Everyday, we are confronted with life-altering opportunities and often we don’t even realize it. For anyone facing criminal charges in either state or federal court this reality is even more pronounced. Often, I see people in these circumstances who, for all intensive purposes, put their lives on hold. They choose to “wait and see” what happens with their case.
Almost by default they place their trust in the hands of strangers and hope by some miracle they are granted mercy. This is both misguided and foolish. The consequences of inaction will be felt long into the future. If you were drowning, would you trust the waters to save you?
Now is the time for action or you will drown. You have more power and influence over the outcome than you might think. Keeping your head above water, just like the drowning man, you can reach out and one stroke at a time move toward your goal. It requires action. Waiting to see what others may have in store for your future is the same as giving up or quitting.
Take action. Transform your life. Demonstrate your learning by using a simple accountability formula.
Step 1: acknowledge what you did (simple, concise, and free of blame)
Step 2: acknowledge what you have learned from the experience AND what you are doing with these lessons
Step 3: identify specific goals that you are actively working toward that are based upon your lessons learned
As an example. A client has been arrested for multiple alcohol related offenses, including DUI, may say something like this:
Step 1: I had five drinks then drove my car.
Step 2: what I am learning is that I have a drinking problem and that my decisions to drink have a negative impact on my wife, my children, my boss, and everyone else in my life. I am learning that I am capable of being a good father, husband, or friend when I am not drinking. I am learning that I have the capacity to change my life and make decisions differently.
Step 3: I quit drinking on August 4th. I attend at least three AA meetings a week and I am seeing a counselor. I have removed all alcohol from my home and no longer place myself in situations where alcohol is being consumed. I am spending more time with my wife and children and I have enrolled in a career development program that I attend one per week. I continue to learn from this experience and I am committed to living a life of sobriety.
This demonstrates decisive action. This is not waiting to see what happens. This is more likely to influence the outcome of the criminal proceeding. This is taking one stroke at a time to save yourself from drowning.
What is the meaning of action?
Accountability – be accountable for your conduct and give voice to it, and if appropriate demonstrate remorse directly to those harmed by your conduct.
Courage – demonstrate courage and change what is not working in your life, especially those things that contributed to the unlawful conduct.
Tenacity – be tenacious in pursuing your goals with clarity, passion, and commitment.
Intention – know what you want in your life, identify a path to get there and take one purpose filled stroke at a time in the direction of your goal.
Opportunity – be open to and recognize the opportunities in your life and make intelligent choices.
Nourishment – take care of yourself, nourish your mind, your body, and your spirit by living in the present with a clear idea of the future.
Now, more than ever, is the time for you to fight for your life. You may not know exactly what happens next but waiting to see what others may decide for you is a shortcut filled with danger. If you succumb to the paralyzing effects of fear you become stuck in a whirlpool and will surely drown. Don’t allow yourself to become rooted in inaction.
Choose to transform your life and your circumstances instead. Be decisive and create opportunities for yourself to positively influence the outcome of your case, it will make a difference.