Leading with Empathy - Step #12
When a client is charged with a crime in Michigan, it’s a sinking feeling filled with uncertainly and dread; a client doesn't feel in control, and they want to lash out in frustration and play the role of victim. This is not the best approach to being charged with a crime.
When a client plays victim, they ignore the challenge of personal change and look to blame outside influences. The goal is to look within and reflect on what matters in life; who are you, and where do you want to go? We certainly don't want to be in jail or branded a criminal for the rest of our life. So where do we want to go, and how do we get there?
When we discover our strengths, goals and purpose, we become centered, and we learn to reflect. We can overcome crisis with confidence and survive the storm of a criminal case. More importantly we can move beyond the case and continue our growth and progress.
We can tackle the uncertainly of a criminal case through our adaptive confidence; my clients are people of both reflection and action. One of the most likely reasons why a client ends up on the wrong side of the law is due to their busy life where they don’t take time to work on themselves, and to address their mental and emotional needs.
There is no better time to take a timeout and assess when charged with a crime; to value reflection is to value your future; once you reflect, you are ready to act.
Disciplined reflection over time leads to deep learning for a client. When a client makes deep change it challenges the status quo, and it takes courage to push for change in the criminal justice system.
When a client practice disciplined reflection and writes out their life goals, success is more likely, and confidence is contagious. When the judge and prosecutor believe in a client, anything is possible.
Real life example of disciplined reflection
It's natural for a client to focus on what went wrong, and what they may lose because of a criminal case, but I always focus clients on what they can gain. The reality is a client has already lost parts of the case that cannot be recovered; those are sunk costs and can't distract us from our true progress.
A client charged with a crime must focus on more than themselves; when a client expands their focus to their family, friends and community, it builds momentum for deep change. What is important enough to push through the difficult days when change isn’t easy?
A recent client was facing serious charges, and they lost their job after the arrest; the job was not coming back no matter the outcome of the case. It would have been easy for the client to sulk and feel defeated.
We focused on deep reflection, and what was important to them. The client soon realized that their stressful job led to not caring for themselves and making poor choices with alcohol.
The job was slowly killing them, and it almost actually killed them driving drunk. Without the criminal case they may never have left their job until it was too late.
With disciplined reflection the client soon saw the blessing of the case and the opportunity to make major changes in their life.