You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 60. Today, we’re talking all about making life hard, and not asking for help. You ready? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.
Hi, my friends, how are you today? So much is going on over here. I just moved, And some of you who have been listening for a while might be like, “Again? You moved again?” But yes, I moved again. I am now doing these short-term six-month leases, where I rent different furnished condos. So, my last lease was up, and I moved into a different building.
I have two microphones. One’s a microphone that comes with me when I travel. Because you guys know, sometimes I like to record the podcast when I’m on the road, from the comfort of a beautiful hotel room. And then I always have one in my house, as well. Because that’s typically where I’m at when I record the podcast.
But I accidentally packed both of them. And I had to stay in an Airbnb for a couple of nights, because my place, my new place, wasn’t furnished yet. So, while I was there, I didn’t have access to any of my microphones. I attempted to use my coaching microphone to record this. But I tested the sound and let me tell you, it did not sound good. And I was not going to make you guys suffer through bad audio. I hate listening to bad audio. So, I assume you probably do too.
So, this episode is coming out a little bit later than I typically get them out. But that’s okay, we’re aiming for B+ work over here. I teach my clients that they don’t need to be perfect. And I practice what I preach. I am a product of my own product. So, I am showing up and getting this to you now, rather than not showing up at all and hiding from my imperfection. I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to embrace it.
I’m so excited to talk about today’s episode topic. Because it’s something that I see people do all the time. They make their lives harder than they need to be. And I want to call it out, I want to teach you how to look for this, how to spot it in your own life. And then what are a few of the things that you can do, in order to stop making your life harder than it has to be. Okay? And we’ll also dive into not asking for help, why people don’t ask for help, and then how to do it.
Now, before I get to all that, you know I love a good backstory. So, I wanted to give you the backstory on what inspired this episode topic. Last week, I taught a class on how to thrive as a lawyer. And one of the things that I discussed during the masterclass, at the very beginning, I wanted to talk about some of the limiting beliefs people have about the legal profession generally, and the impact that those limiting beliefs have on their lives.
And over and over and over again, one of the limiting beliefs I see people hold about practicing law, about being an attorney, is that it is inherently hard. And here’s what happens when they choose to believe that. Now, I’m using that word very intentionally here, because remember, we do choose our thoughts. Sometimes they come to us, but once we become aware of them, we get to choose whether or not to continue to think them.
So, if you’ve been listening for a little while you know that you get to choose your thoughts. You want to make yourself aware of what they are. And if you’re raising your hand right now, and you think this thought, that the practice of law is inherently hard, or inherently stressful, you are going to make your life harder.
It is going to be hard. Because our thoughts create our results. Remember, that’s always the case. That’s always going on in the background. Whether you’re aware of it or not, what you’re thinking is creating the results that you have in your life.
So, I wanted to record an episode specifically about this topic, and address the ways that I see people making their life harder than it needs to be. The first way you do this is if you believe this thought, that the practice of law is inherently hard, or that life is hard, or that being a lawyer is hard, or just your job in particular is hard. If you believe that those things are hard, you will make them hard. Your experience will be hard, right? And you can see how that plays out using the model.
When you’re thinking those thoughts, how do you feel? Discouraged, frustrated, defeated, hopeless, annoyed, exasperated, tired, worn down? Things like that, right? And then, think about the action that you take in your life when you feel those emotions. Or maybe you feel out of control. That’s a big one. Or resigned, like you just don’t have any say in the matter.
If that’s what’s happening in your model, then what action do you take when you’re feeling out of control or resigned or any of the other negative emotions that I just listed a moment ago? You’re not going to take positive productive action when you’re thinking those thoughts and experiencing those emotions. You’re going to shut down. You’re going to withdraw. You’re not going to set boundaries and say, no. You’re not going to prioritize yourself and do what makes your life easier.
You’re going to basically resign yourself to things being the way that they are. You’re going to do things the way you’ve always done them, or the way that you were taught to do them by someone else. You’re not going to question the status quo. You’re not going to innovate. You’re just going to settle for what is. You’re going to tolerate a lot of inefficiencies and a lot of things that you don’t particularly enjoy, that aren’t aligned with your preferences.
You’re just going to allow them to be, because you’re thinking that it’s supposed to be a negative experience. And then, in turn, you create a negative experience for yourself. You create things to be harder, right? You’ll also notice in your action line, you’re not asking for help, you’re not delegating, you’re not seeking out additional assistance, you’re over committing yourself. And I’m going to talk about each one of these things in turn.
But this is what it looks like when you believe this limiting belief, that the practice of law is inherently hard, or that life is inherently hard. You’re going to make your life as hard as possible. You’re going to make work as hard as possible. And that’s the result that you end up with, it is hard. Your life will feel hard. It will be hard because you believed it into existence.
And I want to make sure that you’re clear on this; this isn’t manifesting, okay? Your thoughts cause your feelings, and your feelings then drive your actions. So, you’re doing things, the actions that you’re taking are what is making your life difficult, harder than it needs to be. All right? So, you’re producing that result. It’s not just happening to you, you’re creating it.
So, more specifically than just believing that life is hard, or that practicing law is hard, and creating that result, here are other ways that you may be doing this in your own life, making your own life harder than it needs to be. First things first, you’re trying to do it all on your own. And I really relate to this, because I used to be someone who took so much pride in doing it all on my own.
There are sayings like, “It takes a village. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And I used to think that they were kind of hokey and cliche, but there’s value here, okay? Doing everything on your own does eventually slow you down. It will speed you up for a while, but there’s a max capacity that you have. And you’re going to hit an upper limit here sooner or later energetically, and just capacity, as far as time is concerned.
So, if you’re trying to do it all on your own because you’re overworking as a badge of honor. Or you take pride; you think the harder you work, the more worthy you are, the more valuable you are. You’re going to get yourself in trouble here. You’re going to make your life harder than it needs to be. Because what you end up doing is not asking for or receiving help.
I’m going to talk about not asking for help in a second, but I’d love to start by talking about being a gracious recipient of help. Because a lot of times, people around us do actually offer us help without us even needing to ask. People ask if they can help with a project at work. Or maybe, someone in your personal life offers to lend a hand. Maybe they know you’re going through a really busy season in your career, and they want to help pick up the slack. Or they know you’re going through some hardship in your life, and they want to offer some help.
And instead of graciously accepting it, you lean too far into your pride, too far into the radical independence. And I’m all for being resourceful. I’ve talked about that on the podcast before. But we can slip into hyper resourcefulness and really do ourselves a disservice here by turning away help that really would be beneficial. That other people are more than happy to offer.
We actually even prevent people from getting to feel good about themselves by being helpful when we turn away a helping hand. So, check in with yourself. Are you doing this? Are you an ungracious recipient of help? Do you turn it away? Do you kind of shirk it off and refuse someone else’s gratuity, someone else’s generosity, because of your own thoughts about being a recipient of it? You make it mean something negative about you. That is optional.
You can just choose to receive it graciously and openly and willingly, and be very thankful for their help. All of that is available to you, too. Think about it. What would your life be like if you were open to receiving some of the help that’s being offered to you right now? How might your life be easier?
Now, if you’re going to be a gracious recipient, don’t nitpick the help that you get. Okay? And that may be hard for some of you listening. But check in with yourself. That’s probably your perfectionism driving the bus there, thinking that there’s one right way to do things. If you just take a deep breath and come at it from curiosity, with an open-minded perspective, you may realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.
And one of my cats is in the room, while I’m recording this with me, and I’m sure she did not appreciate that comment. Don’t worry, no one’s going to skin you, you’re fine.
Anyways, now let’s talk about not asking for help. I see this so commonly; people don’t ask for the help that would really make their lives so much easier. Would really move the dial on their overwhelm and stress levels. And yet, they don’t put out their hand and ask someone to lend them theirs. Okay?
There’s a whole host of reasons that people don’t do this. For starters, you might feel a lot of embarrassment and shame that you need help in the first place. And that’s only because you’re making asking for help mean something negative about you. And again, you don’t have to do that, that’s optional.
You can make asking for help mean something amazing about you. Meaning, that you’re willing to feel exposed. You’re willing to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You’re willing to know and recognize your limits. All of those things are required in order to ask for help.
Also, I do want to point out, you probably never need help, but it is okay to want help. So, play around with that for a second. How does it change when you switch from thinking that you need help to just telling yourself that you’d like help for X, Y, and Z reasons? It will probably move you out of feeling desperate, or graspy, or needy, or insecure or inadequate in some way. Okay? We want to change your relationship with asking for assistance.
You also might feel guilt around asking for assistance. This happens a ton, especially with my people pleasers. They’re so afraid that other people aren’t going to have the capacity to help them. And they don’t want someone to say yes to them when they want to say no. Because they’re so used to saying yes to people when they want to say no. So, they project that onto other people as well.
They don’t trust other people to make decisions that are right for them. They think that they’re going to lie and do it, but grudgingly, against their better judgment just to appease them. So, they won’t ask for help, because they feel guilty on the front end, thinking that they’re making an imposition. That people aren’t going to want to help them, and that they’re going to do it anyways. All of that feels really terrible.
If this is you, try on thinking about how you feel when you help someone. One of the ways I’ve heard this explain before, and I think this is kind of a nuanced way to describe it. But remember, you are likely not the most generous person on the face of the planet. I’m not saying you’re not generous, but other people are as generous as you. Other people are as helpful as you. Other people are as thoughtful as you.
So, you’re able to be thoughtful, and you enjoy being thoughtful and helpful and lending a hand, other people will too. You’re not the only one who likes to do those things. You’re not a unicorn here, okay? And that’s amazing news.
If we step into being a little bit more trusting, just for a moment, that other people will be honest with us, will communicate their capacity. If they don’t have the ability to lend a hand, they’ll tell us that they don’t. If we trust that people will be honest with us, and that people may actually want to help us, we can create more safety for ourselves in asking for the help that we would like to receive.
You also might be refusing to ask for help because you’re afraid of people judging you for seeking extra assistance. You may think that they’ll believe that you can’t hack it. That you’re not qualified or cut out for the position that you’re holding. They’ll make some negative assumptions or judgments about you, and you’re trying to prevent being judged and having them hold those negative opinions. So, you don’t ask for the help that would really be helpful to you.
One of the specific ways that people don’t ask for help is that they don’t delegate. So, if this is you check in with yourself here. Why are you not delegating? Is it because you’re telling yourself that you don’t have the time? Or you’re telling yourself that other people aren’t going to do it the right way? Or that you don’t have enough people or the right people to help you? Or you mistakenly believe that you should be able to do everything yourself?
Whatever the reason is that you’re not delegating, that’s one of the ways that you could be asking for help. Looking to the people around you, both in your professional life and in your personal life. What could you delegate? Can you pay people to do certain things? Are there favors you can ask?
Whatever the case may be, you can delegate. Identify in your life where those opportunities for delegation are, okay? That’s going to be one of the things that you can do, in order to remedy making your life harder than it needs to be.
As for asking for help and trying to do it all on your own, stop trying to do it all on your own. That’s the recommendation there. Notice that you’re wearing your overworking and your martyrdom as a badge of honor. You’re taking pride in it. You’re making it mean something very significant about you; that you’re valuable, that you’re worthy, that you’re good enough. And all of that’s optional.
You don’t have to think about your value being so tied to your productivity and what you accomplish, and all the things that you do. And you especially don’t have to make your hyper independence part of your value, as well. It is okay to be both resourceful and to ask for help when it makes sense for you to ask for help. Both things can coexist together.
As for refusing to ask for help, the solution there is to ask for it. And in order to do that, you’ve got to do two things. You’ve got to change the way that you’re thinking about asking for help. And then, you’ve got to gag-and-go through any of the remaining, lingering negative emotions that you still experience when you think about asking for help.
Because some of those thoughts are going to be pretty deeply rooted. And that means that some of the negative emotion that you experience because of those thoughts, is also going to be deeply rooted. So, those negative feelings are probably going to be sticky. They’re still going to be there, at least a little bit, even when you change the majority of your thoughts.
So, with that in mind, just identify them very specifically. Name them, list them out, and be clear on what negative emotions are you going to have to be willing to experience, in order to ask for the help that would really make a difference in your life.
Okay, another way that people make their lives harder than they need to be, is trying to be everything to everyone. Which, this one’s really a doozy. Because everyone you know is going to want something different from you. Which means, all those different desires are going to be in conflict with one another.
So, when you’re attempting to appease each and every one of these people, which is just an inherently impossible task, you end up turning yourself into Stretch Armstrong. You end up pulling yourself in a million different pieces, and really burning yourself out in the process. So, check in with yourself here.
Are you trying to please too many people all at the same time? And trying to be different things to each of the people in your lives? Do some people expect you to be one way? And do some other people want you to be a different way? Do you want to be a different way than the other ways that people want you to be?
Do you see where this conflict makes your life more challenging? It’s because you’re constantly bouncing between different ways to operate. You never know exactly how you should show up for a situation, whose priorities are coming first, who are you in that moment. You’re trying to wear multiple hats all at the same time. And if you’ve ever tried that, it’s not very effective, unless they stack right on top of each other.
But that wouldn’t work here, because all of the hats that people want you to wear are different. So, they wouldn’t stack. Silly analogy, but bear with me here, okay? If you are trying to be everything to everyone, it’s not going to work. So, you’ve got to stop doing that and figure out who do you want to be for yourself.
The next one goes hand in hand with this. It’s are you putting other people’s needs ahead of your own? If you’re putting other people’s needs ahead of your own, then no one’s tending to your needs, because it’s your job to attend to your needs and no one else’s.
You’ve essentially fallen asleep at the switch, and we need to put you back behind the driver’s seat, behind the switch, to man and operate your own life and to tend to your needs and desires. Okay? If you’re ignoring them, if you’re neglecting them, your life is going to feel harder because none of your own needs or desires are ever going to be addressed and satisfied. Which makes life uncomfortable.
Another way people make their lives harder than they need to be is that they make extremely unrealistic plans that they’re unable to execute successfully. And what they do is they set themself up to fail. Each and every day people do this.
So, you start your day with this plan that’s completely impossible to complete. This is one of the ways perfectionism pops up in people’s lives. And then, at the end of the day, when you didn’t complete the plan, because you’re never going to be able to complete the plan, because it was unrealistic.
You tell yourself that you didn’t get through enough of your work. You didn’t accomplish enough. You didn’t get enough done and that you’re behind. Your life is going to feel so overwhelming and so full of pressure, and you’re going to feel so discouraged day in and day out.
Furthermore, your daily plans set the pace for your days. So, if you’re planning more than what you can actually accomplish in your day, your day is going to feel really frenzied, rushed, chaotic, and stressful. Which, all of those emotions end up boiling down to just hard, right? Your day is going to feel hard. And you pile on a lot of unnecessary pressure.
So, the best thing that you can do to avoid making your life harder in this way, is to plan your schedule accurately. And I’ve recorded a whole episode on that in the ‘time management series’, back in, like the late 20s, I think, the episode numbers. So, you can go check that out. I’ll link that in the show notes so you can go listen to that if you haven’t already.
Sort of akin to planning unrealistically, people also over commit themselves by saying yes to too many different things. So, you want to be the person who does everything. Maybe it’s driven by FOMO, or maybe you have a strong desire to be helpful and you’re interested in doing a lot of different things. You are telling yourself that they’re good opportunities for you. That you technically can help, so you should help.
So, you say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and you never leave yourself enough time to do the things that are most meaningful in your life, that really move the ball and get you the results that you want. You’re spending your time in a less than intentional way. Your days are just jam packed. You don’t have enough time to breathe and prioritize what really matters most to you. So, your life’s going to feel harder than needs to if you’re doing that.
The solution here is to practice constraint, and only commit to the things that really move the dial and are meaningful, and get you where you want to go. Now, you may have to gag-and-go through a lot of discomfort. You might have to feel guilty or worried about passing on an opportunity, or fear that someone’s going to judge you for your refusal to agree to do something.
All of that might come up, as you decide and follow through on your decision to not over commit. But you can survive those emotions, and you’re going to be so much happier on the other side of making that decision to practice constraint, okay? Your life is going to be a lot simpler, easier, and more sustainable, Which also means it’s going to be more enjoyable.
Okay, last but not least. Actually, I think this might be one of the more important items on the list. But you aren’t providing yourself with the resources that you need to thrive personally and professionally. Okay? What I see in so many of my clients is they actually have a knowledge gap. There are some essential life skills that life happened to not teach them.
Our parents don’t teach us certain skills, mostly because they don’t know them themselves. They didn’t learn this information that would really move the dial in our lives, and make our lives easier. So, they’re doing life hard as well. School also doesn’t teach us these essential skills. And our working environments don’t teach them to us either.
So, we end up lacking certain knowledge that would really help us create easier, more enjoyable, lives. It’s this knowledge gap that we’re left with, from not receiving this education previously, that makes our life hard, harder than they have to be.
Let me give you a couple of examples of this lack of knowledge that I’m talking about, the things that you haven’t learned, the skills that you weren’t taught to develop. So, you might not have learned how to manage your time, how to plan realistically, like I talked about a moment ago. You might not have learned how to understand what your capacity is for work or for other commitments outside of work.
You might not be very clear on what your limits are energetically, emotionally, any of that stuff; your limits on time, or any other resources that you expend. You might not know how to set boundaries. You might have never learned that skill of setting and honoring them. Or how to say no and not people please. How to honor what you want, rather than prioritizing what someone else wants, to your own detriment.
You may have never learned how to actually put yourself first and do that prioritizing of yourself. You might not know what that looks like. You might have only learned how to martyr yourself, and how to put yourself on the back burner. You might not have learned how to ask for help in a really authentic, candid, genuine way. You might not have learned how to delegate. There’s a proper way to do it, and you might not have ever learned what that proper way is.
You might not have learned how to stop caring about what other people think. You might not have learned how to cultivate confidence in your life, in your abilities, and the job that you do. You might not have learned how to cultivate belief in your own worth, in the value that you bring to the table, and what you have to offer the world. And you might not have ever learned how to trust your own judgment and make empowered decisions. Okay?
Another big one here is you probably haven’t learned the art of following through. So, everything that I talked about today, in order to remedy the ways that you’re making your life hard, you’ve got to make decisions, and then you’ve got to implement those decisions. You’ve got to stick to them. You’ve got to commit to your commitments.
And if you didn’t learn the art of following through, you’re going to have a really hard time doing that. And then again, your life is going to be harder than it needs to be, because you’re going to be inconsistent and you’re not going to follow through on doing the things that would actually make your life easier.
So, these are the skills that I’m talking about. Check in with yourself. Have you learned these? It is okay if the answer is no. The answer is no, for practically everyone that I work with. Life, like I said, doesn’t teach us this skill set. But you have two options here, with that in mind.
Now, the one that I really don’t recommend… Actually, there’s three options. The one that I don’t recommend is continuing to argue with reality and thinking that you should have learned them already. That’s just going to cause you a lot of frustration and strife, okay? It’s going to be very energetically and emotionally draining. And it’s not going to change your current situation any.
Now, your other two options are to throw up your hands in exasperation. And basically, just throw in the towel. To say, “I haven’t learned them yet. There’s no point in learning them now.” And you’re going to keep choosing hard if you do that. If you don’t bridge this knowledge gap and invest in an education where you actually learn how to develop these skills.
All right, the other option that you can choose from, instead of throwing up your hands and just thrown in the towel and saying, “That’s it. I quit. I give up. I don’t know this stuff so that means I’m never going to learn it.” You can decide to learn this now, to bridge this knowledge gap yourself.
Now, you can attempt to bridge this knowledge gap on your own. But I want you to think about that meaningfully for a second, okay? It’s like trying to teach yourself algebra, without ever having learned algebra. I really don’t recommend it. You’re going to spend so much time being inefficient, as you go about learning these skills if you try and do it on your own.
You’re not going to see your blind spots. You’re going to waste a ton of time making mistakes. Really failing your way forward when there’s a different route that’s available to you. You can just invest in this education by investing in coaching. And if you do that, you’re going to get so much further faster. Because the trial-and-error part is taken out of the equation for you.
You’re only going to learn what actually works, and you’re going to be able to dive right in to implementing it and practicing in your own life. So, it really shortens your learning curve. And expedites the time between you going from where you are now to going to that easier life that you’d really like to have for yourself.
So, if you’re interested in investing in this education, this is the exact education that you’ll receive inside The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, which is my signature group coaching program. It’s a six-month group coaching program that has two different parts to it. There’s an in-person immersive retreat; it’s 3 ½ days long. It takes place this year in Big Sky Montana, August 23 – 26.
And that’s where we go through and spend three full days together workshopping. I’ll teach you all of the fundamental tools that you’ll need, in order to create an easier life for yourself, in order to stop choosing hard. Okay?
You’re going to learn the foundation for building and developing the skills that I just mentioned; managing your time, planning realistically, knowing your limits, setting boundaries, saying no, not people pleasing, prioritizing yourself, delegating, managing others, asking for help, caring less about what other people think, feeling more confident in yourself, trusting your own judgment making those empowered decisions, and following through.
You’re going to learn how to do all of that inside the mastermind. So, we start with those 3 ½ days in person. The half day is our welcome reception, which happens the night before our first day of the workshop. And then, we spend three full days together coaching, masterminding, workshopping, learning. I’m going to teach you for 18 hours. It’s really incredible what we do in these jam packed three days.
But we’re going to spend 18 hours together, six hours each day, just packed with this learning, in order to give you the tools that you’ve never received before, to make these changes in your life, to create an easier experience day to day for yourself. And then from there, we close it off with an amazing farewell dinner.
And then, we go back into our lives, and we spend the next six months meeting each week, practicing what you learned in person, and putting it in to action. And as we encounter hiccups or obstacles in the road, as you start to go through the learning, and you see what’s working and what’s not working, we’re going to work through it, and overcome the obstacles so you don’t get stuck, so you don’t hold yourself back, so you don’t get slowed down.
This is how you’re going to make really fast progress learning these skills, implementing these tools, and changing your life. Okay? So, like I said, you can choose to argue with reality; highly don’t recommend. You can choose to just give up and continue operating with the current set of skills and tools that you have; that’s making your life, like I said, harder than it has to be.
Or you can choose to close this knowledge gap. Either by yourself, again, not the best option here, just because it’s going to take so long, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be able to do it. Because go back to the algebra or calculus example, it’s really hard to teach yourself what you don’t know.
And there are people out there, like me, coaches, experts in this stuff, that know exactly what you need to learn in order to master this in your own life. So, that’s the last option, you can choose to invest in a program like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, that will expedite this learning process and make it as fast as possible for you to get yourself to easy, okay?
So, choose to invest in yourself. Choose to invest in this education, choose to invest in an easier life. That easier life it’s waiting for you. I promise you. I know it, because I’ve done this work myself and I am living such an easier life because I stopped glamourizing hard. And I stopped believing that life had to be hard, that work had to be hard. And I made a decision to learn a different way to do life.
You get to make that same decision now. Do you want to do life differently? If you do, join me inside the mastermind. Enrollment is open until May 26. Go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind to apply now. Okay?
That’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope you all have a beautiful week. I hope you stop choosing to do life harder than it has to be. And I will talk to you in the next episode. Have a beautiful week, my friends.
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.