Episode 42: Controlling Other People, Wanting Them to Change & The Key to Being Happier

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Controlling Other People, Wanting Them to Change & The Key to Being Happier

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Controlling Other People, Wanting Them to Change & The Key to Being Happier

There’s one change you can make to improve your overall enjoyment of life, and that is to stop trying to control other people. If you need other people to change in order to feel happy, that day will never come. So, this episode is all about what happens when you find yourself controlling other people and wanting them to change, and the key to being happier.

This topic comes up in my coaching practice all the time. It’s natural to want other people to change. But the truth is, they don’t want to change, and you can’t make them. Giving up on needing to control others isn’t about letting everyone have a free pass to walk all over you; it’s about taking control of your own emotions.

Tune in this week to discover how everything changes when you truly understand that other people don’t need to change in order for you to feel happier. I’m sharing some stories from my own professional life about wanting other people to operate differently, why this never works, and what you can do instead to start taking control of your own happiness.

Enrollment is open for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind! This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why needing others to change so you can feel happy is never going to work.
  • What having an instruction manual for the people in your life looks like.
  • How to see the impact that needing to control other people is having on your happiness.
  • Stories from my own history of believing I knew what was best for other people.
  • What changes when you step into acceptance that other people aren’t going to change.
  • How to start taking control of your own happiness, evaluate your options, and decide how to move forward.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 42. Today, we’re talking all about Controlling Other People, Wanting Them to Change & The Key to Being Happier. 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 loves. How are you? Happy holidays. I am recording this from the comfort of my new condo in downtown Detroit and it is frigid here. I know that you have probably, no matter where you are really in the country have probably experienced some of the same within the last week. But man, today it was no joke. I am actually recording this episode on Christmas Eve, and I do all of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. That’s been a tradition that I’ve been doing since I think I was 18.

So I went out this morning and I ran a ton of errands and got a bunch of stuff. I already knew what I was going to get so I had the game plan together. .But I ran out and did that and it is no joke out there. I think I started this morning, and it was one degree, by the time I got back home it was 11 degrees heatwave. So I broke out my good old mink coat and traipsed around in the winter air in order to get all my holiday shopping done. I hope your holiday season is off to a wonderful start. I’m so excited for the New Year.

I have a very full start to the year, so I dive back into work after my couple weeks off. I always take the last few weeks of the year off. And I’ll dive back into working with my clients, and then before I know it I’ll be headed to Cabo for my business mastermind with my business coach. And then I basically head straight from Cabo to Charleston for my mastermind live event with everyone from The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. So it’s going to be an exciting couple weeks after the first of the year.

I also am getting ready to trek down to Indiana to go see a couple of coach friends of mine for New Year’s. That was really unexpected and a last minute addition to my game plan. But I’m so excited. I love spending time with other entrepreneurs. I just love geeking out about all things business. So I’m really looking forward to that as well.

Now, speaking of the New Year I was thinking about what do I want to talk about on today’s episode. And I really wanted to give you the number one key to being happier in 2023. So today we’re talking about controlling other people, wanting them to change and the key to being happier. Now, if there’s one change that you make that would have the biggest impact on your happiness, just your overall enjoyment of life, it’s to stop trying to control other people. I’m going to say that one more time.

If there’s one change that you can make that would have the absolute biggest impact on your happiness and your overall enjoyment of life, it’s to stop trying to control other people. It’s to stop wanting them to change especially when they don’t want to. This is so important. You will never be happy if you’re always needing people to be different than they are so you can feel the way you want to feel.

This episode was actually inspired by a recent conversation I had with a former client and someone who’s become a really good friend of mine. And we were messaging back and forth, and I actually said that statement to him. He was talking to me about something involving his work and I said to him. “You’ll never be happy if you’re always needing people to be different than they are so you can feel the way you want to feel.” And as soon as I said that, he was like, “Olivia, that’s so good it needs its own podcast episode.”

So here you have it. I’m recording an episode specifically on this because I agree with him. It is so important. It requires its own episode. And if it’s the single change you make in 2023, it will radically change the quality of your life. It’s probably the thing that I coach my clients on the most actually. When I first started my coaching business and even in the pre coaching business days, when I knew that this is what I wanted to do but I hadn’t made the switch yet from practicing law. I assumed the thing that I would coach on the most would be time management.

And I still coach plenty on time management, don’t get me wrong. But the thing that I actually coach on the most is this topic. Trying to control other people and wanting them to change, and how it wreaks havoc on your ability to enjoy your life. So I’m constantly coaching clients, getting them to stop trying to control other people, to stop wanting them to change, or trying to get them to change, not because you want to let people off the hook which is normally the pushback that I get.

It’s because you attempting to control other people which does not work, and constantly wanting them to be different than they are is a recipe for your own unhappiness. So we want you to stop trying to control them so you can have better quality of life. Now, I talked about this a little bit in the episode that I did on should thoughts, should thinking. But essentially we all walk around, and we have manuals, just like instruction manuals that come with the gadgets that we buy. We have instruction manuals for the people in our lives and they consist of a whole bunch of rules that we have written for them.

And normally we don’t share our instruction manuals with people, we just keep them filed away somewhere. And when people don’t act in conformity with the manuals that we’ve written for them, we end up getting really frustrated. And it’s basically our understanding of how the world should be, is upset, it’s all wonky. So what we do in order to right what we perceive as a wrong, we try and control other people to get them to behave in accordance with the manuals that we have for them.

We think that they should do some things and they’re not doing them. And then we feel frustrated because we’re thinking that they should be doing it differently. And then in order to feel better we want them to be different. We want them to fall in line and act in accordance with the rules that we have for them. The problem with this is that people don’t like doing that. A lot of times what we want someone to do isn’t what they want to do, or even more simplistically than that, it’s simply not what they’re doing.

Regardless of anyone’s wants it’s just not what they’re doing. So they’re acting in a certain way, and we want them to be different than how they’re acting. So we end up arguing with reality which causes us so much emotional suffering, unnecessary emotional suffering at that.

Another concept that is related to this issue of trying to control other people and wanting them to be different than they are is that we actually usually think that we know best. We think we know what’s best for someone else. We think we know what’s better for them to do instead of not do. And so oftentimes we’re really well intentioned because we’re thinking we know best. They’re acting in a way that isn’t ‘best’ as we define it. So we just want them to course correct and do the ‘right thing’ and then everything would just be marvelous.

The world would be back on its axis, and everything would be great. The problem with this is that we all have differing opinions about what’s best. And although there’s not one right best, even if there were, people don’t have to always do the ‘best.’ They don’t have to do it that way. They get to exercise freewill. They get to choose to do whatever they want, even if it’s ‘wrong’ which again is always just our opinion. It’s never factually wrong unless you’re talking about math. Math has right and wrong answers. But every other situation that we encounter in our lives isn’t like math.

There is different factual things that happen and then we slap an opinion on top of that, that it’s the right way to do something, or it’s the wrong way to do something. When we do that and we think that there’s a right way and then someone else is doing it a different way than we perceive to be the right way, we get upset. We essentially upset ourselves because we’re holding this opinion and we’re thinking that they need to be doing it differently than they are.

I was majorly guilty of doing this myself in my past life. So I wanted to tell you a little bit of a story from my own experience where this really sank in for me. When I was at my last job I did not agree with how the firm management operated. I essentially thought everything should have been handled differently than the way that they handled it. I wanted us to reduce our overhead. I wanted us to market a certain way. I want us to modernize the practice. And I had been brought back once I left big law to work there under the guise of me being someone who would have a say in those matters.

I’d be able to vote. I’d be able to weigh in. I’d be able to make changes but upon returning to the firm that didn’t go as smoothly as I had envisioned. And I found myself constantly arguing with the way that things were being run. I wanted to control the firm management, I wanted them to change. I wanted them to be different than they were. And I kept walking around causing all my own frustration by thinking the thought, you can’t do it this way, you can’t do it this way. They should be doing it this way and they’re not.

Essentially I just spent every single day thinking that they were doing it wrong, and I just kept wanting them to change. I wanted them to be different. And if you think that I was wanting all of this in silence you would be incorrect. I was very outspoken about wanting them to be different, about wanting them to change because I in that moment thought I knew the ‘right way’ for the firm to operate, the right way for the firm to be managed. So I wanted them to change so they could fall in line with the right way of doing things.

Now, all this wanting them to be different, all of this trying to control their behavior to no avail caused me so much resentment, so much frustration, truly so much outrage. I was towards the end there in a constant state of outrage. And then finally one day it clicked for me. I realized, no, no, no, I am the one who’s wrong. I kept telling myself that you can’t run a business this way and it turns out you absolutely can run a business this way because they were. That’s how they were running it and I don’t think that it was operating well but it was operating.

And some people didn’t mind it as much as me. So again, that just underscores the fact that this is a subjective issue. I wanted it to be different, other people didn’t mind as much. We all have our own tolerance levels for other people’s behavior, and what they choose to do, and what they choose to not do. And I remember so clearly the calm that washed over me when I realized they can run a business this way. They literally get to choose this. They get to choose to do it this way and then I am empowered to make a choice based on their decision.

And when you stop arguing with what people are doing and you just step into that acceptance of it then your choices get really clear. They become super obvious and typically you normally have three choices. You can, number one, accept what they’re doing and make peace with it. Two, you can stay and keep dealing with it but hate it. I really don’t recommend option number two. And option number three is that you can make a change. And that’s what I ultimately chose to do.

I recognize that I could stay and try and make peace with it, but if I was being really honest that was never going to work because I don’t think there’s any amount of thought work in the world that would make me accept and be on good terms with the decisions that they made. I have opinions, strong opinions on how a business should be run and I just disagree with how they choose to run it. So I wouldn’t have been able to get myself to a place where I could accept and make peace with it.

The second option was to stay and keep complaining and keep hating it. And that was causing me a world of frustration. I don’t recommend that option like I said, at all.

And then my third option was to leave. And ultimately that’s what I chose to do. And I left feeling really empowered to go out and start my own business and run it the way that I wanted to run it. Because, and this is absolutely true, that is the only thing that was within my control at the time. I cannot control other people. So it’s a complete exercise in futility to attempt to try and control other people. It’s not going to work. And the only thing that I could control was myself. So that’s what I ultimately did. I controlled myself and I left, and I started my own business.

And now I get to run it however I choose to. I have all the power there. I get the final say. No one’s going to disagree with me because I’m a solopreneur. So it’s all up to me and I love that about owning my own business now. Now, this experience, it’s not the first time that I had had this realization but of all the instances where I was at one point trying to control someone else and then I realized, I woke up, realized what I was doing and then finally stopped trying to control them, stopped wanting or needing them to be different.

And just let them be who they are and made my decisions from there. This is the story of that experience that sticks out the most to me. But I have a ton from my own life where I catch myself whenever I’m in a really heightened negative emotion. I’m like, “Where am I wanting someone to be different than they are? Where am I expecting someone to behave differently than they’re currently behaving?” And when I catch it and I drop into that state of acceptance I feel so much better.

If you do this, if you learn how to catch this for yourself when you’re wishing someone else was different, when you’re trying to control someone else’s behavior. If you harness the skill of interrupting yourself and realizing they get to be them, you get to be you, and you get a choice to make going forward, on how you want to expend your energy, how you want to spend your time. You’re probably going to choose to stop arguing with what is because it’s simply not within your control. And instead you’re going to focus on you. It’s going to have you feeling so much better.

Now, you know I love a good example. So I wanted to walk through a couple examples of this for you so you can really identify it in your own life. So let’s start with work. Maybe you work at a law firm, and this is kind of akin to the story that I just told you. But I see this with my clients a lot. They want their firm to be more modernized than it is. So they will do all the research on legal practice management software, all the different tech that can be implemented.

And the firm management is really resistant to change, or they’re resistant to give up the billable hour and switch to a flat fee model, or a subscription model, or anything that is a little bit more new age than how it’s ‘always been done.’ And my clients will derive so much frustration from these situations where they’re wishing that the firm management was different than it is. And more modern, and more up to date, and more up to speed than they actually are. And instead of just accepting that the firm management is the way the firm management is.

And normally there should be no surprises here because the firm management’s probably acting in complete accordance with how they’ve always acted. But regardless, my clients tend to get super frustrated, and they think that the law firm owners are doing it wrong, and that they need to make a change. And that this is the bad way to do it or the wrong way to do it. And it leads to so much tension in the workplace.

Now, can you make suggestions? Of course you can and I help people with that all the time. I help coach people to get them to where they’re advocating for the change that they want and they’re able to present the strongest case possible. Not from a place of frustration, and resentment, and annoyance, but feeling really empowered, feeling really confident and compelled, and convicted. That the change that they’re suggesting is the best for everyone.

But once you do that, once you communicate your request and if it gets shot down or they don’t make the change, even if they just give you some lip service and they don’t do anything different. You get to decide. You get to make the same decision I made. Do I stay and accept this? Do I stay and keep hating it? Don’t recommend. Or do I leave, is this worth leaving over? And most people unintentionally are picking option number two because they’re staying. They’re not making any change and they just keep arguing with how it’s being done.

They keep thinking that the management’s doing it wrong. I see this a ton with bonuses too. A lot of my clients will work at places either where there’s no clear compensation model for business development, and they want to make more money but there’s not really a path for them to do that. And instead of advocating for a merit based system, they just complain about how it’s done.

Or another thing that I see all the time is where there is a merit based system, but the person hasn’t met the requirements. So if there’s a billable hour requirement, or a specific business origination number that you need to hit in order to get compensated with a specific bonus, or at a specific rate. People won’t hit it and then they’ll get angry with the firm because they’re not making more money. And the firm gets to make whatever rules it wants to.

You don’t have to like any of the rules, but if you keep going to war with how your firm is being operated you’re going to be constantly upset. And it’s not the firm’s fault. I hate to be the one to break that news to you but it’s not the firm’s fault. You’re upsetting yourself with your expectations and with your attempts to control something that’s not actually within your control. And it’s a recipe to be miserable. So if you want to be happier I highly recommend that you either pick option number one or option number three. Accept it for what it is or leave.

Both options are totally valid and they’re going to make you a lot happier than picking that second option unintentionally. I also see this a ton, speaking of compensation, I have quite a few clients that work for larger firms and in of council capacity. And there are certain terms, conditions, and an agreement that you enter into when you become of council to a firm. And typically it’s a different compensation structure. And everyone knows that going in.

And yet the number of clients who are in this position that I have to coach on their thoughts about their compensation and how unfair they think it is that they make x amount and the other people within the firm make y, whether the other people in the firm are the same age, or the same level of seniority, or less experienced. There’s so much that goes on there and people get so upset about it. And again the firm is just acting probably in accordance with the way that it’s always acted. It’s following the same agreement that you signed on for.

And here you are now wanting to modify the terms of that agreement unilaterally. And you’re wishing that they were different. You’re expecting them to change. You’re wanting them to change. You’re really in a state of needing them to change so that you can feel better and it’s so disempowering. So I want to invite you to stop doing this. Identify when you’re feeling these really strong negative emotions, where am I expecting someone to be doing something different than what they are?

Where am I needing someone to change so I can feel better? And can you drop into a state of understanding that they’re exercising the freewill that they have whether you like it or not. They’re exercising their freewill and they’re literally allowed to. I know so many people get frustrated with the over-usage of the word ‘literally,’ but this is the perfect time for it because people literally get to do whatever they want. They have freewill, they get to choose.

You don’t have to like it but you going to war with the choices that people make, with how they exercise their freewill and constantly trying to control their behavior is setting you up for a world of frustration, a world of hurt, a world of discontentment. I don’t want you to create a world of discontentment for yourself in 2023. I want you to enjoy your life. I don’t want you to be at war with everyone in it expecting them to be different than they are and then resenting everyone for it.

I’ve also had a lot of complaints recently for people and firms if they’re not in a huge firm and there’s no formal annual review process. And there never has been if that’s how your firm operates. There probably never has been a formal review process and yet every year you upset yourself by trying to control the firm and expecting them to do it differently than they always have done it. And you’re the one who’s causing your own pain. Don’t expect people to act completely different than the way that they’ve always acted.

That’s not on them. That’s on you if you’re upset. When people act completely on brand, when they act in direct conformity with how they’ve always behaved, when they are doing it the way they’ve always done it, and you’re upset. This is a you problem my love. Perhaps you do this with clients. They’ll call you and they’ll tell you either a bunch of irrelevant stuff that you don’t actually need to know, or you have to have the same conversation over, and over, and over again. Now, this may be a situation that’s ripe for a boundary.

And I’ve already recorded a whole episode on that. So I won’t rehash that here but expecting people to be different than how they are isn’t going to work. Maybe you tell them that you’re on vacation and they call you anyways, of course they do. You can’t control that. You can only control whether you answer the phone or not. Or you ask them to get you certain documents and they ignore your request, and you have to follow up with them. And you’re trying to control their behavior. It’s just not something that’s within your control.

So if you have a ton of frustration around your clients and you’re thinking that they should be doing it differently than they are, you really want to check in with yourself here. You’re trying to control them. You’re trying to get them to do something that they’re just not going to do. And if that’s the case you’re going to find a lot of frustration, a lot of resentment, a lot of outrage with your client interactions because you’re wishing or needing them to be different than they are.

So take a second and check-in there. The people that you interact with, with work, whether it’s a supervisor, or a colleague, or someone that you supervise. This comes up a ton too, not just with clients but also with subordinates. I coach a ton of my clients on this. They want people to do it differently than the way that they’re doing it. And when you are supervising someone you definitely get to have some repercussion if they’re not meeting the mark. That’s one of the qualities that you get as a supervisor. It’s one of the aspects of your role.

But you want to be sure to only be focused on what you can control, which is implementing whatever repercussion comes when someone doesn’t meet the mark, when they don’t rise to the occasion, when they don’t meet the standard that you’ve set for them. You can’t actually control their behavior. They get to do whatever they’re going to do. So they don’t have to respond to an email after a certain period of time. Now, you can make it a job requirement that they respond within a particular amount of time if that’s what you want.

But wishing them, and needing then, wanting them to be different and to be more responsive, first make sure you define responsive. But even if you have defined it and they don’t become more responsive, that’s within their freewill. It’s within their right. And trying to control them and get them to be more responsive is going to frustrate the living daylights out of you because they literally don’t have to conform.

Now, if you want to fire the person, you get to fire them or you get to give them a negative review if you work in a firm structure that’s larger than you just being the employer. It’s up to you. You can give them a talking to. I don’t know how effective those are. And I’ll do a whole separate episode on that, and why I don’t think that those work. But you get to do that if that’s what you choose to do if that’s the repercussion that you pick. But attempting to control someone else’s behavior is just going to send you straight to frustration land.

The same thing is true in our personal relationships. Take a second and think about the people in your life who you are constantly trying to control. Maybe it’s your spouse, or your partner, or your siblings, or your parents. And you think that they shouldn’t say the things that they say. And you tell them how to talk or what not to do and what they need to do. Maybe with your spouse you want the person to be more of a planner or more driven and motivated.

And you’re constantly wanting them to be different and because they’re not the way that you want them to be you are blaming them for your unhappiness. even though their behavior is not causing your unhappiness, your thoughts about their behavior is what’s making you unhappy. But you really want to check in with yourself here. Are you expecting this person to change, is that a valid desire of yours? Do they want to change? Oftentimes what I find is that other people don’t want to change the way we want them to change.

It’s so just for ourselves, it’s not for them, it wouldn’t benefit them because it’s not what they actually want to do and yet we still desire it so deeply that they change so that we can be happier. Now, newsflash, because other people’s actions don’t cause our happiness it doesn’t actually even work. If this is how your mindset is primed and operates you’re just going to find another thing to attempt to control. You’re just going to find another thing that you want to be different.

It becomes this never ending parade of needing people to change so you can feel better. There is a lot of victimhood in this too. Again, I’m bringing the truth with this episode. There is a lot of tough love for you in what I’m saying here. But I’m saying it because of the massive impact making this change will have on your life. As long as you’re attempting to control other people and needing them to be different than they are so that you can feel happy, you’re going to be really unhappy.

Mostly because you’re going to feel super powerless and out of control because you literally are powerless and out of control over what other people choose to do. You know when it comes to your friends and family, maybe you’re thinking they need to be less opinionated or more supportive. And oftentimes we don’t even really know what those terms look like. But we’re just wanting them to be different than they are.

I have told this story to a couple of my clients before, but I dated a man for a really long time. And one day, we weren’t seeing each other anymore but we still had a friendly relationship with one another. And I was joking with him, and I said, “You know, I really love you. I just wish you were a completely different person.” And I kind of chuckled and laughed it off at the time. But after he left he had stopped by my house to help me with something, and after he left it dawned on me that I wasn’t actually joking. I really did mean that.

There were parts of him that I loved. And there were a lot of parts of him that I didn’t love, and I really wanted him to be different than he was. And I spent a lot of our relationship trying to control his behavior. He also spent a large part of our relationship trying to control my behavior which is why we were not a great fit. We’re both just trying to control how the other one shows up rather than controlling what we actually control, which is ourselves and our own behavior. And it led to so much conflict, really unnecessary conflict.

We could have just appreciated each other for who we were and probably gotten along much better. And this is really common. I want you to think about what relationships you have in your life, where you’re doing this. Where are you wanting someone else to be completely different than they are and where are they wanting you to be different than you are? And can you see how it leads to so much unnecessary conflict? Maybe it’s you don’t want someone to make comments about the way that you parent.

I coach a ton of my clients on that. Their parents, the grandparents in this situation voice a lot of different opinions about the way that their kids parent their kids, the grandkids so to speak. And it leads to so much frustration because everyone in that situation is thinking that everyone should be doing something differently than they are rather than everyone going into it and saying, “This is what I control. Other people get to do whatever they want to do and I’m just going to focus on myself.”

We do this with our friends too. I talk to a lot of people who think that their friends should be more thoughtful or make more of an effort. Maybe they need to text back faster or make more of an effort to spend time with one another. And if you’re constantly thinking that your friends need to be showing up differently than they are so that you can feel supported, so you can feel connected, so you can feel like you belong, or that you’re loved and cared for. Then you’re going to constantly feel terrible.

Other people don’t make you feel those feelings. They don’t make you feel supported. They don’t make you feel appreciated. They don’t make you feel connected or loved. You create those feelings with your thoughts about them. So you can generate those emotions for yourself at absolutely any time. You don’t need them to change what they’re doing at all in order to feel those feelings. Now, this concept that I’m talking about in this episode is really the main thesis of emotional adulthood.

Emotional childhood is where you blame other people for how you feel. You make other people responsible for your negative emotions which is never actually what’s going on. You’re always creating your own negative emotions with your thinking. But when you’re in a state of emotional childhood you’re not acknowledging that truth. Instead you’re in a state of victimhood, you’re in a state of blame where you’re assigning responsibility to other people. Which means you’re outsourcing all of your power over your emotional experience. You’re giving it away to them.

And it’s not something that they’re controlling. It’s something you’re controlling but a lot of us aren’t taught this growing up. So that’s the whole point of this episode. It’s to teach you that when you require other people to be different so that you can feel better and you’re requiring something to change that’s actually outside of your control you’re not going to feel better. You’re going to feel powerless. It’s going to feel really awful.

I invite you to stop doing this, this year. Get in the habit of really paying attention every time you get upset. Am I attempting to control someone else’s behavior? Am I wanting or needing someone to do something differently than what they are doing so that I can feel better? And if your answer to those questions is yes. You want to reclaim your power over your emotional experience. You want to identify that it’s your thinking and you want to find the thoughts that you’re thinking that are contributing to you feeling the way that you feel in that moment.

And you want to take your power back. You want to acknowledge that you’re the one making yourself feel that way. And you want to get to a state of understanding, a state of acceptance that they get to do it however they want to do it and you get to choose to hate it. You can choose to accept it, or you can choose to make a change where you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Those are your three choices, always, always, always. Like I said, don’t pick option number two, it doesn’t lead to anything good.

Alright my friends, I promise you if you spend time this year making this shift and releasing your attempts to control other people and you stop needing them to be different than they are you will be so much happier in the new year. That’s my wish for you. I want you to feel more empowered, more in control over your emotional experience. I want you to feel more at peace emotionally. And the way to accomplish that is to stop trying to control the people in your life.

Just focus on you, you’re the only person you can actually control. Spend all your time and energy there. And remember, if you struggle with this If you’re like, “Olivia, I get it, I know that this is the answer, this is the reason that I am so frustrated, and upset, and resentful, and annoyed and irritated all the time, or disappointed all the time.” If you know that this is your work, but you have no idea where to start. This is what I do. This is exactly what I help people with. This is what you will learn how to do in The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

I will take a microscope to your life in the best way possible. That might not sound like fun, but I assure you it is so worthwhile. But we’re going to take a microscope to your life and find all the different instances where you’re trying to control other people. We’re going to find all the different instances where you’re wanting, or needing, or expecting someone to be different than they are so that you can feel better.

And I’m going to teach you how to get to a place of understanding and acceptance and reclaim all that power over your emotional experience so that you can feel in control. So that you can feel better, and you can simply just enjoy the people in your life rather than resenting them and wishing that they were different than they are.

Alright, enrollment for the mastermind closes January 6th. If you want to be in this upcoming round and I promise you, you want to be in this upcoming round. Don’t wait for the next one. Let’s start this work right now so you can actually feel better way sooner. And plus, the live event in Charleston, February 1st through the 4th, is going to be incredible so you don’t want to miss out on that either. So enrollment closes for this upcoming round January 6th. Make sure you go to my website, thelesstressedlawyer.com. I know that’s so many s’s. thelesstressedlawyer.com/mastermind.

Go submit your application. Spots are limited so don’t wait until the 6th. Get in, do it now, you might have some time off over the holidays. I know it can be a little bit of a hectic time. That’s what I recorded the last episode for. So you could navigate this time with a little bit more intentionality and grace. But use this time to your advantage and make sure you go secure your spot. We will tackle this issue once and for all in 2023.

You’ll stop trying to control other people and you’ll feel so much better as a result. It really is the key to having a much more fulfilling, enriching, happier life and you’re going to master it in the new year. Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you this week my friends. Have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 41: Handling Holiday Overwhelm & Stress

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Handling Holiday Overwhelm & Stress

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Handling Holiday Overwhelm & Stress

‘Tis the holiday season, and if you’re anything like me, you probably have a lot going on and a lot of thoughts about it. So, in this week’s episode, I’m showing you how to give yourself some breathing room during the chaos, overwhelm, and stress that this time of year can bring.

I coach so many clients on the holiday stress that is born out of trying to get everything done, managing competing obligations, and all that good stuff. If you’re ready to experience a holiday season where you feel calm, intentional, and in control and want to end the year strong, listen closely and take notes this week.

Tune in this week to discover what causes stress and overwhelm during the holiday season and what you can do about it. I’m sharing some practical tools to navigate the most common pain points at this time of year, so you can manage and protect your time and energy, setting yourself up for a successful start to 2023.

Enrollment is open for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind! This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The most common problems I see my clients encountering during the holidays.
  • Where overwhelm comes from and why you have more control over it than you might think.
  • The importance of being intentional during the busy holiday season.
  • How people end up stuck in martyrdom around the holidays, saying yes to everyone, and how you can start to constrain instead.
  • A new way to think about gift-giving during the holidays.
  • How to start getting clear on where your expectations are creating your frustration.
  • The uncomfortable emotions that will inevitably come up when you prioritize yourself during the holidays and how to deal with them.
  • What you can do to start simplifying your schedule and making decisions ahead of time.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 41. Today, we’re talking all about how to handle the holidays. 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, my friends. How are you? ‘Tis the holiday season, right? And if you’re anything like me, you might have quite a bit going on. Now, I take the last two weeks of the year off. And, I’ve done this for the past couple years. It is so amazing to be able to give myself some extra breathing room just to navigate the holidays.

But I actually just signed the lease on an amazing new condo, so I am moving during the holidays. So, that’s going to make things just a little bit more chaotic for me. But that’s okay, I have the space to do it.

Now, not everyone follows the Olivia Vizachero methodology of navigating the holidays, and they don’t clear their schedules, like I started doing. I end up coaching a lot of my clients on holiday stress, and just the chaos that comes with trying to get everything done, and competing obligations, or desires and responsibilities, all that good stuff.

So, I thought it would be a really great idea for me to record an episode for you about how to handle the holiday stress or the holiday overwhelm, or how to navigate the chaos if your holidays tend to feel chaotic. Now, if they don’t, amazing; that’s so great. Congrats on curating a holiday experience, or end of year experience, that feels calm and intentional, where you feel really in control. That is fantastic.

That’s my hope for everyone this time of year, that you’re able to end the year strong, really, very intentionally. And you’re able to feel really good about going into the new year and getting off on a good foot.

But if that’s not you, that’s okay, this episode is for you. To help you navigate all that’s going on this time of year. So, I identified the common problems that I see people encounter, that I see my clients encounter, this time of year. And I’m just going to walk through them with you, one by one, and give you some tips and some mindset tools to navigate these pain points.

Okay, the first problem that I see, that tends to be the most common, is that people try to do too much during this time of year. Overwhelm comes from being overcapacity. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed during this time of year, it’s because you’re trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound bag. You’re trying to fit too many things into a finite amount of time.

And think about it, you’ve got your regular life that you’re living day-to-day, normally. And, that’s already probably really full. And then, you add in all the extra holiday stuff. If you have kids, they are probably off of school. So, you’ve got that added to the mix; family traditions, maybe travel, end of year stuff with work.

You mix all of that together. on top of what you already navigate and manage on a daily basis, and you’re just over a capacity; you take on more without having any more room. And it ultimately doesn’t work; something probably slips through the cracks. And, the experience is going to be really unpleasant, because the math just doesn’t work out.

You’re overcapacity. So, you’re going to feel pressured, you’re going to feel stressed, you’re going to feel overwhelmed, and you’re going to feel behind. Now, what’s the solution for this, for doing too much? Well, the simple answer is you need to do less. Alright, you know, that phrase that everyone says now, “Say less,” it’s like that, but do less. Okay?

You want to start by simplifying your schedule as much as possible. And what I was thinking about, as I was planning this episode, is that we’re going to weave in so many of the topics that I’ve talked about on the podcast to date. In simplifying your schedule, and simplifying what you have on your plate through the month of December and into the new year, one of the ways that you get to simplify is by practicing constraint.

I want you to think real quick; during this time of year, what can you cut out? What can you eliminate all together? What can you reduce? This process starts by you being really honest with yourself about your capacity, about what you can actually accomplish.

I always teach that you want to get really clear on the math, right? I talked about that in the Time Management Series that we just went through. You want to make sure you’re getting the math right. So, make a list of everything that you’re planning to do through the holiday season; both with work and with your personal life.

Once you’ve made that list, estimate how long all of it’s going to take you. For each item on the list, put an amount of time that you think you’re going to have to dedicate, in order to accomplishing that task, that item. And then, add it all up.

Can you actually fit it all in? And, do you want to fit it all in? Sometimes you can make it work if you really stuffed it in, jam packed it in there. But the experience of that is so unpleasant, you might not want to. So, get clear on the math. And then from there, start to make decisions. If you’re overcapacity, and it doesn’t fit into the amount of time that you have available, what can you start to cut?

You also get to decide, if you don’t have the capacity, what do you want to not agree to do, at all? Or, what do you want to not offer to do, at all? I watched so many people volunteer themselves, and I’m going to talk about martyrdom in a minute, but they volunteer themselves and take on too much.

I get that it feels good to say yes and to offer to do things. You get to feel really generous and charitable and helpful and accomplished. But if you don’t have capacity to actually do it, it’s going to feel good when you say yes to it, but it’s gonna feel terrible when it actually comes time to do it. Because you’re either going to do it poorly, you’re going to do it in a frenzied way, or you’re not going to do it at all, and then that’s going to trigger all of this guilt.

All right, so what can you cut out? Maybe, it’s saying no to a work project, and pushing it into the new year. Maybe, it’s RSVPing no to a holiday party that you would have typically gone to, that you really don’t have time to make. Maybe, it’s not volunteering to host an event or to cook something for the holidays.

Maybe, you can constrain with the number of people that you buy for, or the number of gifts that you buy the people in your life. Maybe, you can get them one extravagant gift, rather than a bunch of little things that have you scrambling.

You also get to constrain with how much you’re working. So, this dovetails nicely into another way that you can simplify during the holiday season; you want to be making some decisions ahead of time. So, decide right now when you’re going to take time off. I highly encourage you to decide to do this the same exact way every year. That way, you’re not left wondering, when am I going to work? When am I not going to work?

I decided, a couple of years ago, that I would always take the last two weeks of the year off. Now, if that is like an ambitious goal for you, that’s okay. Put it on your nightstand, so to speak, and let it sit there and let it marinate. And maybe eventually, you can work up to that. If that feels like a bridge too far, right now, that’s okay.

What can you start with? Maybe, it’s a few days. Maybe, it’s a week. Whatever feels attainable for you, start with that, and just decide that you’ll do it that way every year from now on. It will help you plan accordingly. And really start to get in the rhythm of what needs to happen when leading up to that time off, in order to really set you up for success.

When you’re thinking about constraining and making decisions ahead of time, you also get to think about what do you not want to do, right? If there’s stuff you don’t want to go to, if there are activities that you don’t want to take part, and really check in with yourself. Again, tap into that candor, tap into your honesty, tap into that knowing internally; what is it that you want to do? How do you want to spend your time? How do you not want to spend your time?

If you don’t like running around, scrambling, getting people all of these different gifts, or having to spend a ton of time researching trying to figure out the best thing to get them, maybe you don’t want to do gifts. I did that a couple years ago; I was really not in a place to engage in gift giving. It wasn’t a great year for me, I was just starting my business. I didn’t have really, the financial resources to devote a ton of money to gift giving.

So, I just asked my family to not do it that year, and they agreed. We didn’t give each other any gifts, and it took a lot of stress and guilt and worry off my plate because I didn’t have to worry about receiving things and not being able to reciprocate. So, we just didn’t do gifts that year; that might be available for you, too.

You can also decide that you don’t get each other things, and you spend and invest in like, a vacation or something like that, or something for your house; you get to decide. You can also decide that you only buy gifts when people tell you what they want, rather than you having to do all the hard work and heavy lifting. You can just ask people what they want, and then buy them that.

I was going to bring this up later, but now’s as good a time as any to talk about it. I have a really good friend that’s a marriage coach. And one of the things that I’ve learned from her, when it comes to gift giving holidays, is that you normally get to pick between one of two things; you get to be surprised or satisfied, when it comes to the gifts that you receive.

Now, most people want to be surprised and satisfied. But that’s not always an option that’s available to us. So, if you have to pick, which would you prefer? Do you want to be surprised, and let the people in your life just buy you what they think you would like? Or, do you want to be satisfied, and tell them ahead of time? Same thing goes with, do you want to be unique and original with the gifts that you buy people? Do you want to be thoughtful about it? Do you want to invest that time? Or, do you just want to make it easy on yourself? You get to let it be easy.

That’s something I’m teaching my clients all the time. We love to make life harder on ourselves, unnecessarily, so you get to make this as easy as you want. Ask yourself, what are some changes you could make? And what are some decisions you could make, to make life easier on yourself this time of year?

So, that’s step one. If you’re doing too much during the holidays, you want to simplify. Practice constraint. Cut out whatever you can. Reduce whatever you can, and make some decisions ahead of time, to make your life easier. To either have a routine, or to have a game plan going into the holidays, rather than doing it in a reactionary manner, and scrambling and being really unintentional with how you spend your time.

You want to get really clear on the math, so you’re not overcapacity. And, that’s going to drastically reduce your overwhelm. Okay? Now, speaking of constraint, I mentioned a moment ago that you want to decide ahead of time when you’re working and when you’re not working. Especially if you tend to be someone who’s an overworker, right?

If you plan to take time off during the holidays, and then you actually don’t give yourself a break, you want to ask yourself, number one, why? What’s going on that’s causing that to happen? Typically, here’s what’s going on: Number one, you’ve got some negative thoughts about your ability to take time off. So, there’s probably some limiting beliefs there.

You’re telling yourself you have to work. You’re telling yourself you can’t take time off, that it needs to get done before a particular date. Now, you’ve heard me say this before, there are only four things that ever have to happen; you have to eat some stuff, drink some water, breathe, and sleep. That’s about it.

I just had someone tell me, you also have to use the restroom, which I don’t love talking about; I think it’s a little impolite. But they’ve got a good point there. That is probably the fifth thing that you have to do. Other than that, though, you always get to choose, okay?

So, if you’ve got some negative thoughts, or some limiting beliefs on your ability to unplug and take time off and not work, you want to clear that up. You want to actually see where you get to make a different choice. Where you have more agency and control than you might think that you have.

The other reason that you work when you plan to not work is because of how not working feels for you. So, it probably conjures up a lot of guilt or worry or fear. And when that happens, you avoid those feelings by going back to work by opening up that laptop of yours, and logging on, and doing some stuff that you planned to not do, while you’re “off” for the holidays.

Now, if you want to learn how to not work when you plan to be off, this is something you have to practice. And it’s going to be uncomfortable at first, it will get better over time, but you just have to gag-and-go through that discomfort. You have to feel guilty and feel worried and feel afraid and feel a little, maybe, inadequate.

Because you think you should be working or that a “good” employee or “good” attorney or “good” business owner would be working during this time, right? That’s how those negative thoughts or those limiting beliefs tie in with these feelings that you feel.

So, you want to change the thoughts. And then, you want to make a deal with yourself that you’re going to feel uncomfortable on purpose. The more you do this, the more you’re going to create evidence that it’s safe for you to take time off. That it’s safe for you to not work. That it’s safe for you to unplug.

And when you create that body of evidence, it’s going to create safety and security for you to continue to take time off in the future. But in the beginning, it’s going to be uncomfortable. That’s okay, you can survive that discomfort.

Now, I want to encourage you, if you have a really hard time with unplugging, and not working, and honoring your decision to not work when you’ve made it, start small. Pick some windows of time during this holiday season when you absolutely will not work, and then honor that plan. Just see what comes up for you. Get really clear on the negative emotions that you start to experience, or that you anticipate that you’ll experience.

I like to write them down and make a list. So, I get really clear and understand completely what negative emotions I need to experience, in order to stick to my original game plan, in order to follow through and honor that time off.

You get to try that, and create opportunities for yourself to practice this skill set. The more you do it, the better at it you will become. Now, in order to take time off, and to constrain and to reduce your overwhelm, and to make sure that you’re not doing too much, you’re going to have to work on saying no and setting boundaries, right?

If you asked me to do this, I will not agree. If you asked me to do this, I’m going to do this, instead. If you do this, then this is the action I’m going to take. Remember that a proper boundary is, “And if you do this, I will do this,” statement. All right?

You also want to say no to things. And again, this is going to bring up that sense of guilt, worry, fear, feeling exposed, or potentially judged, maybe misunderstood. I think learning how to feel misunderstood is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Knowing how to feel misunderstood and let other people misunderstand you, and have the wrong idea about you, is so powerful.

You really unlock next level freedom, when you learn how to just sit with that feeling of being and feeling misunderstood. And, not needing to correct the record, not needing defend yourself, not needing to, you know, set the record straight. You’re just able to sit with the discomfort and let them think what they want.

There’s going to be amazing opportunities for you to practice saying no. Maybe, it’s to other people. Maybe, it’s to traditions. Maybe, you’re like, “I’m not traveling this year, nope. If you want to get together for the holidays, you’ve got to come to me.”

Or, maybe you’re like, “I’m not hosting this year. I normally do and I’m sick of it.” Or, someone wants to stay at your house but it’s really not convenient for you, because you have so much going on with work. I work with a lot of transactional attorneys, and end of year is a pretty hectic time for them. It’s probably not the best time for them to have people in their home.

I think the perfectionist in us thinks that it’s gonna go really well, and we’ll still be able to work. But oftentimes, that’s not the case with my clients. So, it might be better for you to say no to people, and say, “Nope, I’m not going to do that.” Or, you know, “I can’t actually come over early and help you with X, Y or Z. I need to work/I want to work. I just want to rest; it’s been a really busy year. I don’t want to exit the holidays feeling more depleted than when I started them.”

All right, maybe it’s stuff with your kids. You’re like, “I’m not doing an elf-on-the-shelf.” That looks like so much work. I have one client, she’s like, “It’s so worth it to see how excited my kids get.” And if that’s how you feel, amazing. But if that’s not how you feel, and it’s just one more thing that you don’t feel like doing, this is your permission slip to just say, “No, we’re not doing it this year.” And, any other traditions that go along with the holidays that you really don’t feel up to, or you’d prefer not to do.

Now saying no and setting boundaries, dovetails into a whole other topic that you really want to address, in order to handle the holiday stress and chaos, okay? And, it’s expectations; the expectations you have for yourself, the expectations you have for other people, and the expectations that other people have of you, or at least that you perceive that they have of you.

Sometimes, people don’t actually tell us their expectations for us, we just conjure up the expectation in our head, and then we use it against ourselves. So, take a second and, you know, maybe grab a piece of paper, and write a list. Or, you can pause this episode and just brainstorm for a moment.

What expectations do you have of yourself during the holidays? What are all the ‘shoulds’ that come up for you? What are all the ‘shouldn’t’ thoughts that come up for you? What are all the thoughts where you’re like, “I have to do this. I need to do this. I can’t do this,” all that good stuff. “I must do this.”

Make that list. Figure out what your manual is like, the instruction manual that you have for yourself, is during the holiday season. Now, if you have expectations for yourself that are misaligned with how you actually want to spend your time, you need to adjust your expectations.

So, what do you want to expect of yourself during this time? What is B+, A- level holiday eating look like? I don’t think that’s a word, but you get what I’m saying. What does it look like? Where can you give yourself some grace? Where can you give yourself a pass? Where can you let yourself off the hook a little bit? Where can you be kinder to yourself? Where can you practice self-love?

Remember, one of the things that I teach, is that you want to be defining “enough.” And most people don’t really get clear on their expectations for themselves or for other people, for that matter. And they don’t define what a good “enough” job is, during seasons of their life like surviving the holidays.

And then, we just feel like we’re missing the mark, right? We’re not sure what “enough” is, but it’s not this, and we need to be doing more. So, then you keep efforting and hustling. And, we want to avoid that. You want to get really clear on what you expect of yourself. Is your expectation attainable and objective? If it’s not, it’s a bad expectation.

So, you want to go back to the drawing board and figure out what you want to expect of yourself, instead; that is objective, that is attainable, that is sustainable. All right? When you address this, you’re really going to dial down your overwhelm, your guilt, your disappointment with yourself, feeling inadequate, or selfish, or any of that stuff. You’re really going to dial that all down.

Now, if you tend to feel a lot of frustration, resentment, irritation, annoyance, anger, and disappointment, during the holiday season, it’s because you have expectations of other people that they’re not meeting. You’ve heard me say this, time and time again, they are not causing you to feel these feelings. Your thoughts about their behavior, what they’re doing or what they’re not doing, that’s what’s causing you to feel these emotions.

So, if you want to feel better during the holiday season, we have to adjust your expectations. In order to adjust them, to get you to feeling better, we first have to take an inventory of what you expect of other people. Pick a couple of people in your life. And again, you can pause this episode, and take a second and work this through.

But pick a couple of people; the people that you feel the strongest negative emotions around during the holiday season. Maybe it’s your clients, maybe it’s your colleagues, maybe it’s your boss, maybe it’s family members, your spouse, your partner, your parents, your siblings, maybe it’s your kids.

Whoever it is, you just want to take note of, who do you feel a lot of negative emotion about during the holiday season? And, you want to figure out why? What are your expectations of them, that they aren’t living up to? What are all the things that you think they should do, that they’re not doing? What are all the things that you think they shouldn’t do, that they are doing?

Get really clear on the manuals that you have for the people in your life. Now, when we wish people behaved differently than they do, and we’re wanting people to be different than they are, we set ourselves up for so much frustration. So, I always want you to be focusing on, is this something within my control?

When we’re asking people or expecting them to be different than they are, that’s typically outside of our control. Can you make a request that they change their behavior? Of course, you can. But they have free will, and they get to not comply with your request. All right? So, you get to decide if you want to say something or not, that part’s totally up to you.

But regardless of whether or not you say it, you want to be really clear, is this an expectation I want to have? If I have it, am I likely to keep feeling frustrated, feeling disappointed, feeling resentful? And what would happen if I released this expectation if I just got rid of it?

Releasing expectations is never something that we do for other people, by the way. It’s always something that we do for ourselves. It’s a gift that we give ourselves, because having expectations that people invariably don’t meet is really heavy. It leads to a lot of disappointment, a lot of discontentment, a lot of hurt, right? You get to be in control of how much of that you experience.

So, when you eliminate expectations, you dial that down significantly, and you give yourself the gift of feeling a whole lot better. I’m going to use a personal example, from my own life, here. I have had expectations of my parents around holidays in the past. I know I already told you about the charcuterie board/pizza scenario.

But outside of that, I’ve had the expectation that my parents have really lavish, big holiday parties. I grew up with an Italian grandfather who was definitely like the patriarch of our family, and he brought everyone together. We had these loud, big, fun Christmas celebrations, same thing for Thanksgiving. And I loved them, as a kid.

Since he passed, we don’t do that anymore. Everyone kind of split off and does their own thing, and it really bums me out. Obviously, I feel bummed because of the thoughts that I think about this. But those are my thoughts. And when I think them, I feel bummed.

I kept having this expectation that my parents do it the way that I want it done. And after several years of disappointing myself, and really spoiling my holiday experience, because it was all I was focused on, I made peace with the fact that my parents don’t like big holiday celebrations; I do.

They’re not going to change, because they don’t enjoy it. And they host, right now, so it’s their call to make. I can either keep expecting them to be different than they want to be, or I can accept them for who they are. That choice is mine.

Lo and behold, releasing that expectation and getting rid of it, and allowing my parents to just be themselves, and enjoying the time that I spend with them during the holidays. However they do it, really leads to me having a much more enjoyable holiday experience, right?

So, get clear on what you expect from other people. And if you can whittle away at that expectation list, if you can take, you know, the dry erase board eraser and get rid of some of those expectations, do that. It’s going to be a gift you give to yourself; you’re gonna feel so much better. Also, what a gift you can give to the people in your life, because when you’re feeling better, you’re going to show up better.

Think of how you show up during the holiday season when you feel resentful, frustrated, irritated, annoyed, disappointed, angry, hurt, right? You do not show up, well, normally; we react really unintentionally when we’re feeling feelings like that. So, think about how having these expectations not only upsets you, but creates problems for everyone else in your life.

It’s like a ripple effect, one that definitely doesn’t serve you. So, the fewer expectations that you have, the better everyone’s experience is going to be both yours and theirs, because of how you’re going to show up differently when you’re not saturated with all that negative emotion.

Now, the last type of expectation, is the expectation that you perceive other people have of you. Or, maybe expectations that they actually have for you, if they’ve actually communicated the expectation to you. And, you get to decide what you do with that information, or what you do with the expectation that you’ve conjured up in that head of yours. All right?

You’ve got a couple of options: You can people please and martyr yourself. If you want to meet that expectation, even though it’s not something you actually want to do. That is a surefire way to make the holiday season as stressful as possible, as miserable as possible. People pleasing, self-sacrificing, abandoning what you actually want and care about, and martyring yourself.

If you’re guilty of this, I want you to really take an inventory and ask yourself; why? Why are you people pleasing? Why are you abandoning what you want? Why are you martyring yourself? Normally, the reason is twofold; one, it’s uncomfortable for you not to. Which, the truth of the matter is, there’s discomfort both ways in people pleasing and martyring yourself, and in not people pleasing and not martyring yourself, right?

I always suggest, pick the path of discomfort that gets you what you ultimately want. So, that’s gonna be part of it. And then the other part of it, is that sometimes it feels good, in the moment, to be a martyr; we wear it like a badge of honor, right? And then, we get to complain about it afterwards, which makes us feel pretty self-righteous and significant.

And if that’s you, you just want to be onto yourself here. Okay? If you keep saying yes to stuff you hate doing. If you keep self-sacrificing for the sake of other people. And you’re deriving some benefit from it, some pleasure. If it’s a boost to your view of yourself, whatever the case may be, you want to know that. And you want to ask yourself; does this really serve me? Do I want to operate this way? Or, do I want to make a change?

I highly encourage you to test drive not people pleasing and not martyring yourself, this holiday season. You will have such a more enjoyable experience when you actually spend your time doing things that you want to do, rather than doing things you don’t want to do just to keep other people comfortable.

So, get really clear when it comes to expectations. Which ones do you have for yourself, that you want to get rid of? Which ones do you have for other people, that it makes sense to get rid of? Just because you’re disappointing yourself by having them.

And which expectations do you want to opt out of? Expectations that other people might have for you, that you’re like, “No thanks. Return to Sender. I reject that. That’s not for me. I’m not doing that this year.”

Now, another thing that I see people do during the holidays is they expect people to be mind reader’s. This leads to a lot of unmet expectations, a lot of disappointment, and a lot of frustration. So, if there’s something that you want, whether it’s an experience that you want, a gift that you want, whatever, a favor that you want, anything like that.

If you want someone else to do something, or you want to do something, and you want someone else to know about it, communicate it, ask for what you want. Make it really clear, don’t make people guess, don’t make them read between the lines. That’s a recipe for disappointment and disaster. And, it’s easily avoidable. All right?

My friend, Maggie, who’s the marriage coach. Maggie Reyes, she once coached a woman on this, who hated gift giving holidays because her husband always bought her something she didn’t like. And if that’s you, if that’s been your experience, listen closely.

Okay, I mentioned this earlier, but you get to just ask for what you want. Rather than leaving it up to chance, and risking your disappointment and frustration, and really sullying the holiday experience. You get to just ask for what you want.

If you want someone else to host this year instead of you, ask them for it. They, for sure, get to say no. But there’s a much greater chance you’ll get what you want if you ask, than if you don’t say anything at all; people aren’t going to read your mind.

And a lot of times, they might think that it’s something that you don’t want. So, you get to clear up confusion, and you make it so much easier for other people, too, because everyone loves certainty. Help make it easy for them. Help create certainty for them, by just telling them what you want. And, trusting them to rise to the occasion. They may not always rise to the occasion, but give them the chance to do so.

Now, another thing that I see come up really commonly during the holidays, is that people end up dealing with or encountering or navigating really challenging relationships. Normally, I see this more on the personal side of things, rather than the professional side of things, but it could be in both.

When it comes to those challenging relationships, here’s how I want you to address them. Number one, I want you to make a decision, ahead of time, about how you want to show up when it comes to interacting with the person that you have that challenging relationship with, okay? Decide for yourself that regardless of how they behave, this is how you want to behave. You might need to identify some boundaries, right?

I’ve worked with a couple clients, whose moms’ make comments to them, about how they look, about how they parent their kids, just about all the things, about how they maintain their house. And you might set a boundary that, “If you say that kind of stuff, I’m going to leave. I’m not gonna stick around.”

Or, if you have, you know, everyone always jokes that there’s the crazy uncle with the politics. If you have a crazy uncle who likes to talk about the politics at the holiday dinner, you get to decide, “If you bring up politics, I will not engage with you.”

That’s one of my favorite boundaries to set with people, because I don’t like upsetting the evening. If we aren’t going to agree on topics of conversation like that, we’re probably not going to convince anyone, and it’s just going to devolve into an unproductive conversation. So, you just get to opt out of it.

You can leave. You can just choose to be non-responsive. You can walk away and go talk to someone else; you get to decide. But I want you to think about how you’re likely to show up in those situations, and how you want to show up instead, okay?

Then, from there, I want you to get yourself to a clean place. So, do a thought download. Think about the person that you have the challenging relationship with, and write down all of the negative thoughts you think about them. Next to each of those thoughts, I want you to identify the one-word emotion that you feel, when you think each of those thoughts.

And then, you’re gonna be able to start to see how you’re likely to show up, as a result of thinking these thoughts, and feeling those feelings, right? It’s probably not going to be in any way that’s good. It’s not going to serve you. It’s not going to serve them. It’s going to lead to a much more negative Christmas or holiday experience than you would prefer.

So, get clear on what your thoughts are. And then ask yourself; what can you choose to think instead? And, find some thoughts. They don’t have to be the most amazing, beautiful, flowery thoughts. But find some thoughts that you can latch on to, you can anchor yourself to, that move the dial a little bit, that make you feel a little bit better.

The other thing that I want to encourage you to do, that goes in alignment or in accordance with that exercise that I just gave you, I want you to leave your stories about people at home. Don’t bring them with you to the holiday dinner. Don’t bring them with you to the family party that you go to. Leave them at home.

You don’t need to bring 10 years of history and baggage and backstory with you, to every experience you have with the person that you have the challenging relationship with; that is a recipe for disaster. You’re gonna walk into the room with that negative lens on, and everything they do is going to filter through it, so you’re just going to be searching for evidence to be upset about. And when you’re upset, you’re not going to show up as the best version of yourself. So, leave your stories at home.

I like to say I have the memory of a goldfish. And, I really love to give everyone the benefit of the doubt; I’m very forgiving, I don’t hold grudges. And if you’re a grudge holder, I just want to encourage you give it a try, to just drop it for an evening, for a dinner, for one holiday season. Just give people the benefit of the doubt.

Assume positive intent, instead of assuming negative intent. That will make all the difference in the world, I assure you. Now, if you find yourself in a position this holiday season, that’s less than ideal, that isn’t what you wanted; maybe you’re recently divorced. Or, maybe you just got laid off. Or, your family’s far away and it doesn’t make sense for you to travel home to see them, based on what you have going on. Or, it’s the year you don’t have your kids, they’re with your ex.

Whatever the case may be there, if you have a lot of sadness around the holiday season, I want to encourage you process the sadness. There’s nothing wrong with being sad, right? Being sad is part of the human experience. And you don’t have to be angry that you feel that way, or be in judgment of the fact that you feel that way.

Sometimes, we want to think sad thoughts about the circumstances we encounter. And we want to feel sad, as a result. But if you can focus on what you can control and curate an experience from there, you can double down on the sadness. Or, you can really make an effort to make the best of the situation, okay? I encourage you to do that.

Make an effort, make an attempt to try and find some joy. Try and create a way to spend your time, this holiday season, that’s in alignment with you, what you want, and that feels good. You get to cultivate and curate a little bit of joy.

All right, last but not least, this big piece, that I see people encounter after the holiday season is over or as it’s coming to an end, and you’re getting back into the swing of things; people have so much dread about returning to work. They’re like, anxious ahead of time. Stressed out about all the emails that they have waiting for them, and all the things they need to “catch up on.” They feel like they’re behind because they took time off.

And so many people that I work with end up telling me that they wish they didn’t even take time off to begin with. Just because it’s such a hardship to come back to, after they’ve been off. If that’s you, if you’re guilty of talking like this, here’s what I want to offer you. You want to change the way that you’re thinking about coming back to work, okay?

This is only a problem, and you only experience dread, because of how you’re thinking about it. So, you want to change your thoughts. How do you need to think about it, instead? I want you to think about how you want to feel, coming back after the holidays. Do you want to feel in control, and intentional, and capable, and determined, and committed, and calm, and grounded, and all of those good emotions?

Or, do you want to feel overwhelmed, and dreadful, and stressed, and rushed, and pressured? You get to pick now how you think about returning to work after the holidays. It’s what’s going to determine how you feel. So, take a few minutes and think about; what do you want to start practicing believing right now, in order to create a more positive, enjoyable experience as you return to work?

Now, that brings me to the overall point here, that I really want to drive home. Ultimately, your experience during the holidays is determined by the story that you tell, about your experience during the holidays. So, I want to invite you to craft a really positive story. A much more grounded story. One with a lot of calm and intentionality, all right?

Rather than one that feels very dramatic and chaotic and frantic. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the stories that you tell. I highly encourage you to tell a good one about what your holiday experience is going to be like. Right?

You can say that you can’t handle it all, and that it’s the worst, and that you hate this time of year, and that you wish it was just January already, and you’re never gonna get through it, and you have too much on your plate. And, cue the negative experience when you think that way.

Or, you can think that you’re going to make time for what matters most, you’re going to cut out the rest. You’ve got a handle on things. You know what needs to get done, you’re gonna do it. You have enough time to do it. You’re in control of how you spend your time. You’re only going to make decisions that feel aligned and in integrity with what you actually want.

And that you’re really going to enjoy yourself spending a little time away from work if you choose to do that. Spending time with family and friends if you choose to do that. You’re just enjoying spending your time; however it is that you do choose to spend it. All right?

You get to decide right now, that you’re gonna have a great holiday season, and that they’re gonna go smoothly. If you believe that now, or you practice believing it now, you’re much more likely to make that your experience, as the holidays come around and you navigate your way through them.

Now, we covered a ton in this episode. Like I said at the beginning, we really tied in so many of the topics that I’ve been talking about throughout the first 40 episodes of the podcast: defining “enough”, setting boundaries, saying no, managing your time, not people pleasing, reducing your expectations of others, navigating difficult relationships, all that good stuff.

If this episode really resonated with you, and you relate to a ton of what I talked about, I highly encourage you to join The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, my six-month group coaching program. This is what we do inside that program. I teach you all of these topics. You learn how to master navigating them.

The tools and principles and concepts that I teach you, will become second-hand when you spend six months with me, inside the Mastermind, learning this stuff, applying the tools that I teach, evaluating what works and what doesn’t, and consistently getting better and better and better at it until you get the results that you want. If you struggle with the areas that I talked about today, the Mastermind is perfect for you.

Now, a little bit about the details. We start with an in-person event; it’s February 1-4, in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a three and a half day, immersive experience. We come together. We meet each other. We have an amazing Welcome Dinner. Get to know one another, and start to bond and connect, and form that camaraderie and support system.

Then, we spend the next three days together and we get to work. I’m going to teach you the fundamental concepts that you need to know to manage your mind, manage your life, and really create the results that you’re craving.

We’re going to problem solve and address all the issues that are really holding you back from getting where you want to go. And then, we’re gonna do a real deep dive on setting goals, and creating a clear roadmap that you’re going to implement over the course of the next six months, to create the results that you want to achieve, the goals that you set. All right?

I’m going to teach, you’re going to learn, we’re going to workshop together and I am going to coach you so hard; it’s going to be so good. We’re going to get you past those limiting beliefs. I’m going to get you past those roadblocks. We’re going to identify the obstacles that have been getting in your way, and I’m going to help you overcome them.

At the end of the three days, we celebrate all that we accomplished together, with the most amazing farewell dinner. And if you don’t know me, I like to do things over-the-top. So, the venue for the live event is incredible. The dinners and the food are just going to be so exquisite. And the company you guys, is extraordinary.

We have the best group of people. I’m so excited to have so many of my current Mastermind members returning for the next round. And I can’t wait to welcome the new ones, where this is their first time, and they’re going to come and meet everyone. It’s going to be so good. This room keeps growing and growing, and getting bigger and bigger. I just love to see the connections expand and the relationships deepen. It’s just so beautiful to watch.

If you are looking for support and accountability, this is the room you want to be in. This is the program that you want to join. And then, after we leave the live event, we’re going to spend the next six months implementing the plan that we make when we’re in-person with one another.

You’re gonna stumble, that’s expected. That’s okay. I’ve got you, every step of the way. We’re going to work on evaluating what’s working, what’s not working, and we’re going to tweak your mindset and the action that you’re taking, in order to make consistent, constant improvements. In order to get you across the finish line, to make your success inevitable.

If you struggle with the stuff that I talked about today, you want to make sure you join; don’t put it off. Don’t wait till the next round of the Mastermind; you just delay your progress when you do that. All right?

I want you to go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind and apply, right now. Enrollment closes as soon as the remaining spots fill. Okay, so when you hear this, don’t wait. Make sure you go apply as soon as possible, so you can secure your spot.

Also, if you’re thinking about joining, make the decision. One of the things that we do in the Mastermind, is learn how to make really empowered, quick decisions. The faster you make decisions, the faster you get what you want in your life. Let this be decision number one; it’s like, your first homework assignment from me. Go ahead, get in there and join.

Don’t leave it as an open to-do list item that takes up space in your mind, get it out of the way. And what you’re going to do, when you sign up right now, is you’re going to create so much relief for yourself, that you’ve got a game plan for next year to work on all of the issues that I talked about today. So, you stop struggling with them. So, life stops feeling so overwhelming. So, stops feeling so hard. All right?

It doesn’t have to feel that way, and you don’t have to do this work alone; you will get so much further, so much faster. The progress you make inside the Mastermind will truly blow your mind. If you want a better life, if you want more for your life, and you don’t want to feel as miserable as you have been feeling, there’s a better way to do it.

Join the Mastermind and I’ll teach you what that better way is. You’re ready. Now’s the perfect time to join. Don’t wait. If you need to get super resourceful in order to get in there, get super resourceful and get in there. The progress that you want to make is on the other side of making this investment in yourself; I promise you.

I can’t wait to see you in-person, and for you to join me in South Carolina. We’re gonna have an absolute riot. Personal development gets to be really fun and enjoyable. I promise, you’re going to have the most amazing time with me in person, and over the course of the next six months.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have the most amazing holiday season, and 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 40: Getting to Know Yourself

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Getting to Know Yourself

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Getting to Know Yourself

Do you know yourself? Getting my clients to know and like themselves is a huge part of the work we do together, and if we find anything that is out of alignment for them, anything that is incongruent with who they want to be, then we can solve for that. So, let me ask you: who are you, and do you like who you are?

It’s hard to like yourself if you don’t truly know who you are. But many of us are so out of touch with ourselves because we’ve put everyone else’s needs before our own for our whole lives. So, in today’s episode, I’m showing you how to put the focus back on yourself, so you can stop bypassing what you want and neglecting yourself and instead tune into who you really want to be.

Join me on the podcast this week to truly get to know yourself. I’m sharing all of the ways that being out of touch with who you are shows up, how you might be distracting yourself from deeply knowing who you are, and I’m giving you all the questions you need to ask yourself to discover who you really are.

Enrollment is open for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind! This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

On December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. This masterclass is happening at noon Eastern Time, so click here to join!

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 knowing who you are is so powerful.
  • Some of the reasons why you might not know yourself as well as you should.
  • How to see the ways that you’re neglecting yourself and who you really want to be.
  • Why deeply getting to know yourself will bring up some emotional discomfort, and that’s okay.
  • The kinds of events that lead us to fundamentally change as people.
  • Why being alone provides you the most valuable perspective on who you really are.
  • How to ask yourself the important questions so you can truly get to know yourself and spend your time in the way you want.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 40. Today, we’re talking all about getting to know yourself. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, my friends. How are we doing today? Are you gearing up for the holiday season? I definitely am. I haven’t done any of my shopping yet, but I started, a couple years ago, taking the last two weeks of December off every year. And, it has been a game changer. I push really hard. I get a lot accomplished before the end of the year. I’m really productive. I get all my ducks in a row. And then, I take a full two weeks off; it is super luxurious.

I just get to unwind and decompress, and go through the holidays without all of the chaos that you normally encounter when you’re trying to do everything all at once. And I know that you guys would benefit from an episode on how to survive or handle the holidays, juggling both work and family and friend obligations, and all that good stuff. So, I’m going to talk about that next week’s episode.

But in this week’s episode, I really wanted to talk about getting to know yourself. This came up for me in response to a client of mine. She listened to one of my podcast episodes, I think it’s called “Indulging in I Don’t Know;” it’s one of the earlier episodes. And she had said to me, during one of our sessions, she said Olivia, “I know I’m supposed to know what I want. I know I’m supposed to have the answer to that. But I really don’t know.”

I do believe, we do always know, deep down, what we want. But when you don’t know yourself, you have a really hard time accessing that inner wisdom. So, this is like a precursor to being able to answer that question: What do I want? What do I not want? Separate and apart from that though, it is just really wonderful to know yourself, to know who you are.

Because it is really hard to like who you are, if you don’t know who you are. And one of the things I’m always working with my clients on is getting them to know and like the person that they are. And if there’s anything that’s out of alignment, that they don’t like, they’re acting in a way that’s incongruent with who they are, with who they want to be, we want to solve for that.

So, we want to figure out; who you are? Who aren’t you? And, do you like who you are? Now, you may be wondering, what leads to us not knowing who we are, right? What gets us so out of touch with ourselves that we don’t really know our preferences, we don’t really know our likes and dislikes, we don’t really know ourselves.

One of the contributing factors to this is that we put everyone else’s needs before our own. And when you do that, when you’re so concerned with everyone else in your world and less concerned with yourself, you stop knowing yourself. Because you’re bypassing what it is that you prefer, what it is that you want, in order to take care of everyone else’s needs first, right?

You neglect yourself; you abandon yourself. And when you do that, you turn off that part of you that’s checked in and tuned in with what you like, and who you are, and what you want.

Another reason or contributing factor that you’re not in touch with who you are and what you want, and feel like you don’t know yourself, is if you’re doing a lot of buffering. I’m going to cover a whole episode on buffering. I actually am doing a webinar this Friday, on how to stop tolerating and change your life. And, I’m going to talk a ton about buffering.

Because one of the ways that we tolerate our lives and all the things in our lives that we don’t like, is by buffering. Buffering is any action that you take, that provides you with instant gratification and allows you to avoid that temporary instant discomfort. So, drinking too much, eating too much, scrolling on social media, smoking, spending money. I used to travel as a buffer. Sleeping, watching Netflix, all those things, right?

So, if you’re doing any activity that numbs you or distracts you from yourself and from your life, if you’re doing a lot of that, you’re really not going to be in touch with yourself because you’re numbing the things that you don’t like; you’re just out of touch with who you are.

All those distractions really prevent you and inhibit you from ever truly knowing yourself. Especially, if you buffer to avoid boredom. When you avoid boredom, you really stop yourself from knowing yourself at the deepest levels, and figuring out what you like and what you dislike. When you’re doing a ton of buffering and you’re seeking that instant gratification, you’re not in tune with what you’re thinking and feeling.

You’re literally doing the behavior in order to avoid what you’re thinking and feeling. So, when you’re avoiding what you’re thinking and feeling, of course, you’re not going to know yourself. Because knowing yourself is knowing what you’re thinking and feeling, right?

Understanding why you’re doing the things that you’re doing, which of course, are driven by the thoughts that you think and the feelings that you feel. Or, the feelings that you’re actually trying to resist, avoid, or you’re reacting to, right. So, we want to put you back in touch with what you’re thinking and feeling.

Now, if that sounds scary, if you’re like, “Olivia, I don’t like to be alone with myself. I don’t like what it’s going on up in my head.” I promise you, it’s safe for you to explore; it won’t kill you. You really want to drop that narrative, and rewrite that part of the story that you’re telling about yourself. It is okay for you to be alone with your thoughts. It’s okay for you to be alone with your feelings.

You do want to get intimate with yourself, and know those things about yourself. Because if some of them aren’t good, we want to tweak that and we want to remedy that, so you can feel better and you can take action that supports the life that you want to have. Also, it’s okay to think negative thoughts and feel negative feelings sometimes, that’s part of the human experience.

So, this isn’t getting to know yourself so it’s all rainbows, daisies, and sunshine. It’s okay if some of what you find is negative. We’re constantly a work in progress. We’re constantly improving, we’re ever evolving. You want to know the good, and the bad. I don’t even want to use the term “bad” because it’s not really bad, it’s just your nuance, right? We want you knowing your nuance.

Now, the last reason you may not know yourself, or be in tune with what you like and what you dislike, and who you are, is maybe you’ve gone through a recent transition; something really drastic has happened recently. Maybe, you’ve lost a loved one, or you’ve changed jobs, or you’ve lost a job, or you’ve gotten divorced, or anything like that, right?

Maybe you’ve moved and you feel disconnected from your past self. You’re like, “I don’t know this new version of me. I don’t know what that version of me is like. Who is this person?” Then, we want to start exploring and get you knowing this new version of you. Okay?

Now, one of the first things you want to start doing, in order to get to know yourself, is you’ve got to spend time with yourself. Because if you’re constantly distracted by other people, and you’re in another person’s company at all times, you never really get to explore yourself and go into that head of yours. Figure out what you like and what you dislike, and who you are, and what you want.

And you never have that opportunity, that chance to ask and answer any of those questions, because you’re just constantly on and engaging with the other person, right? You never get to take that internal inventory. So, if you’re going to embark on this journey of getting to know yourself, and I highly recommend that you do, I think this is the work of our lifetimes; is to intimately know ourselves better and better and better and better, with each day, with each month, with each year.

If you’re going to embark on that journey of self-discovery, of self-knowing, you’re gonna have to spend time with yourself. Now, you can of course, do this in the privacy of your own home. Carve some time out, maybe where you journal, you sit with yourself, you meditate, you ask and answer some of the questions that I’m going to pose to you in a second. That’s one way to do this.

I also highly encourage you to get out into the world on your own. I recently published a post on social media all about being independent. I talked about my own experience with being independent, and spending time with myself. Every Friday, typically, I take myself out to eat and I go all by myself. I have a couple favorite spots in the city of Detroit, which is where I’m based. And I go and just eat dinner by myself. I treat myself normally to a really wonderful meal.

I just sit there, and I spend time with me. I get to do whatever I want. I get to go wherever I want. I get to order whatever I want. And, I get to interact with other people. Sometimes, it’s the people that work at the restaurant. Other times, it’s random strangers that sit next to me. Or, they’re nearby and I just get to mix and mingle, and like really enjoy my own company. It’s like dating yourself.

I also travel alone a ton. In fact, most of the travel I do is traveling by myself. And that time that I get to spend alone with myself is so informative, too; I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want. And, it is just so decadent being able to do that. And you’ve learned so much about your preferences; about what you like, about what you don’t like, about what you enjoy doing, what you don’t enjoy doing, where you’d like to go, who you like to be when you’re there.

You really get to make up your mind and just explore the world, while exploring yourself. Now, those are two ways that I explore myself and get to know myself; I spend time with myself, out eating, out traveling. And maybe, you want to do an activity by yourself. Or, you want to go to the movies by yourself, or you want to go to the library by yourself, whatever the case may be.

Just be out in the world by yourself. It’s really going to give you that opportunity to start being in closer conversation with yourself. How many times can I say “yourself” in this episode, guys? Bear with me, okay? Now, if spending time alone with yourself, especially out in public, seems terrifying, I really want to encourage you to gag-and-go through that discomfort and feel your negative feelings, and do this anyways.

It’s really transformative to become a person who can be in the world completely by themselves, and enjoy their own company. So, you’re just going to practice doing that; spending time all by yourself. If you have really strong resistance to doing this, I want you to make a list of the negative emotions that you think you’ll have to feel if you forced yourself to do this.

Are you going to have to feel embarrassed? Are you’re gonna have to feel awkward? Maybe exposed, maybe judged by other people? A lot of people that talk to me, who are resistant to doing this, being out in the world by themselves and doing things solo, they’re so worried about what other people are going to think of them. So, if that’s you, you’re gonna just have to feel a little judged, exposed, and embarrassed.

Or, maybe misunderstood. You’re gonna have to let other people have an opinion of you. I promise you; they really don’t care that you’re out in the world on your own. In fact, a lot of people who see me out in the world on my own, whether it’s eating out or traveling alone, they really admire it. They’re really curious and intrigued by the fact that I’m able to do that. I tend to inspire other people when I’m out in the world in that way.

I end up meeting a lot of wonderful people and we talk about it. I think I inspire them and give them the boost of confidence that they might need, in order to do it themselves. You can be an example of what’s possible for someone else if you do this. You are just sprinkling a little bit of value into the world if you decide to show up all by your lonesome out in the world.

So, make that list of negative emotions. Get really clear on the feelings that you’ll be forced to feel. And then, get clear on the thoughts that you’re thinking that would cause you to feel those feelings, right? You want to find that thought and feeling combo, those T and F pairs.

When you find those thoughts and feelings, I want you to do two things: Number one, just ask yourself; what else could I think here? What else might be true? And then, I want you to ask yourself; what’s the worst that could happen?

The worst thing that can happen is that you’re going to feel a feeling. And you’ve survived every feeling you’ve ever felt, all the good ones and all the bad ones. So, if you have to experience a little discomfort in order to get to know yourself, I promise you, it’s worth the price of admission.

Alright, gag-and-go through that discomfort; you’re going to be just fine. And then, you’re going to become someone who’s so much more confident, so much more independent. Really able to do whatever you want on your terms, which is so empowering.

So, the reward here is a really amazing payoff for just a tiny little bit of discomfort. I highly recommend and encourage that you give this a try. You can start small. Go sit in a coffee shop for a little bit by yourself, rather than a whole meal. Or, grab a drink before having dinner by yourself. Like, that’s fine, you just get to take baby steps.

But spend more and more time alone with yourself. Take a small trip first. Maybe, just drive somewhere for the day. Go spend the day in a new city. And then, you can take a flight by yourself. Then, you can travel throughout the U.S. Maybe, go to someplace you’ve already been before, so it’s a little bit more familiar to you, and maybe not as intimidating.

And then, you can amp it up just a little by little every single time you do that. So, maybe one day, you’re taking, you know, a European vacation or an excursion someplace really remote, all by yourself, if you want to. But you don’t have to start there, just start with baby steps, start small.

Now, the first question to getting to know yourself that I want you to start with is; what do I like? I want you to start to figure out what you like and what you dislike. Whenever I give this homework to clients, I always talk to them about the movie Runaway Bride.

I don’t know if you’ve seen that rom-com, it’s with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. She gets engaged to a bunch of different men, and then she leaves them at the altar. Trying not to do any spoiler alerts for those of you who haven’t seen it; it’s actually pretty good rom-com.

One of the things that she does, with all of these fiancés of hers, is that she steals their egg order. So, every time she dates and gets engaged to a new person, she orders her eggs the same way that they order theirs. And Richard Gere, at some point in the movie, calls her out on this. He’s like, “You don’t even know what kind of eggs you like.”

And it’s true, she doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes. She changes that constantly, just based off of other people. And to kind of be easy, breezy, and go with the flow. Just to not ruffle any feathers or be disagreeable in any way. Maybe, that really resonates with you.

Maybe you hide your preferences, or don’t know what you like, because you’re just always trying to be easy, breezy, and go with the flow, and keep the peace and be agreeable, right? Putting other people’s needs and wants and desires before your own, like I talked about a second ago.

And in the movie, she goes through this, like self-discovery process. One of the things she does, while she’s on that self-exploration journey that she takes, is she orders all different types of eggs. She tries each and every one of them, to find out which ones she likes and which ones she doesn’t like. And through that process, she discovers that all of the egg orders that she had been previously ordering, she didn’t prefer any of those. She actually liked something completely different.

I think this is so fun. You get to do this with things in the world, too. So, it can be food that you think that you don’t like; maybe you do, maybe you don’t, right? Maybe, you have some preconceived notions about things that you think you wouldn’t like, but you’ve never even tried them before.

I think we get a lot of that from our parents; we tend to pick up our parents preferences. And then, a lot of us never question them, we just kind of run with it. I also did this recently, not just with food, I’ve done this quite a bit with food; questioning things that I thought that I never liked. And oysters is a good example. I love oysters and my mom hates them, so I thought for the longest time, that I didn’t like them. And it turns out, I really do.

I also did this with music. A couple years ago, I stumbled upon one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which if you’ve never watched one of those, they’re really good; I highly recommend them. They do like a little background documentary, and the band performs, or the artist performs. It’s really good. It exposes you to maybe a lot of music that you hadn’t otherwise heard.

You get to learn about the artists and how they came to get where they are today, so it’s just really informative. And if you’re as curious as George, like I am, and you really like to learn, I think you would really like these induction ceremonies.

So, the first one that I watched; Stevie Nicks was getting inducted for her solo artist career. And for the longest time, I had been telling myself that I didn’t like Fleetwood Mac. And the only reason that I was telling myself that is because my mom doesn’t like Fleetwood Mac. I had just grown up with that narrative my whole life.

So, I questioned that. I learned a little bit more about Stevie Nicks, and the time that she came up and really how talented she is. And being in a really male dominated music industry at the time that she came up, and being inspired by Janis Joplin and all this stuff. I was just so fascinated. So, I started listening to a ton of music and turns out, I don’t love all Fleetwood Mac, but I like some of it.

That started to open my mind to, maybe there are other performing artists that I think I don’t like but that I actually like; and Nirvana is one of them. I thought for the longest time, I don’t know why, it’s based on nothing, that I didn’t like Nirvana. Then, I listened to Nirvana. I just spent a whole day listening to Nirvana, and turns out I like some of their stuff.

So, I’ve been doing this with random things; food, music, books, maybe movies that you hadn’t seen, but you just kind of predisposed, decided, that, “Oh, I wouldn’t like that.” If there are things like that for you, you just have this idea like, “Oh, I’ve never tried that before, but I know I won’t like it,” I want to encourage you to try it. See for yourself; you might have changed your mind.

You also may have tried something in the past, but your preferences can change over time. So, maybe you didn’t used to like it and you like it now. This question, what do I like? And, what don’t I like? They’re really simple questions, but they’re super impactful. Mainly, because if you find yourself spending your time or doing all of these things that you don’t actually prefer, that’s such good intel to have.

Because we want to start making changes, in order to get to living a life that you do prefer, right? Rather than, one where you spend all of your time doing shit you hate; that’s not fun for anyone. It’s truly no way to go through life. I am on a mission to help people live lives that they’re obsessed with; to live lives on their terms. And if you’re spending all of your time doing shit you hate, you absolutely aren’t doing that.

So, we’ve got to get you figuring out what you like and what don’t you like. And if you’re spending your time doing a lot of things that you don’t like, we really want to start to dig deep and find out why, and figure out what you would like instead, so we know what to pivot to. You can ask this question; what do I like? Or, do I like this? It’s another way to start to find out what you like and what you don’t like.

You get to ask yourself that question as often as you want. You can do it all throughout your day. You can bring that question with you to every situation you encounter. I’ve taught you guys, in a previous episode, all about making decisions ahead of time. And one of the ways that you get to start making decisions ahead of time is by figuring out what you like. And then, you just decide, I’m doing that going forward. Right?

Like, I like sitting in the right-hand aisle seat on an airplane. It’s because I’ve gone through life, and I figured it out. I don’t like any of the other seats. I don’t like sitting by the window. I absolutely hate sitting in the middle. I don’t like sitting on the left side of the plane. I know that makes me weird. It’s fine. But I have a preference, right?

I’ve also, this is a recent change, I’ve really loved flying first class. It’s much nicer than flying any other way. So, that’s a new preference. And it’s worth it to me to splurge on a first-class ticket because I really do enjoy the traveling adventure experience so much more.

I could probably end this episode with just giving you that question: To constantly ask yourself; What do I like? Do I like this? Do I not like this? What don’t I like? Just that body of questions, right there. But I’m not going to. I want to give you some more questions.

You can really take getting to know yourself to the deepest level, so you can get really clear on who you are. Another question that I ask clients of mine a lot is what do you like about yourself? And it always breaks my heart when they have a really hard time answering this question. They’ll either immediately default to saying, “Nothing,” which is just devastating to me.

That’s not me judging that answer, we’re just going to work on it during our work together. If you feel like you don’t like anything about yourself, I promise you, you do, you’re just not used to having this conversation with yourself. So, we have to build that muscle. I actually make my clients make lists of the things that they like about themselves.

I normally tell them that they need to write down 10 different characteristics or qualities that they like about themselves, each, and every day. And they’re like, “Ten? You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s so many.” I’m like, “Yeah, 10. You’re gonna write 10 different things, every single day. I don’t care how big they are. I don’t care how small they are.”

I want you to do the same thing, pick 10 things, every single day, that you like about yourself. As you answer this question, you’re gonna start to figure out who you are, and who you aren’t. Right? You get to ask yourself the questions; what are my strengths? And then of course, the corollary, right? What are my weaknesses? I want you to know both of those things; not just one or the other. Right?

I know, it isn’t always fun to explore your weaknesses, but you want to be intimately aware of what they are. And I want to encourage you, judging yourself for having them is optional. So, don’t do it. Leave the judgment alone. All right?

Just answer that question from a really curious place: What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? We all have weaknesses, that’s part of the human experience. It’s not a problem, you just want to intimately know what they are, because it’s part of knowing who you are. You’re a dynamic creature, right? Your nuances are what makes you interesting. And some of those are going to be your flaws or your foibles. Right?

Another amazing question for you to start to answer is what do you value? What do you believe in? What don’t you believe in? What don’t you value? What do you want more of? And, what do you want less of? Those are two really great questions too, in addition to just knowing what you want. Which is part of this self-exploration journey, thinking about what do you want more of in the future?

I always ask that question when I’m talking about setting 2023 goals, or any new year goals; what do you want more of next year? And then, what do you want less of? A fun inquiry, what are you proud of? Of all the things that you’ve done, what do you consider your greatest achievements, your greatest accomplishments?

What are you afraid of? What do you worry about? I think those two questions are so powerful for me. One of the things that I really worry about is not spending enough time with my family. I tend to put my head down and I focus a ton on my business, and I travel quite a bit.

And I love those parts of my life, but I’m an only child. And I’m cognizant that like, my parents will not be here forever. And, that makes me sad. That makes me worry. I’m scared that I won’t get to spend all the time that I want to spend with them. And knowing the answer to that question informs a lot of what I do.

So, I make a really intentional effort to spend time with them. I go out to their house, I visit them, we go to dinner pretty frequently. And I think these questions, and my answers to it, offer an example to you that the answer to what seemingly might appear to be a negative question doesn’t have to be a negative answer, right?

It’s actually a really amazing answer. It’s a really powerful answer, to have to know and understand what it is you’re afraid of, what you’re worried about, so you can solve for it, if possible.

Here’s another set of questions that I love: When have you been the happiest? And, when have you been the most unhappy? Think about those memories, let them be instructive for you. What do you learn from going through and auditing the experiences that you’ve had, that you’ve been really happy about? Or, the ones that you’ve been not so happy about? Right?

Another really fun exercise is just to answer the question; what’s your favorite…? And then, insert the blank, whatever the noun is, right? Just to really explore yourself and understand what your favorite things are. Or, you can do this with the least favorite things. So, sort of akin to what you like and what you don’t like. But I really want you to get specific about your favorites of stuff.

Here’s another awesome question: What do people not know about you? What do you know about yourself that you haven’t shared with others, that other people don’t know? And, what do you want people to know about you? One of the really important benefits about getting to know yourself very intimately is that you get to choose to let other people know who you are, as well.

But that only is possible once you know who you are, and who you’re not. Right? I think this is so important. So many of the people that I work with, and a former version of myself, really felt unknown, and unseen, and really alone, right? When you don’t know who you are, no one else gets to know who you are either. And, that is a really isolating, lonely experience.

So, if you want to feel better, if you want to feel more connected to people, if you want to feel known and seen and understood, something that I believe all of us crave, you have to know who you are in order for other people to know who you are. This process starts with you.

Another fun question to answer is what do you wish was different about you? What would you like to change if you had a magic wand, and could? What would you alter? What habits would you get rid of? What behavior would you stop engaging in? And, who would you be? What would you do differently if no one had an opinion about your behavior?

Oftentimes, we hide who we truly are because we’re afraid of other people’s opinions, afraid of other people’s judgments of us. So, if no one had an opinion, what changes would you make? What would you do differently? How would you be different than who you are right now?

And now, for the most obvious question; what is it that you want? What goals do you have? What do you want to accomplish in this life of yours? What do you want to be remembered for?

That’s a lot of questions, I know it is. I would highly encourage you either to go back through this episode and pause with each question, write them down. Or, the much easier version of doing that, would be to just go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com and there’s a transcript of this episode; you could just go and print it out, or copy and paste, the transcript so you have all the questions that I asked.

And I just encourage you to start asking and answering each one, go one by one. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself and answer all of them in one sitting, that would take you a really long time. I also highly encourage you to go to Amazon and Google, I guess not Google on Amazon, you get the drift. To go to Amazon and search for “Question Books,” and you can use them to facilitate this process of getting to know yourself a little bit better.

Sometimes, those prompts can be really helpful, just like the prompts that I gave you in this episode. And plus, if you’re like me, you like a workbook; all the better, two birds, one stone. I really want to encourage you to embark on the self-discovery journey, though. This journey of getting to know exactly who you are; the good, the bad, the in-between, all of it.

Knowing who you are is crucial to living a life with more fulfillment. To creating that life you’re obsessed with. To really living life on your terms. If you don’t want to embark on this journey alone, you don’t have to. I want to invite you to join The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind; that’s my signature group-coaching program.

And when you’re in it, you’re going to embark on this journey with me. All right? I’m going to facilitate you getting to know yourself at the deepest, most intimate level. I’m going to help you create a life that’s in alignment with your preferences. I’m going to help you discover who you are, what you want, and what you don’t want. And, I’m going to help you become the version of you that you want to become.

The new year is upon us, it’s gonna be here before we know it. And, I want to make sure that you have your personal development journey for 2023 dialed in, locked in, all figured out. All right? I have a few spots remaining, the Mastermind enrollment will close as soon as they fill. So, don’t wait. Go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind, and apply to join, right now.

The Mastermind kicks off with an in-person retreat. We’re going to spend February 1-4 in Charleston, masterminding together, workshopping. I’m going to teach you so much stuff that’s going to facilitate the self-discovery journey for you. I’m going to teach you how to figure out who you are, why you do the things you do, why you feel the way you feel, why you think the way you think, and why you have the results that you have.

And then, we’re going to go to work. Once we figure out exactly who you are, and what you want, and what you like, and what you want more of. We’re gonna go to work creating it. It starts at that in-person retreat, in Charleston. And then, we continue that work over the next six months together.

We meet once a week for our weekly group calls. And then, in between our sessions, you’ve got access to the Facebook group, so you get all the support you need. On this journey of becoming more of who you want to be, of becoming more of who you are inside, of growing in and becoming that version of yourself, it would be my absolute honor to have you in the Mastermind.

I would love to be alongside you as you discover who you are, who you want to be and become that version of you. All right? So, head to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind, and go get in there; join the upcoming round. I do not want you to spend another year not knowing who you are, not being the person you want to be.

So, this work starts now. Also, don’t forget, as I mentioned earlier, make sure you sign up for the webinar that I’m doing: “How to Stop Tolerating and Change Your Life,” which is on December 16, at 12pm. Eastern. That’s going to be a great way to kick off figuring out what you’re doing in the new year; what you want more of, what you want less of, and why you’re getting in your own way and preventing yourself from having the life that you truly want.

Go sign up for that. Apply to join the Mastermind, and we’ll be off to the races in the new year. I’m so excited. I can’t wait.

Alright my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. I will talk to you in the next episode. Have a beautiful week.

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

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 39: Knowing Your Limits

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Knowing Your Limits

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Knowing Your Limits

If you’re a regular listener here, you’ll notice that I didn’t release an episode last week. So, this week, that’s exactly what we’re talking about: knowing your limits. Following through, being consistent, and doing what you say you’re going to are important, but so is knowing where your limits are and when you need to take a break.

When we’re struggling to follow through, it’s generally because we’re trying to avoid some kind of negative emotion. It’s your job to gag and go through this discomfort and take action anyway. However, there will be times when you just don’t have it in you, you’re under the weather, or you’re genuinely exhausted.

So, how do you know whether it’s time to push through or whether you should acknowledge your limits and take a rest? Well, tune in this week to discover how to take care of yourself when you’re at your limit, and learn how to work sustainably rather than hustling, grinding, and burning yourself out.

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

On December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. This masterclass is happening at noon Eastern Time, so click here to join!

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 way I used to think about rest, and how I’ve learned to prioritize rest.
  • What hustle culture teaches so many lawyers about rest, and why we wear overworking like a badge of honor.
  • Why knowing your limits and prioritizing rest actually makes you more productive.
  • How to know when your desire to rest is coming from a procrastination space versus a need for self-care.
  • What actually resting and taking a break looks like.
  • The importance of being kind to yourself when you decide you need a rest.
  • How to make a protocol and give yourself permission ahead of time for when rest feels like your only option.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 39. Today, we’re talking all about knowing your limits. 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? So, last time I talked to you, I was traveling. And here I am again, traveling. I’m at the beach. Coming down to Florida to see a client and a really amazing friend of mine. She lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, which is just outside of St. Augustine. So, while I’m recording this in my hotel room, I am listening to the waves crash in the background, and it’s just a beautiful day. The sun is out, I can smell the salt air. It’s just a really wonderful weekend.

I hope your weekend, if you’re listening to this on a weekend, is going as well as mine. If it’s a weekday, I hope your weekday is going well, too. You know, I didn’t do an episode last week. And, that’s what I want to talk about this week. I want to talk about knowing your limits.

Because one of the things that I talk about really consistently to you, through the podcast, is about following through; about being consistent, about doing what you say you’re going to do, right? And I made a commitment to do certain things in my business every single week, or every single month, or every single day. Whether it’s social media, or this podcast, or doing a monthly webinar, I’ve made commitments.

And it’s my job, as I see it, to follow through on what I’ve committed to. That’s how you create a consistent business. I teach the exact same thing to my clients who are working on time management and have trouble sticking to a schedule; they make a plan and then they abandon it for the day, right?

Normally, the reason we don’t follow through is because we’re avoiding discomfort. There’s some negative emotion that we associate with doing the action that we planned to do. And then, when it comes time to do it, we don’t want to feel that feeling. So, we don’t take that action that we decided ahead of time to take.

Now, when that’s the case, when you have the energy to do it and your health is good and you feel well, and you’re just avoiding the negative emotion that comes from doing the intentional action that you plan to do, your job is to gag-and-go through that discomfort, right? I’ve told you that before on the podcast. I talk about that all the time.

You want to gag-and-go. It’s going to make you feel nauseous. It’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be unpleasant. That’s all okay, your job is to just gag-and-go and feel that negative feeling anyways. And, take action in spite of and despite that feeling.

But sometimes, the problem isn’t a thought problem or a feeling problem, right? The negative thought that causes the negative feeling would be like, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t feel like it right now. I can do it tomorrow. Later’s better, right? I should wait, I can do this in the morning.”

All those thought errors that lead to you procrastinating, that lead to you not following through. “It won’t make that big of a difference if I do it now or tomorrow,” right? Even though we do know that it does make a difference, because tomorrow really never comes when you’re just putting it on the backburner, always.

So, when it’s not that issue, when it’s not just, “I don’t feel like it. I would have to feel bored if I did this right now. I would have to feel bothered or annoyed or confused or challenged if I did this right now.” When it’s not that problem and it’s actually you don’t have it in you.

What I mean by that, is like you don’t feel well, right? You fall under the weather. It’s the time of year where it seems like everyone I know has been sick, myself included. And there are certain times where you’re really not going to feel up to it. How do you know in those moments, whether you should push through, or whether you should know your limits and take a rest? That’s what we’re talking about today, knowing your limits.

Now, I want to give you a recent example. So, last time I talked to you guys, I was traveling for work. I went to a life coaching conference called Life Coach Live put on by the Life Coach School, and I was in Phoenix. While I was flying to Phoenix, there was a sick kid on my flight to Phoenix, from Detroit to Phoenix. He had a pretty bad cough, and he was like two rows kitty-corner from me.

His cough started out not too bad, but by the end of the flight, I was like, “Oh no.” I saw the writing on the wall. I have a pretty weak immune system; I always have. And I really have to be careful with my immune system and with protecting it, and with taking care of myself. I get IV therapy a lot to keep my vitamins in my body really high. I’ve really had to learn how to prioritize rest.

Now, this was not always the case. It’s definitely not how I always operated. I used to, back when I was a law clerk, going through law school before that, and undergrad, and then really, the entire time I was practicing law, I was really bought in to hustle culture.

That whole concept of like, you know, money never sleeps, very Gordon Gekko, who has time to rest, that’s not how it works, you need to push through, you need to work harder, rise and grind, all of that. And when I would get sick, I would push through. I would just double down and overwork.

Of course, it didn’t lead to anything good. I would normally end up sicker for longer because I wasn’t taking good care of myself. But I really wore my overworking as a badge of honor. Now, over the years, the older I’ve gotten, I’ve learned that that doesn’t work. Right? It really puts me out of commission.

I’ve had to learn to listen to my body, in a way that I haven’t always listened to it before. So now, I’m really in tune with, “What does my body need from me? When do I need to rest? How can I take care of it?” In order to make sure I’m working in a way that’s sustainable. In a way that I can continue to do for the long term?

Now, what I’ve learned by making this switch, is that it actually makes you more productive. Because you don’t get run down. You don’t get sick more often. And, you don’t lose that productivity time. Right? Taking care of myself and resting and knowing my limits actually allows me to accomplish more.

I’m not out of commission. I don’t have to take extended periods of time off or breaks to take care of myself when I’m sick, because I get sick a lot less frequently. I also have much less tolerance for being sick. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but the older I get, being sick really sucks. So, if I can do anything in my power to avoid it, I want to avoid it. I don’t like feeling sick; I’m not the greatest patient. So, if there’s something I can do to avoid getting sick, I will do it.

Anyways, back to my story. I ended up being on this plane, and because of my weaker immune system, of course, I end up getting sick. I come home from my travels, and I was pretty out of commission. My parents were nice enough to let me come stay with them for a couple of days over Thanksgiving.

I’m an only child, so it would have just been me at home, by myself, not having any of the good Thanksgiving dishes, just recuperating all alone. And they were nice enough to let me come out. They weren’t worried about whether I would get them sick or not. Luckily, neither of them got sick. It was just me, with my weak immune system. I stayed out there for a couple days.

Now, I knew that I had travel coming up this weekend. I knew that I was going to come down to Florida and see my client, my friend. And I wanted to make sure that I had recuperated before that, because again, it was more airplane travel, which tends to take a lot out of me.

So, I was assessing; what are my limits here? What do I want to do this week? How do I want to spend my time? I had two things scheduled, that I ended up canceling, in order to prioritize my own self-care and rest. Over the course of the weekend, I was supposed to prep a webinar that I was supposed to deliver on Tuesday, November 29.

I was also supposed to record a podcast episode that would have come out last week. I made the executive decision, as I was resting and recuperating, to not push it, and not do either of those things. Now, this was not coming from, “I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to. I can do it later.” It wasn’t coming from a procrastination space, at all.

It was truly, coming from self-care. I’m going to give you my standard, in just a second, for how I make these decisions. But to foreshadow a little bit, what this looks like for me, is if I’m going to rest, I’m actually going to rest.

This isn’t like, “I’m gonna go out and do something else, instead. I’m going to watch a bunch of TV and be awake.” I’m actually going to go to bed. If it’s between doing the thing that I say I’m going to do and taking care of myself, I’m going to be really clear about what it looks like to take care of myself.

So, in this instance, instead of prepping a webinar and instead of recording the podcast episode, I slept. I actually went to bed, in order to repair my immune system and recover. Okay. In choosing to do this, I did not beat myself up.

I wasn’t shaming myself for, “How could you not follow through? You need to be consistent.” I was really kind to myself. I said, “This is what we’re going to do to best position you. In order to prep for your upcoming travel, to make sure that you have the energy to get through the weekend that is coming up ahead.”

I was so kind to myself. It felt like a loving gift that I was able to give my future self, rather than beating myself into submission and really pushing my limits, or pushing myself past my limits, right? So, I want you to think about this when you’re sick; what do you do? Do you push yourself past your limits? Or, do you take care of yourself?

I just had a client get sick. She took a whole day off of work. And, she had a lot of mind drama about whether or not that was the right call. And only you’re going to know that answer for you, right? There is no universal standard of ‘how sick is sick enough’ for you to take time off, for you to give yourself permission to rest.

You’re the only person that can write that permission slip for yourself. I can tell you that you’re sick enough, but you may not believe me. So, you really have to cultivate your own sense of knowing when you’re sick enough to warrant time to rest and recuperate, rather than pushing through being consistent and following your original plan.

I want you to come up with your own standard. And, there’s a couple different ways that you can do this. All right, number one, you can just use a 1-10 scale. If you are, on a 1-10 scale, eight or higher… If you gave yourself a rating; you’re like, “Oh, I’m sick enough. I’m at an eight. I’m at a nine. I’m at a ten. I’m at an eleven.”

If you decide that you’re that sick, you could have a protocol. It can be a decision that you make ahead of time, for what you do when you’re that sick. Now, when you’re at a five, you’re like, “Yeah, I don’t really feel great today,” you might decide that a five isn’t sick enough, and that you want to push through and that you’ll rest later in the evening.

But you’re going to stick to your plan, that you came up with in the beginning of the day or the day before. And you’re going to follow through on it, even though you don’t feel 100%. Because, rarely, are we going to feel 100%. So, you want to make sure that you’re not at that bottom part of the scale; at like, “Oh, I’m kind of at a two,” right? Feeling at a two is pretty good.

If you make that your standard, “Oh, I don’t feel 100%,” you’re probably not going to accomplish a lot of things that you planned to accomplish. Because that’s so commonly is the case, that you don’t 100% feel like it. So, you want to come up with your scale. What does an eight look like for you? How sick is that?

For me, my rule, if I’m using a 1-10 scale, I want to think about what am I going to do in lieu of my plan. I’m at an eight or higher? I’m going to bed. I’m going to be in bed resting. I’m not going to be going out, you know, running errands. I’m not going to be chatting on the phone with friends. I’m really going to take care of myself and prioritize my rest.

I want you to think about that. What will you do when you’re at an eight or higher? Come up with that plan ahead of time, so you’re not making decisions in the moment. You already have the “under-the-weather” protocol that you’ll follow when you’re at an eight or higher.

In those moments, when you’re trying to assess, do I feel like it today? Should I prioritize my rest? Or, should I push myself to follow through. You just ask yourself: Where am I at on the sick scale? Am I at an eight or higher? And if I am, what do I do when I’m at that rating?

Another scale that I use, is what I call the “Tony Robbins Tired” scale. Because a lot of people don’t follow through on things, because they’re tired, right? And, there’s two different types of tired. There’s true exhaustion where like, you can’t keep your eyes open. I used to stay up and really push myself past my limits, and I would be falling asleep while I was typing on my keyboard; like, typing gibberish, right?

Or, if that ever happened to you in law school, it used to happen to me, I’d be so tired during some of my classes, because I would be in the middle of trial, I was working full time and going to school. Some of my classes weren’t super exciting, so I would kind of nod off during them.

And if I was handwriting notes, I would write gibberish. Right? It wouldn’t make any sense. I’d kind of wake back up and I’d feel like, “What in the world was I writing?” It wouldn’t make any sense.

So, maybe that’s you sometimes; maybe you’re truly, really exhausted. But then, there are other times where you’re telling yourself you’re tired, but you’re not all that tired. Right? You just really don’t feel like doing what you planned to do. The system that I use for assessing whether or not I’m truly tired and should rest, versus whether I’m not truly tired and I should just power through; I use what I call the “Tony Robbins Tired” scale.

There’s going to be someone in your life that you find impressive, and for me, that’s like Tony Robbins or Oprah. Maybe, you know, a political figure or a movie star. Or, you know someone else, maybe it’s a professional athlete, whatever the case is for you. There’s going to be someone who you’re really enamored with, that you would give just about anything to spend time with them.

For me, one of my coaching idols is Tony Robbins. So, I use the scale of, if Tony Robbins were to call me up, and it’s one of those days where I’m like, on the sofa. I really don’t feel like it. I can just barely bring myself to do one more thing that I planned for the day. I’m like, I’m out of commission. I’m really tired. I don’t feel like following through.

But if Tony Robbins were to call me, would I have some secret reserve of energy? Were he to be like, “Hey, Olivia, I’m going to pick you up in 30 minutes, you’ve got to be packed and ready. And we’re going to spend 24 hours together. You get to ask me any questions you want to ask me; you can pick my brain. I’ll give you all my secrets. But you’ve got to be ready.”

You can’t postpone, you can’t put it off to tomorrow; it’s today or never, right? There’s a reserve of energy that, almost always, I would be able to tap into and get my act together; get packed and be out front waiting for him to pick me up when he said he was going to be there. And on the days where you’re not truly sick, where you, instead just really don’t feel like it, you’re going to be able to tap into that Tony Robbins Tired reserve, dig deep and come up with that extra energy to do something.

But there are going to be days where you truly don’t feel like it; like, me on Thanksgiving. I barely made it through dinner. And as soon as I got done eating, I went straight to bed, at like, seven o’clock, right? That’s a day where I don’t have that extra reserve. And, all I want to do is go to bed and take care of myself.

So, figure out for you, who is your person, that most days you have that extra energy reserve to dig deep and push through, and get that stuff done. If it’s there, if you’re like, “Wup, if Tony Robbins called me today, or if Oprah called me today, I’d be able to tap into that energy reserve and get this thing done,” then you know you’re not truly exhausted. You’re just a little emotionally tired, and you can push through your emotional tired to get the task done.

But other days, you really will be sick enough, just like I was on Thanksgiving. All right? And what do you do when you’re that tired? When you’re that under the weather? You want to rest. You want to give yourself permission to take it easy. To know your limits and to respect them.

If this is hard for you, if knowing your limits and respecting your own limitations when you’re under the weather, when you’re sick, when you really don’t feel good, is a challenge for you, I want you to spend a few minutes and think about why.

Where did you learn that it wasn’t okay to rest? Where did you learn that it’s unacceptable to respect and honor your limits, and protect your immune system, and to take care of yourself and to recharge your batteries, when you’re truly depleted? Where did you learn that? What were you taught along the way?

And, is that standard serving you? If it’s not, what do you want to replace it with? How do you want to think about honoring your body and honoring your immune system, and taking care of yourself when you don’t feel well?

You’re going to want to change your thoughts. So, like that client that I mentioned a second ago, who was really under the weather this week as well, and took a whole day off. She had so much self-judgment around doing that.

Was she making the right call? Should she just push through? Being mad at herself for not feeling well, and not being able to get the work that she had planned to do, done? Her work there is to start to reframe taking time off and taking care of herself. What does she need to think about it in order to do it, and to feel good about doing it?

I’ve had to change my mindset from hustle culture, and beating myself up, and punishing myself, and telling myself that I need to push through. To, thinking about it, that it’s the best thing I can do for everyone, is to take care of myself. And that I’m human, and that sometimes being human means you’re going to be sick. And that, that’s okay. Right? That it’s normal. It’s all part of the process. That it’s our right, and okay and warranted, for me to take care of myself.

If you don’t believe those things, you want to work on building up your belief. One way you can start by doing this, is practicing thoughts about other people being sick. Do you have judgments of them? Do you get discouraged or frustrated when other people take time off, when they’re under the weather? Maybe, you do. Maybe, you don’t.

But normally, if we give ourselves a hard time, we probably subtly give other people a hard time, too, maybe not to their face, just in our head. It’s like an eye roll. Like, “Oh, do they really have to be sick? This is so inconvenient for me. So inconvenient for the work that we’re doing.” If you see it as an inconvenience, you’re going to be really critical and harsh on yourself when you’re inconvenienced by your own health limitations.

So, I want to challenge you to think about; what do you need to think about being sick, both yourself and other people, in order to have a much kinder relationship with it? In order to be so much nicer to yourself when it happens to you? Because it will happen to you, right?

We are all fallible; our immune systems are not perfect. And man, if yours is amazing, more power to you. But that has not been my life experience. It’s not the experience my clients have, especially after living through a pandemic the past couple years. We’ve all had our own limitations when it comes to our immune systems.

A lot of that is always outside of our control. There are things you can do to take better care of yourself, like I do, to take better care of myself. But sometimes you’re on a flight with a sick kid, and you just can’t avoid getting sick yourself.

So, your work is to figure out; what are your limitations? And what does it look like for you to honor them when you’re under the weather? How do you want to treat yourself? What do you want to do? What do you want the protocol to be?

And, how do you want to think about you honoring those limitations? Do you want to beat yourself up? I do not recommend that. Or, do you want to be your own best friend, here? Do you want to be kind to yourself? Do you want to say kind, nurturing things? Do you want to think kind, nurturing thoughts?

Do you want to have your own back? I highly recommend that you do have your own back, alright? You get to be your own best friend here, instead of a bully who’s forcing yourself to push through. Even when it doesn’t make sense. When it doesn’t set you up for success. When it just pushes you to be out of commission a little bit longer.

So, figure out where your limits are, know them and honor them. It is truly a gift that you get to give yourself when you’re not feeling 100%.

All right, my friend, that is this week’s episode. I will talk to you next week. I look forward to it. I hope you do, too. Have a beautiful week, in the meantime. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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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