Episode 53: How to Delegate – Part One: Common Mistakes

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Delegate - Part One: Common Mistakes

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Delegate - Part One: Common Mistakes

The topic of delegation has been coming up frequently in my coaching sessions. My clients have been recognizing how not effectively delegating (or not delegating at all) has been creating additional issues for them, and we’ve been discussing some of the problems they’re encountering as they practice this skill.

In order to dial down your stress levels and reduce your workload, the skill of delegating is extremely relevant. Learning how to delegate, give out clear instructions, and problem-solve with other people is your next step of growth. So this week, I’m offering the top mistakes to avoid to master effective delegation.

Join me this week to discover 12 specific mistakes I see most commonly when it comes to delegating and what to do instead, so you can free yourself up to do your most meaningful work in the world. And make sure to tune back in next week where I’ll walk you through my best practices guide for effective and efficient delegation.

Early Enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind opens May 12th, 2023, with the next live event running from August 23rd through 26th 2023. Spots are limited, so if you don’t want to miss out, I highly recommend you sign up for the waitlist 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:

  • 12 common mistakes I see people making when it comes to delegating. 
  • What you need to let go of to delegate effectively.
  • How to assess what you could be delegating. 
  • The importance of focusing on your long-term goals, rather than short-term results.
  • How to be thoughtful and clear about the instructions you give out.
  • Why making assumptions as you delegate is never helpful.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the 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
  • If you want more information about the Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, visit my LinkedIn, my Instagram, or email me!
  • Get on my email list!

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 53. Today, we’re talking all about how to delegate and the common mistakes to avoid when you’re doing it. 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.

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is going well. Mine is off to an amazing start. Got a few things that I’m excited about today. And I’m going to share with you before I dive into today’s episode. So, number one, I am getting ready to go up north with two of my dearest friends Halston and Alex. Alex is actually my videographer.

So, if you were in the first round of the mastermind, you already know him. But they are married, and they have a place of north in northern Michigan. I get to go up with them a couple times a year. And I’m getting ready to go up on Thursday night. So, I’m really looking forward to that.

We do a ton of cooking. I love a good jigsaw puzzle, so we get to do jigsaw puzzles together and play board games and I read books; Halston likes to read, too. So, we do that. We have a champagne toast every evening at 7pm where we savor champagne on the deck. I’ve taught all of my friends how to do that. So, it’s just a really fun, relaxing time.

I have been clipping along at a pretty good pace between going to Cabo for my business mastermind with my coach, then being in Charleston for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. And then coming back and hitting the ground running with work, and then being in Miami. And then getting a lot of details sorted out for the next live event of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind in August. Which is what I’ve been up to all March. I have been clipping along, so I’m really excited for a relaxing weekend.

I hope you all have something that you’re looking forward to that brings you a little bit of relaxation and rejuvenation. I can’t wait to drive up north. I love driving in the car. I have a call scheduled with one of my dearest coaching friends for my ride up there. I’m just really looking forward to it. So, I hope you’re in the same boat as me and you’re really looking forward to something too.

The second thing that I wanted to share with you is I finally finalized the venue and location for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, specifically the live event that we are going to do August 23 through the 26 later this year, in 2023. So, if you’ve been anxiously awaiting the announcement for where we’re going, and how amazing it’s going to be, prepare yourself. I need a drumroll here: We are going to Big Sky, Montana. I know! I cannot even wait.

I think lawyers need a little outdoors action, and what more could you ask for when it comes to being outdoorsy than being in Big Sky, Montana. We are staying at the most phenomenal resort. I got an insane discount on it. We’re staying at the Montage Resort in Big Sky. And if you’ve ever stayed at a Montage property, let me tell you, they’re incredible, and you already know that. And if you haven’t, you are in for an absolute treat.

I got an insane discount for our group. So, you’re going to get to enjoy five-star resort luxury for a fraction of the price, if you join The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, the next cohort of it. So, if you like to be outdoors, or you think you’d like to be outdoors, but you don’t get to spend enough time outdoors, you’re in luck. We’re going to be in the clean Montana air come August. I can’t wait. The event is going to be spectacular.

The location is amazing. The weather will be beautiful. The venue is just next level. It’s a brand-new hotel. So, everything’s going to be in tip-top shape, it’s really going to blow your mind. So, make sure you head to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind, and get your name on the waitlist. That’s going to allow you to enroll as soon as enrollment opens, on May 12. You have to be on the waitlist in order to enroll the first weekend enrollment opens, so make sure you go and do that. All right?

Now, let’s dive into today’s topic. We’re talking about delegation, and I want to talk about delegation in two parts. So, this is going to be a two-part episode. Today, we’re talking all about the common mistakes that I see people make when it comes to delegating. And then in the next episode, I’m going to walk you through a very specific process that I want you to follow in order to delegate. It’s like a best practice guide for delegation.

I’m really excited to talk about today’s topic. Because this has been coming up a ton in my coaching sessions lately, both in the mastermind and in my one-on-one work with my clients that I work with in that capacity. We’ve been talking frequently about delegating, and where they get hung up. The problems that they encounter when it comes to delegating. Them recognizing that they’re creating issues for themselves because they’re not delegating effectively, or they’re not doing it at all.

So, I’m super excited to cover this topic. I think it’s going to really make a difference for you. It’s very relevant in order to dial down your stress levels, reduce your workloads; not immediately, and I’m going to talk about that today. But over the course of some time, as you get better and better and better at delegating, it’s going to make your life a lot easier and free you up to do your most meaningful work.

So, let’s dive in. I’m going to talk to you about the 12 specific mistakes that I see people make. So, as you know, if you’ve listened to episodes before, I typically always start by going in and talking about the mindset you need to have in order to take a particular action and take it intentionally and effectively. But for the sake of time, because I don’t want this episode to turn into like a two-hour long episode, I’m going to go through the 12 mistakes today. A lot of the 12 mistakes are mindset mistakes.

And then, in the next episode, before I get into the process that you need to follow in order to delegate, I’ll go through the mindset that you need to cultivate in order to do it effectively. Okay? So, without further ado, let’s talk about mistake number one.

Now, mistake number one is when you think, “If I want to get it done right, I have to do it myself.” It’s a very common thought that people think when it comes to delegating. Now, the underlying issue here is that you’re also expecting people to do it as good as you would do it.

And I always start by explaining to my clients, that you have to give up that requirement. All right? A lot of people won’t do it as well as you can do it. But that’s not a reason to not delegate the task. If someone can do something 80% as good as you can do it, that is an appropriate task to delegate. And it is okay for them to do it only 80% as well.

And your work is to stomach the discomfort that comes from it not being “perfect” or not as good as it would be if you had done it. The other thing that I really want to talk about here is, instead of thinking, “If I want it done right, I have to do it myself,” that is a short-sighted way to look at delegation.

And it also fails to recognize that part of your growth as a manager, as a supervisor, is learning how to delegate, be comfortable with the discomfort, and helping people slowly but surely improve. So, instead of thinking this thought, I like to teach people to think that new levels bring new devils, and that this is your next step of growth. Okay?

Learning how to delegate, learning how to give out instructions, and problem-solve with people if you don’t get back what you want from them. Figuring out what needs to change in order for the work product to be closer to what you envisioned. So, this is where your work is if you’ve got this mindset.

Mistake number two is telling yourself, “I don’t know what to delegate.” This is super common, because our brains love to keep us maintaining the status quo, in our comfort zones, by throwing up ‘I don’t know’. They see if it will stick to the wall. So, instead of thinking, “I don’t know what to delegate,” I want you to slow yourself down and come up with a strategy in order to figure out what to delegate.

So, every week, I want you to do an audit. Assess each week: What did I do that I could have delegated? And I actually give this instruction to people. If you had to go through your week, the past week, and cut out half of the work you did and delegate it, what portions would you cut? What tasks would you delegate to someone?

Because, typically, what people do is they go in with like tweezers essentially, to their week. And they only pick out one or two very small things that they would delegate to someone. But when you give them the parameters, the instructions to go back and assess their week and delegate half of what they did, they get much more creative. And they start to see the possibilities of all of the things that they could delegate.

So, do that audit and assess each week. Find the tasks that you can delegate. You might also want to conduct some research. This might be a great thing to type into Google or ask other people that you work with, friends of yours, colleagues, mentors. What are some of the things that they delegate?

Start to get some inspiration for tasks that maybe you don’t want to do anymore, that you didn’t even think that you could give to someone else. But when you talk to other people, you learn what’s possible. So, don’t indulge in ‘I don’t know’ thinking here, okay?

Mistake number three; hoarding work because you don’t trust other people. Instead of hoarding work because you don’t trust other people, the thing that’s really happening here is that you’re tolerating other people being untrustworthy. So, I want you to stop tolerating and stop avoiding. There’s a lot of discomfort avoidance here.

And instead, I want you to embrace the discomfort. You might have to have some hard conversations, and I’m going to talk about that in a second. But I want you to really commit to the end results. All right? And again, this goes back to expecting people to do it just as good or if not better than you would do it. We need to adjust our expectations.

And also, be willing to work with the person and have those uncomfortable conversations in order to help them improve. It’s going to be a clunky process, probably. That’s not a good enough reason to not do it; you want to commit to the end result. I also want you to humble yourself here. All right? Sometimes people do things better than you expect them to do them. Someone might even be better at doing something than you are.

So, start to look for the positives. Start to see your team members as assets. What might they be able to take off your plate and do even better? I don’t want your expectation to be that they must do it better, but I do want you to humble yourself and just open yourself up to the possibility that they might do it just as well, if not better than you.

All right, mistake number four is when people get stuck on the short term instead of focusing on the long-term goal, when it comes to delegating. And what I mean by this is you’re focused on getting work off of your plate immediately.

You come into delegating, and the only reason you’re doing it is to free up your time in this instance. And I promise you, if you’re doing this, you’re going to encounter so much frustration because it’s not going to get more work off your plate in the short term. In fact, it’s probably going to add more work to your plate in the short term.

Delegating isn’t a short-term solution to overwhelm. Delegating is a long-term solution to not just overwhelm but also to freeing you up so you’re able to do your most meaningful work. So, you’re able to operate in that zone of genius, free up your mental capacity to do the work that only you can do and leave that other work, that other people can do almost as well as you can do it, for them.

So, instead of focusing on the short term, I want you to focus on the long-term goal here, which is building your dream team. And I need you to settle into the fact that it may make your shoes pinch a little tighter in the interim, as you work out the kinks and learn how to delegate and learn how to work with the person that you’re assigning work to.

Now, mistake number five is a big one for my time pressed people. It’s when you tell yourself that you don’t have the time to delegate. Instead of telling yourself this, again, this is a thought, just like, “I don’t know what to delegate.” It’s a thought that your brain is going to serve up to you.

It’s going to seem really logical, and it’s going to continue to have you tolerate the status quo. Where you don’t delegate your work, you do everything yourself, and you never get any relief. There’s never any reprieve from all of the things that you’re currently doing, all the stuff that you currently have on your plate.

So, instead of telling yourself that you don’t have the time, which is just an excuse; it is not true. Instead, I want you to make the time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so I want you to make the time both for auditing and assessing, so you can figure out what you’re going to delegate.

And then also, for assigning the tasks that you’re going to delegate. Giving those instructions, reviewing someone’s work product, and then making yourself available to answer questions in order to get work products that you actually want to receive; that’s actually good, that’s actually meeting your needs. So, you want to make sure you carve out time for all of that.

For auditing and assessing, you’re going to plan out your week and figure out a portion of your week, it doesn’t have to be lengthy. Even if you spend 15 to 30 minutes doing this, it doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time. But you want to make sure you carve out specific time to do that audit and assessment of, what could I have delegated from last week? What will I delegate going forward over the course of this next week?

And then, you might need to plan out specifically, what you’re going to assign before you actually assign it. Then you’re going to have to plan meeting with the person that you’re going to assign the work to. And make sure you build in time to review their work product. So, there’s going to be a couple different chunks on your calendar so you can ensure that you have the time set aside to properly delegate.

Which brings me to mistake number six. So many people make the mistake of waiting till the last minute to delegate and they don’t leave themselves enough time. Then they don’t end up delegating, because they don’t leave enough time to properly assign the work or to review it or to make themselves available for questions.

So, they’re on such a tight time crunch that at the very last minute they decide, “I don’t even have time to delegate this. I need to do it myself. It makes the most sense for me to do it myself.” And in those instances, it probably, again, does make sense for you to do it yourself because it’s going to be easier.

You already know what you want to be done. You know how you want to do it. You know how to do it, right? So, it’s going to be easier for you to do it in those last-minute moments instead of waiting to the last minute and putting yourself in that double bind, in that time crunch.

I want you to be really realistic, and work backwards from the deadline. And include enough time to plan how you’re going to assign it, to actually assign it, give the person enough time to work on it, and then give yourself time to review it. And then to flip it back to them in order for them to make revisions.

I don’t want you making the revisions. If you make the revisions, they’re not going to get any better at giving you work product that meets your requirements, that meets your standards. So, you want to review their work and then flip it back to them. Okay? But you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time by working backwards from the deadline.

And focusing on the math whenever we’re working with time management. We always want to be clear on what the math requirement is, the time commitment is, with anything that we’re doing. Delegating is no different here. You want to make sure you get the ‘math of delegating’ down. Okay?

All right. Mistake number seven is not getting clear on the result you want, and hastily giving out instructions. You don’t take time on the front end to actually figure out what it is you’re asking for. So many people make the mistake of thinking that they’re really clear when they’re assigning work to other people.

And I see this time and time again with my clients. They’re actually not being nearly as clear as they think they are. And a lot of times, this is the result of hastily giving out instructions, rather than taking some time and being thoughtful on the front end.

So, there’s a couple different ways that you can do this. Number one, you can focus on the end result that you want and work backwards. Get really clear on all the steps that someone would need to take in order to follow the yellow brick road to get to that ultimate end result.

Another thing you can do is walk through assignments from the start. You can even do it yourself one time, to identify all the different steps that you would take if you were the one completing this work, and create a process for someone to follow. And if you do that, you identify all the steps, then you can send someone that process and it will walk them through the assignment step by step.

But you’re going to be so clear on exactly what it is you want and exactly what you’re asking for. And you’re going to be able to clearly communicate that to the person that you’re delegating the work to. Rather than waiting to the last minute, delegating in a rush, not being clear, giving confusing instructions, and really not having any clue what it is you’re looking for on the front end yourself.

It’s like you think you have an idea, but you don’t really know. So, we want to make sure that you’re thoughtful instead of rushing through this process.

Another area, with delegating, that people start to rush is with after they’ve assigned the work. So, Mistake number eight is when you end up being impatient, you get discouraged, and you give up halfway through the delegation process. So, maybe you delegated the task to begin with. All right? You identified the work that you wanted to assign to someone, you assign it, and then when they flip it back to you, you’re really dissatisfied with the work product that you received.

And instead of being patient and continuing to work with them, figuring out where they went wrong, where weren’t you clear, helping problem solve, giving more clear instructions, flipping it back to them, giving them another stab at the assignment to figure it out and work through the kinks.

Instead of doing that, you get really discouraged and really frustrated and you give up halfway through and you take it back and you say, “Screw it. I’m going to do this instead. I’ll just take it from here. It’s going to be a lot faster if I do it myself.”

Instead of doing that, I want you to recommit to your desired result. Pay attention. Notice if you start to get frustrated or discouraged, and just allow those emotions to be there. Take a deep breath, recognize them, sit with them for a second, but don’t let them drive the bus and be reacting to them. That’s what’s going to cause you to give up halfway through and take the work back yourself.

Instead, I want you to remember, we’re focused not on the short-term goal here, but on the long-term result of you building a team that can truly support you in a meaningful way going forward. And that’s going to take a little bit of time to iron out all of the issues and to really help someone understand what it is you’re looking for.

So, I want you to recommit to your desired result and make sure you follow through and stay the course. If you don’t do this, if you don’t follow through and stay the course, you’re never going to be in a position where you have a team that can actually support you.

Because every time, you’re going to assign something, get work product back that you don’t like, get frustrated and fed up, and then you’re going to do it. And you’re going to get smarter and better at completing the task the way you want it completed, rather than the person you’re assigning the work to, getting smarter and better at completing the task that you assigned to them. All right?

So, we definitely want to make sure that you stay the course and work through this process, even if it’s a little painful and frustrating.

All right, mistake number nine that I see people make is that they make a ton of assumptions about why people did the things that they did. So, when you get work product back that you don’t love; when someone either doesn’t follow your instructions, or maybe they think they followed your instructions, but you disagree with them.

Whatever the case may be, my clients will start to make assumptions about why the people that they’re supervising did the things that they did. And normally, I’ve talked about this in other episodes, normally people’s assumptions are very negative. We tend to assume the worst-case scenario.

So, a lot of people, when they’re assigning work to others and they get work product back that they don’t love, they assume a couple things. Number one, that the person just didn’t care. That is almost never the reason that you get back work product that doesn’t meet your standards. Okay? Another assumption that people will make is that people just aren’t smart enough or capable of figuring it out.

And these are two thoughts that are really close minded, short-sighted, and really pessimistic, that are not going to serve you creating the team that you want to have at the end of the day. Instead, I want you to remember that you have no idea why someone did the things that they did, or why they didn’t do what they didn’t do. You’re not a mind reader, so stop making assumptions.

If you really want to know, get curious and ask them. Why did you do this? How did you get here? What didn’t I explain clearly enough? And I love starting with the assumption that it’s actually something that you did. Not that it’s something that’s wrong with them, but that you could have explained it better.

If you operate from a place of curiosity, rather than from frustration or from a place where you’re beating yourself up, you just remain curious. You can tap into that wealth of information where you can start to see, “Oh, I could have done this differently. I could have been clear about this. I could have explained this in a different way, and maybe that would have helped.”

It’s how you’re going to get better at assigning work to other people, if you stay curious and understand what went wrong here. What could I have done differently? How can I improve next time? I also want you to ask questions to help problem-solve with your team member, rather than assuming that they’re just not competent or that they don’t care.

If it wasn’t either of those things, what else might it be? All right? Try and think of a positive motive. Maybe they didn’t understand something. This isn’t super positive, but it’s a little bit more of a compassionate explanation. Maybe they didn’t understand something, and they didn’t want to bother you. Or they were trying to figure it out and took their best guess themselves, or they felt inadequate and insecure about speaking up and raising their hand.

A lot of people get frustrated when their team members behave like that, but it’s a really relatable occurrence because most of us are all operating under that discomfort avoidance model. We’re all trying to avoid the most immediate discomfort. And for the members of your team that you’re supervising, it’s probably going to be uncomfortable for them to raise their hand and ask for help or ask for clarification with something.

So, you just want to be cognizant of that. If you are going to make an assumption, make a more positive one. Make one that allows you to feel understanding and accepting rather than feeling really frustrated, resentful, and annoyed, okay? But ultimately, problem solve with them. Try and get to the bottom of it. Really figure out what went wrong. What would you do differently next time, in order to remedy the situation?

All right, now on to mistake number 10, which is when you ignore the importance of analysis by telling someone instead of teaching the why. So, whoever you’re supervising, whoever you delegate it to, they’re going to come back and they’re going to ask you some questions. Also, sub-little mistake here, not leaving time for people to ask you questions or not making yourself available for people to ask you questions.

I talked about that earlier a little bit, with waiting to the last minute and making sure that you make time. But you always want to leave room specifically for questions and make yourself available to questions. If people don’t reach out to you to ask questions, I highly encourage you to go to them and force them to ask you questions, because I’m sure they probably have them.

So, set up a standing meeting with your team if necessary, and make it known that the expectation is that they come with questions, and that you’re not going to end the meeting until they ask them. Now, when it comes to question asking and answering, when the person that you’re delegating to asks you a question, it’s going to be really easy and really comfortable for you to just give them the answer.

But instead of doing that, I want you to require them to answer their own questions first. All right? So, they’re going to come with a question, and instead of just giving them the answer, you’re going to say, “What’s your answer to your own question first?” And you’re going to hold them accountable for giving you an answer.

And the reason this is so important, is because when you answer the question, your brain is the one that gets smarter. All right? You get more skilled at solving these problems. What we want is their brain to get more skilled at solving these problems. And the only way that that’s going to happen is if they get more at-bats of solving these problems themselves.

Now, you’re not leaving them to their own devices to have to figure out everything unsupported, you’re going to be there to guide them. But what you want to do is teach them your analysis. You want to teach them your why. And if you ask them to answer their own question first, you’re going to be able to see how they think. And then you’re going to see where their analysis goes haywire, where it goes off the rails, where they’re right and where they’re wrong.

And when you see where they’re going off script or they’re going off track, you’re going to be able to explain your own analysis to them, so they can start to think like you. That’s really what we want. When we’re delegating, over time we want people to anticipate your needs and to analyze problems, just like you analyze them.

So, we want to teach your analysis. And the only way that we can do that is if you get clear on what their analysis is initially, and then you can teach them yours if the two don’t match. All right? Now, this is going to be uncomfortable for you because they’re not going to want to answer their own questions. They’re going to want you to spoon feed them the answers. Because that’s way more comfortable than them having to go out on a limb and answer their own question first.

I know this firsthand, because one of the coaches that I do contract work for, it was my first coaching gig after I got certified, even before I started my own business. I was working for another coach, and she forced us to do this, and I hated it. And in the beginning, I would try and sneak one by her and get away with asking a question, hoping that she would just give me the answer.

But every time I did this, she would hold me accountable. And she would force me to come up with my own answer first. And I hated it. It made me super uncomfortable to go out on a limb and take my best guess because I was afraid of being wrong.

My perfectionism was really coming up in full force. I wanted to be able to feel smart and intelligent and not have to feel exposed or vulnerable because I was taking an educated guess. But what happened through this process is, number one, it helps me build my confidence, because sometimes I was just right.

And she would tell me, “Yes, that’s exactly right. That’s the answer. Go do that.” And other times, I would learn, I would get clear and come up with my own theory, she would show me where I went off the tracks, and then she would help steer me towards the right answer. And she would teach me her reasoning so then I could start to think like her and approach problems and come up with solutions from a similar vantage point with a similar ideology, a similar mindset.

So, it made me feel more capable, in time, as I was learning things on the go, as we encountered each of these questions and worked through each of these problems. It also had the benefit of helping me build my confidence. Because sometimes I would have a question, but I would know that I would have to go through this process.

I would have to come up with my own answer and have her review it. And that sometimes felt like a lot of work. And when I was 80% sure, or 90% sure of my answer, rather than go through all that rigmarole, I would just trust myself. I would come up with my own answer, and I would implement that answer without running it by her first.

What that taught me was to rely on my own opinion. To treat myself like an expert. To figure things out. To tap into my own resourcefulness. To trust myself. And almost always, my answer was sufficient, nothing went wrong, I answered it perfectly fine. And I was just able to move on and keep going.

That helped me really increase my self-confidence, to believe in myself and feel so much more capable as I went through the day-to-day of this position. So, your people are going to get the same benefit when you have them do this. Make your team answer their own questions. Don’t spoon feed them the answers. See how they think and explain your analysis after they’ve given you their own best guess. All right?

No more spoon feeding. You’re going to go through this process, even though they’re going to tell you, “I don’t know what the answer is.” Don’t let them get away with that. Make them give you an actual answer, not an ‘I don’t know’.

Okay, mistake number 11 is when you avoid uncomfortable conversations. This one is especially for my people pleasers who don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Now, remember, I’ve already talked about this on the podcast before, but you actually don’t hurt another person’s feelings. We hurt our own feelings by the thoughts that we think about a neutral circumstance.

So, if someone’s feelings are hurt, that’s because of their thinking about whatever you say or do. Okay? You just want to be aware of that. You don’t have to take on responsibility for how they’re feeling. Now, that being said, that’s no reason for you to operate as a jerk in the world. You want to make sure that you’re giving feedback from a clean space.

And I’ve recorded episodes on that, as a guide for you to give feedback in a really positive, productive, intentional manner, rather than from a negative emotion being fueled by frustration, resentment, anger, disappointment, any of those emotions, which isn’t going to lead to anything good. But if you’re a people pleaser, and you’re worried about upsetting someone, and you’re uncomfortable with someone else’s discomfort, you’re probably not going to speak up and have a really candid conversation.

Which is going to do one of two things, it’s either going to drive you to continue to tolerate subpar work, or you’re not going to delegate because of this, you’re not going to get the work product that you want. And then this whole process is going to be really futile. You’re just going to keep doing everything yourself, which does not solve the problem that we’re trying to remedy by learning to delegate and doing it effectively.

So, instead of avoiding the uncomfortable conversations because of guilt, worry, or fear, I want you to practice radical candor. You want to be really honest with the person. Now, this does not mean you want to be judgmental, we got to curb the judgment. But you want to be honest, from a curious place, from an understanding place, from an accepting place, from a supportive place.

And I want you to focus, again, on that long-term goal of building the team of your dreams. And from a place where you’re believing that getting the end result that you want is possible. If you think it’s not possible, you’re going to throw in the towel. So, you have to make sure that you’re cultivating the mindset and you’re operating from a place of strong belief that you can get the result that you want, through the process of delegating.

Now, it may be uncomfortable for you to practice radical candor, that is okay. Gagging-and-go through that discomfort, you will survive it. It’s not going to be the most fun conversation of your life, but it’s going to be worthwhile. And that’s really all that we’re focused on here: Taking meaningful action in order to create the result you want when it comes to delegating, and freeing yourself up to do your most meaningful work in the world.

Okay, last but not least, mistake number 12. It’s when you don’t diversify your delegation. A lot of people are really myopic when it comes to delegating. They don’t diversify, they don’t use different avenues. So, I want you to put your thinking cap on and think of different ways that you’re able to delegate.

So, there may be different team members that you’re not currently utilizing. Maybe you’re only thinking of your assistant or a subordinate attorney, right? Maybe an associate or a junior partner, if you’re a partner. I want you to think of other team members that you may not be utilizing. Then, I want you to think about ways that you may not be utilizing them.

Again, this goes back to talking to other colleagues, doing some research, the lost art of dictation really has gone away. And I think that’s an area that would really make a lot of people more effective and more productive, if you were delegating rather than spending so much time typing things and doing everything yourself. But I want you to use different avenues.

Also ask yourself: Are there tech solutions that I can implement here? Can I let tech do some of the work for me? You don’t just have to delegate to a live person, right? We’ve got a lot of AI solutions that are being invented and coming out and being released in the legal space. Are there any of those solutions that you might be able to implement?

I also want you to think outside of the workplace. Are there areas and tasks that you can delegate in your personal life. And you can think about different services? Are there single tasks you want to delegate? Are there ongoing tasks that you do frequently that you want to delegate? Are there some subscription services that you might be able to pay for, sign up for, in order to offload some of that responsibility and free up some of your time?

There are so many different options at your disposal, so many different avenues that are available to you, if you just give yourself some time to brainstorm those solutions. To give some thought to what would make a difference for you; what you hate doing, what you’d love to get rid of, what you’d love to delegate certain tasks that you’d love to take off of your plate. As you start to identify those, you can start to look for different nuanced ways, diversified ways, to get rid of those tasks. Okay?

All right. These are the 12 most common mistakes that I see people make when it comes to delegating. If you’re making them, I don’t want you to beat yourself up. I just want you to be onto yourself. I gave you, for each one, some quick suggestions of what to do instead. Okay, those are quick suggestions. In the next episode, I’m going to break it down much more specifically, and I’m going to give you a process to follow.

We’re going to talk about the mindset that you need to cultivate in order to delegate effectively. And then, I’m going to teach you the process of how to do it effectively, alright? The step-by-step, follow-the-yellow-brick-road plan to get you from where you’re not delegating to where you are delegating, and how to do it in the most effective efficient manner.

Okay, this is going to be a game changer for you. We’re going to free you up to do your most meaningful work; get the stuff off your plate that you hate doing, that you don’t really have time to do. It’s going to give you so much of your time back, so much of your mental energy back. And it’s going to allow you to have more time outside of work because you’re not going to be buried doing all these things that it really doesn’t make sense for you to do.

I can’t wait for you to be on the other side of this delegation issue. Where you’re doing it effectively and you’re really reaping the benefits of having done it. It’s going to be so good.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. I hope you 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 52: Mismatched Expectations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mismatched Expectations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mismatched Expectations

Do you often find yourself feeling frustrated and disappointed? These are two of the most common emotions that I see my clients and people in general experiencing, and typically, they feel this way because they have expectations that go unmet. Their expectations don’t measure up to the reality that they experience, so there’s a mismatch.

The biggest problem here is that most people don’t realize what’s happening. They blame the circumstances they’re encountering in their lives for how they’re feeling. It’s easy to think that the problem is whatever is going on in the world around them or how other people are treating them that make them feel the way they do. But the truth is, the blame lies in their expectations.

Tune in this week to see how your mismatched expectations are leaving you frustrated and disappointed. I’m giving you a framework you can implement when you notice yourself experiencing emotions like frustration and disappointment, so you can take inventory of what’s really going on, and begin clearly articulating your expectations before deciding whether or not you want to keep them.

Early Enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind opens May 12th, 2023, with the next live event running from August 23rd through 26th 2023. Spots are limited, so if you don’t want to miss out, I highly recommend you sign up for the waitlist 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 your feelings aren’t created by the world or the people around you.
  • How your mismatched expectations are creating frustration and disappointment.
  • Why you get to decide whether or not you want to experience a negative emotion.
  • Some specific areas I see my clients getting frustrated or disappointed because of their expectations.
  • Where your mismatched expectations might be coming from and how we come up with expectations in the first place.
  • How to bring awareness to exactly what’s causing your negative emotions and why this is happening.
  • My framework for clearly defining your expectations and deciding whether or not they’re serving you.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the 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
  • If you want more information about the Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, visit my LinkedIn, my Instagram, or email me!
  • Get on my email list!
  • Maggie Reyes

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 52. Today, we’re talking all about mismatched expectations. 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.

Well, hello there. How are you this week? Before we dive into today’s topic, we have to celebrate. It is the official one-year anniversary of The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. How exciting is that? I have been coming to you through your speakers for a whole year, teaching you how to live a life with less stress, and far more fulfillment.

Teaching you how to implement thought work into your daily life in order to have a better lived experience. In order to harness the awareness that you get from coaching and implementing the tools that I teach you on the podcast. In order to make meaningful, lasting changes in your life.

Changing how you think, changing how you feel, changing how you show up, and ultimately changing the results that you produce. So, I hope you will join me in celebrating this milestone. I’m super excited about it.

I am not always the best at celebrating my accomplishments and really taking pride in the things that I do; I tend to be pretty future-focused. So, I’m always looking, what’s the next thing on the horizon? What’s coming next? Which is one of the reasons that I spend so much time teaching you about how to define ‘enough’ in order to be able to celebrate the milestones when you achieve them.

But even though I’m not the best at celebrating some of those moments, I am really proud of this accomplishment. This has been quite an undertaking if I’m being honest. Creating a weekly podcast is a tight turnaround time and I have a very full schedule. So, it has truly been an exercise in discipline, and in commitment to produce this for you every week. But I love that I get to come through your speakers and talk to you and teach you all these things. It’s so much fun.

I’m very proud that I’ve been doing it for a year, and I can’t wait to be talking to you this time next year, celebrating two years of the podcast. I was thinking about this, and I knew that I was going to talk about this little tidbit in the beginning of the episode, and I just wanted you to take a second and join me. What is something that you are proud of yourself for accomplishing right now? Take a minute and join me; celebrate yourself, take pride, allow yourself to feel accomplished. It feels so good.

Alright, now that you’ve thought of that, we can shift gears and talk about today’s topic: Mismatched expectations. I see so many people struggle with constantly feeling frustrated and disappointed. Those are probably two of the most common emotions that I see my clients experience, that I see other people in the world experience. And typically, they feel this way because they have expectations that go unmet.

Their expectations don’t match the reality that they experience so there’s a mismatched expectation. Now, most people also don’t realize that this is what’s going on. Most people blame the circumstances that they’re encountering in their lives for how they’re feeling. They think that what’s going on in the world around them or other people’s actions are causing how they feel. But that’s actually not what’s to blame.

Remember, our thinking is what creates every emotion that we experience. And ultimately, our expectations are just thoughts. We have opinions, we have beliefs, we think things should go a certain way or should be a certain way. And that’s just our thinking. So, when we think a thought in the form of an expectation, and then we encounter a reality that doesn’t match it, we end up experiencing frustration and disappointment because we think that it should be different than it is. Right?

You expected one thing and you got another. The point of today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through a couple examples, but I want to give you a framework for what to do when you notice yourself experiencing frustration or disappointment. I want you to be able to take inventory of what’s going on, to identify and articulate your own expectations, and then decide if you want to keep them or not.

You always get to choose to feel negative emotions if you want to. But I want you to become aware of exactly why you feel the way that you feel. Why you feel frustrated or disappointed in any given moment. Provide you with a way to create a lot of awareness for yourself.

And then, if you choose to want to feel differently, how to shift out of that negative emotion into, probably not the rosiest of emotions, but if we can get you to understanding and accepting that would be great. So, I’m going to teach you how to do that today.

Here’s the framework I want you to follow. When you notice yourself experiencing one of these emotions, frustration, or disappointment, I want you to ask yourself these questions. First, ask yourself: What did I expect? And get really clear on what your expectation was. Pretty quickly, you’re going to see that your expectation was different from the reality that you’re experiencing. So, you want to get clear on what that expectation is.

Then, the second question you’re going to answer is: Why was that your expectation? Why did you expect that? Now, this question is important, because what you’ll see, sometimes your expectations are based on something; either a past experience, or something that you’ve been taught over the years, what society gets us to start to expect. So, you’ll see what it’s based on, and then you can question: Does it make sense for me to keep this or not?

Other times, though, you’ll notice that your expectation really isn’t based on anything. It’s like your brain just invented, what it expected, an experience to be like, and it won’t be based on anything at all. So, it’s kind of funny when you start to question this. It’s like, “Well, why was I expecting that? I don’t even know why I was expecting that. My brain just offered this to me.” And I think that’s something that we do to make sense and predict the future because we love certainty.

So, rather than not having an expectation, as human creatures, we’re used to coming up with an expectation in order to create a relatively false sense of security for ourselves. If that’s what’s happening, you just want to notice it. And then it’s really easy to shift your expectation if you notice, “Oh, I just invented that idea. It wasn’t supposed to be like that at all. I didn’t know what to expect. But I was expecting it to be different than it was.” And you can shift out of that.

Now, the next question, the third question that I want you to ask only works if it’s a situation where you’re dealing with someone else’s actions. The question is: Did you communicate your expectation to the person that you’re interacting with? I want you to assume that you didn’t communicate it, at least not clearly enough.

So, I want you to get curious and learn from this incident, and figure out how you could have explained it differently, how you could have communicated your expectation differently, in order to create a situation that’s different from the current one that you’re in. What would you have done differently, in order to get reality to more closely align with your expectation?

Always assume responsibility for this. Take radical ownership; that you could have explained it in a way that would have gotten you closer to the reality that you wanted. Alright?

Question number four: Do you want to adjust your expectation? Once you’ve gotten clear on what you expected and why you expect that, do you want to adjust your expectation? There’s no requirement for you to adjust your expectation. You absolutely get to keep it if you want to, you just have to take the frustration and disappointment that comes with having the expectation when it’s unmet, okay? When there’s a mismatch between reality and the expectation you had for reality.

If you do want to change your expectation, what do you want to change it to? What’s your new expectation? Do you want your expectation to match your current experience? That’s up to you if that’s what you want.

And the last question that I want you to answer, and this is going to help cultivate that sense of understanding, that feeling of acceptance, instead of being at war with reality. I want you to ask and answer: How does the reality you’re currently experiencing make sense? Make it make sense to yourself, don’t allow yourself to indulge in ‘I don’t know’.

Your brain might want to serve up to you that you don’t know why it makes sense or that it doesn’t make sense. I want you to get creative and force yourself to answer this question. How does the current reality make sense?

Alright, now let’s talk about some specific examples. The first one that I wanted to talk about, where I see people commonly experience frustration or disappointment, is with delegating work. I’m getting ready to do a two-part episode on delegating specifically, because it’s been coming up so frequently with my clients.

It’s one of the things we work on a ton together; managing expectations with delegating, how to do it effectively. People make so many mistakes when it comes to delegating, so I’m going to do a two-part episode on that really soon.

But here, I want to talk about the mismatched expectations that we experience and encounter with delegating. So, you assign something to someone, and then you get work product back and you’re disappointed by it. Or maybe, it’s not work product that you get back, but they did something and the result of whatever they did isn’t what you expected.

Now, people mistakenly believe that the work product itself is what causes their feelings of frustration and disappointment. But that’s not true. Remember, your thoughts cause your feelings. So, it’s how you think about the work product that you received, that causes you to experience those emotions. And like I said earlier, our expectations are just thoughts.

So, you expected something different than what you’ve got. And it’s the mismatched expectation here that your expectation did not match reality that is actually the problem. When this happens, I want you to ask yourself: What did you expect? Get really clear on what the expectation was.

One of my favorite examples of this… I worked with a transactional attorney, and he was really frustrated that the associate, he was a partner, the associate that he was working with, she wasn’t responsive enough. That was his opinion of her. I asked him, “Well, what does ‘responsive enough’ mean to you?”

They were working on a deal. I generally had a sense he was from big law. He had worked at an Am Law 20 firm for a really long time. He’s still at an Am Law firm. I generally had a pretty good idea of what I thought his expectation was, but I asked him what the expectation was, and he really wasn’t clear on it.

I finally offered him my best guess, and I said, “My guess is that you would like the associate to respond to your email within 30 minutes, if it’s between the hours of 6am and 11pm.” Now, you might hear that, and you might think that that expectation is unreasonable. That’s not what this episode is about. You are entitled to expect whatever you want. Whether or not your expectation serves you, is a completely different story.

For this attorney, when he’s working on a deal closing and it’s close to the closing date, that was actually was his expectation. So, when I communicated it to him, he was like, “Yep, that actually is what I’m expecting.”

And then I got to ask the next question, which is, “Why are you expecting that?” We got clear on his reasons. That, in part, that’s how he was trained when he was coming up as a new associate. Also, based on the type of work that they were doing, it made sense for him and the associate to be in frequent communication.

Then I asked the next question, “Did you communicate this expectation to the associate?” And, of course, he said no. Because oftentimes people don’t communicate that specific of instructions or expectations to the people that they’re working with. Right? So, he wasn’t getting that in response.

Now, this isn’t to say, just because you communicate an expectation that people have to comply with it. You can communicate an expectation, and the associate here would have free will and agency to make a decision; am I going to comply and meet the expectation? Am I going to not meet the expectation? Do I want to set a boundary instead? It’s totally up to her, she gets to make that decision.

Once we discovered that he hadn’t communicated the expectation, you get to decide, do I want to adjust the expectation? Or do I want to keep it and probably communicate it, to at least empower someone to make a more informed decision?

One of the things that I explained to him was, the associate probably doesn’t know she’s not meeting your expectations because there is a lack of clarity around what the expectation is. She might think she’s being perfectly responsive, and you aren’t satisfied with her level of responsiveness. So, communicating the expectation empowers everyone in that situation.

Now, turns out, he didn’t want to communicate it because he actually thought that the expectation sounded a little ridiculous. Again, this isn’t a judgment on the expectation. But if you realize that you aren’t comfortable communicating your expectation, I highly suggest that you change what your expectation is.

Because if you’re not going to change the expectation, but you’re unwilling to communicate it, chances are your expectation’s going to continue to go unmet. You’re just going to ensure future frustration and disappointment for yourself if you don’t change the expectation. So, check in with yourself: Do you want to change the expectation?

Now, you could do it to where you get to an expectation that you actually feel comfortable communicating. Maybe you want the person to respond every hour, and within a different timeframe, if you’re delegating work and you’re not getting it as fast as you want it. Ask yourself: What did you expect? Actually, get clear on when you expect to receive the work product. And then: Why was that your expectation? Was it based on anything or is that just the amount of time that sounded really reasonable to you?

And then: Did you communicate that expectation to the person you delegated the work to? Do you want to keep that expectation? If you don’t, what do you want to change it to instead, going forward?

I also had a client, he was also a transactional attorney, and he assigned someone to put together deal binders. There was a specific way he wanted them done. When the associate that he delegated the assignment to returned the binders, they weren’t what he wanted. So again, he was frustrated and disappointed with the work product that he received.

You want to go through these steps. What did you expect? Why did you expect that? Did you communicate the expectation? And here, he said he did communicate the expectation. But like I said a moment ago, I want you to go through that question and assume that the answer is no, that you didn’t clearly communicate the expectation. Because that pushes you into curiosity, to problem solve for why you didn’t get back work product that you were satisfied with.

What could you have explained differently? Did you need to give an example, a template, for someone to go off of? How could you have been more clear? What didn’t you explain? That’s where you want to bring your focus and attention to. And then, do you want to keep your expectation here? You probably do want to keep your expectation that you get binders back the exact way that you want them done.

Now, that last question is also so important. Why does it make sense? Why does the current reality make sense? That’s going to help shift you into understanding and accepting, feeling those feelings, instead of frustrated and disappointed.

Similar to the delegating arena, another place where I see people experience a ton of frustration and disappointment, is when it comes to encountering other people’s actions, most specifically, when you expect yourself from other people.

So, I would classify this as unreciprocated behavior; when you expect someone to act in a situation, how you would act in that situation. Or at least, how you think you would act. When the person does something differently, you feel frustrated and disappointed as a result. Because you had an expectation that someone behave differently than the way that they ended up behaving.

Maybe you are known for dropping everything and helping someone when someone asks for your help, whether it’s a colleague, a client, or a friend or a family member, okay? Then when you ask for help, they say no instead. And you feel really frustrated and disappointed being on the receiving end of their ‘no.’

It’s not because they said no, that’s not why you feel these feelings. You feel these feelings because you expected them to not say no; your expectation doesn’t match the reality that you’re experiencing. So, check in with yourself. What specifically did you expect from them? You expected their behavior to be different.

But how different did you expect it to be? What did you expect their behavior to be instead? I want you to get really clear on that. Don’t just say you expected it to be different than what it was. How, exactly, did you expect it to be? What did you expect to happen?

You want to get clear on that because it’s going to help you answer the second question: Why did you expect that? And again, your reason’s probably going to be, “Because that’s what I would have done.” This is going to be a situation where you’re probably going to want to adjust your expectation.

When we expect ourselves from other people, we really set ourselves up to experience so much frustration and disappointment. Now, ask yourself, you’ve got to check in here again: Did you communicate your expectation? If the answer’s no: Do you want to communicate it?

This is really good when it comes to gift-giving. I learned this from a marriage coach friend of mine; her name is Maggie Reyes. She always teaches the concept “would you rather be surprised or satisfied?” It’s awesome if you could be both, but that doesn’t always happen. Reality doesn’t always provide us with the opportunity to be both surprised and satisfied.

So, if you have to choose between the two, which would you prefer? Some people might choose to be surprised and that’s totally fine. Chances of you being unsatisfied if you allow yourself to be surprised? Much more likely. If you’re like me and you’d rather be satisfied, you probably want to communicate the gift that you want, prior to the gift-giving event, right? Whether it’s your birthday or another holiday.

Did you communicate it? Do you want to communicate it, in order to increase the likelihood, not guarantee, but at least increase the likelihood that your expectations are met?

Alright. When it comes to another person’s behavior, you ask yourself: What did I expect specifically? Why did I expect that? And then: Did you communicate it or not? Do you want to communicate it? Or, do you want to adjust your expectation? And chances are, especially when you’re expecting yourself from other people, you probably will want to adjust your expectation.

Because you are going to experience so much more frustration and disappointment in your life, when you have that expectation, and other people invariably don’t meet it. So, get clear: What do you want to expect instead?

One of the things that I’ve come to expect instead, is for people to just show up as themselves. I expect people to just be who they are. And I am going to accept them for who they are, in their most authentic version. And then, in order to get myself to that place of understanding and acceptance, I’m going to answer the question: How does the reality that I’m currently experiencing make sense?

One of the things that I have done for myself, is that I notice when people are acting in conformity with the way that they typically act. That always allows me to get to that understanding and place of acceptance. So, if someone’s acting “on brand”, it will make a lot of sense to me that they’re acting in conformity with the way that they always act. So, of course, this is how they’re acting. Of course, they’re not behaving differently than the way that they typically behave.

I also will think about why someone is acting the way that they’re acting. And normally, I can figure out what their motive is, and that it makes sense to me. I may not like it, but I can at least get myself to the place where it makes sense. And when I get myself to the place where it makes sense, I feel very accepting and understanding.

I also remind myself that people get to do whatever they want to do, and that people have free will. That really opens me up to those two emotions, as well. You can walk yourself through that same exercise in order to get to those emotions for yourself.

The third big area that I see people really struggle with feeling disappointed or dissatisfied or frustrated, is their satisfaction with the current results they have in their life. I’m going to use the example of a career, but it could really be anything. It could be your relationship status, it could be where you live, all of these things.

But specifically, when it comes to your career, do you feel frustrated and disappointed with what you have right now, with what your current experience is like right now? If you are experiencing those feelings, I want you to ask yourself: What did you expect? What did you expect your day-to-day experience to be like? How is it currently different from the reality that you’re experiencing? How did you expect your career, on a whole, to be different than what you’re currently experiencing?

The area where I see a ton of frustration, very commonly, is with compensation. What did you expect? A lot of people have mismatched expectations; their expectations, the compensation that they’re currently receiving. What did you expect? That’s where we want to start. Get really clear on what you expected your life to look like instead.

Then from there, ask yourself: Why did you expect that? Why did you expect your day-to-day to be different than it is? Why did you expect to maybe be further along than you are? Why did you expect your compensation to be different than it is?

This is really one of those areas where your brain just creates an expectation for you sort of based on nothing. It came up with an idea. The reality would be different than it currently is. It doesn’t really come from anywhere, it’s just what you thought it was going to be like. Your brain just serves you up some idea, and then we’re constantly measuring reality against that idea that we formulated based on nothing, right?

A lot of people I work with expect to be making a lot more money than what they’re making. And when I dig into this, what did you expect instead, a lot of times, they can’t articulate what they expected. They just want to be making more. But I’m like, “Okay, how much more?”

And then when we finally put a number on it, I’m like, “Why do you expect to be making that? You accepted this job offer. You were making X amount, and the compensation structure is a specific way,” right? That you’re going to get raises in this increment. Or you can expect to receive salary increases in this amount based on what you’ve received in the past. Or you expected to receive a much bigger bonus.

When I ask about that, “What’s the bonus structure like? What’s it based on? How do they calculate that amount?” When we do this, what we start to see is that they expected something that’s really detached from reality. It doesn’t make sense how they would ever get to that number, based on the current compensation model that they’re operating within.

So, this brings us to that next question: Do you want to change your expectation? If you’re unwilling to change your job and you’re unwilling to develop business or do the things that would allow you to increase your compensation in the way that you want, then you should adjust your expectation. Otherwise, you’re just going to constantly be operating in a state of frustration, disappointment, and dissatisfaction.

If you can get to the number where you’re at without changing jobs, amazing. Do the work that you need to do in order to get and qualify for that compensation that you’d like to have.

Your other option is to change the circumstance. So, you can keep your expectation that you make a certain amount, but you would change where you work in order to make it more likely that you’re operating within a compensation framework that allows you to meet your expectations.

You would want to switch to someplace where you are compensated for the business you develop, and the origination credit you get aligns with your income expectations, or the salary is just higher, right? Those are your options there.

Same thing with your expectations about your day-to-day: What do you expect it to be like? How is the current expectation not meeting your current reality? What did you expect instead? What did you expect your day-to-day life to be like? Get really clear on that.

For me, I’ve had to do a ton of work on allowing myself to experience boredom. Because what I have learned, is that life on a day-to-day basis is a little bit more boring than I expected life to be. I used to think that that was such a problem, and I would solve for it by buffering and engaging in instant gratification activities that allowed me to feel more entertained, than dealing with the boredom that I was experiencing.

If that’s you and you’re not great at experiencing boredom, what I want you to do is get really clear on what are you expecting instead. For me, what I realized was that I was expecting to feel really exhilarated on a day-to-day basis. And ultimately, I decided to change that expectation, because the pace of a very exhilarating life is actually pretty exhausting.

So, as I’ve shifted my expectation, I’ve come to expect life to be a little bit boring. One of the things that I teach my clients, is that life is 50/50. I talked about this on a recent podcast episode. And not only is it 50% good, 50% bad, we’re going to think 50% of things are good and 50% of things are bad, on average, I also like to split it into the specific emotion.

So, 50% of life is not boring, and 50% of life is boring; I’ve just come to terms with that. And when I came to terms with that and I adjusted my expectations, now my expectations aren’t mismatched, they are much more closely aligned with reality.

For you, if you feel dissatisfied, frustrated, or disappointed with your current life, with the results that you currently have, go through this process. What did you expect? Why did you expect that? Do you want to change or keep your expectation? Do you want to make an adjustment? If you do, what do you want your expectation to be instead? And then, this question is so powerful here: How does the reality you’re currently encountering make sense?

It makes sense that you’re making the amount of money that you’re currently making, based on where you’re working, what you agreed to, and what you’re currently doing. It makes sense that your day-to-day experience is the way that it is, because of the choices that you’re making. Same thing with where you live or your relationship status or your weight, any of those things, how you spend your time.

If you’re dissatisfied with that, if you’re really underwhelmed by different aspects of your life, get clear. What did you expect? Why did you expect it? How does your current reality make sense?

You’re going to see that you should be exactly where you are. Your current experience should be exactly what it is, based on what you’re doing and what you’re not doing, based on the choices that you’re making. When you take radical ownership over those decisions that you make day in and day out, you’re going to a feel way more understanding and accepting of your current reality.

It’s going to really dial down that frustration and that disappointment. It’s also going to empower you to make changes. So, if you realize that you’re the one creating your current results and you want different results, you’re going to start making different decisions. You’re going to start choosing different actions. You’re going to show up differently than the way that you have been showing up, in order to create a different result for yourself.

Alright, that’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I want you to go through and identify, really take inventory of your life. Where are you experiencing frustration? Where are you experiencing disappointment?

And walk through this framework. Get very clear on what your expectation is. What did you expect? Understand why that is your expectation, why did you expect that. Did you communicate it? If it makes sense for you to have communicated an expectation here. Because the expectation is involving someone else’s behavior.

And then from there, do you want to adjust your expectation? Or do you want to keep it? Why or why not? If you want to adjust it, what do you want to adjust it to? You want to be very specific, and then create understanding and acceptance for yourself. How does the current reality make sense?

That’s going to make a huge difference in how you feel on a daily basis. How you feel in conjunction with the results that you have in your life. It’s really going to free up and eliminate so much of the heavy emotional weight that you encounter because of your mismatched expectations. Alright? Have fun taking inventory and going through that exercise. I think it will really help you feel better.

Alright, my friends. That’s what I have for you this 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 51: Deprivation

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Deprivation

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Deprivation

A core piece of what I teach is that you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable feelings and take action in spite of them. So, how do you react when you feel a sense of deprivation? For many people, a fear of deprivation stands in the way of them accomplishing the goals they set for themselves.

You have an action you need to take to produce a desired result, which means you have to do one thing, and not do something else. But it’s this not doing something else that triggers deprivation. So, listen closely this week because I’m sharing exactly how to deal with the feeling of deprivation when it comes up for you, instead of avoiding the emotional experience of actually feeling it.

Tune in this week to discover what it looks like when you’re avoiding feeling deprived, and how avoiding deprivation sets you up for failure. I’m discussing why we self-sabotage in this way, and instead how to allow yourself to feel deprived while moving forward intentionally.

Early Enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind opens May 12th, 2023, with the next live event running from August 23rd through 26th 2023. Spots are limited, so if you don’t want to miss out, I highly recommend you sign up for the waitlist 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 deprivation is and where it comes from.
  • How avoiding the feeling of deprivation is a form of self-sabotage.
  • Why avoiding the feeling of deprivation feels good and natural as human beings.
  • How to see the ways you’re currently avoiding feeling deprived.
  • Why the feeling of deprivation passes way quicker than you might expect.
  • How to allow yourself to feel deprived while still taking action to produce the results that you want.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 51. Today, we’re talking all about deprivation. 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.

Hello, how are you? I am recently back from Miami, and all is well here. I was actually pretty excited to get back to Detroit and get back to the Panthers, even though I love Miami. But I was down in Miami for a coaching event with my coach Brooke Castillo.

I went down there for Work Hard Play Hard. I spent six days having fun in the sun with some of my best friends and closest colleagues. We just spent almost a week brainstorming, learning about how to market our businesses at the next level. And the thing that I love about being in an immersive event and being in person at a conference, just like the mastermind that I host, is all of the side conversations. All of the learning that you do when you put yourself in rooms with powerful people.

So, we went to all my favorite restaurants in Miami. I love The Surf Club Restaurant at the Four Seasons, and Casa Tua is my favorite Italian spot there; we went to both of those. I got to eat some Cuban food. And over all these amazing meals, I got to have the most incredible conversations. We really got every drop of value out of being there together, just brainstorming with one another or putting our heads together, coming up with all of these incredible ideas.

I can’t wait to introduce some of what I decided while I was in Miami with some of my peers. I have some really exciting news that I can’t wait to announce to some of my current students. And it’s going to be something that I continue to do in my mastermind each round to come.

So, if you haven’t joined yet, you want to make sure you join the next round. Enrollment opens up on May 12th. You want to make sure you get in there, so you get access to these changes that are going to be coming in the future. They’re super exciting, and I don’t want you to miss out. That’s a quick little life update from me over here.

It is nice to be back home. It is still chilly, and I did enjoy the sunshine and the beach, but I’m ready to get to work. I’ve got a couple really exciting, action-packed months up ahead. I have a lot of speaking engagements in March, in April, and in early May. So, a lot going on there.

I’ll be at the Women in Trial Travel Summit in Punta Mita, Mexico, in April. If you’re going to that reach out to me and let me know, so I can look forward to meeting you. All right, that’s the life update. I always like to fill you guys in. Sometimes I feel like Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? Where in the world is Olivia Vizachero? I tend to hop around quite a bit. I like to bring y’all with me and take you on my adventures.

But without further ado, I want to dive into today’s topic. It’s actually something that was a little bit inspired by some of the conversations I had with my coach friends down in Miami. We were talking a lot about deprivation and feeling deprived.

So, a few of the women that I was with in Miami, they’re weight loss coaches, we talked a lot about deprivation. And some of us have different takes on deprivation. But if you’ve been listening to my podcast, you know that a core tenet of what I teach is that you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable feelings and take action in spite of and despite them.

I always simplify this and teach it by saying you have to gag-and-go through the discomfort. It’s going to be uncomfortable to do the intentional actions that get you the results that you want. But in order to get those results, you’ve got to take that intentional action anyways. You’ve got to be willing to feel those negative feelings that correlate with taking those actions. Feel that discomfort and move forward in spite of it.

Because I was with weight loss coaches, they deal with deprivation a lot, right? A lot of their clients come to them feeling very deprived and they have an unwillingness to feel that negative feeling. And instead of feeling it, they avoid it and they eat whatever they want to, which ultimately doesn’t support their weight loss goals.

So, as we were brainstorming in Miami, we were talking a lot about deprivation and how I teach gag-and-go, feeling uncomfortable feelings, and moving forward intentionally in spite of them. And it made me think of the episode that I did a couple of weeks ago, which was all about dread. If you haven’t listened to that yet, I highly recommend it. Go back and check it out.

I talked all about how sometimes, more often times than not actually, you have to feel a sense of dread in taking the intentional action that gets you closer to achieving the results that you want in your life. And that dread isn’t a problem, it doesn’t need to be avoided. You don’t need to run from it and try and escape it. You can embrace it, and just move forward while you feel full of dread. And that the dread quickly passes.

I wanted to talk today about the feeling of deprivation, feeling deprived, because it’s very similar to dread. Just like dread, it’s one of the most common obstacles that I see stand in the way of people accomplishing the goals that they set.

So, what happens is they have an intentional action that they need to take to produce a desired result. And then, when they go to take that action, it requires them to stop doing something else or to not do something else. And it’s that not doing the something else that triggers the deprivation.

Then when the deprivation appears, I want you to think of it like a game of hot potato, that negative emotion comes to you, and you want to escape it immediately. So, you do anything in your power to get out of it, to avoid that emotional experience. And now, whatever you tend to do in the moment provides you with entertainment. It gets you to avoid feeling deprived. You get to feel satiated, really comfortable, and entertained and excited. And all of these positive emotions instead.

You also, normally, get a hit of dopamine with whatever you’re doing. So, you get that instant gratification, you get that instant reward. But ultimately, when you’re avoiding that feeling of deprivation, you’re setting yourself up for failure in the long term. Because you’re not taking the intentional action that creates the result that you ultimately want in your life.

Today, I want to go through and give you several examples of what this looks like, what it looks like to avoid feeling deprived, how it sets you up for failure, how you self-sabotage when you’re avoiding feeling deprived, and what it looks like to allow yourself to feel deprived and move forward intentionally in spite of and despite it. To gag-and-go through feeling deprived, and to take the intentional action to produce the results that you want.

I’m going to start with the most common example, which is in sticking to your schedule. So, you make a plan for the day. And if you aren’t making a plan for your day, go back and listen to my Time Management Series. You want to be making a plan for your day.

You create a plan for the day. And when it comes time to implement the plan, let’s say you plan at 10am to start doing legal research, and it’s 9:59am. So, 10 o’clock is right around the corner. And instead of starting research and logging into Westlaw and getting going, you’re still on Instagram, and you’re like, “Just one more scroll. I’m just going to read one more post. I’m just going to slide my finger across the screen just for one more minute.

And then it’s 10:04am, and you’re like, “Ack, I already blew my 10 o’clock start time. I’m just going to keep staying on Instagram until 10:15,” or 10:30 or 11 o’clock, if you’d like to start things at the top of the hour. Which is just your perfectionist brain trying to control the narrative and control the action that you take.

But what’s happening when you’re on Instagram at 9:59, and you know you’re supposed to start working on that legal research at 10am, you start to worry that you’re going to feel deprived at 10am when it comes time to stop scrolling on Instagram.

And instead of allowing yourself to feel deprived and putting your phone away, you don’t. You avoid feeling deprived by continuing to scroll, by continuing to read more posts. By continuing to, like I said, slide your finger across the screen and just keep going through that feed.

Your unwillingness to allow yourself to feel deprived, and what that would look like in practice is you put your phone down. You feel deprived, which is just a vibration in your body. Which is all our emotions ever are, just vibrations in our body. And you’ll feel deprived for a second. You start researching and then you give yourself a moment to allow that feeling to pass.

When you start researching, slowly but surely, that deprivation fades away. It doesn’t even happen all that slowly, to be completely honest with you. Deprivation passes pretty quick quickly. But our brains scream the loudest when we’re about to transition. Right when we’re about to experience the most discomfort, which is when we stop the thing that’s bringing us temporary pleasure and instant gratification, like being on social media, to move to the thing that you’re dreading, right?

This is how dread and deprivation really work in tandem with one another; you’re dreading doing the legal research, and you have to feel deprived over the thing that’s much more entertaining, much more exciting. Instead of avoiding it by continuing to scroll on Instagram, you want to just allow yourself to feel deprived, and to transition to the thing that you’re supposed to be doing.

Now, maybe Instagram isn’t the thing that you struggle with or LinkedIn, or social media in general. Maybe it’s time to start working on that legal research. Or maybe you do transactional work, so you need to review a contract or draft a contract or anything like that, you need to send an email to a client, and you plan to do it. And instead of doing it right when it comes time to start at 10am, you’re like, “You know what? I could really use a snack, I’m kind of hungry.”

And instead of allowing yourself to just feel deprived, and not get up and get a snack and start the task that you planned, you get up and get the snack because you’re unwilling to feel deprived. You avoid that deprivation by getting up and indulging in the snack.

Now, maybe you don’t even do this with snacks, you just do it with a glass of water. But I want you to watch your brain. It’s going to come up with an excuse factory that pushes you, that urges you, to not do whatever you planned for the day. And instead, to avoid what you planned and to do something else that’s much more satisfying. That provides you with that instant pleasure, that instant gratification, that instant reward.

Whenever you are choosing not to reward yourself, it’s going to trigger that sense of deprivation. If this sounds familiar, if you struggle to stick to your schedule, I want you to be on the lookout for how often you avoid feeling deprived. I want you to pay attention to this throughout your day. And be really honest with yourself.

If you’re doing a time audit, which I’ve talked about on the podcast before, and you’re keeping track of everything you’re doing and you’re not sticking to what you have planned and you’re not getting through the tasks that you wanted or planned to get through in a given day, I want you to look really closely and examine; where was I unwilling to feel deprived?

Where did I anticipate that I was going to have to experience deprivation? Or, where did I start to experience the sense of deprivation? And then, what did I do to avoid it? How did I avoid it? How did I run for the hills to escape that emotional experience? What would it look like for you to allow yourself to experience that deprivation?

Spoiler alert, it’s always going to involve you taking the intentional action that produces the intentional desired result that you want. So, when it comes to sticking to your schedule, allowing yourself to feel deprived is going to be you feeling that feeling in your body, and then taking the action that you plan to take at the time you plan to take it.

Now this doesn’t just happen with our schedules. This happens with so many different aspects of our lives. Think about eating healthy, right? You make the plan, whether it’s to lose weight or you just want to be in better health, you’re only going to eat certain things, you’re going to constrain, and you’re going to make decisions ahead of time about what you’re going to eat and about what you’re not going to eat.

And then instead of sticking to it, you get a craving for something. And when you get that craving, which is generated by you thinking the thought “I want that,” then you feel that desire. When you think about not having what you want, it triggers that sense of deprivation. So, you start to feel deprived. And then you escape feeling deprived by indulging in eating whatever it is that you didn’t plan to eat; the thing that is misaligned with your weight loss goals or with your health goals.

For me, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season right now. And this is a perfect example; Girl Scout cookies are everywhere. And I don’t know if you’re like me, I love Thin Mints. But when I think about eating Thin Mints, it doesn’t align with the goals I have for maintaining the weight that I’m currently at or losing a little bit more weight.

So, I decided ahead of time not to eat the Thin Mints. And yet I still like them, so I think the thought “I want to eat Thin Mints.” It triggers that desire and when I think about not eating them, then I feel deprived. You can avoid feeling deprived by indulging in the Thin Mints, right?

And what’s really true is that there’s deprivation, both ways. There’s deprivation in not having the Thin mints and then there’s deprivation in not having the physique that I want to have. So, I get to pick my discomfort; there’s always discomfort both ways. The choice is up to me.

What’s fascinating is when you watch yourself experience this deprivation. It’s just momentary, it passes so quickly. You think the thought “I want Thin Mints,” or whatever your snack of pleasure is, and you experience that deprivation in your body. I want you to place it in your body, where is that vibration? What does it feel like?

You can breathe it in and then you can just allow it to be there. And you don’t eat what you didn’t plan to eat. You just allow yourself to feel deprived, and when the moment passes, it always does, that deprivation will leave you and you get to go about your day. All right?

I was just talking to someone about this; this happened to me one night. I was walking to my bed, at the end of the night, and I really wanted a snack. I got the craving for something sweet. I was at the bottom of my stairs, and I was equidistant to my bed and to my kitchen. I so clearly saw what I was doing, I was craving something and I thought that I wanted it.

I could have walked towards the kitchen and indulged. And instead, I just took a deep breath, and I found the feeling of deprivation in my body. For me, I tend to feel it like a pressure pushing me forward, from my back through my chest. It’s just a little nudge forward; is what deprivation feels like in my body.

Other people experience it differently. I have one client, she always says she experiences deprivation, she feels it, in her throat. It’s like a tightness in her throat. For me, it’s that forward, little nudge from my back to through my chest. I just felt that vibration in my body, I took a deep breath, and I allowed it to be there. And then, I walked up the stairs and went to bed.

By the time I got to the top of my stairs, the deprivation had passed. I no longer wanted the snack. I was fine. I went to bed, and I had a wonderful night. And I didn’t self-sabotage by eating something that I didn’t plan to eat. You can do the exact same thing.

So, notice if you’re also trying to eat healthy. Are you unwilling to feel deprived? Do you sabotage your success by eating stuff that you didn’t plan to eat because you’re unwilling to allow yourself to experience that deprivation? What would it look like for you to allow yourself to experience it instead?

Another really common example of an unwillingness to feel deprived, I see this all the time, with people going to bed on time. Intellectually, they know they would be much better served by going to bed at whatever they defined to be a reasonable hour. And of course, that’s going to be different for everyone.

I have some people in my network, that are clients of mine, are friends of mine, and they go to bed super early, like by eight o’clock at night. That’s not me, that’s not my style. I stay up way later than that. You might be more like me. I tend to go to bed at midnight or 1am, and that works for me based on when I wake up.

You don’t have to have the same answer as me. You can go to bed at 10 or 11 or 9, whatever works for you. But if there’s ever a time where you know it would be in your best interest to go to bed earlier, but then you stay up late indulging in an activity that provides you with that instant gratification, like binging Netflix or being on TikTok, anything like that, watching YouTube videos at all hours of the night, going down different rabbit holes of different methods of entertainment.

If that’s you, it’s because you’re unwilling to feel deprived. When you think about going to bed instead of doing those entertainment activities, it triggers a sense of deprivation in you. And you will avoid feeling that deprivation by continuing to engage in the entertaining activity.

I have actually heard this described, there’s a term for it. It’s called “revenge bedtime procrastination”. Where you put off going to bed to engage in activities that you don’t have time for during the day. Now, you totally set yourself up for a miserable morning, right? Because you sacrifice sleep in order to get that leisure time. Because you feel like you don’t get to do it in the normal course of a day, because you’re overwhelmed and feeling really busy and really behind. So, you do that at the expense of sleep.

Now, the only person that you’re screwing over here, is yourself, right? But we still tend to do this. And in part, it’s normally because people feel cheated. Like, they don’t have time to do the things that they enjoy, and they feel entitled to get to do them. So, they stay up late at their own expense in order to fit them in.

But the other reason that people do this, is because they’re unwilling to feel deprived. When they think of not engaging in these entertaining activities, they have a sense of deprivation, that’s what they experience. And instead of allowing themselves to feel it, and going to bed when they say they’re going to go to bed, when it would serve them to go to bed, they don’t. They stay up late and they indulge, they avoid feeling deprived.

All right, this last example that I want to talk about is not as a call out, but it is a harsh truth. And people tend to not love it when I talk about this. But I really think that I do people a disservice if they’re indulging in the way that I’m about to explain. If I don’t highlight it for them, and I don’t call them out on it, they keep doing it, and they lack awareness of what’s going on.

So, one of the ways that I see people avoid feeling deprived is when they’re very overwhelmed, and they’re underperforming at work. Or very early on in growing a business, I also see this happen. What people do is they jam-pack their schedule. There are a bunch of activities that they would need to do in order to set themselves up for professional success.

You’ve got that mile-long to-do list and you keep procrastinating on it. You’re not doing the things that would set you up for success at work. You’re not entering your time on time. You’re behind on assignments, and then your weekends are filled with fun activities.

I’m not suggesting that you work 24/7, alright? I’m not supporting hustle culture here. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is a failure to practice constraint in order to get a handle on your workload. Alright? This isn’t suggesting that you need to be overworking or working all the time.

But what people do, is they underperform at work. They’re not taking enough action. They’re not being consistent; they’re not following through. And then, they distract themselves from their underperformance by going out and having fun.

They do this because they feel entitled to do these things outside of work. But also, because they’re unwilling to feel deprived. Here’s one example of this. You’re behind on a brief. You promise to get it to someone. Whether it’s a draft copy to the client, or a draft copy to the partner that you’re working for, you promised to get it to them by Friday. And it’s Saturday, and it’s still not done.

Instead of working on it, you go to brunch with your friends, because FOMO is real. And you don’t want to feel deprived in the fun that they’re about to have. Right? Or you go to dinner on Saturday night, or you go watch the football game on Sunday, even though you’ve over promised and under-delivered when it comes to work.

I see people consistently not hit their hours, and then they’ll go on vacation. Now, I’m all for vacation. But when you’re underperforming, and you’ve agreed to hold up your end of the bargain in an employment relationship, you want to eliminate anything that’s a distraction until you solve your underperformance problem.

Rather than distracting yourself from the problem by being busy, by packing your social schedule with a bunch of things that distract you from what’s going on, from really contending with the issues at hand.

I absolutely want you to take a vacation. I just want you to solve the underlying issues first, instead of using a vacation as an escape mechanism, or using brunch as an escape mechanism, or dinner with your boyfriend or girlfriend or whomever. Doing that as a distraction from your underperformance.

And we do these things because we don’t want to feel deprived. We think that we should be able to do them. That we work hard and that we’ve earned it. We’re feeling very entitled and deserving. It triggers that sense of deprivation of going without, that activity of not engaging or attending the thing that we want to attend.

I see this happen with new business owners all the time, as well. If you’re starting your own law firm, branching out on your own, and you are now your own boss, you really want to have this luxurious lifestyle where you get to work from wherever you want, and play however often you want.

People will go out on their own and then they book all of this travel. They’re doing all of these leisurely activities because it’s what they want to do. And the thought of not doing it makes them feel deprived. They avoid feeling deprived by doing those activities, even though it doesn’t support their long term success, at least not in the beginning.

And then I’ll watch them complain and they start to stress out about not having the monetary results in their business that they want to have. It’s because they’re too distracted with all this instant gratification, as a result of their unwillingness to feel deprived.

I am really open about my entrepreneurship journey. I put my head down for a year and a half. I didn’t go out to eat. I didn’t do fun things. I didn’t go on vacation. I put my head down and I worked, and I have a very successful business as a result of allowing myself to feel deprived for a relatively short period of time, a year and a half flies by.

And now, I get to travel. Now, I get to have a ton of fun. I get to go to beautiful dinners with friends of mine; both at home and in different cities. As I travel, I get to attend conferences. I get to do all of the fun things. So, my deprivation was temporary. But it was so important for me to allow myself to feel deprived and put my head down and get to work in order to fix the biggest issue that I was dealing with, which was a lack of income when I was starting my business.

Whether you’re starting your own firm or your own business, your biggest problem to solve is a lack of income. You want to allow yourself to feel deprived. Put your head down, get to work, and do the things that you need to do in order to start to generate money in your business.

And if that’s not your issue, if you’re just underperforming at work and you need to solve your procrastination problem, number one, don’t struggle on your own. Reach out to me. Let’s talk, let’s get on a consult. Let’s work through that together.

Make sure you’re getting the support that shortens that timeline, as much as possible. And if it’s not me, find another coach to work with. Make sure you get yourself the support, so you don’t struggle for longer than you need to.

But you want to make sure that you’re addressing that problem. And it’s going to require you to feel deprived in the interim. You want to eliminate distractions and constrain your focus to solving your underperformance problem. Once we get to the bottom of it, then you get to add back in all of the fun activities that you took a temporary break from. The deprivation is temporary, it’s not permanent. It’s not forever, you will survive it.

So, you want to think about if you’re underperforming. If you’ve got some work problems to solve. Where are you unwilling to feel deprived right now? Where is your avoidance of that emotional experience of feeling that deprivation? Where’s it holding you back? Where is it becoming an obstacle for you? Where is it getting in your way?

I really want you to audit your life right now and examine, where are you unwilling to feel deprived? When you audit your life, and you search for the instances where you’re currently unwilling to feel deprived, you get to start to practice allowing yourself to experience deprivation.

And like I described with the snack at the bottom of the stairs example, what that looks like, is finding that emotion in your body. Describing it in the moment when you are experiencing the emotion, when you’re feeling deprived.

Your natural inclination is to avoid that deprivation and indulge in whatever the instant gratification providing activity is. Whether it’s having a snack or watching one more episode or scrolling some more on social media or sleeping in or saying yes.

When it makes sense for you to say no to a leisurely activity, whatever the case is, you want to find that emotion in your body to ascribe that vibration? Where is it at? What does it feel like? Is it light? Is it heavy? Does it move? Does it have a color? There aren’t right or wrong answers to this. I just want you to find the vibration in your body.

I don’t care if you think this is a silly exercise, just indulge me and give this a try. Find that feeling in your body. And then, take a deep breath and decide to allow it. In order to allow that emotion to be there, you’re just going to take that deep breath. And you’re going to go about taking the intentional action that supports you getting the results you want.

The more you do this, the more you find it in your body, describe it, take that deep breath, and then go about your intentional action in spite of and despite that sense of deprivation. The more skilled, the more practiced you’re going to be at allowing yourself to feel deprived and moving forward.

In spite of it, you’re going to be able to overcome feeling deprived. You’re going to get out of your own way. You’re not going to self-sabotage anymore, because you’re going to know how to masterfully allow that emotional experience and to support yourself and set yourself up for success, regardless of that feeling.

I really want you to spend some time this week and brainstorm what would be different about your life if you were willing to feel deprived and take intentional action in spite of and despite it. I promise you, if you allow this emotion to be there, to just exist, and to not twist yourself into a pretzel and do back handsprings in order to escape this emotional experience, your life will be wildly different.

It will change for the better, significantly. And remember, even though it feels super uncomfortable, you want to gag-and-go through that discomfort. The deprivation will pass, it always does.

You can even think back to a time where you felt deprived. Think of that time and remember. You survived it, right? You felt deprived; that feeling didn’t kill you. You felt it in your body. And you were able to move forward regardless, in spite of and despite it. So, gag-and-go through your deprivation.

And keep practicing this. You’ll get better and better and better, and it will get easier and easier and easier, to just allow yourself to feel deprived. To take that deep breath and to move forward on to the action that ultimately serves you and sets you up for achieving the goals you want to achieve.

All right, my friends, I know that sounds super exciting to go out and just feel all sorts of deprived as often as you can. But it really is such a secret key to unlocking your success and really achieving your full potential. So, go out this week and gag-and-go through feeling deprived. You’ve got this. That’s what I’ve got for you this 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 50: Problems Are Forever

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Problems Are Forever

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Problems Are Forever

One of the greatest causes of suffering I see in my clients is that they hold the belief that, when something is happening in their lives that they don’t like, it shouldn’t actually be happening. But ultimately, when this happens, they’re arguing with reality. 

I love teaching today’s concept to people because it really is life-changing when we come to terms with the truth: that problems are forever. When you understand what your expectations are around encountering problems in your life and learn to reframe your thinking around them, you can decrease your disappointment and frustration when problems do occur.

Tune in this week to discover why problems are forever, and why that’s okay. I discuss what happens when you believe you shouldn’t be experiencing problems, and how you can anticipate problems ahead of time, manage your expectations, and cast a new perspective over your problems when they do arise.

Early Enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind opens May 12th, 2023, with the next live event running from August 23rd through 26th 2023. Spots are limited, so if you don’t want to miss out, I highly recommend you sign up for the waitlist 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:

  • The underlying beliefs that you are holding if you believe you shouldn’t be encountering problems in your life.
  • Why problems are forever, just like diamonds.
  • How you’re doubling down on the emotional pain when you believe your experience of life should be different than it is.
  • What you can do to cast a new perspective on the things you perceive as problems.
  • Why the actions you take as a result of emotional suffering only serve to make any situation worse.
  • How to see where you’re currently arguing with reality, and how you can instead anticipate problems before they leave you feeling terrible.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 50. Today, we’re talking all about how problems are forever. 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.

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a fabulous start. My week is kind of a short week. This week, I’m getting ready to head down to sunny Miami, and I cannot wait to escape this Detroit weather. There’s been a lot of snow and ice storms up here lately, and I am so sick of the cold.

So, I’m headed to Miami to meet up with one of my coaches, Brooke Castillo, with a bunch of my other coach friends for an event called Work Hard Play Hard. We’re going to spend two mornings training, learning all these things about marketing our coaching businesses. And then from there, we’re going to spend two afternoons/evenings, playing and spending time with each other, and just celebrating and having so much fun.

I can’t wait to be down there. I checked the weather this morning. It’s in the high 70s, low 80s. I cannot wait. I’m ready to soak up some sunshine. I had a little bit of a reprieve after being in Charleston and coming home, and I tried to rest and recuperate as much as possible. But this trip is the start of a pretty hectic couple of months for me.

I have a lot of speaking engagements all throughout the month of March and April. I’m going to be in Punta Mita, Mexico, for the Women in Trial Travel Summit, which is a really fun conference. Kind of like Work Hard Play Hard, in the sense that the learning takes place in the morning. And then all of the amazing networking takes place in the afternoons.

This is the first time I’m speaking at this conference. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a whole group of people that I think don’t typically attend a lot of the conferences that I go to, whether it’s Clio Con or ABA TECHSHOW, so I’m excited to meet a bunch of people. They’re mostly from the West Coast. I mean, I think they’re from all over, but predominantly from the West Coast. So, I’m excited to get exposed to them.

If you’re headed to the Women in Trial Travel Summit, reach out to me ahead of time, I’d love to know. And definitely make a plan to meet up while we’re there, and get to know each other. I’d love to meet you in person. All right, all of that probably sounds like a lot of fun, and it’s going to be. I cannot wait to do those trips and do those speaking engagements.

What may not sound like a ton of fun, is today’s topic, problems are forever. But I really love teaching this concept to people, because I think it is really life changing when we internalize it and we come to terms with the truth of this concept.

Now, it may not sound as exciting as the whole Diamonds Are Forever concept from James Bond. But it really is transformative to understand what your expectations are around encountering problems in your life and how to reframe your thinking around them, so you come to expect them. And you really decrease your disappointment and frustration when they occur when you encounter them.

So, I want to start by saying that one of the greatest causes of suffering that I see with my clients is that they hold this belief that something is happening in their lives that shouldn’t be happening. They’re encountering a problem, and they think that problem shouldn’t be something that they’re encountering.

Ultimately, what they’re doing when this happens is they’re arguing with reality. They have this belief that their life should be different than it is. And what’s really going on beneath the surface here, is that there’s an underlying belief that is built on this mistaken premise that there should not be problems, right?

You’re encountering a problem, and the reason that you’re so upset about encountering a problem is that you think you shouldn’t be encountering a problem. I know that sounds pretty circular, but stay with me here, alright? You may not consciously articulate this belief in this way. You may not actively be thinking that there shouldn’t be problems.

In fact, when I talk to most of my clients about this, and I point out to them that they’re really essentially believing this, that there shouldn’t be problems; they’re encountering a problem, they think they shouldn’t be encountering it. So, they think that they shouldn’t be encountering problems. They tend to argue with me.

They always respond, and they’re like, “No, no, I don’t expect that. I understand that there’s always going to be problems.” But when we dig a little deeper, when we “double click” on that belief, on that argument that they’re making in response to what I’ve said to them, they’re taking issue with each problem as it occurs in their life.

So, they may not think this on the 50,000ft. view grand scale of things. But when we zoom in, and we take it problem by problem, every time there’s a problem, they’re thinking that that shouldn’t be a problem that they’re encountering.

What that ultimately means, when you zoom out and you add it all up, they really are saying that there shouldn’t be problems in their lives. That they shouldn’t be encountering the problems that they encounter. Do you see how you’re essentially saying the same things, if every time a problem arises, and you think that problem shouldn’t be happening, you’re essentially saying that there shouldn’t be problems? That you shouldn’t encounter problems in your life?

And the problem with this unconscious or subconscious belief system is that reality doesn’t match that desire. The truth is, we will always have problems; problems are forever, just like diamonds.

Seriously, though, life is 50/50. That’s a concept that I learned from my coach, Brooke, who I’ll be seeing in Miami this week. She taught me that life is 50% good and 50% ass. Fifty percent of the time you’ll feel great, and 50% of the time you won’t feel great. Fifty percent of the time you’ll be winning, and 50% of the time you’ll probably be learning, or encountering some type of problem.

I’ve actually taken this a step further to think that 50% of life will be a specific emotion, and 50% of life won’t be. So, 50% of life will be boring, and 50% won’t be. Fifty percent will be exciting, and 50% won’t be. Fifty percent will be easy, and 50% will be hard. Fifty percent will be chaotic, and 50% will be calm.

Now, when you believe you shouldn’t experience problems or deal with negative emotions, you end up causing your own suffering. Even on top of the suffering that comes from dealing with the problem in the first place. You’ve doubled down on the emotional pain that you experience by thinking that your life should be different than it is, that your experience should be different than it is.

I want to introduce a caveat here. If you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while, you know that problems are created in our mind, with our thinking; nothing is a problem until we think that it’s a problem. They’re just facts, as they occur, as we experience them, and then there’s our judgement about those facts. We decide that those facts amount to a problem.

So, there’s the emotional suffering that happens when we choose to think something’s a problem. We think facts are a problem, and then we feel a negative emotion as a result of that thinking. Then, we double down on our emotional suffering by thinking that we shouldn’t be experiencing that problem; that reality should be different than it is.

We double dose our emotional strife, we double dose our frustration, we double dose our disappointment. Now, you may want to argue with me here, especially if you’re a newer listener. You may not think that problems are just created with our thinking. That there are actual problems that we encounter that are factually problems.

But I promise you, when you take a closer look and go example by example, you can see this play out in real time. Because what’s a problem to one person isn’t a problem to another person.

So, here are a couple examples of that. For instance, a judge rules on a motion that you filed. And the judge rules in your favor. You’re not going to think that’s a problem, but the other side probably is, right? A judge’s ruling on a motion is a problem to one party, and probably a win to another.

If someone gives you feedback on a brief you wrote, someone might find that really helpful. Another person might find the same exact behavior really annoying and micromanagey. It just depends on how they think about it. If you got a flat tire.

If you’re the driver, you’re probably going to be really frustrated. It’s an inconvenience that you weren’t anticipating having to deal with. But if you’re the tow company, or the tire company that you have to go to in order to get it patched or replaced, that’s a benefit for them. That’s an opportunity for them to make money.

If your mom calls you every day, or someone calls you every day, and you think it’s amazing that they want to talk to you and you get to have such an amazing relationship with them, you wouldn’t think it’s a problem. Or, you could choose to think that it’s a problem. That it’s really frustrating and that they’re overbearing and that they don’t respect your time.

Same thing with family staying with you for a month. This actually came up at the mastermind live event in Charleston. One person in the mastermind had family stay with them for several months. Most people in the room agreed that that was a problem. But there were other people in the room that decided that it wasn’t a problem. That they would consider that such an endearing thing, that their family felt comfortable enough and loved them enough to want to spend that much time with them.

So, it truly is all about your perspective. It’s not a problem unless you think it is. With that being said, though, we are going to encounter things in our lives that we are probably going to choose to think are problems.

Can you always work to reframe your thoughts? Yes, you can. But oftentimes, it’s based on our belief systems and our values, and just the way we were raised, how we think about the world. It’s going to be very challenging for us to think about something that we’ve historically always considered a problem, as not being a problem. All right?

Our negative thoughts, considering something a problem, are going to be really sticky. You may want to choose to think certain things are a problem. Now, you can solve the problem, if one arises, but it may just be a bridge too far to think that it’s not a problem.

So, in knowing this, you’re going to encounter situations that you will likely deem to be problems. You’re going to encounter facts, and you’re likely going to think that they’re problematic, that you’re encountering a problem, a challenge.

In light of that, because that is likely to be part of your human experience; actually, I’ll guarantee it for you; I want to give you an example of the different life experience that you have when you anticipate and expect there to be problems, versus when you expect there to be no problems. Okay?

Now, I’m going to use the example of a comparison between me and my dad. My dad and I are very different, and I see how he thinks of the world. I can tell that in his mind, he’s essentially playing a game of Whack-a-Mole when it comes to problems. They arise and his goal, all the time, is to extinguish them as they arise so he can get to the point where he’s cleared the board, and there are no problems.

And every time a problem arises again, he’s frustrated that another Whack-a-Mole had popped up, and then he had to whack it back down. He thinks that he should be getting to a point where he’s free of problems.

Now, I don’t think like that. So, our emotional experiences in the world are very different. When problems in my life continue to arise, I’m like, “Ah, of course, there’s more problems. There’s supposed to be more problems. That’s just part of life. Here’s another one for me to deal with.”

When another problem arises for my dad, he thinks, “What the hell, why is this happening? This shouldn’t be happening. Why are there always problems? There shouldn’t always be problems.” He has this phrase that he uses, and I use it too, I just have a different meaning behind it than he does.

Where he says, “You know, if it’s not one thing, it’s another,” as if like, something’s gone wrong. As if it shouldn’t always be one thing or another. Where me, I think the same thought, but I reframed it to think, “Of course, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” It’s always going to be one thing or another.

My dad’s a business owner. And as a business owner, you’re encountering different problems all the time. He’ll get really frustrated and agitated and almost discouraged, I’ll add that in there, too. That problems keep arising. One day, it’ll be an employee doesn’t show up for work. And the next week, it’ll be the furnace breaks. And the next week, one of the employees, he owns a collision shop, will back a brand new, fixed car into some inanimate object and damage the car. They have to fix it, and it comes out of my dad’s profit. Those are all different things that arise.

Every time something like that happens, my dad gets super frustrated, because he’s thinking that he should have reached a point where these problems are solved, where they don’t arise anymore. I don’t think that way. I think they’re just going to keep coming. The hits are going to keep coming.

One day, I was at my parents’ house, and my dad noticed… I didn’t even notice it, funny enough. My dad noticed, because he has an eye for these things being in the automotive business, that someone had hit my taillight; my taillight was cracked. He automatically became really disgusted. Not at me, just at the fact that my taillight was busted.

We talked about it, he could tell by the way that it was broken that I hadn’t hit something, that someone had backed into me; that was how it was cracked. I noticed how upset he got. So, I started to talk to him about this underlying premise that there shouldn’t be problems.

I said, “You know, the difference between you and I,” and this was arising from a conversation about life coaching and how I teach my clients to reframe their thinking and change their thoughts, and how changing their thoughts changes their emotional experience.

So, I was explaining to my dad, “The difference between us is that you think people shouldn’t hit my car. And I think, of course, people are going to hit my car.” That’s just the risk you take when you drive a car, and you exist in the world around other drivers.

They literally get to hit your car. Not intentionally, of course. We’re never going to be thrilled that someone would intentionally hit our car. It’s just the risk that you take that people make mistakes, there are accidents. And these things happen when you’re a person who owns an automobile, and you take it out around other people who also own automobiles.

My dad paused for a second, and he goes, “You’re so right. I definitely think that people shouldn’t hit your car. And, I feel really frustrated when they do.” I said, “Exactly, and I think, of course, this is bound to happen when you have a car, and you drive it around other drivers.” I feel very accepting.

Now, that’s not to say that I’m jazzed that I have to get a new taillight and that someone hit my car, I just don’t get frustrated by those everyday annoyances because I anticipate them. And people who don’t anticipate them get really frustrated because they catch them off guard, they’re very surprised by it.

But that being caught off guard, being surprised, is all optional. When you anticipate that your life is going to contain problems, and you’re going to encounter them on a pretty regular basis, you’re not going to be disgruntled when you do, in fact, encounter them.

Now, there’s another trap we also get caught in when it comes to problems. If we’re currently experiencing them, we tend to think that we will outrun them, eventually. We mistakenly believe that we will eventually arrive at a point in time where all of our problems have been extinguished. And when we believe that we begin to chase the horizon, believing that the future will be better than the present moment we’re experiencing right now.

Doing this causes, just like believing that there shouldn’t be problems in the first place, doing this causes so much emotional suffering and disappointment. We have this expectation that ‘there’ will be better than ‘here.’ That when we achieve this thing, it’ll be better than what we have right now. When we solve this problem, there will be better than where we’re at right now. When we achieve this goal and reach this finish line, there will be better than what we experience and what we have now.

But the truth of the matter is, there will still be problems. Likely, they will be different problems; sometimes they’re the same problems, but likely there’ll be different. And, you really want to emphasize that and internalize that message. You will still have problems; they’ll just be different. Which means ‘there’ won’t be better than ‘here,’ it will just be different than here. You will still encounter the 50/50 that life has to offer you.

One of the things I teach my clients and that I practice myself in my own life, is that there is no ‘there’ there. We think that ‘there’ is going to be better. That there is something different ‘there’ than what we are experiencing right now. And that it will be better as a result, right?

When we think that way, when we anticipate that there’s going to be a ‘there’ there, that ‘there’ will be better, we end up being in the pursuit of ‘there’ only for the destination. We’re in it for the end goal. We’re in it for the trophy.

And when we do that, A- We tend to really not enjoy the journey because we’re so focused, not on being present in the current moment, but on reaching that destination. Because we’re so anxious and eager to get to that place that we mistakenly believe will be better. You’re in it for how you think you’re going to feel when you cross the finish line.

When you do this, you end up spending so much of your time anticipating an experience, that you end up being disappointed at the end of that race, at the end of that pursuit. Because it doesn’t live up to your expectation, to your anticipation.

What is true is that there is no place where you arrive, where you feel good all of the time. There is no place where you arrive, where all of your problems are gone. You will still have problems when you arrive at that destination, whatever destination it is that you’re pursuing. Your problems will just be different. Why is this? It’s because problems are forever.

I want to give you a couple examples of this too, that problems are forever, they just change. Think about when you’re unemployed. There’s a particular set of problems you have versus being employed, different situation, different problems, right? Your problems don’t go away entirely. Now, the problems that you are experiencing as an unemployed person might go away, but then you gain new problems.

Same thing happens when you’re single, right? There’s one set of problems when you’re single. You have to handle all of the house obligations by yourself. You don’t have dates to attend significant events. You don’t have plans on Friday night, unless you’re going out with friends or whatnot. Or you’re like me, and you take yourself to dinner. But there are particular problems that you have when you’re single.

And then, when you get married or when you’re in a relationship, you gain a whole new set of problems. The original problems probably go away, and you have a whole new bunch of them.

Same thing happens when you’re an employee versus an entrepreneur. So many people that I work with are so eager and desperate to go out on their own and start their own businesses. And I always want to encourage them not to do it because they think it’s going to be so much better, or that their new life is going to be problem-free.

Now, you get to have a preference. I prefer the problems of being an entrepreneur versus the problems that come from being an employee, which is why I’ve chosen to be an entrepreneur. But I’m not under the delusion that I’m going to be free or rid of problems altogether as an entrepreneur. They’re just different problems.

So, as an employee, I don’t have as much autonomy. I have someone who gets to set rules that I either have to adhere to or suffer a consequence, potentially. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have that problem, right? But as an employee, I don’t have to be responsible for getting paid. I just receive a paycheck; it comes to me.

Versus being an entrepreneur, that responsibility falls on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. I also see this with entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of their business versus later stages of their business. There’s a whole set of problems you have when you’re not making money. And then, those problems go away when you make money. But then, you gain a whole new set of problems.

You have to figure out what to do with your money, you have to pay taxes, you have to potentially hire more people, things of that nature. You gain a whole new set of problems.

Same thing with being a solo practitioner. There’s a whole set of problems you experience as a solo practitioner. And if you begin to hire people and delegate, you extinguish some of the problems that you experienced before, but you gain a whole new set of problems with learning how to manage a team and supervise people.

So, when you realize this, that problems are forever, and that you’re just going to experience different problems as you achieve new goals, and you make progress throughout your life. Rather than being in it for the end point, for how you think you’re going to feel when you cross that finish line. Consider switching your perspective and being in it for the journey. With falling in love with the journey.

If I was only in it for the end point, as an entrepreneur, I would only be able to celebrate my business a couple times a year. When I achieve certain goals, when I pass certain mile markers. On days when I achieve income goals or when I sign clients. That’s not going to be every day out of the year.

Instead, I’ve made the active decision to fall in love with the journey. With the daily pursuit of these goals. With the practice of actively pursuing, day in and day out, what I’m striving for. The daily challenges, the daily triumphs, the daily learning, and the daily winning, I’m in it for all of it.

One of my mentors and inspirational figures in my life is Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s an entrepreneur, and one of his lifetime goals is to buy the New York Jets. People are always cheering for him, rooting for him. Saying, “Gary, we can’t wait for you to buy the New York Jets.”

What he explains to them is that it’s not about the day that he actually gets to buy the Jets. He is in it for the journey of becoming an entrepreneur who amasses enough success to become someone who has the net worth to be capable of buying the Jets. All right?

What does he have to do along that path, along that journey, in that pursuit to cross that finish line eventually? He’s in it for the daily challenges. And when you’re in it for the daily challenge, you fall in love with the path that you have to take to get to where you want to go. You’re able to enjoy that pursuit so much more than only being in it for the end results.

Think about your work this way. If you’re only in it for the deal closings, or you’re only in it for the trial wins, you’re going to have such a miserable experience in the days, weeks, and months leading up to those huge moments in your career.

What would it look like for you to fall in love with the journey? To fall in love with the daily challenges, the daily triumphs, the daily learning, the daily winning, the daily problem-solving that you do in order to inch your way a little bit further and make progress towards that end goal?

What if you weren’t in it for the trophies? How would that change your day-to-day experience? It’s going to make the problems you encounter on a day-to-day basis so much less of an issue.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Olivia, if I’m always going to encounter problems, why on earth would I do anything differently? Why wouldn’t I just maintain the status quo, save all of my energy, and not go out and challenge myself and risk feeling all of this negative emotion that comes from pursuing new things?”

I want to offer you a way to think about this. This is optional, you don’t have to think about it this way. But if there will always be problems, instead of thinking, “Why not conserve energy, just maintain the status quo, and not do anything different?” I want to offer you, that new problems are better than having the same problems. All right?

Now, that’s just my thought. That’s not true. That doesn’t have to be true for you. You don’t have to adopt that mindset. But if you’re growth-focused, which if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably are, you probably look at the world this way already. That you would prefer new problems over feeling the stagnation that you experience when you’re dealing with the same problems over and over again.

So, I want to offer you that new problems, being newly challenged by different situations, and learning and growing, which comes as a result of working through new problems, that that is going to be a much more exciting life to live than dealing with the same problems over and over again.

How discouraging is it to constantly be dealing with the same problem for eternity? How much of a letdown is that? How much under-living are you doing when you’re just dealing with the same problems over and over again?

I invite you to adopt that mindset; the mindset that new problems are better than old problems. So, let’s not maintain the status quo. Let’s go out and strive to accomplish new things, and risk experiencing new problems that we haven’t encountered before. And that that will be better than experiencing the same thing over and over.

Now, I want to just add one more thing here. I want to highlight why it’s a problem to think that it’s a problem to have problems. Does that sentence even makes sense? I know it did. I want to explain why it’s a problem to think it’s a problem to have problems.

First, as I explained earlier, you cause yourself additional emotional suffering. Feeling uncomfortable is unpleasant. So, where it’s really optional and voluntary, don’t engage in that, right?

This is really unnecessary emotional suffering, that’s completely within your control to dial down or eliminate altogether. I tell my clients, “Feeling like shit feels like shit.” So, when it’s in your control to not feel like shit, opt out of thinking in the way that makes you feel shitty.

Moreover, though, it’s a problem to think that it’s a problem to have problems, because of the action you take when you’re thinking this way, right? You cause yourself that extra emotional suffering. You experience more negative emotions than you would otherwise, if you didn’t think that it was a problem to have problems.

And what you end up doing, is that you buffer in order to escape the negative emotion that you’re experiencing. When you think it’s a problem to have problems, and you think that you shouldn’t be having problems, you think that you should be feeling good all the time, you go about your life trying to curate an experience where you don’t feel discomfort. Where you don’t feel emotional pain.

So, you create false pleasure by way of buffering; drinking too much, eating too much, scrolling too much on social media, watching too much Netflix, spending too much money, traveling too much; doing things to escape your discomfort. And, all of that buffering creates more problems.

When you don’t think it’s a problem to have problems, you don’t need to escape the discomfort that comes when you’re experiencing and encountering a problem. You can just make peace with the reality of your human experience. That sometimes it’s going to be that 50% discomfort; that 50% ass, that 50% negative experience; and that it’s not something that you need to escape or avoid, you can just experience it.

Remember, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you have survived every negative emotion you’ve ever experienced. You don’t need to go buffer in order to escape the discomfort that you’re experiencing when you’re facing a problem.

You can experience that discomfort, face it head-on, feel it all the way through, and you can experience it as just part of being a human. You don’t have to make anything wrong about the fact that you’re feeling that way.

When you stop thinking it’s a problem to have problem, you stop needing to press the escape button all the time, because you start to believe nothing’s gone wrong. “This is how life is supposed to be. Problems are a part of life. Problems are forever, there’s no escaping them. They always come with the territory of being a human being. And, I can navigate them without needing to numb myself or escape the issue at hand.”

In fact, when you don’t escape them and you face them head-on, you reduce your problems rather than increase them. All right?

That’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I really want you to marinate on this concept, on this topic, that problems are forever, and that it’s not a problem that you have problems. Problems will always be a constant in your life. They will come and go. When they go, they will come again. And, you can always handle them. You’re meant to handle them as part of your human experience. And the best-case scenario? Is that you just experience different problems along the way, rather than continuously experiencing the same ones over and over.

All right, go embrace your problems this 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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