How to melt claustrophobia and panic.

airport flight meditation

What happens when you have a simple mindfulness practice that you can rely on?  Something you can pull out on demand, when you feel yourself starting to lose it and you absolutely need to be grounded and calm?

Here’s a story from one of my students, and how a simple practice has made a massive difference:

When I am overly tired or under high stress I get a little claustrophobic in elevators.  The feeling passes quickly enough so I haven’t worried about it, but in the last year I seem to feel that way a little more often than before.   

I was travelling back from a long, fun-filled weekend in Charlotte, NC last month and was scheduled to fly from Charlotte to Atlanta, then Atlanta to San Francisco.  I hadn’t had much sleep but the flight from Charlotte to Atlanta was fine.  I boarded the plane for the second leg of the trip okay and had a middle seat.  

All was well until the planes doors were closed and one of the passengers had to leave the plane because there wasn’t a seat for him. Continue reading “How to melt claustrophobia and panic.”

The secrets to success that most attorneys miss.

sunset girl - unsplash

Chronic stress, substance abuse, and depression are common career pitfalls for attorneys.  These can lead to burnout and malpractice, damaging an attorney’s health and career.

I’ve been a lawyer since 2005, and I’m still surprised by how many attorneys shrug their shoulders in defeat and accept this a matter of course.

“That’s just how it is. What can you do?”

Really, counselor?

If you were your client, would you accept that answer?

Here are two secrets to success that most attorneys miss:  value your own wellbeing, and select a team to help you perform at a high level over time. Continue reading “The secrets to success that most attorneys miss.”

Good news for lawyers and law students.

Last fall I recorded a talk on Sustainable Success, produced by Continuing Education of the Bar. It was directed at lawyers, who often wonder if being successful means having to give up their health, personal and family life. Given the high rates of substance abusedepression, and suicide within the profession, this is a real issue.

It is no accident that so many jurisdictions — including California — mandate continuing legal education on substance abuse and mental wellness. 

Unfortunately, the CA State Bar recently determined it did not meet the qualifications to be offered for CLE credit.

The good news is that CEB has decided to make it available free of charge.

So while I’m disappointed in the State Bar’s decision, I’m thrilled that CEB supports this program and is making Sustainable Success: Mindfulness for Lawyers even more accessible.

This is good news.

And there’s more.

Because ordinarily, these programs are only available to California attorneys — people with California State Bar numbers.

But my contact at CEB says that law students can also access the program for free. They just need to contact Customer Service: 800-232-3444 or 510-302-2000 or

So if you’re not a member of the California State Bar, and you want to check out this program, you can can. For free. Thanks to CEB’s commitment to supporting the legal community.

Here’s a link to the full program description on CEB’s website.

If there’s a law student or attorney in your life, share this with them. You never know what difference it could make.

better lawyer


Originally posted on LinkedIn.

Don’t I need anxiety to push myself and get things done?

Since I work with so many high-achievers, this question comes up a lot.  And it’s a really good question, because it shows that you’re thinking about your relationship to anxiety and stress.

My short answer is:  Anxiety can be useful from time to time.  But kindness is a better long-term strategy.

I like to think of it in fitness terms.

Let’s say you have really strong quads, because you train them every day.  But because that’s all you do, they become over-developed in relationship to the rest of your system — your hamstrings are underdeveloped and your psoas is tight — so your overall system is out of balance. Continue reading “Don’t I need anxiety to push myself and get things done?”

Be a ninja.

I wanted to call this post “How to keep your inner chill when surrounded by crazy people,” but that felt too long and not quite the point I want to make.

I’m thinking about the Bar Exam.  Also certain family gatherings.  And occasional corporate town hall meetings.  Any time I felt like I was surrounded by people who were kinda crazy, and I was concerned about getting sucked down into the crazy with them. Continue reading “Be a ninja.”

You can’t tell when you’re in it.

The California Bar Exam is three days long.  After 12 weeks of study and preparation, it was a relief to finally take the exam just so that it would be behind me.

My strategy for the exam included:  not talking to people, having all the food I would need in my room, and not eating carbs because they make me sleepy.  I ate yogurt, fruit, and a hard-boiled egg at breakfast.  For lunch I rolled up sliced turkey with avocado and some greens and tomato.  I don’t remember what I ate for dinner.  It didn’t matter.  I just wanted to relax and feel rested for the next day. Continue reading “You can’t tell when you’re in it.”