The Legal Department

Executive Coach Glenn Llopis On Why Trusting Yourself Is Essential To Success In The Legal Department

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust Yourself


Success isn’t just about winning cases; it’s finding fulfillment, breaking free from the legal box, and having the courage to trust yourself. Today’s guest is Glenn Llopis, executive coach, Forbes contributor, bestselling author, and former talent scout for Love Connection. He discusses breaking free from professional constraints and unleashing your true potential. As he shares his story, he shows the significance of self-awareness and the courage to challenge societal norms. Glenn emphasizes the need for professionals, particularly those in the legal field, to break free from the standardized mold and embrace their individuality. Throughout the episode, Glenn shares a powerful reflection on success versus significance, challenging listeners to redefine their personal and professional goals. Tune in now and learn how to live your life with your mind and your heart. 

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Executive Coach Glenn Llopis On Why Trusting Yourself Is Essential To Success In The Legal Department

I am Glenn Llopis, four-time author, leadership strategist, and Founder of the Leadership in the Age of Personalization Movement. What’s so unique about my career? I’m someone who has placed a bet on myself, who I am, and what I stand for. I’ve come to realize that, to be a great leader, you have to commit yourself to being an even better student. Fun fact, during my college years, I was a talent recruiter for one of the original reality television shows, Love Connection.

Glenn Llopis, it is amazing to have you here in the show. Thanks so much for being here.

Thank you, Stacy. I’m so excited about how you’ve embarked on not only sharing your story but sharing the stories of others in support of legal counsels and lawyers throughout the world. Congratulations.

Thank you. You’re a little bit to blame or to credit for this show. You invited me on your podcast in 2021. I enjoyed it, it helped me learn more about myself, and the bug bit me, so thank you.

You’re welcome. We’re living at a time where everyone is in search of learning more about themselves. In fact, I can tell you with confidence that people don’t know each other anymore. We’re in search. We have that hunger to not just learn about ourselves but learn how to coexist with others. I’m glad that that was able to inspire you.

Thank you. That’s part of why I wanted to have you here. You are somebody I think of when I think of leadership development and professional development. I wanted to have you on to frame that conversation for our audience of lawyers who, many times, are face down in the work. I don’t know about you, but there’s this Tony Robbins quote that, “Success without fulfillment is failure.” I wanted to have this conversation with you to talk about how lawyers can, and I don’t know how many lawyers you work with but you work with a ton of people. What have you learned in helping other people find fulfillment in their career?

It’s so fundamental. We’ve lost this sense of self because we’ve forgotten how to trust ourselves. We live in this world where people put greater value on being what other people want them to be rather than what they seek to be themselves. I had a pretty good run at it in Corporate America. If there’s anything I know and have respected of about lawyers and working with legal counsel experts like you, is that you keep leaders honest.

I’ve learned that part about being a good student and to be a good leader is understanding the fundamentals. This is something that I’ve learned from many lawyers that I’ve worked with for decades. I want to thank your community because every leader needs to have a little lawyer in them because we’re all managing risk. It’s the truth. We’re in the business of risk in helping ourselves and people anticipate the unexpected because this is unfortunately something that we don’t do very well. Why? It’s because we expect other people to tell us what we should be anticipating rather than trusting in ourselves and believing in what we stand for. This is a crucial part of leadership that’s missing nowadays.

You have this framework. I’ve read some of your books and attended some of your summits and other events. I feel like you have a consistent curriculum around a few key questions. One of those being, I interpret them because that’s what lawyers do is read words and then tell you different words. You talk about the primary differentiator. I interpret that as, “What do you stand for? What am I about?” Can you talk through that?

There are four fundamental questions for leaders and employees to define their leadership identity or, as people call it, their personal brands. The first is your enduring idea. What is unique about the way that you think? For myself as an example, the unique way that I think is that inclusion is a growth strategy that, fundamentally, we’re all more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. If we continue to create isolation because we believe that we best fit in certain categories or boxes or departments, we miss the opportunity to see what’s all around us. That’s my enduring idea.

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust Yourself
Trust Yourself: There are four fundamental questions for leaders and employees to define their leadership identity or personal brands.

The next is the one that you asked, a primary differentiator. What gives you distinction as an individual or as a leader? What you mentioned is very important. I always ask the question, “What do people expect from you? What do you stand for?” It amazes me how so many people don’t know what they stand for. I’ve come to learn that they don’t know what they stand for because they don’t have anything that’s original or authentic enough about themselves that they value. Part of what gives me differentiation is I see the world through the lens of opportunity that opportunities are everywhere yet few have eyes to see them.

Can I ask a question to that? When you say people don’t have anything that makes them unique, did you mean people don’t know what makes them unique? People are lost in trying to fit in and be in a standard box?

Of course. This is how we’re raised since we were kids. You go to school, you go to college, you have the opportunity, you get a job, and then you’re put in a career. When you’re in that career, 5 to 10 years down the road, you ask yourself, “What am I here for?” It’s because we’re stuck in the day to day. We can’t get ourselves out of it. Over time, we begin to lose our fulfillment because what we lack is that understanding of self and the things that make us unique in everything we do and how we do.

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust Yourself
Trust Yourself: We’re stuck in the day-to-day and we can’t get ourselves out of it in over time, we begin to lose our fulfillment because what we lack is that understanding of self.

I would ask your audience, “What makes you distinct from others?” This is what I call the infamous standardization trap. When you’ve done certain things for so long, you lose touch with the changing world around you and you find yourself in this trap of going back to the things that you feel comfortable with because that’s all you know. That question in and of itself should make people think, “Do you have this conformity zone that you always go back to because that’s what you’re comfortable with? Do you trust yourself enough? Do you trust what makes you distinct and different enough to take a different path?” I’m not talking about just a career but taking a different path and how you approach your current career.

I know you do executive coaching as well. When we talk, your superpower, quite honestly, is your ability to connect and draw out of people. Can you give an example of what that would mean to somebody to know what is different about them just at work because we’re talking about careers?

I’ll share an example of the work I did with a client. This particular individual had been in IT for fifteen years. It is one of these classical cost centers like legal. It’s viewed as a cost center, but it’s a growth strategy. Watch where this goes. I asked this individual the four questions. I’ll share the answers quickly, and I’ll tell you what happened afterwards. As we went through this rigorous process, what was this person’s enduring idea? His enduring idea was fierce simplicity. What was his primary differentiator? What gave him distinction? He said he craves common sense. The next question is, “What is your primary experience? What kind of environment does your presence create?” He said, “I love getting to the point.”

I would love to work with this person, by the way.

You and everybody else. Wait to hear the punchline. His final question was, “What do you solve for? What is it that excites you most?” He said, “Clarity.” When you put all this together, his brand was the focus igniter, accelerating the end game. What happened? This took some time because I had to rewire him, and then wire him back because that’s what standardization does. It gets us to think that we’re something that we’re not and we lose our identity in the process. He retired, in other words, left his job in IT and started a technology company. I can’t even begin to tell you what he’s worth.

Why am I sharing this story? It’s because we go throughout our lives in our careers not finding fulfillment because we’ve placed a bet on someone’s definition of what our success should mean rather than the other way around. This individual recognized that while he had a career, he wasn’t getting much out of it because he kept doing the same things over and over, which is what the playbook told him until he was able to use what we deciphered about his brand to create his own.

We go throughout our lives and our careers not really finding fulfillment because we've placed a bet on someone's definition of what our success should really mean rather than the other way around. Click To Tweet

I guess you probably can’t tell me more about him, but the focused igniter, is that what it was?

That’s him.

That’d be a cool guy to work with. Lawyers are very linear, so we like to get from A to B.

This is why I shared this because you guys like to get to the point. You are seeking clarity. You might think, “This person could have been a lawyer.” This person turned out to be a technologist. This is the whole point. We don’t even know who we are because we create disillusion of who we are based upon what society believes a lawyer is like.

I’ll give you another quick example. This one, I can share the name with you. His name is Jeff Blue. Jeff became an attorney after graduating from the University of Southern California. His passion was music. He went to go write for Billboard Magazine. What is the whole point? As he began trying to get into what they call the A and R industry, Artist and Repertoire, because he had the snack for listening to music and finding the magic in the music.

They kept telling him, “If you’re going to get into A and R, you’re going to have to work for someone in A and R. You’re an attorney. You’re not creative enough. You’re an attorney. You can’t do this. You can’t do that.” Come to find out, five years after that brutal journey, he’s the one that discovered Macy Gray. Who else did he discover? Linkin Park, and the list goes on and on. In other words, it’s easy to place judgment on people based upon what they do, not who they are. I think this is the opportunity.

When we had our conversation, you’re very provocative as you may or may not know, but when we talked, you always challenge me to stop thinking to myself in a lawyer box, which is very provocative. I don’t know if you see this in with other professionals, but I feel like for lawyers, in particular, a big part of the identity is the career.

Of course, it is. It’s about the career. I’m sure a lot of your audience have been watching Suits and have their own perspective about that show that’s out now on Netflix. It’s this thought of having the power to always win when what we oftentimes find is it’s doing what’s right. It’s what the individual makes of the profession, not what the profession makes of the individual.

It's what the individual makes of the profession not what the profession makes of the individual. Click To Tweet

I feel like you need a professional like yourself to lead somebody through these questions. What can people do if they don’t have access to a Glenn Llopis to find out and get out of the box?

It’s more fundamental than people think, but it’s also quite intimidating. We need to get to know each other. I don’t know how many people at Cottage Health know who you are or audience. Have you taken the time to ask a colleague or a friend how they perceive you? Why do I start off so fundamental is that I’ve come to learn that people know you based upon the first interaction that they’ve had with you. There are people that I haven’t seen or talked to in years, they still think I’m running a food business and they haven’t seen how I’ve progressively evolved. That’s what happens. This box that we’re identified with, if we don’t manage it, it starts managing us.

The question is, you don’t need a coach to do these things, but it requires a tremendous amount of discipline, vulnerability, and trust in yourself to begin these conversations. People like me exist because I know how to make people feel very comfortable about feeling uneasy because these are discussions that that we don’t have. That’s what they can do. They don’t even have to buy a book. They need to trust their own book by just doing a few fundamental things. Ask people around you, “How do you perceive me?” When they give you an answer, “Why do you perceive me that way?” The final question is, if I wasn’t a lawyer, how would you perceive me?

That’s a good question.

It’s because what we’ve done is we’ve removed the job and now we’ve unveiled the individual. The question is, do people see you as a lawyer or do they see you as an individual? This is the standardization trap that we continue to see. People see people more based on their job, not who they are. I believe it’s a big contributing factor to where we’re at in society. It’s always about what we have, who we work for, and what we drive. It’s about the things that we have.

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust Yourself
Trust Yourself: This is the standardization trap that we continue to see that people see people more based on their job not who they are.

Quite candidly, there are people that like it that way because it creates a mask and a barrier towards revealing the person that you are. I’ll give you a quick example. I’ve been working with executives for years, as you know, and getting to know this one client that I have, they told me that they had cancer. They told me that they were an alcoholic. They told me that they had done things that they were ashamed of. It took so long to break that barrier. Why is this important? It’s because until you start revealing who you are, you can’t be who you are.

I’ve learned that we live in this world where people live each day through a different persona and we often wonder why we’re so exhausted. There’s only so much mental or physical tolerance we have when we live our careers and navigate each day. It’s a lot easier and a whole lot more fun when you know who you are and how you can best contribute.

I think that was one of the silver linings from the pandemic and working remotely is that when you saw people on Zoom or teams in their home and you heard their dogs barking, or you saw their kids come home from school, or you saw them stand up and have their gym shorts, I think that did help. I don’t know if you perceive this as well, but I feel like post pandemic people do have their guards down a little bit more and maybe that mask isn’t so tightly on all the time.

I love to say that we’re making progress. As you’ve heard me say, are we making progress from baseline up or are we making progress from negative 60 to negative 20, meaning that we’re catching up? These are two completely different things. Oftentimes, we create the illusion of progress, but what we’re doing because we’ve held ourselves back for so long is that we’re in this fight to catch up to baseline. I don’t think until we begin to get to baseline can we see a real tangible evolution.

I want to go back to something you said at the outset. The questions and the self-work help you get better awareness of what you’re putting out and who you are. You started off by saying that you’re a student and a good listener. I feel like listening is something that everybody needs to do a better job of. Do you feel like that’s also part of what folks need to do as they’re moving forward trying to grow?

Of course. This is a fundamental ingredient in being a better student. This is why listening almost perpetuated itself into a new form of listening. The difference is in the past, we always listened to sameness. Now, in this world that we live in of differences, we’re having to listen more carefully to difference. When you move from sameness to difference, it forces you to think. Part of what I’ve learned is that it’s difficult for people who don’t take the time to think to be a good student because we want to hear and listen to the things that we know, not the things that we don’t know. How much more do we want to be accountable for on top of everything else in our lives?

I think that’s the challenge is. Just because we don’t know each other and ourselves well enough, we’re playing this catch up game, and the market is moving so fast, it’s hard to get out in front of anything before circumstances force our hand. This is what we can’t afford anymore. We can’t afford for something bad to happen to impulse us to do the types of things that we’re talking about to now. We’ve got to get out in front. Look at the backdrop there, it says courage. Courage is a fancy word of having the guts to proceed with something that you’re afraid to do. I think this is where we’re at.

If we don’t take the time to do that enough, what will happen? It’ll be difficult for us to evolve as individuals. For those audience who have children, they’re growing up in a world where they see it completely differently than you and I do. There’s a greater expectation for individuality and knowing what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. What concerns me is that we continue to see this separation between the knowns and the unknowns. This is another way of saying this difference of operating in a world of standardization where the institution or the business defines the individual, versus personalization where the individual defines the process towards a shared mission.

I always have a hard time being a linear person.

Let’s talk about that. Let’s remember that being linear is not a bad thing. Sometimes all people can see is right in front of them, but it does have its limitations. What are the limitations is that we live in a world that’s moving so fast, it’s not enough to see just what’s right in front of us. Let me clarify. There may be roles amongst lawyers that requires that linear thinking, that’s fine, but you’re so much more than that. I’ve always said that about you.

You have this ability to see around beneath and beyond what you seek, but for you, you like things that are tangible. Something that you could almost touch and feel that it’s there with high confidence and certainty. This is part of how, through circular vision, it allows us to begin to trust our instincts so that we can navigate more freely rather than navigate towards things that are obvious when we need to start seeing beyond the obvious.

That’s a challenge for a lot of people. I want to go back when we were talking about the career’s such a big part of the identity. I do think, as people say, “You’re a lawyer, so you’re in this box,” I think that all of us, “You’re the CEO, so my expectation is this. You’re in IT, my expectation is that.” I have to pick up on your fun fact. How did you go from a career or a job in college recruiting for Love Connection, which is one of the iconic shows from the 80s and 90s to being a bestselling author and leadership strategist? Those are unlikely trajectory there.

The interesting part, because I’ve examined this myself, is they’re very connected. I’ll explain. Here’s my traditional response to this.

Is this your interview answer?

This is my real answer. I didn’t know the interconnections, but after college, I started a career in the food and beverage industry, and then the consumer package goods industry. I started my own food business after several years as an executive at Sunkist where I ran the juice beverage division. When I started my food business, that was a success with a partnership with a group of growers or farmers in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico. After that, I started a tech company with some Millennials because I knew that I was going to be unconventional ever since I was in high school. I knew that the life I would live would not be one predetermined for me. It would be one that would be based on my personality and my ability to connect with people.

After this tech company that we sold, I was discovered in this boardroom and they said, “You ought to write books. Have you heard of this author and this author?” I was a bit skeptical. What I had done since that moment in time, I had collected 90 shoe boxes of napkins from my time traveling the world with Sunkist. That was a collection of napkins after having discussions with my father who was 50 years old when I was born. You could imagine the kind of wisdom that I was raised with along with my incredible mother who’s still with us.

You were writing down advice from your dad on the napkins?

Yes, I would.

You had 90 shoe boxes of napkins?

That’s correct. Restaurant napkins from all over the world. It was me asking my father a simple question.

“What do you solve for?”

I knew what my dad saw solve for, but “This is what I did during the day, interpret this for me.” I wanted him to explain to me what I had experienced. Not just my definition of it. Over time, I had, needless to say, become prepared to write a book. This person who was wondering or who had asked me or pushed me or challenged me to become an author, I said, “I’ll make this simple. Here are the 90 shoe boxes. You tell me what the name of the book is, and the rest is history.” In fact, the name of the book originally was, “The Business of Living an Entrepreneurial Approach to Everyday Life,” and then it was chapter six that I wrote titled, Earning Serendipity. The publisher liked that for a book because it was different.

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust Yourself
Earning Serendipity: 4 Skills for Creating and Sustaining Good Fortune in Your Work

That’s been the story of my life. That’s why I’ve placed a bet on myself because I don’t believe in luck. I believe that you earn opportunities. That’s what happens when you trust yourself, you know yourself, and you extend yourself. I’ve always said that success is not that difficult. We can go to school if we have that privilege. We can work hard. We can make money. It’s not easy. It’s not difficult. What’s difficult is finding happiness in your life. What’s difficult is knowing that you had a life of significance.

The difference between success and significance as I wrote in Earning Serendipity is that, we’ve always looked for recognition. I’ve always said that recognition explodes and subsides while respect reverberates and multiplies. The one that is looking for success only cares about what they’re thinking about in their head. The one that’s looking out for significance is the one that is fueled by their heart. The goal is how can you carry both of these things with you?

What I’ve learned is that we don’t go to the heart because that means we have to let go and begin to reveal who we are, which may be incongruent to the things that we do. I think we’ve learned as a result of the pandemic that people are saying, “I’m looking for something that’s a heck of a lot more fulfilling.” As I think about lawyers, in fact, my best friend is a lawyer. He’s lived a remarkable life because he decided that he was going to be in law to do what’s right.

Whatever he would do, he wouldn’t take a case unless it brought him a level of fulfillment. One might think, “You got to go after the dollar.” He did that too, but fortunately, he found fulfillment in the process. He made a career out of it. I’ve have many friends who are lawyers. At the end of the day, it’s what is the lawyer that you aim to be and achieve in that role.

We’re known to you. I know you’re looking at them all as individuals, but do you notice anything in common among those friends of yours that are attorneys?

I think the number one thing I find in common is they like power. They want to create a level of impact that carries on in society. That’s part of why they became lawyers. I don’t have a lot of friends who are corporate lawyers, but it doesn’t mean that that same impact can’t be created. They went into the profession because they were tired of feeling defenseless. They were tired of the way the world worked. In other words, just because you have money doesn’t mean that you’ll always win the lawsuit.


They went into it for different reasons, but they found success and they have also found the significance. Anyway, that’s the connection between Love Connection and becoming an author because I realized that when I was recruiting for Love Connection in some of the most incredible happening nightclubs in all of Los Angeles is that I learned that people want to be stars. People want to feel important. People want to know that they matter. Here I am getting paid in living a very good career helping people achieve those things. People think that those at the top have it all figured out. I’ll tell you, they’re the ones that are most confused because they may have all this money, as I’ve learned, but they don’t have fulfilling and enriching lives.

People want to be stars. People want to feel important. People want to know that they matter. Click To Tweet

Anyway, that’s the connection. It took me a while to live that truth, to realize that love connection had something. In fact, if your audience are curious, they could always go to Love Connection, and then you can Google search, Love Connection and then my last name, Llopis. I wrote an article on Forbes about this experience because I knew that people wouldn’t believe it unless they read something about it.

I have a friend who was one of the contestants who was on Love Connection. That was next level. A pioneering show and the content endures nowadays. What I take away from you most often is you have a unique ability to connect with people. I think it’s almost impossible for folks to have that mask up with you in the way that you relate to them.

I think I have that ability because of one reason. When people ask me advice, I always tell them, “I will never give you advice about something I haven’t done or experienced myself.” When you live in a world where people are self-proclaimed thought leaders, that people feel like they, they’re the experts, it means they’re not students because the world is changing so fast. If you can’t be that student, then you don’t have the honor to advice people. I think that’s how I’ve earned my credibility and respect from people, like you’ve told me numerous times, “I don’t know how to describe you.” I think that’s part of what’s unique is that I don’t have to be described, I can be experienced. It’s that experience that makes people say, “The guy’s got pretty good intentions.”

“I like that guy.”

I’m a reflection of my parents. They had to reinvent themselves after losing their country, Cuba, from Casos Revolution and they had to start all over again. I’ll never forget my dad telling me, “This United States is the greatest country in the world, but it will be envy that begins to divide it.” He told me that many years ago. I think it’s important that we begin to break down these barriers of distrust by getting to know each other and begin to trust each other all over again. It’s hard but we have to get there.

Is that on one of those napkins? Is that in one of the shoe boxes? Do you still have the shoe boxes? I would imagine you would’ve kept those.

I still have them. The very first thing my father told me, I’ll never forget this, I was in Denmark. He said, “You are your most meaningful opportunity.” I said, “Dad, what does that mean?” He said, “Have you gone out into Copenhagen and enjoyed the different people? Go be you.” I go, “What do you tell me?” He goes, “Call me tomorrow.” I call him from Copenhagen, Denmark the next day. I go, “Dad, I got it.” He goes, “You see? When you can be who you are, you will ignite opportunity in others.” In other words, I can get along with people and we can have discussions about anything. If I don’t know something, I’m certainly not going to fake it. That’s what he said to me. Each and every one of us has a tagline and has something that defines the essence of who we are. The goal is to put yourself out.

Figure out what that is. That is a great place to end our conversation. Thank you so much. I’m going to ask you the last question that I ask all guests. It’s a standardized question, but you certainly can individualize it. I have used music my whole life to change my mood, change my energy, and certainly many times on the way into work listen to pump up songs to get ready to roll. Do you have a pump up song, Glenn Llopis?

Glenn Llopis has a pump up song. I don’t know how many out there are old enough to know McFadden & Whitehead. They are the singers of the song, “Ain’t no stopping us now, we’re on the move, moving, grooving.” That’s what pumps me up.

With audio to go along with it. Thank you so much. This has been so great.

Thank you, Stacy. Always a pleasure. I’m glad we had an opportunity to chat.

What a treat. Thanks so much, Glenn.

You’re welcome. Congratulations again on your show. It’s going to do great. For all the audience, stay in touch with Stacy Bratcher. She’s got it going on, trust me. I’m a big supporter of her, so great job. Thank you again for letting me be on your show.

Thanks so much.

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About Glenn Llopis

The Legal Department | Glenn Llopis | Trust YourselfGlenn Llopis is a Cuban American bestselling author, speaker and senior advisor to Fortune 500 organizations, providing guidance to different industries for over 15 years. In 2022, he introduced his latest book, Unleashing Individuality, which explores how to unleash the power of individuality in an age of increasing conformity. As a leadership strategy contributor to Forbes since 2010, Glenn provides insights and advice that have helped countless professionals reach their leadership potential. His articles have also been published in Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur Magazine

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