Building Authentic Connections with Rachel Clar


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This week on Maximum Mom, your host Elise Buie is joined by Rachel Clar. 

Rachel is a divorced lawyer mom, and in deciding to launch a business. She had to first move through a tremendous inner journey of self-discovery and personal growth to develop the courage to take a big chance. 

As lawyers, we often live our lives based on the model we learned in school, the lie that conflict is a binary only resolved with someone prevailing. As women, in general, we were raised to elevate ourselves through collaborative leadership instead. 

Rachel believes in reconciliation work, humility, and collaboration. She wants women lawyers to find their sisterhood where they can speak freely, ask their toughest career questions, and level up to get the pay and the influence that they rightly deserve. 

Rachel creates spaces where real conversations happen and women both deeply bond & craft brilliant career strategies. She is a woman, a lawyer, and entrepreneur, professionally. Rachel is a mom to two amazing teenage boys. She is an empath, an artist, and a student of non-violence. 

Episode Highlights:

  • 02:48 Meet Rachel and Interconnected Us
  • 06:40 The struggles and unhappiness experienced by women lawyers
  • 10:32 Combating the pressure to always appear strong.
  • 16:57 The value of time, the importance of setting boundaries, and the ongoing journey of learning to manage time effectively
  • 23:27 The importance of celebrating personal wins and prioritizing self-care
  • 27:34 Using exercise to shut the brain off 
  • 33:05 The joy of making connections
  • 41:26 The lack of emphasis on emotional intelligence and communication skills in law school and the legal profession

📹 Watch the interview here.


Transcripts: Building Authentic Connections with Rachel Clar

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Welcome to Maximum Mom with a least boy, where you'll hear from women who are navigating the same messy journey as you lawyering, entrepreneurship and mothering. What a trifecta. We're here to share tips, resources, wins, losses and encouragement for moms who are raising a family while building a law firm so you feel less alone in your journey toward a fulfilling career and being the best mom you can be. Welcome to the Maximum Mom podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:00:30) - Thank you so much for joining us today. And I'm Elise Bui, the host of the Maximum Moms podcast. And today I'm so excited to welcome my friend Rachel Keller from Inter-connected Us. Hey, Rachel. Hi, Lynn. So happy to be here. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited you're here. I have to tell you, I love your polka dots. That is so fun. I just wanted to be, like Facebook presentable. Yeah, totally. That's is definitely it. I love it. Okay. Well, first, I always like to just get this part out of the way.

Speaker 2 (00:01:02) - Just tell us who's in your family. You know, we are the Maximum Mom podcast. So, you know, just tell us what your family is like and then we'll get into the other things. You got it. All right. So I've got two boys. They are 12 and 14. The 14 year old is Asher. The 12 year old is Zachary. And they are opposite as can be. And they are delightful. I am so blessed. So yeah, the older ones away overnight camp and the little one and I are just having such a ball. It's just the three of us though. In my house. Yeah. Overnight camp is so fun. Oh, my gosh. Oh, he's. He's living his best life. Yeah. I mean, we can talk about this later, but I am genuinely thinking about starting Mom camp because as I'm watching all these kids go off to camp, we were huge in the camp as a family. Like we went to. Oh yeah, they camp in Tennessee.

Speaker 2 (00:01:54) - I was the office manager for a while, also worked in the kitchen because, you know, I had to figure out how to pay for all these kids to go to sleep away camp. So yeah, life changing. Like I'm a huge fan of camp. And then I was like, wait a minute, why do we moms not have camp? Like, I love that and we definitely need to talk offline. I know something I want to share with you, but I won't do it on the podcast. Okay, fair enough. Tell us about your business. Oh yeah. So interconnected US is a startup. It's something I began late last year and it is building masterminds for women lawyers. So I put women into groups of roughly eight women and they are with their professional cohort. So I've got in-house counsel with in-house counsel, small firm owners, with small firm owners and that sort of thing. And the point is we're creating a trusted, safe space where you can discuss you can get customer feedback that you can't get anywhere else.

Speaker 2 (00:02:48) - So it really helps these women leverage their time because they've got, you know, instead of instead of an issue going unaddressed for a long time, they've got a place that is trusted, super bound by confidentiality. And you've got a room full of women who understand how you walk in your shoes and give you their take. I love that well, and I participate, so I must put that out there in interconnected us. And so and it has been really amazing to meet different attorneys from different places, different areas of the law and understand and see what we're all struggling with, something super common, super shared and then other things super unique. And I'm like, Oh, cool. We're talking about what women power now. Like I don't get to talk about wind power and solar power and how that might impact things. So yeah, and then the challenge is to be an attorney practicing in that space versus yours and how you get to bounce ideas off one another. So it's just amazing because there's value in being what you want, some level of similarity among the members, but you also want some level of diversity.

Speaker 2 (00:03:51) - And I think the one that you're in is absolutely going just going beautifully in terms of people at different, you know, able to able to give a lot of insight but understand each other as well. Like there's a really important balance there. Now, what in the world made you start this? Like, I mean, here you are juggling life as a mom, a lawyer. I mean, you were just like bored one day and was like, okay, time to start a business. I was born, you know, there was a number of things at once. So it's so hard for me to answer that question succinctly. But I guess I would say the last five years I've been working in the solar industry and really realizing that while that was advancing my values because I care deeply about the environment I have for my whole life, I was an activist in high school. It wasn't bringing out what I love to do the most, which is, you know, personal growth, connecting people on a more like literal level, like networking.

Speaker 2 (00:04:45) - And, you know, you should meet this person and you too can help each other for their goals. But really on a deeper level, this idea that, you know, we are all each other's keeper and you know, just really so many lessons there. So anyway, I had a life. Where I was exposed to masterminds myself with my ex-husband just being his spouse and had the privilege of being in a mastermind group were briefly and I just for the time that it was, it was such a shame that it wasn't available to professional women like myself. You know, that was because he's an entrepreneur. I had access to a world that he's a part of as his spouse, but it just seemed so unfair. And I just so understood the value that when you get people together in a curated space with norms about how the conversation goes and how respect is maintained, in particular with, you know, us alphas who might bristle at getting, you know, advice or told what to do. You know, we have to be we take advice in a very particular way.

Speaker 2 (00:05:42) - And so such a great use of my time. Like I recognized that me participating, it was like, you know, for that little bit of time I'm in those meetings, I get, you know, a whole room full of opinions about my challenge. And so to to others, I just saw what's going on with women in our industry and felt that it was something that they need to get ahead. Oh, yeah. I mean, I think when you talk about women in our industry, I mean, one of the things that I see and it really just kind of breaks my heart a lot is the deep unhappiness in a lot of women in our industry and just in our world and, you know, ecosystems of things like I'll go on a Facebook group and they'll be like a comment about something or a post about something, and there will be hundreds of comments of unhappiness. And I am really blown away by, yeah, the feelings and the almost despair I would say I read and I see.

Speaker 2 (00:06:40) - And because of that I end up talking to a lot of people and then having those deeper conversations with people and really digging in and understanding what is going on. Our profession just I mean, we are at a struggle. We are I mean, I said something to my husband racing. I'm like, we are on the struggle bus as women lawyers big time. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Struggle bus. And I mean, I think that's from where I sit. It seems like it's you know, there's so many different factors contributing to that. Of course, like the pandemic and this epidemic of loneliness and all of that. And, you know, social media and this constant flow of stimulation and just code switching in our mind as we go from one, you know, noticing one thing to another, trying to filter all the noise. What else? I think as lawyers, part of how we self-selected to go to law school and part of what the profession breeds in us before we even get to, you know, sexism, racism and all of that.

Speaker 2 (00:07:36) - Just like the personality of someone who goes to law school. Like, you know, from what I understand, the number one character trait of lawyers is skepticism. And, you know, then we go to school and we're trained to worry, you know, to manage risk and to argue. And those traits might be very beneficial in the American legal system, that right to advance as a lawyer. But you're also a human. And so, I mean, just taking the arguing, for example, like this binary that, you know, at least if you and I have a conflict like, you know, this binary that one of us has to win. But the reality is, in real life, outside of practicing, right, both can be true. You have your perspective. I have mine. I mean, just one of many examples, but that makes it very hard to be a grown up lawyer with grown up healthy relationships. What? Because you're just used to someone winning. And that's just one of many, many patterns that concern me, that I just think that being in a group is very healing, gives us options and it gives people a platform to like, you know, you can be so deep in your own perspective on something, but, you know, you get a room full of people being like, you know, the other person could be thinking this and, you know, you've been there, right? Like, you understand that like, you know, talk people down.

Speaker 2 (00:08:45) - It makes all the difference, I think, to get that perspective. But also, I think to your point of developing community and developing connections that are deeper and that are not the superficial, you know, connections where it's all you know, an Instagram reel of, you know, whatever, right? Where it's really you get to come and show up and, I mean, maybe you don't have your makeup on and you're, you know, a mess, a total hot mess that morning. But you're going to show up and you're going to be there. And, you know, for the other people in the group and I mean that I think that alone is a big deal, like having the other people there and expecting you to be there. And you know what I mean? Like just yeah, having it be a real deeper connection. I appreciate that. Thank you. And yeah, I was going to say, like, I mean, there's someone who shows up in her puppy pajamas. I know.

Speaker 2 (00:09:44) - That would be I don't know either, but it's like one thing I've noticed is like, I see a lot of aversion from women lawyers to talk about the word and the B-word. And this situation means vulnerability and. And I don't mean it to be critical of women lawyers in the profession, right? Like we're killing it out there. We're amazing. Like, don't. That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm trying to help this group, you know, that we're both a part of. You know, many of us went into it to, you know, to prove something or because we care about justice or whatnot. And as women, we might have been. I mean, and obviously you and I are just white women. But, you know, we you know, we've been marginalized in some way or multiple ways. And, you know, we want to, you know, assert our voice. We want to do what's right and so on. But I'm concerned in the profession as a whole.

Speaker 2 (00:10:32) - This is not just women that we need to put on such a brave face all the time that it can be very hard for some people to take it off. And that too, can just be so being vulnerable. Appreciate A court of law is weakness, right? But outside of it, this is how we connect. I mean, it's mutual. Like self disclosure is what breeds connection. And so if we're constantly have our mask on so that we look, you know, social media joyful and so on, you know, externally, like, I mean, forget social media, but just with our peers, if we're not really willing to be real, I mean, in our own sense, our own experience, our own like humanity shrinks, that's a piece that I want to combat. You know, I really want to help you get what you need. Well, and I have to tell you, I'm going to challenge something you said. I actually think vulnerability is your greatest strength in the courtroom and in law like the courtroom as well.

Speaker 2 (00:11:28) - And in law. Okay. Tell me more. What do you mean by that? I think when you go in, especially I mean, think of my prior days, you know, doing jury trials in, you know, bazillion years ago. Being able to connect with the jury as a real human was 100% my superpower. Like, you know, just going in and being like, oh, you know, I'm having a dumb blonde moment. Like, I didn't do that, you know, like not making it be this, like, perfect show. And it was, you know, I'd have these usually male much older attorneys as my opponents who are, you know, all buttoned up. You know, it's they came across so stuffy. Do you know what I mean? Like I love that. I totally know. I totally understand what you're saying, that like, your vulnerability, like it's your relatability, it's your humanity in that way with a jury. Right? Right. What I meant what all ability might be a boogeyman to opposing counsel, you know, something that they could exploit.

Speaker 2 (00:12:28) - But I totally appreciate to an audience. I mean, you know, you do a tons of speaking engagements and I'm sure I mean, you know, what I loved about you instantly, like just putting yourself out there and being authentic. But there are ear corn, you know, in that way. There's a lot of people that really can't do that because of their trauma, because their childhoods. Well, and profession just runs with that. Like we just instead of like trying to open people up and help them understand how their authenticity and their vulnerability will be such a powerful force as a lawyer because it will make them more relatable in all those things. We we try to button them up more. You know, the profession, I think just, you know, like you don't want to admit when you make a mistake or you, you know, go through all this craziness. But I see it as us moms to like you'll see a mom, they'll being like, oh, you know, I'm such a bad mom.

Speaker 2 (00:13:24) - I didn't bake whatever for the bake sale. And I'm like, What? Like, is your kid alive? Like, did they show up? Right. But I mean, totally. Are you are you saying like this, moms? It's the criticism from others or what we do to ourselves or both? I think it's both. Yeah. Really Both. I definitely agree. Do you think it's different? I mean, you're you know, you were divorced in the past. Do you think it's different for women who make that go through that chapter? You know, that was probably hard for me to say in that I mean, I think that I had that same voice in my head early on in my mom hood while I was married, But I think post-divorce. I was actually freed by a lot of that because I was like, there's only so much this one girl can accomplish in 24 hours. And, you know, the time I had for young children, you know, in all these different directions and I'm thinking, I'm showing up, you're alive, you're fed like you have clothes on.

Speaker 2 (00:14:24) - I mean, we're we are just like winning the parenting game here, you know, At least you're such an inspiration and your mindset. I mean, I it's your mindset that I'm just so fascinated by. Like your success is secondary. It's like your your mindset to be in that situation and to pull yourself together and do what you need to do. But to I don't know, you have such a joyful way about you. Like I'm just it's fascinating to me that you were able to, you know, get the practice to where it is, you know, with such a challenging chapter. Yeah, well, you know, I definitely think that I know you know this and starting your own business, I mean, I think. Mindset is 90% of the game. Yeah. Isn't it amazing how it's like a lifelong sport? Like when I like I was looking at one of my competitors who says that, you know, she can kind of cure you of anxiety, you know, in a matter of weeks or months.

Speaker 2 (00:15:15) - And it was like, I mean, you know, I meditate at the Rochester Zen Center and there's people there that are in their 70s. And, you know, they'll they'll say openly, like, you know, the meditation gives you a way to relate to your anxiety, but you don't hear yourself of it. Your anxiety could be your superpower. Do you know what I mean? I mean, it can be something that is very powerful in how you are coming out to the world. And I think to your point, it's how you're relating to that anxiety. Yep, right. Like it is. I mean, it's a super power in the profession, right? Letting us anticipate, you know, the outcomes we don't want. But I agree. Like it's been for me, that's been a really important lesson in a place that I continue to kind of go to that well. And second, you know how I relate to my own, you know, challenges like anxiety, including like, Yeah, but you know, it's but I am moving the needle.

Speaker 2 (00:16:07) - It's amazing. Oh, it's so powerful. Well, tell me, I mean, when you as you started this business, I mean, obviously you have these two teenagers or, you know, pre-teen teenagers at home and you're a single mom now. So, I mean, you've got that dynamic. I mean, what was that like for you, like in managing your time and dealing with things? Because I think a lot of people listen to this podcast. You know, they're maybe in the early stages of running their law firm, you know, also having children, trying to negotiate all that. And I think time becomes such a huge piece of when you post about it. I mean, I love when I see your posts about it because it is your most precious, at least for me. When I left corporate went off on my own. There was intellectually I knew that my time is valuable and so on. But you know, maybe because I was working, yeah, I wasn't paid by the hour.

Speaker 2 (00:16:57) - It was a salaried position. I think there was a there was an inside, there was a journey. I went on about how valuable is my time and how am I allocating it. And, you know, I probably like, you know, like you and I have discussed in our group, like delegating as a lifelong journey. Dealing with your anxiety is a lifelong journey, but also how I manage my time. And that goes to boundaries and where I'm willing to say no to things. So I have had a huge lesson around that. I mean, like you, I'm a huge networker. I've made so many friendly, you know, peers, colleagues, new friends in our industry. All of these conversations have been incredible. But, you know, that's just one of many examples. Like, is that what I should do during my limited work time? And I love it. I get a lot of joy from it. But okay, well, that's great. But how do we how does this relate to what you're trying to put out there and the boundaries that you set or don't set in that space? Like just learning? I mean, I just keep learning about getting better and better boundaries.

Speaker 2 (00:17:53) - I feel like I almost see myself internally as this like border guard that's like level, like just keeps getting promoted, like, like the boundaries get better, but also get nice. I've spent a lot of time studying how to set them nicely, right? It's a big deal to me. I just I see a lot of people in our industry get this this black and white, you know, kind of like barriers, not like like Sharon writes about boundaries, not barriers like, you know. So it's just been a very interesting Anyway, that's a long answer to a short question, but managing your time is everything. It's everything. Well, I read a book and I mean, I sometimes feel like I read so many books on running a business. Like, how do I keep having things? And I'm like, Duh. Like, where were you, Elise? How is this the first time you're hearing about this? But I read a book recently, very recently, and it's called Buy Back Your Time.

Speaker 2 (00:18:43) - And I think it was written by a guy named Dan Martell. Absolutely. Game changing, like seriously game changing like everyone I meet now must read this book because it has revolutionized how I think about so many things. And I mean really talking about and I mean, I had a more flimsy process than this, but like about creating your perfect week and creating your calendar in such a way. So I literally went through my office is probably like dying right now. And it says like Elise, water, flowers, Elise, you know, exercise. Eliza Elise, you know, in time with Doug, like, it has this whole thing, all the things. It's pretty powerful when you put it all on there because you're like, Oh, there is not so much time in this day, all these things. So then what I'm seeing that, I mean, I start circling those things and I'm like, That is moving off me. Like, who am I delegating that to? That is no longer in my world.

Speaker 2 (00:19:49) - And so but I mean, this is an exercise that we have to do. I mean, on the regular like, I totally agree. I think it's like. It's such a fundamental where the rubber meets the road kind of conversation. And it's so I mean, I would think you and I are very alike. And I just keep I keep visualizing. I need to draw this and put this on social the seesaw and on one end is we want to be very generous and live in abundance and help others and be a goal giver and all these great things. On the other side of the seesaw is being a feminist and being an attorney and like your time is valuable. You've got really amazing strategy skills. You've got to, you know, bring that can, you know, write and speak and persuade and do all these important high level skills. And so, you know, and then in the middle, to me is kind of your ethics, your values, where, you know, how are you going to make that seesaw balance and do it? Like, for me, it's so important that I still stay close to kindness and compassion.

Speaker 2 (00:20:45) - Oh yeah. But then I don't give it all away like I've tipped that way and many, many long chapters of my life. And you know, then there's others who go the other way, you know, everything's about their value and them making money. And I don't want to be like that. Like, I don't want to give it all away, but I don't. Yeah. So I had an interesting experience the last few weeks. I don't think I've gotten to tell you about. One of these colleagues I befriended was hearing about a new offer that I want to put out within the business. And so she wanted me to speak with an entrepreneur. She's she's close to who is retiring. And the idea was that I might be a good successor for that person and that their their offer might become a part of interconnected us or relate in some way, but that it really aligns with me. So I make friends with this business owner and we have a number of conversations that get progressively longer and longer over the course of three four weeks, I'd say.

Speaker 2 (00:21:39) - And I mean one of the final ones was the second. The last one was so good that I had to take off the rest of the day. I was so excited about all the possibilities and and realized that we had kind of the conversations had gone so deep about connecting about our values that we hadn't gone back to the fundamentals of the business, this business opportunity. And you know, is there a win win? Right? And as it turns out, there's not. Like I finally you know, after that last meeting, I was like, God, I lost a whole day where I was going to spend the morning on my, you know, sales for my business and to get all the important deep work tasks done and blow it all off because, you know, it was such a valuable contact and so on, I just was like, Oh my God, I didn't assert a boundary. Like I, you know, we're only doing business if there's a business opportunity. We're not doing. Like, you know, we spent I mean, she probably got 8 or 12 hours of my daytime heavy, you know, brain space in total.

Speaker 2 (00:22:35) - But the good part was I woke up to it. Ryan, I won't do it again. And I set a boundary like I was so proud of the boundary that I printed that email. Oh, because I did it really nicely. And she wrote back with such grace and it was just like, Yeah, we don't have a Yeah. Now that you say what you need or restate what you need, I can hear you and we can't do that. So, you know, we should stay friends and, you know, check in down the road and so on. And it was like, that was a really proud I have an email where I print out like emails where I like get myself to a new level. And I was like, Oh, this is a keeper. That's really good. I think you have to do that. I think I mean, I'm going to talk about another book. That is something I think we struggle with as women lawyers. We are constantly looking to that gap ahead of us rather than turning our head back and looking at the gain in that.

Speaker 2 (00:23:27) - It is again, one of those. I was like, Well, they agree. I'm like, Elise, why have you not done this? Like, no, I'm totally with you. I mean, that book, I was like, So we have a call within the business where we're getting women together and just like tooting our own horns, like, how would I set that up so that that call would be because if you haven't read the book, you're not understanding what the value is. It just sounds like you would dial in to brag something inside of I'll do it that within the business, like it's so valuable to count your wins. I mean, we started our leadership team meetings in our office with our gains and Alana powerful when we grew, even though we meet every single week. I mean, it's amazing what happens every single week. The win totally. Some of them are huge. Others of them are very small, but they are powerful. It might be like somebody took the Wednesday afternoon off to spend time with their son and they're going to, you know, work on Sunday.

Speaker 2 (00:24:25) - But just enjoying that flexibility we offer. Totally agree with that. Yes, that's a huge win. Mean since I started the business, I've been protecting more and more my need to exercise, which I'd overridden for like 15 years, like my marriage raising young kids. My divorce years mean really, other than the occasional walk with a girlfriend to vent about whatever, you know, there was no consistent regular exercise. And now swimming is like really sacred and, you know, just getting like the emotional support I need for this or that, this sacred time and like, that's a win. That's a huge win. That is so leveraged, right? Like it's not like a huge sale. It's not the kind of thing I'm going to get a big pat on the back from whatever, but it's like having my own back. It's fantastic that many times when you're swimming and if you're a follow the black line girl and you literally swim laps, you will come up with brilliant ideas along that black line. Are you ready to unlock your full growth potential, both professionally and personally? The Guild Maximum Lawyers Exclusive Community of Legal Entrepreneurs invites you to our upcoming in-person.

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Speaker 2 (00:26:21) - I have found I mean swimming as one other running just through the years to be such great opportunities to really think about things, you know, have real mental breakthroughs. Yeah, yeah. It's funny. Like sometimes I'm consciously swim thinking and other times I'm trying not to think.

Speaker 2 (00:26:42) - Like sometimes I'm really trying to notice the bubbles and, you know, the, the water, you know how my body feels and all that because I'm really trying to, like, get a brain break. But I agree with you, like today. And I swam laps this morning and absolutely, I was kind of like going over my list of all the things that like recent wins and also things that I got mostly resolved in my mind, but not completely like just some decisions and kind of like solidifying them. Yeah, it's magical. And it's so funny. Like one of the other women in the circle recently was just talking about how like, God, it's everything that we were told to do during preschool, like exercise, nap, eat your vegetables, like be nice to your friend. It's like, yeah, yeah, solid advice. Well, you know, solid. It's funny, the only time in all the years that I have been doing this life sport that we do, you know, failing, succeeding all the things.

Speaker 2 (00:27:34) - Tennis is the only exercise that is allowed me to actually shut off my brain because I must follow that little ball around. I cannot think of anything our most rejuvenating exercise as far as truly shutting off my brain. So I just wanted to put it out there in case you ever would consider one of those handball kind of sports, because I bet, like, softball might be similar pickleball. Yeah. But I mean, and it dawned on me after I played tennis probably about six months to a year, and I was like, what is this about this? I was like, addicted to tennis. Yeah, really? I was like, I cannot think about it. At the time, I was mostly just rearing my children. I couldn't think about the kids. I couldn't think about each kid's problem that I was supposed to be, you know, trying to work through or whatever. All I could think about was that little ball and making sure I was ready to hit it. And I love that you got so absorbed in it.

Speaker 2 (00:28:36) - That's magical. Yeah, it wasn't magical. And now are you a dancer? Have you ever. I feel like you might be a dancer. You're not. I did ballet, but as a young child, like, you know, I was about 13. Then I went to sports, you know, played like, soccer. Volleyball. Oh, got it. Okay. Okay. I didn't really do team sports. I'm more like yoga, swimming, aerobics, class, like that kind of thing. So it's like tennis, Like, come on, there's like a ball and rules like. Like, how is that going to work? Barely do, like, kickball, Like love. Don't even know what that is. You might really love it. I might really love it. I totally. Yeah, I know. Just the other day, my turn off switch. Anything that turns it off. Honestly, I mean that's that's another thing that I think women lawyers are all lawyers, you know, it's like that constant.

Speaker 2 (00:29:25) - I'm going to intellectualize everything going on in my life. And even if they read all this, you know, stuff in the Zeit geist about, you know, needing to turn off your mind like not protecting that time for that enough to really develop that skill set or just get into spaces like a tennis court or, you know, for me, a meditation cushion or whatever where you're like really doing what you can to quiet. It's such an important shift. It's huge. Well, the thought I mean, meditation is something I love. I can only do guided meditation, though. I'm one of those people that I can't. Do silent meditation. I'm pathetic. My brain is just pathetic. Please, Alice, I just have to say this. It's. That's like saying, like, well, I can't play cello because I sat in front of a cello, you know, five times, and I didn't master it. Like, it's called practice. Like, you're extremely normal. I can tell you that.

Speaker 2 (00:30:16) - We're all like that at the Zen Center, like, you know, and trying and be constant messaging from the people who are more senior with their practices that like all of that self criticism, right? Like there it is again. Like it's just it's just in another platform just showing up like, oh, I can't not good at this. I can't concentrate. This is hard. Why have I been at this so many years? I mean, there's people who've been working at it for decades. I mean, like, like, Oh, yeah, there's multiple people that mean in a huge segment of the membership that's like, you know, hippies that are now in their 70s and they've been working at it for decades and they're not all like some, but, but it's not about I don't know, I don't want to go on a rabbit hole about Zen here. But but it's a challenge. It's really a challenge. Concentration is exactly the opposite of what our culture is. Oh, it's training our brains to do, right.

Speaker 2 (00:31:05) - All this stupid, multitasking, you know, rewards. Like it's it's you're rewiring back to a healthier way. You're rewiring. Exactly. One of my sons said the other day, he just randomly he is like, we have created a whole society of people that can't do anything for more than 40s. He goes, It's really wild. And I was literally wild. Yeah, really wild. Somebody also said to me, and I thought it was interesting, you know, we talk about not reading as much anymore, like not reading books and whatever, but the amount of information we are taking in. They said it was almost like reading The Hobbit every single day, you know, with the amount. Wow. And I was like, Oh, my God. Wow. So let's say this is a question I've got for you so I can interview the interviewer. You know something my shrink said to me was, Here's another challenge in the industry. She said, I really would like you to consider reading more fiction because and it like took me years to understand why, no matter how much she talked, I like, wasn't ready to really hear it.

Speaker 2 (00:32:11) - But like this notion that I need to be productive, I would all the time completely. Oh my God. Yeah. Like, do you read fiction? I do, but it's just recent. I mean, yeah, build my firm stage. So, you know, for the last, like, eight years. No, What? I have read fiction because I literally I had too much to do. I had too much to learn in my mind that, you know, because really to develop and to build your firm. I mean, the main thing I was doing was developing myself as a leader, which meant like breaking down a lot of those, you know, bad habits and things that I needed to work on and that inner work. And so, you know, trying to juggle four, six kids, depending on, you know, who was in our home at the time. Like, that's a lot. Do you know what I mean? There was not a lot of time for fiction TV.

Speaker 2 (00:33:05) - I mean, there's an entire 15 years that I did not watch a TV show. Like, so totally get it. I've never. We are aligned. Yeah. Yeah, we are. We are aligned. They're like, I don't understand when like I hear busy people talk about like to me it's such an inefficient way to unwind. Like, get outside. Yeah, I can't do it. I'm not. I can't do it either. I can't do it either. Lots of campfires lately. And my backyard. I'm loving it. Lovely. I'm loving it. Like a couple of weeks ago, I had a bunch of good friends. We just sat around. A lot of them didn't. You know, I'm an introvert in some ways, and so a lot of my friends are 1 to 1 friendships. They don't know each other. And also I've gone through changes. So there's that too. And so it just the brain is wonderful people together and they were all so lit up by each other and it was just like, I love making connections.

Speaker 2 (00:33:53) - This is what I love to do, you know? And it just and then the, you know, also the fire like this is accurate or not. My brother had said to me that like that there's like brain science to it that staring at a fire does something like very good for our brains. And it was just it was just so lovely, you know, the dog made her rounds and sat on everyone's lap and it was just so nice. I love that. Well, and I'd love for you that you're in that stage two where your children are old enough, where you know both when they're there with you, they're old enough to be, you know, entertaining themselves. But also then they have that time with their dad, you know, which is really positive and allows you to have some really good quality time. And as a divorce attorney trying to explain that to people when they're like, I need all the custody. And I'm like, No, you don't. I promise one day you are going to not be happy if you have all the custody.

Speaker 2 (00:34:47) - Yeah, yeah. I think I understood from a very, very, very early, early on that like 5050 would be just fine. Like, but, you know, I know a lot of others who really struggled with not having the kid. All the time. And like I you know, I think because of whatever who I am, my family, my childhood, like there's always been this rich life of Rachel doing Rachel's thing that had nothing to do with motherhood. There's so much to say there. I'm experiencing motherhood at a renewed, deeper level lately. That's just really great too. Yeah, I don't I don't think it's because of the business. I think it's more because of some of the inner work that we've talked about, but it's unbelievable. I feel like I'm seeing my kids needs and desires and strengths on deeper and deeper levels, and our interactions are just getting more and more important. I mean, it's also probably because of their ages, like we're discussing things like they're, you know, they're transitioning to being men.

Speaker 2 (00:35:39) - And it's like there's so much I got to make sure they know, you know. But, you know, I also feel like, oh, the time is finite. Like I need I really want to that I need to try to get away from saying that. But I just really want to build this book of memories, you know? And I know that you had such a joy mothering and you know, others that I talk with. It's so inspiring. So I feel like the single mom sometimes. I have gone through big stretches of being overwhelmed and harried and so on and like just really like doing what I've needed to do to be present and, you know, be present, be kinder to myself, be kinder to others. Like it's just it's been such a journey. I mean, that's so powerful for your boys to see. Thank you. Thank you. I had, um. Can I tell you a quick story? Yeah. I had a conflict with one of my kids. He's a camp counselor for the first time at the JC down the street.

Speaker 2 (00:36:31) - And I said to him, you know, because I need to spend time on the business like you're going to be biking to camp. And he flipped out on me and I was like, you know, part of me was, you know, like, who the heck are you? This is my right to say, you know, to dictate how you're going to do this. And so on, this very top down approach. And while I still think that's correct on some level, like I'm still his mom, not his chauffeur and so on, what I was ignoring was so so he gets furious. He gives me silent treatment for a couple hours. Um, you know, I've done the work, so I no longer am kind of like begging for him to forgive me and so on. I'm kind of just doing my own thing and finally getting okay with the fact that he's in emotional pain. I don't have to go fix it right away. And and we come together. But I've said because I've studied nonviolent communication, we got we we now are building this book of experiences where we reconcile our differences and we sit on the couch and we took out the book because there's a framework there that the kids still need to see for a reminder.

Speaker 2 (00:37:30) - And we each said like what we needed and so on. And it was just like, I mean, it didn't end with a return to how it was before it ended better. It was like rupture and repair. But the repair makes you, you know, more grounded in each other. It's like now we're like, we're safer to disagreeing is going to be safer and safer because we have this way to really see each other and communicate really healthily. Oh, I just think that is, I mean, game changing to be able to sit down and have that kind of conversation. I mean, to really understand, like, why was he flipping out about the thing and yeah, what did you need in that moment or with your plan? But I mean, just being able to have that communication in a safe way, imagine how that is going to change his brain as he's having conflicts. Do you know what I mean? Italy Oh, totally. And as it relates to just narrowly, he and I over the rest of our lives, I mean, his reason for being outraged was, mom, you know, I hate biking.

Speaker 2 (00:38:32) - So, you know, he was just feeling really unseen and like that's something that I'm sensitive about when I feel like, you know, people in my inner world don't see me. Don't get me. Like, that is very painful. And so, you know, I don't know if he just inherited my trauma or whatever, but or if he was this is a, you know, a common human experience like it was. So it was incredible to go through that little exercise together and to, like, just have this aha. Like, it's not about the biking, like from my perspective, it was about my convenience so I could focus on my business. It was just about it wasn't about trying to strongarm him, control him. It was really just about my own. And he's like, Well, if I arrange a carpool, would that work? And we started to explore like other resolutions where, you know, might be the win win. And it was just, Oh God, I'm so grateful that I mean, that's something else I would love to bring to women lawyers or just to all lawyers is violent story after story after story of how a conflict that used to go one way, you know, when another way when the other part is willing to engage or and then there's some where it's just simply the other party is not willing to do their side.

Speaker 2 (00:39:38) - But I'll do mine and it's good enough to save myself. Really. Well, I mean, I talk about it a lot in co-parenting, you know, when I'm working with very high conflict co-parents, I'm like, It takes one of you to get this down pat. And yes, if one of you can get it down pat, the amount of decrease in the. Conflict is pretty noticeable. Noticeable that the children will be impacted, I mean positively by the lack of conflict. And then, you know, not negatively, because only one of you will be doing the thing internally, right? That tends to go down too, because after a while, doing that thing on your own doesn't bring the same joy to the person who's, you know, used to engaging in the conflict and helping people to understand. I mean, I'm like, it takes one sane parent to make your child psychology better, like, so if we can. I love that. Yeah, it's under control. Yeah. We can really make an inroad, you know, positively into your children.

Speaker 2 (00:40:42) - Oh, yeah. I think it's an amazing skill set. And in it, I mean, it's helped me with friendships with my family. I mean, my, my, I love this. I mean, I need to tell this story more publicly, but I had this it was a quick thing my father said to me about a year, year and a half ago, and I studied nonviolent communication maybe three years ago. So he said to me a year or so ago, you know, the way you're parenting the 14 year old, like, I just think you're you're acting really you're controlling him too much. He needs more space. And at first, you know, the lawyer in me, the feminist lawyer is like, oh, that's rich. You know, like where to learn that, you know? And I was just super defensive and angry. But because I'd studied nonviolent communication, I was like, You really care about his independence, don't you? And he's like, I do. I was like, I care about it, too.

Speaker 2 (00:41:26) - And we had made a connection. So then, you know, the natural next thing to say is like, you know, either I'll think about, you know, the particular behavior change he wanted to see in me or how I could accomplish this kid getting more independent on my terms. But it created connection where, you know, it was just because I had studied how to bring empathy into that conflict. Right? Oh, yeah. I mean, don't we all say it's all in the communication? I mean, it is. It's amazing. I know. But I think I mean, do you see lawyers studying this anywhere? Like, to me, this is so needed. I mean, I think law school I mean, this a whole nother conversation. We'll have to have another podcast. Yeah. Law school literally should become like a year and a half. Maybe, maybe two. And then could we put a year on of practical learning? I mean, awesome emotional intelligence communications. Yeah. So this business, I mean, how to navigate, you know, the things we lawyers do navigate all the time and nobody how to write an in a billing entry.

Speaker 2 (00:42:31) - I mean, I have lawyers, though. I'm out of law school and, you know, they'll write this billing entry. And I'm thinking, oh, okay, we got to start from scratch here, you know? But I mean, I've to learn how Yeah, I mean, nobody teaches us how to do that. And yeah, it's just, I mean, and I think there's so much around wellness and how do we, you know, maintain our mental health in this profession? I mean. Yes. I mean, do you think that the billable hours makes it like fuels the workaholism that's so pervasive? Do you think that what drives people being so addicted to work and their inability to slow down, it's just the just the money, money, money, money, money. Oh, definitely. And I think just the you know, I mean, depending on people's hourly requirements and what it looks like, like I think as law firm owners, we have to pull these hours down like we are creating these models where I mean, and especially obviously in big law where these, you know, very senior partners are just making absurd amounts of money, you know, on the backs of their associates.

Speaker 2 (00:43:34) - And it's just I mean, without regard to their associates mental health, I mean, when I see people with, you know, billable hour requirements, you know, 2000, 2000, 200, I mean, in my prior life as an insurance defense attorney, we had a 2400 hour requirement that was like completely normal. I mean, now I'm like, what? I mean, you know, my attorneys are more like in the 1350 kind of range. And that's definitely doable. I mean, I can see that they can get their work done, all of it non billable and billable in 40 hours, I mean, very easily. And I don't mean to say easy, but you know what I mean. Very like no problem. And I mean with working, you know, 44 ish weeks a year, like that's a pretty, I think solid, you know, life work integration where you're, you know, able to do the things. But even also as a law firm owner, like having people tell me what hours work for them, the insanity that I dictate everybody's hours and naked where it's uniform, to me, that's so insane.

Speaker 2 (00:44:45) - Why do we can we not have nuance? Like, why do we not look at the life cycle of people? Like as a young lawyer with no children, you might have a different energy level and a. Time when you're at home with three kids and two of them have special needs, you might have different you know, you might need something different. In in our firm, we roll with that like we are up and down and people come and go, you know, with their hourly requirements. And so I'm so curious to hear like, I mean, just every time we're talking about this topic, I'm so curious to hear if you're leveraging yourself yet and influencing the profession. Like this is so important. I'm so excited to hear others, you know, model your, you know, use the bully firm ownership model and, you know, the billable hour model and, you know all of it like it's just incredible. Yeah. Well I mean no I have not done and you know this I mean, I'm in my year of peace.

Speaker 2 (00:45:45) - And so I definitely, you know, we talk about boundaries like I have been pretty intentional in 2023 of just like kind of bringing things in and figuring out like what is next, what will next look like, and really just enjoying some peace because 2022 was just kind of rough and that was a big deal for me to just admit that that 20 I think it's great. Yeah, you're such a positive person that I would imagine it's hard to spit out that it was a hard year, but to spit it out, to find the courage to spit it out and then further courage to protect the time to heal. Yeah. Is heroic. And that's another example of how you're a leader. I mean, it's just it's that's not an easy that's a win that needs to be celebrated. That's awesome. Isn't that a funny win? But I agree with you. I do think having, you know, being very intentional has been, I think, really important. And I think it's been good for my firm, too.

Speaker 2 (00:46:41) - You know, like by us not pushing hard in certain areas, it's given everybody some peace. And I mean, we've had people in our firm, I mean, somebody who lost like a significant other. I feel like we were in a better spot to kind of, you know, deal with that even as like we were in a more peaceful state and we created this like PTO volunteer, like, you know, donate policy thing. Because initially when her partner passed away, she was like, okay, well, I'm going to come back to work, you know? And this was like, what? I'm like, No, you're not. I was like, You need like, time and space and, you know, but then there's all this employment lawyer stuff, like, you know, if I give her all this time, like, then what does that look like? So, you know, I had to follow all the laws of what I can do and not do because my natural inclination was just like, It's fine, take off, it'll be fine.

Speaker 2 (00:47:33) - But we created this donation policy. But then I was able to match all the donations. So to, you know, double the impact of what? Yeah, that was so powerful to see the people in the office be able to offer to their coworker. Wow. Their time, their money. I mean, like cash donations, time donations. And it was so powerful and it gave me so much gratitude to be able to match those. I was just like, absolutely tickled pink. Oh, my God. And I went from where I said, The courage that you went off on your own and created this company that has, you know, your amazing values. And like all of the bushwhacking you had to do to create policies where none exists, you know, like where you've had to build something that, you know, is so rare in our industry, if at all. I mean, I have to imagine you don't I don't know, like who you look up to. I mean, it's incredible.

Speaker 2 (00:48:30) - It's like incredible. And I'm grateful you exist. Like, I just think it's incredible. Well, I just. Because you're the pod host. Yeah. No, I so appreciate you spending your time with us today and talking to us about interconnected us. One thing that I would love to do, if it's okay with you, is just put the link to interconnected us in our own so people and reach out. And I mean, you know, there might be other moms that would like to hear more about what you're doing and how to get involved in a mastermind. What is the best way for somebody to reach you if they want to reach out and, you know, learn more about interconnected us? Absolutely. They can connect with me on social. I'm on LinkedIn and Facebook. They also can go to our website and just, you know, if they're interested and what they see, they can apply right there and that'll kick them towards setting up an appointment with me. So any of those would be great.

Speaker 2 (00:49:21) - And a friend of yours is a friend of mine, including all your pod listeners. Yeah. Well, I really appreciate and hope you have a great rest of your day.

Speaker 1 (00:49:29) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Mom podcast. A production of Maximum Lawyer Media. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. See you next time.

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