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Mental Stamina of a Great Business Mind: An Interview With Rebecca Adelman On How to Align Your Business With Your Greatest Passions and Life Goals

Rebecca Adelman, the founder and CEO of Adelman Law Firm and MPower SportsManagement Group. For nearly 30 years, Rebecca has concentrated her legal career in the areas of insurance and business litigation with expertise in healthcare law representing clients nationally. Rebecca is also a certified mediator and founded the National Long Term Care Defense Summit, […]

Rebecca Adelman, the founder and CEO of Adelman Law Firm and MPower Sports
Management Group. For nearly 30 years, Rebecca has concentrated her legal career in the areas of insurance and business litigation with expertise in healthcare law representing clients nationally. Rebecca is also a certified mediator and founded the National Long Term Care Defense Summit, now in its seventh year. She authors a monthly article in the Nursing and Assisted Living Professional publication as its legal advisor. She is national speaker on healthcare law and women’s empowerment and has received recognitions for her professional success including her risk management platforms in the healthcare industry. She is also an NBA, WNBA and FIBA Certified Player Agent and French is her second language. Her strong beliefs in education and peace guided her to found a non‐profit Montessori School. Rebecca is a successful leader showcasing her entrepreneur mindset as she aligns her businesses and her life passions, interest and goals inspiring herself and others to be their best selves personally and professionally. Her shining achievement is her son.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get to be where you are right now?

Rebecca is a serial entrepreneur beginning at the age of 4 with a shoeshine business and a rock design/paperweight company. She retired 2 years later to start kindergarten. Born and raised in Michigan, Rebecca graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Economics and French. She continued her education in France receiving her Master’s in Economics and then her law degree at the University of Denver. Eager for adventure and to begin her professional career, Rebecca moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1990 at a time when there were only a few women trial lawyers and even fewer women entrepreneurs. After several years gaining speed in a law firm, she founded her eponymous law firm in Memphis in 2001. That same year, she decided to have a child and raised him at her office. Her entrepreneurial spirit and sports law experience lead her to form MPower Sports Management Group in 2017 empowering elite athletes and their parents through a multitude of services.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How did this quality help you overcome obstacles on the path of becoming an influential and inspiring leader? 

I consider myself an ambivert. Since I can remember, I desired and then came to treasure time alone and prioritizing an inward life. I also enjoy connecting and engaging with people and in my professional life, I am involved with people and community experiences daily. My introverted qualities support me to observe, think deeply and process before communicating or engaging in projects with others. Because I invest the energy into myself and my thoughts and feelings, I’ve overcome obstacles often encountered by women especially in the male-dominated industries where I dwell professionally. I’m taken seriously, am credible and respected as a woman owner and thought-leader in business because I speak from a place of integrity and confidence. I cultivate those qualities by moving inward and working on my fears, doubts and other limitations in my conditioned thinking.  Also, by not seeking a seat at the table but rather building my own table, I’ve had greater power to create opportunities and make change instead of waiting for it to be delivered from others. I gather energy inside and outside.

What does it mean to be mentally-strong in the hyper-competitive world of running a business or an organization?

Mental strength is a combination of fearlessness, strategic thinking, trust and equanimity.  Being mentally-strong is first and foremost about self-discipline and self-knowledge. Understanding and working through fears and other limiting thoughts and feelings builds the foundation for fearlessness in business. Overcoming fear/limitations creates the space for mental and emotional clarity. From this place of clarity, I can identify strategies and opportunities that my competitors may not see through their “scarcity” and “win/lose” mentalities. Strategic thinking also includes planning alternatives and being ready to pivot and readjust, if needed. Trusting yourself, comrades, the universe as you experience life is a secret ingredient to being mentally-strong. Holding on too tight and controlling your business will create stress and anxiety. Let go. Equanimity is the money ball of a  purposeful life in business and beyond. Maintain your presence of mind. Stay cool. Unflappable.

A lot of people in the business would feel as if talking about mental health makes them appear weak. How do you feel about showing mental strength and setting an example of what it takes to have strong mental stamina to succeed?

The same qualities you find in an entrepreneur and great minded leader (drive, competitiveness, perfectionism) also predispose us to mental health issues especially anxiety and depression. Having experienced mental illness in my family and being in a high stress/competitive industry and also a sole parent, I am open about how I manage my mental health and prioritize my well-being. Regrettably, there is a stigma attached to “mental health” and high-level professionals who are expected to be able to “power through” mental obstacles.  In the legal profession, we are experiencing ever increasing issues with drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, anxiety, depression and dysfunction in personal and professional relationships. Unless we openly discuss mental health and support each other on the path to mental wellness, everyone loses. On the subject of mental health, we must not compete but collaborate.

Is there a particular person, a book, or place of wisdom that has inspired you to become a successful and mentally-strong leader?

I’ve been blessed with many inspiring guides and experiences offering insights and magic that formed the foundation for my success as a mentally strong leader. Ordinary people and experiences that tell extraordinary stories are my greatest inspirations and strength builders. The Dalai Lama, Anne Frank, Thich Nhat Hanh, Atticus Finch, Michael Jordan, Mary Oliver, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, John Wooden, hiking through Nepal and Tibet, time with my son and lying next to my dog. Must reads that evoke my desire to be a fierce and dominant contender include Endurance, The Emperor’s Handbook, The Art of War, anything by John Wooden, The Alchemist, anything by David Sedaris.

Can you give us 5 tips on maintaining strong mental health stamina to succeed in the modern business world? Tell us a little about why each point matters. 

  1. Know Thyself. Getting to know yourself, your fears, beliefs, family of origin, unique abilities, your love language, aversions, attachments, your capacity to forgive, is at the heart of strong mental health stamina. Healing yourself, finding peace and purpose, is an inside job and when you begin to heal your wounds and confront your fears, you can tell your story from your scars. Enduring transformation from the inside out brings with it self-confidence and belief systems that will allow for long-term personal and business success especially in a world where there is so much distraction, illusion and shallow living. By knowing yourself, you can understand others.
  2. Create Rituals to Quiet Your Mind. Quieting the mind so you can listen to your inner wisdom and reflect on the heart requires courage and self-discipline. Meditation, prayer, journaling, walking, dancing, star-gazing. Choose to find silence and your inner greatness will become more accessible. Ritualize reflective time. For me, yoga, daily meditation, prayers, journaling my dreams are ways I connect to my higher Self and the divinity present everywhere. This level of self-discipline by engaging in restorative activities builds my reserves for the challenges in a competitive business environment.  
  3. Express Gratitude Daily. There is so much to be grateful for in our lives. Expressing thankfulness toward yourself and others through your words and actions transforms the mind and heart from constriction and tightness to openness and receptivity. Approaching my business life from a place of allowing events to unfold instead of trying to control everything and everyone creates a framework for clear decision-making and responsiveness. I’m apt to be focusing on what I can do as opposed to what I can’t do if I am expressing myself in gratitude.
  4. Have a Time/Attention Management Plan. Elevating your time management system to an “attention management” system and defining how you plan to spend your time helps with project focus and completion. Identifying focus days, buffer (prep) days and free days (when you do no work and restore) is a system developed by Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, my entrepreneurial management program. Being clear about the critical projects that must be completed and strategizing mid and long-range projects creates the level of organization that is value-added for your company exceeding client expectations. I set aside Sunday afternoons to plan for my week and review my monthly and annual goals.
  5. Trust the Re-Route. Things don’t always go as planned. There are losses and failures along the way. Being able to strategize alternative routes and then trust that the re-route will get you where you and your team need to be to optimize you talents and achieve desired goals results in less frustration, resentment, and rearview mirror attitudes. Taking detours in my life has provided great adventures, incredible learning and amazing stories to share!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

While exploring these questions and crafting responses, I was filled with joy considering how I arrived at where I am today. Reflecting back on my life, the giants and angels and mavens who have been inspirational and motivational guides humbled me. One thing I know to be true, we all come into this world with the seeds of greatness and basic goodness. While early in life, we have only a few choices as to what will happen to the seeds, how often they are watered, when the get sunlight, how much room they have to grow. At some point though, the choice became mine. I was able to make the choice about to care for the seeds and their future growth and health and wellness. I am hopeful this interview series encourages people to recognize they have a choice on how to live and to make choices that will allow the seeds of greatness and basic goodness to flourish.

Can an imbalance in private life cause a mentally-strong leader to deviate away from the path of success? Why? How to alleviate this problem?

The #MeToo movement illuminates how private life imbalance, dysfunction and mental illness can cause gross deviations from the path of success. Prominent political and business figures who are believed to be mentally tough leaders have lost credibility, respect, their families and money as mental toughness does not translate into ethical conduct and high living standards. Alleviating the problem begins with holding people accountable for their actions and holding ourselves to the best standards.

What works best to maintain a strong mental stamina as a leader? Yoga? Meditation? Listening to music? Something else?

SLEEP, LAUGHING and SOMETHING NEW! There is far too much research to reference on the importance of sleep and rest. Go to bed! For me, I try not to take myself too seriously and remember to stay light-hearted. A dose of Jim Gaffigan or Sebastian Maniscalco is the antidote to stress for me.  Mental stamina, like any endurance sport, takes training. Challenge yourself and try something new so you can learn what you’re capable of beyond what you believed (or were lead to believe).

Building strong leadership position requires intense interaction with other people. These professional interactions can be both positive and negative, depending on the kinds of people we interact with to achieve our goals. What is the better choice to make to achieve greatness: learn to interact with toxic acquaintances to ‘get to the top,’ or choose to be a loner and do all the grunt work individually without dealing with the toxicity of others?

Are these the only two choices? (Smile) Toxicity to me is like mediocrity to me – not in my lifetime. Being human and having to interact, there are plenty of toxins to encounter. I’ve had to learn to manage people who drain energy and are negative and dark. I can only control how I react and I’ve learned to create a “landing envelope” around myself, like a protective power field, to minimize the effects of the hostile environment. I don’t mind the grunt work if the situation is so toxic that I may not survive.  

If the readers of this interview series would like to read more about you, how can they reach out? 

[email protected]; www.adelmanfirm.com; www.mpowersportsgroup.com; www.rebeccaadelman.com; linkedin.com/in/rebeccaadelmanesq; @mpowersports_adelman; @mpoweragent


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