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.