life for them – then we can begin to turn the tide.

Jerry : Well, I can’t think of a better note on which to conclude our “15 Minutes of Fact” today Zeus. So allow me to ask you to give our audience some contact information on you and your book so that they may reach out to you directly. Now I know your email address is zeus@citizenzeus.com – and that’s your website as well. You’re also on LinkedIn and I notice that you’re also on Facebook. How else can people reach you and how can they find this book?

Zeus : Just type in : http://www.transformingeconomy.com . That will bring up the main page with email signup where you can get the “Five Courageous Steps To Transform Your Economy”. There’s a book link there where you can click on “Get The Book” where you can actually pick up the book. And I’m trying to develop community forums and so forth – but that is more in the works. You can also get at my main site – just having to do with transformation – and that is http://www.citizenzeus.com. It really focuses on transformation in economics, education and spirituality. So if you have interest in those areas go to http://www.citizenzeus.com and you’ll see some of my past essays there are well. So those are the two main resources I would point people to, and again you can contact me anytime at zeus@citizenzeus.com.

Jerry : Well Zeus, I can’t thank you enough for the time you have shared with us. You are living up to your reputation. I didn’t fallen asleep once. [laughter]. I hope that will also be true of the audience. That’s a good start – not falling asleep – I actually think you’ve activated me. I think that just might be happening. So, once again, this is Jerry Ashton with “15 Minutes of Fact”, searching out people with interesting ways of dealing with what we call “The Great Recession” – different and more likely fruitful ways in which to be able to build a stronger “we” so that you can become stronger yourself.

You can find me, of course, at Huffington Post – where I blog – my web site : http://www.writtenoffamerica.com, on Twitter as @WrittenOffUSA, and on LinkedIn.

Jerry Ashton signing off for “15 Minutes of Fact”

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