Commitment to Collaborative: The Importance of Grit in Changing the Way the World Gets Divorced

By Joryn Jenkins
commitment to collaborative

So you’re a collaborative professional who wants to change the way the world gets divorced. You’ve been to the training, and you’ve heard the testimonials from colleagues and clients alike about how collaborative practice is a kinder, gentler process that saves divorcing clients a lot of pain. And you want to be a part of that, to get a piece of that action. Who wouldn’t?

But what now? Have the collaborative cases started coming through your door? If not, why not?

Many newly trained collaborative professionals complain about the inevitable Catch 22 . . . nobody wants to retain them for a collaborative case because they don’t have experience, but they can’t get experience if they can’t get retained in those first collaborative cases. So how do you get your first collaborative cases?

Consider that maybe you are the reason why people are not retaining you for collaboration, rather than your lack of experience. When you consult with new clients, does your passion for the collaborative approach shine through? Or do you seem unsure and lacking confidence because of your lack of experience? Are you clearly more at ease when discussing other process options, like mediation and litigation? Clients can sense this and will prefer to retain you to work in the process in which you are the most confident.

But how can you be confident about something that you’ve never actually practiced?

Even if you truly believe that it is the best option for families? Grit is the answer. According to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, “grit equals passion plus persistence.” And without grit, true success will be hard to attain. It doesn’t come easily. Developing your passion is hard work and it takes persistence.

presentation board for collaborative
Commitment to the collaborative way of life means taking the time to hone your pitches and presenting in front of an audience, among other things.

To change the way the world gets divorced, you must be passionate, not only about what you want to do but also about marketing it. A collaborative practitioner must hone the five fortes of marketing: pitch, publish, present, profile, and partner. After all, if you write and hone your pitch, you’ll deliver it more effectively to consults, and they’ll be more likely to retain your collaborative services. If you publish and present often on collaborative topics, you’ll become savvier and more confident in your collaborative knowledge. If you change your profile to reflect your new collaborative image, others will begin to view you that way. And if you partner with the right collaborative colleagues (gritty ones like yourself!), they’ll refer collaborative cases your way.

Of course, developing a passion is not easy. It takes grit and hard work. You must be patient and you must make time for it.

If you’re like most professionals, it can be difficult to find any extra time in your day. But consider all the wasted time you spend each day. How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media or surfing the internet? How much time do you waste sitting in traffic when you could be listening and learning from an audio tape, talking on the phone with a potential partner, or dictating a blog? If you really want to change the way the world gets divorced, you must first find the time.

Next, jump right in, and learn by doing! Until you actually practice what you preach, you’ll never know for sure if you are really passionate about it. Say your passion is skydiving. You’ve learned all you can about the best parachutes and gear, the ultimate altitudes, and the most picturesque skydiving locales. But once you suit up and fly high for your first jump, you realize that you’re scared of heights, you don’t like wind, and it’s a lot nosier than you expected. Maybe skydiving isn’t your passion after all. But you would never have realized that if you hadn’t eventually just gone for it.

That being said, it’s also important to remain patient in your passion. It’s rare to be exceptional at something that you have just begun to do. And being just mediocre isn’t much fun. But if you stick with it, you’ll eventually get better, and that may be where you find your grit.

Also understand that regardless of your passion, there are bound to be some aspects of it that you don’t enjoy. Don’t give up just because certain tasks are tedious or boring.

Finally, it’s normal to experience moments of burn out when developing your passion. When faced with those, don’t give up. Instead, teach and advise others about your passion. In doing so, you’ll likely rediscover the reasons why you fell in love with collaborative practice in the first place.

Anything worth doing takes hard work. To change the way the world gets divorced, you must be passionate and persistent; you must be gritty!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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