A Meaningful Independence Day

Arnie Herz - A Meaningful Independence Day; IMAGE used with permission:  "Battle of Gettysburg", L. Prang & Co. print of the painting "Hancock at Gettysburg" by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett's Charge. Restoration by Adam Cuerden (click for larger version)Seven years ago, I took a summer trip to Gettysburg and spent hours walking through the battleground and cemetery.  It was a profound experience connecting with the people and events that took place exactly 150 years ago today.  July 1-3, 1863 changed history in a way that shaped our nation and the world, and put us on a course that has shaped our own lives in a way that is significantly different and better from what it would have been but for the Battle of Gettysburg.  I find it incredibly synchronous that this epic Battle ended on the eve of July 4th.

Even though every moment in life and history is important and shapes our reality, there are those handful of moments that do have an extraordinary impact – for better or for worse.  Those challenges or crises may be on a major national or global level, or in our business or personal life. What is critical is that we recognize the importance of the moment, the immense consequences of success or failure in how we deal with that moment, and that we rise to the occasion and act in a way that is essential.

Modern day examples of such effectiveness in a crisis situation lead me to Rudy Guiliani in the aftermath of September 11th, FDR’s response to Pearl Harbor and cool calm focus of Captain Sully Sullenberger who landed a plane on the East River.

As a lawyer for the past 22 years, I have seen my clients face one crisis after the next.  Routinely, I try to help them avoid panic and reactivity. Helping them get into a calm focus and gain clarity on what needs to be done, helps my clients be effective and successful. The decisions they make in those moments will shape their lives, the lives of their family, employees, partners and many third parties such as customers, vendors and the like.

As I have written many times, here most recently, lawyers should become skilled at Emotional Intelligence.  In my opinion, it is the single most important skill and yet most lacking in the legal world.  This shortcoming has fueled an endless amount of protracted litigation and failed business negotiations with a significant adverse impact on our economy and the lives of many.

Wishing you all a happy and meaningful Independence Day.

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