Managing Self Monday Morning Practice

Monday Morning Practice – Free up your right brain for problem solving

Written by Allison Wolf

I was faced with a tough person dilemma this weekend. It was a challenge involving close relationships and I couldn’t find a way out of it to a peaceful outcome. Every option seemed to lead to at least one broken relationship.

Faced with this, I stepped out of the emotionally charged situation and took a walk with my dogs.

With the dogs on leash my left-brain was kept busy ensuring leashes remained untangled, noticing the bunnies on the road in the distance, and then taking steps to prevent my dogs from tearing my arm off chasing after the bunnies.

While my left brain and conscious mind dealt with these immediate concerns it had no capacity for worrying over the dilemma and my creative right brain was freed up to consider the challenge in the background.

By the time I turned around and headed home with the dogs my creative right-brain had delivered a simple and appropriate solution. Within ten minutes of my return home the plan had been implemented and a peaceful solution achieved.

If there had been a labyrinth available in my neighbourhood I could have walked one instead of taking the dogs out. The designer and builder of the labyrinth at the Bayview Medical Centre at Johns Hopkins University, David Tolzman, explains: “As the left brain engages in the logical progression of walking the path, the right brain is free to think creatively.” (Quoted by author Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind.)

Our best thinking rarely happens when we are trying to force it.

Next time you are at an impasse, take it to a labyrinth, or simply get out and engage in an activity that moves your body and keeps your left brain busy while freeing up your right brain to tackle the challenge.

(Above photo is of the labyrinth at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, California.)


About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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