Owning Your Elegant Warrior
You’re an Elegant Warrior.
No matter whether you’re wearing cut-off jeans, no makeup and a top knot or a business suit, nude stockings and 3-inch pumps, you meet the definition. Whether you’re a teacher, a nurse, a doctor or a CEO, an athlete, a couch potato or a ballroom dancer, you can wear the mantle of “elegant warrior.” That’s the great thing about being an Elegant Warrior. You set the standard.
The root of the word “elegance” is “to choose.” That means you get to choose your elegance and what it means to you. You choose exactly what it means to you. But that’s the easy part. The hard part of being an Elegant Warrior is staying true to your choice when things get hard. During times of trial, battle, or war, when we have to pick up our armor and step into life’s inevitable conflicts, it’s awfully tempting to sacrifice the elegance and go all in for the warrior. But temptation doesn’t have to become reality. You choose.
I’m a trial lawyer. I defend doctors in medical malpractice cases. We lawyers call the rooms where we prepare for trial “war rooms” and we call the stories we tell about our trials “war stories.” Clearly, we are warriors. I knew I was choosing a warrior career over 20 years ago when I started working at the firm where I am now a partner. And I was ready. But I had to find a way to be an Elegant Warrior. Because I didn’t want to use the fact that my job entailed aggression, fighting and zero sum games to rationalize becoming mean, nasty or losing my compassion. I had to find a combination.
In my book, The Elegant Warrior-How to Win Life’s Trial Without Losing Yourself, I share my definition of elegance. For me, elegance is “the ability to be true to yourself, both who you are and who you feel destined to be, no matter what inner and outer wars you face”. And in my job as a trial lawyer I’ve faced some inner and outer wars.
The outer wars were usually my trials. I’d step into the courtroom on the first day of trial knowing that when the case was over one side would win and one side would lose. I desperately wanted to be the one left standing, victorious. That led to my inner war–what was I willing to do to make that happen? At first, I’d falter. There were times when I’d lean towards the warrior me, and feel terrible about myself even if I won. There were other times I’d lean towards my elegance and wonder whether it impacted my client. But after many years and some missteps, I think I’ve found the balance between the Elegant and the Warrior.
My inner Elegant Warrior fights with everything she has for her client, her story, and her truth. Stepping into the courtroom I know I’m armed and ready to wrestle the other side’s version of the truth from them. But I won’t take their dignity. I’ll attack their story, but not their worth. And I will use evidence, credibility and persuasion to advocate for my client without ever resorting to lies, cheating or stealing.
Who is Your Elegant Warrior?
I can’t tell you who your elegant warrior is or what she looks like. I can tell you that she’s there, inside of you, and has always been. The more you check in with her, especially during times of trial, the louder and stronger she gets. Listen to her–because she knows how to win.
This guest post was authored by Heather Hansen
HEATHER HANSEN is a trial lawyer, consultant and professional speaker. She has defended medical malpractice cases for over twenty years. Heather was recently inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers and is consistently named one of the Top 50 Female Attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania. Heather works as a communication consultant, combining her courtroom experience with her psychology degree and her training as a mediator to help her clients ask better questions, master objections, and use credible persuasion to succeed. She has appeared on CNN, NBC, Fox News Channel, and many others. Heather lives in New York City.
The Elegant Warrior: How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself is available on Amazon and other fine booksellers.