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Small initiatives that have a BIG impact

August 31, 2017

It can be all too easy to forget that law firm cultures are really based on a mostly silent agreement about how things should run, and what can and can’t be done.

Then someone comes along and shows us how a simple change in business as usual can have a big impact on the quality of working life in a law firm.

Picture this — the clock strikes 10 and a small group of lawyers gathers for a quick exercise break, assuming the yoga pose known as the Plank. Holding this pose develops endurance and stamina, and tones the nervous system. It’s also great for strengthening the back.

There is quiet conversation and laughter as the group works to stay in plank position for a minute, moves into side planks, and finishes with wall sits. Then the time is up. Everyone rises, stretches a little, and heads back to their offices until the next break at noon. Lunchtime exercise? A five-minute series of lunges in an athletic congo line around the boardroom.

Truth or Fiction?

Truth! These mini breaks really happen four times a day, every work day at the Vancouver office of MLT Aikins, the recently expanded giant western Canadian law firm. Their Vancouver office is housed high above the blaring horns in the top floors of Vancouver’s beautiful art deco Marine Building.

The instigator of these five minute exercise breaks is litigation partner David Wotherspoon. I caught up with David over lunch this summer where I learned about his strategy to get him and his colleagues moving while developing a collegial firm culture. Says Wotherspoon, “We’re in and out within five minutes – we get a brain break, an exercise hit, and it takes only a little time away from our desks.”

It’s working.

It’s long been proven that short bits of exercise several times a day benefit our fitness levels and mood. How often have we all read about the importance of getting up from our desks and moving around throughout the day, or going outside for five minutes of natural light to refresh and renew — taking a break from the solitude of our screens and devices.

Wotherspoon has taken this notion a step further by making movement and connection a fun, planned, collective everyday occurrence in the workplace. Being active is a great way to unwind stresses and strains from our busy schedules. Increasing heartrates through shared laughter and camaraderie among colleagues can only lead to success for the firm and its team.

One simple routine added to the work day – big impact.

What can you initiate at your office?

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Growth mindset practice – how you measure matters

July 10, 2017

Grit and Growth Mindset Retreat

With Fixed mindset we measure ourselves against others. With growth mindset we are focused on how we are getting better.

To develop your growth mindset try this:

Notice – when do you find yourself comparing yourself to others?

When you catch yourself making this comparison take a moment to pause, and think again.

From a growth mindset consider your own goals, priorities and standards and compare yourself to these. How are you measuring up? What action could you take to improve?

You can get a lot accomplished with a fixed mindset until you hit a wall.

I had fixed mindset about most areas of my life for most of my life and still managed to developed a flourishing professional career but it came at a cost: High levels of stress. A loud inner critic. A striving to be good enough instead of a focus on getting better.

Making the shift to growth mindset has had a significant positive impact on my coaching and my business. I have developed the Grit and Growth Summer Retreat in the City to pass along what I have learned and to help people make this crucial shift from fear to dare. I hope you can join me.

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Develop your Grit & Growth at this Summer Retreat

June 15, 2017

original allison wolf Grit and Growth SQUAREHow and why do we sabotage our own success? And make choices that shift us away from what matters most?

Answers lie in Stanford University’s recent research into the science of mindsets, and the power of growth mindset to move us towards an ongoing, active pursuit of learning, challenge, and mastery.

The Grit and Growth Summer Retreat in the City is designed for lawyers of all years of call to explore growth mindset and learn to apply it to your legal practice.

In this half day program you will learn:

  • recent science-based discoveries about mindset
  • growth and positive stress mindsets that give rise to enhanced resilience, greater ability to deal with adversity, and a trait known as “grit”
  • the connection between grit and growth mindset and success in legal practice
    the American Bar Association’s undertakings in this area
  • We will directly apply grit and growth mindset to the challenges of legal practice, such as handling a heavy workload, dealing with negative feedback, and managing difficult clients.

In this retreat you will:

  • Access tools to determine your levels of grit and growth mindset
  • Uncover the impediments to your own progress and strategies to overcome these
  • Identify your strengths and how to best leverage these for success
  • Develop your own personal plan for applying growth mindset in your personal and professional life
  • The Grit and Growth Summer Retreat balances teaching and training with periods of coach-guided, independent reflection.

The program goes well beyond the usual advice you hear about resilience and well-being. With game-changing, practical insights that lawyers can apply directly for success in legal practice, the coach-guided retreat format also provides a contemplative experience where new ideas and concepts can be immediately put into practice.

My Guarantee:

My aim is for you, and every participant, to leave The Grit and Growth Summer Retreat with new ideas and a practical plan to integrate the growth mindset approach into your professional and personal life.  If you are not fully satisfied, simply contact me within 48 hours and I will refund your investment minus a $75 administrative fee. Guaranteed.

Here are some of the comments from attendees at my recent Grit & Growth workshop for the Manitoba Law Society:

“Allison you are very impressive. And you know your stuff. It was very inspiring.”

“Allison—you were fantastic and I could tell that participants were really engaged.”

“Thank you!  I agree – what a tremendous group effort capped by the incredible panel and Allison’s excellent presentation and facilitation today.  I’m feeling inspired…”

“Was a great seminar. I really enjoyed it.”

“This was fantastic – very interesting & well paced.”

“Excellent session – the personal side of practicing law was also was very evident.”

“Very empowering!”

“Excellent workshop! I’m so glad I came.”

“Thank you for having this day. The presentation by Allison Wolf was excellent.”

Are you ready for a personal leadership development workshop and retreat to build your growth mindset, uncover some inspiring goals, set your course of action and up your energy and motivation? Join me for the Grit and Growth Summer Retreat in the City on July 20, 2017 from 8:00am – 12:00pm at the Vancouver Club!

To register click here.

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