Memorial Day weekend 2017. I’m walking from the light rail to the hotel, alongside a young woman headed to the same volleyball tournament. We will play in different divisions, and build a bond about this game we both love. She asks if I’ve played it before, and that’s when I realize I’ve had 24 Memorial Day weekends at the USA Adult National Volleyball tournament. That’s about half my life!

The tournament moves around the country, the division I play in has changed over the years, as has the sport itself with a variety of rule and scoring changes. The constant has been the training, the aspiration for success as measured in both medals and in performance, and the learning.

For the first time in nearly 15 years I played against the team I had called mine, filled with people I called friends. What a change. Some folks have told me I am courageous to make this change, at this point, at this age, etc. Maybe I am. That wasn’t in my awareness at the time.  I knew it was time to do something different, to take a risk. The experience was exhilarating, and challenging, as I met new people, forged relationships, and advanced in the tournament. We finished second, losing to that aforementioned team in a knock-down-drag-out final match that lasted nearly 2-hours. I am still smiling. Not at the loss, because as a competitor I still see the plays that made the difference in the victory.  I smile because the achievement of playing my best, being accountable to my word, building new relationships, and recognizing the growth in letting go of what was.

For the past 8 years, I’ve invested my energy in Nesso Strategies and Legal Leadership Institute as I challenge individuals to maximize their potential, to get outside their habits, and to embrace change. Leaders look for growth, live in accountability, and deepen self-awareness on a regular basis. And, each year I show up to play a tournament that is the embodiment of these ideals.

It’s time to pull out your courage. You recognize that “what was” isn’t going to carry the legal industry into the future, and now it is your turn to explore how the challenge of change can be exhilarating. It means starting today with leadership development, ascension and succession planning, for you, and your firm.


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About Judy Hissong

Judy Hissong is the President of Nesso Strategies. A former law firm Chief Operating Officer, she helps firms become more profitable by developing leaders. Her mission is “world domination for Good.” By creating actionable, lightbulb moments that leaders want to share and spread, she intends to improve the world one person at a time.

Judy Hissong