Episode 26: Overcoming Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Overcoming Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Overcoming Perfectionism

We’ve gone deep on the topic of perfectionism the past couple of episodes. First we discussed what it is, how it shows up in practice in the form of worth dysmorphia, and how to spot it happening in real time. But today, I’m giving you all the tactics you need to really solidify this work and overcome perfectionism for good.

When it comes to dealing with our perfectionism, we have to start by addressing our thoughts. Awareness is key here, so you can decide what you want to change. You might currently believe it isn’t safe to be imperfect, or that making a mistake means you’re not good enough. Whatever you’re struggling with, this episode is here to change what you make it mean about yourself.

Tune in this week to discover how your perfectionist thoughts are getting in your way. I’m sharing how to identify the emotions you’re trying to avoid by being perfect, and instead decide you’re going to feel all of it, the good and the bad, and move forward loving the process, the successes and the failures.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why, if you’re a perfectionist, your thoughts likely aren’t serving you.
  • How to use mirror judgments to get clear on your thoughts around your perfectionist behavior.
  • The importance of sitting in and truly experiencing the emotions you have around imperfection.
  • How to see the emotions you’re trying to avoid by always working to attain perfection.
  • What you can do to define what enough is for you and get clear on what you’re really aiming for.
  • The power of small, attainable goals as you reestablish the sense of self-trust that your perfectionism has eroded over the years.
  • How to make peace with and learn to love the trial-and-error, the mistakes, and learning in the process.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 26. Today, we’re talking all about overcoming perfectionism. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hi, my friends. How are you doing today? I hope you are awesome. I just got back from ten days in Florida, some for pleasure with friends, and some for work. Lots of work, actually. I met with my business coach, and I think I’m going to do a whole episode, just talking about the power of being in a mastermind, and the connection, and the growth, and the learning.

I think that would probably be really valuable to people because I also host a mastermind. I just want to get into the nitty gritty, but it’s a lot to talk about, so I don’t want to spend a bunch of this episode talking about it. I think I can say that it’s for its whole own separate episode. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

With that being said, we are continuing to talk about the three P’s: people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. In the past two episodes, we’ve talked about perfectionism. I have gone through what it looks like in practice, so you’re able to spot it. We talked about worth dysmorphia, and really working on your self-concept, your idea that you’re good enough, that you’re worthy enough, that you are enough, in order to work to overcome your perfectionism.

But today, I’m going to get into some tactics. Because as much as thinking that you’re worthy is important and so required to overcome perfectionism, there are some tips and tricks that you can also implement to make a difference here. All right, let’s dive in. 

Actually, before we dive in, I’m going to digress for just a second. I do a pretty good job, I know I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before, I do a pretty good job of keeping my two panthers out of my room while I record this. So, you don’t have to listen to them be disruptive. But I’ve just been gone for ten days, and one of my cats, Bear, is absolutely glued to my side. So, you might hear him.

If you do, just bear with me this time, we’re going to give him some grace because he has a mild case of separation anxiety. If you hear some purrs, it’s just because he’s happy that his mom was home. Okay? I also tend to think of it as like the best ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) … Hold on one second. (Sound of cat purring) I’m sorry, but that is just like the cutest noise on the face of the earth. Okay, I digress.

Let’s get started. All right, when it comes to overcoming perfectionism, we have to start with addressing our thoughts. I always want you to gain awareness first, to figure out what you’re currently thinking, and then we want to see if those thoughts serve us and change them, if necessary. If you’re a perfectionist, chances are your thoughts aren’t serving you.

You want to start by just examining what your thoughts are about perfectionism. Do you think it’s a good thing? If you do, if you think it’s beneficial to be a perfectionist, if you think it’s helpful, you’re going to keep engaging in that behavior because you think it’s beneficial. You think it’s good. So, you want to check in with yourself there.

Do you think it’s good to be a perfectionist? If you do, what do you want to choose to think instead? Maybe you want to think the exact opposite; that it’s bad to be a perfectionist, that it’s not helpful, that it doesn’t serve you, that it’s safe or okay to be imperfect. Those are thoughts that are going to help you start to move the dial with your perfectionist tendencies, to become someone who doesn’t indulge in perfectionism, like you have in the past.

You also want to examine your thoughts about making mistakes. Do you think it’s the worst thing ever, if you make one? Do you think that you’re not good enough, if you make mistakes? Do you think that people won’t respect you, or hire you, or want to work with you, if you make them? You want to start to explore; what do you think about making mistakes?

Then from there, ask yourself again; do those thoughts serve me? They probably don’t, if you’re indulging in perfectionism. What do you need to think instead, about making mistakes? One of the things that I always have clients do, I’m going to do a whole podcast on this, I call them “mirror judgments”. But you can always check in with yourself to see how you approach or judge another person when they make mistakes.

Oftentimes, my clients will think that they’re accepting of themselves when they make mistakes, but they’ll indulge in a lot of drama and worry ahead of time, that other people won’t be receptive or understanding if they make them. I’ll always check in with them on how they judge other people, when other people make mistakes.

If it turns out that they tend to be really judgmental of other people, chances are you’re going to think other people will think exactly the same thoughts that you think about other people when they make mistakes. Whatever you think about other people is what you think other people will think about you. I know that’s kind of a tongue twister, but work with me here, okay?

You want to address and change your judgments, that you have of other people making mistakes, so you can be more gracious and kinder to yourself when you make them. You want to check in there with those mirror judgments.

Take a few seconds to think about what thoughts you’d like to practice instead? Do you want to think that it’s safe to make mistakes? Do you want to think that it’s normal to make mistakes? Do you want to think that mistakes are just a part of learning, and that you’re always winning and learning?

Or, rather, winning or learning? Do you want to think that you can still make mistakes and be exceptional? That’s a fun thought. Right? Give some time and think about the thoughts you want to think about making mistakes? Can you be more gracious and kind to yourself in that area?

I also want you to examine your thoughts about what you make imperfection mean about you. Normally, when we do something imperfectly, we add extra meaning to it. Do you make it mean that you’re not worthy enough, that you’re not good enough, that you’re never going to get to where you want to go, you’re never going to be successful?

That’s so much pressure that we put on ourselves, when we think those kinds of thoughts. Ask yourself; what do I make it mean about me when I do something imperfectly? If you need to pause the podcast, just to let that question sink in, go ahead for a second. What do I make it mean about me when I do something imperfectly?

If your answer doesn’t serve you, if it’s super negative, you want to ask yourself; what do I want to make it mean instead?  I always want to offer you that you can choose to make it mean absolutely nothing. But you’re probably, definitely, going to want to course correct.

You’re going to see that the way you’re thinking about being flawed, about being imperfect, about making mistakes, about having things be a little bumpy, you’re probably giving it some really significant meaning. And, that meaning is probably not positive. If that’s the case, can you course correct?

Now, that’s a little purview into the thought arena, when it comes to overcoming perfectionism. You’ve got to figure out what you’re currently thinking, and you want to see; do I need to change my thoughts? To come up with thoughts that serve me instead, and help me get out of my perfectionistic patterns?

You also want to focus on your feelings. There are a lot of feelings that people experience when it comes to being imperfect. You need to learn how to sit with those emotions. I always describe this as letting them ride shotgun with you as you go about your business, right? You’re in the driver’s seat of your life, but some of these negative emotions, unfortunately, have to come along for the ride. Because part of the human experience is feeling negative some of the time.

But a lot of us, when we go through our lives, we let these negative emotions drive, we give them so much power and control over what we do or what we don’t do, and how we feel, and how we go through our lives.  Instead of doing that, those negative emotions are just going to come along for the ride and you’re going to take really intentional action to avoid perfectionism while feeling a little uncomfortable.

You’re going to have to practice feeling emotions like; incomplete, imperfect, unprepared, judged, exposed, maybe a little embarrassed or worried. If those emotions jump out at you, and you tend to have a really hard time feeling them, again, pause this podcast episode and take a second, and find where you experience those feelings in your body.

Where do you feel unprepared? Where do you feel exposed? Where do you feel embarrassed, or imperfect or anxious? The worst that can ever happen to you is that you experience that emotion in your body, you’ll experience it as a vibration. I know that sounds kind of silly, but that’s all emotions are they’re vibrations in our body, and you want to practice feeling them on purpose, with intentionality.

We work so hard, I always say we do back handsprings essentially, to get out of these negative emotions. But nothing really happens when we feel them. You want to just practice feeling them on purpose. Okay? What happens to you when you feel imperfect, or incomplete, or exposed, or vulnerable, or embarrassed? Nothing actually happens. Yes, it’s uncomfortable physically, in your body, but that’s all. You don’t die. You’ve survived every negative emotion you’ve ever felt.

You want to make a deal with yourself. You want to identify what emotions you avoid when you indulge in perfectionism? If you’re constantly focused on being perfect, you never have to feel imperfect. You never have to feel flawed; you never have to feel incomplete, or judged. If you attain perfectionism, that land of being in the ideal, you won’t have to feel those feelings.

So, you want to see and be on to yourself; how do you use perfectionism to avoid feeling your feelings? Once you get clear on that, you can ask yourself and make a deal with yourself; what would be so bad if I just felt these on purpose? Would I be okay? Spoiler alert, the answer is yes; you will be okay.

You can also just decide that you’re willing to feel them. I made that deal with myself a really long time ago, when I decided to start building this business. I said, “Hey, this is going to be uncomfortable. We’re going to have to feel a lot of negative emotion as we embark on this venture. That’s all right. What if we just promise to feel your feelings and move forward anyways?” That’s what I did.

It’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Man, does it pay dividends? See if you can get into that deal, that arrangement, with yourself? Can you make the agreement to feel all of these feelings, that you feel when you’re imperfect, when you’re not indulging in perfectionist behavior?

All right, you also have to separate your self-worth from the action you’re taking, from what it is that you’re doing in your life. Because if your self-worth is so wrapped up with your progress that you’re making, with what you’re doing in the world, you’re constantly going to pressure yourself into doing it perfectly.

Because if your self-worth is tied to how well you do things, and you don’t do them perfectly, you aren’t going to allow yourself to feel worthy, to feel good enough. All right? I told you in the last episode, you can just decide that you’re good enough. That’s completely available to you.

But you want to make sure; are you associating your worth as a human being, with what you’re doing as a human in this world? You’re a human being not a human doing, always remember that. But if they’re tied together, you want to separate them.

The way that you do that, is just by constantly reminding yourself, and really mentally rehearsing the belief that you are not what you do. That you’re whole, worthy, and good, and enough, all on your own. Regardless of how productive you are. Regardless of what you produce in this world. Regardless of what you do. Regardless of what you accomplish, and how you go about accomplishing it. All right? Those two things are separate.

Now, when we’re goal setting, you want to do a couple things. Number one, you always want to define ‘enough’; you want to make sure it’s objective and attainable, it’s measurable, and you’ve got metrics to track your progress. I did a whole episode about this earlier, in the podcast. So, go listen to Defining Enough, if you haven’t listened to that yet. But you want to make sure you define whatever it is that you’re striving for.

Perfectionists like to use words like; better, best, more, less. enough. Those words are really ambiguous, and then we end up just chasing the horizon. Being really unclear about what we’re aiming for, not knowing how to recognize it when we arrive there.

We end up feeling so discontented during the process, because we never know what we’re working towards.  You want to make sure you define ‘enough’ and get really clear on what you’re aiming for, and how you’ll work, following the yellow brick road, to get to the end result. It’s going to help you feel so satisfied. It will also help you feel accomplished when you get there, which is such a beautiful gift that you can give yourself.

Now, once you’ve defined enough, you can also apply that in tandem, with the concept of the ‘minimum baseline’. The minimum baseline is a goal setting tool. I talked about it in the two-part episode about Following Through, that I did a couple of episodes ago. If you haven’t listened to that, I really dive into detail on how to become someone who follows through, how to build that as a skill set.

If you’re a perfectionist, you’re probably not one who has a history of following through. You probably do what I talked about two episodes ago, where you start and stop, and you quit ahead of time, and you fail ahead of time, you never really get going. You don’t have a good relationship with following through, you don’t identify as that kind of person. And, it’s because you put so much pressure on yourself, that it’s really hard to get started.

Then, when you do something imperfectly, if you’re really engaged in all-or-nothing thinking, where it has to be completely perfect or it’s not worth it, you quit, right? If you do something imperfectly, you might as well not continue to do it. You want to make sure that you’re setting very realistic goals that are attainable, you’re not indulging in perfectionist fantasy goal setting. With that, you want to work it as a minimum baseline goal.

What that means is you pick a really obvious, “Of course 1,000%, I’ll achieve this result,” you pick that as the goal. You make the smallest commitment possible, and you promise yourself that you will stick to it, no matter what. You work, and work, and work, to become someone who follows through, no matter what. It may not be super comfortable, that’s okay, I talk all about that in that two-part episode.

But you can do that, you can survive the discomfort of following through. But picking small, attainable goals is going to help you reestablish that sense of self-trust, that indulging in perfectionism has really eroded for you, right? Most perfectionists have a terrible relationship with themselves when it comes to self-trust.

They don’t trust themselves at all, because they have a history of bailing on the promises that they’ve made to themselves. Because their promises are unrealistic, so of course, they’re not going to be able to stick to them. 

You really want to work on reestablishing that sense of self-trust and becoming someone who follows through. The best way to do that is to set minimum baseline goals and accomplish them, little by little. It may seem, if you’re a perfectionist, that the little-by-little progress isn’t sexy, isn’t enough progress, isn’t enough accomplishment.

But I promise you, a little goes a long way. And, you get so much further, faster when you set and achieve goals this way. Small, simple progress is sexy as hell, I just want you to remember that.

I also want to encourage you to fall in love with the process of achieving your goals. Most people aren’t in love with the process of achieving their goals. In fact, they think to themselves, “If I could just skip the process of goal achieving, and just get right to the end result of having the achievement of having the accomplishment,” they would pick that.

The problem with that, is you set yourself up to operate in a world where you’re only giving yourself permission to celebrate success when you get there. You only celebrate the trophies in your life, and candidly, the trophies come pretty infrequently. You end up feeling dissatisfied, and discontented, and underwhelmed most of the time, right?

You can even go so far as to feel really frustrated most of the time while you’re working towards achieving a goal, if you’ve set yourself up to be the kind of person who only celebrates the end results. You don’t want to do that. Instead, you want to become a person who doesn’t just celebrate trophies. You want to become a person who celebrates the process.

I want to encourage you to fall in love with the process. The everyday, nitty-gritty work of achieving your goals. It can be so sexy, but you have to think of it that way, and you have to practice thinking of it that way. That it’s sexy to be someone who’s committed. That it’s sexy to be someone who follows through. That it is sexy to be someone who is consistent as hell, right?

That small incremental progress that you make day after day after day. The small incremental commitments that you stick to every single day. You want to fall in love with the process.

It’s going to feel like a struggle some of the time, but you can fall in love with that part, too. Fall in love with the challenge of accomplishing your goals. If you start to love that part, start to love the imperfection of it, the challenge of it, the trial-and-error aspect of it, the always winning or learning mistakes part of it. That you’re going to fumble and that that’s not a problem, it’s part of the process of learning.

If you learn to make peace with that part of the process, if you learn to fall in love with that part of the process, you will be able to stop indulging in perfectionism, and you will have so much fun along the way.

I had a feeling… This is a total digression. I had a feeling that you could hear Bear in the background, and I just went back and listened to the recording, and you definitely can. I promise I’m not torturing him; he is just still sad and happy, and overwhelmed with all of his own feelings that I’m home.

I’m just going to leave that in this episode, as an example of what’s possible of not indulging in perfectionism. Indulging in perfectionism would be me re-recording that section of this episode. I’m just going to leave it in, to serve as a little example to you, of what it looks like to not indulge in perfectionism.

That’s going to be my A- B+ work for the day, and it’s going to be okay. I’m just going to choose to believe that you will find, Bear endearing and me endearing, and that you will choose to accept us both for our flaws and imperfections.

All right. You want to fall in love with the process of accomplishing your goals, even the messy parts. If this is a new concept for you, I get so excited to introduce people to this concept. Maybe no one ever told you that you could fall in love and celebrate the process, you’ve probably only seen people celebrate end results.

One of my favorite mentors is Gary Vaynerchuk. One of his big, audacious goals is to buy the New York Jets®. He’s a serial entrepreneur, he’s a public speaker, he’s kind of a motivational speaker, I think he would hate being described that way. But I think it is what he does. He’s very motivating to me, at least. He talks all the time about this big, audacious goal of buying the New York Jets. 

I know that’s a little contrary to what I just told you, to set a minimum baseline goal or really small, achievable, simple goal, but you can do both. You want to work on setting minimum baseline goals to start, in order to establish that self-trust with yourself. But then, once you’ve done that, and you’ve become someone who follows through on doing what they say they’re going to do, you can set some really big and audacious goals. 

That’s what Gary’s done; he has set this big, audacious goal of buying the New York Jets. He’s not anywhere close to amassing the wealth needed to do that yet, even though he’s worth several hundred million dollars. It takes more than that to buy the Jets, apparently. He always talks about that people really get him wrong, they’re mistaken.

They misunderstand him, when he says that he wants to buy the New York Jets. Yes, he’d love to have the New York Jets, he’d love to own the team. But it’s not about that. It’s about the process that he has to engage in to become someone who’s capable of buying the New York Jets.

What businesses does he have to start? How does he have to grow them? What success does he have to amass along the way? What does he have to learn along the way? What’s that process like, right? And, he has fallen in love with the process of getting to that endpoint. He likes the day-to-day aspect of it, the constant growth, the constant learning, the constant missteps, and course correcting, that comes with achieving an audacious goal like that.

I have wild money goals. The reason that I picked them, isn’t necessarily for the money; I love money. I think it’s beautiful. It’s great. I love what it allows you to experience in this world. But part of it is just setting such an audacious, impossible goal for myself, because I’m in love with the process of getting there. It challenges me to think in such a bigger, bolder way. To think outside of the box, about how will I get there? It’s like solving the greatest puzzle imaginable.

Ask yourself; can I fall in love with the process? What would it look like if I were to do that? How would my experience be different if I was in love with the process, rather than just the endpoint? How would I feel, what would my experience be like, if I was able to celebrate the way “there”, instead of just arriving “there”?

Whatever that final destination is for you, if you can become someone that can celebrate the process, just as much if not more than they celebrate the trophies, your entire life experience will be different, okay?

Also, this is sort of related. But I recently heard someone say this and I thought it was so brilliant, and very relevant for the topic of overcoming perfectionism. But we’re often told, when we’re younger, that practice makes perfect. Right? Ick! I totally used to buy into that concept of practice makes perfect, practice makes perfect. Yes, I do think there are some skills or tasks where that is probably true; that practice does make perfect.

But I do think, as a general rule of thumb, that’s a pretty harmful way to think about things, right? Again, it really has you focused on perfection being the end goal. It tricks you into believing that perfection is something that is attainable, which, as I’ve explained time and time again in these past few episodes, it’s not. There’s no such thing as perfect; perfect doesn’t exist.

Even though we tend to know that, or are willing to admit that, at least intellectually, when we buy into concepts like, practice makes perfect, we’re subtly telling ourselves that it does exist, that it is achievable, it is attainable. That subtle reinforcement is really dangerous. We don’t want to engage in that.

So, instead of thinking practice makes perfect, I want you to change that thought to, practice makes progress, because that’s much more realistic, and then it gets you to fall in love, it reinforces and supports this concept of falling in love with the process, not falling in love with the endpoint. Okay?  Practice makes progress. Not, practice makes perfect. Such a lighter way to go through life, and to approach your goals, and how you achieve them.

All right. Last point, when it comes to overcoming perfectionism. What I want you to do, is get really good at spotting when you’re indulging in perfectionism. I want you to become a master at fighting your perfectionistic patterns and interrupting them. You want to be on to yourself.

I teach my clients to do a weekly self-evaluation. It’s called a weekly self-audit, or a Sunday self-audit. We just ask three questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What would you do differently?

If you really want to work on overcoming perfectionism, if you know that this is a weakness of yours, and it causes you a lot of strife in your life, I highly encourage you to build in, just a sub-question under the ‘what didn’t work’ section. Asking yourself each week; where did I indulge in perfectionism?

If you get better at spotting your perfectionistic tendencies, your perfectionistic patterns… I just love a good alliteration; I can’t resist that one. If you get better at spotting your perfectionistic patterns, you will get better at interrupting them. Highlight them, for yourself each week. Get better at spotting them, and then make a plan each week.

What will you do differently next time? What is your game plan when you cut yourself in the midst of a perfectionistic pattern? You catch yourself doing it in real time? How will you interrupt it? How will you course correct? What will you do instead?

I want you to game plan for that, I want you to strategize, so you have an arsenal available to you for what you do to get yourself out of a perfectionistic pattern. The better you get at doing this, the easier it will be when that perfectionist tendency comes up for you. You’ll be able to get yourself out of it faster, which will get you feeling better faster, too.

Come up with a game plan. Ask yourself; how am I going to spot my perfectionistic patterns? What will I do, when I catch myself indulging in them? You can make a game plan to course correct in the middle of it, and also after. What will you do differently next time, to avoid perfectionism all together?

Those are my tips for you on how to overcome perfectionism. I hope you find them valuable. I hope you start putting them into play immediately. You can see huge, monumental changes in your life, if you stop indulging in perfectionism. Let yourself be human and work on making that attainable, objective progress to get you to where you want to go.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. I will talk to you in the next episode. I can’t wait. We’re going to start talking all about time management. It’s going to be so fun. It’s such an area where people struggle, and I’m going to help you tackle it, once and for all.

I will talk to you in the next episode. In the meantime, have a beautiful week.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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Episode 25: Worth Dysmorphia

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Worth Dysmorphia

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Worth Dysmorphia

Today’s episode follows on from our recent episode about perfectionism. We discussed what perfectionism is, and how to recognize it and interrupt it while it’s happening. But the next couple of episodes are all about the solutions to overcoming perfectionism, and we start this week by discussing something I call worth dysmorphia.

We’re familiar with the idea of body dysmorphia, where one has an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in their appearance, despite it being minor or imagined. Well, I see the same thing occurring when it comes to self-worth, and more often than not, people turn to perfectionism to try to fix the perceived flaws that lead to worth dysmorphia.

Tune in this week to see if you might be struggling with worth dysmorphia. I’m sharing how this might be showing up in your life, how it relates to perfectionism, and I’m giving you three amazing ways to deal with worth dysmorphia, so you can intentionally decide you are good enough, whatever that looks like for you.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What worth dysmorphia is and why so many people struggle with it.
  • Why we turn toward perfectionism to address our lack of self-worth.
  • How to get clear on your own self-worth and where you might be struggling with worth dysmorphia.
  • What changes when you intentionally build belief in your worthiness.
  • Why worthiness and enoughness are 100% subjective and arbitrary.
  • How to define what enough or worthiness actually means to you.
  • 3 ways to establish self-worth and belief in your enoughness, so you can start to overcome worth dysmorphia.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 25. Today, we’re talking all about worth dysmorphia. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hi, my friends. How are we doing today? Greetings from Miami. I just got down to Florida, I’m going to be here for about 10 days, and I’m having some fun in the sun before I head to my mastermind with my business coach.  Myself and some of my best coach friends are down here soaking up the sun in South Beach having a great time. 

I hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer before we kick into fall. I know I am. I’m super excited for the next couple of days to just relax with some of my peers. Then I’m going to go soak up all the goodness with my business coach, learn all the things and work on scaling my business. Which also gets me super excited for the next round of my mastermind, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Doors to that, are going to be opening up in November, and I cannot wait. I’m so excited for the next live event with that mastermind. 

Just like the mastermind I’m in with my business coach, Stacey Boehman, I also host an in-person live event every six months. Which is, so amazing because it really creates this sense of community among the members, you get to meet everyone in person. You’re in an immersive environment, which I love. I think you either are a conference person or you’re not a conference person, and I definitely am.

I have gone to Tony Robbins events before. I love being in person with my coaches, Brooke Castillo, and Stacey. It’s just so neat to be able to be there. You’re really all in. You’re learning hours and hours a day. And then, there’s all the amazing side conversations in the morning, at lunch, at night. I can’t wait for mine.

Then I can’t wait for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind event, in a couple months. Doors open to that in November, and the next live event is going to be in the very beginning of February. If you are interested in joining, make sure you mark your calendars so you can apply when doors open up.

All right let’s dive into today’s topic. We’re continuing along with the topic of perfectionism. It’s one of the three P’s; people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. I talked in the last episode about what perfectionism looks like in your life.

What does it appear to be in practice? How do you spot it? How can you recognize when you’re in a perfectionistic pattern, in order to interrupt it? So, I gave you lots of intel, for you to be able to spot that when you’re indulging in perfectionism yourself.

But now we want to talk about the solutions to overcoming perfectionism. I decided to break this up into two separate episodes. I’m going to give you some more tactics to apply, in the next episode. Today, I wanted to talk to you about “worth dysmorphia”, which is a term that I coined, and it’s inspired by body dysmorphia.

Now, this isn’t to make light of that, at all. Body dysmorphia is considered a mental illness. It’s where you have an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in your appearance. Oftentimes, it is either minor or imagined; you think that you look different than you are. You think that you’re less attractive than what you actually appear to be.

I was thinking of that concept. I see that come up all the time, when it comes to self-worth, as well. People have a perception that they are less worthy, or that they are not good enough. Again, this can be obsessive, where we’re constantly indulging in perfectionism, in order to fix this perceived flaw, even though it’s not really there. I was thinking about this, and oftentimes, when I ask clients about how they perceive themselves and their self-worth, they tell me, “I just don’t feel good enough.”

I recently had a conversation with a client of mine, she’s actually a member of the mastermind. We were talking about self-worth, and she said that exact thing to me. She said, “Olivia, you know, I just constantly feel like I’m not enough. Like, I’m not good enough. Like, I’m not worthy enough.”  I asked her, “Hey, you know, what is that based on?” She said, “Really, honestly, I don’t know, kind of nothing.”

I tend to find that this is very common. People have this perception that they’re not good enough. It’s really based on absolutely nothing. There’s no substance there. I always like to say, “There’s no there, there.” Just like body dysmorphia, where someone can be very physically attractive, they just don’t see it themselves when they look in the mirror. They perceive their body to be different than it is. They perceive their self-worth to be different than it is.

Before we talk about how to overcome worth dysmorphia, and to establish self-worth and belief in your worthiness, in your enoughness, I just want to do a quick check in with you. Do you think that you are enough? When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Do you think you’re good enough? Do you think you’re worthy enough?

Maybe you’re struggling to answer that in a yes or no capacity. If that’s the case, if it’s kind of a question mark for you, use a 1-10 scale. You guys know I love a good 1-10 scale; it helps flush out where our beliefs lie, a little bit more. On a scale of 1-10, do you think that you are enough? On a scale of 1-10, do you think you’re good enough? Do you think you’re worthy enough? You can break it down into those three questions. 

There are a lot of other ‘enoughs’ that we talk about. I did a whole episode on this, on defining enough. Do you think you’re smart enough? Do you think you’re capable enough? Do you think you’re productive enough? Efficient enough? Those are a little bit more specific, though, and contextualized.

I really want to focus, for the purposes of this episode, on do you just think you are categorically “enough?” You guys can’t see me, but I’m using air quotes. Do you think you are enough? See what answer you come up with. Maybe you’re a five, maybe you’re a two, maybe you’re an eight, maybe you’re a ten? If you’re a ten, amazing? I love that. But you want to check in with yourself and see where you’re at. 

Then, whenever you come up with your rating, you want to ask yourself; what are your reasons for it being the number that you chose? And come up with all of those, list them out so you know what it’s based on. If your numbers, for each of these ratings, are kind of low and then you find that, like my client, it’s based on nothing, you just want to take note of that.

If that’s the case, you may be suffering from worth dysmorphia; where your sense of yourself isn’t based on reality, it’s just an altered perception. It’s a perceived flaw based on nothing; just this human phenomenon where we perceive ourselves to be less worthy than we actually are.

The good news there, is that when it’s based on nothing, you can just believe the opposite. I know that sounds kind of pie-in-the-sky, but it brings me to the three categories that I want to talk to you about today. These are the three ways that you can work through worth dysmorphia, and establish a self-worth practice where you’re building, actively, belief in your worthiness.

You get three options, when it comes to self-worth. Technically four, but I absolutely hate the fourth one. I’m going to give that one to you at the end, and it’s what you’re already engaged in. I’ll explain it in a second. But the first option, when it comes to your self-worth, is that you can just opt out of this concept altogether. You can do what I call, ‘unsubscribing from it’.

There are a lot of concepts in my life that I have unsubscribed from; I have unsubscribed from feeling shameful about myself. I don’t think there’s any purpose; I don’t think shame ever serves us in any way. You can just opt out of that entirely. If you don’t think the thoughts that cause you to feel shame, you won’t experience shame.

I’ve also opted out of regret, I’m just not here for it. I always think that you learn from your experiences, and you probably made the decisions that you made based on a reason. If you course correct afterwards, you realize that it didn’t serve you or you didn’t like the outcome, that’s fine. But there really is no purpose in indulging in the concept of regret; that you chose wrong. You chose whatever you chose for a reason.

I’ve also unsubscribed from failure. It’s just not something that I believe you can do anymore. I really believe that you’re always just winning or learning.  If you don’t quit, you can’t ever fail. That’s another concept that I’ve unsubscribed from. There are quite a few of them, those are just like my top hits. 

Self-worth is another one that I’m adding to my own list. I’ve really thought a lot about this, since having this conversation with my client, where she raised this issue of self-worth. Saying, “I really don’t believe that I’m enough.” I asked her what is it based on, and she said, “Nothing.” 

I got off our call, and this just kept running through my mind over and over and over again. This concept that so many people are going through their lives believing that they’re not enough, based on nothing. The next question that entered my mind was enough to whom? Because not everyone’s going to agree on what good enough is, what worthy enough is, what enoughness constitutes. We’re all going to have our own definitions.

Moreover, we really don’t even have definitions for these words. We just use them very ambiguously, very loosely, very amorphously. When we do that, we’re constantly chasing a horizon of enoughness. Feeling like we’re missing the mark, feeling like we’re not there, that we haven’t arrived yet. But we don’t even know where we’re trying to go, because we don’t have definitions for these terms.

If that’s you, which it likely is, because it’s most people, I just want to turn you on to the concept that enoughness is kind of bullshit. It’s really arbitrary. It’s completely subjective, no one’s going to agree on what it means; no one ever really takes the time to define it anyways. This whole thing that we’re striving for to begin with, we’re so eager to reach this destination, to reach this endpoint, this enoughness, it really doesn’t exist.

You get to buy into this concept with me. By buying into it, I don’t mean the concept of enoughness, I mean, buying into the concept that there is no such thing as enoughness. That it’s arbitrary, it’s totally subjective, it’s just, ultimately, BS, utter BS.  That’s what I’ve chosen to opt into. That’s what I’ve chosen to subscribe to.

That’s the first option when it comes to worth dysmorphia, and deciding what you want to do about your own self-worth. I’m just like, this whole concept is garbage. It’s not a thing, it really doesn’t exist. It’s totally arbitrary. Unsubscribed.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can take option number two, when it comes to self-worth. Which is, you can just decide that you are worthy. That you are enough, right now. You don’t have to do anything differently. You are currently enough. People might be tempted to be like, “Olivia, that is so pie in the sky. What are you talking about? You can’t just decide.”

Honestly, you’re already doing this, but you’re just doing it in the negative, right? You are believing that you’re not enough, that you’re not worthy, that you’re not good enough, also based on nothing. So, just do the opposite. Also, based on nothing. If you want, you can sit here and come up with a long list of reasons why you currently are good enough, make the argument. You’re an attorney, put that attorney hat on and argue your point that you are enough.

If you do that, if you tell your brain what evidence to look for, it’ll go out and find it. When you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, it also goes out and finds evidence of that. You want to make sure you are directing your brain here, and telling it what evidence to search for. But with this being said, you literally just get to decide that you are currently enough.

I was thinking about this. It’s kind of like when we’re kids, and we think adults have it all figured out. We think that they really have their shit together. Then we become them, and we realize how mistaken we were. We realized that; oh, everyone’s kind of just figuring this out as they go along. No one really has it dialed in and figured out, in the way that we may have thought.

Because of that, sometimes we find ourselves a little underwhelmed at what the adult experience is like, or by what the adult experiences like. We’re like, “Oh, I thought it was going to be a little bit more majestic than this. I thought it was going to be a little bit more grandiose.” And, it’s not. We’re just figuring it out as we go along. We may have thought that it was going to be a little bit more put together, a little bit more perfect than it is. 

The same thing can be true for ourselves. We may have thought that ‘good enough’ was going to be a little bit more grandiose than it is. We may have thought it was going to look different, just like you thought adult life was going to look a little bit different than it is in practice. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not an adult, just like it doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough.

You can decide that you are good enough, that you are currently living in the land of enoughness, and it’s just a little underwhelming. It’s just a little less grandiose than you expected it to be, but nothing’s gone wrong. You can just decide that this is what it is. It looks a little bit different than you thought it was going to look like, but this is what it is. This is enough. You currently are it. Nothing needs to change; you don’t need to do anything different. You’ve already arrived, you’ve reached the destination.

So, that’s the second option. First one, is you can just totally unsubscribe, opt out of enoughness altogether. It’s total BS. Second, is you can decide that you already are enough. That this is what it looks like; you’ve arrived. You’re here, this is what it is. The third option, which I think is my least favorite, among the three. It’s not my least favorite of the four, which we’ll talk about in a second. But it’s my least favorite of the three.

If you really want to subscribe to this concept of enoughness, and you’re also really beholden to continue believing that you are currently not enough, then here’s what I want you to do. I want you to define “enough”, very concretely. I want you to define it in an objective manner, where I’d be able to come into your life with a clipboard, and decide whether you’ve reached your definition, your standard of enoughness. I’d be able to check the boxes to see if you qualify or not.

So, you want to make sure your enoughness standard is objective. And then also, attainable. Those are the two qualities you want your definition to meet: objective and attainable. Then when you have this objective, attainable standard, you’ll then have a clear path for how to qualify for that enoughness. For you to eventually become enough, for you to arrive there.  You can begin to work towards that.

Now, this may be hard for you, because enoughness tends to be so amorphous, it’s hard to articulate. But I really want to encourage you to try. Try to articulate it. Try to come up with that objective, attainable standard, and then begin working towards it. So, you can get to the destination of enoughness. So, you can feel that you’re good enough, worthy enough, just all around enough.

Now, those are the three options, that I like, when it comes to enoughness and self-worth. The fourth option is to keep doing what you’re currently doing. Which is, believing that you’re not good enough, not worthy enough, that you’re not enough generally.

And to have a really amorphous, ambiguous standard, that you don’t really understand, so you have no idea how to work towards it.  And, you just keep indulging in this worth dysmorphia. Thinking that you’re not enough, not worthy enough and feeling inadequate as a result, but having no clear path on how to get out of that shitty situation.

That’s option number four. If that’s what you’re doing right now, I want you to, you know, establish some grace with yourself and don’t beat yourself up. I think a lot of people are out in the world doing exactly the same thing, indulging in this worth dysmorphia. But you get to stop anytime you want. You get to choose one of the other three options, that I’ve laid out for you today.

Now, why is this so important in the context of perfectionism? When you indulge in perfectionism, you’re doing it because you think you need to be different than you are, in order to be worthy, in order to be enough. So, you keep chasing that horizon. The chase is your perfectionism in practice. You keep striving for more, because you believe that when you’re just better, when you’re just more perfect, then you’ll finally be good enough.

In order to put down the perfectionism, in order to put a pin in it, once and for all, you have to believe that you’re already enough. Otherwise, you’re constantly just going to be striving for that perfect, for that better, for that best, you’ll keep chasing. That chase is really exhausting, and it also doesn’t feel good, right?

You feel unworthy, you feel insufficient and inadequate in the process, as you’re chasing that standard, that elusive standard of enoughness. These two things go hand-in-hand: We have to solve for the self-worth issue, in order to solve for the perfectionism issue. When you believe that you’re good enough, you’re worthy enough, you’re just good, old fashioned enough, you get to stop indulging in perfectionism.

That’s the goal, for all the reasons I discussed in the last episode. Perfectionism is really a drain emotionally, mentally, taxing on your time, all of the above. It really does not serve you, and it keeps you from accomplishing those big lofty, amazing goals that you set for yourself because we quit.

We give up, we start and then stop, we don’t follow through, we don’t stick with things, we procrastinate. Because of perfectionism. There are all of these problems that our perfectionism causes, so we want to solve for it. Okay, my friends. That is what I have for you today.

I want you to check in with yourself. Are you suffering from worth dysmorphia? If you are, ask yourself why? You’re probably not going to have a good reason, just like most of my clients don’t have a good reason. Then, I want you to make a decision: Pick one of the three options that I laid out for you.

Choose them, in order to work on your self-concept, your worthiness, your self-worth. And then from there, it’ll put you in a better position to implement the tactics, that I’m going to talk about in the next episode, on how to overcome your perfectionism. The daily little tips and tricks that you can utilize in order to get out of this habit.

All right, my friends. Have a beautiful week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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Episode 24: Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the second of the three P’s I’m covering in this three-part series, and it’s a big one. Some people don’t even realize they’re perfectionists, which makes it impossible to see how their perfectionist tendencies are negatively impacting their lives. They think that because they aren’t perfect, they aren’t a perfectionist.

Newsflash: no one is perfect. But even knowing this intellectually doesn’t stop people from striving for perfection. You might also think all perfectionists are very Type-A, organized, punctual, orderly, and obsessive. But that’s another common thought error. So, if you’re ready to unlearn everything you thought you knew about perfectionism, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover why perfectionism isn’t all that it seems. I’m sharing how perfectionism might be showing up in your life, personally and professionally, and how you can get clear on the reasons why you struggle in this area, so you can start doing the work of overcoming your perfectionism.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you might be a perfectionist, even if you don’t see how right now.
  • The common threads I see running through my clients who struggle with perfectionism.
  • Some of the myths I come across people believing about perfectionism.
  • The different forms perfectionism takes and how to see where perfectionism is having a negative impact in your life.
  • Why addressing your perfectionism doesn’t mean you start settling for less and stop up-levelling.
  • How to spot perfectionism showing up in real-time, so you can start addressing it in the moment.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 24. We’re talking all about perfectionism. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hi, my friends, how are we doing today? I hope all is going well in your neck of the woods. Things are pretty exciting over here. I am getting ready to go on a pretty lengthy trip, some for pleasure, some for work, down to Florida.

I’m going to be in Miami with some friends. And then, I’m going to Orlando for my mastermind with my business coach. I’ll be there, at the Four Seasons, for about a week. So, I’m super excited. That’s right around the bend. I’m getting ready for that trip over the course of the next couple of days, and it’ll be hot down there. But I like summer. So, I am looking forward to it. I hope you have something that you’re looking forward to.

Another thing that I’m looking forward to is the topic that I’m going to be talking to you about today, and that is perfectionism. This is the second segment of this essentially three-part series on the three P’s, the main problems that my clients struggle with: people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination.

So, in the past few episodes, I talked about the essential qualities or skills you need to have, that you want to have as a foundation as we go into covering these topics. Which was, to make sure that you’re resourceful, patient, and coachable.

And once we covered that, I started to dive in to the first P, which was people-pleasing. And I went through why you do it, why it’s a problem, and how to stop. We also talked about how to set and honor boundaries, as a way to get around people-pleasing and guard yourself against doing it.

Now we’re going to move into talking about perfectionism. And specifically in this episode, I’m going to cover this in two parts, sort of like I did with people pleasing. In this episode, we’re going to talk about what it is, why you struggle with it, what it looks like in practice. So, you can get clear on whether or not you are a perfectionist, and how your perfectionism may be negatively impacting your life.

Then in the next episode, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to overcome it. All right, so let’s dive in. What is perfectionism? And, do you struggle with it? Perfectionism is one of the most common characteristics I see with my clients. Which is why it’s one of the three P’s that I’m talking about in this series.

Now, people often think they aren’t perfectionists because they aren’t perfect. And newsflash, you guys, no one is perfect. So, being imperfect doesn’t mean that you’re not a perfectionist. And I’m going to repeat this one more time, because I really want you to hear me on this. Absolutely no one is perfect. And I think people can say that they understand this on an intellectual level.

And I have a good friend, she’s also a life coach, her name’s Jenn Deal. She always says that if you say you get something intellectually, you don’t actually get it. Because you’re essentially saying, “No, no, no, I get it intellectually. But in practice, in application, it doesn’t really make sense to me.”

We see that all the time with things like; we’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. People will say to me, “Olivia, I get that intellectually, but like in this specific instance, I really feel like I’m the cause of their disappointment.” Which really just means that you don’t believe the concept, and you don’t get it.

All right. So, the same thing is true with perfectionism. People will often say to me, “No, no, I understand. There’s really no such thing as being perfect,” and yet, in practice, they’re constantly striving for it. Now, if you find yourself constantly striving to be perfect, I just want to offer you this reminder. It’s not attainable; there is no such thing as it. No one is perfect.

All right, so all perfectionists are imperfect. Even the ones who might think that they’re perfect; but I haven’t met anyone who thinks that they are. But all perfectionists are imperfect, yet they’re striving for perfection. So, if you think; oh, I’m not a perfectionist, because I’m imperfect. Guess what? That means that you can still be a perfectionist, right? Every perfectionist is imperfect because no one’s perfect.

Now, a lot of people think that perfectionism looks like being someone who’s type A; very organized, does everything ahead of time in a very orderly manner, and obsesses over something, and is generally error-free, with a lot of the stuff that they do. Again, no one is perfect. So, it’s just a perception that someone is error-free because no one is error-free all the time.

But a lot of people think that that is what perfectionism looks like, or is. That it’s being very type A. And yes, perfectionism can look like that. It can look like those type A tendencies, control freaks, people that obsess over things, and put a ton of extra thought, maybe more than is necessary, into whatever it is that they’re doing. That is perfectionism.

But it’s not the only kind. There are other options. So, a lot of people, in fact, I’ll go as far to say most people who are perfectionist aren’t type A. Instead, they look like the opposite. They’re procrastinators. They’re messy. They’re disorganized. They have a lot of clutter.

They tend to start and stop things. They have a lot of unfinished projects. They struggle with following through. They tend to not be someone who follows through. They quit the things that they start, and they engage in a lot of avoidant behavior and ignore things. All right.

Those are all symptoms of perfectionism, too. And I’m going to explain why that is in a second. But first, I want to get even more clear on what perfectionism is. It’s generally described as an extreme and obsessive striving for perfection. And I hate a definition that uses the word in the definition. So, I’m going to flesh this out a little bit more.

Perfectionists are often people who hold themselves to impossibly high standards. And, “impossible” is really the key word there. They often think that what they do is never good enough. They have this belief that things can always be better. And in addition to that, because I’m someone who also believes that things can always be better. All right? But perfectionists, more than anything, think things should be better. All right?

And that’s the difference here, the use of the word “should’. It’s one thing to believe that things could always be better, because there probably always is room for improvement. That’s part of the human condition, I believe.

But that being said, there’s a difference if you think things should be better. That there’s a problem right now because they aren’t as good as they could be. So, perfectionists fall into that camp; they think things should be better, and that things aren’t good right now, because they aren’t as good as they could be.

If you’re like me, you will have the belief that things can always be better. But you work hard to find sufficiency in the present moment, in the status quo, as well. So, both things get to be true. Right now, can be good enough and there can be room for improvement. There can be sufficiency in what you have right now and your current results, and things can be a little bit better. Rather than, things not being better in the moment being a problem. All right?

So again, this perfectionist tendency is different than having a simple desire to improve and up-level. You’re sort of interested in up-leveling, not because you feel badly now, but just because it’s a fun process; always improving, always pursuing something new, something greater than what you’re doing.

You’re doing it to have more fun. And really see what’s possible for your life, versus believing that you’re currently inadequate and unworthy as you are right now. And believing that you have to improve and be better, in order to be enough. Right? The status quo is insufficient, simply because there’s room for improvement.

Now, another caveat here about people that may not identify as perfectionists, a lot of people may not use the word perfect to describe what they are striving for. And I think that’s a workaround because a lot of us, like I said earlier, have this general understanding that perfection isn’t attainable, so they swap out the word perfect and use something else.

They’ll oftentimes use terms like, I just want to do the best job. And if you can explain to me the difference between best and perfect, I challenge you to. Every time my clients use that standard, what they tend to mean is this unachievable standard of perfection, right? It’s not possible to ever get there, but they’re constantly striving for the best.

Best, then becomes synonymous with perfect. If you don’t use best, you may use better, but not be able to articulate a clearly defined standard for what you mean by better. Or, you want to be more of something or less of something, but you really don’t have a clearly articulated standard for what that looks like in practice.

So, this may be you. You may be using terms like best, better, more, or less, without any understanding of how you would actually get to those finish lines, and really no clear understanding of what that would even look like, once you’re there. Right? And I talked about that in a previous episode when I talked about defining “enough”.

So, if this is you, you want to be on the lookout for it, how it shows up in your life, and what it feels like when you’re striving for something that you haven’t defined, that is really ambiguous, and oftentimes unattainable.

Now, a lot of perfectionists like to tell themselves that they’re only perfectionistic in one area, or a select few areas of their lives. And that tends to be really unlikely and very uncommon. Instead, what I find is that if it shows up in one area, it probably shows up in most, if not all areas of your life.

 And this is because how we do one thing tends to be how we do everything. So, if you’re a perfectionist with things at work, you’re probably a perfectionist when it comes to things in your personal life; your personal space, how you show up in your roles as a friend, as a spouse, as a sister, as a parent, in addition to in your work roles.

You also probably have really high standards for the people in your lives. It’s really likely that you impute your perfectionism, onto the relationships that you have in your life.

So again, if you’re someone who tells yourself, “Oh, I’m only a perfectionist in this one limited area,” I just want to challenge you, be on the lookout for how perfectionism may be showing up in other areas of your life. You just may not be very aware of it, but we want to create that awareness.

Now, I want to give you some examples of what perfectionism looks like in practice, so you can spot it yourself, in the event that you aren’t quite convinced that you are a perfectionist. And I’ve said this a million times, but I’m going to say it again, it’s so important to know what to look for and become aware of your habits.

Because awareness, you guys, is really everything. It is necessary to creating any change; you can’t change what you don’t understand. So, I’m going to give you some examples. So, you’re more easily able to spot perfectionism coming up in your life, so you can change it.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Wait a second, Olivia. Why would I want to not be a perfectionist? Being a perfectionist is a good thing.” And, you might be thinking that sounds crazy. But believe it or not, some people still see being a perfectionist as a positive attribute versus an albatross. Alright?

And if this is you, I just want to offer you, being a perfectionist is not a good character trait. And you’re going to see why, as I go through the list of ways, perfectionism may be coming up for you, what it looks like in practice, all right? But I assure you, it’s not something that you want to strive for.

So, let’s create some awareness so we can spot it, and then you can change it. Alright, first things first: If you often believe that nothing is ever good enough, that’s going to be perfectionism. All right? You are never satisfied with any success that you amass. There’s always more room for improvement. And, you feel really awful because of that.

You’re rarely content with the status quo, and you just want to keep constantly getting better at things. So, when you’re doing this, when success is never enough and you’re constantly moving the goalposts, you end up being constantly dissatisfied.

You also tend to engage in quite a bit of compare and despair. You may feel jealous or envious, when you’re comparing yourself against other people and the results that they have. You may feel really inadequate or discontent with your current results. Nothing is ever good enough, right?

You also might feel ashamed and embarrassed about the current results that you have, because you believe that they’re not good enough. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re also probably very concerned with the end result of what you do. You care very little about what happens in between, any of the wins you have along the way, any progress you make that doesn’t involve getting the end desired result, that you set out to create. All right?

So, you really minimize any small wins or incremental progress along the way, you’re only concerned with that ultimate end goal, that end outcome. And you’ll feel really annoyed or devastated, or disgusted or disappointed, if you don’t achieve that end result. Even if you made some really great progress along the way.

You often become depressed when you don’t achieve your goals. So, you really dwell and indulge in maybe self-pity, or self-punishment, right? You’ll constantly spin over what went wrong. And ask yourself questions like; if I had done something differently, could it have come out a different way? And you’ll really engage in this spin cycle, right? Feeling like; If only I had done something different, it would have come out perfectly. Which is just a really inefficient use of your time. All right?

If you’re a perfectionist, you probably also feel like you’re under a constant state of pressure. There’s no room for mistakes. Mistakes are going to be the worst-case scenario for you. And when you see an error, on the front end, you’re going to be the first person to jump in, fix it, correct it, because you want to make sure there are no mistakes.

And you probably, in the event that you do incur a mistake, you probably feel extremely embarrassed or ashamed when you do something imperfectly, especially when other people see it. So, mistakes are really the worst-case scenario for you.

Not only, as a perfectionist, do not tolerate mistakes, you typically also tend to be pretty intolerant of things being done in a manner that’s different from how you think they should be done. So, you’ll be very critical of yourself and other people, if anything gets accomplished in a way different from how you think it should have been accomplished.

This normally impacts your ability to effectively delegate and productively work with other people, because you’re really controlling over the ‘how’. Even though you’re concerned with the end result, you’re also concerned with the process, not in the positive way to celebrate any progress or small incremental wins. But in a negative way, where you’re hypercritical and really controlling and micromanaging, believing that it has to be done a specific certain way, otherwise it’s unacceptable.

And because of this, people probably don’t love working with you, right? Because you’re really hyper concerned with how things are done, rather than just getting an outcome that is sufficient and acceptable. So, a lot of people may find it hard to work with you, hard to be supervised by you, any of those things. And obviously, that’s not good for your long-term success, right? Long-term success normally relies on teamwork, and being able to delegate, and being able to supervise in an effective and efficient manner.

Being a perfectionist normally really encumbers your ability to do that. Speaking of mistakes, you probably, as a perfectionist, constantly spot mistakes, even when other people don’t see any. And, this is going to come out in a couple different ways. When you spot them, if they’re your mistakes, you’re going to really bully yourself and beat yourself up when you see them.

You’re also constantly going to be concerned about other people’s opinions of you; you’re going to be worried about their opinions. And, do they think that you made a mistake? Do they think you did something perfectly or imperfectly? You’re going to be really hyper concerned with that.

You’re also likely to be hypercritical of other people. So, other people might not see any issue with what they’ve done, but you’re taking issue with it. And again, it’s really going to erode your relationships with people; it’s not going to lead to anything good.

You probably also can’t take a compliment if you’re a perfectionist because you’re always finding flaws in your work. It’s never quite good enough, you always think that it could be better. So, you’re not able to accept a compliment when it’s given to you, and you can’t celebrate your successes.

Whether other people are celebrating you, you often downplay it, and you really never give yourself permission to celebrate yourself. All right? Because again, because there’s room for improvement, it means what you’ve currently done is inadequate, insufficient, and just not good enough.

Now, if you’re a perfectionist, you probably also struggle with completing things. And, that’s going to show up in a couple of different ways. Number one, you probably spend way too much time trying to get something to be perfect. It’s not uncommon for you to sacrifice sleep, personal time, and your well-being just to bring your work to an even higher level, even if it’s not necessary.

And you often will probably do this, despite there being a diminishing return on your investment of time. So, even if something only gets 1% better, you’re willing to invest a lot of time into achieving that 1% increase, right? Even though it may be nonsensical; it might not make sense based on everything you have to do on your to-do list. And this may put you further behind.

You will also struggle to complete things because you will feel unmotivated to even get started, and procrastinate on the front end. And normally, this is because on the front end, you’re telling yourself the work you do isn’t going to be good enough, it’s going to be inadequate.

And, that is really an unmotivated thought pattern, right? You’re going to feel discouraged, and defeated, and inadequate on the front end. And that’s not going to drive you to take massive action. You’re likely going to slip into really avoidant patterns.

If you do get started, you also may struggle to complete things because you interrupt yourself along the way. Because when you’re thinking what you’re doing isn’t good enough and that it could be better, and feeling inadequate because you’re thinking about your work product in this way, or whatever you’re doing, not just work. This could go for completing a project within your house, that has nothing to do with work.

Whatever it is that you’re working on, you may start and stop a bunch of times, constantly interrupting yourself because you’re feeling like it’s not good enough. So, it’s really hard to maintain momentum. It’s like why bother, or you’re afraid of being judged on the work that you do. So, you keep stopping; it’s really hard for you to get to the finish line.

There’s also a really insidious way that procrastination and perfectionism are tied together here. Not only do you avoid getting started and finishing something because you’re afraid of doing it badly, but your procrastination also gives you an escape hatch from ever being judged on your best work.

So, what this looks like in practice is, you’ll wait to the last minute because you’re worried that you’re not going to do something good enough. And then, finally, when the fear of not doing the thing starts to outweigh your fear of doing it poorly, you get started.

And again, this is tied with procrastination and perfectionism, because then you create an escape hatch where you’re never being judged on your best work. Something might not be that great, it might be imperfect, but it’s not because you weren’t capable of doing a perfect job or a “good enough” job. It’s simply because you didn’t give yourself enough time.

So, procrastination is a scapegoat here, it helps you avoid ever being judged on your best work product. If you had all the time in the world, of course, it could have been way better. That’s never actually happening.

You’re never being judged on work that you had all the time in the world to complete, because you purposely, even if it’s happening subconsciously or unconsciously, you waited to the last minute and then created a scenario where you put out B+ or maybe B- or A- work.

And of course, people aren’t happy with it, but it’s not because you do poor work, in and of itself. It’s just because you waited to the last minute, because you’re bad with time management, and you didn’t give yourself enough time. Had you had enough time, it would have been way better, because you’re really capable. You’re not imperfect; you’re not flawed, right?

That’s the narrative that people will tell themselves. And, that’s how procrastination helps people avoid feeling inadequate and avoid feeling imperfect. So, the two are tied together. It’s really insidious, and it’s a little circular, but they really work together to protect you. Even though they ultimately lead to a lot of self-sabotage, overwhelm, stress, feelings of inadequacy anyways, and really don’t create anything good, as far as your goals are concerned. But that being said, it is still protectionist.

Alright, other examples of perfectionism. If you’re a perfectionist, you probably don’t like to do new things. I used to have that self-concept. I used to tell myself all the time, that I hated doing things that I wasn’t good at. And, I kind of was proud of that for a really long time. Like, oh, I only like doing things I’m good at. I only like doing things I’m good at. And yeah, does it feel great do things that you’re already good at? Of course, it does.

But what I realized in my late 20’s, was that if I was always going to identify as that person, who only liked doing things they were already good at, that the rest of my life was probably going to be pretty boring. Because that means from my late 20’s, on, I wasn’t going to try anything new.

Because if you try something new, you have to risk not being good at it in the beginning. And the chances are, you likely won’t be good at it in the beginning. You’re probably going to have to learn how to do new things. And there’s so many benefits to learning how to do new things; the personal growth, you get new skills, you get new hobbies, you have a more dynamic, robust life. So many good reasons why you want to get outside of your comfort zone and try new things, right.

But if you’re a perfectionist, that’s going to be really uncomfortable for you. Because in the beginning, you have to do something imperfectly. So, that may be something that you encounter in your life; you don’t like to do new things, because you’re not inherently good at them.

If you’re a perfectionist, you probably also have a habit of creating unrealistic goals. All right? Really elaborate plans that are totally undoable, super unrealistic, and then you never complete them; you never keep them, you don’t stick to them, you don’t implement them, you don’t get to the finish line.

Sometimes these elaborate plans look like trying to do everything all at once, when clearly, that is just not possible. We see this oftentimes, around New Year’s resolution time, when people set all these lofty plans, all these unrealistic goals, and they try and do everything all at once, experience all this change, all this transformation, and it’s just too heavy of a lift. So, they fail, right?

Or, people will make really elaborate plans and unrealistic goals, and just never get started. Because they’re so heavy, and they’re so unrealistic. And they would take so much effort to achieve, that it’s really hard to get yourself in the position, in the mindset, to even start to take action.

It’s like, why would I get started? Because deep down, I know that this isn’t going to be achievable. It’s not going to be possible for me to accomplish this end result. So, people will create these unrealistic plans and goals and never get started.

Or, you’ll start, and you’ll have one setback, one hiccup, things don’t go smoothly, and then you give up very quickly. All right? These are hallmarks of perfectionism. You engage in really fanciful fantasy planning and goal setting, and you really never have any intention of following through with it.

It sounds great, but if you had to rate on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely you are to actually complete this “unrealistic, lofty” goal, you’re going to rate that very low. Probably like a one or two, even a five. I like to say, if you can’t rate your goal, or plan an eight or higher, that you’re likely to complete it, follow through and accomplish it, you’re probably engaging in a little bit of perfectionist fantasies, okay.

I also see this as being super common with perfectionist; they have a lot of “tomorrow” thinking. And, “perfectionist fantasies” and “tomorrow thinking” were two terms coined by another life coach I know. Also, a former lawyer, her name is Kara Loewentheil. And I love those terms, they’re so perfect at describing, no pun intended there, but they’re really great at describing what this phenomenon looks like in practice, right?

You come up with a complete fantasy goal, that you’re never going to follow through on. And then you tell yourself, “I’m going to get started tomorrow.” And we normally do this because we love the idea of a fresh, perfect start. Can’t start today because today’s already imperfect. We’re already in the middle of things. And we want that clean, fresh start.

So, we’re constantly putting off getting started, in order to start perfectly. You’ll also see this if you think that there’s a right moment to do something. You’re constantly waiting for that right moment to work on your goals. So, you’ve got to start on Monday.

I used to do this with time management, I’d procrastinate because I would want to start at the beginning of the hour. I’ll get started in five minutes, at 10 o’clock. And then, it would be 10:01, and I’d need to wait to 10:30 or 11:00. That’s total perfectionism coming up, you’re waiting for the right time. You think that there’s a best time to get started.

And you only want to start when you’re “ready”, so you can deliver your best quality of work. So, if you’re really obsessed with starting when you feel ready, you’re probably indulging in perfectionism. Because the state of readiness really never seems to come. Right?

Readiness is just a figment of your imagination. I tend to think that we’re never ready. We just have to get started, even while we feel unready. And if you’re obsessed with starting at the right moment, or starting when you feel ready, you end up just perpetually waiting. And, you never accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

Over time, what planning in these really elaborate, unrealistic ways, that are really just indulgences and fantasy planning, what this ends up doing is it really erodes trust with yourself. And planning and goal setting for you, ultimately, just becomes a futile exercise.

You’ll make a plan knowing you have no intention of sticking with it, because it’s really lofty and unrealistic. And then, you never get started. Maybe you tell yourself, you’re going to start tomorrow. But then, tomorrow never comes; you never do. And, you never go about actually taking action and working towards your goals.

So, you really fall out of integrity with yourself, and erode your self-trust. That’s so detrimental to accomplishing the things in your life that you want to accomplish. You tend to not believe yourself when you say you’re ever going to do something.

When you don’t trust yourself, you really have a low opinion of yourself, and that seeps its way in and further substantiates your sense of inadequacy. And it ultimately leads to, again, a ton of inaction a ton of avoidant behavior, more procrastination, it doesn’t lead to anything good.

Also, with perfectionists, you tend to quit pretty easily when you err. Alright? So, if you quit a lot in your life, it’s probably coming from perfectionism. And you’ll tend to be very all-or-nothing, there is no in between. So, you’ll either do something and stop, if it wasn’t perfect, because it’s not worth it at that point.

Or, if you don’t think you can do it perfectly, you won’t even bother doing it at all. I see this all the time with cleaning, right? You’ll be cluttered or messy because you can’t clean everything all at once, so why bother doing it? Or, people won’t plan their time at all, because if they can’t stick to a schedule perfectly, it’s not worth planning even a little bit. So, it’s very all-or-nothing thinking; everything in between is a no-go.

If you are a perfectionist, you also probably have a really significant fear of failure. Failure is a crippling concept for you. It’s your worst-case scenario. If you’re not a perfectionist, you either are like me, and don’t believe that you can fail.

Because I like to choose to believe you’re always either winning or learning. But if you err or falter or make mistakes along the way, it’s not a problem. It doesn’t mean anything about you. You’re still totally sufficient, adequate, and worthy. It’s just a learning opportunity.

Or, you believe that failure’s no big deal, and it’s just part of the self-improvement process; you’re going to fail, you’re going to win, you’re going to have everything in between, and that it isn’t an issue. You just keep trucking along. All right?

But if you’re a perfectionist, you don’t think in either of those two ways. You have a really significant fear of failure, and you think it’s the worst-case scenario. All right, you can see from these examples, that being a perfectionist really isn’t a good thing. It causes a lot of problems, and a really unpleasant emotional experience.

Not only does it impact your results, at the end of the day, and have you indulging in a lot of procrastination, a lot of inaction, a lot of quitting, a lot of failure ahead of time, because you never get started. But also, it feels really terrible because you’re constantly measuring yourself up against the standard that you can’t meet.

So, it’s a really painful process that you get to totally opt out of if you want to. Now, why do we indulge in perfectionism? I just want to let you know that perfectionist typically strive to be perfect, in part out of fear that they will be judged or exposed or rejected, if they’re not perfect. And they also have a desire to fit in and be accepted.

So, it’s kind of like two different sides of the same coin. And, this is very similar to why we people-please. We want to be accepted by the people in our lives. We want to be part of the group, and perfectionists tend to believe that if they are perfect, they will be accepted. And, if they are imperfect, they will be rejected.

And, this is just a remnant of our primitive conditioning. It’s a survival mechanism. Back in the day, when we were hunters and gatherers, and we survived based on being part of a herd, being part of a group, a tribe, we needed to fit in, we needed to be accepted.

If we were rejected by the group, we wouldn’t make it on our own. And we just haven’t evolved enough to have gotten rid of this primitive conditioning. So nowadays, we still strive to be accepted, we still strive to fit in. And we think that if we’re perfect, that’s a way to accomplish avoiding ever being rejected.

Now, like with most things, nowadays we don’t need to do this to survive, right? But we still use this against ourselves. So, you just want to know your brain indulges in this because it thinks it’s protecting you. But you get to tell yourself; hey, brain, that’s not actually the case. This isn’t serving us any longer. And, you get to put a pin in it. All right?

I have just one more thing that I want to add, before I wrap up this episode. And I’m going to do a whole ‘nother episode, a part two, essentially, on how to overcome perfectionism. So, like I said, this is essentially a two-part episode. But before I leave you today, I just want to say this. I don’t want to leave any confusion.

Perfection is complete and utter bullshit. And I learned this from my one-on-one coach, she specifically asked me this question, when I was talking about perfectionism, she said, “Perfect to who?” And that really was life changing for me because I realized that perfect is completely subjective.

It’s a totally arbitrary standard; no one’s going to agree on what perfect means, what it looks like in practice, how we define it. Everyone’s going to have their own different definition for perfection, which means it’s bullshit; there is no such thing.

So, I just want you to keep that in the back of your mind. If you’ve been someone who strives for perfection, and is constantly trying to get to that unattainable endpoint, I want to turn you on and give you a little time to marinate on the truth of the matter, which is that perfect, and perfection are utter bullshit concepts, right? They’re subjective and arbitrary. There is no such thing.

Now, if you were still on the fence about whether or not you’re a perfectionist, even after me going through giving you all of those examples, here are a couple questions for you to run essentially, your own litmus test on yourself: Do you believe that if you were perfect, you would be happy? And, if maybe you don’t use that word “perfect”, if you were better, that you would be happier, right? Or, you would be more worthy? Or, that you would be enough? Your answer to that question, if you’re a perfectionist, is likely, ‘yes’.

Another question: Do you believe you’re good enough right now? As you are, without needing to change a single thing? If you are a perfectionist, your answer is likely ‘no’. Now, if your answer to that question is ‘no’, I also want you to ask yourself; do you even know what it would look like to be good enough? do you know what that standard is for yourself? The answer to that is probably ‘no’.

And if you can enumerate that standard, which is probably pretty rare, most perfectionist can’t enumerate it, they haven’t defined it; it’s just this really ambiguous concept. But if you have enumerated a standard, is that standard of ‘good enough’ attainable? Again, if you’re a perfectionist, the answer is likely ‘no’.

Now, a couple other ways to identify whether or not you’re a perfectionist. When you make plans, I mentioned this earlier, but when you make plans, if you were to rate the plan, is it highly likely that you will follow through with it or that you will be able to achieve it? If your answer is ‘no’, if you’d normally say that it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll follow through with it or be able to achieve and complete your plan, you’re probably a perfectionist.

I often tell my clients that they want to, instead of striving for perfection, the standard that they want to strive for is like A-, B+ work. One of my coaches often says that you want to be striving for B minus work. And, as a perfectionist who is now in recovery, that still makes me a little queasy.

So, I want you to check-in with yourself, when I tell you that you should be striving for A-, B+ work. If that makes you kind of want to vom, if it makes you a little nauseous, you’re probably a perfectionist.

And, last but not least, if you see small, consistent action as really boring, underwhelming, and pointless, you’re probably a perfectionist who likes to indulge in those elaborate fantasy plans that you’re never going to follow through on. You want it to be all-or-nothing. You want to do all the things at once. And, you’re really underwhelmed by the idea of small baby steps, even though, the truth of the matter, is that is the way you get the furthest the fastest.

All right, my friends, those are some questions for you to marinate on, over the next week. In the next episode, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to overcome your perfectionist tendencies. I can’t wait to dive in to that part of this topic.

And until then, I hope you have a marvelous week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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Episode 23: How to Set & Honor Boundaries

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How To Set & Honor Boundaries

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How To Set & Honor Boundaries

In last week’s episode, I discussed the first of the three P’s: people-pleasing. Now, I was all ready to jump into the other P’s: procrastination and perfectionism, but I realized there was a missing piece to help you understand all of this. None of this work is possible if you can’t set and honor boundaries.

So, what is a boundary and how do they relate to people-pleasing? Boundaries are essentially limits or rules that we set within our relationships to protect or care for ourselves, whether at work or in our personal lives. When you have boundaries, you are clear on what you will and won’t stand for, and what you’re willing to expose yourself to, and we’re diving into all of it today.

Tune in this week to discover how to set and honor boundaries. I’m sharing why boundaries are decisions you make for yourself, rather than manipulating or threatening other people, and I’m showing you how to decide on and uphold the consequences in the event that your boundaries are violated.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why boundaries are always something you set for yourself, not a way of controlling other people’s behavior.
  • Some examples of boundaries and how to structure them.
  • How to communicate your boundaries to other people, while accepting their free will as human beings.
  • The difference between a boundary and a threat.
  • Why you don’t need to explain yourself or communicate your boundaries to anyone else in order to uphold them.
  • How to decide on the consequences you will take if your boundaries are violated.
  • The importance of following through on the consequences you’ve decided to enforce around your boundaries.
  • My step-by-step process for setting boundaries and honoring them every day.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 23. We’re talking all about how to set and honor boundaries. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hey there, how’s it going this week? I hope you are doing so well. I am marvelous over here. I actually have a little bit of a course correction for this episode. I got to thinking, after I recorded the last episode, and I was ready to dive in to one of the next two P’s out of the three P’s, I was going to talk about perfectionism or procrastination.

But then it dawned on me, I was like; whoa, need to slow down. After talking about people-pleasing, and how to stop people-pleasing, I realized now is a perfect time to teach you how to set and honor boundaries, so that’s what I want to talk about today.

What is a boundary, and how do boundaries relate to people-pleasing? Boundaries are essentially limits or rules that we set for ourselves, within our relationships with other people. If you’re thinking about a boundary being an imaginary line, it’s between you and the other person. It delineates where you end, and the other person begins.

Now, boundaries are something that we create, to care for and protect ourselves. The proper way to phrase a boundary, they should always be formatted in the following way; if you do blank, so if another person does a particular action, I will do blank. If you do blank, I will do blank.

If you come over unannounced, I will not answer the door. If you email me after 8pm, I will not respond till the following morning. If you bring up politics, I will end the conversation. Notice the format here; it’s always about what you do, the action you take, after another person does something. It’s not about controlling that person’s behavior.

You always want to make sure that your boundaries take into account the truth, and the reality that other people have free will and they get to exercise it at their leisure. When you have boundaries, you’re clear on what you will and what you won’t stand for, and what you will and what you will not expose yourself to.

Boundaries are always something that you do for you. Again, it’s a way that you take care of yourself. They’re not against anyone else. It’s a manual that you follow yourself; the actions that you take, so you know that when something happens, when a particular set of facts occur, this is what you do to take care of yourself. The consequence of a boundary violation is always an action that you take, it’s not what someone else does.

Now, here are a few things that boundaries can be. A boundary can include a request that you make of someone else to change their behavior. But it doesn’t have to include that request, it just simply can. For instance, if you don’t want to talk politics with a member of your family, you can ask them to not bring up politics when you guys speak.

But again, you want to remember that a boundary always takes into account someone’s free will. Your family members, no matter how many times you ask them not to talk about politics, they get to bring up politics over and over and over again. Your boundary can be that you will not have a conversation with them, that you end the conversation, that you walk away.

Now, you don’t have to make the request, you can simply tell yourself, in your head, that under no uncertain terms will you talk politics with family members. When it happens, you can just change the subject or end of the conversation and walk away. You don’t have to ask them to be any different.

You also don’t have to communicate a boundary. You can communicate it, you can tell the person, to whom it applies, that you’re setting the boundary, but you don’t have to, it’s not required. If you decide to set a boundary at work that you don’t answer emails on the weekend, you don’t need to send an office wide email letting everyone know about your boundary. You can simply just not respond to emails on the weekend.

It may go more smoothly if you’re instituting an abrupt change in your own behavior, because you’re setting a boundary, to communicate it to other people just so everyone’s on the same page. But it’s absolutely not required.

A lot of times also, it doesn’t even make sense for you to communicate it. You know those memes where it’s like: Nobody, and then colon, and then it’s blank? And then, it’s like your behavior, what you’ve been doing. So, it’s like; nobody asks you something, or nobody does anything, and then you do something anyways. That’s kind of what it looks like to communicate a boundary, when maybe the situation doesn’t call for it.

I just want you to notice that you might have a tendency to want to be overly communicative, as far as your boundaries go. Normally, we do that, because we want other people to understand our behavior, to be accepting of it, and to not judge what we do.

If you are okay, feeling misunderstood, which I really think is a superpower for us to practice; allowing other people to misunderstand us, or to not get why we’re doing something and for us to be okay with that. If it doesn’t make sense for you to communicate the boundary, because there hasn’t even been a boundary violation, you don’t have to communicate it. You can, it’s just not required.

Speaking of boundary violations, you can also inform someone when they’ve violated one of your boundaries. But again, you don’t have to. You don’t have to tell people that they violated it, you can simply do whatever the consequence is, which is always the action that you will take when someone violates your boundary. You don’t have to explain yourself, that part is optional.

Now, what is required when you’re setting boundaries? All of your boundaries are going to be about the action that you take when there’s a violation of a boundary that you’ve set. It really is about the consequence that you’re going to enact and follow through with. When you’re setting a boundary, that is required. You want to make sure that you’re following through on what you’ve decided the consequences will be, that you will enforce.

If you set a consequence, and then the boundary violation occurs, and you don’t enforce the consequence, you don’t follow through, you haven’t actually set a boundary. What you’ve simply done is made an idle threat.

And, you make it a lot less likely that people are going to honor your boundaries going forward, because they’ve learned that there’s no consequence that they’re going to suffer if they don’t honor your boundary. So, you make it much less likely that people will honor and respect your boundaries, if you don’t enforce them and stick to the ones that you’ve set.

Now, let’s flesh this out a little bit more: What’s the difference between a boundary and a threat? A threat is always about what you want that person to do, it’s about controlling their behavior. And then, you threaten some negative consequence, in hopes that they’ll change their behavior. Threats and ultimatums are very similar this way.

A boundary isn’t an effort to control someone else’s behavior. It’s just simply always about what you will do for yourself, to care for yourself. If you make a boundary request of someone and they violate your boundary, and you do not follow through on instituting that consequence that you previously decided upon, all you’ve done is make that idle threat.

I want you to remember, that isn’t a boundary. Boundaries aren’t about manipulating someone else’s behavior. Boundaries are not about expecting someone else to change for your sake, to make your life easier, to make your life more comfortable. That’s not what they’re about. Other people don’t have to do anything that you want them to do. They certainly can, and you’re welcome to ask them. But that’s not the point of setting a boundary. Boundaries aren’t intended to control other people’s behavior.

Why are they not intended to control other people’s behavior? Because you simply can’t control other people’s behavior. People, and we can go back and forth on this, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but people have free will. We just have to acknowledge and accept that that is the way the world works; that people have free will and they get to do with it what they want.

You also have free will and you get to do with it what you want. If what you want to do is set an honor a boundary, you’re more than welcome to do it. But we don’t set and honor boundaries, in order to control or manipulate another person. We do it to protect ourselves and to keep ourselves from people-pleasing and doing things we don’t want to do, or putting ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in. It’s always about the action we take to take care of ourselves.

Now, another huge misconception I see when people are setting and honoring boundaries, is that they mistakenly believe that it’s another person’s job to respect their boundaries. People will set a boundary, and then they will think that other people need to respect their boundaries.

That is false. The only person who ever has to respect your boundaries, is you. Why is that? Well, it has the misfortune of being true, because honestly, you’re the only person within your control. If it was someone else’s job to respect your boundaries, and they get to have free will and do whatever they want, chances are, they may not respect your boundaries. It just doesn’t work that way.

The only person who ever needs to respect your boundaries is you, because boundaries are truly about what you will do when someone else takes a certain action, or engages in a certain behavior. Okay? Boundaries are not ultimatums. It’s not about manipulating someone or controlling what they do or don’t do.

They’re also not opportunities to blame other people for your behavior. I see this a lot. People will say, “Well, this person did this. And they’re just forcing me to act this way because of what they did.” No, no, no, that’s not how it works. No one ever forces you to act a certain way.

If you’re saying no to something, or you’re refusing to do something, or you’re taking a particular action, it is not because of another person’s behavior. You’re always exercising a choice. You never have to do anything, you’ve heard me say this before, except eat, breathe, drink some water and sleep sometimes.

No one’s forcing you to do anything. You really want to make sure that you step into emotional adulthood here, and you honor your choice that you’re making. No one’s forcing you to take a particular action. You’re always making a decision and exercising your own free will.

Boundaries also aren’t escape routes. Oftentimes, people will say, “You know what? I’m done with this person. I don’t want to have anything to do with them. I’m cutting them off. I want them out of my life.”  They’re doing this, A, not from a clean space. What I mean by that, is they’re doing it from a highly emotional space, they’re really worked up. And, they’re being a little reactionary, in making that decision to cut someone out of their life.

But they do that rather than going through the trouble of actually creating proper boundaries, and learning how to navigate what may feel like a triggering relationship in their lives. Learning how to set a boundary and honor it and how to take care of themselves, rather than having to go to the extreme end of the spectrum, and just eliminate people entirely.

So, you want to check in with yourself. Are you doing that to avoid having to do the heavier lifting that comes from setting and honoring a boundary? Are you going to that drastic extreme, where you just say, “Absolutely not; I don’t want to deal with this at all?”

Can you cut people out of your life? Sure, you can. That can be a more draconian boundary that you set. But you want to make sure that you like your reasons for doing that, and that maybe you’ve tried a more subtle approach before you get to that extreme outcome.

Maybe that you’ve learned how to set and honor boundaries that make the relationship work. Where you make yourself clear about what you’re looking for in the relationship. You might ask them to do certain things for you. And then, you get to decide what you will do if they don’t follow suit, if they don’t make space and accommodate your request.

But people that trigger us can often be our best teachers. I want you to be careful with how you set boundaries. Ask yourself; have I put in the work yet to make this relationship work for me, in my life? Have I figured out what my own limitations are in this relationship? What would it look like if I believed that we could have a healthy productive relationship, rather than needing to go to this extreme?

Let’s talk about some examples of boundaries. I mentioned this earlier, but I’m just gonna reiterate it. If someone comes over to your house unannounced, and I don’t know if you grew up in a family like I did, but I did not grow up in a ‘drop over whenever you want, without letting anyone know, or without being invited’ kind of family. That was a big no-no, growing up for me.

But I know not everyone is like that. Some people think; oh, it’s no big deal. We’re friends, I’ll drop by whenever. But if you grew up like I did, and that’s not normal, and you don’t really enjoy it, a proper boundary would be; if someone comes over unannounced, I will not answer the door. A boundary is not you telling everyone in your life; do not come over unannounced.

The reason that’s not a boundary is because it doesn’t provide for people to exercise free will. People get to come over unannounced as often as they want, simply because they can come over whenever they choose to. A proper boundary here, is you deciding what you will do if they do it.

This is how boundaries and people-pleasing relate to one another. People-pleasing might be someone coming over unannounced and you answering the door, even though you really don’t want to, because you think that it would be rude if you didn’t, and you’d feel guilty not answering the door. So, you choose to answer it, even though you’d really prefer not to. A proper boundary is how you take care of yourself, if someone doesn’t listen to your request, for them to call before they come over.

Another example of a boundary would be choosing to end a conversation if someone brings up a topic you’re not comfortable talking about. Now, you can communicate this boundary and ask them not to discuss a certain topic ahead of time. But you don’t have to, that part’s optional. But if they bring it up, which they’re able to because again, they have the free will, it’s about what you will do in the event they do bring it up.

I used to date someone, and he always liked to talk to me about politics. Now, we didn’t agree on our political ideologies. It was really a source of tension in our relationship. Finally, one day, I decided to set a boundary in this area; if you bring it up, I will not respond. It wasn’t always easy, but I did start to honor that boundary.

Lo and behold, if you stop talking to someone and you refuse to engage in a conversation, guess what they stop doing? They stop bringing up conversations that you don’t want to talk about. Same thing, if you don’t answer the door every time someone comes over unannounced, chances are they will stop wasting their own time, and coming over unannounced. Because they don’t get what they want, when they do it.

Another really good example, and this is kind of just an everyday example, but this has come up in my personal life, too, boundaries with food. If you have certain things that you’d like to eat, and certain things that you would like to not eat, a proper boundary is what you will do if someone serves something that you will not eat.

You can certainly ask other people to take your dietary preferences into account, but they get to ignore your preferences, and they get to prepare whatever it is that they want to prepare. You can have a boundary that looks like; if you serve pasta, and I’m not eating gluten, or I’m not eating carbs, I will just not eat it.

If you consistently serve something that I’m not eating, I will stop coming over for dinner. If you invite me over for dinner, rather than me trying to control everything you serve, I will bring something that I can eat myself. And, I won’t worry about offending you, or you being upset by that, or feeling disrespected. I’m just going to take care of me.

An example of something that isn’t a boundary; is telling people what they need to serve and then getting mad at them if they don’t. That’s just trying to control other people’s actions, which you don’t want to do. You’ll be very upset if you do because they get to act in accordance with what they want to do. Not with what you want them to do.

Another example of a great boundary; is to not work on weekends. People will often say, “You know, I told people I don’t want to work on weekends. And clients keep calling me, or they send me emails, or my colleagues keep sending me emails. And, I told them to stop sending me emails.” That is not a boundary. That’s trying to control other people’s behavior. A proper boundary is; if you email me on the weekend, I will not respond until Monday, because I don’t work weekends.

Same thing with unscheduled calls. You can ask people to only call you at certain times, but guess what? They get to not listen. A proper boundary is; if you call me, and we don’t have a call that’s been scheduled ahead of time, I will not answer. That’s proper boundary there.

Another great example: is people speaking to you in a certain manner. If someone yells at you, a lot of times people think, “Well, I’m not going to let him talk to me like that. I’m not going to let her talk to me that way.” We’ll try and control someone else’s behavior, and how they act towards us. That is not a proper boundary.

A proper boundary is; if you yell at me, or if you swear at me, I will end the conversation and walk out of the room. That you’re just not going to be here to tolerate that kind of behavior.

Another great boundary example, this happens to people all the time is interacting with people who are perpetually late. This tends to be a source of great frustration for people. If you’re dealing with someone who’s late, you might think that setting a boundary is; well, I’m going to tell them that they need to be on time. That is not a proper boundary. That is, again, trying to control other people’s behavior.

What a boundary would look like, in this instance, a proper boundary would be; if you show up more than 15 minutes late, I will not wait for you. Either I will leave, or I’ll order without you. But it’s always about what you will do, in the event someone does that thing, in the event that they’re late.

My cousin once set a great boundary with friends who had wedding showers and bachelorette parties. My cousin lived out of town and a lot of her friend group lives back here in Detroit. She decided that between bachelorette parties and bridal showers and weddings, it was just too much travel for her.

So, she decided that she would only attend bachelorette parties and the wedding, that she would skip bridal showers. Her boundary was; if you invite me to a bridal shower, I will politely decline. She didn’t make people cancel their bridal showers on her account. Or, think that they shouldn’t have them just because she didn’t want to travel home for them. She simply decided that she wouldn’t attend them. It was about what she would do if a certain factual scenario arose.

Here are a couple more examples of what boundaries aren’t: Telling people that they can’t ask you for money. People get to ask you for money as frequently as they want to. And, you get to have a boundary that says; if you ask me for money, I will tell you no.

If someone asks you to take on more work. I coach people on this all the time. They’re like, “I’ve told my boss a million times, I’m too busy. I can’t take on more. He needs to stop giving me work. She needs to stop assigning cases to me.” Yet, their supervisors still assign them more work. Then, they take it and then they’re resentful because they end up people-pleasing, instead of honoring their boundary.

A boundary does not look like; you can’t ask me to take on one more case. Of course, they can keep asking you. A proper boundary would be, when they ask you to take on one more case when you’re already overwhelmed and behind, you say no; no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Another famous example of an ultimatum is when you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time, and you say, “We’ve been dating for X number of years or months, or whatever the case may be, by this point in time, you have to marry me.” Of course, they don’t have to marry you. Of course, they don’t have to propose.

A proper boundary wouldn’t be about controlling them and dictating what they have to do. A proper boundary would be; if you don’t propose, I don’t know, let’s say within the next six months, then I will leave. Then I will go date someone else. That would be a proper boundary, not the ultimatum of telling them what they have to do.

Those are some examples of boundaries that come up for a lot of the people that I work with. They are just different random examples, but I hope they inspired you to start thinking about the boundaries that maybe you’ve set in the past. Maybe you didn’t actually set proper boundaries, you set boundaries that weren’t boundaries; they were threats or ultimatums, or attempts to manipulate other people’s behavior.

If that’s the case, you just want to go back to the drawing board and really rethink those boundaries. Think about what you would need to change, in order to set a proper boundary. If a particular set of events or facts takes place and you encounter them, what do you want to do? How are you going to follow through? How will you react? Boundaries are always about what you will do when a particular factual scenario arises.

Now, I want to give you a framework for setting boundaries; a process that you can always walk yourself through. Step number one is to decide on the boundary that you want to set. And, you want to make sure that it fits follows ‘that if you blank, I will blank’ format. So, it is a proper boundary, and it’s not an effort to control someone else’s behavior.

From there, you want to ask yourself; what are my reasons for setting this boundary? Do I like them? If you don’t like your reasons, you want to go back to the drawing board and decide; do I want to actually set this? Do I want to not set this?

Then, I want you, if you decide that you like the boundary and you like your reasons for setting it, you want to decide on the consequence that you will enact if there’s a boundary violation. Okay? So, get really clear on that.

Now, I want you to be honest with yourself; are you willing to implement that consequence, in the event you encounter a boundary violation? Someone violates your boundary. If the answer’s no, then it’s just going to be an idle threat.

You want to decide; is this really a boundary that I want to institute? Chances are, it’s probably not. If you are unwilling to follow through with the consequences that you identified, then you probably want to give up the boundary in the first place.

If you decide that you are willing to follow through and implement the consequence, for the boundary violation, then all you have to do is wait. Again, you can communicate the boundary ahead of time if you want to, but it’s not necessary. You just need to wait and do nothing.

In the event a boundary violation occurs, then you get to decide what are you going to do? Are you going to communicate the boundary? If you are, ask yourself how? Go ahead and do that, communicate it, and then you get to wait again, for there to be another boundary violation. In the event there is another boundary violation, you get to follow through with the consequence.

Decide on the boundary, identify your reasons, and make sure you like them. Decide on the consequence for the boundary violation. Wait for there to be a boundary violation, you don’t have to do anything, unless there is one. If there is one, you get to decide; do you want to communicate the boundary and the fact that there was a violation to the person and wait to see if they violated again? Or, do you just want to institute the consequence, immediately?

Whatever you choose is fine, you get to decide. And then, in the event that there is another violation, you get to institute and implement that consequence, follow through with it, over and over and over again. Okay? that’s just the process; it’s as simple as that.

Now, the second part. That first part is the process of setting boundaries. The process of honoring boundaries is a little different and much simpler. Most people think the hardest part of having boundaries is honoring them. That makes sense. Normally, it’s going to be requiring you to change your behavior, and do something different than what you’ve done in the past.

That’s not always going to be comfortable. That’s okay, the discomfort doesn’t have to be a problem. You just want to anticipate it. If you expect setting an honoring your boundaries to be comfortable, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Normally, it’s uncomfortable.

You might have to feel afraid; you might have to feel guilty, or emotions like that. You might have to feel worried. You might have to feel judged or misunderstood. Because chances are, some people won’t like that you’re setting and honoring your own boundaries, that you’re enforcing them. A lot of people benefit when we people-please them instead of setting and enforcing boundaries.

I just want you to know that it’s okay, if going to work and setting and honoring your boundaries is uncomfortable, especially at first. You just want to identify the specific flavor of discomfort that you’re experiencing, or that you anticipate that you’ll experience, and make a deal with yourself that you’re going to allow yourself to feel that negative feeling. It can’t actually hurt you; you’ll be able to survive it, I promise you. You’ve survived every negative emotion you’ve ever felt.

I also like to remind my clients that, the truth of the matter is, that there’s discomfort both ways, in setting boundaries and in not setting them. I highly recommend people choose the route that gets them the results they want.

If you people-please and you don’t set and enforce a boundary, chances are you’re going to feel really resentful, and frustrated and disappointed in yourself with how you spend your time. Maybe you’ll feel angry with people, or very annoyed.

On the flip side, if you put a boundary in place and honor it, you might have to feel guilty or afraid, or worried or exposed, or misunderstood or judged; any of those negative emotions. If there’s discomfort either way, there’s no way to avoid it ultimately, I’d like you to decide; which discomfort would you prefer to choose? Which discomfort would you rather experience?

My hope for you is that you choose the one that has you spending your time in the way you want to spend it. To have you choose the option that feels most loving and caring to yourself. Okay? I promise on the other side of setting and honoring your own boundaries, you get to live the life you want to live.

If you’re a chronic people-pleaser, and you’re ready to put an end to it, because you really want to live a life that is in integrity and in alignment with your preferences and what you value, and how you want to spend your time, think about the boundaries you want to set and honor. Decide ahead of time, that you’re willing to feel the discomfort that comes from setting and honoring them. And, get to work curating the type of life you want to live.

That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Get out there, identify the boundaries you want to set. Remember, it’s always; if you do blank, I will do blank. It’s always about what you will do. Boundaries always take into account that other people have free will, and get to do whatever it is that they want. You don’t have to like that they do whatever it is that they want, but you do have to acknowledge that they get to.

Alright, have a beautiful week, my friends. I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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Episode 22: How to Stop People-Pleasing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Stop People-Pleasing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Stop People-Pleasing

Are you someone that’s always self-sacrificing and putting everyone else’s needs before your own? If this resonates with you, you’re a people-pleaser, and you’re not the only one. It’s okay to be thoughtful, helpful, and altruistic, but if you’re altering what you say and do because of guilt or fear of another person’s reaction, that’s where we run into trouble.

In my past life, I used to be a huge people-pleaser. However, since I found coaching, all that has changed, and I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned about how to stop people-pleasing, so you can break this habit in your own life. And if you don’t think you’re a people-pleaser, I invite you to listen closely because what I’m giving you this week might just surprise you.

Tune in this week to discover how to stop people-pleasing. I’m showing you how to identify your own people-pleasing behaviors, see the areas where you’re sacrificing yourself for the sake of others, and most importantly, how to decide what your life would look like if you stopped people-pleasing.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What people-pleasing is and how it might be showing up in your professional life.
  • How people-pleasing used to show up in my life before I discovered the world of coaching.
  • The justifications we try to use to show cause for our people-pleasing behavior.
  • How to question yourself and decide whether your kind, thoughtful, helpful behavior is actually people-pleasing.
  • The small ways we ignore our own preferences or desires in our personal lives.
  • Why we people-please and why it actually feels good… in the moment.
  • How to handle the discomfort of saying no and break the people-pleasing cycle in every area of your life.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 22. Today I’m going to teach you how to stop people-pleasing. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hi, how’s it going? I am so excited for this episode; this is one of my absolute favorite topics to talk about. A big reason that I love it so much is that I used to be such a horrific people-pleaser in my past life, before I found coaching. I have made so much progress in my own life in this area. I’m excited to talk to you about people-pleasing, and to teach you how to stop doing it, so you can make that same kind of progress yourself.

When I learned the concepts and the tools that I’ve been teaching you throughout all these podcast episodes, I really transformed my behavior. It allowed me to break this habit that I had of people-pleasing. Hopefully, by listening to this and applying what I teach you in this episode, you’re able to start doing that for yourself, too.

Now, before we dive in, I’m going to ask a favor of you. Chances are, you may know a people-pleaser. It’s probably pretty likely that you know someone that’s always putting themselves last, self-sacrificing, putting other people’s needs before their own. If you do know that person, someone like that, if that sounds familiar, I want you to do me a favor and just send this podcast episode to them.

Send it to someone who you think would really benefit from listening to today’s content, just go give it a share. Honestly, I just want to tell you, a podcast episode changed my life. I’ve told you guys that before. So, you sharing this episode with someone could totally transform someone else’s life just by you doing that. You can shoot it to them in a text or an email. Or, if you really want to share the wealth, share it on one of your social media channels and help lots of people not just one person.

I really want to get this podcast into the hands and ears, I suppose, of as many people as possible. I just love thinking about the ripple effect of the work that I do when people share the content that I produce with the people closest to them, the people that are really important to them in their lives. It’s just so incredible for me to think about. Please, and thank you very much, in advance, for turning someone you know on to this episode.

Now, let’s get down to business. Last time we talked, I laid the foundation for the next several episodes that I’m going to release. Right now, we’re talking about the three P’s: People-pleasing, Perfectionism, and Procrastination.

I told you in the last episode that before I dove deep into each one of these topics, I wanted to talk and tell you all about the three qualities that you want to make sure that you exhibit, as you approach each one of these topics. You want to make sure that you are resourceful, patient, and coachable.

Now, if you haven’t listened to that episode, yet, I want you to make sure that you go back and tune into it. You don’t have to drop what you’re doing right this second, finish this episode first. But that episode really is helpful. It might be actually one of my favorite episodes to date, that I’ve done so far.

I want to make sure that you get that foundation, and you’re able to check in with yourself, make sure you have those three qualities: Resourcefulness, Patience, and Coachability. So that you’re able to apply those skill sets, those qualities to the topics that we’re about to cover.

Now that I’ve laid that foundation, it’s time to dive in to the first P: People-pleasing, which I suppose it’s technically two Ps, but work with me here, we’re talking about people-pleasing. What is people-pleasing? People-pleasing is when you say or do something at your own expense, in order to gain favor or approval from the person on the receiving end of your words or actions.

Normally, you’re engaging in whatever behavior that you’re engaging in, out of guilt or fear. You feel guilty, you think that you should be doing what you’re doing. Or, you feel afraid that if you don’t people-please the person there’s going to be some negative outcome.

Ultimately, when you do this, when you’re operating out of fear and trying to avoid the guilt by doing what you’d rather do, and you people-please instead, you ultimately put that other person’s needs and desires above your own.

Now, when you hear me say that people-pleasing is putting another person’s needs or desires before your own, it may sound kind of altruistic to do that. People-pleasing might not sound all that bad. After all, what’s wrong with being nice to people and trying to help them out or make them happy? Right? It sounds like a pretty good thing that you might want to do.

But people-pleasing generally goes beyond being thoughtful, helpful, or kind. Instead, it involves editing or altering what you say and what you do for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions. You’re doing it at your own expense, making yourself more uncomfortable in order to make someone comfortable.

You know, I used to do this constantly, prior to me finding coaching. But I don’t know that I always had a term for this behavior before I found coaching. I don’t think I would have identified myself as being a people-pleaser, I just thought that I was being dutiful, dedicated, a really caring employee and a caring friend. I would have kind of chalked it all up to that.

But that wasn’t what was going on. Instead, I was people-pleasing. I was constantly sacrificing myself and my own well-being, for the sake of others. That’s a really great way to figure out if what you’re doing constitutes people-pleasing or not. I want you to check in with yourself and see, how does what you’re doing feel to you? Does it feel like love? Like you’re being helpful? Like you’re doing a great thing? Or, does it feel like self-sacrifice? Does it feel like self-abandonment?

That’s a really good way to identify whether what you’re doing is intentional, and serving you, and a great thing. Or, if it really is people-pleasing, and it’s not setting you up for success. It’s not you exhibiting self-care towards yourself.

Another really good litmus test here is for you to ask yourself; does doing what I’m doing feel like a lie? That’s what people-pleasing ultimately is, it’s lying. You’d prefer to be saying or doing something else entirely. And, if it was solely up to you, and you weren’t exposed to someone else’s reaction or judgment, you’d behave differently.

But because you have a perception of how someone else will think or how they’ll feel and what they’ll do as a result of that, you do what they asked you to do. Or maybe, they didn’t even ask you, so you just do what you think that they would want you to do, if they haven’t asked. You’re doing it, again you’re lying, in your words or actions instead of saying or doing what you would if no one else had an opinion about it.

Now, you may be listening to this episode and as soon as you saw the title of it, you knew this one was for you. You’re like raising your hand, “Olivia, I’m a people-pleaser,” and if that’s the case, that’s awesome. You’re in the right place, and I’m going to teach you how to stop.

But maybe that’s not you. I have quite a few clients who don’t realize that they’re people-pleasers; they don’t identify with that label. They were kind of like I was before I found coaching, they just thought that they were being a good employee, or a good friend, or a good spouse, or a good sibling, or a good daughter or son, right? They don’t identify as people-pleasing.

But during the course of our work together, they really do learn that they are a people-pleaser, and they start to gain some awareness that they may not have had prior to our coaching relationship. If that’s you, if you’re like, “I don’t think I’m a people-pleaser. I’m not totally positive. Maybe I am,” I have a couple questions for you that I want you to answer, that may help you identify some of your people-pleasing tendencies.

Here are the questions: When do you have a difficult time saying no? When do you say yes, when you want to say no? Where do you martyr yourself? Where do you ignore your own needs?

Where are you sacrificing yourself for someone else’s sake? Where aren’t you doing what you want to be doing in your life? What do you keep doing because you feel guilty? Where do you fear that by turning people down, you’ll make them think that you’re mean or selfish?

When was the last time you agreed to do something that you don’t like to do? Or, that you didn’t want to do? Where in your life are you doing things to earn other people’s approval? Where’s your behavior apologetic?

Where are you taking the blame even when the problem isn’t your fault? What are you doing that’s causing you to neglect yourself? Where in your life are you pretending to agree with people even though you feel differently?

What conversations are you not having right now, that you know you probably need to have? Where in your life are you avoiding conflict? Were in your life would you do things differently, if no one had an opinion about what you did?

It’s kind of a long list of questions, but I really wanted it to be a comprehensive list that allows you to see certain scenarios in your life from a different angle, a different perspective.

A lot of those questions seem pretty similar to one another, but they’re just ever so slightly different to introduce some nuance. and allow you to identify some more subtle people-pleasing in areas where you may not have otherwise spotted it.

Now, if you came up with some answers that you think might be examples of instances of people-pleasing, that are coming up for you in your life, I just want to offer one small caveat; it may not be people-pleasing. Like I said earlier, people-pleasing is always a lie.

And, it’s always going to feel like a lie. It’s always going to feel like self-abandonment and self-sacrifice. Where you’re putting yourself at a detriment for the sake of benefiting someone else.

You want to start there, check in: Does it feel like love, or does it feel like a lie? Does it feel like love, or does it feel like self-abandonment and self-sacrifice? Now, if you have a hard time discerning whether what you’re doing feels like that or not, here’s one more question you can ask yourself.

When you catch yourself saying or doing something, and you think you might be engaging in some people-pleasing, ask yourself; what are your reasons for doing whatever it is that you’re doing? Or, saying whatever it is that you’re saying?

Identify your reasons for why you’re taking that particular action, or why you’re refraining from taking a particular action, and then ask yourself; do I like my reasons? If the answer’s yes, you like your reasons for taking whatever action you’re taking, then it may not be people-pleasing.

If you don’t like your reasons, it probably is people-pleasing. So, that’s another hard and fast way to check if what you’re doing constitutes people-pleasing or not.

Now, let’s talk about some common examples of people-pleasing. I think the most popular example of people-pleasing is when you do stuff that you hate, in order to avoid other people feeling uncomfortable. Whether you think they’re gonna feel disappointed, or angry, or frustrated, or annoyed, or hurt, whatever the case may be, you say yes to stuff when you really want to say no.

Maybe someone asks you to go to their two-year old’s birthday party, and you’d rather not. I’m putting it nicely, right? Instead of saying no, and not going because you really don’t want to go, you go anyways. Or, you go home during the holidays to see family, even though you really don’t want to because you don’t get along with your family, or whatever your reasons are. You do things that you don’t like to do.

Maybe you’re involved in your kid’s school organizations because you feel like you should do those things to be a good parent, but you really don’t enjoy it, and it just takes away from the quality of your life. So, you’re doing some stuff that you hate.

This is also going to come up for you at work. Maybe you take on tasks or assignments because a client asks you to or a supervisor asks you to, and you hate working on those types of projects, but you keep taking them and you keep saying yes, because you’re afraid of how the other person will respond. That is textbook people-pleasing.

Another example of this is where you overcommit yourself when you don’t have the bandwidth to take something on. This can happen at work. If you say yes to an assignment that you really don’t have time to tackle, people will also come to you and maybe they seek out your help, and you feel guilty telling them that you don’t have the bandwidth.

So, you drop what you’re doing, and you help them instead of helping yourself. You overcommit yourself and say, “Sure, I can help you,” even though you really don’t have the capacity to do that.

Maybe you volunteer, when someone asks you to host Christmas or Thanksgiving, and you really don’t have the capacity to do that either, but you overcommit yourself and agree to do it. Or, you just pack too much into a weekend; maybe you get three different invitations, and you agree to do all three activities even though it’s a little bit of a stretch, and you don’t quite have the capacity to fit all three things in.

Speaking of volunteering for things, a lot of times my clients will people-please by volunteering themselves to help with something, even when they haven’t been asked. They do it because they’re telling themselves the story that the person wants them to volunteer or that if they were a good employee, or a good friend, or a good family member, they would volunteer, they’d help out.

They think just because I could it means I should pitch in and lend a helping hand. Even though, if no one had an opinion about it, you’d probably say no; they wouldn’t do it, they wouldn’t volunteer, they wouldn’t offer up their time. That’s a little bit sneakier type of people-pleasing, there.

Another example of people-pleasing is lying about what you want, or you’re like, “Sure that sounds great. Absolutely.” But in the back of your mind, you’re like, “Oh, my goodness, this sounds terrible. I don’t want to do this at all.” But you’re not willing to be honest about what you want, because you fear the repercussions of your honesty. Right? That’s people-pleasing, too.

This came up for me when I decided to take a job in big law. I really had no genuine interest of going and being a commercial litigator. That wasn’t why I went to law school. I never had any interest in working for a big firm. I’d always just wanted to do criminal defense.

But I started to get in my own head about the opportunities that were available to me, and that I was going to miss the boat on OCI’s and summer associate positions, and all that good stuff. And then finally, when I got an offer for both a summer associate position and a full-time offer, after I took the bar exam, I said yes.

Even though I was kind of lying to myself about wanting that job. I didn’t want to go there; I wanted to do something else. I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. But I had strong opinions about other people’s opinions. I really didn’t want to disappoint some people that were really close to me, family members, friends of mine, who thought it’d be really foolish of me to turn that job down.

So, instead of being really honest with myself and the other people in my life about what I wanted to do, I just people-pleased them. I cared more about not making them uncomfortable, and what their opinions of my decisions were, than I did trusting my own gut.

Maybe you’ve done that yourself. A lot of my clients actually went to law school because they were people-pleasing parents who told them, “Hey, you got to pick between being a doctor or a lawyer. You get to pick, but you got to choose one of those two.”

Maybe they wanted to do something completely different, but they ultimately people-pleased because they were afraid to disappoint their parents, or they were worried that there would be some other negative repercussion. They lied about what they actually wanted.

Another instance where people-pleasing comes up is when you don’t advocate for a preference. You have a clear preference in your head, but you don’t speak up about it, you don’t advocate for yourself. This can be on a grand scale, or it can also be on a really small scale.

A small example of this is when you have a preference about where you go to dinner, or what you eat for dinner. Instead of speaking up about it, you just act like you don’t have a preference, and you keep the peace, so to speak. You just say, “I’ll have whatever you’re having. I’m fine with whatever you choose,” even though you’re really not fine.

You just want to be agreeable. You don’t want to be “difficult” because you think people will judge your being difficult, and that they’ll be uncomfortable or put out by it. That’s another example of people-pleasing.

A few less obvious examples of people-pleasing: One includes going back on a commitment that you’ve made to yourself, because you’re prioritizing someone else’s needs or desires, and you want to make them more comfortable. You minimize what you’ve already committed yourself to.

A great example of this would be like, deciding not to drink or you’re on a diet. Instead of sticking to your plan to not drink at an event, or to stick to the food that you decided earlier that day you were going to eat, you deviate from your plan. You go back on that commitment that you made to yourself, in order to prioritize someone else’s comfort.

Maybe you committed to yourself that you would go work out at the gym, and someone asks you to do something, and you drop that commitment that you made to yourself, in order to attend to their needs instead. So, that’s another example of what that might look like.

Ask yourself: Do you do that? Does that come up in your life? Do you pack out on commitments you make to yourself, in order to prioritize other people’s needs? If so, do you want to keep doing that?

Other small examples of people-pleasing: Not voicing your opinion when you disagree with someone. Or, avoiding conflict. Or, avoiding “difficult” conversations you know that would probably be really beneficial, if you were direct and had a conversation with someone, about something that you have some tension around.

But instead of speaking up and clearing the air, and having the disagreement and flushing all of that out, you just keep quiet; you avoid the conflict, you try and maintain the peace, you just want to be agreeable, and you never have the discussion.

Some other really specific examples of people-pleasing, just so you can see some of the micro ways that we people-please: Not taking a vacation because you’re worried that someone else is going to be angry if you do, or disappointed. Or, they’re going to feel overwhelmed because you’re not around to do the work. That’s an example.

Not asking for help is another example of people-pleasing. If you’re doing it because you feel guilty or afraid that there’s going to be a negative repercussion if you ask for help.

Underbilling and undercharging are two more great examples of the micro ways we people-please. We feel guilty, we’re worried about what we’re billing so we underbill or undercharge. And not marketing yourself, so you don’t make other people uncomfortable is another big one.

I hear from clients all the time, when I’m working with them on developing their books of business, that they don’t want to post on their social media feeds, maybe on LinkedIn™, like I do, because they don’t want other people to be annoyed with their content and to clutter someone’s feed.

They don’t want to just make anyone else uncomfortable by their marketing efforts, with their marketing efforts. So, they choose to not show up, they choose to not do it because they want to avoid that other person’s discomfort. Meanwhile, they’re ignoring the fact that there may be other people who are desperately waiting for them to show up and talk about what they do. Because there are people that need their services.

Those are a bunch of examples. I wanted to give them to you so you could start spotting your own people-pleasing behavior. That is not an exhaustive list of people-pleasing. We do this in so many different ways.

Now that you know what it looks like, I want to talk about why we do it. Why do we people-please. Here’s the big picture: Ultimately, you’re people-pleasing because you’re trying to control how other people feel. You might be trying to keep the peace, to make sure that everyone stays comfortable. You want people to like you. You also want to avoid conflict. Those are the main reasons that we people-please.

I also want to highlight for you, people-pleasing is a bit of a survival mechanism. Now, it’s a dated one; it served us when we were hunters and gatherers. It was a way to make sure that we were well-liked, and we got to stay in the circle of trust, so to speak, with our tribes. It kept us safe. It was a way that we didn’t get ousted from our groups, and it kept us in everyone’s good favor.

We just haven’t evolved past the point of having this be ingrained within us, for that survival mechanism. It also serves us a lot when we’re younger. When we’re growing up, with our parents and other authority figures, people-pleasing normally serves us really well. We get rewarded for it; we get praised for it. Again, it’s feeding in to people-pleasing being that survival mechanism, or having that survival instinct that we’re acting from.

It’s also really important to note that people-pleasing feels good. Just temporarily, usually, but it does feel good temporarily. That’s important to pay attention to, as well. People-pleasing really does feel amazing in the moment, because you get to tell people what they want to hear or what you think they want to hear, and then you get the response that you want to get from them. So, you get that praise, you get that reward.

Your brain releases just a little bit of dopamine, a little bit of adrenaline; it feels good to you. You get to feel needed, and significant, and helpful, and accomplish, and all of those positive emotions that we really crave as human beings. You’re trying to control how other people feel. You want people to like you, part of that is a survival instinct, but good news is we get to override it. It does temporarily feel good when we people-please. Those are the big picture reasons why we do it.

At a more granular level, though, this is what’s actually going on. You’ve heard me say this a bunch of times already, but the reason that we do anything that we do, that doesn’t serve us, the reason that we’re ever engaged in a negative behavior, is always because of one of two problems: A thought that we’re thinking that doesn’t serve us, or a feeling that we’re unwilling to feel, and so we resist, avoid, or react to it. Instead of, just allowing it to be with us and come along for the ride.

When it comes to people-pleasing, the problem thoughts that come up for people look something like the thought; I could help so I should help. If you’re thinking that thought you might feel obligated, and then you will help, you’ll offer to help. You might think thoughts about what a good blank does; what a good employee does, what a good lawyer does, what a good supervisor does, what a good friend does, what a good spouse does.

You might have a lot of rules for yourself, or manuals about what a “good” fill in whatever role you’re identifying with in that moment; what good versions of those roles do. So, a good friend would say yes, when someone asks them to go to a birthday party, or go to dinner, or come over and help them move.

You also might be thinking ‘have to,’ ‘need to,’ or ‘I can’t’ thoughts; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no. Those thoughts are always going to drive you to say yes and people-please, because you feel really constricted, like you don’t have any say in the matter. Now, I’ve mentioned this before, those thoughts are never true.

There are only four things you ever have to, or need to do; Eat sometimes, drink some water, breathe, and sleep infrequently. I’m all for the more sleep, the better. I’ve really pushed the limits on sleep in a past life, and I don’t recommend doing that. But those are really the four things you ever have to do.

Everything else is optional, but we’ll tell ourselves; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no, I don’t have another option. Then we feel really limited and we act in accordance with that limiting thought. Even though it’s a lie; you do have agency, you’re just blinding yourself to it. Those might be the thoughts that you’re thinking, there might be other ones.

What I want you to do is start to mind your brain when you’re people-pleasing, or right after you people-please, and you catch yourself and say, “Oh no, I just people-pleased. I see what I was doing there.” I want you to track it back and find the problem thoughts that drove you to take that people-pleasing action.

Were you thinking: I could help, so I should help? I can help, so I should? Were you thinking a good blank would say yes to this? A good blank would do X, Y and Z? Were you thinking; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no?

If you were, we’re going to need to change those thoughts, in order to get you to not people-please. You can just flip some of those thoughts around. You can choose to think instead; just because I can help, doesn’t mean I should help.

I also like to think about it this way; I like to think that you’re in the best position, the most appropriate position, to decide whether or not you should do something. Oftentimes, we’d like to outsource this to other people. But really, it’s your job. You’re the person who’s well positioned to decide whether you should say yes, or say no to something. I like thinking about this as; it’s my job to decide whether I should do this or not, no one else’s.

I also love believing that you can be both; you can be a good friend, a good employee, a good lawyer, a good spouse, a good sister, daughter, brother, son, whatever, good parents, you can be a good whatever and say no, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Both can be true.

I love reminding myself that I don’t ever have to or need to do anything. I absolutely can say no. I have all the agency in the world; I always get to choose. Those are some really impactful powerful thoughts that helped me not people-please.

I want you to think what would you need to think, in any given scenario, in order to not people-please? In order to do what you want to do, instead of doing what you don’t want to do for the sake of other people’s comfort?

Sometimes I just choose to tell myself that it’s not my job to make other people comfortable. That’s their job. My job is to make myself comfortable. It’s other people’s jobs to make other people comfortable. I’m supposed to worry about myself, they’re supposed to worry about themselves. Nothing has gone wrong if I choose to do that, it’s totally okay.

Now, there’s always problem thoughts that you’re thinking, or the second part, negative feelings that you’re unwilling to feel. With people-pleasing, we definitely see discomfort avoidance come up here. Right? You start to feel a negative emotion when you think about not people-pleasing, when you think about saying no, when you think about doing what you want to do, instead of doing what you think the other person wants you to do.

And, feelings like, feeling guilty, or worried, or selfish, or irresponsible might come up. Your natural tendency, your natural inclination is to run for the hills, and avoid those emotions. We avoid feeling guilty, we avoid feeling afraid or worried, we avoid feeling selfish and irresponsible, by people-pleasing.

We take those people-pleasing actions and engage in that behavior, instead of just feeling our negative emotions, and taking the intentional non-people-pleasing action that we want to take. Right? So, what’s the solution there?

You’ve got to gag-and-go through the discomfort. I know I’m always bringing it back to that concept, but it really is so ubiquitous in our lives, that the answer is you just got to feel your feelings. You’ve got to feel guilty, at least at first, and say no, anyways. You’ve got to feel a little worried, scared, apprehensive that there might be some consequence from you pushing back and saying no, and that that’s okay.

You want to just take intentional action and feel these feelings, anyways. Now, if you’re a horrific people-pleaser, I really want you to just take a second and think about your answer to this question. What would be different or better about your life if you were willing to feel guilty, worried, afraid, selfish, or irresponsible, and not people-please, anyways? If you were willing to feel that discomfort, and do what you wanted to do, regardless of how it feels?

If you’re anything like me, your life would probably be completely different. Now that I’m on the other side of this, and I’ve learned how to feel my negative feelings and take intentional action in spite of them, which means I don’t people-please, I just feel uncomfortable, and I do what I want to do anyways, everything has changed significantly for me.

Now, I also want to add, the discomfort is just temporary. When you stop people-pleasing, and you start living your life the way you want to be living, it instead of living it how you think other people think you should be living it, you get the reward of living a life that you actually like. The guilt, the worry, the fear, feelings of selfishness or irresponsibility, they tend to dissipate pretty quickly.

Because instead of doing shit you hate, you get to do what you want to be doing. The guilt comes on the front end, the worry comes on the front end, but then you get the reward of spending your time how you want to spend it; being in integrity with yourself. And that, feels really good. It’s just a little discomfort in the beginning, that you have to gag-and-go your way through. Once you do that you get the reward of living in alignment with how you want to live.

Now, again, we’ve got problem thoughts and negative emotions we’re unwilling to feel, you want to take some time and just look for and become aware of the thoughts that you’re thinking that caused you to people-please, and the feelings that you’re unwilling to feel that also drives you to people-please.

With that awareness, you get to decide if you want to keep maintaining the status quo. Do you want to keep being a people-pleaser? Or instead, do you want to change those thoughts and think something else? Do you want to allow yourself to experience those negative emotions, and not people-please in spite of and despite them? Once you have that awareness, you get to decide if you want to change.

If you do want to change and you want to stop people-pleasing, let’s talk about some best practices for you to go about doing that. First and foremost, you’ve got to change your thoughts and feel your feelings. That’s always the foundational answer.

But you also have to get rid of the mistaken belief that you control how other people feel. That is the primary reason we people-please; because we give ourselves a little too much credit, and we think that we control other people’s emotions.

This is a big breaking news flash for you, if you believe that you control how other people feel. I want to be the one to tell you, that’s not true. You actually don’t control how other people feel. Now, this was absolutely transformational for me when I learned it.

I really believe that thought work, which is the kind of work that I’m teaching you throughout the course of this podcasts, the coaching work that I do with people. We identify the thoughts and how they create your results, and what we need to think instead, and how they impact our feelings and all the action we take. We call that thought work.

I believe that there are layers to thought work. The entry level layer is learning that circumstances are neutral, and that our brain serves us up thoughts about them. And, that our thoughts are what cause our emotions, all of the feelings that we feel. And then, they drive our actions and produce our results. Thoughts create results.

When you learn that, you become so empowered because, the best news ever, you get to control what you think, you get to curate what you think. That’s the entry level to thought work: You become aware that circumstances don’t cause your feelings, you cause your feelings with your thoughts.

Now, the next layer of thought work is when you start to realize that if that’s true for you, you are not a unicorn; that is also true for every other person on the face of the earth. That circumstances don’t cause their feelings; their thoughts about circumstances are what caused their emotional experience.

Your actions, what you say or do, is just a circumstance in their model. Your actions, your behavior, what you do or don’t do, doesn’t cause that other person’s emotional experience. It’s their thoughts about your actions that cause their emotional experience. And, it’s their responsibility to manage their thoughts, to manage their emotional experience in this world; that is not your job.

We know this is true because if you’ve ever tried to cheer someone up, and you haven’t been able to do it effectively, it’s not because you weren’t well intentioned, it’s because the other person didn’t change their thoughts. When you took whatever action you did, in order to try and cheer them up.

So, they still felt the exact same way, despite your best efforts to change how they feel.

This was mind blowing for me. This, when I learned it; that other people’s feelings are not caused by my actions, that it’s their thoughts that cause their feelings. It was as if someone came down and wrote me a permission slip, to go live my life the way that I wanted to live it.

Because I finally got to put down the fear that I felt that I was going to disappoint people. That my actions, that certain behavior I was going to engage in by not people-pleasing, was going to disappoint others. When I learned that their thoughts are what caused their feelings, I realized, it very well may be true that they feel disappointed, but not because of my behavior.

They feel disappointed because of their thoughts about my behavior. Because they have some expectation that I act a certain way. It’s their expectation that causes their disappointment. It’s their expectation, that causes their frustration. But for that expectation, they wouldn’t feel whatever negative emotion they feel.

It’s their job to curate their expectations of other people. It’s not my job to live up to their expectations. Once I started to really internalize that message, everything started to shift for me. I started to give myself permission to stop people-pleasing, be honest about what I wanted in my life, and to start acting in accordance with that.

If this seems very striking to you, if you’re like, “What in the world is she talking about? We don’t cause other people’s feelings of disappointment?” I promise you, that’s true.

I just want you to take a second and think about a time where you were recently feeling disappointed. Identify the circumstance; what were the facts? Strictly, the facts that everyone would agree upon in that scenario? Maybe someone said they would do something with you, and then they canceled. And, you felt disappointed. It’s only because you were thinking a thought that made you feel disappointed.

What’s another thought you could think about that exact same set of facts? Maybe something happened in the world. A scenario that you encountered, and you felt disappointed about that situation, because you were thinking a thought that it should have happened differently, or it shouldn’t have happened to that way. Again, it’s your thought, it’s the expectation that you had, that it go one way when it went the other, that causes you to feel disappointed.

I want you to think about friends of yours or family members, or colleagues that you encounter; think about a time where one of them felt disappointed, and they communicated that to you. I want you to identify the facts; what’s the circumstance that they were encountering? And, what were their thoughts about it?

You want to get good at separating the facts from the story that you’re telling about them, so you can see how you create your own disappointment, how you create your own anger, or frustration, or annoyance. Then, you can start to see how other people do the exact same thing. Their emotional experience in the world, is on them, it’s not on you.

Now, not everyone is going to do a great job of curating their emotional experience. They might be blaming their circumstances. They’re allowed to blame their circumstances. Regardless of whether they blame them or not, does not mean that their circumstances are what are causing their feelings. That’s not the case. It’s always their thoughts causing their feelings.

But they’re allowed to blame their circumstances, and you’re allowed to let them and not people-please, even when they do that. I want you to think about those thoughts that cause disappointment, and really embrace this concept that; you don’t cause other people’s disappointment, ever

From there, here’s what you need to do: Once you’ve embraced that truth, that your thoughts cause your feelings, and their thoughts cause their feelings, and that your actions don’t cause anyone’s emotional experience. Once you’ve embraced that, from there, I want you to always acknowledge, when you’re presented with a situation where you’re tempted to people-please, that you always have a choice.

I want you to acknowledge your agency, and then identify all the choices that you have, list them all out. What do you want to do in that moment? Identify your choices, and then identify why you want to choose any of those particular choices.

You want to get really clear on your reasons for taking any particular course of action. Then ask yourself; do I like those reasons? If you do like your reasons, amazing. Sounds like you’re not people-pleasing. Go ahead and act in accordance with that decision, with those reasons, follow through on that.

But if you answer no, you don’t like your reasons for taking whatever action you’re inclined to take, it’s because you’re probably people-pleasing. You want to go back to the drawing board, and identify what you actually want to choose, authentically.

If you’re being really honest with yourself, then choose that, and identify the feelings that you would have to be willing to feel, in order to take that action and not people-please. And then, do that. Take that action. Don’t people-please; follow through, feel your negative feelings, allow the discomfort, and do what you want to do regardless.

Couple other things that you can do if you’re really prone to people-pleasing. This is a great area to practice making decisions ahead of time, and to practice constraint. You can also, if you’re prone to a knee-jerk yes, when someone asks you to do something, memorize a phrase or a response that you can say every time someone asks something of you, to buy yourself a little bit of a time buffer.

Instead of a knee-jerk yes, say, “You know what? I probably can, or I might be able to, but I need to check my schedule. Just let me get back to you. I’ll call you right back.” Just say whatever you need to say to buy yourself a little bit of time, in order to make a decision, without all of the pressure that comes from being in the moment, as soon as you get that request.

I also want you to redefine the meaning of “good,” when it comes to those roles that you have, those identities that you have. So, what does it mean to be a good lawyer, a good friend, a good family member, a good spouse, son, daughter, a good partner, a good associate, any of those things?

Can you redefine “good” to be more inclusive of what you want to do, so that you don’t have to people-please, in order to qualify as a good insert, whatever the blank is.

Make sure and catch yourself that you’re not conflating ‘could’ with ‘should.’ That’s another easy hack. If you think, “I could do it,” that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. You want to make sure you interrupt yourself if you tend to conflate the two.

Last but not least, I want you to remember there’s always discomfort both ways when we’re people-pleasing. There’s the discomfort that we feel from saying no and not people-pleasing; that guilt, worry, fear, selfishness, irresponsibility that we experience.

Then, there’s also the discomfort that comes from people-pleasing. Normally regret, resentment, frustration, annoyance, anger, all of that. FOMO: missing out on what you actually want to do.

Remember, there’s discomfort both ways. I highly recommend, if you have to experience discomfort either way, you choose the route that gets you spending the time how you want to spend it. Do what makes you happy in the long run, if either way, you’re going to be required to feel some discomfort involved.

Now, final note for you; I want to just turn you on to this: If you want to become someone who does not people-please, I want you to ask yourself; when the roles are reversed, how do you respond? Do you like it when people, people-please you?

If you answered, “Yes, I do like it. I appreciate when people, people-please me.” I, myself, used to be a little bit of a pusher if someone would tell me no and I really wanted them to do something with me, like go to dinner, or go on vacation, or help me out with a project at work, or stay late. I used to expect them to people-please me, and I would be pushy, in order to get them to cave.

I would try and attempt to guilt them into doing something. People can’t ever guilt us; we guilt ourselves. And, that’s why we people-please. But I would make every best effort to guilt other people. Sometimes they would cave, and I would love it.

If that’s you, you’ve got to be really honest with yourself here. If you want to become someone who does not people-please, you need to be willing to accept when people, don’t people-please you. It’s how you operate from a place of integrity.

If you’re more accepting and nicer when people don’t people-please you, you’ll be kinder to yourself when you want to resist the urge to people-please, and follow through with what you ultimately want to do. Instead of what you “think” you should do.

Make sure you’re willing to be on the receiving end of someone’s no, if you want to get better at communicating no’s yourself.

I hope this was helpful. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. We will continue talking about the three Ps in the next episode. Have a beautiful week.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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