By: Victoria Santoro, Guest Blogger
“Be nice!” Says every parent to every child at least a few times a week. Being nice is an admirable goal, and a value we should absolutely instill in our children and in ourselves. We learn this over and over in our young lives: we should be nice to others, even if they're not necessarily being all that nice to us. Turn the other cheek, etc.
And then you reach middle school, high school, maybe you go to college. Maybe you even make it all the way to graduate school. Throughout these years, not only are you expected to be nice, but you are encouraged to be successful and to achieve. If you work hard, and come across a little bit of luck in this world, you'll reach your dreams and hopefully embark on a fulfilling and challenging career. Generally, that is the message.
And you'll embark on your career with no one having told you that being nice and being successful are not always compatible. Someday you will have to fight. And while you (hopefully) won't use your fists, you will use your intellect and instincts to fight for something you feel is right. Whether it’s for one of your clients, for an ailing family member, or on your own behalf, this is an inevitable truth. Fighting, disagreeing, and advocating is a part of life. And it will, inevitably, be a part of your professional life.
And you know what else someone may not have told you? Fighting for something can be beautiful and amazing and more enriching than all the other times you were nice. It is fighters who make change. And it is fighters who make history. In a different way, what you do in times of conflict, is also a way to show love for those people on whose behalf you are acting.
While I believe deeply in acting with courtesy, control, and professionalism, there is a time and a place for some fight. Win or lose, if you are able to show fortitude in the face of serious disagreements, and find a way to appropriately handle an argument, you will discover deep reserves of strength within yourself. Reserves you never even knew were there. You will show colleagues and adversaries how intelligent and powerful you are. More importantly, though, is you will discover your own resilience. Find the fight within you and let it breathe. Become comfortable with uncomfortable emotions. These emotions, and the uncomfortable situations they will get you through, will propel you forward faster than you could ever imagine.
Victoria Santoro is a trial attorney who practices law in Boston. She is also a teacher, speaker, and writer, maintaining her personal blog The Limber Lawyer, and contributing to various legal publications. Victoria is passionate about helping young girls and women not only succeed but also find contentment and purpose. In her free time, she can often be found training or competing for half-marathons and triathlons.
Image via shanecarabajal.wordpress.com