I wanted to take some time to process my thinking after LexThink – or more accurately, after BlawgConnect 2005, ABA TECHSHOW 2005 and LexThink, and I haven’t yet started to write about it. I’ve also needed to tend to a few other projects and work on the launch of Between Lawyers.
From my email, I know that I’m taking a little more time than some people would like. I point you to Jack Vinson, Yvonne Divita and Matt Buchanon, among others who have very good posts about LexThink.
I finished another of Jack’s reflections on LexThink this morning. He reflects on the way that “passion” emerged as a theme for the day. I’ve also been thinking a lot about that, and I’ve been thinking about some notes on a big sheet of paper that hung on the wall at LexThink that talked about “passion” and “trust.” A companion sheet has the phrase “authentic voice.”
Last night, VH1 showed the recent documentary film called Some Kind of Monster. The film follows Metallica through the period in which they recorded their last album, St. Anger, and sometimes labeled as the film in which “Metallica hires a therapist.”
[By way of background: Many of my friends are surprised both by how few movies I watch or like these days and by the fact that there were years when I saw more than 300 movies. My glib, but more accurate than you might expect, answer is usually that after Kurosawa's Ran, there wasn't much else left to be said through film. I love great movies, and I can't stand to be in the same room with mediocre or bad movies.
The other answer is that because of Babylon 5, La Femme Nikita, 24 and other serial television shows, I've grown to like the extended story-telling form of "movies" better than the 2-hour format. Not to name drop, but seeing Fassbinder's "Berlin Alexanderplatz" over several days many years ago probably set off my interest in that extended format.
So, to my surprise, and probably the shock of people who know me, I've now seen two movies in 2005 that I really liked. One was "Some Kind of Monster." The other caught me totally off-guard and was "3," a made for TV ESPN movie on Dale Earnhart.
But, let me get back to Metallica, er, LexThink.]
I don’t pretend to be a Metallica fan – I’m not all that familiar with their music and I didn’t understand their story very well until last night. I especially didn’t realize that as they started to hit big, they lost a band member in a tour bus crash that could have killed them all.
It becomes clear that this documentary shows, in part, the three core members of the group trying to come to terms with that event in a way they never had before. It’s also the story of a fight for their art, their identity and whether they can stay together as a group.
It’s riveting stuff, especially as what is happening reveals itself in the music. It’s also clear that the group could have split apart at several points during the filming.
Interestingly, at the lowest point, in the turning point of the film, there is a funny scene that has them all laughing and realizing that by knowing what they aren’t, they realize what they are and why it makes sense to go forward from that.
The music changes after that point, culminating in the video of the song St. Anger that they shot at San Quentin playing to a group of prisoners. The first time I saw that video, I put it into my top 10 of music videos before the video even finished. Now I understand why the video has the power and realness that it does for me.
Heck, I don’t mind if you make fun of me for liking this movie, for making Metallica references on my blog, or whatever. I do mind if you aren’t willing to set aside a couple of hours sometime and watch this movie with an open mind.
The movie (or at least my reading of it) focuses on three themes I took from Lexthink – Passion, Trust and Authentic Voice. That’s stuff that matters.
You will see in Some Kind of Monster that the Metallica guys are very wealthy and can spend their money on anything they want. They chose to spend $40,000 a month (not always willingly) to bring in a coach/therapist to help them determine what Metallica was, where it was going and if they wanted it to go on.
In other words, they cared about what they had created and where it might go. They wanted to know whether they still had the trust, the passion and an authentic voice and whether they were willing to fight for it.
You might dismiss Metallica as just a heavy metal band, but they showed me more about commitment and caring about what they are doing, their audience and their art than I’ve seen at any law firm. Would you spend that kind of money or, more important, invest the amount of time and emotion, that they did? Why not? Why don’t you care as much about what you are doing as they do?
When I encounter a lack of trust, I have to leave. When I find a lack of passion, like most of us, I tend to be willing to make compromises. Until blogging, I didn’t place much emphasis on the authentic voice piece of the puzzle. Now, I think a lot about that.
So, here are my first action steps for you that grow out of LexThink.
1. Watch “Some Kind of Monster.”
2. Ask yourself if you are willing to make the same kind of effort to work on your firm, business or orgaization.
3. If so, write down at least three reasons why you aren’t making that kind of effort now.
4. If not, write down at least three reasons why you plan to stay there.
5. Rewrite your lists as questions and spend a few minutes every day thinking about your answers to those questions, until it becomes impossible for you not to take some action.
Passion. Trust. Authentic voice. Stuff that matters. Even if we can’t get all the way there, the paths to get closer to them are ones to give serious thought to taking.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]