What I Learned from 20 Hours of Windshield Time
For three years in a row, my family and I have happily traded the July Texas heatwave for a vacation in the wonderfully remote mining town of Telluride, Colorado.
One of my guilty pleasures while enduring the more than 20 hours of roundtrip windshield time is to dive into the black hole of the iTunes podcast library. Instead of binge-listening to my usual programs, I pass the time by selecting my next podcast based on something interesting I learn in my current one. Without fail, a guest, story, or topic prompts me to hit search and head in a direction I never would have anticipated. (I’m not sure there’s any other way to start by listening to Ari Kaplan’s latest insights and end up on the virtues of Texas barbecue.)
My audio journey heading back home began with a show about public land access in the western United States and ended on episode #279 of the Tim Ferriss Show: The Most Curious Man in Hollywood - Brian Grazer. Most of the podcast focuses on Grazer’s famous Curiosity Conversations and how he learns from experts in other disciplines through the lost art of face-to-face discussions – specifically those where the only ask is to have an enriching discussion with someone who may have a different perspective.
Grazer’s insights on extracting the most from these conversations are straightforward but powerful reminders:
- Do your research and make sure you are really prepared.
- Look people in the eye.
- Don’t ask something you can learn from a quick search.
- Actively seek out people you disagree with as it may shake you up.
The Ferriss - Grazer podcast was fascinating and timely because as soon as I returned home from Telluride I pointed my truck toward Austin, Texas, for the 2018 ING3NIOUS South Central eDiscovery and Information Governance Retreat. I set a goal of having my own curiosity conversations at the retreat – real eye-to-eye discussions where my only agenda was to learn something I didn’t know from someone who had a different perspective.
Following a full day of learning and many such discussions with commercial litigators, legal technologists, cybersecurity experts, and ING3NIOUS founder Chris LaCour, I left the retreat focused on three truths we follow at Level 2 Legal, reinforced during my meaningful hallway conversations:
- Prioritize learning from peers over self-study. Don’t worry, you’ll always be able to come to your own conclusions, but you may only have one chance to add another’s perspective. The trick is being open to admitting you don’t know all of the answers and still have things to learn.
- Listen without judgment and never get comfortable with the status quo. Someone else’s approach may be a game changer for you or your client.
- Always be curious. Learning is an active verb – ask questions that will allow you to listen and learn. At Level 2 Legal, one of our core values includes the commitment to “active learning and improvement - everywhere and all the time.” In other words, we start learning by listening. To our clients. To each other. And to you.
We strive to be a seamless extension of our client’s legal team – with no agenda but to listen and understand precisely what our clients need so we can create and implement services that efficiently, consistently, and affordably meet those needs. Please get in touch and we'll get to work.
Daniel Bonner serves as Director of Client Solutions of Level 2 Legal Solutions. Regardless of the project, Daniel brings his legal experience, craftsmanship, and precision to every case he manages. Daniel has handled dozens of review projects for some of the largest companies in the world. His honest, earnest commitment to giving our clients creative, consistent solutions keeps them coming back.