Getting to the “Personal” in Personal Branding

Spruce Up Your Personal Brand for Spring!

By Onika K. Williams

Spring has officially sprung!  If you need any confirmation that spring is in full bloom, feel free to search for cherry blossom photos on Instagram…and the growing allergy aisle at your local pharmacy!  With spring comes new beginnings.  This is an excellent time to re-evaluate what you have done this year and what you hope to accomplish in the next year.  Was there something you were hoping to accomplish this year, but have not been able to start?  Did you want to take a language course?  Need new headshots?  Want to work on your LinkedIn page?  Want to exercise more?  Now is the time to do it!

However, before plunging head first into sprucing up your personal brand, here are few tips to make sure you are doing so efficiently and for the right reasons:

  • Ask yourself why you are hitting the “reboot” button: While spring is an excellent time to re-evaluate where you are in your goals, make sure you are not starting new endeavors just to check off a box. Yes, getting new headshots this spring would be great, but if you got new headshots in January 2017, do you really need new headshots?  Remember to ask yourself if the activity you are about to engage in is necessary to reach your goals.
  • Do you have time to engage in this new activity? During this time of year, many bar associations are completing their bar years and preparing for executive board elections. Are you looking to get more involved with your local bar associations or become more involved with a national bar association?  This is great!  Being involved in bar associations illustrates that you are willing to volunteer and take on leadership opportunities.  Additionally, participating in bar associations allow you to network and learn new skills.  But, is it not necessary to be president of every bar association that ever existed all at the same time?  Likely no.  Make sure you do not take on too much at once.
  • Do something new! Once you have figured out whether you are hitting the “reboot” button for the right reasons and that you have time for a new activity, try something new! Want to volunteer more?  Join a volunteer-based organization and sign up for shifts!  Want to visit more museums?  Become a member at a museum and receive the opportunity to attend more museum programming.  Want to take on a new leadership role?  Run for a leadership position in an organization that you have been involved in.

In sum, spring is an excellent time to re-evaluate your goals and spruce up your personal brand.  If you find that you want to engage in an activity and have time for the activity, go ahead and try something new!

Law & Well Being

The Embodied Lawyer

By Denise A. Robinson


I’ve been a runner all of my life. Figures, given that my late dad was a track coach and my mom regularly does two-a-day workouts at nearly 70 years old! I used to run for physical fitness alone, but as I encountered challenges in law school and later as a practicing lawyer, I started to notice the psychological benefits of a good run as well. In particular, if I had a difficult decision to make or a complex matter at work, I found going for a run consistently helped me work out solutions to the problems at hand. I’ve since learned there’s science to back up my experience, including research showing the cognitive benefits of increased blood flow to the brain during exercise. In addition, if that exercise takes place outdoors, safe exposure to the natural world has been associated with a decrease in the body’s fight or flight stress response, which corresponds to an increase in the brain’s executive function.

The relationship between my runs and problem solving is just one example of connecting the body and the mind for professional benefit. While lawyers and other knowledge workers are hired for what’s in our heads, the reality is that we are more than our thoughts, which offer an evaluation on what’s going on within ourselves or out in the world. We also have physical sensations, which offer us information about what actually is happening. Tapping into our sensory experiences is referred to in contemplative studies as embodiment, which encourages us to understand our bodies and minds as mutually beneficial. This runs contrary to our cultural norm, which is to subordinate the physical in favor of the mental, but the tide is turning. For example, a book published by a medical doctor in 2016, The Mind Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health, explores the connection between the microbiome in the digestive system and the brain, bringing new meaning and credibility to the “gut feeling.” Consider also the example of prominent trial lawyer David Boies. As described in Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Boies attributes his success in part to keen listening skills and an exceptional memory developed as a result of having dyslexia, which made acquiring information through reading difficult. Tuning into to his sense of hearing gave him access to information that others miss, and information is power for lawyers and others who solve problems for a living.

How might your career benefit from tapping in to your senses?