I’m Lisa Fisher, founder of Black Belt Mediation.
For the express version of my background, click below.
Conflict Resolution and Legal Training:
- Magister iuris, University of Linz School of Law, Austria (1989)
- LL.M., Yale Law School (1994)
- Mediation Workshop, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (2008)
- Mediating the Litigated Case, Pepperdine Law School – Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (2011)
- Diploma in International Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2012)
Martial Arts and Yoga Training:
- Kenpo Karate (2007 – present). Shodan (first degree black belt) (2016)
- Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin Yoga (2013 – present). Certified Yoga Teacher – Yin Yoga (2017), RYT 500 (2018)
Admitted to the bar in New York (1995) and California (1997).
Fluent in German.
For my story, please continue reading.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to create harmony in my environment. Since my early teens, I have been the designated diplomat, sounding board, smoother of tensions, and restorer of peace in my family. Back then, I had no idea that people did this sort of thing for a living, so I became an attorney negotiating deals as a big firm corporate lawyer.
When I discovered that “mediator” was an actual job, I was thrilled that I could get paid for what I had been doing most of my life – managing complex relationships and bringing people together. I felt I had finally arrived. Professionally, that is.
In my personal life, my desire for harmony had found expression in some very unhealthy dynamics. If Doormat was an Olympic discipline, I would have been a strong contender for the gold medal. I was an expert in
- staying quiet to keep the peace;
- putting other people’s needs first at the expense of my own well-being;
- being flexible and accommodating and arranging myself around whatever circumstances presented themselves;
- finding new ways to please everyone, hoping they would like me;
- meeting others’ expectations to fit into their vision of life; and
- picking myself up again after someone bulldozed over me.
My legal and conflict resolution training had equipped me with solid communication skills and the ability to handle tense situations, and I was great at using these skills for my clients’ benefit. But for some reason, I was unable to do the same thing for myself. I had no desire to be a bulldozer, and the only other option I saw was to be a doormat.
Fortunately, I found a way out of victimhood. I earned the rank of Shodan (first degree black belt) in Kenpo Karate and RYT 500 certification as a Yoga teacher. Taking baby steps, I gradually added what was missing from my life: empowerment and authenticity.
I am now able to
- speak up for myself in a way that is kind yet firm;
- set boundaries that respect everyone, including me;
- honor my own needs as much as those of others;
- create more meaningful connection by living true to myself; and
- get out of the way when someone is trying to bulldoze over me.
I share the most effective strategies I have road-tested and successfully applied in my own life, and I feel so fortunate to help amazing human beings bring out the best version of themselves. Every time a client tells me they feel more confident, they stayed calm dealing with a combative family member, or they took their power back in a challenging relationship, I do a happy dance .