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Spreading greatness through grit and passion

by Lisa M. Blasser, Esq.

The pandemic generated a deep passion inside of me to unearth some greatness in the midst of our collective storm. A Claremont resident since 2012 with future aspirations of running for Claremont City Council, I am a wife, mother of two beautiful children in Claremont schools, a managing partner of my Claremont-based law firm, Blasser Law, and a law professor.

Like many of you, the worry of contracting COVID-19 was—and still is—compounded by uncertainty about my business staying open, concern whether I am doing a “good enough” job homeschooling while practicing and teaching full-time and learning to be present in non-conventional ways with family and friends whom I want nothing more than the ability to hug and hold but can’t. Add political unrest, blatant discrimination and inequality and horrifying realities fellow Americans are facing daily—2020 was brewing the perfect canvas to test my core belief that passion and grit could achieve greatness, even during a pandemic.

My core belief was tested earlier in my career in 2001when I was failing out of my first year of law school. I had to dig deep into my internal passion reservoir to motivate myself to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer so I could help others. With interminable perseverance, I gratefully figured out the formula for success in law school, graduated with honors, passed the California bar exam on my first attempt and landed a solid job. Grit and passion led to my personal greatness.

After graduating, I was on a mission to share with students what law school did not teach me—how to study. Several years into practicing law, I took a position as a law professor, hell-bent on teaching students how to study. To my surprise, there was no book on point to guide my students. I wanted to offer them more than just my own opinion on how to succeed, so in 2013 I conducted the very first qualitative phenomenological study in legal education to uncover what successful students did to succeed in law school. The result of my research was a simple, linear, step-by-step study process straight from the mouths of successful law students, not professors or scholars. I’ve used my study data to teach thousands of students and professors across the country how to succeed in law school.

Flash forward to 2020 and my parallel passion to uplift people during the pandemic. In summer of 2020, I took my 2013 qualitative study and spent every minute of my “free time” (pulling all-nighters and weekends) metaphorically punching the pandemic in the face by putting my scientific study into written form to offer greatness to more than just my own students. Last month, I proudly published “Nine Steps to Law School Success: A Scientifically Proven Study Process for Success in Law School.” In addition to providing a study process, my book also scientifically proved that grit is the critical key to success as opposed to the intellect we are born with or gain with experience. That’s empowering for students to hear. Grit and passion lead to helping a national audience of law students.

To my elation, when I finished writing the book, I realized I had actually achieved my goal of contributing greatness (not just for law students) but for everyone during the pandemic. Since qualitative research had never been used before in in legal education, I created a modern template (one not soaked in archaic scientific jargon) for anyone to use in conducting qualitative phenomenological research. That means that if you have a phenomenon you want to uncover (for example, how are you faring with others in handling the pandemic, how do others experience discrimination, how do you make your business more productive, what makes a good parent/spouse, how do people flourish during a pandemic, what is the meaning of true happiness, what makes people perceive politicians in a negative/positive light, how can you ensure your employees are content in their work, how can you accomplish your dreams, etc.) you can use my simple template outlined in the first chapter of the book to decipher data and understand how others experience your phenomenon. You no longer have to rely on opinions of others to explain important issues in your life or work. Becoming your own scientific expert gives you added credibility and confidence. Grit and passion lead to helping everyone.

By the end of 2020, I was still striving to provide greatness in the pandemic. I started my second business, Law School Success Institute, which offers programming to law students and consulting to law schools across the country based on my research and book. Within two years, I also intend to jumpstart a third business offering consulting to local companies and individuals using qualitative research to elevate their understanding of how to become more successful in their industries. Grit and passion—you know what I am about to say.

My goal of finding greatness in the pandemic catapulted me into helping more people than I ever imagined. My sincere hope is that my research and this article have made you realize that, with a little grit and passion of your own, you are equally capable of accomplishing anything you desire, even in these tough times.

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