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Kissable lawyer? Changing stereotypes, perspectives and unwanted patterns with the Conflict Alchemist and collaborative law ambassador Virginia Warren.

Show Notes:
Virginia shares how she got into law. [2:04]
The disconnection of lawyers to their clients. [7:10]
Acknowledging patterns in your life. [11:54]
Virginia shares the ancient philosophies that struck her. [14:43]
What is a shadow principle? [21:19]
Every decision you make is based on your past. [24:12]
World is your mirror. [28:14]
Best tools to identify that there’s a problem. [31:14]
Life is about relationships. [36:04]
What is the 90 seconds rule? [37:11]
Negative emotions operate a lower vibration. [45:26]
Virginia’s gives an inspirational talk to her co-lawyers. [52:57]
Virginia explains how she started her book. [54:09]

Follow Virginia Warren:
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Episode 29: Finding gold in your conflict with Virginia Warren

Nadia Hughes 0:00
Hearing a noise about it, but then leaving this and seeing how your team suddenly gets cancer (of culture) and then gossips behind your back and everything that’s happening. You know, it’s not the team’s problem. You know, it’s your problem there. You have to fix it. And how did it happen? What’s happening behind your back? You are responsible for this. This is what I’ve been realizing quite a bit.

Narrator 0:28
Welcome to the Unfair Advantage Project. Unique perspectives, practical insights and unexpected discoveries directly focused on giving you the unfair advantage. Introducing your hosts Nadia Hughes and Terence Toh.

Terence Toh 0:47
Welcome to the Unfair Advantage Project. I’m Terence Toh, founder and Managing Director of StrategiQ Corporation and today I have my co-host Nadia. Welcome, Nadia. Good morning.

Nadia Hughes 0:55
Good morning, Terence. I’m from Unfair Advantage Accountant and I’m so happy to be here greeting our guest.

Terence Toh 1:01
Yes, and today we have an amazing guest, Virginia Warren, who practices as The Zen lawyer and also she’s a Conflict Alchemist, let’s say, and also an author of a very interestingly titled book called “Let’s kiss all the lawyers, said no one ever”. So welcome, Virginia. Thanks for joining us.

Virginia Warren 1:22
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Nadia Hughes 1:25
Pleasure. Well, I’m looking forward to having a banter. So, I will start asking you a question. Before I met you, and before I knew what you’re doing, I saw your posts on LinkedIn, and they were interesting, say at least. I didn’t expect, well, first of all, for starters, Zen Lawyer, then I saw unicorns and fairies and other stuff.

Virginia Warren 1:49
The real things in life.

Nadia Hughes 1:52
And I was thinking: What’s going on? So, what’s happening there?

Virginia Warren 1:56
Well, I suppose what got me to that place was… I probably need to step back a little bit in time to talk about all that. And I…

Nadia Hughes 2:04
Step away

Virginia Warren 2:04
Yeah, in life, I say there are no accidents. And so let me talk about how I got into law. Originally, I went off and had my child who’s now 21 years of age, and I’m sitting around the house and you my brains going to turn to mush, because it’s four months along, and I thought I’ve got to do something. As it turned out, a job came up at a law firm in Mornington. I worked previously at one of these sort of partner firms in Frankston. And they said that there’s a receptionist job open. And I thought I’ll look, that’d be great. Just get me out of the house and a daycare center, funnily enough, accidentally enough, had just opened up next door physically next door, so I could still breastfeed, and I could do all those things. I thought, great, I’m going to do this job. As it turned out, the partnership changed hands there, and a city lawyer come down, taken over the practice. And he saw some potential in me, I was sort of helping out because he wasn’t really sort of all that familiar with running a small practice or having been a city firm lawyer. And he said, Look, would you like to go through law school. And I thought, What a great idea that would be, I have a toddler a full time job, why not throw law school in the mix? That sounds like fun. So I did this. I thought, yeah, I could be a lawyer, I could save people I could rule the world and six, seven years later, I got my law degree. I manage that with a husband who did help me out minding you know, because you’ve got a toddler, you know, they, they demand a lot of your time. So I need you to let assistance and got through that process. Got myself into, ultimately into a partnership in a law firm in Mornington. Then what happened was, I’m walking down the main street in my heels, dressed up suit, heels, leopard print heels. I go to cross the crossing those Emperor crossings, I fall down in front of traffic cars, they’re looking at me I’m on my knees. In the middle of the crossing, bruise knees and ego later, I go off and say my chiropractor who said to me, Virginia know more was on the for you. You need to start doing yoga. I thought my life had ended. I thought oh my god, that will be like watching paint dry. I cannot do yoga. But I took his sound advice. After many arrows and then my first yoga class was changed my life. I fell in love with yoga on the spot. I just felt like I’d done it before, it was like something in my bones. And with that, I got a diploma in yoga teaching. Because I wanted to understand the philosophies more there was a so this was such a moved me this whole practice. And then I got to feeling things I thought people need to messages, interesting messages about this, I started putting the post on LinkedIn. And thought you know, I know that this is probably going is dangerous for a lawyer to step out and start thinking like this. But I’m going to test the water. And as it turned out, people were private messaging me or what are you doing? What’s going on you you see life in a different way. And so I thought, yeah, you know, there are people like that, like, like me out there that wanted something more than what their jobs we’re going to offer them. So I look like I continued along those lines. And then I started looking into wellness for lawyers, because it was really, I could see so many people struggling with the law practice. We know that people don’t like lawyers, there’s no secret about it, who wants to get up and do a day job, where you go into battle every day. Nobody likes you for it. You come out with unhappy clients, because people nobody wins. There’s, you know, people would say, I’m hiring a lawyer, you’re gonna win this not winning? Who come? Why would less than they went in with. And I looked into the wellness for lawyers out there. And what I found was some of our governing bodies and say things like, have it a little brochure for you. Eat well, Sleep well. Get exercise, breathe some fresh air. Go speak to your supervisor, who’s probably the one causing you the grief in the first place. And the favorite gem of all was go and meditate. And I thought, oh my lord, you are speaking to lawyers. I don’t know what meditation even means. I just think it’s sitting there, you know, it’s saying on with your legs crossed? No.

Nadia Hughes 6:43
I might interject here because yeah, the lawyers as a bunch itself, if you go to just grab a lawyers, it would be expensive. For me my perception from outsider, yep, wine drinking some go my food, expensive cars, high heels, and really Porsche talk with an egg in their mouth. Is it correct? Have I describe this

Virginia Warren 7:03
Look, that is the perception. Absolutely and that we don’t care. We’re gonna take your money.

Nadia Hughes 7:10

Virginia Warren 7:10
And we don’t care. So that’s the disconnect. Because I don’t know and I feel that. Look, this is a fact people have seen lawyers, they say they don’t, they didn’t hear me they didn’t hear what I was trying to say to them, and I go into court, and they’re not connecting with their client at all, it’s a personal trip on what I’m going to win for you, or really for myself or a neck. And I’m generalizing here, but this is the problem that we have a general perception that lawyers are all these roads, money grabbing ice machines, and we played with machines as I speak about in my book. So that is the real problem.

Nadia Hughes 7:51
So what we have here, we have got lawyers who just have this outside perspective on on them, then they have this cohesive group of words. So what we just here to make money, and we will be making this money, and we have you who has to challenge both. You have to change or tell and challenge bunch of lawyers and you have to challenge perspective of the crowd. Because what are these are who our listeners I don’t get to market our business owners and we they do go through in their life was awaking luck with personal life to it. Nobody avoided lower contact with a lawyer. And when you talk to them, it’s just usually you get the novel That’s correct. And use that challenging this perspective. But for me, from business perspective, what do you drink is, it’s a required brevity, because you will going against the flow suddenly when you want was one of who’s posting unicorns on the serious page.

Virginia Warren 8:53
Yeah. And other more unicorns out there was great and sparkles.

Nadia Hughes 8:58
and it action of you piece they get scared to contact you open this and they won’t comment openly but secretly, in a private message. You had this admirers who said, Well, I hope nobody sees me as I’m going to this lawyer and talking to your heart to heart, they still don’t want come out of the closet.

Virginia Warren 9:17
Yes, exactly.

Nadia Hughes 9:18
It’s all the you have these closer conversations, everybody can face and say hungry for this change, yet, they know didn’t have the brevity to step out of stereotype.

Virginia Warren 9:28
I think what’s going to have to happen is people, it’s going to have to be the public who says to everybody, I want a lawyer that does that. Because that’s just supply and demand, I want the lawyers that do work like this, then all the other lawyers will have to start working like this. So it really is the public complaining about the public need to make that shift and say. We want change, we want someone who listens to us, we want, it even goes deeper than that it goes deeper into the way we practice law, the way law is taught. And that will change the public perception, we need to at present the model is if you have a problem in it could be in a business partnership, for example. So you’re fighting with your business partner, you come to me, and

Nadia Hughes 10:15
It never happens in real life.

Virginia Warren 10:16
It doesn’t. I’ve never heard of such a thing that and any problem at all, really. But we’re talking about business today. So or with an employee or something like this. And you think, Okay, what happens is, a client will come and engage a lawyer. And that lawyer points at all the good parts of your case, and all the bad parts of the other person’s case. The lawyer for your the other side does exactly the same thing. So we’re all sitting there saying my client is right and the other party says my client is right. What is in there is a beautiful thing. It’s called perspective. So yes, there are both parties are right from a point of view. This is it gets very deep, because this is about just human nature, we all see things from a different point of view. And the moment a lawyer can actually understand that and step into both sides. Because we can, we can already do it, we can see both sides of a case, we are obliged to be able to see both sides of the case, yet we say we’re going to win for you. So that’s just separating people, we work in separation presently, we work in I’m going to win for you, I’m going to take all those people’s assets away and everyone’s going to walk away separated, the better way would be is to bring the people together and say I see how you’re right and I see how you’re right. How did this conflict arise within you. And this is where the conflict alchemy comes into it. There was gold in every piece of conflict. In every conflict, you can find something which says, I keep repeating a pattern. Personally, this is a personal thing, you’ll be blaming somebody else for what’s going on in your life, that you need to look at yourself and say, why is this happening to me all the time, because you’ll find it’s happening with all sorts of other people in your life too. And these things tend to go back to your childhood, then we all don’t like to revisit our childhoods and talk about this. But we have to, we have to start moving backward into our own space into what’s going on with us to understand what’s really happening in conflicts.

Nadia Hughes 12:26
So what basically, I hear, and I will paraphrase it is what lawyers are really good at as a model is collecting those confirmation bias. They This is Tango bias. But pretty much if some facts where you engage with the client, don’t suit your case, you will, despite the fact that it’s through a correct statement of fact, you would just dismiss it because it does not it’s devastates my case, I won’t use this. So therefore you just create the story you create, create everything, what will support your point of view, and you’re just filtering happening very heavily. And then we will just come and face the other point of view, probably totally opposite to what we’re presenting. And this is what normally happening and still is happening. You know, turning around and try to tell that there is. It’s usually it’s a again, traditional view on conflict conflict is bad. It’s stressful, it shouldn’t be happening. Wouldn’t it be wonderful also hold hands and walk around in life. And people get very irritated with conflict. They just wanted path rules, they want to dismiss it from their life push away. And the most often what happens people run away from conflict when day in conflict with some persons they’re not going to face this person, they actually remove themselves as far as possible and it’s happening then in some senses. It’s justifiable. I read that in your book, but sometimes you have to look what you demonstrating that any conflict can be so much goodness in it. It’s yourself discovering in this conflict and the other person, which at the moment can be considered as a villain can turn into your biggest and this how your side of law, what do you want to practice and already currently practicing is going to operate.

Virginia Warren 14:16
Yeah, we see that’s what happens. A client will come to you say, here’s my problem, I can’t resolve it. I’m putting in replay giving it to you, lawyer, you deal with it now. Whereas I say, okay, there’s the problem. Let’s look at it. I’m giving it back to you. But I’m going to help you see why the conflict arose first before we even talk about the mechanics of the actual conflict itself. So why are you angry about what’s happened? And I took it back to when I was studying all this and it goes back to my yoga teacher training and I looked in too many other beautiful philosophies in ancient philosophies in life. And one of them that really struck up for me was shamanism. Shamanism has been around since the dawn of time, it started in Siberia, and there was shamans all over the world. But traditionally, they would say, so bring it I’ll give you a modern day example. So we have a drug addict in our community, the shamans would say, all right, let’s look at the drug addict. We’re going to bring in members of the parents of the community, you know, the doctors, the lawyers, they’re all different heads of the community. All gonna sit around, say, this drug addict is our personal problem. We are all responsible for this person being in this predicament as a community. And that is the foundation of the work I do now saying we all need to take personal responsibility for everything that is happening in our lives and the moment that you do that you see your life from a different perspective completely and that model has been working, it’s still working for the Australian, the Australian Aboriginal community, there shamans, I was in all the rooms not that long ago, and just went on a little walking tour. And the woman was explaining that if someone does something terrible in one of the tribes, one of the elders will go and physically hurt that person, they might cut them on wound them, but that person that does the wounding has to do the nursing, and bring them back to health and I thought it’s an interesting way of dealing with punishment in the community. And yes, well, I’m not particularly talking about crime and more in our discussion today, that’s really very relevant. And, yes, so that’s where recidivism comes in repeat offenders for crime is because we’re not dealing with the patterns that we grew up with. We keep repeating things in our lives and this is what I’m saying why people need to take personal responsibility for themselves is because they have unconscious patterns arising from childhood. And I don’t know whether you want me to talk about how that all comes to be?

Nadia Hughes 16:58
Well, I would like you to move on because everything in whether you business or relationship, it’s all about human interaction. And knowing really what moves humans and what makes us agitated and it’s very important to be successful in this communication because business is all about sales with selling our services we creating some is there is a need in the market and we just offering to solve this new which means leads us to the basic, it’s a communication and if we understand each other better, we can communicate better say for what I’m doing come now trying to convert it into business language is by communicating better, we creating quicker, more efficient ways of solving each other problems. And what I see you do because you helped me personally hence I am I have invited you to podcast because it’s made me better to see my business. It’s made me better to look at conflicts when I I have a conflict, villainize doesn’t matter what because I, we are not perfect. We have inside us we have so many different mumble jumbles and this is my personal goal in life as a human being is to resolve quite a few those issues and help us to resolve them. Because what else do I need to leave for? Well, biological function reproduce or have done it pre successfully. But now I need to fulfill my other mission. That’s where I’m at. And I think a lot of people I talked to the clients, a lot of people dealing with this all the time and when I throw in them, this phrase, that do you understand you’re not fighting for that person you are actually fighting for yourself and that’s actually it’s the phase changes. It’s an interesting good actions I get.

Virginia Warren 18:48
Especially when it comes to money. That’s a beautiful one. Because you know, all of us stealing money, we have to do with money, and some people can’t deal with money at all their frightened of it or they can’t keep any of it. Some people are very successful. But why is that? Now often they’ll be for people that are afraid of money and say why can I say something would have happened to them in their childhood, that made them reject the idea of money. And it could be something as simple as your father left when you’re very young and took all the money, or a parent gambled all the money away. So you think you have an automatic distrust about money. You think money equals bad things, I’ll keep money out of my life and that’s a subconscious belief that you develop when you’re very small. And if we, you take yourself back into time, if you look at yourself now and say, Okay, why do I have this terrible relationship with money? I can’t accept it, I don’t want it. Most people wouldn’t understand that. And then of course, I want money, of course I want money in my life. But there is something back in your child that’s happened to you that you think money equals something bad, something unsafe. So as a child, we do things to help us survive. That’s. Yes. Sorry.

Terence Toh 19:48
I don’t want to cut in. What what’s the biggest shift you think that we can make in a situation like that? If you can use money as an example?

Virginia Warren 20:15

Terence Toh 20:15
Continue to use money as an example. But what’s the biggest shift? Say, for instance, you could help someone to go through or someone needs to go through to change that?

Virginia Warren 20:24
Yes. The idea is, this became an unconscious belief when you were young. So say, between not an eight years old, we sent in beings, we feel our way through our world, we can’t actually intellectualize anything at that stage. So what we say to ourselves is, money is bad, I’ll just own that part of me that wants money, is it that becomes an unconscious belief, then, because you didn’t consciously do that, as a young person, it was unconscious. So you need to go back in time, and sit with the thought if this is the best way I like to do it. You’re in a monetary situation that’s upsetting you. Sit with the feeling, sit it with the feeling you have like it could be anxiety, and you think, where does that feel in my body, I can feel it, I can feel this anxiety, and sit and think if it can take you back to a place in your childhood where you had similar feelings. When you can relate to a memory back then you will often find the cause. And all you’re doing here, this is called a shadow, you’ve developed a shadow and we have many of them for various things. And the theory behind all this is for our human growth. So we’ll find ourselves in situations repeatedly, if that’s your situation, if you’ve got a monetary problem, you’ll find yourself facing money problems all the time, they’re facing you everywhere in life, say, own me, you’ve discerned that aspect of you that loves money, come back and own it? It is part of you. So with that, you go back, you sit with that memory and you say to yourself, okay, I understand how I came to dislike the idea of money. I choose now to say money is good. I choose to accept that money is a part a necessary part of my life and I and I embrace the idea of it and I had stay at the time when you were a child, you think you’re responsible for all these things, you’re not responsible, it was okay for you to feel that way. Because you were trying to survive in this world. That’s just one sort of an example.

Terence Toh 22:31
And so is it as simple as that I mean, I’m assuming it’s a little bit more complex than just saying now I’m going to own the feeling

Nadia Hughes 22:37
That that’s a big deal car was in Virginia through couple of my fees, which I didn’t know they existed. And he’ll really sophisticated vehicle. It’s a psychology and and also, it’s a huge intuition. Not every person can facilitate this process of you bring them to this memory. It has to be very technically sound. But at the same time, huge, intuitive process, which only special people can do it for you. And this is what I found about Virginia’s, she discovered this to very painful sources of my discontent in life, which I was able to address. And it’s like huge weight fell off my shoulders. The next couple of days. It was, you know, we walk in life and we get heavier and heavier and heavier, we get all sorts of problems that travels and you can see kids, the children smiles and happy. But when you see adults and I see a lot of business owners withdrawn economic problems, and we feel very heavy, and our body grows heavy around us as well, like a reflection of all this luggage we’re getting get on. And after huge did shadow work I have done as the next day I felt lighter, I felt like I lost an ugly suitcase without the handle. It was horrible to carry very inconvenient, but I was too busy to throw away because it was part of me .

Virginia Warren 24:00
And the beautiful thing about that is you just let go of some of your past the past you’ve been dragging in a big bag around behind you

Nadia Hughes 24:07
without a handle

Virginia Warren 24:08
That without the handle and the past, you project your past into the future, every decision you make is based on your past. That’s what the problem is. That’s why you must integrate shadows. That’s why I advocate for this kind of work and what you’re saying that it for some people, yes, it’s difficult to go in and find them for yourself. But you can, you can do that. Even if you start if people set set with the idea, Why do I always have to be right is a great another great example of why do I have to look smarter than everybody else? That’s a really common one probably in the legal industry. Is this like, how many qualifications do you have? Because then all those labels and all my certificate say you are important. And if I have them on my wall, I’m yeah, I’m a really important person. So I say those people, perhaps look back at a time in your life and I do know some people like this, and I have done work with them. Where they felt stupid. So they felt they were made to feel stupid at some point in their life, when they are very young. So what they did was I hid stupidity away that I’m not stupid, I’m very, very smart. I’ll go off and get all these degrees and I’ll do all these things that make me look super intelligent and then what will happen to those people the reason they’ll find that they need to own the idea that they have stupidity within them. We all do, I lose my car keys. You know, when I say stupidity, it’s, it’s just something about that person they’ve rejected completely. I cannot look stupid at all. But we have to be a whole human, we have to own all aspects of ourselves, every single part that is very hard for some people. Another way to find a shadow is sit there and say, sit in front of a mirror and say I am stupid, and see how that feels. So that will make some people feel better seekers, seekers can be some people yeah, you work with them and just say, say, let’s look at three things about other people that drive you crazy. Can you describe three things? So this is a great little task for any of the listeners? If there’s anybody out there, you say, right. Okay, so I find that person really stupid, that person makes me angry. And I think that person’s a narcissist. What you have to do then is sit down in front of the mirror and say, I am a narcissist, and see how that feels for you. Often you’ll find your shutter right there and until you can process that, and then really accept that. Okay, well, I could see that I have some narcissistic tendencies and I accept that part of myself, because I’m a whole human, was I. And when you do it, you feel lighter. Because that’s not dragging around behind you anymore. It’s not part of your path that needs to be resolved.

Nadia Hughes 26:58
What do you think now is this technique is basically identifying the core, why it’s happening? It’s quite often we irritated about some things and other people recognize it. It’s familiar to us. And the question is why it’s so familiar to us why it’s catching our and resuming content, because it’s part of who we are, we can’t because we a part of this destroy it, we recognize it in other fields, and really well. And that irritates us because it causes huge impediment to our personal growth, but we can’t address it within ourselves. Therefore, externalising finding the nozzle and address then and there help us like it creates this illusion of us dealing with the but reality is it’s hidden deep inside therefore when I’m accusing someone and being angry all the time, I am myself least angry person and I will be suppressed my own name but it doesn’t mean I’m not angry inside. It just I take such a big effort to suppress my anger. Therefore, when people get angry outside of myself, I think hard there you’d be angry when I’m here struggling suppressing my anger and you are just unleashing it. That’s not fair. That’s what I think happened.

Virginia Warren 28:14
Yeah, the world is your mirror. Basically, if you look at and this is what I’m saying conflicts in law. So people come to me with their legal problem. And I’m saying, Look at the person that you’re having a problem with, that’s a mirror for you, thank them other way for showing you where the shadows lie. When you sort that out, you walk away feeling lighter. That and that’s the bottom line and that’s how lawyers can really changed the way we work.

Nadia Hughes 28:39
Also very quick detour. But what I also discovered working with the junior, amazing, by the way, thank you. It’s I never thought I will like unicorns and they will stand for something apart from like, Oh my god, anger. You just just be some who actually told me that the other side when you see then reduce and then do some really having to go to all the time, this aggression, that as a side flip side of the anger is what you said to me and I just got it’s just absolutely expired. All anxiety around angry people because I stay away from angry people. I’m famous for avoiding conflict I don’t like I’d rather just not contract you, you saw me as well. Procrastinating cannot think what I want to the point that I stopped having my thoughts to start getting paralyzed and use the one who told me, you have so much to say you don’t say it, you suppress it. That’s why you get these pains in your throat. So so much just kicks in and everything, but as a side. So they it was as a side of anger is fear. The person who is angry with you, they actually scared and when I realized suddenly over this huge monster of angry red face spitting this saliva with me springs, the words with me, turned into this pathetic self, which just really fearful and instead of being scared of those people, I start feeling sorry. But sorry is not a good feeling. So therefore I need to go to different level.

Virginia Warren 30:12
What you can do, though, is what you’re saying is right, you can see into the person, you can see the person behind the action, the anger is separate from them. So that you become more empowered to simple as that you are no longer reacting to the person, the person may continue to be angry, but you don’t react anymore. You’re not triggered by them. Because, you know, there’s a lot of people you might say, in a crowd, that person makes someone angry, but it doesn’t make me angry. What why does it make you angry is because that person is holding a shadow that they need to deal with on a particular level that upsets them.

Terence Toh 30:48
So for someone listening to what we’re talking about, and he thinks, okay, well, maybe there is something going on, maybe there isn’t. You know, I think you’ve kind of spoke about a couple of the tools that maybe you you could use, but what are they the best tools, but for someone just to at least identify that there is a problem they are there is something that you know, an area that could improve in? What’s the simplest way?

Virginia Warren 31:14
That is simple. Because these are unconscious beliefs. They’re unconscious, the minute you recognize them, you’ve just made them conscious. That’s it. So as soon as it’s unconscious belief, you can then deal with it. Because you think, Oh, yeah, I know, I’m doing that again. I know, I’m doing that again. That’s the problem when it’s unconscious, and you have no idea why do I react to this? Why can’t I save money? Why can’t I lose weight, all those things. They’re all based in unconscious beliefs.

Terence Toh 31:42
So we’re really just talking about actually developing some sort of awareness around what you’re doing this, and it may be unconscious that’s doing this and develop that awareness. And then you can deal with it consciously once you’ve bought into you.

Virginia Warren 31:54
Yeah, that’s exactly right. The shadow doesn’t exist when you bought light to it.

Nadia Hughes 32:00
Well said, and also i like your little explanation to me. But when we little the shadow’s little. What happens when we grow up?

Virginia Warren 32:08
When we grow up? That shadow is out in the world as your mirror. That’s everywhere, saying it kept me safe when I was little, that the shadow was fine. It kept me safe. Because you suppress your stupidity, you suppress your jealousy, like you can’t be jealous of your existence to all that’s terrible. Don’t cry, I’ll give you something to cry about that old chestnut, that we grew up with that, you know, boys don’t cry. Yes, boys do cry, boys get sad and boys need to own that, you know, and say, Yeah, I was told that. And then they believe, oh, you can’t cry. Because their parents said so. So they instead of crying, they hid that part of that and sad part of them away, to be safe to be loved by their parents, that’s what you do. You seek approval as a child you need them to, you need your parents to survive in this world. So you must, but by the time you become an adult, that suppressed part of yourself that said, that angry part will say, hang on a minute, you need to deal with me and accept me, I belong to you own me. And so then it will show up in drama in your life until you say, and it is as simple as saying it, you know that Nadia, you’ve done it. As simple as saying it and then you can see beyond why that was happening to you and then you are responsible as an adult. That’s the difference. As a child, you don’t have that responsibility, it’s taken away from you, your power of choice is taken away. As an adult, we have power of choice. You can choose, a lot of people like to advocate that power, they send it to a lawyer, hey you fix it. I don’t want to choose to, to own this hour, I want you to fix it and hurt the other person for me.

Nadia Hughes 33:47
And also, it’s this is exactly where I want to point it out why I invited Virginia why it’s so relevant to our listeners is because it’s not your fault that you got heal recently heard about it, but it’s your responsibility to heal. We have next level of responsibility as business owners, we employ people, we do these people, they come to us, and they sometimes look up to us, which creates these demand on it. It’s a huge for me responsibility, the better myself. Because I am in position, not a power, but leadership. And as a leader, I have to constantly improve myself to attract good people to my business, I will only attract what I can attract in my current capacity. Therefore my capacity as a human being has to be expanding forever. This is the only way to improve the environment for me, the environment for others. And the only way to influence people in a positive way is by changing yourself. This is my realization. This is what as a leader. It’s my be simple through ancestral, now just discovered America hallelujah. But it’s not its own increase. He kidding can noisy bout it but then leaving they think how you seem suddenly get consent, go sit behind the box and everything is happening. You know, it’s not the same problem. You know, it’s your problem there. You have to fix it. And how did it happen? What’s happening behind your back is you are responsible for this. This is what I it being realized and quite a bit.

Virginia Warren 35:22
When you can see your own shadows, when you can understand how this principle works, then you can see your team, you can see what’s going on, you can see the dynamic, it’s valuable, you can see your clients, you can see what’s happening for them. And just to give them a little bit of insight into themselves, it’s just you’re giving them a gift as well. That’s beautiful.

Terence Toh 35:45
That’s cool. So are there some simple kind of tips that we can give someone listening to this to that we start dealing with it? Obviously, it sounds like it’d be really helpful to you know, go through the process with you. But is there some other things that maybe they can do on a really simple level, to say, if you can at least start dealing with it.

Virginia Warren 36:04
I think the best way is to look at all your relationships, life is about relationship. And that’s what I talk about. For lawyers, we deal with relationship and conflict, we’ve got the double whammy all the time. So we need to be doing this more than anybody. But for anybody else. Firstly, it’s always probably your personal relationships. Look at them, see what the triggers are there. That’s the starting point. That is where you start looking business or personal but more so personal because we’re attracted to people in life for the very reason that they help us grow.

Terence Toh 36:39
And these are when you talk about triggers. These are the triggers that maybe set you off.

Virginia Warren 36:42
Yeah, personal triggers. That’s right, make you are.

Terence Toh 36:45
Are there things that make you happy make you sad, or is it you know, as we focusing on the things that make you angry,

Virginia Warren 36:51
Happy, sad, anything, any emotion that is probably set you off on an unrealistic, let me put it this way. If it’s an emotion, we should always process all emotions. We are the full spectrum, the whole rainbow of emotions, we must be able to feel everything. So the situation is you have a trigger. When the emotion last for it was Jill Bolte Taylor that said she was a neuroscientist. She said, more than 90 seconds the 92nd rule, if you’re holding on to anger or jealousy or some negative emotion for about more than that, you need to investigate where the trigger is. What’s happened, what shadow you holding on to? Because after that, yeah, you’re entitled to be angry, be angry. Anger is a great boundary for things. It’s like don’t come near, don’t touch that this is mine don’t. That’s vital. That’s what other people do it especially the girls when they’re young, don’t get angry. Go little girls don’t get angry. But of course they do. They must, that they’re going to set their boundaries in life. And so yeah, all the emotions are important. But if you’re really holding onto something, look at even what’s in the opposite in adoration, you might say it in you know, pop stars or whatever, you know, people are obsessed by this person, that’s a positive shadow that’s been projected. Just like you’re not owning your sparkles and unicorns, you know, you’re not owning that special side of yourself are the like, you couldn’t be that superstar that i’m projecting my desire on to that person. I need to be that own it for yourself, whatever, you know, that might be for you. So t is positive and negative.

Terence Toh 38:29
Yeah. Okay, yeah, I’ll refer to it as maybe idealization. Yep. Same. And it’s interesting to have that at a dinner recently. And we had these these questions to answer and one of the questions was, who would you want to go to deal with, you know, if you could go with three people? Who would they be? And I actually didn’t have an answer for the question, because I don’t idolize anyone to the point where I think, well, they’re more important, then, you know, anything that I’m doing right now, I don’t know if that’s a problem or not, but maybe we can explore that at some stage, but I just didn’t have an answer for it. But what I did, what was interesting to me is that almost everybody has that kind of, you know, they look up to somebody else, you know, that person is so important. I would you know, pretty much drop everything to get an hour with him for dinner or whatever the case is. So anyway, that was just something that I found interesting.

Virginia Warren 39:19
Yeah, that’s true. But yeah, those people that are obsessed by anything, that’s where the shadow was lying. So yes, you’re allowed to think someone’s fabulous and all those things and you should you should do everything the whole spectrum of emotions must be owned. And that is where you can even sit and go through arrange of them yourself and say, You know I am angry I’m happy I’m sad I’m all these things does it feel good to say it? Yeah, I can I can be all those things so that’s that’s pretty healthy person. That’s when you say yeah, I’m jealous and that doesn’t sit with you? Yeah, you have to start looking at why that is and know that it’s okay to be a jealous person that’s fine. Just don’t

Nadia Hughes 39:57
What nugget of wisdom for me from this I was listening to to you and Terence, is if I holding on to some emotion longer than you said 19 minutes but

Terence Toh 40:08
Second I think.

Nadia Hughes 40:08
seconds Oh my goodness. We have some emotions we hold on today’s smartphones we angry or be upset over here or anything it’s means this is just now I’m just sharing with your mind works what I’m realizing is this means we have balance it’s normal you say to experience any emotion jealousy anything because we’re human beings and it’s part of our who we are also some of them triggered by negative one was safety and mechanism and I’m using some of them creative once and love and affection and everything but they all basically fabric of who we are and then what happened in case if we zoom in keen and holding on to something it means we’re off balance and us as a human being when we do abosorb and this is what called self awareness so why I’m angry I didn’t realize it was anger go oh I’m huge and I’m acting like a victim here is this is bring back this balance and what Terence was keep asking you because yeah, I know this this sounds great. But how do I actually, he’s a practical man. He gave me the tools how I’m going to do it. So yeah, it’s good. Yes, I’m angry. I’m a jealous, now what? What do I do next? And sitting in front of me pronouncing things and realizing that no, it doesn’t sit right with me. What’s next step? What’s the next very next step? How do we create this balance back? You do meditation? Yeah, a lot of people for like beginners who never done meditation and a lot of business owners hear about this meditation it’s just the buzzword everybody tries to meditate and a half of them fall asleep half of them just do business planning ahead world it’s quiet time. But what really through meditation is no big deal. Very few selected if you knows what it means and why it’s become so popular in the business world, you will suddenly start we started our conversation with Terence very practical mindset suddenly talking about breathing said I’m very emotional just connected but then we find out through breathing and he’s very emotionally connected. And this all thanks a lot of bass cap and you get all this self awareness in business what’s happening because of business community. But what the problem is it all is not many understand exactly what it means. It just for some expressions offor some it’s fed and only for very few. They own the spot and they actually stepping in, and I hope our listeners are on the way of actually only increase path rather than joining the Fed.

Virginia Warren 40:33
Well, and you’re so right Nadia, that’s it is a fed, because people think oh, wellness, mindfulness, all those things wonderful, but that nobody knows. But it really is. It’s this very creature that sort of one does around and oh yes, I do mindfulness, but people have no idea. The thing is, number one, bring awareness to the shadow. That’s the only thing you can do. That’s step one. Because if you are trying to be mindful or meditate, if you haven’t bought a shadow into awareness, it will prevent you from meditating. Because what’s happening is it’s dragging you into the past. Meditation is simply being in the now, it is one pointed focus on anything at all. It could be crochet, that’s meditation, it is taking your mind away from attachments. That’s a meditation. I say you can meditate over your morning egg. You can watch that water slowly boiling, as long as you’re just watching the water boil, putting the egg in, watching it cook, three minutes of meditation right there. It is taking your mind away from all the attachments, so that’s a meditation. That’s what meditation is. If you are staring at your egg, and your mind is on the fight you had with your partner last night, then you have a shadow, because you’re carrying some past with you The past is happening instead of your meditation right now. So it’s a good indication because I can’t meditate. Because I haven’t dealt with their shadows.

Terence Toh 42:46
I love that. So is surfing meditation.

Virginia Warren 44:27
Yes. If you’re in that space, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You could be mowing the lawn. If you’re totally in it in the zone. I like to call it in the zone. That is meditation.

Terence Toh 44:38
Because I just now I want to meditate daily.

Virginia Warren 44:42
Whatever it does. Yeah, it is. It’s just you are right now you are not tomorrow. You’re not five minutes ahead. You’re not your fight last or all the chocolate you ate. It is right now.

Nadia Hughes 44:55
It has this feeling go from you mesmerized by something. Yeah. Sometimes even get goosebumps from thinking confirmed.

Virginia Warren 45:03
And what happens then is, that’s when your best inspiration comes in?

Terence Toh 45:07

Nadia Hughes 45:08
And why does it happen? Why this meditation becomes so important? What happens in the brain, when we you do this, this type of limps of mesmerization.

Virginia Warren 45:18
You are connected to your higher self, it’s as simple as that

Nadia Hughes 45:22
What is your higher self?

Virginia Warren 45:23
Your higher self is, it’s just super conscious. Yeah, it means you’re not, you’re in a higher vibe, basically. Because pain, lust, frustration, all those negative emotions, they operate at a lower vibration and this is a whole another story, but it has science attached to it. So it’s not airy, fairy and unicorns. Well, there might be some sparkles attached to it. But basically, what you are doing is you’re operating at a higher vibration. We are energetic beings, we are surrounded by a magnetic field. The more you relax, and relax no relaxing isn’t a good word. The more you are in the meditation zone, the more you are not attached to your thoughts. Now say people think you can’t think when you meditating. Now you still think people must think that you let them float by you don’t want you don’t do is you don’t attach to the thought anymore. When that happens, essentially raise your vibration and then you raise your magnetic your magnetic field expands. This is science. When that happens, you are connected to more things on the planet in the universe, more ideas come to you. That’s where your inspiration drops in. So you’ve lost your attachment to thought because you’re just staring at the boiling water and you’re just staring at it. Nothing else is happening. You have raised your vibe. And then you might have like, well, I just don’t have an idea for a new book. Where did that come from?

Nadia Hughes 45:33
From the egg. .

Virginia Warren 46:00
From the egg.

Nadia Hughes 46:55
And you called it egg rhapsody.

Virginia Warren 46:57
No, the egg meditation, I called. I refer egg rhapsody. But yeah, no, I just playing the call of the egg meditation.

Terence Toh 47:05
I mean, I get some amazing ideas in the shower.

Virginia Warren 47:07
Yes, I mean, yeah, look, and that is a great, I think

Terence Toh 47:11
the conversation this so to the shower, but

Virginia Warren 47:17
The truth of the matter. And often, water is surfing water is one of those really nurturing healing spaces to be in, the more you can get yourself down to the beach touch feet on the earth anyway, I could go on.

Terence Toh 47:31
Yeah and I agree with Nadia, you know, when you talk about the 92nd rule, I think that’s it, it’s really practical example of a way that we can identify something. So that’s really good. So thank you for that. One of the other thing I wasn’t really sure like, I know that I feel better and I know I get a lot of ideas with the upgrade or not, I get a lot of ideas. When I’m either out in the water surfing, rock out my mountain bike, you know riding or as I said in the shower, maybe I had an idea that maybe that was some form of meditation, but I never really thought of it as you know, hey, this is my meditation.

Nadia Hughes 48:07
Well, you did touched you in a moment, and you will mesmerize by the actual activity instead of bringing some so as I say, There is a saying the hippie person is present in what they’re doing. And they want a businessman explain it to me and I said it again, these buzzwords and everything be now. And yeah, from black popularized the power of now in everything I didn’t understand until he explained it to me. When I play golf, I think of golf. When I am in business meeting, I think just about business and this is true sign of to happiness and fact that I live my life, right. But what happened for me to be in this, it’s big, huge rook. Such a simple things I thought, but what he did say, when I was playing golf, I was thinking about my business. This was not a happy place. This is when that a lot doesn’t matter what I do, I carry my business with me everywhere and he was making poor decisions. Because his brain was not in this area of creativity and this is what our business owners needed. Meditation is not impossible. And it’s also not just sitting position of motors, what you call it, Nestle yoga to know it’s none of this freaky stuff. It’s actually watching her leg, watching this the water trickle down your shower screen, or simply swimming or doing any activities. This is what it is.

Virginia Warren 48:47
What people don’t realize is now is all you have to think about that for a moment. That moment, she’s gone. Now that moments gone. Those moments will never happen again. That’s scary, isn’t it?

Nadia Hughes 49:49

Virginia Warren 49:50
But it is, it should be means if you’ve wasted now, it’s gone. You’ve lost it. It’s vital that we understand that now

Nadia Hughes 49:58
It was very situational as therefore I didn’t waste them because I was listening to you and every time I listen to you I learn something. I have to tell to our listeners. It is a huge waste having the Virginia on podcast because the Virginia one of the most beautiful looking women I ever met in Australia, and she looks after herself. So well, and every time she just presents himself as I don’t know, it’s like a movie star. How I just a practical question because of the women will be listening to us and podcast, whose business ladies, and who just don’t have to unlock myself. I think I put myself last because the way I look and probably something I have to pick up this age, my age. What does it about you and you how do you go about you? Just practical sort of

Virginia Warren 50:45
practical advice. beauty tips from the unicorn.

Nadia Hughes 50:51
Because, like I said, it’s a waste heading your podcast,

Virginia Warren 50:54
I guess. You know, really, it’s a shadow. I will say that honestly, as a kid you know when her freckles was just so not cool. So we did everything not to be redhead and freckled. We turn up with I think it was back in the day was Litem, which was some orange tan and we bleach out hair. So we looked more like the brown blonde girls and so that’s been probably with me all my life. I finally nearly 53 and I’ve stepped into the space and have I think, yeah, I’m probably doing okay, but now it’s a pride, you know, it’s just like, I like to look nice. I think I get out of bed in the morning, you make your day special. So yeah, I sit know, do a little meditation or yoga. But as I say, in my book, too, I never make a ritual out of anything, it means I have to do something, if I have to do something, that’s someone’s taken my power away. I choose to everything I do in life is choice and that’s a big deal. You know, I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t eat meat. I don’t eat much cane sugar and maybe a tiny little bit now. And you know, it took a while. Those things naturally fell away from me the moment I became more of myself and owned all of my shadows.

Nadia Hughes 52:04
And then it’s fascinating. Can I just tell it, you used to have bottle of wine for dinner?

Virginia Warren 52:09

Nadia Hughes 52:09
Yes, that’s come from

Virginia Warren 52:11
Oh yeah,

Nadia Hughes 52:12
Quite an experience

Virginia Warren 52:13
That such a lawyer thing to do. And that’s why I’m trying to explain that we don’t need to come home and drink the bottle of wine at the end of the day. And at one point in my life would have thought you’re kidding me. Like I’ve lived for that bottle of wine at the end of my day. But now it’s just like, I couldn’t think of anything more repulsive ao me. It’s not nothing about what anyone else is doing. Everyone’s on their own journey in this life.

Nadia Hughes 52:33
And a good juice steak used to be part of you there.

Virginia Warren 52:36
Yeah, That’s it? Absolutely for them. Yep. Great. Look, it’s just something it doesn’t align with me anymore. Because as soon as you start finding who you are, and yeah, you do that within your conflicts, is the moment that you start then working with your true purpose. And this is what I say for lawyers as well. You might be hating your job at the moment. But if you become into alignment in the work starts with the lawyers personally before they can even start with their clients. You can’t say to someone come and help your client when you don’t know how to help yourself first and put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others. That’s my mission really to do that. And that should be for all businesses, no matter what kind you are in, work on yourself. First, find your own happy place, then everything as your real purpose will fall into place, you will align with yourself.

Nadia Hughes 53:31
And probably we got a little bit space left to mention your book. And the book is written in a very whimsical way I really enjoyed reading was never said I will enjoy reading a book written by lawyers for lawyers. But it’s actually interesting. And how did you write it?

Virginia Warren 53:51

Nadia Hughes 53:52
Yeah, well, look because book is a big huge commitment. And a lot of people write a book. Now I don’t know whether to nowadays more writers than readers. It could be just quite a disproportion because people start writing books. But how many of them reading can but I actually enjoyed reading your book which was,

Virginia Warren 54:09
Yeah, you know, I think it became from I didn’t find much about wellness for lawyers. I said, how am I going to get them to listen, there’s plenty of material says you’re depressed and suicidal, better. That’s boring. Nobody wants to read that. So I started writing and I got about 5000 words and I thought this is so contrived, and not me, I better write from my own space. So I have a sense of humor and so I started writing about lawyers and how lost our way in the most humorous, possible way and then I talk about the true nature of humans and then I go on to explain how we’re going to get through this mess, how you’re going to find yourself, how are you going to help your clients in the process and how you’re going to make that day job worthwhile. But the book is for absolutely anybody. It is written for lawyers because they need clarity. They need some serious help, but the principles apply to absolutely all of humanity.

Terence Toh 55:02
I have one more question for you. Before we finish up. You mentioned I think you said advocate power. Or did I miss, did I not hear that properly? It’s people advocate. I think I heard advocate power to lawyers

Virginia Warren 55:13
Abdicate. Yeah, yup.

Terence Toh 55:14
Abdicate, yeah. That perhaps probably the word that I would ues anyway, so that’s great. Why do you think they do that?

Virginia Warren 55:21
Because they’ve step with their problem for a while and they can’t deal with it anymore. They say you take it, you deal with it. It’s not mine. Not the longest thing ever. Everyone moves away from conflict. Everyone does things that make them feel better. They think I’m going to go to a lawyer, the lawyer will win for me, and then I’ll feel good.

Terence Toh 55:40
And so what should they do instead?

Virginia Warren 55:43
Well, this is where I would hope Yes, you still have a legal problem. say if you’ve got a separate a partnership or a family, there are still some legal mechanics to do that. Lawyers still needed for those things. However, a lawyer can come in and say to you, or this problem isn’t actually you’re not going to give it to me, what we’re gonna do is we’re going to give it back to you and you’re going to look at how it came to be. And you’re going to see what great benefit, this conflict is bought you and all the people around, you probably end up saying thank you to the person that you’re fighting with.

Nadia Hughes 56:16
Your most telling me that outsourcing conflict resolution is lockout. So some parents milk, it’s just doesn’t mean it’s pointless. If you are a parent, just be there with your kids enjoy it. That is the reason why you’re a parent and yes. And if you are in conflict, take this conflict understand yourself. This is a very, very, very present unresolved issues there for this is your chance to understand and learn about yourself as much as you possibly can. And only on all sorts of the technical parts of resolution do not outsource the EMA, the resolution of this. And this is what I think is extremely important. And as I think I’m very briefly mentioned that you are part of Collaborative Law movement, which means Virginia helps and I work with Virginia in the space and very proud of it. It’s helping couples to separate out and avoid this long, expensive battles in court, you can actually settle outside of court and it’s very

Virginia Warren 57:16

Nadia Hughes 57:17
dignified, it’s also much cheaper process. What usually happens is couple one couple separates, if they had one medium, and they think they will get 50-50 or 60-40. And none of it, they will be lucky to get 30% each, because the other 30% will go on brand new push to see the invoice. That’s what would happen normally and collaborative approach is all about mitigating all this conflict.

Virginia Warren 57:46
A meeting the needs and goals are the people so we sit and listen to the people, what do you really want? Do you really want half the house? What do you want? Do you need the house for the children to grow up? What do you need? It goes into the human side of it more than the percentage dollars and cents.

Nadia Hughes 58:01
What I do like and how can I explain to listeners, your process is about it’s about taking this think out of this conflict and resolving asset separation in a very amicable and win win scenario. This is important and when I looked at mechanics of it and how it’s possible, and now working with the clients through this process, and being a financial advisor who is doing get them helping them to advise them on assets and what values they carry and what each one would be benefiting better, some people don’t need the house, some people would be better off having shares or depending, for example, spouse is when it’s on will age, they can benefit more having in super, and this is what is a financial planner and advisor can help. But what is the most important part is you have to take first you have to take things out of ends and resolve it. If you try to resolve anything can be stolen, angry people who all they want just here with each other, you will end up hurting them financially. That’s all I see all the time every day and that’s kind of nice to cheer

Terence Toh 59:11
Someone who’s been through a divorce and also, let’s call it a business divorce, business separation. I can definitely see the need to be handling things differently from both sides. From there’s always two sides to the equation side

Nadia Hughes 59:26
I’m the same. I’m in the same absolutely boat and have been separated them both ways and that’s part it’s

Virginia Warren 59:34
It touches on everyone’s lives and I think this is why the public needs to say we need lawyers that do life differently. Their life and our life.

Terence Toh 59:34
Okay, amazing. All right. Well, I think we’ve covered a lot. So I just want to thank you, Virginia for joining us. Just quickly, how can our listeners connect with you?

Virginia Warren 59:52
On Facebook, through messenger’s probably the best way all through my website,

Terence Toh 1:00:00
Cool. All right. Great. Thank you for joining us and I’m sure will talk to you again in the future.

Nadia Hughes 1:00:04
Thank you very much.

Virginia Warren 1:00:05
That was fun.

Terence Toh 1:00:06

Virginia Warren 1:00:06
Thanks, guys.

Narrator 1:00:10
Thanks for listening to the Unfair Advantage Project. For more curated resources, visit us at


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Terence is the founder and Managing Director of StrategiQ Corporation, a serial entrepreneur and experienced business operator who has founded, bought, grown and sold several … see more


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