Joe Fried is synonymous with truck accident law. He pioneered trucking litigation best practices used around the country. And co-founded the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. In practice for over 18 years, the founding partner of Atlanta based Fried Goldberg has recovered over $1 billion for clients.
Today we discover what makes Joe, Joe. He made a choice over a decade a go that sounds simple enough, but requires incredible courage – he chose to be honest. To himself and to everyone around him. This shift has changed his life, how he approaches the business of law, and even how he gives depositions. He offers practical advice on how to harness our emotional states and influence those around us.
- Lead by example. When people in positions of power express vulnerability, it gives everyone around them permission to do the same.
- Change your posture, change your state. Body language and even the breath can cause both physical and emotional changes. Ramp it up to change the states of those around you.
- Flip the switch. If you’re having a bad day, take ownership of your state. Draw from the memory bank of positive emotions and turn your day to good. It only takes two minutes.
Joe Fried (00:02):
You’re a model whether you want to be or not, for your kids, for your employees, for the people on the other side. You’re a model for the judge and people are saying you’re good at this, all those positive affirmations and accolades. But, just beneath the surface is somebody who’s running away from things and coming to the realization, “I’m lying to myself as much as I’m lying to everybody else,” and asking myself then, “Is this going to be always how it is?” And coming to the realization that it doesn’t have to be, but that it’s not going to be easy. That day, I made a commitment to myself to start the journey, to be honest. Yeah, and I’ve seen big burly truck drivers with tattoos all over themselves that say, “F you.” Start to cry.
Maria Monroy (00:55):
No, I almost started crying. I didn’t do anything.
Joe Fried (00:57):
You see the difference? It’s all-
Maria Monroy (00:59):
I feel the difference. I don’t just see it. I actually feel the difference.
Joe Fried (01:03):
That’s the point. People come in, they go, “I need more. I want more money. I want more clients. I want more cases.” Right, well, what you’re really saying to the world is, I do not have enough, and the reality is if you could flip that in whatever way you need to for yourself to where you’re putting out in the world, “I’m doing great, and I have just the right number of clients, I have just the right amount of money, I have enough of all of this stuff.”
Maria Monroy (01:34):
In law school, attorneys are taught to challenge everything, tear things apart, break them down. But, the qualities that make lawyers great can be some of the worst for running a business. At every stage of growth, running a business and practicing law can feel overwhelming. What happens when you try to add life and family to the mix, it can feel nearly impossible. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m Maria Monroy, co-founder and president of LawRank, a leading SEO agency for ambitious law firms. Each week we hear from industry leaders on what it really takes to run a law firm, from marketing to manifestation, because success lies in the balance of life and law. We’re here to help you tip the scales.
Joe Fried is the name in truck accidents. He niched into the space before niching was a thing. Over the past 18 years, his firm has won cases across 43 states. He pioneered best practices in truck accident investigation and litigation and co-founded the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys attended by lawyers nationwide. But today, we’re not talking about how he built his firm or what makes his firm so successful. Today, we talk about what makes Joe Joe. Let me tell you, it’s fascinating. I am super excited about today’s episode because it’s a really special episode for me. I thought about having Joe come on even before I started the podcast and even consulted with him about starting this podcast and he encouraged me to do it.
So, today we talk about honesty, vulnerability, and body language, and he explains how changing your mood can sway everyone else around you, even the jury. I’m seriously not doing this justice. I can’t wait for you to hear what he has to say. So, let’s dive in.
Joe Fried (03:40):
It has always been important to be a subject matter expert in addition to hopefully being a good lawyer. I think it makes you a better lawyer. The more in touch you are with the subject matter that you’re really working with, whether it’s truck crashes or traumatic brain injuries or medical malpractice, whatever it is, to be able to really know the subject matter makes you a better advocate.
Maria Monroy (04:03):
How many times in 2022 have you given a presentation?
Joe Fried (04:08):
I think somewhere around a hundred times.
Maria Monroy (04:11):
Joe Fried (04:12):
Yeah, I know. It’s a psychological problem for me. I’m trying to figure out what drives me to do that. Honestly, I mean, I’m joking about it, but I’m trying to figure out what drives me to do that.
Maria Monroy (04:24):
What do you think drives you to do that?
Joe Fried (04:26):
I think a lot of it has to do with it feeds my ego. I like to think that I’m doing good in the world, and I think I am, I don’t those things are mutually exclusive, because I get wonderful messages from people literally every week saying, “You helped to get this done.” Or, “You helped, you’re partially responsible for this.” Or, “You made me look at this differently,” or things along those lines. I love getting those messages. I guess, I need them. I don’t like admitting that, but so my focus in 2023 in part is examining this very question that you just raised, and that’s, “Am I doing this for the right reasons?”
Maria Monroy (05:04):
The whole idea of an ego gets such a bad reputation, but I think it can be a good thing. I don’t think, I personally just cannot believe that ego’s just a purely a bad thing because it can drive us to do amazing things like you’re doing.
Joe Fried (05:19):
I totally agree with you. The ego has this job to push you and to protect you and to make you as good as you can be and to protect you from other people and situations that belittle you and dot dot dot. The problem is that, I think, once you identify fully with the ego and you stop realizing that the ego is not who you are, that becomes a problem. I think in my world, I have forgotten that, or I’ve fallen into that trap. It’s kind of like the same trap, and I’m sure you see it. I mean, in your world with people building brands, where they forget that they’re really not their brand, and I think that ends up causing issues.
Maria Monroy (06:04):
No, I agree. I mean, I even see it with me. I feel like LawRank is somewhat me. It’s part of my identity. I think that’s the problem. You and I have talked about this before, when it becomes like your worth is attached to what you do for a living, right? Whatever that may be.
Joe Fried (06:24):
You’re hitting on all of my psychological issues right now, so thank you for that. I should pay you for a therapy session when we’re done.
Maria Monroy (06:31):
I’ll send you a bill.
Joe Fried (06:33):
But, the reality is, I think you’re spot on. For me, I wonder who Joe Fried is if he’s not that guy who gets on stage a hundred times a year. If he’s not that guy who is constantly trying to push, push, push. I mean, I know it has to do with where I get my sense of value from, and all of these things serve you, right? Like you were saying, ego’s not inherently bad, it’s just too much of something can become bad. So, I think that it serves you, it helps you become successful. But, then at some point, if you’re living an examined life and you’re looking at things with intention, then it’s worth looking at it and saying, “Is it still serving you?” So, at the stage that I’m at in my career now, is it serving me? Those are things I need to examine.
Maria Monroy (07:25):
I mean, I can only speak from my experiences. I think the go go go is an avoidance. I think we’re avoiding something.
Joe Fried (07:36):
Damn it. Did you just say that? It’s so true. In my world, look, I’m the son of an alcoholic and addict and I’m the father of an alcoholic and addict, and so I know what that makes me. I chose a more socially acceptable addiction in the form of work. But, I have used work and the need to be busy and I got important shit to do.
Maria Monroy (08:02):
Joe Fried (08:03):
I got important stuff to do.
Maria Monroy (08:04):
And that makes you feel good.
Joe Fried (08:06):
Well, what it makes me feel is numb to everything else, because it’s my man cave. I can go to work, and if I’m at work and I’m pouring in and I’m telling myself, “I am helping other people,” and my life, this is altruistic and all good, but at the end of the day, I recognize and increasingly I am recognizing how much I have used that in my life to avoid just like an addict uses to avoid. I use that to avoid everything that’s been hard in my life. Every challenge in my home life, every challenge even in my business life, every challenge in the personal world. “Hey, I got to go to work,” and then I can go there and I can get lost there. Just like somebody who pops a pill or whatever, they get lost for a little while, and while that high is happening, I don’t have to worry about anything else.
I’m okay in that world, and people are saying, “You’re good at this.” All those positive affirmations and accolades. But, just beneath the surface is somebody who’s running away from things. I don’t like admitting that out loud, but I also feel like it’s important too, just like it’s important for an addict to, in other circumstances, to admit their addiction. It’s kind of like step one. So, I keep telling you… We’re sitting here, I’m in this contemplative mode as I get in at the end of most years, and thinking what’s the next year? Part of that is looking back and saying, “Damn, man, I thought I was going to work on that last year, and I realized that it’s not a destination, it really is a journey.” That’s kind of a cliche, but, anyway, that’s where I am. I’m looking at these things and saying, “How can I look at them and grow from them them in 2023?”
Maria Monroy (09:58):
I think it’s awesome that you are so honest about this because I feel like, in the legal space, maybe it’s not the norm to be vulnerable and to talk about these things, right? You have always, I mean, since I’ve followed you in the past few years, you have talked about being honest.
Joe Fried (10:17):
Yeah. I’ve also owned the fact that that was not me originally. That was not my natural tendency. Natural Joe, young lawyer Joe, and before that, was not that guy. It has been very much a work in progress and it still is. I mean, my tendencies from before, and I know where it comes from, and we’re talking a lot about psychology here, but for me, I know that because of how I felt about myself in situations, and fears that I had for myself, those things, yeah, those things aren’t necessarily bad either. They drive you, they push you, they’re why I’m where I am. But, my natural place was to lie. I was not honest.
I remember the day, I remember exactly where I was when I sat all by myself near a river in the middle of Wyoming, looking at the water running by and looking at the way it moved around the rocks in there, in the stream as it was coming, and coming to the realization that I’m just a fricking liar, and I’m lying to myself as much as I’m lying to everybody else, and asking myself then, “Is this the way it ends? Is this going to be always how it is?” And coming to the realization that it doesn’t have to be, but that it’s not going to be easy. That day I made a commitment to myself to start the journey to be honest.
Maria Monroy (11:45):
Is this part of the reason why, when I ask you a question, you’re so open?
Joe Fried (11:51):
That’s part of it, and what I have learned along the way, and it’s easier once you start to practice vulnerability, which really is a practice. What has to happen is you have to get some experiences under your belt to realize that the fear is if I’m vulnerable, I will be rejected. The fear is, “If you know the real me, you would never want to be my friend, you would reject me, push me away, talk bad about me, and think less of me in whatever way that fear materializes.” I know that’s not just Joe, I know that that’s everybody has that.
Maria Monroy (12:25):
Joe Fried (12:26):
But, what happens is, and I know you practice being vulnerable-
Maria Monroy (12:30):
Joe Fried (12:30):
… you practice being open, and my bet is you have the same experiences that I do, because I think it’s universally true. When you’re vulnerable, it’s like crazy, but it’s not, people don’t reject you.
Maria Monroy (12:43):
They really like you better.
Joe Fried (12:43):
People actually come up and they embrace you-
Maria Monroy (12:45):
Joe Fried (12:46):
… and they trust you more.
Maria Monroy (12:47):
Joe Fried (12:48):
Why are they trusting you? Because it takes a trustworthy person. If you’re not going to lie about that, if you’re not going to cover up that, then why would you cover up something in a lawsuit, or something like that? The answer to your question of, “Is this why?” That day was a beginning point for me that I was-
Maria Monroy (13:03):
How long ago was that?
Joe Fried (13:05):
That was sometime around 2010. I’d have to think about it and look at some things to figure out exactly-
Maria Monroy (13:13):
Joe Fried (13:15):
It’s been over a decade. Yeah.
Maria Monroy (13:17):
Joe Fried (13:17):
Probably about 2007 that I was on that bridge.
Maria Monroy (13:22):
Wow. So, 15, 16 years.
Joe Fried (13:25):
Yeah, because the reason I know is because 2010 frame of reference, my dad died in 2010 and it was very much already going on by then. I was in the middle of what I would call the turmoil of realizing how much it was true in my life that I had not been honest about things.
Maria Monroy (13:42):
Ever since you decided to work on being honest, how did it impact you as a trial lawyer?
Joe Fried (13:50):
The line between Joe trial lawyer and Joe something else, it’s blurred for me. I’m not sure who I am without those monikers, but what happened was I started to realize that if this is true for me, then it also would be true for my cases and my clients. So, now, the way that changed things is now I look for everything that’s, “A negative.” I put it in quotes because we’re the ones who assign the label.
Every single thing that’s a negative in the case, is an opportunity. If it’s an opportunity to look at the case differently to figure out why, how to work with that, and if nothing else, if nothing else, if you get to the very end of all the little mental games I play to make something bad into something good, if I get all the way to the end of that and I haven’t figured out a way to turn it into something, “good,” then it’s still an opportunity because it’s an opportunity for me to be vulnerable. It’s an opportunity for me to get up and say, “Let me tell you about this problem,” and be very open about the problem. So, it’s like if you think about it-
Maria Monroy (15:03):
With the jury.
Joe Fried (15:04):
With the jury, yeah, or with the defense lawyer, or with the decision maker on… So, imagine going into a mediation, and instead of what you think of, where the lawyer comes in and they’re pounding their chest and they got their presentation and everything is they’re just presenting the best spin on the case that they possibly can. They’re speaking to an audience usually of people who already are familiar with the case, they know where the problems are. But, so instead of that polished lawyer getting up there and doing that, the lawyer gets up and says, “Look, I want to start off by just owning, ‘Here’s the problems with my case.’ And despite these problems, I think I can still win, and this is why I think I should.”
It’s a very different presentation than pound your chest and, “I’ma kick in your butt.” In my experience, the other side, whatever that means, they’re much more worried about you if you can get up and you can fully and completely own it. The reality is, for me, this ability to look at everything honestly, and as I’ve said, yeah, I’m still work in progress, I have blind spots, right?
Maria Monroy (16:16):
It’s always a work in progress. That’s life, I mean.
Joe Fried (16:19):
Yeah. My eyes have been open to things even recently about just we all have blind spots, and if you’re fortunate to have people in your life who are honest with you and not just yes people, and they’ll really have the courage to come and say, “Hey, is this a blind spot for you?” In whatever way that comes out. That’s a real fortunate thing, even though it can be painful sometimes to hear.
Maria Monroy (16:45):
What’s the blind spot?
Joe Fried (16:47):
I go through coaches. So, I’ve had a number of them over the years because I’m kind of a believer in the, “When the student is ready, the master appears,” kind of a thing. So, it goes back to what we were talking about at the beginning here, what my coach asked me to be is, he said, “I want you to start taking notice of how many times you do things, say things, present yourself in a way that what you’re really trying to do is get approval from other people, external approval.” So, I’ve been focused on that pretty intensely for the last week because that’s been my assignment from the coach.
So, I’m realizing all these times when I’ve thrown something in or name dropped or da, da, da, whatever, there’re lots of examples, and I realized, “Why did I do that? Why do I feel like I need to drop a name?” I mean, “Why do I need to do that?” It’s because I’m still seeking approval of other people. Anyway, that’s where I am in my coaching.
Maria Monroy (17:52):
But, I really think that’s like most humans.
Joe Fried (17:55):
I do, I agree, but I don’t want to be most humans, and I know you don’t either-
Maria Monroy (17:58):
Well, you’re not.
Joe Fried (17:59):
… and I think people who are listening to this. So, it’s about the idea of most humans just exist, there’s no intentionality to their life.
Maria Monroy (18:08):
No awareness. I agree.
Joe Fried (18:10):
So, I don’t want to be that person, and I know you don’t want to, and my bet is the people who are attracted to this podcast are not people who are just wanting to live blindly and wake up automatron through their day, and go to sleep at night, and rinse, rinse and repeat. We’re trying to do it in an examined way, in an intentional way.
Maria Monroy (18:32):
Yes. Now, how do people respond to all this? Like other lawyers when you’re teaching things, are they receptive to it, are they in shock? What is the feedback that you get? Because again, I just don’t think that this is… Maybe I’m wrong. Like what do I know, I’m not the lawyer. But, I feel like these types of things are just not talked about enough in our space and I-
Joe Fried (18:55):
In this world.
Maria Monroy (18:56):
Joe Fried (18:57):
The whole world, not just our space, but especially-
Maria Monroy (18:58):
Joe Fried (18:59):
Right, because we have… Why? Because we’re taught, I mean, we’re taught whether you’re a lawyer in this space or you’re somebody else who is in this supporting the lawyer type situation, or in a business that’s supporting the lawyer world, you know that teaching is, “Get out there and show your badass self.” What if you don’t feel like a badass? What if, right underneath, that’s not how you’re feeling? Can you own it? So, the question is how do people respond? It’s the opposite of what most people when they first hear me talk about this, it’s the opposite, because everybody feels like their vulnerability equals weakness, until they start to, they take the courage.
Usually for me, it required seeing other people. I didn’t have the courage to do it myself first. So, what I try to do in programs and things that I’m in, I try to model this so that somebody looks at it and says, “Okay, that guy is by the metrics that the world puts out there, that guy is a successful lawyer, and he’s talking like this? And it resonates with me. Maybe I can show that too.” He’s telling me if he can get up there and own, that he’s still, after all these years and all these results, he’s still a scared little boy and he still struggles with that. I mean, I was telling somebody yesterday, ” I still worry whether I’ve just tricked everybody and the phone’s going to stop ringing, right after the first of the year. This’ll be my last year where anybody will ever want me to be their lawyer.”
Maria Monroy (20:35):
Joe Fried (20:36):
It’s imposter syndrome, but I know now because of how long I’ve been at this game. I’m not alone in this, and like you said, it’s everybody. The problem is we don’t talk about it. Instead, we’ve been trained that if you go show that piece, people are going to reject you, and you and I both know it’s not true, but it’s still, even when we know it intellectually, you still have to have the actual physical experience. And magical things happen. I mean, without mentioning any names, yesterday we were at a program, there’s a couple of hundred lawyers or more, I don’t know how many are there. I had this kind of a situation with where from speaking was coming up to me yesterday, and as he’s walking towards me, he starts crying, and that led to a conversation. But, it led to a conversation never would’ve happened if I had not shown mine, if I had not shared my life experiences, my fears, my dirty parts. I mean, I hate to say it that way, but that’s what they are. I mean, it’s like the ugly parts, right?
Maria Monroy (21:40):
I mean, you give people permission. I feel like that’s what you do.
Joe Fried (21:43):
That’s such a great way of saying it. I love that, and I think that that’s right. So, all of our jobs, everybody who’s watching this or listening to this, my challenge to you is who can you model to, today? You don’t necessarily even know who that person needs to be. Like I was telling Evita, who works with me, who’s actually in the room here, we were getting ready to go, we were on the way over here, and I was telling her, we were talking about what’s going to happen today later in a presentation, and I’ve said to her, and she reminded me that I had said it, she said, “Remember, Joe, what you always say, ‘There’s one person in the room who needs to hear what you have to say.’ And that’s success. It’s just there may just be one person who needs it, and that should be our success.”
So, my challenge to everybody who’s listening to this is to recognize that you’re a model, whether you want to be or not, for your kids, for your employees, for the people on the other side. You’re a model for the judge. You’re a model. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the SEO world or in the legal world. You’re a model whether you want to or not. So, how do you want to be? What kind of model do you want to be? What do you want to model? What kind of difference do you want to make? So, that’s the challenge.
Maria Monroy (22:58):
Okay, so now I really want to talk about this energy thing. I’m a huge believer in energy. I think we’re energy, right? But, you’ve taken this concept of energy and you’re actually apply… Are you applying it in the courtroom already, or are you just playing with it?
Joe Fried (23:19):
I’m applying it. Let’s define what we’re talking about a little bit.
Maria Monroy (23:22):
Yes, please explain.
Joe Fried (23:24):
So, I believe in energy like you do, and that can mean a lot of different things. There’s so much focus in law, and even in law marketing, yeah, there’s so much focus on the content, the words, the way the words are said, what do you dress like when you say the words. But, it’s content as opposed to emotionality, and yet we all know, and if you talk to people, most people will agree with you, and they instinctively know that decisions are made very rarely on content, decisions are made based on an emotional kind of a reaction. Just you have an emotional reaction to something and then you backfill whatever logic you need to support the decision that you made. But, decisions, I mean, science shows us decisions are made based on that emotionality.
So, here we are, we as lawyers, we go to law school and we’re taught, “Here’s the prima facie case. I mean, here’s exactly, here’s the elements of the crime. Here’s the elements of the tort. Here’s what you have to do.” It’s so content-driven, it’s so verbal content driven, if you will, if that makes sense. Nobody talks about what’s the emotionality involved in this, even though it’s so important. So, for instance, if you’re going to talk to somebody about these, “facts,” shouldn’t you also be concerned about what state of mind are they in? What emotional state are they in? When you get to that point, like us, we’re sitting here having a conversation, we’re each in an emotional state, and most people bring no intentionality to that.
So, I’ve studied for a long time different things, including neurolinguistic programming, including all the various persuasion sciences, if you will. I ran into some work done by a woman named Amy Cuddy. She proved something that a lot of people have been talking about for a long time, and that’s that if you change your physiology, you will change your mood. She proved it with medical science. She proved that if I put you into a posture and breathing of what… like if you think of somebody who just won a race, right? Their hands are up, it’s called victory pose. Their eyes are up, they’re taking up space, they’re breathing a certain way, as opposed to just to juxtapose this, think of somebody who looks depressed, in your mind’s eye. They’re down, they’re small. So, all of these things.
So, where it all comes into play is what I’m trying to do is look at ways that we can understand this emotionality and we can affect it. Where I am in the development of this right now, for me, is the big realization is when you see Amy Cuddy’s work and you say, “Okay, I can affect my own mood,” so to speak, “my own state with posture and breathing, because of some other stuff that I’ve studied having to do with mirror neurons and things like that, and rapport work.” What I’ve been working on is how to put these two things together, so that if I walk into a courtroom or any room, is it possible for me, by controlling my state, to control your state, or at least to… Not control, is the wrong word, affect your state. What I’m learning is in, and I’m super excited about it, is that the answer’s yes. So, I’ve been working on trying to figure out exercises and ways to predictably and repeatedly change the emotional states of other folks by focusing on my own states.
Maria Monroy (27:10):
What are some emotional states that you want to impact during, say, a jury trial?
Joe Fried (27:16):
One example is, let’s say, we’re talking about a deposition. Okay?
Maria Monroy (27:19):
Joe Fried (27:20):
I think most people would agree instinctively that if I’m going to ask you questions about a certain topic, that I may get wildly different answers depending on what emotional state you’re in when you’re answering me. So, if that’s true, why aren’t lawyers taught? Why don’t we think about what emotional state do I want them to be in when I get to that question? So, that’s with a witness, but also think about a jury, think about jury selection, or think about as you stand in front of a jury, what state would you like if you could, if you had the ability to reach into the body chemistry sets of each of the people on the jury and adjust their hormone levels and their cortisol levels and their dopamine levels and all those kind of things, what would you dial them up to be? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s biochemistry.
Maria Monroy (28:15):
But, I’m curious, what state do you want them in? I’m sure it depends on the case, but can you give me an example of a emotion or state that you might want someone to be in.
Joe Fried (28:25):
Yeah, yeah. You’re right in your instinct. It’s not something I want them in for a whole case, and it’s not always the same. So, at certain parts of the case, when I might want them to be in a state of empathy. In another part of the case, and I hate language for calling something the emotional states, because you quickly run into the limits of language, right? We don’t have the right language for what I’m talking about right now. But, there’s other times when it’s time for that jury to act, to get off their you know what, and find for my client in the biggest way possible, it’s not really empathy I want them in. I want them in some state that is wound up at something like anger or something like disgust.
So, I’m not putting them in a state and leaving them there. I’m also no longer counting on just the natural flow of things and hoping that they get there, because I know how to get them there now. I’m pretty confident that I can do it, and now it’s just a question of continuing to work on this so that it can be done predictably and repeatedly. It’s also really, really important for me to say this to you is I don’t want people to think that this is some kind of a manipulation game. I mean, everything is manipulation to some degree. I don’t want this science to be turned into something that’s not being used for the right purposes, if that makes sense, because it’s powerful.
Maria Monroy (30:00):
It’s so interesting. So, you’re telling me, and I know it’s hard to do this, especially for the people that are only listening to the audio, but how do you do this?
Joe Fried (30:10):
Okay, well, let me give you a little bit of an example, right? So, let’s say we’re in a deposition, I’m going to depose you, okay?
Maria Monroy (30:18):
I would be so scared.
Joe Fried (30:19):
You would not.
Maria Monroy (30:20):
I really would.
Joe Fried (30:20):
You would scare me. But, if you think in your mind’s eye what that looks like, you have the lawyer who comes in and starts in on somebody, right? I mean, they’re coming from this place of, like it’s a wreck case so, “You were the driver of the truck.” “Yes.” On such such a day.” “Yes.” “And you were going this speed and you were going this and you were looking out the window and you could see this,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It becomes this very sort of almost attack mode kind of a thing and, “I’m going to kick your butt and I’m coming in,” and the truth is, my state at that point is I want to kick your butt, whatever you call that state, that’s the state I’m in.
So, imagine how different it is. What if I started the deposition, instead of going that way, what if I started the deposition by taking a moment to really feel and say, “For the last week, I’ve been wondering how to talk to you about this thing. I mean, even last night as I was laying in bed thinking about coming and talking to you, I was wondering, ‘What’s he thinking about, what’s she thinking about? How does she feel right now? What’s this been like for her? What’s she feeling as she’s getting ready to be deposed by me? What’s it like to be responsible for the death of other people?’ And I guess I just want to start by asking, ‘How are you? How are you doing?'”
Maria Monroy (31:52):
I would start crying.
Joe Fried (31:54):
Yeah. I’ve seen big burley truck drivers with tattoos all over themselves that say, “F you,” start to cry.
Maria Monroy (32:00):
No, I will start crying. I didn’t do anything.
Joe Fried (32:03):
So, yeah, well, it’s that guilty part we need to talk about on the next podcast. Round two.
Maria Monroy (32:09):
We’re not doing that.
Joe Fried (32:09):
That’s my podcast. I’m inviting her too.
Maria Monroy (32:12):
Joe Fried (32:13):
No. She’s so coming on that. Yeah. No, but going back to this, you see the difference.
Maria Monroy (32:22):
I feel the difference. I don’t just see it. I actually feel the difference.
Joe Fried (32:24):
That’s the point.
Maria Monroy (32:25):
Joe Fried (32:26):
So, now if you’re in that state, if you’re in state as the deponent, and now I’m going to start asking you about the facts of the case. Do you think I may get different answers?
Maria Monroy (32:37):
Yes. Way more answers.
Joe Fried (32:38):
Way no question, right?
Maria Monroy (32:40):
Joe Fried (32:40):
It’s going to be-
Maria Monroy (32:41):
No defense, less defensiveness.
Joe Fried (32:43):
Maria Monroy (32:44):
Joe Fried (32:45):
So, what happens is we form a relationship around this. I can also turn right around and I can change that emotion that we just had, intentionally. I can change it to something else, right? How do I do it? I don’t have control over your state. What I have control over is my state. If I now were to change and I start raising my voice and I start getting more firm in my questioning of you, even after we’ve started in this other way, what’s going to happen? The state’s going to change. The question is going to be how? What I’m suggesting to you is I don’t know any other lawyers who are bringing this level of intentionality to this aspect of trial work, and really it’s human work. This is not just in trial. I mean, I would say to you, I’d love to see you working on this for the work that you do in marketing. I think this is huge for marketing.
Maria Monroy (33:52):
I think sometimes I do it intuitively.
Joe Fried (33:54):
Of course you do.
Maria Monroy (33:55):
This, for anyone listening that’s kind of like, “Hmm, I wonder.” This should just make sense. We’ve all been in that situation where we’re in a room somewhere with a person and somebody walks in and they’re really pissed off and they’re just in the worst mood possible, and right away the energy in the room shifts.
Joe Fried (34:15):
Sure. Another example is, how many times have you responded to a text message where somebody else’s intention was not what you ascribed to that? In other words, you responded from anger and pissed off and whatever, when all they did is say, “What kind of coffee do you want?” And you realize later, you go, “Oh, I thought you were saying, ‘What kind of coffee do you want?'” You ascribed the intention… You ascribe their state based on your state. So, these are all examples of how this comes into play. So, we all know about this. The question is, “Can we harness it? Can we harness it-”
Maria Monroy (34:54):
Intentionally, because do it all the time-
Joe Fried (34:55):
“… and bring intentionality.” Yeah.
Maria Monroy (34:56):
… with kids. I noticed that, and parents are going to relate, if I’m in a good place, the kids behave better. But, if I’m stressed or I’m like snappy, they behave worse because they’re feeding off of my energy. So, this is something we do everyday, all the time. You are just saying, “Be intentional.”
Joe Fried (35:14):
That’s right. One thing to think about is that’s true what you just said, especially if your energy is at what I’ll call a higher amplitude. You being in a bad place, is that which normally bad places have higher amplitude than good places. I mean, I hate to say it-
Maria Monroy (35:29):
That’s so unfair.
Joe Fried (35:30):
… but it’s fire. Yeah, if I could change it, the world, I would, but I can’t. That’s just a reality. So, we know that, and we know that the tendency is to stay in whatever mood you’re in until something changes it. There’s scientific names for that, but that’s what they come down to. So, what would be interesting is there have also been times my bad for you as a mom, where you’ve been in a crap mood and you walk into a room and your kid is in such an awesome place that you can’t stay in the bad mood anymore, right?
Maria Monroy (35:58):
Joe Fried (35:59):
So, what if you now apply that to the rest of the world? Come into a courtroom, and why don’t you, because your amplitude of your mood, and I keep using the word mood, I should really use the word state, but because of that, you’ve intentionally put yourself in a place and you’ve intentionally been able to ramp the amplitude up, to no matter what anybody else’s state is, they will start to gravitate towards your state. They can’t stay there.
I know this to be true. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a social scientist. But, honestly, these are the things that are exciting me right now about the practice of law, is that the practice of law is giving me an opportunity in each case, in each deposition, in each interaction, in each mediation, in each sit down with a client to practice what we’re talking about, to sit with the opposing counsel and choose how you’re going to be.
Wow, what if you can get up in the morning, and my coach says this is possible, I’m not there yet, but what if you can get up in the morning and he says to me, “I’m going to ask you how you’re doing. Every coaching session, I’m going to ask you how you’re doing, and I need you to respond, ‘I allowed or I created X for my day.’ I allowed…” He said, “Put a number on it, one to 10, how good it was.” So, are you just allowing your mood, your state, or are you creating your state? Because you can get up in the worst fricking mood in the world, and I know this to be true, you can change it. You know how long it takes, what the science says? It takes 90 seconds to two minutes. It’s not BS. It’s not fake it till you make it. It’s your actual body, your actual biochemistry, your chemistry set that is you, your hormones, your cortisol levels, your dopamine levels, your testosterone levels.
Do you know if somebody stands in a pose, like the victory pose, with your hands over your head like that for literally two minutes. Men or women, that spike in testosterone level in your body is 20%, the reduction in your cortisol level, 22%. This is repeated in test after test after test. So, there’s a lot to this. The question is, and hopefully you can sense I’m excited about it, I feel like I’m just at the tip of the iceberg on trying to understand this, and I want to understand it so bad. I want to speed it up and get to the good stuff. This is something that I think it’s cutting edge.
If somebody out there listening to this says they’ve got some resources for me, I’d sure love to hear them to advance the ball on this and to join me in looking at these subjects because I think they matter, and I think they matter way beyond law. Like don’t you want to be the best mom always, right? Do you want to show up with intentionality always, and are you willing to accept the possibility, are you open to the idea that you can flip that switch anytime you want?
Maria Monroy (39:05):
So, how do you flip it? Is it just like you just feel the feeling and kind of just ramp it up and feel it, feel it, feel it?
Joe Fried (39:11):
Yeah. So, I’m working on different ways on that. But, yes, I mean, what it basically is is you already have a memory bank of just about every emotion. Once you’ve lived a certain amount of time, you’ve had circumstances that you’ve attributed to causing you to feel certain ways. On the bad side, those low energy things, depression, anxiety-
Maria Monroy (39:34):
I have a lot of anxiety.
Joe Fried (39:36):
There’s others that we could talk about. But, on the positive sides, joy and these other things, even a state of playfulness. So, what I would do with you if I wanted to change your state is, first of all, it would first be me, I would be working. If I were trying to do it without you knowing I was doing it, the only person I can affect is me. So, I need to work on choosing the state I want you to be in, I need to take that state and then I need to ramp up the amplitude as high as I can, and as soon as I cross the threshold of whatever level you’re at, you’re going to start to move toward me.
Maria Monroy (40:15):
I’m going to do that to you once. I’m going to… I’m not telling you.
Joe Fried (40:16):
Maria Monroy (40:17):
I’m not going to tell you.
Joe Fried (40:18):
Well, I’ve been doing it to you the whole time we’re here. I mean, can’t you tell you’re smiling so big? I mean, people could have seen you beforehand, she was in such a bad mood before we started this, and now look at her, she’s in a great mood. I’m just teasing. But, the reality is, I mean, how do you show up? How do you want to show up? Who is bringing that level of intentionality into their world? You’re getting ready to go into a meeting and you have got all your notes, you’ve got all your content because that’s how we’ve been trained, right? “I know what I’m going to say. I know I’m there.” But, then who takes the moment to say, “Wait a minute, what emotional state do I want them to be in?”
Maria Monroy (40:52):
Can you do this over the phone?
Joe Fried (40:53):
Yes. I believe you can do this… I know this is going to sound really, really wacky.
Maria Monroy (40:59):
Yeah, it does.
Joe Fried (40:59):
I think you can do this just purely telepathically.
Maria Monroy (41:03):
Well, isn’t it crazy when you think about someone and they call you?
Joe Fried (41:07):
It’s crazy. Why do things like that happen?
Maria Monroy (41:09):
Because it’s energy.
Joe Fried (41:10):
Well, we’ll never fully understand it, but yet it does happen, right?
Maria Monroy (41:13):
Yes. A lot weird things happen.
Joe Fried (41:15):
Maria Monroy (41:16):
I guess they’re called, what? Synchronicities.
Joe Fried (41:18):
If you say so. That’s a good word. I like it. We don’t understand, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s like I tell people all the time when I’ve talked to them about this, they go, “Yeah, I’m just not really sure I believe,” blah, blah, blah, and I go, “You know what? Whether you believe it or not doesn’t change whether it works or not.” I mean, I’m here to tell you, I mean, I’ve had these experiences where I’ve walked in and I’m doing it, I’m working on this all the time now. But, it’s even how do you show up for your kids, how do you show up and take it out of the professional side and just think… I mean, I bet some of your listeners will be able to relate to this. You’ve had a great day, okay? Awesome day. You come home, you walk in, your spouse, I’ll make this spouse agnostic, you walk in, your spouse looks at you a certain way, just looks at you a certain way. Or, maybe there’s a tone of voice. Just a little tone of voice.
Maria Monroy (42:14):
I’m going to kill him.
Joe Fried (42:15):
All your whole great day just flew out the fricking window, and if you’re the guy in the relationship, at least in my world, I’m the guy who ends up being the asshole. I mean, in no time flat, I went from having a great day, I couldn’t wait to share my great day, and somehow I’m the asshole, in record time. Afterwards, I’m going, “How the hell did that happen? How am I here?” But, then if you’re intuitive, or if you’re willing to do it, and you take a step back and say, “This is actually a pretty familiar pattern. This is not the first time this has happened.” We all have patterns in our life. So, where I’m going with this is what if you could… I mean, there is the next phase of this, or another phase of this is to work on not allowing yourself to become hijacked by somebody else’s stuff.
Maria Monroy (43:07):
I do. Okay, this is like we could have a whole episode on this. It’s something I’m working on right now because my husband can impact me in one second. I’m like, “This is so unfair.” Like one second, my mood is ruined.
Joe Fried (43:19):
Maria Monroy (43:21):
I’m like, “I just don’t want anyone to have that power over me.”
Joe Fried (43:25):
Yeah. So, why do you think that’s there?
Maria Monroy (43:28):
I don’t know.
Joe Fried (43:29):
But, it’s not new, right?
Maria Monroy (43:31):
No, I think it comes from childhood-
Joe Fried (43:33):
It’s a pattern.
Maria Monroy (43:33):
… like my parents did that to me all the time.
Joe Fried (43:35):
It’s a pattern.
Maria Monroy (43:36):
So, for me, and it’s something I’m working on, I literally will try to clear my energy. I’m like, “Nope, not going there, not engaging, not entering, like boundaries, happy thoughts, like happy feelings. Nope.”
Joe Fried (43:48):
Yeah. But, one thing that I think it’s important to recognize is once you get hijacked… I call it a hijack, because there’s this terminology where they say the amygdala hijack. I mean, there’s a part of your… So, this is what’s happening in that situation is it’s another form of, I mean, medically or bio-medically what’s happening, biochemically, I should say, is the same thing that happens in the fight or flight kind of a thing, right?
Maria Monroy (44:15):
No, it’s a perfect-
Joe Fried (44:16):
Maria Monroy (44:16):
… that you’re literally hijacked.
Joe Fried (44:16):
So, that’s what it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, here’s the thing, once you get hijacked, so your body now reacts to that, your hormone levels change, your chemistry changes like this.
Maria Monroy (44:27):
Joe Fried (44:28):
Then it’s just like you just took a hit of something. I’m not kidding.
Maria Monroy (44:32):
No, I know.
Joe Fried (44:33):
Why does it take time to chill after that, to get back down to a baseline? Because your body literally has to digest out these chemicals to get back to your baseline level. It takes time just like if you drank or took a drug, and just like if you drank or took a drug, it becomes, once you’ve drank or taken the drug, it becomes hard to just sober up like that. So, it really is a… So, the only way in my view that you can really, “work on this,” is to start to become conscious of where the triggers are and what the triggers are. Then you can defuse the trigger.
So, what if in the moment just before, what if you had the level of consciousness where you could see the trigger coming right at you and you say, “Stop, I now make a choice. I can let that trigger do what it does so many times, and when it’s done so many times, and I know where it’s going to end up, I know exactly how I’m going to feel at the end of that.” Or, I could choose a different path. What if you could choose? There might be times where you say, “Screw it, man. I’m choosing the damn path that I…”
Maria Monroy (45:49):
Joe Fried (45:49):
But, at least then it’s intentional. “Screw it, I want to feel like that. I mean, I don’t give a damn.” But, at least then you know what you’re doing. The problem for a lot of us is we get to the end of that and we look back and it’s like we woke up in a stupor and say, “Oh my God, man, I can’t believe I just let that happen again.” That’s true in our personal lives, and it’s true in interactions that we have. I mean, think of from a lawyer perspective. A good example is there’s that other lawyer on the other side who you know who they are, they just rub you the wrong way, and you always end up losing your cool when you’re interacting with that lawyer. What if you had the power? And I know you do. What if you could say, “I’m going to create a state for myself, I’m going to stay in that state, and no matter what that person does, they can’t break the state.” And you know what else? Their state’s going to change because it can’t not happen.
This is like the laws of gravity, and it kind of is gravity. If I turn my emotions up, if I turn my state up enough to where it’s higher than the other states, more energy, if you will, than what my experience is, and what I think there’s some science to support, is you can’t help it. Your body is going to start to change, your state is going to start to change, but I’ve got to be higher than you. I’ve got to be at a higher level than you, and you may be at a pretty damn high level.
Maria Monroy (47:16):
All I can think about is how I can use this.
Joe Fried (47:18):
Yes. I can see.
Maria Monroy (47:19):
I think my mind is spinning, I’m like, because if I want someone to be generous, right? Like, okay, I’m thinking of a reservation, can’t get a reservation somewhere, and I go in with that amped up energy.
Joe Fried (47:31):
Well, I think you… Yes, is the answer. Now, you may not create the reservation, but I think you would dramatically improve… So, how do you do it now? What is the process now? But, a lot of people would come in with sort of the, “Do you know who I am,” mentality. Or, not you.
Maria Monroy (47:50):
Hold on. You know what? I mirror a lot. I try to mirror. That’s like what I’ve learned that from Chris Voss, and it works well.
Joe Fried (47:56):
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Look, I’m a student of Chris Voss, and I’m trying to be even a more direct one. I love his stuff about… I love some of the stuff. The one I love the most is the idea of getting people to say no.
Maria Monroy (48:12):
Oh, yes. Yes.
Joe Fried (48:12):
Because, I mean, you can think, and we’re both parents, right? You think about how many times your kid asks you for something and youse first reaction, “No.” Then within five minutes you’ve now said yes. After you’ve said no, you’ve said yes, right? So, I love being a student of the human experience, like how do humans work, and that was one that turned around the idea for me because the training before that for me was always get into a series of yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But, it really has to do with control.
Maria Monroy (48:45):
Yeah, we want to say no.
Joe Fried (48:47):
If you say no, you feel control, and once you feel control, you can let go of the need to feel control. So, it’s a very cool thing, and I think there’s a lot I can learn from him. I think one of the areas that’s really, really missing from the lawyer education world is really, really advanced level negotiation techniques and understanding. Yet here we are, we’re negotiating, and sometimes in cases that are seven, eight, nine figure cases. My bet is if you asked, if we go into a room with a thousand lawyers, and say, “Somebody, raise your hand if you’ve had formal negotiation training, real training, not from a mentor, not you’ve got your own shtick you do, but really formal training.” I would bet you will get zero hands raised. Isn’t that crazy?
Maria Monroy (49:41):
That is crazy.
Joe Fried (49:42):
But, I think it’s true.
Maria Monroy (49:45):
You have to tell me if you become friends with Chris Voss.
Joe Fried (49:48):
Well, I would love to have that opportunity, but I can’t make the promise right now. If I do, I’ll tell you. Part of it is also even the state of wanting that, right? It might be easier to change the state of wanting it than getting it. I don’t know if that makes any sense. The law of attraction kind of stuff. We see it in the legal world all the time, and I know you see it in the marketing world all the time. People come in and they go, “I need more. I need more. I need more. I need more. I want more money. I want more clients. I want more cases. I want more whatever. Well, I just want more.” Right? Well, what you’re really saying to the world is, “I do not have enough.”
The reality is if you could flip that in whatever way you need to for yourself, and there’s different ways to do it, to where you’re putting out in the world, “I have enough clients, I’m doing great, and I have just the right number of clients, I have just the right amount of money, I have enough of all of this stuff.” Then what does the world give you? More of not needing any more clients, which what does that mean? You’re going to have more clients if that’s what you need.
Maria Monroy (50:53):
What if you don’t believe, “I have enough.”
Joe Fried (50:55):
First of all, I’m not sure you have to believe it. I think you have to say it. I know that sounds a little bit weird, but you have to be grateful, I think, coming from-
Maria Monroy (51:07):
Yes, I agree with the gratefulness. Thousand percent.
Joe Fried (51:09):
So, we have to find what you do believe. So, you may say, “I don’t have enough.” I can’t say I have enough money. Okay? But can you say, “I’m so grateful for the blessings of the money that I have. I’m so grateful.” So, what’s that mean? That’s going to mean, if what we’re saying is accurate, that should give you more reasons to be grateful for the money that you have.
Maria Monroy (51:33):
Totally. So, when I say manifesting, for me, it’s a combination of being grateful to where I am. Instead of, and you’re right, instead of being in a place where I want something, I’m in a place where I know I’m going to get it, no matter what I have to do, and I’m going to act on it. Like, “I don’t care what it takes. That’s what’s going to happen.”
Joe Fried (51:50):
Maria Monroy (51:51):
And just knowing that it’s going to happen, but that there’s going to… I mean, it might take a while, or I might have to go through things, but I’m totally willing and I know when I do it.
Joe Fried (52:04):
Sure. What I would add to it, and only because of this coaching thing that I’m starting, and so I mean, literally I had-
Maria Monroy (52:08):
Joe Fried (52:09):
… I had my two hours hour session literally last night, so I’m spinning around it in my mind, is I would add to that, “To check in with yourself on what is behind the want.”
Maria Monroy (52:20):
Okay. What is behind that?
Joe Fried (52:21):
Like, “Why? Why do you want it?” Right? Because starting to understand what’s driving that. If you’re going to live the intentional you life, and you want to understand yourself, I mean, I don’t only want to understand how other people work, I want to understand how this human works. You know, me and what’s my mind, what are the games, what’s going on with all this stuff for me? So, if I had the perfect ability, which I don’t, in those moments where I find myself in longing, right? I’m longing for dot, dot, dot, whatever you put in the line there, it’s a worthy exercise to take a step back and say, “What’s making me want that?” Because a lot of times, I think, we tell ourselves a story about something or we-
Maria Monroy (53:10):
Oh, we’re always telling ourselves a story.
Joe Fried (53:11):
Yeah, or we’re creating barriers to feeling success. Like we make deals with ourselves, right? Like until I get to X.
Maria Monroy (53:19):
And it’s never enough.
Joe Fried (53:19):
Maria Monroy (53:19):
Like it’s flawed.
Joe Fried (53:19):
Maria Monroy (53:19):
But, I agree.
Joe Fried (53:24):
I think the only way to deal with that, by the way, I mean it’s a whole nother podcast episode, but is to live a life where you’re living less of your life is about you and more of your life is about service to other people. I truly believe that. I think that no matter how much money or, “success,” you end up having, you will have what I call a significance hole in your life if you’re not pouring into other people. The more you pour into other people, what I’m finding for myself is the more some of these other things stop mattering.
Maria Monroy (54:04):
It might seem like everyone around you is confident, has their shit together, absolutely owning life. But, the truth is, at some point, everyone, even me, even Joe, feels some bit of imposter syndrome, like they can’t measure up. But, when big, well-respected people like Joe have the courage to shine a light on what’s really going on, it gives everyone else permission to confront their problems. Like Joe said, “When you let vulnerability guide the conversation, you make authentic connections.” This is true in your personal life and your professional life, even with the jury. By being honest about your own emotions, you can become aware and change your own state to influence others.
Thank you so much to Joe Fried at Fried Goldberg for everything he shared today. If you found this story valuable, please share it with someone you want to see succeed. Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and leave a five-star review, it goes a long way to help others discover the show. Catch us next week on Tip the Scales with me, Maria Monroy, president of LawRank. Hear how the best in their business broke out of limiting beliefs, overcame adversity, and build a thriving, purpose-driven business in the process.