Advocacy Philosophy

Peace of Mind Through Advocacy

The Grand Canyon Problem

One of the most common problems I have with clients is their inability to consider their circumstances without emotion.

It’s the Grand Canyon Problem — everything looks too big, too overwhelming. And the normal reaction is fear.

As Frank Herbert wrote in Dune, fear is the mind-killer. For clients (and indeed, for most of us) conflict or even uncertainty leads to an emotional response. This emotional response effectively blocks our higher-level abilities to analyze, weigh probabilities, and foresee outcomes.

While lawyers are intended to be legal experts, it is often the case that a lawyer’s value lies in being able to see a client’s problem unemotionally and objectively.

But you don’t need to be a lawyer to think objectively. The first step is to recognize the danger of emotion in these circumstances. The second step is to take a deep breath (see the link below for the importance of deep breathing as a stress response).

The third step is to talk to someone else to get their objective response and opinions to the situation. The fourth and final step is to develop strategies to advance your goals and work towards the best-case outcome, keeping in mind that there are no guarantees (it’s important to imagine and plan for a worst-case outcome, but more about this in a later post).

Remember, fear is the mind-killer.

And, if all else fails, imagine a sleepy dog in a pile of leaves.