It’s been a little over a week since the world was rocked with the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant along with his daughter and seven others. When I think of legend like Kobe Bryant, I have always viewed him as invincible and indestructible, but the sad truth is that was not the case. This has rocked everyone to their core because he was so great in so many ways and because it made me, and others realize how precious life is.
I was spending the weekend in San Luis Obispo, California with my family and Amy Lass and her family as they became the Godparents to my youngest son, Wyatt. Working alongside Amy at Griffith, Young, & Lass has been an incredible experience and we’ve experienced a significant amount of growth. My wife, Catie Young (also of GYL) and Amy are best friends, and here we are now intertwined even more. What a blessing. That weekend of celebration was unforgettable, but we were also rocked by the news of the helicopter crash and the deaths of everyone involved. Talk about life is short, I was at a loss and feeling so much for the families impacted by the accident.
I’ve practiced family law for more than a decade and I always walk out of the situations with my clients and in the court room feeling like I’ve done all I could to help others in their situations. I do my absolute best to leave everything I can at work and come home to my family and spend quality time with them.
The family man Kobe was, the teammate, the son, the coach, the friend, or anything he was, inspired the masses. I have seen a shift in everyone who desire to see life as an opportunity to leave a legacy and to inspire others.
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” -Kobe Bryant.
In honor of ‘Black Mamba’ I would like to offer eight pieces of advice to leave your legacy. My wife, Catie Young and Amy Lass will do the same.
8 + 8 + 8 = 24. This is for you KOBE.
- Always do what you say you are going to do: In all that I see within the courts practicing family law, I hear “he/she didn’t follow through with their promises to me”. When we don’t do what we say we will do, then others will lose faith in us. In relationships the follow through is everything. Kobe was impeccable with his word and he always said he would be great and knew he would need to be constantly practicing.
- Always pick up the phone when your mom calls you: This one is a hard one because my mom is no longer here to call me, but I look back on all our calls when we lived thousands of miles apart. I always tell my son to pick up the phone when his mom calls him and to know that our time is not promised. Cherish and love your mother. A quote I love from Kobe is this one: “My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.”
- Do your best. Once you’ve done your best, there is no sense in stressing about the outcome: This one is a good one because I often find myself as a trial attorney. I am often in court doing my very best for my clients and it gives me peace to know that I have done everything in my power to provide a favorable outcome.
- Don’t EVER let ANYONE steal your JOY: Understanding what brings you joy is vital. I know being with my family brings me immense joy and I want to soak up every moment with them. Especially being a father to a one year old who changes almost daily. Keep your joy, it is yours!
- Work hard. Play later: Starting the law firm alongside Catie and Amy has been a journey and challenging. We are still attorneys who have our client’s best interest in mind and we also run a business with many depending on us. We are thankful for the work we put in and we see the fruits are our labor. We can see this in Kobe’s legacy as well. In his documentary, “Muse”, he spoke about practicing endlessly by himself to perfect his craft. It payed off tenfold.
- Never sacrifice your integrity for anyone or anything: What you do when no one else is watching matters. Being honest and having integrity is everything. We are a successful firm because this is a vital part of what we practice.
- Be loyal to your inner circle: Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, we spent our weekend watching our friends become Godparents to our son. I am so incredibly thankful they would step up and do this for us. I know that my friends would say the same about me as well. We also have heard so many stories from the friends of Kobe who said what an incredible friend he was to them.
- Your body will give you back what you put in: Take care of your body and your health. Work hard and never give up on yourself. We all can see that Kobe put more hours than anyone becoming a legend on the court. For me, I have decided to pick up running over the past few years. I have ran a couple of half marathons in honor of my mother and I have found greater strength physically and mentally from this.
- Be so unbelievably present with your children: This was at the top of mind as a mother of two little ones. I find myself always having a to do list, but sometimes my list should have things on it like rocking my baby to sleep or playing make believe with my toddler. This also comes to mind because I practice family law and I often speak with my clients about getting more time with their children or arguing over who will have the children on a weekend with social activities. Just be present. Practice this daily. Write it down.
- Pick your battles with your children in mind during mediation: I have practiced family law for nearly a decade, and I have sat in mediation for hours on end while a couple argues over things just to argue. Remember this is not only taking time you could be spending with your children, but also money that could go towards things to better their lives. Do you want to argue over the kitchen table and end up spending as much as it is worth on fees? Or better yet, do you want to compromise and think about what will enrich your children’s lives? Choose wisely. Pick your battles.
- Say “I love you” everyday: Saying “I love you” has a powerful impact on our health. Studies conducted by Floyd and other researchers have concluded the benefits to lowering stress, cholesterol, blood pressure and builds a stronger immune system. Sign me up! More importantly, saying I love you to your family signifies your positive feelings towards them is greater than anything else. Hearing about the awful tragedy and how Vanessa Bryant is dealing with this kills me. I know her family knows how deeply she loves them and how much she loved her husband and her daughter, Gianna. Tell your family you love them every single day.
- Find what lights your children up and pour into whatever that is: My daughter lights up when we go to the park. Honestly, the park isn’t always a place I want to take her to, but I remember it sparks true joy in her little soul and I honor that. If you are co-parenting and only get to see your children part of the time, make the absolute most of it.
- Forgive: I have heard this quote saying “Maturity is forgiving someone even when you never got the apology you deserved”. Life is too short to harbor resentment and negative feelings. I work daily with people who need to forgive to move forward. While it is not my job to push forgiveness, I will live accordingly to what I say.
- Believe in yourself: You are more capable than you know. I remember going to school starting my journey to become an attorney and I couldn’t even imagine the end of it all. Now I own a law firm with my husband and close friend, and we get to help people set their lives in a better direction every day. Kobe believed he would be great, and he was. He believed he would be a great father, and he was. He instilled this belief in his children, and he will leave a lasting impact on them for the rest of their lives.
- Recognize your skill set and be competitive with yourself: Kobe knew he was a talented player and he didn’t just coast on his gifts. He was insanely competitive with himself. In our law firm we all have different strengths and we work every day to be better than the day before. I excel with helping minors out in child custody cases. I am certified to be appointed to minor’s counsel and I am proud of that. I will not coast on the fact that I am certified, I will work to be better every day to represent children when they need a voice.
- Smile at strangers and say hello: It takes little effort to show others kindness. Do not hesitate and reap the benefits. We live amongst so many tragic events around the world and we forget that we are surrounded by people who are just like us and need a genuine kind interaction.
- Recognize your partner’s strengths and celebrate them: Whether you are together or not, your partner has strengths. I always tell my clients when they are co-parenting, they are in the ultimate partnership. Celebrate what each of you brings to the table.
- Be silly with your kids and meet them where they’re at: I am a mother to a little army of kiddos, and I love them more than anything. Being silly with them is a requirement to their growth. They calm me down, make me laugh, and I appreciate life in a whole new way. Meeting them where they are at makes me a better person. With all the stories honoring Kobe, I become so moved because he was such a wonderful “girl daddy”.
- Take more mental pictures: I always think of an episode of “The Office” when Jim and Pam where getting married and they vowed to take mental pictures. It was so cute and resonated with me. We live in a social media craze right now and sometimes I feel guilty for not getting the perfect shot of my children as they play sports. Why not take a mental picture and say to myself, I will always remember this? Try this out today and tell me how it made you feel.
- Move on from setbacks: Everything always goes according to plans…said no one ever. Life is crazy and often doesn’t go as planned. If you are someone going through a tough time (like divorce) you can recover and move on. Kobe had setbacks in his career, and he moved forward and got better. Recover, you got this!
- Practice, practice, practice: Kobe was a legend and incredibly gifted, but he practiced to no end. He is known for a quote about laziness, “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” Whatever you are doing will take practice if you wish to be great. If you are just trying to be a great co-parent and newly divorced, treat your time with your children like it is your time to improve and you will.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: This is important because I can’t tell you enough about countless hours I have spent with clients who sweat the small stuff. I always tell them to think big picture and know if they can let go of the small things, their lives will improve immensely and their children will benefit from it.
- Love your people and treat your dear friends like family: Love this one because I believe family is everything, but I am also honored to have great friends who are just as important as my family. Becoming Godparents to Catie and John’s son was such and honor and even more sealed the deal of our family status. We are blessed.
- Be so thankful: Every day you get to hug your babies, your children, your dog, your significant other is a blessing. Even if you don’t have what you wish for, be thankful for this moment because it is preparing you for what is to come.
Now we want to hear from you. What are your eight pieces of advice, or just one? We want to know!
RIP Kobe Bryant, Black Mamba #8 #24 and #2 Gianna Bryant, Mambacita
RIP John Altobelli, Kerri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.