Episode 45: Dread

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Dread

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Dread

I love my job. As a coach, I have the best job on the face of the Earth. I get excited to wake up every day, meet my clients on Zoom, and help them through whatever they’re struggling with. However, not everybody will be able to relate to that, and some days, you might wake up with an undeniable sense of dread.

Dread is one of the emotions I coach my clients on the most. I’ve learned from my own experience of dread that it’s fine to feel dread and go about your day anyway, but most people go immediately into a resistant or avoidant pattern around it. Dread gets in the way and prevents them from taking the intentional action they had planned. So, if this is a familiar story, what can you do to handle your dread differently?

Tune in this week to discover how to deal with the sense of dread that most of us just don’t even question anymore. I’m sharing how to be acutely aware of your dread, so you can understand what it’s trying to tell you and stop letting it get in the way of you going about your day-to-day.

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 dread is just an unavoidable part of the human experience.
  • What it means to allow a negative emotion like dread.
  • How to understand the vibrations that occur in your body as the result of an emotion.
  • Why being acutely aware of your dread takes away the power it has over you.
  • Some of the things I feel dread around and how I deal with it.
  • How to identify dread, so you know when it’s coming along for the ride.
  • My tips for responding to your dread in a new, empowering way.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review
  • If you want more information about the Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, visit my LinkedIn, my Instagram, or email me!
  • Get on my email list!

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 45. Today, we’re talking all about dread. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is going well. It’s the weekend when I’m recording this. It is a pretty busy weekend over here, my friends. I am packing and have to run a ton of errands today. So, I am excited to record this and then get things rolling as far as my errand running goes. I’ve got a ton of stuff to prep for Cabo. I’ve got to get all packed. I have a very early flight, which is typically out of character for me, but it’s the only direct flight from Detroit to Cabo, so I opted for it.

I’ve got to run some errands. And then, in addition to prepping for Cabo, I’ve got to get everything finalized for the mastermind in Charleston, which is literally the week after I get back from Cabo. I’m in Cabo for a week; I fly home on Sunday. And then, I leave Monday morning to head to Charleston. It’s wild; I feel like every six months, I end up planning a wedding, so to speak, just with the hotel arrangements and the dinner arrangements and the flowers and all of that stuff.

I’m putting the final touches on that. It’s a busy weekend. It was a busy week. It really was jam-packed. I even worked on MLK Day because I’m going to be off for my one-on-one sessions for a few weeks, so I wanted to make sure I got in a little extra client time after being off for the holidays.

Something actually happened on MLK Day that inspired this episode. If you know me, well, you know that I absolutely love my job. I think I have the best job on the face of the earth; I truly do. I tell people all the time that I became an attorney because I really wanted to help people. And I finally feel like I do that now as a coach.

I get so excited to wake up every day and meet with my clients on Zoom, talk to them about what they’re struggling with, and coach them to help them through it. It is my favorite thing, truly. And with that being said, I woke up Monday in my new condo.

You guys, I don’t know what kind of bed this is; I’m trying to track it down; I’m asking the owners. It is the best mattress I think I’ve ever slept on. It’s very dark in my condo because I’m in a loft, so there aren’t any windows in my bedroom.

There are windows across my loft, but not really anywhere I sleep, so it’s very, very dark. Even after the sun rises and it’s sunny out, you can’t really get a ton of sunlight in my bedroom, so it is ultra-cozy. And I’m using this weighted blanket; it is just like the most divine sleeping situation of my life.

Okay. It’s MLK Day, I had sessions on the books, and my alarm goes off. I opened my eyes. I was sitting there, and I scrolled on my phone for a little bit. But it finally came time when I was supposed to get out of bed, out of this luxurious, comfortable, warm, cozy bed and this dark chamber that I’m sleeping in, right? And I had this sense of dread.

I dreaded getting out of bed. I noticed the dread, and then I breathed it in; I let it be there. I talked to myself and said, “Yep, that’s okay. There is no problem to be solved here. It’s fine for you to feel full of dread, to experience dread. Go about your day anyways. We don’t have to do anything about the dread; you can just go about your business.”

And with that, while feeling a sense of dread, I flipped back the covers, and I put my two feet on the ground. I walked across my room, and I started getting ready for my day, for my client calls. I did it while feeling dreadful. And this got me thinking because one of the emotions that I coach on the most with my clients is the feeling of dread.

Most people, when they experience dread, do not do what I just described to you; that’s not how they talk to themselves. That’s not how they act. Instead, they go immediately into a resistant or an avoidant pattern. Right? They don’t go about their day, they don’t go about their business, and they don’t follow through and take the intentional action that they plan on taking. Instead, they make their dread a problem.

They try and solve for it by escaping it, by getting out of it, and by avoiding it, which leads to a really unintentional day. It leads to a really unintentional behavior. Behavior that will not produce the results that you want in your life. So, I wanted to spend some time specifically talking about dread.

I know that I’ve talked about comfort entitlement, discomfort avoidance, and following through on the podcast before, but I really wanted to highlight dread. Because so much of what we do brings a sense of dread with it. And a lot of us don’t ever question this.

We think that dread’s a problem, that we shouldn’t have to experience dread. And then, when dread makes an appearance, as it is going to do, that’s just part of the human experience. We think something’s gone wrong. And we don’t follow through; we don’t take the action that we planned to take because we’re consumed with taking issue with the dread that arises. Your dread is normal, though.

So, take a second and think about where dread comes up for you. I’m going to give you some examples in a second that are really common with my clients, so maybe you can start to spot dread yourself. But one of the things that you want to do when you’re allowing a negative emotion, which is what you want to do with dread, instead of resisting and avoiding it, you want to allow it.

The way that I describe allowing a negative emotion like dread is think about letting it ride shotgun with you in the car. Or, you strap it into the car seat in the back rather than letting dread dictate what you do, which would be letting your dread drive. And in that case, that’s when you resist it and avoid it, and you don’t follow through and take that intentional action. You just want to allow dread to come along with you.

And I want you to think about what dread feels like in your body. Whenever you’re allowing a negative emotion, you always want to understand what it feels like inside of you. Remember, all of the emotions that we experience are just vibrations that we experience in our bodies.

So, there’s going to be a specific vibration that you experience when you feel a feeling like embarrassed or a specific vibration when you feel bored. Or, when you feel anxious, or when you feel nervous or scared or angry, right? There’s a specific vibration in your body.

I’m not super woo-woo, but I do really encourage you to spend some time and find it in your body. Even if this feels silly to you, it’s so important to understand what the vibration feels like because that is literally all that’s happening.

When you’re experiencing an emotion, you’re experiencing this vibration; nothing else is happening. Nothing else is going wrong; you just feel this little vibration in your body. And you can proceed in spite of and despite it. You don’t have to do anything about the little vibration; you can just let it be there.

So, for me, dread feels like a heavy blanket. Not like the delicious, weighted blanket that I’m using to sleep with. But like an X-ray blanket that you kind of drape over your shoulders. It’s just this general heaviness; it feels like lead. Right? That’s what dread feels like for me. And I feel it in my shoulders, and kind of on my torso, and it just weighs me down a little bit. And that’s all that’s happening when I’m experiencing dread.

I want you to think about what happens when you experience dread. What do you do? How does it feel? What’s that vibration feel like? You want to be acutely aware of it because once you’re acutely aware of it, you dismantle and take away so much of the power of experiencing that emotion. If it just feels like wearing an X-ray blanket or a weighted blanket, what’s the big deal? It’s just carrying around a little extra weight with you.

You can go about everything that you planned to do today while feeling that vibration. Just like I had to feel it, feel a little weighed down by my dread, while I flipped back the covers, got out of bed, and started getting ready for my day. Okay? That’s all that’s happening here.

Now, why are you experiencing that feeling of dread? It’s just your primitive brain doing what it’s designed to do. Our primitive brains are always attempting to get us to seek instant pleasure, avoid instantaneous discomfort, and conserve energy in the most immediate moment.

Long-term, avoiding dread, escaping dread, and getting out of dread don’t serve you, and it probably makes your life more challenging, more difficult, and more uncomfortable. But not in the short term. That primitive part of your brain is really only logical in like two-minute increments; it’s just thinking about what’s right around the corner, what’s right in front of us.

And in that moment, what’s right in front of you is going to be avoiding the dread; that’s going to be the most comfortable thing. That’s going to be the way that you can serve the most energy. If I were to avoid the dread, I’d get to stay in my comfy, warm, cozy bed and not expend the energy of getting ready for the day, going to work, meeting with my clients, and coaching their brains, right?

So, the primitive part of my brain that’s always trying to keep me comfortable, because comfort is safe, at least to that primitive part of your brain it is, the primitive part of my brain that’s trying to keep me comfortable is going to conjure up and cultivate that sense of dread to get me to stay comfy-cozy.

It’s doing the same thing in your life, right? Wherever you’re experiencing dread, that dread’s bubbling up to the surface, so you seek instantaneous gratification and comfort. So you avoid that instant discomfort. So, you conserve energy in the most immediate moment.

Now, I just had a client tell me that she thinks that this is really unfair. She was like, “Olivia, I don’t understand. Why have we not evolved past this primitive tendency to seek pleasure, avoid discomfort, and conserve energy?” And if you’re listening to this, and you feel the same way, listen, I get it. It can be frustrating, right?

Obviously, frustrated is a feeling that we cause with our thinking. But it’s easy to think thoughts that cause us to feel frustrated about this. It’d be so much “easier” if we didn’t have to constantly be in battle with this primitive conditioning. With our primitive brains that are constantly creating this discomfort, so we seek pleasure and conserve energy.

Now, if I had a magic wand and could get rid of this primitive conditioning, I would do that. And I would sell you all copies; I’d be very wealthy if that were the case. Because this is really everyone’s battle, constantly fighting against this primitive conditioning and this tendency to avoid immediate discomfort.

But this is what we are dealt with as humans. These are the cards that we’re dealt, and you get to decide what to do with that. I’m actually going to record an entire podcast episode about fighting battles you can’t win. This is one of those battles that you cannot win.

You can be at war with the fact that it is uncomfortable to do the things that create the results that you want. Or, you can stop being in that argument. You can stop being at war with the way that you were conditioned as a human, with the way that you’re built as a human being, and you can just accept it.

Do you know what happens when you get out of your resistance model and into an acceptance model? You’re able to be so much more productive. You’re able to get so much more done because you’re not expending energy arguing with something that you cannot change, arguing with something that you cannot fix, right?

So, I highly encourage you to take stock and take an audit of all the areas that you’re making an argument against something that you cannot fix, like your human conditioning. When you move past arguing with the way that you’re created, with the way that you’re made, then you can just get to work with so much less struggle, with so much less discomfort. Because you’re not in an argument that you cannot win.

So take a second and give this some thought. What would your life look like, what would be different, what would be easier about your life if you accepted that dread is going to come along for the ride? And a lot of the action that you take that’s just part of the way that it works being a human and getting stuff done and accomplishing tasks and achieving your goals?

Dread is going to be a part of it. What would be different if you just accepted that? And instead of waging war against that reality, if you were just willing to feel that heavy, weighted, lead X-ray blanket and go about your business, what would be different? I promise you everything would be different.

Your experience, each day, would be different. You would accomplish so much more. How exciting is that? How exciting is it to think about your life, where you’re in less of a struggle, where you’re in less of a battle, where you’re experiencing so much less resistance because you stop resisting reality? That’s this amazing gift that you get to give yourself. Alright?

So, let’s talk about some examples of when dread makes an appearance in your life, and how you probably typically respond to it, and how you want to respond to it instead.

Okay, the first example is getting up in the morning. And I want to put an extra caveat here because when I worked in big law, and I was really in a state of burnout, I had dread. But it was like to the 400th degree of what I’m talking about now. Now, I love my job, truly. And I still feel a sense of dread in the morning.

When I hated what I did, I was paralyzed and crippled by anxiety in the morning. All of the stress and the overwhelm that I was experiencing. And really, in a state of burnout from not sleeping properly and overworking. This was a very different experience; it felt almost impossible to work through. I eventually did get up and get going; it just took a lot longer.

I have since learned the tools that I teach my clients now. So, I want you to be really honest with yourself, are you dreading something that you like doing? Are you dreading something that you hate doing? And if you’re dreading something that you hate doing, you want to check in with yourself and ask yourself, why are you choosing to do it?

Now, when you dread getting up in the morning, and you want to get up because you want to go about your day and accomplish things, and you don’t hate your job, you just want to notice the dread. Instead of avoiding it and staying in bed, and maybe scrolling on social media or hitting the snooze button, right? It’s okay for you to feel dread and get up anyways.

I think another great example of this would be working out, right? So many people dread working out, myself included. And that’s a great way to distinguish between your work dread, whether it’s a normal amount of dread or whether it’s, “I absolutely hate this; this is something that I don’t enjoy doing at all. It’s totally out of alignment for the life that I want to live.”

A lot of us want to be the people that work out, but we still dread it, or, and we still dread it. I think “and” is a really intentional word to use here; we want to work out, and we still dread it. It’s okay to feel that sense of dread and go and work out anyway, right? Working out serves us, for sure. It helps us maintain a healthy lifestyle. But you might not always feel like doing it.

Now, maybe you’re in the minority here, and you love to work out; amazing. Then you don’t have dread that comes along for the ride with you on this one. You might have dread in some other area of your life. But if you’re like me and you dread working out, you want to understand that dread’s just going to be a part of this experience.

I just had a client say she wanted to start going for walks in the morning. And the part of the world that she lives in, it’s cold in the morning, just like it is where I live right now. It’s really cold in Detroit; I don’t know that I’d be too inclined to go for a walk. But if you want to walk in the morning, regardless of what the weather is, and you know it’s going to be colder than you might like it to be, you’re going to feel a sense of dread. You’re going to wake up and feel dread.

Then you get to decide what you do with it, what you do in response to it. You can let the dread deter you, and you can stay in bed, you can sleep in, you can not go for your walk. Or, you can expect the dread to be there.

Now, my client wasn’t expecting the dread to be there. One of the things that she asked me was, “Olivia, how do I get myself motivated to go for a walk outside when it’s cold out?” I said, “You don’t get yourself motivated to do it. You just have to do it while feeling full of dread.”

You’re going to feel dread. You want to expect there to be dread there. If you don’t expect there to be dread there, you’re really going to be caught off-guard when it makes an appearance, right? So, you want to be on the lookout for it; you want to know that it’s coming.

If you don’t enjoy going for walks when it’s cold out, dread is going to come along as you get up and start to go about preparing for that walk. And you have to be okay with dread being a part of this practice, being a part of this process. So, you’re going to wake up, and you’re going to have a sense of dread with you. And then, you’re going to have to get up feeling a little weighed down by that dread.

And you’re going to have to go put on the clothes that you want to go for a walk in while feeling full of dread. And you’re going to have to lace up your tennis shoes while feeling full of dread. And then, you’re going to have to walk through your house and out your front door while feeling full of dread.

Now, right around the time that you get started walking, it’s going to start to shift. You’re going to start to feel a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment because you’re doing the thing that you planned to do. You’ll be actively in the process of following through, and that’s going to feel good. You’re going to be able to gain access to a lot of really positive thoughts about yourself as you’re following your plan. But right up until that point, you’re going to feel dread. You have to be okay with that. You have to accept it and just allow it to be there.

In the work context, think about where dread comes up for you. There are a ton of my clients that if they’re responsible for entering their billable hours, they have a ton of dread when it comes to that task. And what they tend to do when they experience dread around entering their time, they tend to avoid it by avoiding entering their time.

And they end up creating a world of hurt for themselves because they normally wait all month, and then they have to play catch-up at the end of the month, or the first day of the new month, in order to get all of their time in. It creates a total disaster.

I know this firsthand because I used to do this all the time. And every month, I swore that it would be different. But it never was different because I never learned how to process and allow myself to experience that feeling of dread. Every single day I would dread putting my time in, and then I’d avoid the dread and not put it in.

Instead, what you want to do is expect to feel dread when it comes to entering your time and put it in anyways. Right? Same thing happens when people are working on a big drafting project. Whether you’re typing up a contract or typing up a brief, if it’s something that feels big and heavy for you, you’re going to have a lot of dread associated with completing that task.

You just want to expect it to be there. If you make not feeling dread a requirement to getting started, you’re not going to get started. You’re going to keep avoiding it. You’re going to keep procrastinating. So, you want to accept the dread on the front end. That’s how you’re going to get started.

You’re going to feel a sense of dread starting on the project, and you’re going to start anyways, in spite of and despite that sense of dread, that vibration in your body, that heavy lead feeling, or whatever dread feels like to you. I want you to really practice identifying dread the next time it comes up for you.

And describe the vibration in your body, so you know what it feels like. So, the next time you feel it, you’re like, “Oh, this is dread. I remember this vibration. I know what this feels like. I remember this. I can feel this vibration and take the intentional action that produces my desired results.”

Okay, so when it comes to big projects, and obviously, “big” is a thought here, right? Whether something’s “big or small” is a subjective opinion. It probably doesn’t serve you to think of projects as “really big” projects because you’re just going to dial up your resistance to them. But if that’s a thought that feels really inescapable, it’s fine to think that the project’s “big.”

Just know that you’re going to have resistance to doing it. You’re going to experience a sense of dread. And you can get started while feeling dreadful.

Anyways, I also see people experience a ton of dread when it comes to marketing themselves. However you choose to do this, for most people, it’s marketing on social media these days or it’s attending in-person networking events.

You know, for me, I do a monthly webinar series; I record my weekly podcast. And I’m going to be honest with you, I love talking to you guys each week and coming at you through your speakers, but I have a sense of dread every time I record this podcast or right before I record this podcast. It weighs on me; I have some resistance to doing it. I just have to feel the dread and get started on it anyways.

And I noticed, just like going for that walk, as soon as I get started recording it, as soon as I record the intro, the dread starts to dissipate, and I get into it. I’m able to get through the recording and send it out to my podcast publishers, the people who edit this and produce this for me. And it is okay that I feel dread. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t record a podcast or that I shouldn’t do a webinar.

So many people experience dread when it comes to business development, and then they don’t develop a business. They don’t network; they don’t market it; they don’t publish content. And then, they don’t produce results of business developed, right? So, you just want to expect that dread is going to come along for the ride. And you want to allow it instead of resist or avoid it by procrastinating, by putting off the action that you want or need to take to produce the results that you want.

Another super random anecdote. I always dread weddings. I don’t know why. I shouldn’t say I don’t know; I do know why. I have negative thoughts about the weddings. And then, my brain, because of those thoughts, conjures up a sense of dread. And I always go and have the best time.

I’m really working on changing my thoughts about this. That instead of telling myself I don’t like going to weddings, I tell myself now that I do like going to weddings, so that’s helped the dread dissipate a bit, but I know I really dread going to them.

Maybe you’re like this too, especially for any introverts listening. You might tell yourself that you don’t like leaving the house, or you don’t like making plans, or you don’t like being in groups of people, right? The more you tell yourself things you don’t like, the more dread you’re going to experience. And then, you’re going to create so much more resistance to doing any of those activities.

What would it look like for you to tell yourself that you actually do like them? And to find evidence that it’s true that you like them, you’ll create such a different emotional experience for yourself. If you do that, again, the main reminder here, the main takeaway for you, is that you don’t need to solve for the dread. If dread arises, if you start to experience that vibration in your body, you start to feel that feeling; you don’t have to solve it. It isn’t a problem. You just got to let it come along for the ride.

You want to pay attention when you experience this feeling. And then, you want to pay attention to how you talk to yourself when dread makes its appearance. That’s the other big thing that I notice is different between me and some of my clients who really struggle with allowing themselves to experience dread. The pep talk they give themselves when they experience dread is totally different from the pep talk that I give myself.

So, you want to make sure that you’re talking to yourself in a way that allows you to move through the dread. Allows you and facilitates you taking action in spite of and despite dread being there. Okay? When I experience dread, I’m telling myself that “Nothing’s gone wrong. This isn’t a problem we need to solve for. This isn’t a reason to not take action. It’s not a reason to avoid and procrastinate. That I can still get up and go about my business.”

Are you saying that to yourself? And if you’re not, you get to start right now. The next time dread makes an appearance in your life, you get to give yourself that type of pep talk rather than saying that you should stay in bed.

Or, you should not do the thing that makes you feel uncomfortable, that it’s better to do it later. That you have all the time in the world. That you can do it tomorrow. That you’ll get to it in an hour, right? That you don’t feel like it right now. And that you need to be motivated or feel focused in order to get started.

None of that’s true. What is true is that you can absolutely get started right now while feeling full of dread.

And maybe you’re not full of dread; maybe you’re, like, half-full of dread. Whatever amount of dread you’re experiencing, you can get started with it in your body right this second, okay?

And remember, your primitive brain creates dread because it thinks it’s protecting you. Like my client said, “I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish we would have evolved out of this, but we haven’t.” So, you want to expect your brain to create dread, to drive you to instant gratification and pleasure, to drive you to conserve energy and not take action. This is very normal. It’s just part of the human experience, and it’s never going away.

Now, the more you take action, in spite of and despite your dread, the more practice you get at allowing your dread to be there and doing the intentional things you plan to do in spite of it, the more your dread will lessen over time. It will become a smaller monster, a smaller beast for you to deal with. But it’s never going away. It’s always going to be there. And you want to make sure that you know that and anticipate that.

So, when it makes an appearance, you’re like, “Oh, hello, Dread. Right on schedule. I expected you. I’ve been waiting for you. Where have you been all this time?” And then, you and dread can get in the car. Dread can be in the passenger seat, and you can go about doing what you want to do. All right?

You get to decide. You can consider your dread a problem, or you can make peace with it and let it come along with you as you go about accomplishing whatever it is you want to accomplish. I strongly, strongly suggest you choose the latter option. You’ll be so thankful you did.

Alright, my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. One more thing before I sign off. If you haven’t already, would you pretty, pretty, please do me a favor and, first of all, subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss a single episode. I make these episodes as valuable as possible. I give away all the goodies in these episodes.

So, make sure you don’t miss a beat; subscribe. And then, if you would love, love, love me, which I hope you do, please leave me a rating and a review. It helps me get this really helpful information in the hands of more people. I’m on a mission to change the way lawyers practice law, so if you could leave me a rating and review and let me know what you think of the podcast, it would mean the absolute world to me.

Also, if you’ve got friends, share the wealth; y’all shoot this episode to a friend of yours. Say, “Hey, I listened to this; it helped me. I think it’ll help you, too.” And give them a little bit of this wisdom. Share the wealth, all right? Don’t gatekeep; we don’t want that.

If you found this podcast helpful, I bet someone else in your life will find it helpful, too, so shoot it to them. Let them give it a listen. And maybe they’ll be so kind as to leave me a rating and review, too. It’s like you’re doing me a double favor and doing them a double favor. Everyone wins, and you get to feel good in the process.

All right, my friends. I hope you have a beautiful week. Thank you so much for listening, 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.

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Episode 44: The Energy You Bring with You & Zero-Dollar Conversations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Energy You Bring with You & Zero-Dollar Conversations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Energy You Bring with You & Zero-Dollar Conversations

When you engage again with people you haven’t seen for a few years and you’ve changed a lot since your last encounter, communicating with these people can be very challenging. I was recently around some family I had not seen for years, and the energy some people brought with them really stood out to me.

I think of myself as a positive, high-energy person. I always want to add value, no matter who I’m around in that moment. This is a result of all the coaching work I’ve done. However, not everyone is like that, and being around people with a negative outlook can be incredibly draining, so it’s time to take inventory and start looking at the energy you’re bringing with you and how you show up every day.

Tune in this week to discover the energy you bring with you and how you might be engaging in zero-dollar conversations without even realizing it. I’m sharing how to audit the energy you’re bringing to any situation, so you can decide whether you’re happy with how you’re conducting yourself, or if it’s time for a change.

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 most people out there in the world are naturally pretty negative.
  • How bringing negative energy manifests itself in your daily interactions.
  • Why other people being negative is such an energy drain for people who think more positively.
  • The difference between respectfully voicing your opinion versus complaining.
  • How to see the results you’re getting from showing up with negative energy.
  • What a zero-dollar conversation is and how to spot when you’re having them.
  • A simple exercise to take inventory and see whether the energy you’re bringing is aligned with how you want to show up.
  • How to acknowledge your emotions, without letting them affect how you choose to show up.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 44. Today, we’re talking all about the energy you bring with you and zero-dollar conversations. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, how are you? I hope you are doing well. I hope that your new year is still off to a good start. We’re about halfway into the first month, maybe a little bit more by the time you listen to this. Hopefully things are going well for you. A little life update from me, things have been pretty busy over here.

As the year’s gotten off to a start, I finished the enrollment for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. And now, I’m finalizing all the fun arrangements for that. I’m going to be in Charleston in a couple of weeks, with everyone, and I cannot wait. I love planning everything that goes along with this event, the menus, the venues. I didn’t mean to make that rhyme, but there you go. Just all of the little, small details that make it a special experience for people.

I’ve been up to that, and I also, am preparing for quite a bit of travel. I’m getting ready to go to Cabo, again, with my business coach. I’ll be in Cabo the week before I’m in Charleston for my mastermind. Quite a bit of travel coming up.

And, I posted about this on social media, so if you follow me there you might have seen this already. I recently lost my last living grandparent. My grandmother passed away in the beginning of January. It’s been a while, knock on wood, that I’ve lost what I would consider an immediate family member. I forgot how much goes into all of that; the funeral, the viewing, everything. So, that really consumed a lot of me, a lot of my attention, a lot of focus.

One of the things I will say, it’s really great whenever I get to see family. Since my paternal grandfather passed away, who I was actually really close with, I don’t see my family a ton. It’s normally at like weddings or funerals that we’re all in the same place, that we all get together. And, family is super important to me. Contrary to what that might sound like, because I don’t see people as often as I might like to, but it is nice to get together.

That being said, something happened while I was with everyone, and it inspired today’s episode. So, I don’t know if this is something that resonates with you, but recently, having this opportunity to be around family members that I hadn’t seen in a while, it’s pretty wild when you engage again with people you haven’t seen. And, when you’ve changed a lot in between now and the last time you’ve seen them, right?

For a lot of people in my life, I’m like a wildly different person because of coaching. Not just what has changed in my life, you know, externally. Meaning, I don’t practice law anymore. I transitioned careers. I started my own business. A lot of people that I saw at the funeral I haven’t seen since before the pandemic. So, my life looks completely different from the outside. I live in a different place. So much has changed, in that manner.

But I’m also a completely different person on the inside. I guess I shouldn’t say completely. There are some core attributes about me that are always going to be the same; things that I love about myself that I haven’t changed. But a lot of stuff is different. And, it’s because of coaching.

So, when I say different, I definitely mean better, here. I am such a positive person now, and I don’t let things get to me. I was always pretty non-judgmental, but I’ve taken it to the nth degree through coaching. And I’m always looking for the silver lining and on the bright side. I’m never in a state of blame. And, man, I used to be the biggest complainer at work, in my personal life, just because that’s what a lot of normal people do; they complain. And, I’m not like that anymore.

I don’t see the value in it. I see a lot of those conversations as what I call “zero-dollar conversations.” Meaning, they don’t add any value to your life. They don’t have any positive contribution. And what I noticed being around some of my family members that I hadn’t seen in a long time, was the energy that they bring with them to conversations.

You know, people say to me very frequently, “Olivia, you’re like the most positive person I know.” And the energy I bring with me, in any room that I walk into, is really high, it’s really positive, it’s really motivating, it’s infectious. People feel better when they’re around me when they spend time with me.

I’m really conscious about that. I mean, it’s the default setting for me now, so it doesn’t require that much work. But I always want to be a value add, wherever I am, whoever I’m with. But not everyone is like that.

And in being around some people I haven’t seen in a long time, I noticed the big difference between how I interact with people, and how I carry myself, and how I operate in the world, and how I think about things. And how they operate in the world, and how they think about things, and the energy they bring with them, and how they spend their time; the types of conversations they have.

So, it really got me thinking. And I’m sure this is true for you, too, if you just take a second to think about it. A lot of the people in your life are probably pretty negative. Most people are, our brain has a negativity bias, so we automatically go there. And, you have to learn how to interrupt it and course correct and change your thoughts.

This is exactly what I teach my clients, through the thought work that I do with them, through coaching. And you also have to be able to understand that circumstances are neutral, right? I talk about that a ton on the podcast. That any situation that you’re encountering in your life, the facts of it don’t have an emotional charge; they’re not positive, they’re not negative; they’re simply neutral.

And you get to decide what you think and how you feel about them. Now, most people in the world are never taught that. And, they don’t know that, so they treat most situations as negative. They complain a lot.

Now, I encourage you to start paying attention to this. It’s a little bit like, if you’ve ever seen the show, How I Met Your Mother, they did an episode on people pointing things out to one another. And it’s like, once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s like the glass shatters, and there’s no going back. This is kind of like that.

So, I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I do think it’s really important to notice how negative people are, because it will also help you identify how negative you might be. And the more you notice it, you’re going to also start to notice how you feel when you’re around people when they’re being negative. When people are complaining about other people, or talking shit about other people.

I’m going to go into a list of examples of what this looks like in practice, and the different ways, you know, bringing negative energy with you manifests itself in your conversations and your daily interactions with people. But I want you to pay attention to how you feel after these negative conversations or these negative interactions. Do you feel energized and optimistic and motivated and uplifted? Or, do you feel depleted and drained and pessimistic and discouraged? Right?

For me, when I’m having conversations with people and they’re complaining, it’s such an energy drain for me. It’s definitely not how I like to feel. I walk away from a conversation feeling worse than when I started it. That’s not fun for me. Also, being engaged in really negative conversations isn’t in alignment with the kind of person that I want to be in this world, right?

So, take a second think about like: Who do you want to be in this world? Are the conversations that you’re having with people aligned with that? Is the energy that you’re bringing with you, to all of your situations and encounters in your life, aligned with that?

One of the things that I believe very strongly is that we’re all responsible for the energy that we bring with us. So, that’s why I wanted to talk about this today. I want you to start to take an audit, or an inventory, of the energy that you bring with you.

I think it’s really compelling and powerful to think about: What if everyone did this? What if everyone took a moral inventory, and did an audit of the energy that they bring with them, to every encounter, to every conversation?

And if you became aware that you’re not bringing the best energy with you, and you decided to make a change, what would the compound impact of that be? What would that look like? How would that ripple across our society? It’s really wild to think of that. So today, we’re going to talk about the energy that you bring with you, and we’re going to do this inventory together.

So, the first question I want you to ask yourself is, do you complain? Now, the obvious answer is probably going to be yes, right? We all complain to some extent. That being said, you want to gain some awareness as to how often you complain, and what you complain about. Take a second and think about those two questions. What do you complain about? And, how often do you do it?

Now, I want you to ask yourself, why do you complain? And, be really honest here. Does it serve you? I work with so many clients that actually do believe that complaining does serve them. Because complaining often feels good. It feels cathartic. But it really does not serve you.

Again, you’re normally complaining to someone else, so you’re using your time and theirs. And, you’re not searching for a solution when you’re complaining, right? Problem solving and complaining are very, very different. I’m fine with noting that there’s a problem and then going right into solution mode; that serves you, that works.

But complaining just for the sake of complaining, really doesn’t have any purpose. Now, again, it feels good because you normally get to feel righteous or justified. I always describe those emotions like dark chocolate-covered caramel, they just tend to be a little delicious.

We also complain as a form of buffering. To avoid something else that we don’t want to do, or to avoid some other emotion that we don’t want to feel. For instance, if you’re feeling really powerless or out of control, complaining is a great way to feel better. But again, it’s one of those actions you have to pay attention to.

Because even though you feel much more powerful, and better than the weaker emotion that you’re experiencing, the results you produce from complaining don’t serve you; they’re not going to be good ones. So, does it really make sense for you to do it?

Also, this is a little bit of like a tough love wake-up call for people: Are you complaining because it makes you feel good? And if you are, if that’s what it is, do you like that as your reason? One of the things that I talk about a lot is, what would be different about your life, if instead of complaining about it, about the things that you didn’t like or other people’s behavior, you went to work on changing it or fixing it?

Now, the reason people don’t do this is because that actually takes hard work. It’s really easy to complain. It’s much harder to change things, or focus on yourself. What I also find fascinating is when people complain about other people, when they have absolutely no control over the other person.

Like, you always get to choose whether you spend time with someone, whether you engage with them, whether you don’t. Whether they’re colleagues or family members or friends, you always get to choose. And, that may not seem true to you. But you can leave your job if you hate the people you work with. You can stop talking to really close family members, if you don’t think that they add value to your life, and you don’t enjoy your relationship with them.

Everything is on the table. You get to make all of these choices and all of these decisions, and you get to change your mind, anytime you want. But what would be different about your life if you didn’t complain? If instead of focusing on things that are outside of your control, you put all of that energy, all of that mental capacity into focusing on what is in your control, and going to work on making your life better, right?

Again, heavier lift. I’m not going to say that it’s not. But your life would be monumentally better. It’d be significantly different. You’d have so much more of the things that you would want. You would feel so much better on a daily basis.

So, I highly encourage you to take an inventory of how often you’re complaining. People complain all day long, it’s wild. When you start to become aware of this, you will notice that it tends to be people’s favorite pastime, is to complain.

Now, a variant of complaining, is talking badly about other people. So, I want you to think for a second, do you do this as well? And again, I think the answer is probably yes, for everyone to some degree. But I want you to be honest with yourself, are you doing it in excess?

A lot of people do this. It’s one of the things that I noticed, in being around some friends and family members that I hadn’t seen in a really long time. I noticed how they spoke about other people. And, I’m sure some of my family members are listening to this. Sure, they’re probably not going to love this episode, but I think it’s so important to talk about.

I’m talking about this issue from a place of love and really deep, sincere concern, because I want y’all to have better lives. And it’s really hard to have a better life when you’re constantly introducing negativity into your day-to-day life. Into your day-to-day conversations, and into every interaction that you have.

Remember, all of the action that you take is driven and determined by the feelings that you feel. And, you’re not going to feel great when you’re complaining and you’re looking for the worst in people, and you’re talking badly about them; you’re going to feel bad.

Now, I want you, just like we did with complaining, I want you to answer the question, why do you talk badly about other people? Really give that some thought for a second, alright? The answer, I’m going to give it to you, or at least one of the reasons, the main reason; is that you feel significant when you talk badly about other people.

If you’ve never listened to Tony Robbins’ TED Talk on the “Six Human Needs,” it’s phenomenal. Listening to it absolutely changed my life. And, I’ll link it in the show notes. But if you haven’t listened to that, go give it a listen. One of the six basic human needs… We all have all six, but we all prefer two out of the six.

And one of those needs is the need to feel significant, or the need to feel needed. A lot of people operate with that being their top need. And you can totally tell when people prioritize that need, because they’re the ones who are complaining all of the time. They’re the ones who are talking badly about other people.

There’s a couple of different ways to feel significant: You can do really impressive things, and you can build yourself up and make yourself a success. He explains it, to where you build the tallest house on the block, right? Or the other way to have the tallest house on the block, is to tear everyone else down.

So, people, normally, people who are feeling really insecure about themselves, tend to default to criticizing or judging or talking badly about others. Also, if you think that you’re not feeling insecure, you might do this because, again, it feels really good to feel righteous, or to feel like you’re better than other people.

I get this is not a glamorous way to think about yourself, right? Probably, none of us who do this is proud of the fact that they do this. A lot of people aren’t even aware of how much they do this. So, I want you to start slowing yourself down and paying attention. Do you talk badly about other people? What are you saying? And, why are you saying it? I love asking ourselves the simple question of, why it is that we do something? You gain so much intel when you just ask and answer the question, why?

In taking inventory of the energy that you bring with you, I also just want you to pay attention to how negative you are. Are you really negative? You know, are you a person that if someone suggests something, you’re like a knee jerk, no. That’s what I call it. You just automatically default to, no. You think, “That won’t work. We can’t do that. That’ll never happen.”

You’re just really pessimistic. Or, you’re always looking for the downside, or the reason that something won’t work. Be honest, are you a bit of a Negative Nelly or a Debbie Downer, right? I also, for the record, hate that all of those phrases always use women’s names. So, we’re going to have to come up with some gender neutral options.

Another thing to take into consideration, or to ask yourself, is do you think you’re better than people? And, be really honest here. One of the ways that I see this manifest for people, that’s really subtle, is do you think that everyone else is doing it wrong?

I’ve talked about “should” thinking before, on the podcast. Do you think they should be doing it differently than they are? Do you think that the way that they’re operating isn’t the right way to do things? And that you know the right way, if only they just listened to you? Or, followed what you believe is the best way to operate, everything would be better, right?

If that’s you, you’re probably pretty negative. And, you probably complain a lot. And, you probably talk badly about other people. Again, I love you guys. And I get that this is a sensitive conversation because none of us wants to think that we’re like this. But a lot of people are like this; you probably know plenty of people.

This is a little bit different than, you know how they say, if you can’t identify out of your friend group who a specific person is, then that person’s probably you? This is different than that. This is probably people in your friend group. I don’t want you to think that it’s not you, also, if you can identify other people in your social circles who are like this.

This is a behavior that is pretty contagious. So, if your friends are like this, you’re probably also like this. One of the things that I love so much about having so many friends who are coaches, is that they’re really not negative people. We don’t like to talk shit about other people. We don’t like to be pessimistic. We’re so optimistic. We’re so full of possibility.

We’re having, you know, million dollar conversations instead of zero-dollar conversations. We’re constantly supporting each other; no one’s tearing one another down. We just really don’t tolerate it. It kind of like gets suffocated if anyone’s negative. I can’t even think of someone who’s negative.

And it’s intoxicating to be in friend groups or in social circles like that. Candidly, it’s one of the reasons that I love joining personal development groups like masterminds. Kind of like, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Or, I’m in a mastermind with my business coach.

And my other coach, Brooke Castillo, she has a lot of in-person group events. And I love going to those, because I just love being surrounded by people who are so positive. It makes me more positive. I’m already pretty positive to begin with, but I love surrounding myself with that kind of energy.

Now, if you don’t have access to that, guess what? You can create access to that. You may have to pay for it, right? I pay to be in the masterminds and the groups that I’m in. And it is money well spent, because I can’t force the people in my personal life to be any different than they are.

But instead of spending more time with those people, I choose to spend less time with them. Because I don’t like how I feel when I’m around them. And, you get to make the exact same decision. I also think it’s really important for you to think about this; would you want to be around you? It’s a really powerful thing to think about.

Would you want to be friends with you? Would you want to spend time with you? Would you want to engage in conversations with you? If you’re someone who always complains and you judge other people, and you’re critical and you tear them down, and you belittle what they’re doing, and you’re just full of judgment and have nothing nice to say, would you want to be around you? The answer is probably no.

I really think one of the missions that we can all be striving for, is to be versions of ourselves that we would want to be around.

All right let’s talk about a couple of different examples of what it looks like to bring negative energy with you into your daily interactions. I used to be famous for this. So, this is definitely me calling myself out here. I don’t do it anymore, by any means. But I see a lot of people complain in their offices, right?

You sneak into a coworkers office, and maybe everyone’s doing this on like, direct messages through whatever platform your firm uses, or Jabber; that’s what we used when I was in big law. But you’re complaining to people, right? You slide into someone’s office, you close the door, and you’re with your colleagues and you’re talking shit. You’re talking shit about your boss, or a colleague, or your assistant, or clients, or whatever, right? You’re just complaining.

I love when people do this; they also complain about not having enough time. Because it’s like, if you’d just spend the time that you spent complaining, actually doing your work, you’d be in a completely different world. I used to do this. I used to complain with other people in my office, all the time. Whether it was when I was in big law, or when I was working at the boutique firm. And, I wouldn’t get work done.

So, I was definitely not setting myself up for success in that way. I would have been much better served to put that time to better use. So, is that you? And is this the kind of colleague you want to be? Is this the kind of employee you want to be? I look back on how I spent a lot of my time complaining when I was someone’s employee. And man, it just makes me cringe.

I’m like, “I wouldn’t want to employ someone like that.” I also think it’s really important to be aware of how your behavior contributes to the overall culture of a workplace. If people see you complain, they’re going to be more likely to complain, because complaining is contagious. You’re giving people permission, and a green light, and letting them know that that behavior is acceptable, or that it’s welcomed, or really, that it’s encouraged. Right?

So, are you like that? Do you complain to other people? And what are you giving other people a permission slip to do themselves? Also, do you want to work at a place that’s really negative? Probably not. So, check in with yourself, are you doing this?

You know, how do you show up in meetings? This is another great area where I see people bring a lot of negative energy with them. They show up, they sit down in the conference room. Maybe, they come in late because they’re pissed that they have to be there in the first place. Because they think the meeting’s really stupid, and they sit down kind of disrupting what’s going on.

They’re on their phone, they’re really not paying attention, they’re kind of annoyed, they’re rolling their eyes at a lot of the suggestions that are made, they think everything’s so stupid, right? Now, be honest, are you this person? And if you are… You know, I think a lot of people do this because they want to be in the cool kids club. And it feels pretty cool to, you know, not give a fuck.

But it isn’t cool. I think the cool thing, is when you give a fuck, when you actually care. Now, I don’t mean care so much that you take everything personally, to your own detriment. But like, there is nothing that’s not admirable about caring, and about being present, and about being fully bought in to whatever it is that you’re working on, whatever the team’s mission is.

And if you really do have some negative feedback to give or some constructive criticism, by all means, do that. Before you do that, go listen to the feedback episode series that I did, so you know that you’re giving feedback in the most productive way possible. But you definitely get to dissent and voice an opinion.

But how are you doing it? Are you doing it in a way that you consider respectful? Or, are you doing it in a way, that if we’re being really honest, isn’t all that respectful?

I also watch people check-out, either because they’re bored, or we do this when we’re overwhelmed, right? You’re scrolling on your phone, you’re responding to emails, you’re not giving the people that you’re in the room with your full attention. And, that has an energy to it. I want you to be really conscious of that.

I watch a lot of people multitask, and I think it’s really disruptive to meetings, to planning sessions, to work that gets done. You’re not fully focused. And I think you do everyone, including yourself, a disservice when you do this. So, be aware of this and work on being more present.

This is one of the things that I teach people when they work with me, is how to be more present. If you know this is an area that you need some work in, being meaningful… I should probably do a whole podcast episode just on how to be more present because people really do struggle with that. But note that this is an area that you want to improve on.

Another example, is think about the phone calls and text messages that you have with friends of yours or family members, right? Are they really negative? Do you call up your best friend and just complain? I used to do this with one of my friends, who I used to work with. We would talk every morning, after she switched to a different firm. And man, we spent almost every morning on the phone with one another complaining.

What a way to start your day, right? How terrible. And again, I know complaining can feel cathartic, but we would just talk shit about a whole bunch of different people. And that’s how you get your day rolling, right? Everything else that follows is pretty much going to follow suit; you already have your negativity hat on.

Are you spending time on the phone, or via text, just criticizing other people, making fun of them, judging them, saying mean things about them, picking them apart? I see a lot of people do this because I’m in a lot of entrepreneurs circles. And the entrepreneurs who aren’t coaches tend to do this with other people. Whether they’re in competition with other people or whatever, they are really critical, and they’re really judgy.

I think those are zero-dollar conversations; no one’s benefiting when you’re picking apart someone else. So, you can always take inventory and audit: When am I doing that? Where am I doing that? And, how can I do less of it?

What would I replace that with? Talk to your friends about, you know, strategy or problem solving, instead of talking about other people. A good litmus test for this, if you lack some awareness on whether or not you’re doing this; be honest with yourself: Would you want people to overhear or read your conversations?

You know, as a criminal defense attorney we used to have, in discovery, everyone’s text messages. It was always mortifying what people would write in their text messages. Think about if people could read your text messages, or overhear your phone calls, would you be proud?

Or, would you be embarrassed and mortified and really ashamed of how you carry yourself? If you would be the latter emotions in that instance, be cognizant of the energy that you’re bringing with you to the conversations that you engage in.

Another way that you can start to pay attention to whether or not you’re being negative and bringing negative energy with you, is figuring out; do you dwell? Dwelling is so unproductive. We used to have this rule, when I practiced criminal defense, we had the 24-Hour Rule. So, if you got a bad ruling from a judge or a really unfortunate verdict, you had 24 hours to be as upset as you wanted about it. But then, after 24 hours, you had to get over it and get back to work, and you couldn’t dwell.

I’ve taken that rule that 24-Hour Rule, and I’ve brought it with me into the rest of my life. So, you get 24 hours to be as upset as you want. And then, you’ve got to move on; you can’t sit in it, you can’t dwell, you can’t stew. It’s so unproductive; it doesn’t serve you. And, who wants to be around someone who’s constantly stewing and dwelling; not fun, right?

Now, this isn’t to say that you need to pretend to be fine all the time, I’m not suggesting that. But like the 24-Hour Rule, you can acknowledge your negative emotions, whether it’s disappointment, or frustration, or hurt, or anger. Now, no one else is causing those feelings, you’re causing them with your thoughts. But you get to choose negative thoughts sometimes, and you get to choose to feel negative feelings.

If that’s the case, you’re allowed to experience that emotion. But I don’t want you to do more than acknowledge them, be present with them, let them be there, and then move on. I don’t want you to sit in them. And I also don’t want you to react negatively to them. Most people feel negative emotions, and then they react negatively. You want to interrupt that process and not do that.

Now, if you bring negative energy with you, if you’re engaged in a lot of zero-dollar conversations that don’t serve anyone, that don’t add any extra value to the world, and you want to change this, you have to first become aware of the fact that you’re doing this.

So, you get to answer the questions that I asked you in today’s episode. If you really struggle to see your own negativity, I want you to do one of two things, all right? I want you to ask someone you trust, and ask them to be honest with you, whether or not they think you’re a negative person or a positive person, okay? And if they’re honest with you, and they say that you are negative, you cannot get mad at them. All right? Only ask this if you’re really comfortable accepting an honest answer.

Another thing you can do is rather than polling anyone about what they think, just ask someone that you trust to point it out to you when you are negative. I’ve started doing this with my mom, much to her chagrin, I’m sure. But she is really negative when she drives.

She gets very mad at other drivers. And, I have some thoughts and feelings about her behavior in the car. And instead of yelling at her or telling her she’s doing it wrong, I’ve just decided that I think she doesn’t have awareness as to how negative she is. So, I started to point it out to her.

You can also tally this yourself. Again, it requires a little bit more self-awareness. But I have a relationship with someone who is very challenging for me. And I ended up being more negative in those interactions with this person, than I typically am with anyone else. I don’t like to be that way.

So, one of the things that I started doing when I interact with that person, is I keep note of the comments that I make that I’m not proud of. I keep a little tally. And when you keep a little tally, you’re like, “Oh, I made two comments. I don’t want to make another one. I made three, and I want to stop there.”

You just become so much more cognizant of what you say, and the impact it has on people, and whether or not you’re acting in accordance with the type of person you want to be, or whether you’re out of alignment.

Okay, I highly encourage you to start to become aware of the energy that you bring with you, and do an audit. You can do this every day. Did I have zero-dollar conversations today? If I did, why did I do it? If I brought negative energy with me, why did I do it? Did it serve me? How else could I show up differently?

Asking yourself, and answering these questions, will be life changing, I promise. There is nothing better than bringing incredible infectious, contagious, positive energy with you, when you engage with people in the world. I want you to be proud of yourself, and how you show up with other people. You’re in charge and responsible for your own energy. Make sure you choose wisely. All right?

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

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

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 43: How to Quit Your Job (Or Anything Else)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Quit Your Job (Or Anything Else)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Quit Your Job (Or Anything Else)

Now we’re at the start of a New Year, a lot of people plan to leave their jobs after bonus season. So, if you’re planning to make a move in the near future, this episode is going to help you quit your job (or anything else) while feeling great about your decision, no matter your reasons for wanting to quit.

When you quit, there are two ways to do it. You can quit from a clean space, or you can quit with a messy mind. Whether it’s a job you want to leave, a relationship you want to get out of, or any other area you want to make a change, I’m walking you through the process I use with my clients to help them quit from a clean space.

Tune in this week to discover my three-step formula for quitting your job or making any change in your life from a clean space instead of a messy mind, so you can make the decision that is ultimately right for you and your future. 

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:

  • What it means to quit from a clean space.
  • How to see the specific thoughts that come up when you’re quitting from a messy mind.
  • Why quitting with a messy mind inevitably leads to unintentional action and a victim mentality.
  • How to dial down the drama so you can quit from a clean space.
  • Why it’s impossible to be objective when you’re stuck in victimhood.
  • 3 steps to quitting anything from a clean space.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review
  • If you want more information about the Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, visit my LinkedIn, my Instagram, or email me!
  • Get on my email list!
  • Brooke Castillo

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 43. Today, we’re talking all about how to quit your job. 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, how are you doing? I hope you are doing well. I am enjoying the last few days of my couple of weeks off for the end of the year. And, it has been marvelous. I’ve been doing a little bit more behind the scenes work than I necessarily planned to do, but that’s okay. I have a ton of big, exciting stuff coming up in the beginning of 2023, and I want to make sure that I’m ready for it.

I hope you’ve been enjoying the end of year, and maybe wrapping things up and getting prepared. I actually just had something come up on my Timehop, or like the memories on Facebook, and it reminded me that exactly four years ago today, I quit my job in big law. So, that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

I want to talk about how to quit your job, or really, anything else for that matter. Maybe, it’s a relationship that you want to quit. Whatever the case may be, I want to walk you through the process that I teach my clients to follow, in order to quit from a clean space. Now, what does quitting from a clean space mean? All right, there’s two ways to quit: You can quit from a clean space, or you can quit with a messy mind.

I feel like this episode is particularly timely, because it’s the end of the year, and I know after bonus season a lot of people plan to leave their jobs. Especially with the great resignation that we’ve been witnessing. So, if you’re planning to make a move, I hope this episode’s coming at exactly the right time for you. So, let’s dive in.

When you quit with a messy mind, you’re quitting from a state of victimhood. You’re normally carrying with you a really negative story about your experience, and you’re probably in a state of blame. Now, here are some examples of what your thoughts will specifically look like, if you’ve got a messy mind and you’re quitting from that space.

You’re going to be saying things to yourself, or to other people, along the lines of, “I can’t believe they’re like this. They can’t do it this way. They should be doing it differently than how they’re doing it. They’re doing it wrong.”

You’ll be thinking things like, “This is so unfair. I deserve better than this.” And that’s not to say what you do or don’t deserve, I just want to tell you that when you’re thinking the thought, “I deserve better than this,” normally, that thought feels terrible in your body. So, if you’re in a state of victimhood and in a state of blame, and you’re thinking, “I deserve better than this,” you’re probably not leaving from a clean space.

If that’s something you think, check in with yourself, and ask yourself; what’s the feeling I feel when I think the thought, “I deserve better than this?” If it feels calm and grounded, and loving and trusting, that is a place that you want to be operating from. But if it doesn’t feel like that, and my guess is that it does not.

If it’s coming from outrage, or righteousness, or frustration, or feeling disrespected, stuff like that, you’re quitting from a messy place. You’ll also be thinking thoughts like, “This place is the worst. These people are the worst. I hate it here.” And when you’re thinking this way, you’re going to be feeling emotions along the lines of feeling resentful, righteous, outraged, disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed, very angry.

You might even feel undervalued, disrespected, and unappreciated. Okay, now when you’re feeling those feelings, remember that the typical way we respond to negative emotions like that, is we respond negatively. And if you’re contemplating quitting a job while you’ve got this messy mind and you’re in an unclean space, then you’re going to be reacting to these feelings rather than taking really intentional, thoughtful action and moving forward towards something you want.

You’re going to be running away from these feelings, running away from this negative experience. And when you do that, you tend to take very unintentional action, so you end up with more of what you don’t want in the long run. This is also a really victimy story to be operating within. And if you’re the victim of your own story, guess what? You can’t be your own hero.

So, if you’ve got his thought process going through your mind as you’re contemplating leaving, I really want to empower you to step out of it, and to reclaim the power that you have in this situation and to leave from a place of strength, not from a place of weakness.

Lastly, and I mean this part with love, I promise. The story that you’re telling yourself, if it sounds a lot like the story that I just rehearsed for you, it’s very, very dramatic, okay? And I want to encourage you, or challenge you all, to have a lot less drama in your life this year in 2023. Okay? Drama is a total energy drain.

So, if you’ve got a really dramatic story that you’re telling yourself about your experience, you’re gonna find yourself emotionally exhausted. And there are so many other things that you could be devoting that energy to; like finding a new job, or thriving in a new position, or just enjoying your time off. Rather than devoting this energy to this negative story that you’re telling yourself.

I want to encourage you, and invite you, to dial down the drama when it comes to leaving your job. You can do it from a clean space. Now, I want to give you a little backstory… You guys know I love a good backstory… On how I created this framework.

I was actually taught by my coach, Brooke, that you’re not supposed to leave anything until you get yourself to a place where you can say that you love it. So, you gotta love it before you leave it; that’s what I was taught. And of all of the things that I’ve learned from her; she’s an amazing coach, and I love like, 99% of what she teaches. But I had a really hard time wrapping my brain around this concept: You’ve got to love it before you leave it. You’ve got to love it before you leave it.

Because if you really loved it, would you actually leave it? The answer is probably, no. Right? So, I really struggled with that. I was in one of her group programs, and it was actually the only time that I think I ever raised my hand to get coached live by her. It was to get coached on this issue, as to whether or not I should leave my job.

She gave me the same coaching that she teaches people, which is you have to love it before you leave it. And I was in such a state of burnout, that that just wasn’t attainable for me, to get to a place where I could love it before I left it. I’ve thought long and hard about this. I eventually got myself to the point where I made the decision to leave.

I created this framework, while I was leaving, because I was trying to rework the ‘love it before you leave it’ concept. I didn’t want to leave from a state of victimhood, or from a state of outrage, or from a state of blame. I knew that that wouldn’t serve me. I was already introduced to thought work. I had already become a certified coach when I was leaving big law, so I already had these mind management tools to get myself to what we call in coaching “a clean space.”

So, I ended up creating this framework. As a result of that, I knew I couldn’t get myself reasonably to a place where I loved my job before I decided to leave it, but I could get myself here. So, I walked myself through a three-step process. And this is the exact same process that I now teach my clients to follow, so that they can leave situations from clean space, as well.

Step one is that you need to accept the situation for what it is. Step two is that you need to own your part in creating a situation that didn’t work. And three, you want to appreciate the good that came from the situation. I’m going to walk you through the exact analysis that I did following this leaving from a clean space process, when I left my last two jobs. The first one is leaving big law. And then the second one is leaving the last law firm that I ever worked at.

So, let’s start with big law. Now, I worked as an associate in an Am Law 200 firm, in Detroit. And I didn’t like it; it was not for me. Okay? But that does not mean that there was anything inherently wrong with the firm. Big law gets a bad rap, but there are plenty of people who work in big law and enjoy it. Or, they value what that environment offers versus other people who don’t value what it offers.

When you’re completing step one of ‘the leaving and quitting from a clean space process,’ you want to accept the situation for what it is, and you want to accept it in the most neutral way possible. So, you’re going through and you’re really auditing your experience, auditing the environment that you’re working in. And, you’re doing it free of any judgments.

A good example of this, a judgment that I had of the firm that I worked at when I was in big law, was that it wasn’t very collaborative. So, that would violate step one of this process, that’s my own judgment; that’s not accepting the situation for what it is. The way that I would describe the firm in the most neutral way possible would be how many hours each day I spent alone in my office, on average.

And most days, I would spend at least eight hours by myself, because the job really involved just a lot of solo research and writing. Now, my opinion of that fact was that it wasn’t a very collaborative environment. But I worked with an amazing non-equity partner, and he actually thought that the firm was extremely collaborative.

He had worked as a law clerk to a federal judge for several years; I think he did two clerkships. So, he clerked for a total of four years. And during his time clerking, he experienced a much less “collaborative” environment than the one that we had been working in, in big law. So, he thought the firm was very collaborative.

Where I had come from a criminal defense firm, that was like an all hands on deck environment. We spent a lot of time working together, with one another, in the conference room. So, to me, that’s how I defined collaborative. It’s just a difference of opinion here, right? You want to make sure you’re describing the situation for what it is, in the most neutral way possible. So, one way would be for me to describe how much time I spent by myself.

Now, I also was not fond of how we staffed cases. I had come from a firm where we were an all hands on deck; everyone was equal kind of approach. And when I worked in big law, we staffed matters based on a hierarchy. Now, that’s just not my preference. I work with plenty of clients who actually love staffing matters based on a hierarchy, because they have a ton of clarity about who assigns what and who answers to whom. So, they really like the structure that staffing matters in that way provides.

Okay? Again, there’s nothing inherently right or wrong with staffing a matter based on a hierarchy structure, it’s just your preference. It turns out it’s not my preference, but that’s okay. In accepting the firm, and my employment within the firm for what it was, what was also true, is that I was at an associate level. So, I answered to people. That, again, ties into that whole hierarchy concept.

And, that I worked on a certain type of case. You know, I did complex commercial litigation, that was the practice group that I was assigned to. Now, my preference was not in line with that. I wanted to be doing criminal defense work, and I really wasn’t able to do that type of work where I was, working at the firm that I was at. We just didn’t handle the types of criminal defense matters that I liked to handle.

I tend to call them like, blue-collar crime rather than white-collar crime. And I really didn’t have much access to a lot of white-collar crime, which the firm did do. So, in making a very neutral assessment of what my experience was like at the firm, I would just describe the types of cases that I was working on.

Some of the facts that I was accepting were that I was handling complex commercial litigation matters. The firm staffed based on a hierarchy. I spent X number of hours working by myself each day.

We would also be able to go through accepting the job for what it is, that I worked in Detroit. Now, that was actually something that I liked about where I worked. And that I made X amount of dollars as my salary, and that my average bonus was a certain amount. Those were also factual things that we would accept, in step one of ‘the leaving from a clean space process.’

Do you see how calm that assessment is? It’s just very matter of fact; you look at the situation for what it is. And then from there, you get to decide if it is in alignment with your preferences or not, okay? For me, it wasn’t in alignment with my preferences. But that doesn’t make anything inherently wrong with the job.

Other people might see the same exact facts and decide that they are comfortable with accepting the job for what it is. So, you just want to make sure you’re accepting it for what it is. That’s the only thing that you’re doing in step one; accepting the job in the most neutral way possible.

Now, step two; you want to take ownership over your role in creating a bad situation. You’re probably leaving because the situation is less than ideal, right? It’s not falling in line with your preferences. But rather than being in that state of victimhood and blaming everyone else around you, including the firm itself, for your bad situation, I want you to take ownership over the role you’ve played in creating your current situation.

For me, if I was getting really honest with myself, when I was completing my analysis for step two of ‘the leaving from a clean space process,’ I had to own my bad habits that contributed to a less than ideal situation when I was working in big law.

So, I had found coaching, but it came a little too late at the time. I have since mastered the concepts that I teach my clients; like how to manage my time, and how to set boundaries, and how to have difficult conversations with people, and to speak up and advocate for myself and say no. But it took me a little while to master those concepts. And, I certainly hadn’t mastered them, yet.

When I was still working in big law, I had been introduced to them, but it took me some time. So, in the years since I’ve mastered these concepts, I’ve incorporated them into my life, and I now use them to be very intentional with how I spend my time.

But at the time, when I was struggling, I was still a people pleaser. I was over-promising and under-delivering. I was really struggling to manage my time. I was a horrific procrastinator. Because I had not yet learned how to take uncomfortable action and stick to and follow through with a game plan, in spite of the discomfort that comes from sticking to it.

I’ve had to learn and teach myself all of that stuff. It’s now the stuff that I have mastered, and I teach to my clients, but I had yet to really hone these skills when I was working in big law, and when it was coming time for me to leave that job. So, rather than being in a state of blame, I wanted to own the bad habits that I had, that had led to me having a less than ideal experience, right?

When you manage your time poorly, if you’re someone who manages your time poorly, you know that other people don’t love being on the receiving end of that situation. So, it leads to unnecessary conflict. It leads to a negative impact on your work relationships with your colleagues because people can’t rely on you. They can’t trust you in the way that you want to be able to have people rely on you and trust you.

You know, I would slip into really avoidant patterns with people. I wouldn’t want to communicate the bad news that I wasn’t gonna finish something on time. Or, I just wouldn’t know that I wasn’t going to finish it on time, because I was so bad at estimating how long things would take me. And I drastically underestimated how long something would take.

So, I wouldn’t communicate properly. Or, if I finally got the idea that it was going to take me longer than I thought it was going to, and I was going to turn something in late, I would just hide. I was really not skilled at having uncomfortable conversations with my colleagues, with my supervisors. I would just put my head down, and try and finish an assignment as quickly as possible. And, I wouldn’t communicate the bad news.

Now, in hindsight, I fully understand that this is not the way to go about handling this situation. I understand that what people crave, more than anything, is certainty. So, in the best-case scenario, you’d make a promise to deliver something, and you would deliver it, when you say you’re going to deliver it.

But if that’s not going to happen, instead of putting your head down and hiding, and just trying to get it done and turning it in late. Thinking that turning something in late is better than communicating bad news; when you have no work to turn in. I now know, that if you create certainty for people, that that is what people crave. Rather than getting something late, and you’re making them experience all of that uncertainty while they’re waiting.

So, these were all the things that I was doing in my role as a big law associate, that really led to me having a less than desirable experience. Now, if you’re in this spot right now, I want to encourage you just make this list from a place of curiosity, not from a place of judgment. All right? You don’t need to use this as an exercise to beat yourself up.

I could sit here, still to this day, and have a ton of shame over how I showed up in that job. But I don’t, because I recognize that I was really lacking the skills that I needed to thrive in that environment. I’ve since learned the skills that are necessary to thrive in that environment. I just didn’t have a lot of the tools that you needed, in order to do that job really well.

Now, that doesn’t make me wrong or bad for lacking them. And I’m so glad that I was able to find those tools and harness them, and learn them and master them, so I can thrive doing what it is that I do now. In fact, they’re probably even more necessary now because I work for myself.

So, you have to be able to hold yourself accountable, and be disciplined and follow through, because you don’t have the threat of someone, you know, laying down the law, or you know, coming down hard on you with a hammer, in order to keep you accountable. You don’t have fear as a motivating force, you just have to be disciplined.

I’ve since gone on to learn all of these skills and these tools, and that’s what I teach my clients to master. Now, hopefully they come to me and it won’t be too late for them. They’re able to turn it around faster than I was able to just doing this, when left to my own devices having to teach myself.

I say all of this, though, to say that you can tell this story, and you can assess your role and take ownership over the parts that you’ve created, that have led to a less than desirable situation without all the self-blame, and the self-criticizing, and really beating yourself up, and coming down hard on yourself and making yourself feel terrible. All of that’s optional.

You could just take ownership over the role that you’ve played, that you’ve had in creating a less than ideal situation. And the reason you want to do this is to be a truth teller. Because when you’re in a state of victimhood, when you’re in that state of blame, you’re normally only giving lip service to one side of the equation, right? You’re not telling both sides of the story.

I don’t want you to do that; I want you to be a truth teller. I want you to own the parts that you’ve played in creating a less than ideal environment for yourself. That led to you not loving where you’re at, and lead to you wanting to leave, alright?

There’s nothing that’s gone wrong, necessarily, you’re just owning the role that you’ve played. It’s not all “their fault.” You’ve played a part, as well. It’s okay for you to own it, alright?

And then step three, is appreciate. Appreciate what the position offered you. Maybe, it’s the salary that you received. Right? That was a big one for me. I was so appreciative of earning a really significant amount of money.

Well, at least at the time, for me it was very significant. It was much more than I would have ever made doing criminal defense work right out of law school, especially at the firm that I had been at. So, I was very grateful for that, and very appreciative of the salary.

I was very appreciative of the learning that I was able to do in this role. It was practicing law at such an advanced level, so it really made me a much better researcher, a much better writer. I worked on matters that I had never worked on before. I learned complete areas of law that were wholly new to me.

I actually still nerd out on some of the stuff that I did when I was working in big law. I created my own little special practice in FOIA law, Freedom of Information Act requests, and the litigation that goes around it. I was really young at the time, but I was like the firm’s foremost expert in that area. And it was so amazing to be able to craft an expertise in something, even being very young in my career.

I also got to work on data breach incident responses, and that was so fun. I loved how short those matters were. They have a really quick turnaround; you’re normally only dealing with them for a month or two. Unlike what you see a lot in complex commercial litigation, which is working on a matter for years and years and years. So, I got to specialize in those two areas.

And I would have never learned anything about those, had I only ever done criminal defense at the firm that I practiced in prior to coming to big law. I also got the opportunity to experience working at a big firm. And that is relevant to me now, for a couple different reasons: Number one, I understand what it’s like to work in a boutique space. I understand what it’s like to work in big law.

So, it helps me relate to my clients now, so much better than I would be able to relate to them had I not had that experience. I’m just able to speak the language. It also introduced me to transactional law, which I had never experienced before. I really don’t think law school gives you that much of an idea of what transactional work is like.

I’m able to relate to my clients that are transactional attorneys, in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to relate to them had I not worked in big law. I also got introduced to coaching when I worked in big law. Had I not gone to big law, I would have never gone down the path of learning about life coaching.

And, learning the impact that it can have on your life. Applying the coaching concepts that I learned from my coaches to my own life, and making those changes. And seeing that other people around me were struggling in the same ways that I had struggled. I would have never been inspired to go get certified and become a coach, so I wouldn’t even have the career that I have now, had it not been for me working in big law.

I also am so grateful to the people that I met while I was there. I still get invited to go to our firm’s alumni event every year, and that’s such a treat for me. I truly don’t have really anything bad to say about the firm, I think it’s a great firm. I recommend, people that reach out to me and talk to me about working there, I recommend that they go there all the time. It just wasn’t an ideal place for me. And, that’s okay.

I’m so grateful I got to meet the people that I got to meet while I worked there. I’ve stayed in touch with many of them; I look forward to seeing them every year. And I’m really grateful for the woman who runs the attorney development department within the firm.

She’s the one who really sat me down and said, “Hey, Olivia, I think you’re really unhappy here. And you know, you don’t have to stay if you’re really unhappy.” It was the first time that I had ever really acknowledged how unhappy I was. And I’m so grateful for her, just showing me what I was having a hard time seeing myself, because I was so in the trenches trying to succeed. Trying to prove something both to myself, and other people.

I was so really wrapped up in being concerned about what other people thought of me, that I wasn’t able to see my own experience there. And to see that I didn’t really love it, and to see that it wasn’t what I wanted. So, I’m so grateful that I had some really amazing people in my corner supporting me, to help encourage me to make the decision that was right for me.

Now, once I did this assessment, once I went through and accepted the experience and the environment for what it was, and I took ownership over my role in creating a bad or less than ideal situation, and I appreciated all of the amazing things that the job offered me, I was ready to leave from a clean space.

And, that’s exactly what I did. I made a really great decision. It was the decision that was right for me; to go back to the law firm that I had worked at during law school. I wanted to go back and practice criminal defense. I wanted to return and be part of the team that I had spent years with when I was a law clerk prior to graduating from law school and passing the bar exam. And, I was so excited to go back there and really thrive.

That was the right decision for me at that time. I also knew that I wanted to start this business. And, at the time I was a little delusional, I thought that I would be able to easily do both. It turns out that trial work and starting your own business don’t really go hand-in-hand with one another. That was just another learning opportunity for me.

And I’m going to talk about how I completed the same process for that next firm, in just a second. But I did get myself to a place where I wasn’t able to love it before I left it, but I was able to get myself to a clean space where I didn’t leave from a state of victimhood, a ‘woe is me’ mentality. I was able to just accept, own, and appreciate, and move on. Okay?

That’s what I want you to do. So, if you’re thinking about leaving, I want you to walk through this exact same process: Accept the job for what it is. Accept the experience for what it is. Describe it in the most neutral way possible. No opinions, no judgments, just describe the facts. Then, take ownership over the part you played in creating the experience you had. All right? You don’t have to beat yourself up when you do this, but you just want to be really honest. What were the things that you did that contributed to a less than ideal situation? Just take ownership of those. And then lastly, appreciate what was good about the experience. That’s how you leave from clean space.

All right, I’m going to walk through one more example. When I left my last law firm, very candidly, up until the point that I decided to leave from a clean space, I was in quite a state of outrage. I wasn’t getting paid on time. And as you can imagine, that was really impacting my livelihood and my ability to provide for myself. I’m a single gal, so there’s no one else over here footing the bill for my life, other than me. So, things were really rocky.

I had gone back to work at the criminal defense firm, after I worked in big law, with the impression that I was going to have a bigger stake in running things. And, I ultimately did. I thought I was going to have more autonomy than I ultimately had. I thought I was going to be able to be in control of more things, and make bigger decisions that would change and impact how the firm ultimately was run.

It turns out, when I got back there, that wasn’t really the case. So, I had a lot less authority than what I had envisioned having. And, I had some pretty strong opinions on how the firm was being managed. I worked for a really phenomenal trial attorney, but he’s not the best business owner. And I still love him and care about him deeply, it’s just not his strong suit. That’s okay.

If you are in a position where you’re less reliant on really consistent, reliable income, then you get to work there and have a ton of fun and work on the best cases. And if you’re able to weather that storm a little bit differently than I was able to, it’s really not that big of a deal.

Leading up to my ultimate decision to leave, I was in a state of outrage. I wasn’t coaching myself. I had many of the thoughts that I mentioned to you at the beginning of this episode; like, you can’t run a business this way, this is totally unfair, I don’t deserve this, I deserve x, y, and z instead. And it led to me feeling really outraged and frustrated, and slighted and all of these negative emotions.

And then finally, one day, I caught my thought error. And the thought error was that I was telling myself, “You can’t run a business like that.” It turns out, you absolutely can run a business like that, because he did run a business like that. And, he had run a business like that for a long time. So, this wasn’t really news to me. I knew to expect it to be a bit rocky when I was returning there, I just had underestimated my ability to tolerate the rockiness.

So, I went through this process, and I realized what was true. And what was true in that moment, was that he gets to run his business however he wants to, and I get to choose what I tolerate. I made the decision that I didn’t want to tolerate it anymore, and I decided to walk through. Rather than leave in a state of victimhood, I got myself to clean space.

I went through and I accepted the situation for what it was, which was that I would always get paid, but not on time. And for me, that didn’t work. That didn’t work to support the lifestyle that I wanted to live. And, I wanted more financial stability than that.

Now, I also appreciated that my decision was going to be to leave and to start my own business. And that it was going to probably be a much rockier road starting my business, in the short term, than if I just stayed put and relied on another person to pay me a salary, like I had been when I was working there. So, even though the income wasn’t dependable, it did always come through.

Whereas going off and working for myself, like there are a lot of unknowns there. I don’t believe that now, I believe that it’s very certain; I’ve built a business that is very stable and very consistent. But at the time, I didn’t realize how possible that was. Now, I went through, and I accepted that I wasn’t the sole decision maker. I wasn’t the main decision maker. That it was someone else’s firm. That they get to make and set rules and institute policies that I might not necessarily agree with.

But that is what it is, because it’s not my business. And if I wanted to be the rule maker and the sole decision maker, then I could absolutely do that. But I would need to work for myself in order to create that reality.

I also accepted the pay for what it was. So, I had agreed to take a pretty significant pay cut when I left big law, to go back and work at the firm that I wanted to work at. And I thought I was going to be more okay with taking the pay cut than I ultimately was. So, I accepted that that there was just a certain salary that went along with that job, and it wasn’t in line with my preference to work for that amount of money. I wanted to make more than that.

I saw working for myself is the clear way to do that. So, again, you can see how I go through this. I accept the situation in the most neutral way possible. Right? I did get paid, but not on time. I made X amount. And, I didn’t have the authority to be the final say on decisions about how the firm was run, how the business side of things was administered. So, I couldn’t control firm overhead. I couldn’t control firm spending or budgeting. I couldn’t control any of that; that just was true. That is what it is.

Then from there, I took ownership. In addition to the facts that I just laid out for you, there was also a decent amount of tension. Because while I had been away, I had been learning these coaching tools; I had learned how to speak up for myself. I had learned how to be less of a people pleaser, and how to set boundaries, and say no, and advocate for the things that I believed in.

So, I had come back to an environment that really had expected me to be like I had once been to be a people pleaser, to be the person who had no boundaries. And, I wasn’t the same person anymore. So, it created a decent amount of tension, right? They wanted me to be one way, the way that they had known me to be when I worked there previously. And, I was just a completely different person.

There was tension, there was some friction, as a result of that. And I recognized that I had created that. I had shown up and been different in this role upon my return, than I had been when I worked there originally. And, I wasn’t going to apologize for that. And, I certainly wasn’t going to change it.

I wasn’t going to go back to the old way of doing things, where I was martyring myself, and self-sacrificing, and abandoning myself, and people pleasing, and taking care of everyone else, and making myself my last priority. I wasn’t going to go back to that. But I did recognize that it was different than what they probably expected from me, and that it led to increased tension.

So, that was the part that I had to own in the scenario. I also needed to own that I made some decisions about cases that weren’t wise, as far as financial firm decisions go, and that that also contributed to the firm not being as financially successful. I worked on, essentially two pro bono cases while I was working there, over the course of the year that I was back.

And had I been making sounder business decisions, I would have turned those two cases down. I wouldn’t have done friends of mine favors and agreed to take them on. I would have been focused, specifically on the numbers. So, just like I wanted other people to be specifically focused on the numbers, I should have been willing to walk the walk of that, myself.

And, I hadn’t been. I had done things as favors, to be nice, to be agreeable. It was really the same behavior that other people were exhibiting, and I was complaining about that, and yet I was doing it myself. So, I had to take ownership of that.

Now, step three; appreciate the experience for what it offered you. I’m so, so grateful I was able to leave big law and go back to the firm that really felt like my home. I’ve had so many people tell me that it was a mistake for me to go back there, and I fundamentally disagree with them on that. I was really struggling with Adderall addiction when I worked in big law, in order to pull all-nighters and work around the clock, and stay on top of my work. Which, spoiler alert, I’ll tell you, it didn’t work. It didn’t help me stay on top of my work. It really led to me underperforming in a lot of ways. But I was really struggling with Adderall addiction at the time that I left, and it was so amazing to be able to go back to a place that I felt comfortable with. A place that knew me. A place that supported me.

And ultimately, the first person that I ever had a very honest conversation about struggling with Adderall addiction, I had that conversation with my boss at the small criminal defense firm. I trusted him enough to be honest with him about it. I am so grateful that I went back home to a firm that allowed me to show up as myself, even the messy parts, even the flawed parts.

I’m so grateful that I had an employer, and honestly a friend, who cared about me enough to have a really uncomfortable conversation with me. And I am certain, that it is one of the things that served as a catalyst to me overcoming that addiction. I also think, if we were being really honest, I probably knew that I wanted to just be a coach. But I wasn’t ready to completely shed my identity as a lawyer.

I think had I gone straight from working in big law to life coaching, I would have always had that question in the back of my mind; should I have gone back to work at this firm? Should I have tried a little bit harder? Should I have not given up so easily?

I don’t see myself as having given up, now. But it’s really because I gave myself the opportunity to go back there and practice criminal law as an attorney, not just as a law clerk. And to work on another amazing homicide case, with one of my best friends from law school, and an amazing trial team. I had so much fun working on that case with them. And, I really feel like I got what I wanted to get out of that career.

Both, when I was doing it in law school and after law school, I feel like I experienced the highs of doing trial work. And, I prefer what I’m doing now over that. I loved it when I did it, but I don’t have any regrets about switching to become a full-time coach and a full-time entrepreneur, outside of the legal industry.

I feel like I was able to do everything that I wanted to do, and I feel so confident that I’m in the right position. And, that’s only because I went back. So, I’m so appreciative that I had the opportunity to check that box and see for myself, and then leave from a clean space, and make a decision that was ultimately right for me.

That’s how you do it, my friends. That’s how you leave from clean space:  Go through, accept the situation for what it is, in the most neutral way possible; no judgments, no opinions, just the facts. Decide whether or not it’s your preference. If it’s not your preference, take ownership over the parts that you contributed to, that led to it being a less than ideal experience. And then ultimately, appreciate what it offered you while you were there. Okay?

Following this process, completing this three-part analysis will get you to a clean space. That way you can move on without all the resentment, frustration, victimhood, and blame, that will keep holding you back in the next role. All right? And it’ll have you running away from something you don’t want, instead of running towards something you do.

I hope this helps you with whatever it is you’re quitting; whether it’s a job, or relationship, or whatever the case may be. Follow these three steps, and you’ll leave from a clean place.

All right. That’s what I have for you this week. My friends, I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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