Here's my definition of legacy: "a conscious and meaningful contribution of your authentic gifts, talents and resources that adds value in a lasting way."
It’s not what comes to most people's minds, but think about it. Whether large or small, financial or not, isn't that what it comes down to? Okay, often it's not all that conscious since even people who don't think about it or design it directly, do create a legacy and are known and remembered for some contribution they’ve made … usually after the fact.
So, being conscious about it is a big shift that makes legacy more applicable to everyone – simply a part of daily life. If you were consciously making a contribution using your authentic gifts, talents and resources to add value to some part of the world, what would you be doing? It’s amazing how such unique expression can develop into significant, positive, lasting change. It just takes a little personal pioneering
One young pioneer pursuing this definition of legacy through her professional practice is Kristin Scheel. Like most young lawyers, Kristin started out in a pretty traditional fashion, earning her undergraduate degree in Economics from Texas A&M University and graduating at the top of her class from South Texas College of Law. She then racked up lots of experience as an associate in other law firms and work as in-house corporate commercial counsel.
What can happen from there is what I call the professional opportunity of a lifetime – the decision to hang out your own shingle and create your own professional practice. When that happens not only does the pioneer spirit kick in, but also an entrepreneurial one, which requires the development of business and other skills not taught in professional training.
For me, it was incorporating into my legal practice the notion of preventing legal problems. Many colleagues thought that was a crazy notion – why do something that would potentially limit the amount of work you could do for clients? But clients thought it was great – investing in legal services to put in place what you need to avoid big legal fees from major, but avoidable, problems. The pursuit gave me the opportunity to incorporate my values into professional practice, and to develop a profitable and sustainable business that continues though I’ve stepped away from active involvement.
In Kristin’s case, it’s about yoga.
Kristin is a devoted yoga practitioner and teacher. That doesn’t mean she gets clients on the mat doing various postures and breath work (though that might help in most situations)! What it means is that in her own professional practice, with its own philosophy and approaches to problems, she gets to incorporate her own brand of service. And perhaps shift the way law is practiced and the way lawyers are perceived by the general public – a legacy feat in itself!
Kristin sees herself as an interdisciplinary collaborative practitioner providing services as both an attorney and mediator. Rather than compartmentalizing who she is from her work, she integrates it all: her experience as a corporate lawyer, litigation attorney, family law and divorce clinic volunteer, yoga teacher, family member, seeker of knowledge and rich life experience, and nonprofit board member. She also brings significant training in communication as well as right-left brain balance and other philosophies from yoga to her work in addressing legal matters.
She has built a private law firm in Houston, Texas designed to provide family law services, divorce and collaborative law mediation, as well as business law services and her vast experience in corporate law and commercial contracts for entrepreneurs and conscious business owners, and nonprofit organizations. It is the goal of her professional practice to provide clients with ‘holistic legal services.’ It’s an expression of her own personally held core values to honor people and bring a peace-making approach to conflict resolution.
To that end, she brings a deep commitment to helping clients create solutions mindfully, creatively and with minimal court involvement, and with a focus on impacts to community – however that may be defined in a given situation. She has cultivated skills in deep listening, compassionate communication, responsiveness and creative option generation (things not taught in law school). Legal solutions then reflect clients’ needs and customized resolutions from exploration of a wealth of choices, and they align with the client’s life experiences and core values. Her focus is to support their success and harmony not just in the immediate concern, but in the long run, allowing legal strategies to develop from a place of strength, alignment and responsiveness.
The result? She finds that approaching legal services in this way can save time and money, as well as priceless emotional stress.
A Foot In Both Worlds
Kristin maintains her mainstream involvements as a member of the Texas and Houston Bar associations. She’s also eagerly involved with organizations supporting the delivery of services in alternative ways, including the Collaborative Law Bar Association and Cutting Edge Law. To further support the expansion of approaches available to lawyers in practice, Kristin is also the founder of the Houston Holistic Lawyers for Transformation.
So what’s yoga got to do with it? In Kristin’s case, it’s got everything to do with it. It forms a foundational purpose for how to approach people and the world. It defines who she is in all contexts of her life and work – and what she believes is possible in the way she serves and literally creates the world around her. These things provide a framework for decisions and actions – how she helps people find solutions to their challenges and how she builds her business.
It’s About Courage
It takes courage to be yourself – and be your best self – and then build your work around it. But that work can change the world … and in this case enhance or change the direction of an entire profession. It’s legacy, consciously created at the level of daily work.
Are you ready to step out and be more of who you are, incorporate that into your business and attract the people who resonate with that and are looking for someone like you to work with? I’d love to explore what that would be like for you. Join me for a complimentary breakthrough consultation – get on the schedule here and let’s see what develops!