“Recovering From Loss, What I Know” with Johnnie Finch 215
Categories: Podcast

In today’s episode we’re sharing a presentation from MacLawCon 2020. That’s right, our originally scheduled MaxLawCon 2020 speaker Johnnie Finch presented LIVE to the Maximum Lawyer Guild community and today we share his talk on: Recovering From Loss, What I Know.

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Transcript: “Recovering From Loss, What I Know” with Johnnie Finch

Unknown Speaker
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum liar, podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Unknown Speaker
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from Max slot con 2020. That’s right, our originally scheduled Max slot con 2020 Speaker Johnny Finch presented live to the maximum lawyer guild community.

Johnnie Finch
And today we share his talk on recovering from loss what I know, let’s get to it. I do want to start with a story for you guys. True story of mine about a month and a half ago. And just to let you know, guys, I’m talking to all about mental health today, mental health is a topic. So whatever I speak about just focus on the mental health aspect. I was at a random bar, I was getting chicken wings. At the local pub, I saw a friend of mine, whatnot, a friend of mine, a lawyer that I knew in the community. And we had I had our first conversation, I ended up staying longer. And speaking with him. We talked about court. We talked about the day to day, we talked about other lawyers, you know, just lawyer talking to everything that goes along. We went to we ended up going to the same law school, he was about three years older than me. And at the end of the night, I had his number. And I was like hey, man, you know, if you ever out, let me know, I don’t mind coming out. Because a lot of times, I’m coming into town Dorn seven, between seven and nine or 30. And he was like, Thursday night is my night. And while I’m there, I can tell this is kind of his place. Because everybody that’s coming up to him. They’re speaking to him and say, Hey, how you doing? So I leave that day thinking, you know, oh, man, I got a new friend that I can kind of call because I haven’t been in this town as long. Fast forward to the next day. I get a call from a mutual friend of ours that I didn’t know it was a mutual friend. And he says, Hey, Danny, how you doing? I was like nothing. No, it was a text message. He was like, call me. So I called him and he said, Hey, man, you know, the guy you were talking to last night? He was like, yeah, he was like, he committed suicide. I was like, what he was like the guy you were talking to last night. I was like, the guy I was talking to last night and actually didn’t have his name. I wasn’t sure about his name. But I knew I talked to him for hours and segments and everything. He was like, Yeah, they just went out like, Nah, that’s not the case. There’s no way that that is the case. And shortly after that, because he had been in this town a long time I started getting text after text after text. There was another friend of mine that was with us that night. And I know him very well I call him and I was like, hey, because he stayed longer than I stayed. I was like, hey, you know what’s going on? He’s like, Man, I do not know. I do not. I know. Turns out it was true. And obviously, that was a shocker. Because I’m having a conversation with someone. That is so so normal. So normal, so low, you’re not normal, I should say, so low, you’re not normal, you know, he was in good spirits. Nothing that I know, indicates to me that within eight hours that the gentleman wouldn’t be here anymore. And so that led us to the mental health aspect. And just being aware of about why we’re talking about this today. That’s exactly why we’re talking about this today. Okay, so that is the first little thing, and I’m going into the second segment. And when I do segments, I do like this guy 1234. So I’m gonna try to keep you focused. And anytime you guys hit the gavel, let me know and just say, Johnny, go back, I will go back to the first. So the first segment is why we’re here is because that was an issue for me. Because like minded people in this profession, I don’t feel like we should be doing things like that. Now, I didn’t know a lot about this Yamo a lot about his background. But it just, you know, my thought was, was it the profession? I didn’t I didn’t know him before the profession. But was it something about what we do that let his mental health to take him to a spot where he felt like, you know, that was the course that he needed to take. And obviously, with the work that we do, and the amount of people that we help, we would hope that the stresses that come along with it won’t take us to this but so while we’re here, and I am attempting to help you guys today, this is a great help for me, because obviously, speaking about this, in which I wish we don’t get to talk about our problems a lot or talk about issues that we have a lot because we are always listening. It’s therapeutic for me, and we’ll talk more about that as well. So just a little bit more about me part two, I am about to be 40 years old. I am law was my second career. I started around law school around 28 years old, finished around 31. I started practicing around 32 So I’ve been practicing about seven years now. What I will say is before law practice, I never felt like I had stress problems. No doctor had ever told me Hey, Johnny, you have problems with stress, dealing with stress, or and I had never been diagnosed with any type of mental issue before law school. Now then there’s post law school or in law school, I felt like it was the first time I started dealing with stress. I will say, as I started practicing, I soon got married and had kids. So if what I can say about my wife and kids, personally, and this is what I know about mental health, they are a stress relief. For me, personally, my wife and kids are a time when I can kind of step away from everything. So they don’t cause stress on my life. And then I have to look to the least common denominator, which would be the practice of law without actually love, but it comes with a lot of issues. So so this is a, all the stress that I’ve had, or ever had to deal with, have come from being in the profession. And so to that, I say why I have no formal training, I have street training, and the stresses that law practice can bring. And so if I say anything that is incorrect, as far as mental health goes, I’m sorry, I am speaking from my own personal experiences, I do not mean to offend anybody. Anyway, as a matter of fact, if I say anything, please hit the chat. And we can start, we can have a conversation about it. Right now, as opposed to you guys going saying that Johnny was saying, XYZ. One thing I will say is that in law school, there was a certain type of anxiety that I may have felt actually trying to get past and test and pass the bar and do all of those things. And then when law practice actually started, I would say that was more of a stress. Because at that particular point in time, it was no longer about meaning, I think I could always kind of handled it, you know, if I didn’t pass the test, then naturally, I flunked, and then we just deal with the next thing. But once people’s issues were outside of myself, and to someone who emphasizes big time, I had to learn or my body, or my mental capacities, found a way to touch it to take all the stress that people were having, and kind of put it on my back. And, and walk with it and deal with it, which is a strength, but it’s also a weakness, because when do you get that off of your back? Is it off your back when the case is over? Or do you kind of act like it’s not there anymore, and through what I’ll tell you later on, when I was able to get some counseling, I was able to find that there were certain ways that I will deal with dealing with the amount of stress that was on my back, that was not the best way to deal with it. And it kind of put me in a crazy place. So recovering from a loss, what I know about that. And what I did, because I was given the topic, which was really not I think about I kind of looked up the definition, because that’s what we tend to do as lawyers. So what is a loss? A loss is a fact or process of losing, and recovering, returning to a normal state of health, mind or strength. And that is tricky, because if we’re recovering, and we’re returning to a normal state, a normal state with normal status that is for Johnny, is that the state before the normal state I was that before I started law school, or is that the normal state now as I practice law, right, and I have given up on the dream of returning back to the normal normal state of before law practice. And so when I deal with the normal state, I say, right here where I am right now, as far as the amount of stress that I deal with, so I say part two, and segment two, because while we’re talking about incurring a loss at some point, when we have to deal with that loss, is plus the stress level that you already have. So there’s the stress level here of law practice, that you’re automatically going to have, I believe it says 74% of people have these stresses that they deal with. And so if something dramatic happens, you lose a family member or any of any anything that could be extra, you have to deal with all that and you have to recover from that loss and get back to the normal state which would normally be stressed anyway. So I think part two just letting you know, when I say get back to normal, I mean, normal abilities and able to that put you in a place to be able to help your clients effectively help you Family and be healthy at the same time. While you deal with all of the issues that you go through. Generally what I do if I’m looking to find a model for success is I look personally to athletes, because at with athletes, you can see the beginning and the end, most of the time, you can see when the athlete is, you know, their training, rituals. You can see them in the game, we can see their stats from year to year, you can see how many championships they got, if something happened dramatic. You see, after that period, were they still able to to maintain the level of superiority that they had before. And it’s also exciting at the same time. Of course, it’s 2020. And we had a athletic community took a major loss this year. That was one of Mr. Kobe Bryant and, man, I tell you that shook me up. And I think it’s so many people who weren’t even big sports fans just because he was just the staple, even if you didn’t hear his name, or even if you didn’t watch him play, you just always heard his name. You know, Kobe Bryant is Conrad this you know, no matter what you thought about him, you knew who he was. And it was just such a sad story because he was a young I’m such a young man. Well, what I want to focus on in COVID career right now was and just a little background, if you don’t know Kobe Bryant is he was a phenom basketball athlete. At 1718 years old, he was drafted to the NBA, he was leading the league in scoring, he won five championships. But what I want to teach him today is after 17 years in the league, Kobe Bryant had a traumatic experience, and what I would consider a loss. And so what I want to do is just take a bird’s eye view, not a bird’s eye view, but a lawyer’s view into how he dealt with that, and see if we can compare that and bring it into the lawyer field just a little bit. So I am going to try for the first time in my career by leaving Korea to try to share spring and I hope that it works. So as you can see Mrs. O’Brien, he goes down and he’s grabbing his ankle. And again, this was 17 years into the league. At this particular point in time, he will say he was playing some of his basketball. Keep in mind that professional athletes and basketball players, their lifespan is generally between seven to 10 years maybe at best. I mean, you have superior athletes, they’ll go 1213 You that don’t quote me, I think Jordan may have won about 11 or 12 years. And he’s he’s thought to be one of the best players of all time. But Kobe is he was playing very, very good his game against the Golden State Warriors. And on a play where he kind of just falls as you can see, he’s kind of living off and you see how tough he is. After he tears his Achilles with the Kobe Bryant goes to the line. And to the two free throws. Yeah, at this point, his Achilles is gone. I mean, this is incredible moment. Just let you know how much he persevered. And at this point, I’m not a doctor, but I know something is wrong. Kobe knows something is wrong. You can see. I don’t know if at this point is the actual physical pain that he feels or is just the mental anguish because he’s very cold, right is very self aware. He knows that something is not right. I mean, I’ve seen this gentleman break his finger, go to the sidelines, and the trainer will just pull his finger out. He goes back into the game. I’ve seen him take punches, I think mistaken elbows, but if you can tell that something is going on. So 17 years into Kobe Bryant’s career, he gets this massive injury and it is Achilles tear. And that night, if you follow his career, you will know that he’s always been a very stoic guy. He was never the guy to give a lot to the fans as far as what he was really thinking or his pain, or his happiness. Now, if you want, you may see that but whenever he lost the game, he would go to the podium and he would give really, really, really short answers. But this time, Kobe Bryant for the first time, I will say the first time in his career actually gave us himself and a Facebook post that he made. And I’m not going to read the whole thing. I’m just gonna read a little bit to you guys, because it shocked the world because Kobe Bryant was not the guy that will give you the edge enough to know what was going on. And this is what he said. The night after he tore his Achilles This is such BS. All the training and sacrifice just flew out the window with one step that I’ve done. millions of times frustration is unbearable. The anger is rage Why the hell did this happen? Make No Sense. Now am I supposed to come back from this and be the same player? Or better at 35? How in the world am I supposed to do that? I have no clue. Do I have the consistent wheel to overcome this thing? Maybe I should break out the rocking chair and reminisce on the career that was maybe this is how the book ends. Maybe Father Time has defeated me, then again, maybe not. So the whole world was ticking by song by the Andrew but then by his statements, because this was not something that Kobe would give us. But what we can say is at some point, he felt like he had to get this information. Now, something about that Achilles injury was dramatic enough where Kobe felt like, I just can’t take this anymore. I have to let everybody know, I need to let everybody know how I feel. And not only just a family member, but I’m going to put this out for the people to see on social media. Now, because the Coronavirus has allowed so much time to give me the opportunity to look up different things about trauma, I was able to find some information about Army veterans and what actually happens when they are at war. And it’s how they deal with it when they’re poor.

Johnnie Finch
I mean, the third box now, just so you know, we had the first one, we had a second bathroom in third. But right now I’m talking about trauma and how people deal with trauma, or a loss. And what I found was that as a military veterans come back from war, if they do not talk about what happened, even though they try to not discuss it, they say that it will drive them crazy. I’ve read I have one statement here it says you will literally drive your crate, so crazy not to think about it, you will literally drive yourself down the path of mental illness, you got to make this peace with your memory, you’ve got to separate the memory of that event with emotions associated with one of the techniques that all that is therapeutic is would be like graphite. And so he just goes on to talk about how just being able to have a beer with a friend and discuss what was going on is therapeutic. Because if you don’t get that released from talking about it, then you’ll drive yourself crazy. All right. So what I am going to do now is come back to Mr. Kobe Bryant. And we just want to talk we focused on convincing. And what happened after that was he went and got a surgery, he went got a surgery. Kobe was out of the NBA for a year and a half. And so after he had the surgery, he’s trying, of course, all the cameras are following him. And I’m going to share my friend for the last time. And I’m gonna let you guys see a statement that Kobe made right before he came back. So he will be about 35 years old now. They asked him How do you feel about a certain Kobe said, you know, I’ve never had a year and a half off of basketball before I feel refreshed. I feel like if I didn’t know that core, I still be able to do my thing. Because I’ve never been able to reset like this. He said, I’m going to control what I can control. He said, there have been situations in my life that were much more serious than this much more serious. And I was able to overcome. So I think in the scale of things throughout my whole career, I think my work speaks for itself. Also, thing that he did was he said, Hey, listen, this is not about me being old and washed up because I was playing at my highest level before I got the injury. So if I come back, and I can’t play well, it’s not because I’m old. It’s just because I don’t deserve to be here. So he took the excuses away from him. And he wasn’t afraid to fail. He said the last thing he said is alright guys, I guess we’ll just see. One big thing that I definitely want to focus on is the time but before I jump to that, I want to talk about one advantage that Kobe had over lawyers. Now I’m jumping back into the second one Kobe tore the Achilles, he went to a surgeon, and the surgeon gave him a particular regimen, training that he had to do. And I’m sure he followed that regimen, and did everything he was told to do over that year and a half along with his training. Now, as lawyers when we suffer a loss, we don’t have an Achilles to go to the surgeon to repair. We have to do our own self analysis or awareness and be aware of what’s going on with ourselves because there’s not a direct injury. So we go back and I give you a personal example for myself. Three years into my practice. started my own firm and My hometown of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, about two and a half years after that, I was presented with the opportunity to go and work on a contract with a big entity in North Carolina. So, and at the same time, my wife was having a second baby. And it seemed like it was, it was a good idea. And I think, ultimately, it was a good idea to go. But what I ended up doing was leaving my practice, even though I still had the first office in moving to an another town about an hour, 45 minutes away. So I was working on that contract, and I wasn’t doing as much work as I was doing in my hometown. Well, two years into that contract with five days notice, the entity lets me know that they’re no longer gonna offer the contract, and that I’m no longer going to be paid anymore on the contract. So on the first day, let me know on the fifth, you’re not getting a check, and you won’t get another check. And for all intents and purposes, I was counting on that check. And that contract for like the next year and a half. So I went from thinking that I was gonna get a check on the fifth and not being able to get that check on the contract for another year and a half. So at this point, I have two offices that I’m running, I have an attorney that’s working for me, and I have two to three staff. And I also have a family and all the other things that we deal with all the time. So I would consider this somewhat of an Achilles tear. And so how did I deal with it? At first, I was very, very, very quiet about the matter, I was kind of shocked, I realized that whatever process that was going to take place, if the entity was going to have to pay me some money later on, that wasn’t going to help me pay my bills or the firm bills in the next couple of days. And there were some other things that were going on at the same time that will be so what I did with Johnny D, I was like, Man, I can’t handle all this. I was able to get in contact with the counselor and I started going to counseling because I was like, Man, this is just, I don’t know what I need to do. But I need to talk to somebody about this. Because it was a new territory. And I and that was the whole crazy thing about it when it was happening with the stress on my back and what we’ve been using. It felt just like another thing, but I was like, I know this is big, but the way that I’m interpreting this information, it doesn’t feel like it is as big as wedding I know what it is. And at the same time, of course, clients do have their problems, and you still have to talk to them. So I went and I talked to a counselor. And the first thing that we did well, for the first five, six sessions is, as I spoke to him, we just taught, I just talked to him. That’s all I did I just talk talk talk, he didn’t really say too much to me at all. Never did I think about I think he just sat there. And that was kind of interesting. But that was the rant, I guess that I needed that I didn’t know that I needed that Kobe gave it to us through Facebook, that the military gentleman talks about that you just have to get it out. And that’s not normal. That’s not normal culturally, for me, I don’t know, as, as a man, if we feel comfortable talking about our feelings I for one just didn’t, I didn’t see what it would help. Normally, I mean, to speak out and talk about what’s going on with myself, unless that person was able to physically help me. I didn’t see what the purpose was there. But through talking with him, I knew every time I left, I felt better. I don’t know if he gave me any solutions, but I feel better about the situation. So at this particular point in time, I have about five or six sessions, speaking with a gentleman, and he starts to share a little bit with me about himself. And this gentleman, you know, I said that I never had any issues before man. He he’d been through the storm, you know, he’d been through the storm, and he shared with me some things. I was like, oh, man, you know, I might be okay. I actually might be okay. Because, you know, say that you were telling me that you recover from mentally, I feel like I’m pretty self aware. And he was like, Danny, what you, you know, you’re really self aware. But you need to watch out for these triggers, you have certain triggers. And that lets you know that you’re not dealing with stress. And so what I’ll do now is I’ll just kind of open everybody up to what I know is my personal triggers. And the reason why we need to know what our mental health triggers are, is because we’re seeing the signs that means that we’re dealing with our stress the wrong way. And if we continue to do that, what happened is your lock up, and for some people, what that means is you wake up in the morning and you won’t be able to move. That’s never happened to me. But what happens to me is I go into complete auto pilot, meaning that I may go one to two to three months on autopilot when I’m not physically or I may be physically present, but I’m not mentally present, meaning I’m speaking with people. And I am. They think that I’m there, I’m talking about jerseys. I’m talking about class, I’m signing paperwork, I’m drafting motions. And then when I go back later and look at the workout that I feel like what the hell is this, like, it may be a form a simple form that I’m filling out, where with the county, my name, the address, and then a checkbox. But for some reason, when I was filling it out on auto mode, it was not correct. And that’s not even, that’s not even legal work less filling out forms, because I’m on autopilot. So I have to watch these certain triggers that I have to let me know if I’m not dealing with stress in the correct manner. And I learned this in counseling, through having conversations with a gentleman. And these are my stress indicators. One is, I have an alarm that I set for 530 Every day, if every day, I’m still getting up an hour to hour and a half. After I set my alarm when I went in bed, that means that I am craving sleep. And I don’t want to I’m not excited about my day. And I just want to stay in bed. So that lets me know not the first day because sometimes you just have sometimes you just have, but if every day, I’m craving that starting my day, and craving this probably not the right word. But if I if I’m in a situation where I want to stay in bed longer, that’s one indicator. My second indicator is if my assistant calls me and says that I have a console, no consoles for Laurie about the ways that we make our money. So won’t consoles that I’m like, Oh man, I got a console today, if I’m not looking forward to that, if I’m not looking forward to calling, especially with my clients, if at the end of the day, when I go home, I don’t want to talk to my wife, but I love my wife to death. But what happens is, the more stress that I deal with, the less I want to do anything at home. So at some point, hopefully never seen this. But I would actually make my day longer in the evening, so that when I got home, we could put the kids in the bathtub, and then I could kind of go to bed and not have to worry about you know, extra conversations. And that’s not good at all. And I mean, who knows how long I was actually on this, this autopilot that I’m telling you guys about, you know, anytime where it was an issue, whether it was a social social time, if I was having a beer, but I was drinking more than I normally would I say on average, I may, if I go out to get something to eat, maybe I’ll have one drink, if I’m constantly having two or three, or if on Friday night, because Friday night, or you know, lawyer time. That is the time when my kids go to bed at night, and I’m just sitting out on the back porch. I am looking at YouTube and all the wonderful things that all my loyal friends are doing. And if I stay up to three o’clock in the morning drinking, I know that there’s an issue, because I shouldn’t be in the bed around 1215 to one o’clock. Of course after you do that, and then there’s the whole day this Oh, the whole week that you have to pay for it because you hungover but anyway, that is another one of my triggers. And I’ll go through these just so you guys know that. This is kind of like my framework that I’m working through. And even today, while I’m speaking with you, I’m still working through my framework. So this is hopefully helpful for you, but also helpful for me to have any questions.

Unknown Speaker
Oh, well, well, Norman just said, are you designing a training regime?

Johnnie Finch
You set a daily set of small improvements to get back in the game stronger than you left it? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Thanks. Okay. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna steal the fourth block here. But thank you, I appreciate that. And I definitely I definitely will get to that. Okay. So we get through the situation personally, with the firm the contract that I had, on issues that I’ve had, and everything is feeling sub normal. I’m back in the gym a little bit more. I’m exercising a little bit more. I’m spending more time with my kids. So we’re moving into the fourth and final box. And this is the one that involves everyone. What Kobe Bryant said, going back to the second box was that he had a year and a half all from basketball to completely rejuvenate his mind, his body and spirit will just put that in there. Will. We’ve all been blessed with the time now. If you’re practicing law, there are certain things that the government has said that means that you have time now that you will probably never have again. I know for one I have until June 1 We stopped court the middle, the middle of March. So the middle of March was when we had when I found out that We would have some time off and and that day like, the light went off. And so what I would say guys is, with the stuff stuff that we were talking about is, we need to use this not year and a half, but this six to eight to nine weeks plan to make sure that the world Kobe Bryant came back from basketball, he had two or three or four years left, so he was in the fourth quarter of his career when he got hurt. Now, you may be a new lawyer, a new lawyer like myself, I’ve been practicing seven years or you may be you may be 15 or 20 years in the game, we may be in the second quarter, the third quarter, the fourth quarter. But what I will say is, there’s a time that we’ve been allotted right now to reset course. And we probably will never get this time again. So the steps that were was talking about that I have been taking, since we have this time, and there are five of them. One, every day I sit down, and I reevaluate my goals, I reevaluate what I’m doing. And while I’m doing to the first week, I took the inventory of everything that I had to be inventory of everything that I had, because during the course of law practice, we accumulate a lot of stuff. And we get involved with a lot of things that we either can’t finish or need to finish, or just things that we need to throw away. So I went in the first week, and I just took an inventory of what I had, I found a lot of cool toys, by the way, a lot of microphones and cameras that I didn’t even remember that I had. But it’s important that we take an inventory of our staff, about systems at work, Office Systems, how much we’re spending for human. Thirdly, looking at your circling support. One thing that my counselor always let me know. And one thing I kind of always knew was that I couldn’t tell what I was doing by who I was with most of the time, what I am aligned with you guys, you know, that is some of the best time that I have mentally, because you guys are always encouraging each other. We’re always encouraging each other like minded individuals dealing with the same level of stress, not normal, stressful when I’m with you guys, I feel like I’m on target. So you know what, you know, who is my group? Who is my team going forward? And how do I make sure that I continue to cultivate those relationships, and still, at the same time, reach back and have a for me, personally, I need at least two to three people that are helping that are either in law school, or new lawyers new or lawyers to continue to be in community with because while I am learning, I also want to put people in a position where they don’t have to worry about having those moments where they’re on autopilot, like I was at one point for the discipline were you talking about? I’m back in the gym, or my healthy, my health is better. I’m spending more time with my kids. Obviously, I have the time to spend with my kids. My spiritual devotion is that I do. I’m making sure that I’m on those trying to make sure that I can start rethought habits and be disciplined on making sure that what time I set my alarm for I’m actually doing, I’m trying not to be in sweatpants everyday with at that point. At this point, I have not been able to do that. Because it feels like obviously it feels like a vacation. And I think fifth The fifth thing that is time has allowed me and it should allow everybody really, really opportunity to dream again. Because when you don’t have the clock of the next thing, the next thing is okay, I have caught tomorrow morning. And then I have to see clients and then I have to pay bills. When you don’t have that clause, it gives you the opportunity to say hold up, you know, how do we take this information that we have and really like dream, like, think about personally why I’m here what I’m supposed to be doing? Why I think that I’m here why someone has put us here in this situation. And think about why you know from the loss that we may have incurred without looking back over the last that I took, which was more of a financial one or anything else. When I actually looked at it closely, I saw like during that time, we were able to do as a firm and as a team, a lot of great things, a lot of great cases, again, a lot of great experience. And then the question is okay, based on that drink, I now have more time than I ever have to try to implement it. And as a lawyer, we’re so systematic anyway, that if we just take five hours out of our week, certainly it could put us push us towards that part. So that is recovering from a loss. What I know from a mental aspect, that’s all I have better. Hope you guys enjoy it.

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