Here is my weekly email with some insights and ideas pulled from conversations I had on my podcast.
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Bring Your Passion and Authenticity To Work
“I’m a lawyer by profession. I was put on this earth to identify and hold wrongdoers accountable and make them pay for what they did and make the world a safer space. The more evil your wrongdoing is, the bigger negative impact you have, the harder I’m coming after you and I’m going to hold you accountable.”
That was Arash Homampour, one of today’s most successful ‘David vs Goliath’ litigation lawyers. He stands up for the underdog. And as of our interview on the Success Story pod, he’s made half a billion dollars in settlements for his clients.
Arash’s words are dripping with passion, and that’s what we’re talking about today — the difference between bringing your workaday self to the office or your whole, passionate self. It’s the difference between a career and a calling.
Arash Homampour is a lawyer on a mission.
He’s dedicated his life to fighting for the little guy — the person who’s been wronged by a large corporation or the victim of medical malpractice. He takes on cases that other lawyers won’t touch, and he doesn’t back down from a fight.
As a result, he’s become one of the most successful litigation lawyers in the country. So, where did this all begin? Was he your classic private schoolboy with big pockets and an even bigger sense of entitlement? Nope — not quite.
“I think it started with being the child of immigrant parents. I grew up in West LA, and we were very poor; my rich friends would go on ski vacations and go to fancy restaurants. I never went to a fancy restaurant. And so my perception of limits and how life should work was kind of open-ended. It gave me the opportunity to grow and be even bigger than I could imagine.”
It’s interesting to think that growing up with privilege could be so freeing in some ways, but so limiting in others. Arash grew up without the luxuries of his peers, but he also grew up without limitations on his imagination. He could dream big because he didn’t know what wasn’t possible.
This combination of factors — being an underdog himself, having open-ended possibilities, and a deep sense of justice — planted a seed of intense passion for fighting for the underdog in Arash.
A Rapid Rise to the Top
When you think of an incredibly successful lawyer, you most likely attach many years of slow and arduous training, bowing and scraping, and maybe a few years sitting on the sidelines before making any moves.
Not so for Arash — he wasn’t playing games. After getting his degree as quickly as possible, he was in the courtroom and ready for action.
“I started trying cases immediately. I would take on any tough case that had a big upside, because those are the cases they won’t settle. In fact, all of my big wins are in the context of a defendant that not only underestimated but probably insulted me by offering zero to settle or offering some nominal sum.”
Arash’s goal was to become an advocate for the voiceless; someone who could face up against intimidating corporations and enormous sums of money and walk away with justice for his clients.
The first big case was a car crash incident; the city of Fontana had refused to put in sidewalks in an area frequented by children, and in doing so, indirectly caused a young girl to be killed by a swerving car. Let’s just say Fontana messed with the wrong guy.
“The adjuster from their insurance company said, ‘Your client was just some Hispanic girl. What do you think the jury is going to award her?’ And when he said those two things, it was literally as if God put a lightning rod inside of me and said, ‘We’re going to show you what’s going to happen.’ So they offered zero to settle that case. And I got $38 million.”
Arash’s passion for fighting for the underdog had translated into success — and the anger he felt at that insurance adjuster for his callousness only fueled the fire.
From there, Arash went on to take on many more cases, both big and small. Clients know he’s not afraid to fight tooth and nail for what they deserve.
Positive vs Negative Passion
Arash explained in our interview that his success comes from more than just enthusiasm or energy — it comes from having a positive outlook and using his skills for the greater good.
“What I do is really a profession. It’s not a business — I don’t look at anything in terms of how much money I can make. It’s really just how much of an impact can I make? How much can I hold someone who has done something wrong accountable?”
In reality, you can be passionate about some pretty negative things — like getting revenge, or being the best at something just to prove someone wrong. Arash has chosen to focus his passion positively.
“I am kind, loving, generous. I know my failures, I embrace my weaknesses. I embrace my tendency to be ego-oriented. I’m always trying to kill the ego. I’m always trying to come from love and kindness.”
Passion Will Always Trump Deception
Something I found incredibly interesting in our interview was listening to Arash talk about the behaviors he observes in the courtroom.
“When you take someone evolved, and put them in a courtroom next to your typical defense attorney, they tend not to do as well, because they’re not evolved. They’re unidimensional. They’re angry. They drink the Kool Aid that everyone’s a fraud and a fake. They tend to use artifice, or trickery or deceit to win their cases.”
By ‘evolved’, he means people who are authentic, transparent and in touch with their emotions. People like Arash, who is unafraid to be vulnerable and show his true colors in the courtroom. Next to him, angry and vengeful attorneys look like petulant children.
“When you’ve got a defense with its bag of tricks, it’s deceptive. It’s not good. It’s mean, it’s evil. And when you’ve got an evolved person who not only can convince the jury of what’s righteous, but can unravel and reveal the lies and deception of the defense, it’s no match. The only time I lose is if I deserve to lose because the facts justify a juror finding against me.”
It’s an interesting phenomenon — in a world where people are so quick to put up a false front, those who are authentic and passionate about their work tend to shine the brightest.
“That applies to any space, anywhere, any profession. If you are an evolved, fundamentally good human — and you love what you do, and you’re passionate about what you do — you will do infinitely better than your competition.”
What About Authenticity?
Passion is great and all, but without authenticity, it can come across as inauthentic and insincere. Arash is the perfect example of someone who is both passionate and authentic — he genuinely cares about justice, and it shows in his work.
“It’s good to be unique and stand out; make your own path. Just be yourself. And so I’ve always had that sort of approach.”
But it’s more than that. Arash makes sure that the way he behaves and the decisions he make reflect his authentic self; the self that wants to give and help others, not the self that’s driven by anger or greed.
“Right now I’m doing cases worth 20 to 60 million. I’m trying to transition to doing cases worth 100 million to a billion — not because I want more money, but simply because I want to generate as much money from this wrongdoing as possible to give back and make a difference in the universe.”
Pretty awesome mission statement, right? I was super impressed by his commitment to serving others, and his anti-consumerism approach to life.
“I’ve been given this opportunity of making a lot of money doing something I love. And for me, if I use it to buy a bunch of garbage for myself and things, if my existence is to consume, that’s disgusting. I want to use the money to make the biggest impact and help other people.”
Fighting Your Ego
We’ve all got it; that niggling arrogance that pops up every now and then to remind us that we’re the best, most special person in the room. If you can identify it, you’re already on your way to keeping it in check. Arash explained that this is absolutely crucial if you want to live an authentic life.
“Once you start getting successful, you start believing the hype. You start believing ‘I deserve this, I deserve that, I work hard and should play hard.’ If you’ve been given a talent, and you are successful at it, you can’t squander it on personal ego-based events.”
So true. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s had a brush with success and come away unchanged; it’s so easy to get caught up in the trappings of wealth and status. But if you want to maintain your authenticity, you have to keep your ego in check and make sure your actions reflect your true values.
“Anytime you define happiness by what you gain for yourself, you’re never going to be happy. Happiness is when you’re of service to others. When that clicks in your brain, then you realize the more joy you’re gonna get in your life by the more people you help.”
The Importance of Evolution
Throughout his interview, Arash kept mentioning the fact that he was ‘evolved’. What does that mean? Can we all reach a state of being evolved, or is it a select few?
According to Learning Mind, evolved people show ten telltale signs:
- They strive to live beyond social norms and expectations.
- They base their goals on personal values rather than social standards.
- They are grateful for all things.
- They work a job that aligns with their passion.
- They are aware of the things that motivate them.
- They control their emotions.
- They stop and reflect when things go off course.
- They see failure as an opportunity to grow.
- They deeply appreciate the art of meditation.
- They bring out the best in others.
Anyone spring to mind? I thought of a few people in my personal life — and yes, I would absolutely describe them as evolved. It’s something I imagine most people would love to strive for.
Since those ten traits are all within our control, I’d say we totally have the ability to become evolved and live an authentic, purpose-fueled life. No one is born evolved. It’s a process, just like Darwin’s evolution we see in nature.
I was incredibly inspired by Arash’s story and how he’s managed to use his passion to bring about justice for the underdogs. He’s living proof that you can be both successful and authentic; that passion and values are excellent drivers for a fulfilling life and career.
Check out the full podcast here, and as always, thanks for reading!
Success Story Podcast
If you like the content in this newsletter, I host a Top 10 Business podcast, (with over 20m downloads) called “Success Story”, where I interview entrepreneurs, executives and other high performing individuals so you can learn lessons and insights from the world-renowned leaders.
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