On this episode of Book Journeys, Pleasance Silicki interviews Beverly Davidek, co-author of Happy Lawyer: The Art of Having It All Without Losing Your Mind.

Although Beverly had always known she would write a book, the thought didn’t cross the mind of her husband and co-author, Dirk. The pair had recently gone on a backpacking trip around the world, after Beverly’s son graduated from art school, and the trip was cut short when Dirk injured his knee. The pair returned to the United States to have Dirk’s knee repaired and heal, and it was during this time that several of their friends sought their advice on health and wellness. Dirk began replying to these questions via e-mail, realized that he was writing enough matter for a book and then decided to spend the months of his recovery writing a book. It was after investigating Angela Lauria’s Author Incubator program that they joined it and subsequently were able to publish Happy Lawyer.

Beverly acknowledges that participating in the program greatly helped them out when it came to finishing the book. They had originally intended their book to be a general one on health and wellness, but through the process of identifying their ideal reader – which became a younger version of Beverly, one who was still practicing law – they were able to refocus the book. Although Dirk had already written out a great deal of material, Beverly became the main writer, as she was more familiar with who the ideal reader was. Dirk provided inputs for the “Dirk’s Corner” sections of the chapters as well as wrote four chapters, providing the health and wellness information and the outsider’s perspective needed for the reader to get what the book was talking about.

Working with a cohort of writers was a great experience, and Beverly admitted that, during the calls, there were members of the cohort who asked questions that Beverly didn’t realize she had. Working with Dirk also meant that they could bounce ideas off of each other and whittle down their questions during these meetings to the most pressing ones. Where working together was concerned, Dirk noted that their strengths and weaknesses complemented each other, with him being better at the technical aspects, such as the graphics, while Beverly was the better writer for the subject matter.

Beverly noted that neither she nor Dirk had any resistance to the process until the book was launched, as it was then when she realized that her book, and the personal stories she had included in it, would be read by total strangers. The experience also made Beverly realize she had other ideas for other books and shared her story that, on an airplane ride from Texas to Washington, D.C., she had written out an entire second book during the flight. That said, she and Dirk took Angela’s advice to take it easy before writing on a second book, particularly since Beverly decided to restart her law practice as well as coach others in the methods presented in Happy Lawyer.

Beverly and Dirk’s website for Happy Lawyer is balanced-way.com and they can be e-mailed at [email protected]

 

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Interview Transcript Below: Beverly Davidek – Book Journeys Author Interview – May 10, 2018

 

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Book Journeys Author Interview – May 10, 2018

 

Pleasance Silicki with Beverly Davidek, co-author of Happy Lawyer: The Art of Having It All Without Losing Your Mind.

 

“It’s all about balance..”-Beverly Davidek

 

Pleasance:

Hi, everyone! This is Pleasance here, from the Author Incubator, author of Delight: Eight Principles for Living with Joy and Ease, and today, I’m here with the authors of Happy Lawyer: The Art of Having It All Without Losing Your Mind. Are you both on the phone?

 

Beverly:

You’ve got Beverly here right now, Dirk is just in the other room, and he can join if … preference. All right.

 

Pleasance:

Awesome! Hi, Beverly! How are you doing?

 

Beverly:

Feeling great, thank you!

 

Pleasance:

Awesome! So, I was just spending some time on your website, and looking at your wonderful book. First of all, the cover is beautiful. I know that’s totally arbitrary beside – to put … – beside and arbitrary, it doesn’t really matter, but it’s … gorgeous.

 

Beverly:

Thank you!

 

Pleasance:

And I love … – yeah, so, it’s just refreshing. So, I was in Washington, D.C., which is home of a bazillion lawyers, and this is not the picture of lawyer health and wellness that I normally see, so I’m really excited about hearing more about your journey and writing the book and what it’s doing in the world, because I’m excited to share it with a bunch of my lawyer friends here in D.C. So, welcome!

 

Beverly:

Thank you! And Dirk is here now, as well.

 

Dirk:

Hi.

 

Pleasance:

Oh, hi, Dirk! Okay, cool. So, let’s get started. Did you know that you wanted to write a book, what led you to writing this book and finding your way to Angela – Dr. Angela Lauria and the Author Incubator?

 

Beverly:

Let’s start with that, and I know Dirk will want to chime in, as well, ‘cause for me, I – and I – I can’t remember if you know this story or not, but I’ve always known, I guess, in the back of my mind, that I would end up becoming an author in one way or another. When I was in high school, I – everybody would talk about, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” sort of thing, and mine was always, I thought I would be an author of children’s books. So, that’s one of the reasons I love our book cover, as well. I wish I could take credit for it, but it just has that fun energy that I always … imagined some – I would publish something that would be fun like that. And when I … there goes the next great American novel, so – so, we didn’t – it’s not a children’s book or it’s not the great – next great American novel, but I think I always knew that – that I would write a book, but with your permission I would like for Dirk to talk about, specifically, this book and how – how that came about.

 

Dirk:

We had a … for a couple of years. Fast forward to a few years ago, we – after Beverly’s youngest son graduated from art school, we pretty much sold everything, got rid of our furniture, put everything in storage, and we did about a year and a half around-the-world backpacking trip that actually was cut short because I injured my knee. We came home for what we thought would be just a few months to let it heal. Right after we got home, some of my cousins and my sister are asking us questions about nutrition and wellness, and I started composing an e-mail to answer some of their questions, and it kept getting longer and longer, and we talked about it and decided, as long as we’re gonna be home for a few months, let’s make – let’s write a book about this, and so, started writing it, after about a month, and came across Angela’s ad on Facebook and got involved in her program, and it took a different direction, but it’s – primarily, at its core, it’s still a – a book about health and wellness.

 

Pleasance:

Okay, so, let’s dig into that a little bit, ‘cause I know that a lot of the listeners are thinking about writing a book, and … a lot of times, there’s these stories around, “Well, who am I to do that?” or “Well, they must be so special,” or … “Because Beverly knew she always wanted to, that’s probably a good fit for her.” So, tell me a little about the process, from deciding and seeing the – Angela’s ad, and then … making it through – what – what were those discussions like, did either of you have any resistance, or – and then, just … how that evolved into the beginning of the program?

 

Beverly:

… what we experienced was – even though I always knew that I would write a book, I’m fifty years old, I hadn’t yet done it. So, absolutely, I give a lot of credit to Angela’s program for … just getting me – getting me off of that ledge, … so to speak. So, I think, even for someone who – even if you’re like me, and you’re …, “Oh! I’ve always known that I’m gonna write something” – we have at least two friends who have been working on their books, probably since we’ve known them, which is years. And – and so, definitely, credit Angela and her program for … just having that accountability, just all of the guidance that you need – the whole program, just from start to finish, really, I think, is what – that, once we decided we were gonna write the book, it was – it seemed like a really natural fit to work with Angela, because we knew we would get it done, instead of, “Oh, I’ve always known I’m gonna do that,” in my case. Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

And Dirk? Did you have a … experience?

 

Dirk:

I’ve never had thought about writing a book before – the story I didn’t – told you, but we had – we had thought we were gonna be home for a few months, and when we came across Angela’s program and looked into it, we figured that’s probably the best way to get it done quickly. Through the course of writing it, it … different directions, but really started practicing law again as a result, so we’re still here, but that’s – yeah, I had never even thought about writing books before then.

 

Pleasance:

So, what’s this diff – tell me a little bit, either of you, about the different directions that you decided to take. I think a lot of people – here’s another mess that I hear a lot, is people saying, “Well, I already know the book I wanna write, lemme just write that first and then I’ll hire someone.” Or “Let me just get that book done that I think I should write, and then I’ll figure out the marketing later.” Talk a little bit about the book that you did write and how that … changed from what you thought you might wanna write about.

 

Beverly:

Yeah. Well, we – as Dirk mentioned, we set out – or, actually, he did start writing the book and it was going to be a health and wellness book for … a general audience. I – … part of my background includes burning out in the practice of law twice, so we write about that in the book, but it didn’t – it didn’t start out to be a book for lawyers, partly, because of that. That was part of my, I guess, personal journey, but we – so, Dirk already had a good part of the book written, and – and it’s so true, though. You don’t really get – the book will write itself, once you just get started. So, if you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna write it first, and then see if I can find someone to publish it,” or what have you, for us, it was really that experience of drilling down who is your ideal reader instead of just a general audience, and Angela just does such a great job of – in her program, just really making that point, that you’ve got to be able to write to one specific ideal reader, and when we started really going through that process, we realized that, in our case, the perfect ideal reader was a younger version of me. And that’s how Happy Lawyer was born, instead of just trying to write a general health and wellness book.

 

Pleasance:

It’s so interesting, because I have a similar – I was in education before I got into holistic wellness, and I see – especially now, I’ve been out for about eleven years, and I see so many educators on the burnout path, and I can see it because that’s what happened to me, … and I always think …, “If I went back now, knowing what I know,” … and so, I – I do work with a lot of teachers and principals, actually, on energy management and aryuveda and things like that to help, but I always think … what I – … what kind of energy and power I would have had in the classroom, had I used – or had the skills that I teach people now, …. So, it sounds … similar with you guys, yeah. Okay. So, now, you’re in the writing process, tell – there has to be – that was a little challenging, or something that came up or was triggering, or do you have resistance to? Can you think of anything during the program?

 

Beverly:

… when I was thinking about this question earlier, because it comes up a lot, and I was thinking, … I – I write like I talk, which means I just – … I’m pretty good about just getting things out on paper. I tend to journal a lot, but you don’t know how – how good it is, …. You just – Angela’s mantra is “Keep writing forward,” and for me, that … pretty natural, but I have to give a lot of credit to the editing process, to the Author Incubator, because, to me, the resistance is more … – okay, now that I’ve got it all out there, is it worthy? … would anybody want to read it? So, my … obstacles, or – or challenges … came later down the road. I didn’t really experience writer’s block. Dirk probably has more to say about that part of it than I …, ‘cause that was my … story. So –

 

Dirk:

… shifted direction, so I wrote enough content for a whole book on … and through this whole process got … down to four chapters in the middle, and when it came to the other chapters, the – Beverly ended up writing most of, it was … a lot of things that I weren’t necessarily as familiar with, or … as easy a time writing about as I did the longer stuff.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. And then – now tell me a little bit about what it was like to be in the cohort? So, the program has people going through the process together and uses a lot of – in my experience – and I did the program two years ago, but it’s a little bit different now. But I learned so much from the other participants, from their questions and their experiences. So, what was being in the cohort like for you guys?

 

Beverly:

Yeah, and I – I still have great friends … it’s like you go through pledge class together, or something like that ….

 

Pleasance:

Totally.

 

Beverly:

And also, … I was, just because of the cohort. And you do, you learn so much. For us, I felt like it was a little bit of a different experience, or maybe a lot of a different experience, because we’re co-authors, and we were able – we had the benefit of being able to bounce ideas off of each other, even outside of the cohort, and then just bring, really, our most pressing questions, either to the Facebook group or to the weekly calls, but what I – what I learned was, don’t just rely on that, because you might not even know you have a question until you hear another person from your cohort ask a question, and you’re …, “That applies to me and I never thought about that.”

 

Pleasance:

Right.

 

Beverly:

So, I thought that was really a great experience.

 

Pleasance:

What about – how did you guys manage the writing together? … what were your – were just – I’m just curious, … how the co-author – what was that process like for you guys?

 

Dirk:

It started out – as I said, I – for about a month, I did pretty much all the writing, and as – once we got involved in the program, probably started doing a lot more of it. It – it worked well, just – I – oddly, she’s the better writer, and I’m really better with technical things, more on the visual part of things, graphics, that kind of stuff, so we … worked well together. We have different strengths and weaknesses that … complemented each other.

 

Beverly:

No, the way that we ended up … moving in, which was also a suggestion, great suggestion, by Angela, was, the book – since it’s titled Happy Lawyer and we ended up selecting a lawyer as our ideal reader, and I’m a lawyer and Dirk is not, so it was natural that it would be written in the first person from me, but a lot of it, I was able to take Dirk’s content and just … “Bevery-ize” it, or … “lawyer-ize” it. And then, there’s a separate section in the book that’s “Dirk’s Corner” and so, it’s a perspective of what’s it like for the spouse to be married to the lawyer. So, it just all … came together … once we identified our ideal reader and – and learned how to … take advantage of the strengths that we each … were able to bring to the table.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, we’ve moved through the process and the writing process and not really having any … big challenges along the way, it sounds like, is a pretty good set – … I think that … things I keep in mind and share out to people who are talking about “Is it a good set or not,” is that, a lot of times, the Author – A – Angela’s interviews and the Author Incubator are choosing people who are saying “yes” to the process and who are highly motivated and who want to make and find the time and move through the program and trust it. So, I think it – it’s obviously on purpose, it’s not … such a gift, actually, I found, around being surrounded with people who were also like that. I was really empowering to … have, in the cohort and in the group and then beyond, other people who ha – authors who have servant’s heart and were building their movement. So, when did your book come out?

 

Beverly:

June of last year. June of twenty six – seven –

 

Pleasance:

So, tell me about that process, the book coming out, and then, what you guys have been doing with it since then.

 

Beverly:

For me, that was – … talking about challenges, and yeah, I really didn’t face a lot during the writing process, but the big challenge was actually when the book launched, and a big part of – … I guess the reason for that is, there are some personal stories that I share in the book that have never shared before, so it was … getting past myself and saying, “Okay, this book is intended to – to – it’s not about me, right? It’s intended to – to serve a higher purpose and I just have to let it go.” So, that was – really, once it all came together – we went through the editing process, we ended up with what I think is this great book with a beautiful cover, and now we’re releasing our baby out into the world. So, that was a very scary thing. What we’ve done with the book since then is – as Dirk mentioned, in the process of writing the book, I decided, quite inconveniently but wonderfully at the same time, that I did want to practice law again. I thought I was done with that career, but when I was writing the book, I said, “You know what?” … to your point, what you were saying about ….

 

Pleasance:

The teaching, yeah.

 

Beverly:

Yup, I c – totally connect with that, because that’s how I felt, too. It was …, “You know what?” Now, I realized, I can do this in a better way, and I’m not done – I don’t wanna leave this profession, after all these years, going, “Well, that really sucked.” So, what I’ve been doing, and what we’ve been doing together, ‘cause Dirk has really helped me a lot and – we are both working in – in my law firm here, in Texas, so we’ve had that going – which started out as a side hustle. We’ve been managing both, but what we’ve done with the book is to reach out and start coaching with other professionals, that we’ve got a coaching program going on that we really wanna be able to do even more of that once we get things … more in place with the law firm. So, we’ve been running both of those tracks parallel.

 

Pleasance:

Wow. Okay. So, writing the book and having it published led you to this whole other exploration of … returning to your first love and doing it in a more sustainable and manageable way, and creating programs that were also aligned with what you’re teaching now. Is there anything that you thought might happen, that didn’t happen, or anything that surprised you? Maybe – I heard some of your experience, Beverly, maybe from Dirk’s perspective, … – I totally understand about being afraid, having that fear of coming out with your personal stories. So, is there anything that was unexpected or that’s been an awesome result?

 

Dirk:

The start of the whole process, really. It started out being my idea to write the book, and I started writing it, and … shifted into a lawyer book, it – it went a different – … it went a different direction, it shifted more on to Beverly, and she’s talking about the story that she shares, that it’s really written for the first person, with her. At the end of each chapter’s “Dirk’s Corner,” keep – even though I wrote almost half the content, that was just to … keep me on top of the reader as a co-author. As far as anything unexpected since then, I really can’t think of anything. It’s been a pretty smooth process, working with both the Author Incubator and, since then, with the publisher.

 

Pleasance:

And then, what’s on the horizon? You guys wanna write more books?

 

Beverly:

We’ve – well, I was gonna say, we do wanna write more books. I dunno with Dirk, … agree with that now, with everythi – all the plates we’ve got spinning, but it is definitely my plan to write another book, and … – I’m glad you asked that question, because I almost started writing the second book earlier this year, and it was just gonna be one of those where … you – you also have to be realistic, because if you – once you get going with the program, as you know, you have to be able to – to dedicate yourself to it, and I think that’s why it was a pretty smooth process for us, the first time around. We had the time and the energy and the desire to do it. So, yeah, I know that we’ll – we’ll write another book. It may be later this year or next year, but we’ll do it.

 

Dirk:

Yeah, right now, the … law firm really is taking up all of our time, we’ve – she started her new practice last fall, really, and we moved into typical office space about a month and a half ago, so we’ve really just been ramping this up and just taking all of our attention at the moment.

 

Pleasance:

I just think it’s so fascinating, because I definitely found the process, and then – … going through the program and having that book at the end of it, … very addicting. I remember being in the program and being …, “I’m – can’t wait to start!” … already had idea for Number Two and idea for Number Three, and I remember Angela saying …, “Okay, slow your rolls, cousin. … one book at a time, and if -” … especially for me, in … – again, sustainability and holistic wellness, … having space to care for my clients and retreat participants and my family, right? … to have all the pieces for people like us, it’s actually really good coaching to say, “Slow down and pay attention to where you are right now,” because it’s easier for us to do idea, idea, idea, idea, …? So, that’s what I really like about Angela’s genius, is being able to see that in people, and some people need a little bit more fire under their tush through the process, and then, there’s some of us who – we need to be told …, “Pull back a little bit, you don’t need to do all the things right now.” … right? More sustainable long term, because, two years later, you guys, …, I’m so using my books for talks and workshops and retreats, … it – I don’t need to move on already to the next thing to … keep growing my business. It’s … I created something that’s really a gift, and it’s still in service and it’s still relevant. And so, that’s been just so surprising, so I like hearing that you guys are …, “Yes, we have other ideas and we have some priorities right now that we’re working on.”

 

Beverly:

Yeah, and I love hearing that, ‘cause it’s so funny. When we got to the Castle when we – when our book was – when our manuscript was completed, on the flight, on the way to there – we live in Texas and, obviously, flying up to D.C. And we landed, and I said, “Oh! I just wrote the second book in my head on the way here.”

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Beverly:

It’s … ready to go, before the first one was published, but the program that – we – we talk about it, in our book, that our – our program – when we do work with – with lawyers in our … spare time, it’s a balanced way, right? So, it’s all about having that balance, and so, when you said that, just now, I thought, “Well, yeah, that was too -” we had to come to terms with the fact that we’re not following our own advice if we jump into writing a second book right now.

 

Pleasance:

Exactly. Exactly. And I think that – I think the other point, about doing it in a group and with a mentor, is that she pointed that out, and … left to my own dev – … left to my own worktime and flow and energy, I would just create and create and create, and if you really are there to serve, right? The servant’s heart, and you really are dedicated to your clients, it’s not a service to just keep creating, keep creating, keep creating all the time. And that – that was just … a huge takeaway that I see two years later. … I couldn’t have known that right after the program, …. And so, I – I get out that … writing itch in other ways, … and do it in other creative form and focus on my client work around my book. Okay. So, tell me how people can reach you, how can they work with you and where can they find you?

 

Dirk:

They can reach us by e-mail at [email protected] The book website is at that same name, which is balanced-way.com, so they could do that. They could call us at the office here. The phone number’s 830-515-5854.

 

Beverly:

….

 

Pleasance:

Awesome! Yeah, you can totally – this – the web page for this podcast has – I’m looking at it – has the link to the book and to your Facebook pages, so you guys are pretty active there, they can click through. …. Okay, cool.

 

Beverly:

Yes. Yes. And we can also … you’ve got it on there. Perfect!

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Okay, awesome!

 

Beverly:

… it’s – sorry.

 

Pleasance:

It goes to – don’t know, I’m just clicking on to make sure that it’s the right link, and it looks like it goes to that beautiful landing page for the book and how to contact you guys right on that page, so that’s great. So, just to close, I always like to just … honor the work that you are doing, as other like-minded and like-hearted souls out in the world, really putting this work forward. Just like you said, Beverly, it’s not always easy, and we have to go through a lot in order to get this work in the world when they are our personal stories, and so, I really appreciate and honor you guys moving through that and sharing your work and helping others, ‘cause it’s really important. So, thank you so much, and hope to meet you guys in person someday!

 

Beverly:

Thank you so much! This was fun, and it’s an honor to get to be on the show, so thanks so much.

 

Dirk:

Yeah, thank you.

 

Pleasance:

Yay! Yeah, …, have a great day! See you guys.

 

Beverly:

Thank you. Bye-bye.

 

Dirk:

… you.

 

Pleasance:

‘Bye.