There are few occurrences in life that one can truly label “life-altering.” But, that is certainly the only way to describe my fortunate encounter with former Ambassador Delano Lewis when he visited Washburn School of Law in 2009 when I was President of the International Law Society. During his visit, Delano generously spared a few minutes of time with me, during which I inquired if he had one piece of advice on life, to which he responded that “most people believe life is plan A, and that they can control the outcome to ensure plan A happens; but in reality life more often than not happens as plan b, c, or even d, and those who are open to those options, and realize that many times a path is beyond control, are often more successful and happier.”
At the time I met Delano, I was a law student who believed that I too could not only control the path after law school, but viewed the pursuit of “what’s next” with a myopic view. Taking Delano’s words of wisdom to heart, I accepted that many professional and life decisions are beyond one’s control, and my mind opened to opportunities which I may not have otherwise considered. Ultimately, following my law school graduation, I served on active duty for six years as a U.S. Coast Guard judge advocate, and recently transitioned to an Associate position with Blank Rome LLP in their Maritime Practice Group. More importantly, I found my professional and personal endeavors entirely enjoyable as I accepted the “alternate” plans in many instances—I could not be happier. To this day, I continue to “pay forward” Delano’s words to those to whom I am offering advice.