I recently received a very nice email from a lawyer I coached. She had just won her first jury trial. She wrote to thank me for encouraging her to believe in herself and her ability.

Her email made me think about the latest book: The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America  by Amy Chua (aka Tiger Mom) and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld. Some critics claim the book is racist: Book Review: Tiger Mom’s Superiority Complex. I absolutely disagree. I am more interested in the three traits. These are ones worth instilling in anyone to help him or her succeed.

As you will see in this New York Times review, some believe the first two traits conflict with one anther:

The title refers to psychological characteristics shared by all of America’s overachieving subgroups: a group superiority complex, insecurity about one’s personal worth or status, and impulse control, i.e., the ability to resist temptation, particularly the temptation to surrender when the going gets tough.

I think the three psychological characteristics are accurate, but I would have worded them this way:

  1. You have to believe you are capable.
  2. You have to believe you have more to learn and strive every day to get better. (Effort trumps talent)
  3. You have be disciplined, accountable and resist those things that would distract you, especially when you are on the journey and not getting results yet.

If you asked lawyers I have coached, I believe they would say that when I coached them, we focused on those three main points. I want them to think they can achieve more than they thought, if they work at it and stick with it.

Years ago I read about asking someone to describe you in one word. I asked my daughter Jill to describe me in one word. Her word: Encourager.

I like the description and love to hear when my encouragement has made a difference. Are you encouraging anyone?