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Julie A. Schwartz, SDPA President

January 2020 commenced as any other “normal” new year for many. Perhaps some made resolutions to take on a new sporting activity, learn a new language, or unleash their entrepreneurial endeavors. Everyone was filled with renewed hopes, dreams, and goals. Some may have even started to accomplish their new year resolutions—that is until life as we knew it was suddenly and unexpectedly transformed in a blink of an eye.

Pre-pandemic life—from double and triple-booking our calendars with meetings and outings with our cherished friends and family for coffee, brunch, or happy hour, to the indoor workout sessions and/or catching a matinee at the theater—came to a standstill as we knew it.

COVID-19, while tragically causing a global shutdown and recession, did provide individuals time to pause, reflect and rethink their priorities, to spend time with family, to cook meals, to read the book that had been collecting dust on the shelf. The shutdown took the usage of technology to new heights, with many experiencing remote work and education for the first time. Individuals found out how resilient they were while experiencing extreme change.

Following the initial emotional waves of shock, disbelief, and bewilderment—soon followed by emotions of anger, depression, and anxiety, and to some degree, all experienced in tandem—individuals found themselves adapting, embracing, and ultimately thriving in their new and unusual circumstances. Unbeknownst to many, they were implementing the slight edge as they were able to show up, be consistent, and pay the price to keep moving towards their goals.

In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson discusses how to turn simple disciplines in all areas of life—health, career, finances, relationships, personal development—into massive success and happiness by mastering the mundane. By studying his actions and inactions, Jeff unlocked the secrets to his success as well as his failures. He analyzed his philosophy behind his attitude and actions that ultimately transformed him from beach bum to millionaire by doing the same thing over and over, mastering the slight edge.

As identified by Olson, your philosophy creates your attitudes, actions and results. In turn, your attitudes, actions, and results ultimately create your life. He identified seven positive and productive habits of attitude and behavior that will assist anyone in achieving their goals, especially when the goals seem overwhelming and unachievable, when life tosses you lemons:

1. Show Up

2. Be Consistent

3. Have a Positive Outlook

4. Be Committed for the Long Haul

5. Cultivate a Burning Desire Backed by Faith

6. Be Willing to Pay the Price

7. Practice Slight Edge Integrity

Even amidst a global pandemic, I ask and challenge you—the reader—to take an introspective look at your attitudes, actions, and results. Are you living the life that you want to be living? What daily changes do you need to adjust? What causes you to show up or stay home? What causes you to be consistent or inconsistent? Are you willing to pay the price and implement the slight edge integrity by taking “baby steps” toward goals, dreams, and achievements? Only you—COVID or no COVID—can answer these questions.

It is my sincerest desire that I have emulated Olson’s principles during my tenure as the 2020 President of the SDPA. I encourage and challenge the 2021 Board of Directors to use the slight edge technique as they continue to strengthen, promote and educate paralegals at the local, state, and national levels.

Finally, as I end my tenure as the 2020 SDPA President, I want to acknowledge and thank my 2020 board of directors: June Hunter, Sheila Grela, Claire Hamilton, Jennifer Keating-Wolk, Kristine Custodio-Suero, Angela DeSaracho, Brianne Williams, Tracy Morgan, Souriya (Joe) Maniwan, and Viktor Iarushin, as well as the dedicated SDPA committee members, sponsors, community partners, and school program directors—Julia Dunlap (and assistant Nicole), Darrel Harrison, Emily Morissette, Tara Murphy and Mary Sessom. It has been an extraordinary year and I thank EACH of you for your inspiration, support, and commitment to strengthen the legal community. Thank you for your slight edge consistency and integrity! As President, I hope that I have moved, touched, and inspired each of you to keep moving forward even during the most turbulent of times. I leave you with this thought from Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success:

First comes the thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination. The secret of your success starts with you!


Mailing Address:

501 W. Broadway, Ste. A #220
San Diego, CA 92101

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