“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ― Henry Ford
This past Saturday morning, as I groggily prepared breakfast and sipped my morning coffee, I overheard a familiar conversation between my two children about Minecraft. For those unfamiliar with Minecraft, it’s a video game that enables players to design, build and play in a 3D world. My 8-year-old Loves it. He can’t get enough. Much of his camp-free time this summer has been devoted to both playing Minecraft and creating scenarios in which his 11-year-old sister will have to play Minecraft with him. She, however, is “over” Minecraft, (preteen eye roll and dramatic exit stage right), and has no desire to play whatsoever. Therein lies the rub.
Although he is apparently undeterred by her repeated rebuffs, because day after day he engages in the Same pestering pitch, with no success… I cannot listen to it one second longer. Two cups of coffee consumed, both eyes reasonably open and figurative mediator’s cap perched on my head, I turned to the counter where he remained seated indignantly and begin to offer some unsolicited advice. Although my words were carefully chosen for an 8-year-old, the gist of my message was the same I would give to one of my legal colleagues facing an impediment in their road to mediating an important matter:
- Treat failure as a lesson on how not to approach achieving a goal, and then use that learning to improve your chances of success when you try again. (Richard Branson) • Tenacity is wonderful, but as they say, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The solution seems simple enough: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try (something new) again.
- You’re in a much better position to talk with people when they approach you than when you approach them. That means creating an environment where they feel they can approach you, and keeping your eyes open for opportunities, like when they raise the issue themselves or approach you on a related subject.
- Engage with one’s counterparts on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. (Hassan Rouhani)
- We’re completely subjective; our view of the world is completely controlled by who we are as human beings, as men or women, by our age, our history, our profession, by the state of the world. Try to understand where the other person is coming from, what they want, what motivates them and what they would consider a victory and a bottom line. Then be sensitive to and respectful of these things while in negotiations.
- Don’t give up. Failure is only the end if you decide to stop. (Richard Branson) That means, do not allow yourself to get discouraged and give up OR to give ultimatums or say things you don’t mean out of frustration. Keep your cool and your eye on the prize!
“You can’t beat the man who never gives up!” — Babe Ruth
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Shaina Colover is 2017 President of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and practices personal injury law with her dad at The Law Offices of Ronald B. Schwartz, upstairs from Muldoon’s Irish Pub in Newport Beach. She serves on the CAOC Diversity Committee and is former chair of the OCBA and OCTLA education committees.
Copyright © 2019 by the author.
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