I just returned from a weekend in Austin, Texas, where I traveled to attend Ketocon. Ketocon is a conference focused on the science and stories of the ketogenic diet and lifestyle. The conference brings together people from all professions and walks of life: elite athletes, medical professionals, scientists, educators, researchers, dieticians, fitness experts, podcasters, lifestyle coaches, keto product manufacturers and of course me, a lawyer.
I started my ketogenic journey in December 2013 after I fell on a work trip in Williston, North Dakota and broke my right leg in 10 places. Following that accident, I began researching and studying the most optimal diet and workout regimens for healing, recovery, and human performance. I was determined not to let my injury ruin my running career, my strength, my fitness, my wellness, or my spirit. I was also determined to recover from my injury as quickly as possible and use it as an opportunity for growth rather than failure. I used a combination of strength training, various cardio protocols and a personalized ketogenic diet to: (a) heal my body from the devastating injury in record time, (b) run my fastest (and fasted) marathon in October 2015 at the age of 39, (c) compete as a bodybuilder (figure division) in 2017 and 2018; and (d) optimize my performance at work, including throughout trial.
I tell you all of this information about my personal life because in my 15 years of practicing law, I’ve observed and accepted that this career can be at times, physically and emotionally exhausting. To me, it is critical to maximize my energy so that I can endure what are sometimes days and weeks of lengthy work hours. In fact, I view my workout regimen and dietary choices as part of my job. My workout regimen and dietary choices have always been my primary stress relievers from the demands of my busy trial practice. In order to be able to keep my mind sharp and my energy high each day, especially during the kind of grueling hours I put in during trial, I deem it critical to be fit in mind and body so that I can perform my best for my clients and my team.
Given my passion for all things fitness and wellness, I spend a portion of my time outside of my law practice educating myself on how to optimize my performance in all areas of my life. I do most of my learning by listening to audiobooks and podcasts because doing so allows me to also be productive and active at the same time (cooking, running, walking, running errands, doing laundry, cleaning, etc.). I believe that as lawyers, we need to be better about prioritizing our health and wellness. This career can be all-consuming at times, and if we fail to give ourselves regular outlets from the grind of our busy legal careers, or if we fail to take care of the health of our bodies, I believe we do so to the detriment of our practice and our enjoyment in it. I personally have a team of people helping me achieve my health and wellness goals: personal trainers, spiritual healers, marketing coaches, nutritionists, physical therapists, chiropractors, a therapist, and a meditation coach. I don’t think you have to aspire to become a professional athlete to take advantage of the services these professionals offer. I believe you must simply have a desire to want to improve yourself in some way.
One of the ways in which I have worked on improving myself this year was to start a morning gratitude practice. I meditate each morning and also spend a few minutes listing the things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I write those things down; other times I simply recite them out loud. When I woke up in my hotel room in Austin on Sunday morning, first I meditated, and then I opened my gratitude journal. Interspersed between the pages of blank space for writing journal entries are selected pages containing thought-provoking messages. Sunday’s message caught my attention and so I wanted to share it here:
Notice each moment. It’s easy to get weighed down with the mundane and routine things in our lives. But it’s a worthwhile challenge to look at them with new eyes. Today, take a moment before each task, breathe in deeply, and acknowledge something about the task that you appreciate. Maybe it’s the comforting whir of the coffee grinder. The soap that smells just right. The radio station you listen to every morning. Remember that each new day brings a chance for a new perspective.
My recommendation to everyone reading this article is to try to take some time out of your busy life as a lawyer to do that today. Express gratitude for all of your abundance. Notice each moment. It might just fulfill you more than you think.