Life is quite a ride, isn’t it? When we find ourselves at all-time lows, we must rely on the people around us to help. We go to doctors for medical crises. We have lawyers for legal problems. There are counselors for mental health emergencies. The list goes on. It is easy for you to think that your supportive best friend or the professional charging you a fortune is the most important person in your corner.
I’m here to tell you that you are wrong.
I started my career as an advocate for victims of domestic violence. Ria was one of my first clients. From our first conversation, Ria identified with me. She openly said that she wished she had the confidence, knowledge, and professional potential that I had. She longed to be free of her abusive partner and make something of herself. As a young professional in my early 20’s, I felt had little to offer Ria. I encouraged her to focus on herself, realize her potential, and think beyond the confines of her abusive marriage.
I spent a summer talking to Ria on a weekly basis. She had a lot of legal issues to work through that I simply could not help her with. At the time I was just an advocate, I did not have a law degree. I did everything I could to help Ria with social services. Then, it was time for her to get legal help. I did some investigating and found Ria an excellent lawyer, someone who I myself admired and aspired to be like.
I spoke with Ria and told her that she needed to get a lawyer. She yelled, cried, and accused me of abandoning her. She was confident that she could not get through her life without me. She needed me to be there with her, to help her, to hold her hand. Ria was certain she could not move forward without having me there in her corner.
Of course, there was nothing more I could do. Even if I wanted to help her, I could not. With the help of my supervisor, I learned how to give Ria the referral and encouraged her to take the next step. Then I bowed gracefully out of her life. She told me that I was giving her a death sentence. A part of me was afraid she was right.
Here’s The Truth
Several years later, after I became a lawyer and started working with survivors of abuse on a regular basis, I came to terms with reality. I had not abandoned Ria. In fact, I did the opposite of that by referring her to a lawyer who could actually help her. Had I stuck around and pretended to help, I would have only held Ria back from her potential. That was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do.
I met a coach who taught me a lesson that was invaluable in helping me put this into words for my clients:
Put the process on the pedestal, not the person.
The only thing that actually works is the actual process you are working within. The people there beside you are your allies, they are not your solution, and they are certainly not your success.
When you go in for surgery, you are counting on the surgical procedure to heal you, not the surgeon performing it.
When you bake a cake, you are counting on the accuracy of the recipe, not the hands of the baker.
Similarly, when you have a legal problem, you rely on the word of the law, not the lawyer you hired.
Does this mean that you go with any joe-schmoe on the street corner? Absolutely not. The person you choose to help you through the process is an extremely important part of your success. You need allies who have the wisdom, experience, and finesse to help you get through as well as possible.
What this means is that you trust yourself enough to find the people you need to get you through the next step in your journey to success. Once you have accomplished that step, you stop and re-evaluate who you need in your corner to take the next step. And if that next step involves different people than the last step did, you value yourself enough to seek out the people you need to move forward, even if it’s uncomfortable.
I do not know what happened to Ria. At this point I have moved states, changed my name, and honestly don’t even remember Ria’s real full name. Chances are I will never actually know what happened to her. But what I do know is that I left her with the process. She had her social services lined up, she knew what she needed to do next, and she had a phone number to call. As the main person in her corner at the time, that was the best I could have possibly done for her.
If the people in your life truly care about your success, they will give you everything they can, then let you go gracefully so you can continue your journey to success.
The One Who Matters
So, if the people in your life come and go, then who is the single most important person in your corner?
It’s the one who is there with you from start to finish, no matter what.
The person who always has your back, regardless of how awful things may get.
It’s the person who forgives your mistakes, shakes off the dirt, and keeps going with you until you reach the end.
The most important person on your journey is the one and only person who is 100% invested in your success, who shares your failures, and who straps on the gloves to fight when life gets you down.
The most important person in your corner is…you.
Family court in Missouri can be long, and it is natural for you to have some life transformations along the way. If you feel your lawyer is no longer a good fit for you, you can schedule a Family Court coaching session to review your case with our attorney and determine if switching to a new lawyer is right for you.
*Names are changed to protect confidentiality