One year at Crystal Law Solicitors

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It has been one year since I entered the doors of Crystal Law Solicitors. The progress of the firm and for myself has been massive. When I joined the firm, I was very open minded and took it as an opportunity to learn and grow, not just about legal practice but the overall running of a new company.

Being part of a start-up company is extremely exciting because you are involved in many facets of the business. As well as honing my legal skills, I have contributed to the marketing, business development, building relationships and partnerships with stakeholders, getting out into the community and using social media.

I truly believe these experiences have widened my overall skill set. Getting out into the community and delivering free legal advice sessions at various libraries in Leicester has made me appreciate the importance of the law. Due to the drastic legal aid cuts, many free quality legal services have been reduced. Therefore, the pro bono work we do at Crystal Law enables us to empower the individuals we meet. Sometimes the simplest advice can really assist an individual without them having to pay extremely high fees for it.

Out of the many highlights I have experienced with CLS, the official grand opening of the firm was unbelievable. We all pulled together and hosted a successful event to our colleagues, friends, family and many well-wishers of Crystal Law. Having the City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby officially open the firm was very special for us.

The pace in which we are currently working and generating enquiries is remarkable and my role within the firm is constantly evolving. I have a great supervisor/mentor who challenges me with tasks that truly take me out of my comfort zone which has opened new possibilities within my career. I have written in previous blog posts about the importance of mentoring. I am grateful to be experiencing it in a working environment. All my colleagues are inspiring to work with.

Balance

So far this has been the year of balance. Juggling many areas in my life such as friends, family, legal career, tabla, teaching is a massive challenge. However, I am becoming better at prioritising. It sometimes means letting go of commitments I would have undertaken in the past. The decision becomes easier when you know your big goal in life. If missing a few meaningless socials brings me closer to my goals, then I am more than happy to let this part go. However, if my circle is full of inspiring, talented and individuals with strong leadership qualities, then it is a priority for me to connect with them.

What’s next

There is a wonderful flow in our office at the moment. My goal is to keep getting better at what I do and to play an active role in the continued growth of Crystal Law. Music is still making a huge impact in my life. There are projects lined up for this year which I am really looking forward to. The experiences I am gaining from Crystal Law are feeding into my artistic practice and vice versa.

 

Self-Audit 2015. Not for the faint hearted.

02As we approach the end of the year, I am carrying out my annual self-audit. I love it because it allows me to be absolutely honest with myself. I break down all the main areas in my life such as financial, health, career, family, relationships and social. I analyse the things that went well and find ways to become better for the following year. This is the third year in a row I am carrying this out. I have noticed that when I have undergone self-audits, the year goes positively.

Self-audits take a little bit of time but it is worth it. The great thing is that, you are doing it for yourself. It is free of judgement. It has become a mini addiction for me because when I look back at previous audits, it makes me happy to see the accomplishments I have made. However, I do not like to rest on that. I want to push beyond my personal boundaries and limitations.

How?

There is no specific rule on how to carry out a self-audit. It is a very personal process so be honest when doing it. The style of mine has changed over the years. For 2015, I put a section at the beginning called ‘Highlights and Achievements’. Whilst being honest with ourselves, we should also celebrate our successes.

I always include a section on goals. I think it is very important to not only write down goals but to quantify them as well. Even if you do not meet that deadline, it is okay. If anything, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on why you did not reach it. This was a massive mistake I used to make in the past. I would write down goals and not put a date on when I expected to reach them. I became lazy and allowed circumstances around me to dictate my path.

In previous blogs, I have placed great emphasis on finding your purpose. It may not come to you straight away but being around positive and successful individuals, you will unravel the path. You will be unstoppable once you come across it.

Now that my goals are in place for 2016, I have put strategies in place to make them happen. The strategies can keep changing depending on the circumstances surrounding it. For example, I was not expecting to enter the legal profession again in 2015. However, it turned out to be a massive blessing, as it gave me a new perspective on how I can be of better service to the world through my legal education. I have now built goals around this premise and I am looking forward to achieving them in 2016. I do not use the sentence ‘hope to achieve’, because it sounds non-committal and that is not me. I am ready for 2016 and the abundance of opportunities it is going to bring.

Knowing your circle of influence can fast track your chances of achieving your goals. Make a conscious list of who is in it and why. What special skill/talent does this individual possess that you want them in your circle? It may change throughout the year. It may reduce or increase depending on your goals. Have a variety of them, not just the ones in your field.

Tip:

Be flexible. If there is a quicker way to achieve a goal, go for it. It means you are more efficient than those who are stuck in their ways.

I wish you all a beautiful 2016 filled with even more opportunities so you can grow. Keep celebrating your individuality.

 

 

 

The year of falling in love….creatively and legally!

As we approach December, I can still remember the audit I carried out on myself last year. 2015 has definitely been the year of new adventures and projects. I have fallen in love with every project and performance I have been involved in. I have seen so many possibilities within my art form because each project has had a strong collaborative element requiring me to tap into various skill sets.

My role with Crystal Law Solicitors has gone from strength to strength and I am grateful to be part of a team that also supports my artistic pursuits. I love the responsibility I am being given as it shows the firm have faith in me.

It was really heartfelt that my colleagues came to the Antara students showcase in early November and they had a great time. My supervisors brother, even did the photography for the show. 🙂

I am in such a special place at the moment, I simply enjoy and love talking to people about the various projects I am involved in. It was only a few years ago when I was in limbo and was not sure of my purpose and how I can serve the Global Community at large. It is a lot clearer now. I know my strengths and areas for development. To be honest, if I am not sure about something (which is most of the time), I simply ask!

It takes time to build friendships and networks. We must keep investing in them. It cannot be a take-take situation. I admit that I have not been to as many networking events like I did last year or the year before. I do not see this as a bad thing. As I am regularly in the cultural quarter, I am always seeing friendly and familiar faces who I can have an impromptu herbal tea with.

Social media is a wonderful platform as well to cement our friendships. However, I find it very interesting when individuals are very friendly and supportive on facebook, but when you meet them in person, they are completely different! Creating a lasting positive impression in this sector is very important. A lot of the projects I have been involved in, has been built on this premise.

This is why I genuinely love connecting with creatives and passing on advice to them when they approach me. Growth is constant. It only stops if we become lazy or don’t take chances. I have learned this the hard way. All I can say is:

  1. Know your purpose and goal. This is your guiding light and will ensure that you stay on track.
  2. Have a plan but do not be fixed by it. Situations change so be prepared. Sometimes you have to go back a step to achieve a goal, but that is okay. There are other times where you are fast tracked!
  3. Invest in friendships and never forget the individuals who have assisted you along the way.
  4. Get yourself out there. Have a circle of influence who you can draw upon. I have mentors in many areas of my life. Without them, I lose focus.
  5. Fall in love with every project that comes to you. It may not be the best, but remember you have been selected for it so be grateful.

 

Back in August, I mentioned the projects I was involved in. Just a quick recap with a few extra:

There have been other memorable performances I have played in as well.These projects have taught me the following.

  • Leadership
  • Decision making
  • Communicating at different levels
  • Empathy
  • Coordinating

I will go into these in more detail in my next post.  There are still a couple more projects that will be coming to an end soon. I will be sad when they finish but I will be happy as I would have grown from the process.

Leadership- does not have to be shouted from the roof tops.

leadership chess

Since I have immersed myself into the creative sector over the past few years, there is a lot I have learnt about leadership. I draw upon examples from the network of individuals I spend time with. There are particular traits they possess which makes them stand out as leaders.  Leadership is a term that can be heavily loaded as there are many definitions and interpretations of it.

One of the main aspects I have noticed is that strong leaders do not have to be extroverted and have an outgoing personality. They quietly get on with the task in hand and let their actions speak for them.  Robin Sharma sums it up very well ‘Leading without a title’. I strongly believe that everyone is a leader, but the ones who stand out are the ones who are constantly putting ideas into action and delivering on them. They do not say ‘I am an amazing leader’ or ‘I was the best leader on the project’.

Leadership runs through many facets of our personal and business lives. It is something that can be learned and everyone has the potential to achieve it. Firstly, one needs a clear vision, definitive purpose in life and desire to carry it out.  Based on these elements, leadership qualities will emerge organically. This is because, once you know what you want, you will not settle for anything less. You will always look for the best individuals to be around and utilise their skill set in a mutually beneficial relationship.  Tip: Find individuals in your circle who are successful leaders and observe everything about them.

There are many projects I am grateful to be involved in this year. Each of them requires me to ‘lead’ in some form. However, it will be highly off putting to fellow collaborators if in meetings I say ‘Hi I’m Rishii, the leader of this project’. Just reading it out loud sounds ridiculous.  When you are working hard, taking responsibility and seeing the big picture in any project, the respect that is attached to leadership will be visible.

I will end on a wonderful quote by William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”.

Feel free to provide your own Interpretation!

The importance and beauty of mentoring- Mentors are for life.

I write this post as I recently completed a mentoring qualification. The course got me thinking about the mentoring I have received over the years from some very special individuals. Their impact on my life has been huge. If there is a special mentor figure/s in your life who inspires you, stick to them and take every opportunity to learn from them. If there isn’t, make a list of inspiring individuals in your life and contact them! Your growth will be far greater if you connect with individuals who are consistently achieving. Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend time with”. When I read this, I consciously looked at who I was spending time with and made adjustments accordingly.

Specialist mentors

In other areas of my life outside of music, I seek to learn and spend time with highly successful individuals because I want to know what makes them excel. It is therefore important to be surrounded by a variety of individuals not just people in your field. Over the years, I have received some fabulous mentoring and advice from Priests, photographers, business men/women, personal development coaches, investment bankers, artistic directors and chefs. The list is endless! One may ask ‘why do you need so many mentors’? Acquiring specialist knowledge is the best form of knowledge. I am currently mentoring a young person who recently asked me a question relating to science. Science was never my forte in school so instead of giving him a convoluted answer, I simply provided him with a specialist who could assist him better than I ever could.

There are some mentoring projects I am going to be involved in throughout the year. I am excited about sharing my experiences with young people. However, I am also looking forward to be learning from them as well. Anthony Robbins uses a brilliant acronym CAN I which means Constant And Neverending Improvement.

Mentors have a way of opening up new possibilities to you. This is why the term ‘Guru’ is so important to Indian classical musicians. Guru’s not only impart knowledge, but carve out paths that we as students have not even thought of. Those paths can lead to some magical places, only if we free of ego and honestly strive to better ourselves every single day.

Speaking Hands- Taking the plunge to manage and curate own project.

Through the high volume of freelance work I have carried out over the years, I have been fortunate and lucky to have met and built so many connections with wonderful and inspiring individuals. As someone who is pretty restless (a typical Aries trait!), I now want the challenge of starting my own project from scratch. Building up the confidence to do this has not been easy. Through the support and blessings of special individuals and beating my own self limiting beliefs, I have managed to get there!  Looking back is not an option anymore.

I had a lightening moment last year in November which led me to take inspired action. I sent a group e-mail to some dear musician friends of mine and sounded out the idea of us working together and creating our own music. I have had the great pleasure of working with them individually and know they have a lot of talent so it felt right to now pool it together. Fortunately, they agreed and we met up and just played. I was clear with them that this project must have a goal; otherwise we will be doing a disservice to potential audiences who may like our music. As we had a clear focus on sharing and performing, our creativity held no boundaries. The name ‘Speaking Hands’ popped into my mind because all of us play instruments with our hands, but the music that comes out of them is full of energy and emotion. I also wanted a dance element because there are certain traits in our pieces that can be beautifully expressed through the gestures and provocative movements of dance. 

 

What am I learning in the process?

I take full responsibility for this project because I owe it to the musicians and dancers who believe in this. We have spent time rehearsing and the musicians have travelled to be a part of it. I have spent more time co-ordinating, talking to organisers/venues than playing! This leadership role has come to me naturally and I enjoy the challenges of it as I know there will be a lot more to come!

 

Making it Happen

Utilising the connections I have made within the sector, I approached artistic directors to support our project. We are now in the process of producing and we will hopefully be showcasing ‘Speaking Hands’ towards the end of the year. I will definitely keep you updated on the developments, because this is only the beginning.

The Politics of Creativity- Embrace and have fun with the dreaded ‘P’ word!

I will be misguiding you if I was to say that politics never occurs in my line of work. The truth is that politics is absolutely everywhere. However it is up to you as the director of your destiny to decide how you manage it. Politics works at many levels. Here are some examples. You have:

a)      Groups/organisations/individuals that aggressively look to gain solely for themselves at whatever cost. I call them the ‘bulldozers’.

b)      People who decide never to get involved with politics but as they are not in the loop, they continue doing the same thing and not getting the desired results.

c)       Finally, the ones who are more subtle and shrewd. They are clear in what they want but will look at win/win situations so that everyone involved in a process is valued.

 

Where do you fall under?

I used to fall under B) big time. I was sabotaging myself thinking I could do things for myself or even worst, expecting change to happen. Only when I consciously changed my circle, made adjustments to my personal development was I then starting to connect with key players and gatekeepers. I am a lot better now at sifting out the BS! 😉

The angle I am coming from is that politics can be seen as a good thing if everyone involved in a particular process is properly valued as a stakeholder and also benefit from what you are offering. You MUST identify the key people in your area that can ignite your career. If they come to you naturally, that is fantastic but if not, you may require you to schmooze occasionally! However, if it benefits your career and you are not hurting the other person but rather appealing to their interests, go for it! This is where you are becoming example C)

 

Further reading:

Dale Carnegie’ How to win friends and influence people’.