Walking the WALK

The 2012 graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania were gifted a rare Baccalaureate speaker in Nipun Mehta, founder of ServiceSpace.org. In 2005, Mehta embarked on a three-month walking pilgrimage of India with his new wife, wishing to experience life in a more connected way, driven by compassion instead of ego. He describes the lessons he learned along the way using the acronym WALK, and we can’t help but imagine how this acronym and all it stands for can lend itself to the legal profession and those working to redefine how the profession is perceived. Here is the breakdown:

W is for witness. A common legal term, to be sure, but here it is meant to say “don’t just look, but see” the world around you, and all that is comprised within it. The speed of life in the technology age can be dizzying. What good could you accomplish for yourself and for your clients if you stopped to take things in and really see all that is going on around you? It’s worth taking that time.

A equals accept. Accept whatever life throws at you, and cultivate the ability to transform and adapt yourself. What would happen if rather than trying always to control the outcome of a case, a deal, or an interaction with a coworker or client, you accepted it for what it was and learned what you could from it?

L is for love, and this might seem a tough one, but it’s not. Allowing yourself to love your work and the results of your work will bring you greater personal fulfillment while also making you a better lawyer, able to better serve your clients. As Mehta told the graduates at UPenn, “true generosity doesn’t start when you have some thing to give, but rather when there’s nothing in you that’s trying to take.” How would your practice be transformed if you approached your work from that place?

Finally, the K stands for know yourself. Remember, this is a journey, not a destination. Ask questions. Get to know yourself, the world around you, and your place in it. How would your professional life be enhanced if you asked more questions rather than making judgments or statements? How would your personal life be enhanced?

This simple acronym offers up a perfect foundation from which to build your life’s success. All you have to do is apply it. And then let us know how your life and your practice have changed for the better.