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Why We Do What We Do

March 17, 2015  | 
Why We Do What We Do by Clare Piro

{3:30 minutes to read} .

Do we choose our profession because of our basic personality, or does our profession cause us to form a certain personality trait?

I've always had a “never say die” kind of attitude. I would always think that I could fix it or make it better, be it a relationship or a friend who was upset. I could fix just about anything that had gone awry. A basic problem solver.

This attitude wasn't always to my advantage when it came to personal relationships, but as an attorney, it served me well. In real estate law, my clients wanted to buy or sell a house; not sue the other person or keep a contract deposit. I always believed that short of someone getting denied a mortgage, a contract would close no matter the issue. In matrimonial law, needless to say, there were many problems, and it was my job to solve those problems if at all possible.

In traditional matrimonial law, part of the bargain is that clients give you their problems, and to a great extent, give you control of themselves and the outcome. As a mediator, I don’t control my clients and no longer solve their problems; I help them to solve their own problems. In mediation, they own their problems, they own the process by which they are resolved, and they definitely own the result.

Did being a mediator change something in my basic personality? I would say yes, in the sense that I made a transition from problem solver to facilitator. Like most mediators, I came to mediation after having practiced a more directive, helping profession. I had to fight my initial urge to just fix other people’s problems and tell them what to do. It’s especially difficult when the clients may very well want you to do just that, but expedient as it may be, that is not mediation.

I think practicing mediation has made me a more attentive and better listener. It’s much easier to hear what someone has to say when you’re not thinking about how to make it better. I listen more not just to clients but to friends and family. I can recognize when someone wants empathy and to be heard as opposed to assuming that they want me to help them fix it.

Do we choose our profession because of our basic personality, or does our profession cause us to form a certain personality trait?  In my experience, the answer to both questions is “Yes.” Our personalities initially guide us toward a profession that suits, but the profession can also change and mold our personalities.

How does your personality fit your career? Have aspects of your career changed your perspective or personality?

 
Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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Comments
William J. M
April 2, 2015 - 12:00 PM
Dear Clare Piro, I like what you say on this topic because it rings true based on my cross-industry experience. Right now, as a real estate agent for sellers, buyers, renters, tenants, I find that no-one wants me to solve his or her problem, but all of them want me to show them how to solve a problem themselves.
Zena Z
March 20, 2015 - 5:21 PM
I would heartily agree with you, Clare. I think doing mediation has changed my personality much for the better. I meditate as well as mediate, and I think each one influences the other positively. A wonderful synergy. And both make my life a lot better.
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