Episode 87: Hope (Is Not a Strategy)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Hope (Is Not a Strategy)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Hope (Is Not a Strategy)

The holidays are a time of hope, but there are some hard truths about hope that we need to discuss. If you’re spending this season hoping and wishing for something different in your life, this is not a strategy, it isn’t serving you, and it’s time to try something else.

Contrary to what you might believe, hope is not a helpful emotion. However, people tend to challenge me on this, saying that hope is wonderful, so to address this pushback, I’m explaining why hope isn’t an emotion you want to be cultivating for yourself. 

Tune in this week to discover why hope is not a strategy, how it has you relinquishing responsibility, and why operating from hope isn’t going to bring what you want into your life. Discover why hope doesn’t create results, how to see where you’re stuck in the emotion of hope, and how to start operating from more empowering emotions that will help you actually create your desired results.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why the actions you take from hope tend to be passive and lack power.
  • How hope keeps you stuck in wait-and-see mode.
  • The kind of action required to ensure something actually happens.
  • How to see where you’re currently relying on hope to drive your actions.
  • Some stronger emotions you can start operating from.
  • What to consider if you feel like hope is your only option right now.
  • How to start actually working your way toward your desired results.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 87. Today, we’re talking all about hope. 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 don’t know about you, but my December is A- flying by, and B- going so well. I don’t know if you know this, I don’t know if I’ve talked about it on the podcast before, but I take time off at the end of every year.

I was actually inspired to do this by one of my coaches, who early in my coaching career, early in the journey of starting my own business, I heard her talk about taking time off, she took a whole month off, and I just thought that was absolutely crazy. I had a lot of judgment of it, at first.

I thought it was sort of irresponsible. I had a lot of limiting beliefs about being an entrepreneur and being able to take time off, some of which I picked up from family members who are self-employed. I decided that I was going to work my way up to it. Now, I could only decide that after I made the decision that it’s actually something that I would want to do at some point, to take a month off.

For the past couple of years, I’ve taken two weeks off at the end of the year, and it never quite feels like enough. So, this year, I’ve upped it to three weeks. This is my last real week of work before the end of the year. I’m taking two weeks off at the end of the month, and then the first week off in January. The podcast will still be coming out, so don’t worry about that.

But I am so excited to relax and brainstorm, and do some behind-the-scenes stuff prepping for my business in the new year. I’ve got a bunch of exciting stuff coming down the line. So, I’m super thrilled to be doing that.

I’m also getting ready to, at the end of this week, I’m heading to Savannah to host a content weekend for a bunch of my friends. What that looks like is we record content, we create video content. My videographer, Alex, is going to be there. If you’ve been to my in-person retreats, you already know Alex. So, he’s going to be there, and we have a whole group of entrepreneurs who are coming in to record video content with him.

I also have a photographer coming in. She’s a local photographer in Savannah, so she’s going to be coming in for us to create static photo content as well. I’m so excited to do that. It feels like a fun way to kick off my time off, and a really neat transition from my typical work weeks into an extended vacation.

I hope you have something fun planned throughout this month, end of year. How are you celebrating? What are you doing for yourself? Are you doing anything fun? And if you have judgment, when you hear me talk about taking that much time off, I highly encourage you to explore that.

What’s coming up for you? Do you have limiting beliefs about what’s possible for you? Do you have thoughts that aren’t serving you when it comes to taking time off? I’m actually going to do a whole episode on that now that I think of it. So, there’s more to come on that topic. But just see what comes up for you in the meantime.

All right, speaking of the holiday season… I don’t know that these things essentially go together, but bear with me here. I really wanted to talk about hope. This has come up on a couple of my coaching calls recently. I’ve heard some clients say some things back to me when I talk about this. They know how I think about hope, and I’ve gotten some pushback.

So, I wanted to record a podcast episode on this topic. I also think it’s sort of timely, because I feel like holiday hope, miracles, making wishes for the holiday season, that kind of all ties in together. Are you spending a lot of time hoping and wishing? Today, we’re going to talk about whether or not that serves you.

Okay, so let me give you a little backstory on a couple of my recent coaching sessions with clients. I’ve had clients make comments to me, and they’ve used the word “hope.” They’ve said, “I hope this happens… I hope that happens…” And more than once I’ve had a client say to me, “Well, I know you don’t like ‘hope.’ I know you don’t like the feeling ‘hope.’”

Or I’ll tell someone, just in passing, “Oh, I don’t love ‘hope’ as an emotion. I don’t love ‘hope’ as a feeling.” and people will always challenge me on that. They’re like, “Oh my God, why not? Why don’t you like ‘hope?’ Hope is wonderful. Hope is lovely.”

Because of the pushback I’ve gotten on this, I wanted to address this specifically. Because if you’ve heard me say this on social media before, or maybe elsewhere on the podcast, you might be confused why I feel this way about “hope.” So, I want to get into it today and really explain to you why I don’t like it. Why I think “hope” really isn’t the emotion that you want to be cultivating for yourself and operating from.

I’m going to give you a couple examples here, but ultimately, my thesis on “hope” is this: The action that you take from hope isn’t very powerful. I don’t think that hope is a feeling that necessarily serves you. When you’re feeling hopeful about something, you normally get really passive. You sort of throw your hands up in the air, you cede control over a situation, you really step into wait-and-see mode, you kind of cross your fingers, and wish and hope that things work out.

But you don’t take active action to ensure that something happens or goes a particular way. You become very passive, you relinquish responsibility for your results, you kind of put it in the universe’s hands, or if you’re religious, you put it in God’s hands. You put it outside of your own control, your own responsibility.

When you do that, it doesn’t create very powerful results. It typically leaves you still hoping that something turns out the way that you want it to. I often say, when you’re thinking a thought with the word “want” in it, that want begets more wanting. The same thing goes for “hope.” Hope begets more hoping.

Here are a few examples of this. Think about time management. Let’s say you struggle with time management, and it’s something that you’re working on. As you go to “work on it,” your thought that’s fueling you forward is the thought, “I hope I get better at this.” When you think, “I hope I get better at this,” you end up feeling hopeful.

And, what do you do from feeling hopeful? You don’t really do anything, you just wait. You “try,” and try just means not doing. So, you keep doing the same things, and you anticipate a different result. But that doesn’t make sense, right? Doing the same things, crossing your fingers, hoping as a strategy, not doing something different as a strategy, that’s all going to get you more of the same.

So, when you’re thinking, “I hope I get better at this,” and you’re feeling hopeful or optimistic, you don’t take the action that would actually help you get better at this. Right?

What would that action look like? Following my process. Reclaiming control of your calendar. Planning your schedule accurately. Honoring your plan. Evaluating. Allowing the negative emotions to be there. Taking action in spite of them. Those are all of the things that you need to do in order to get better at time management.

Really studying yourself: Where did I reshuffle? Where did I procrastinate? Where did I plan inaccurately, and do the math wrong? Going through that process, and making decisions and changes little bit by bit at a time in order to get better at it. That is the process of actually getting better at time management. When you’re hoping you get better at it you don’t engage in those activities.

Take business development, as an example. Maybe you have the goal to bring in half a million dollars in revenue for your firm. Or maybe your goal is bigger than that, maybe it’s a million. Or maybe it’s bigger than that; how fun.

If you were thinking the thought, “I hope I develop business. I hope I make $1 million,” and you’re feeling hopeful or optimistic, what do you do? You sit around, you cross your fingers, you hope as a strategy, you wait for clients to come to you, you don’t actively market, you don’t meet people, or you don’t tell them what you do.

You don’t add value ahead of time in a bunch of different ways through social media or through conversations with people, or you don’t make offers to help people when it makes sense to do so. You just sit around and wait. Guess what? You take what comes, but what comes isn’t going to get you to your goal. That strategy isn’t going to get you to where you want to be.

So, you end up still hoping that you make a million dollars next year, that you develop a business next year, and you’re probably getting discouraged in the process because it’s not going the way that you “hoped” that it would go. So, you start taking less and less and less action, because hope isn’t panning out, then you feel discouraged, and the worst you feel the worst action you take. Right?

Think about that. If you’re feeling hopeful when it comes to business development, you’re still going to be hoping that you get different results than the ones that you create. When you’re using hope as a strategy, you also might be thinking, “I might hit my goal.” The sentence doesn’t have to have “hope” in it. The thought doesn’t need to have “hope” in it.

It might be, “I might hit my goal. Maybe I’ll hit my goal. Maybe I’ll develop business this year. Maybe clients will want to work with me. Maybe I’ll sign clients. Maybe I’ll develop a business. Maybe I’ll make the amount of money that I want to make. Maybe I’ll get the bonus I want to get this year. I might get the bonus that I’m hoping to get this year.”

And then, when you think any of those thoughts, you feel hopeful and then you relinquish control. You put the power of achieving that result outside of yourself. Again, you cross your fingers, and you wait. You wait to see what happens. When you wait and see what happens, and you passively pursue your goal rather than actively pursue your goal, you don’t create the results you want.

Same thing if you’re thinking about the circumstance of making partner. Maybe that’s a goal that you have. When you’re thinking the thought, “I want to make partner. I hope I make partner. Maybe I’ll make partner. I might make partner this year,” and you feel hopeful or optimistic, what do you do? You sit around and wait and see, rather than actively pursuing it.

What would it look like to actively pursue making partner? You’re going to get very clear on what you need to do, what the firm expects of you, what the metrics are, that are considered in order for you to go from being an associate to being a partner, or from being a non-equity partner to an equity partner.

You’d get very clear on what you need to do in order to meet the requirements, and then you would get to work on meeting those requirements. You would hit a certain billable hour target, if there is one that exists within your firm. If you need to have a certain book of business, in order to be considered to make partner you would make sure that you devote time to developing that book of business.

You’re going to make sure you have strong relationships with the people who make those partnership decisions if there’s a committee that makes those decisions. So, you would go very intentionally about checking off those items on that list.

Rather than just crossing your fingers, using hope as a strategy, and waiting around to see what happens. Hoping that people look out for you. Hoping that people advocate for you. You take much more intentional action to ensure you do everything in your power to make it happen.

So, I want you to think about an area of your life where “hope” is coming up for you. Where are you feeling hopeful? And then, I want you to think about what action you take from that feeling. You’ve got to be really honest with yourself here.

If you’re someone who likes feeling hopeful, and you think that that’s a good emotion to operate from, really get tedious here. Get very specific and identify what’s the exact action you take when you’re feeling hopeful. Then, get even more honest, even more candid.

Is that action guaranteed to produce the results you want? Are you taking the most intentional, most active action? Not to be redundant, but are you taking the most meaningful, logical action to create your desired results? Or are you being passive from that hope?

Here’s the thing with hope, there’s always a better feeling that you can move into in order to create the results you want, with more intention and more success. So, think about the examples we talked about earlier, the time management, the business development, and making partner.

If you were thinking, “I’m going to get better at time management. I am getting better at time management,” you would feel encouraged. If you were thinking, “I can learn how to do this,” you would feel capable. If you were thinking, “I’ll figure out how to do this,” you would feel committed and resourceful. If you were thinking the thought, “I will get better at time management, no matter what. I will not quit until I get there,” you would feel determined, right?

Those emotions drive you to take significantly different action. Think about the action you take when you’re feeling capable, committed, determined, resourceful and encouraged. How would you show up differently than just feeling hopeful? If you’re thinking about developing business, if you shifted from feeling hopeful that you develop it to feeling determined and committed that you would develop it, feeling capable of developing it, feeling encouraged and resourceful, what would you do?

You would take that action that I mentioned a moment ago. You would meet people, you’d tell them what you do, you’d add value ahead of time, you’d make offers to help people, you would network, you would do virtual coffees, you’d go to in-person events, you’d post on Social media, or you’d offer trainings online. There’s so much stuff that you would do, you would leave no stone unturned.

If you were feeling determined and committed and capable, you would really go for it. You’d be taking all of the active action; the massive action, not the passive action. Think about making partner; I gave you that list of things that you would do. That’s going to come from feeling determined, committed, capable, and resourceful, not from feeling hopeful.

So, that situation you just identified a moment ago, the one where you have hope coming up for you, the one that you’re feeling hopeful about, or where you’re using hope as your strategy. You’ve gotten clear now on the action that you’re taking from that hope.

I want you to be really honest. How would you change what you’re doing if you were feeling determined and committed and capable and resourceful and encouraged? What would change? How would you show up differently? What action would you specifically take that you’re not taking right now? Would you be waiting around to see what happened, or would you be making it happen?

You’re going to be making it happen. If you’re feeling those stronger, more powerful emotions, you’re going to ensure your success. You’re going to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

So, that’s what I mean, when I say I don’t love hope as an emotion, I don’t love hope as a strategy. I want you to move into, if you think about emotions on a spectrum, feelings on a spectrum, I want you to move into a stronger, more powerful emotion. I want you to inch your way across the spectrum, going from hope to those more powerful emotions, that committed, determined, motivated, resourceful energy.

Another way to prove my point here, one of the ways that we accomplish goals, is I teach people how to reverse engineer their results. We do that by starting at the end of the model and working backwards. So, the model is the tool that I use in my coaching. It consists of five components: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions and Results.

The premise is that we encounter circumstances. So, a goal would be a circumstance. And then, we think thoughts about it. Those thoughts drive our feelings, or cause our feelings. And, our feelings drive our actions. And, our actions produce our results.

So, what you can do, you can use the model to create awareness as to why you have the current results you have, while you’re doing the things you’re currently doing. You can use it to figure out what you would need to think, how you would need to feel, and what you would need to do in order to create your desired results.

You could just start by replacing the thought. You can say, instead of thinking, “I hope to make a million dollars,” you can shift it to, “I will make a million dollars.” You can see the difference that thought makes, how it makes you feel, or how you show up differently from that feeling, and the different result you produce from that action.

But you can also work backwards. So, you can start with your desired result, and then you work your way up the model. You go from the result to the actions you would need to take in order to produce that result, then you go to the feeling you would need to feel to take that action, and then you go to the thought that you would need to think in order to feel that emotion.

So here, think about the result you want to create. If you want to develop business, if you want to master time management, if you want to make partner, if you want to delegate, if you want to stop people pleasing, if you want to travel the world, if you want to get married…

If you want to do anything in your life, think about the specific actions you would need to take in order to make that result happen, in order for that to come to fruition. Get very specific and list out all of the micro steps, all of the little actions that you would need to take, in order to produce that desired result.

Now, once you’ve got that list, work your way up the model again, another level. What’s the feeling you would need to feel, in order to take that action? I promise you, whatever word just came to your mind, it definitely wasn’t hopeful. And, that’s what proves my point.

If you were to reverse engineer your results, you’d never pick hope as the feeling to fuel you forward. You would always pick something stronger than that. So, it goes to show that hope isn’t a strategy to get you to where you want to go.

You choose to feel compelled, committed, convicted, determined, motivated, driven, empowered, powerful, encouraged, certain, assured, capable, confident, unstoppable, resilient, or relentless. Relentless is one of my favorite emotions.

I love taking action when feeling relentless. I love pursuing goals while I’m in that state, that emotional experience. It’s so fun. It’s so much different than hopeful, you can feel it in your body, just as you’re listening to me right now.

I want you to check in with yourself. Try on what hope feels like in your body, and then try on what relentless feels like, what convicted feels like, what compelled feels like, what committed or determined feels like. And if you are having a hard time accessing that emotion in your body, think right now of a time where you felt any of those feelings before, and tap into it. Notice the difference. The energy of those emotions is completely different than the energy of hope.

So, working the model backwards really proves my point here. You’d never intentionally choose that as the emotion to fuel you to take the action that you would need to take, in order to produce your desired result. So, don’t settle for hope.

Now, with that being said, I want to talk about an exception to my rule of not using hope as a strategy. I’m going to be really realistic with you, okay? Sometimes hope is all you have. If you’re feeling, right now, if you’re feeling discouraged, defeated, down, depressed, stuck, ashamed, guilty, frustrated with yourself, helpless, and really hopeless…

If you’re feeling those feelings, sometimes the furthest you can get yourself along that feelings spectrum is to get yourself to feeling hopeful. Optimistic is as far as you can get, at least for now. You’ll be feeling hopeful that things might get better. Hopeful that the situation that you’re dealing with is going to work itself out. Hopeful that you’ll be okay.

Sometimes hope’s all you got. And if that’s where you’re at right now, I don’t want to diminish it. I want to hold space for you to just be there for a little while. And even better than saying hope’s all you’ve got, think of it as hope is the best that you’ve got in this moment. And when that’s the case, hope is a step in the right direction.

Again, I want you to think of feelings as a spectrum. Now, I don’t want you to stop at hope; I don’t want it to be your final destination. But if hope’s the best you’ve got right now, then let it be a pitstop. Get yourself out of those heavier emotions, those feelings of discouragement, defeat, depression, feeling stuck, ashamed, frustrated, or hopeless. Get yourself to hope.

Ask yourself: What would I need to think right now to just access hope, even if for a moment, even if just for a little while? Get yourself to hope and stay there for as long as you can. And then, practice being there. Practice being in the emotion of feeling hopeful. Hang out there for a little while, until hope becomes your new normal.

From there, once you’ve shaken off those heavier emotions and you’ve been able to stay in hope, recalibrate. And then, work on moving your way further across the feelings spectrum to those more powerful emotions. There is no shame in taking a quick stop, or a long stop, at hope if it’s the best you have access to right now.

And, you’ve got to be really honest with yourself. “Is that the best I have access to? Is hope as good as I can get to in this moment, in this season, for right now?” If it is, just let yourself be there and let hope be enough. And then, I promise you… You’ve got to be on the lookout for it and you’ve got to try on different thoughts.

The longer you stay in hope, practice trying on a thought that would make you feel a little bit better than hopeful. Practice trying on a thought that would make you feel an emotion that would have you taking slightly more intentional action than hope would have you take. Then, let that spot, that emotion, be your new normal for a little while. And just keep inching your way along that feelings spectrum to get to those much more powerful emotions.

Okay, if you’re used to using hope as a strategy, this is your sign to stop. I want you to challenge yourself to move your way along the spectrum to get to those more powerful commanding emotions. But if hope is as good as you can do right now, if hope is as good as it gets for this moment in time, give yourself some grace and just let yourself be there.

If you’re not there, get yourself there. Do the work to just get to hope. Ask yourself: What would I need to think to feel hopeful, even if for a minute? And practice that thought as often as you can. All right? Inch your way along the feelings spectrum, and as you do this, you’re going to create more positive emotions and more intentional action.

Ultimately, as a result of all of that, much better results. I hope this helps you make sense of what I mean by ‘I don’t love hope as an emotion.’ If you’ve heard me say that before, hopefully this clears up some of the confusion.

My hope for you, as we close out this year and we head into a new year, we head into 2024, is that you don’t just settle for hope. You don’t just hope that next year will be better than this year. I want you to ensure it for yourself. I want you to commit to it, that next year will be better than 2023.

The best way you can ensure it is by coming to work with me. There are two ways that you can do that in 2024. You can decide to attend The Obsessed Retreat. Join me in Miami, in March; March 20th through the 23rd; for three and a half days, in person.

Where we immerse ourselves in solving the problems you’re facing, developing the skills you need to have to create the results you want, and then making your plans for the future, for all of 2024 and the next several years. So, you’ve got a clearer picture of where you’re headed.

That way, we don’t just hope to get there and create the results we want, but we ensure it. Because we’re going to reverse engineer those results, and create a roadmap that you can follow to get exactly where you want to go.

Remember, when you attend The Obsessed Retreat, you also get access to lifetime monthly coaching calls. So, you’re going to have continued support after our time in Miami, and lifetime access to those calls to get all of the support you need, to get the results that you want. That’s the first way to work with me in 2024.

The second way is to join Lawyers Only. The Obsessed Retreat is open to everyone, whether you’re a lawyer or not; you’re welcome to come to that. If you are a lawyer though, and you want to join a group coaching program that consists entirely of lawyers facing the exact same problems you are facing, I am getting ready to launch a monthly coaching subscription for, you guessed it, lawyers only.

Now, the monthly subscription consists of weekly group coaching calls. We’ll meet once a week as a group, and you’ll get a chance to get coached by me and work through the problems that you’re facing. You’re also going to get access to a member portal. There’s going to be courses on demand; courses in there on time management, on how to do the thought work that I teach, and I’m going to continuously be adding courses as time goes by.

So, we’re going to kick off with those two courses. But the next course I’m going to add after that is going to be a business development course. And then we’ll go from there by continuing to add on how to manage a team, how to delegate, how to set boundaries, how to do all of the things that you need to know how to do, in order to have the life you want to have, the career you want to have, and the personal life you want.

In addition to that course content, that you get to binge on demand, and consume on demand as much of it as you want at a time, you’re also going to have access to written coaching. You’ll be able to submit issues in writing, and I’ll be able to respond to you. You get to do that in between our weekly calls. So, you have all the support you need whenever you want it.

You’re also going to have access to a community platform where you get to engage with all of the other attorneys and lawyers only. You can cheer each other on, problem-solve things together, and celebrate each other when you’re achieving the goals you set out to accomplish.

This program is going to have everything you need to have the practice and the life you want. It’s going to be so good. So, enrollment for both of those programs is getting ready to open. Like I said, don’t let hope be your strategy for how to have a better year. Ensure that you have a better year in 2024 than you did in 2023. Ensure that you do next year better than you did this year.

Come work with me. Enrollment opens for both of those programs very soon. The way to stay informed and up to speed on when doors open for both The Obsessed Retreat and Lawyers Only is to head on over to my Instagram, there’s a link in my bio there. My Instagram handle is @thelessstressedlawyer, or you can go to my link tree link, which is linktr.ee/thelessstressedlawyer.

I’ll repeat that one more time, and you can just type it in your browser right now. linktr.ee/thelessstressedlawyer. All right, go there. The first two links are the interest list for The Obsessed Retreat and for Lawyers Only; go sign up for either or both. I can’t wait to work with you in the new year. We’re going to make 2024 the year you go from hoping things happen to making sure you do.

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

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

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Episode 86: Frustration

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Frustration

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Frustration

Frustration is an emotion we all experience. You might believe that the situation you’re currently dealing with is what’s causing your frustration. However, there’s a coaching tool I use in my practice that illustrates why you have more power and influence over your feelings of frustration than you realize.

If you’re ready to address the root cause of your frustration, today’s episode is for you. When you can see how you’re creating your own experience of frustration through the thoughts you’re consciously deciding to think, then you can begin taking the steps required to move past frustration and start getting things done.

Tune in this week to discover what you can do to ease your frustration about anything in your life. I show you how to separate your thoughts and feelings of frustration from the facts of your situation, and how to start easing your feelings of frustration while creating the emotional experience you actually want, without needing to change anything external in your life.

I’m running another rate and review giveaway! Instructions for leaving a rating and review for The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast are here. Don’t forget to take a screenshot of your review, and email it to me or DM me on social media.

The Obsessed Retreat is open for registration right now! It’s an in-person event happening in Miami Beach, Florida from March 20th through 23rd 2024. It’s where you’ll learn a three-part framework for creating a life you’re obsessed with, so click here to find out more. 

Want to be the first to know when my monthly subscription Lawyers Only launches? Click here and sign up for the waitlist!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How we often confuse our thoughts and feelings with facts.
  • The stories you might be telling yourself about your feelings of frustration.
  • Why nothing in your life is inherently frustrating.
  • How a coach can help you see the real source of your frustration.
  • What you can do to ease your feelings of frustration right now and choose the emotional experience you really want.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 86. Today, we’re talking all about frustration. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Maybe it’s the end of your week when you’re listening to this. Whenever it is, I hope that your week is going well. My week is off to a good start. I just had a bunch of friends come visit me in Charleston. I’ve actually had those friends on my podcast, we recorded a group call, or like a group episode, earlier this year, all about the power of group coaching.

I had the privilege of meeting these women in a group coaching program that we all joined. Since we were all in that program together… I’m still in it, but the three of them are not… we still get together a couple times a year.

Because we’re all coaches, and we’re all entrepreneurs, we like to get together and brainstorm and make plans for our businesses. We strategize, and we work through some of the problems that we’re facing. We trade tips and different ideas and suggestions.

Actually, one of the tips that came up over the weekend, that was recommended to me, I just implemented right before I started recording this episode. It was a game changer. I have been stuck on something and just the slightest, smallest, little suggestion from someone in passing made all the difference in the world.

It’s so fun to spend time with people who inspire you like that. I get the privilege of doing it in the group coaching programs that I’m a part of. And then, with the other people that I’ve met that are entrepreneurial, that are in the coaching industry, that think like me that have similar goals.

To me, it’s just so incredible to get to spend time with people like that. If you’re listening to this, and you want to spend time with people like that, you’ve got to come to the next retreat that I’m hosting, The Obsessed Retreat, because those are exactly the types of people that you’ll meet.

They’re people who have the same goals as you. You can talk about your goals with them, you can workshop through things, and they can have suggestions and tips and tricks. You’ll just have so much in common with them, and you’ll form relationships just like the ones I have now, that last you outside of these programs.

You can continue on in the programs if you want to, but you’re going to make friendships and you’re going to build relationships, that last you far longer than whatever program you’re in. It’s so cool.

We meet quarterly, essentially, myself and these women, so I might do a couple episodes here and there throughout the podcast about some of our random takeaways and epiphanies from these incredible weekends we spend together.

I had a lot of takeaways, some small, some really big, and I was taking notes all weekend, thinking about how can I implement what we discussed. I know as I was taking all of that in, I was thinking, “Oh my God, this would be so helpful to the people who listen to my podcast, and to the people who follow me on my social media channels.” So, I’m definitely going to share some of those tidbits with you in a separate episode. That’ll be so fun.

Speaking of tidbits that I want to share with you, this is something that’s come up pretty frequently on recent coaching calls. It’s come up across the entirety of my coaching career, but I’m noticing a bit of a trend. Sometimes I see things more frequently. Or I’m just paying attention to something because it popped up on my radar, and I really want to start thinking about maybe recording an episode on it, or creating some social media content around it.

So, I’ve been paying closer attention. It’s sort of like when someone tells you or asks you, “Did you see any red cars on your way driving here today,” and you can’t think or remember any of the red cars that you saw; you can’t think of them. And then when you’re driving home, all you see is red cars. So, it’s sort of like that.

I encounter this issue all the time when I’m coaching. But because I’ve been paying particular attention to it recently, it’s really come up on my radar. I’m just much more cognizant every single time a client references this, so I wanted to record an episode about it.

The topic that I want to talk about specifically is the topic of frustration. So, if you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while, you know I teach a concept called “the model.” The model consists of five interrelated components. It’s basically an equation for your life. You get to plug things into it, and then it spits out other information.

The five components are: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Results. Circumstances, the premise of the model starts with this, circumstances are neutral.

They’re simply facts that we encounter in our lives. What someone says, what someone does, without any spin on it. Without any qualifying statements, subjective statements, opinions, adjectives, descriptors; anything that makes it an opinion, not a fact. So, circumstances are strictly facts.

Then, our brain serves us up thoughts about them. And thoughts are just sentences that run through our minds. They’re our opinions. They’re subjective. They have those descriptive, qualifying words in them, those adjectives. And, it’s our thoughts that cause our feelings.

Our feelings are one-word emotions that we experience as vibrations in our body. Then, our feelings drive and determine the action that we take. And, our action produces our results. Okay?

So, circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, results, those are the five components of the model. Now, we use the model in a couple of different ways. We use it to understand ourselves and others, why we’re feeling the way that we’re feeling, why we’re doing the things that we’re doing, or why we have the results that we have.

We can also use the model to solve problems. So, if we don’t like how we feel, we can figure out what thought are we thinking, and how do we need to change it in order to feel differently? How do we want to feel? What would we need to think instead to feel that way? If we want to change what we’re doing, what would we need to think and how would we need to feel in order to show up differently?

If we wanted to produce a different result, you’d address all three of those things: What do we need to do differently? In order to do that, how would we need to feel? In order to feel that way, what would we need to think?

So, we can use it to gain awareness or solve problems. Now, I always tell my clients, one of the biggest components of coaching, one of the things that we do the most, one of the most important things that we do, is start to learn how to distinguish between circumstances and our thoughts about them.

Most of us don’t know the difference between a circumstance and a thought. Therefore, we go through our lives believing that our thoughts are circumstances. We believe that our thoughts are facts, even though they’re not. And when we do this, we make it seem like our emotional experience is outside of our control. That we’re living at the effect of our circumstances.

We’re not, we’re living at the effect of our thought. But when we conflate a circumstance with a thought, and we think that a thought is really a fact, what happens is that we make ourselves feel like we don’t have any control over our emotional state, over our feelings.

So, when I’m working with my clients, a big chunk of the work that we do together in our coaching sessions is just figuring out and distinguishing between circumstances and thoughts. Figuring out what’s the circumstance, what is the thought. What is the fact and what is the thought.

Now, when you’re new to coaching, you’re not going to be good at this. This is why we work with coaches because coaches have the ability to point this out to you, and show it to you in a way that you start to become aware of your blind spots and you start to change your perspective.

You stop seeing your thinking as true. You stop seeing your thoughts as facts, as circumstances, and you start seeing them for what they are, simply your thoughts. But it really takes the support of a coach to help you do that. Because these sentences, when they run through your head, they feel true because it’s what you believe. But just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Okay?

So, when you’re working with a coach, they know what questions to ask you to help you see how it’s a thought, not a fact; how it’s a thought, not a circumstance.

They’re going to be able to show you, through the questions that they ask and the journey that they take you on in a coaching session, they’re going to help you see how it’s simply your opinion, how it’s not a fact, how other people might be able to look at it differently, how you’re looking at it, and what words you’re using that change it from a fact to a subjective statement.

The power of that is that once you know the sentence isn’t true, once you know it’s an opinion, it becomes optional, and you give yourself power to change it. So, one of the most common thoughts that my clients mistake as a circumstance is the thought, “It’s frustrating.”

I’ll digress just for a second here. I really want you to be thinking about those five components of the model: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, Results.

There are only two places in the model that frustration would go, okay? Now, the first would be in the T-line of the model, the thought line. That would be the thought, “It’s frustrating.”

Or you could use a specific noun that you’re talking about. “What that person did is frustrating. What that person said is frustrating. What happened is frustrating. What didn’t happen is frustrating.” Whatever the noun is, you’re thinking the thought, “It’s frustrating.” So, frustration would go in the T-line of the model in that way. You’ll think something is frustrating.

The other place frustration can go is in the F-line of the model, in the feelings line, because you’d be feeling frustrated. Guess where frustration doesn’t go in the model? It doesn’t go in the C-line, which is what most of my clients end up doing. It’s a thought error they have, they think it is true that something is frustrating. That is never true.

I’m going to say that one more time because I really want you to hear me: It is never true that something is frustrating. What your colleague did is not inherently frustrating. What your mom said to you is not inherently frustrating. That someone turned something in late to you is not inherently frustrating.

That someone emailed you on the weekend is not inherently frustrating. That someone cut you off while you’re driving is not inherently frustrating. That a store won’t let you return something that you purchased is not inherently frustrating. That your spouse keeps buying you presents that you don’t like, that is not inherently frustrating either.

You can put anything that you encounter, any fact that you encounter, in the blank there, okay? It, in and of itself, is not frustrating. It is not true that the things that you think are frustrating are actually frustrating. It is simply your opinion that something is frustrating.

Now, imagine this. When you think something is frustrating, you will feel frustrated 100% of the time. That’s just how this works. It’s very linear. If you think something’s frustrating, you’ll feel frustrated.

Now, you might think some other thought. Your thought might not be, “It’s frustrating… They’re frustrating me. When they said that it was frustrating.” You might think, “They shouldn’t have done that,” and you’ll feel frustrated. You might think, “I can’t believe they did that,” and feel frustrated. You might think, “It should have happened differently than it did,” whatever situation it is that you’re encountering.

When you think that way you might feel frustrated, but the facts themselves would be ‘what present your spouse got you.’ It would be the statement that your mom said, or whatever your colleague said or did. Or the fact that someone got you something at a particular time when they said they’d get it to you at a different time.

Any of the examples that I just gave you… that the store said no to you returning something… all of those things are facts. That’s what happened. Okay? And, they aren’t frustrating, or not frustrating.

Here’s how I think of this. If you think about frustration on a spectrum, it’s not even on the spectrum yet until you have a thought about it. So, there’s no charge, good, bad, or otherwise, to the fact that you’re encountering, to the situation that you’re dealing with, to the circumstance at hand. It’s just neutral; it’s blank.

Then you think a thought about it, and you decide whether or not you think it’s frustrating. Depending on what you think about it, it’s going to determine how you feel about it. It’s going to determine whether or not you feel frustrated.

Now, one of the tricks that I teach my clients… Because when I call them on this, when I point out to them, “Hey, it’s not actually true, that that thing that you just said is frustrating is actually frustrating. That’s just your thought. That’s just your opinion. Even though you just told me that it’s frustrating, and you said that to me in a manner where it seems like it’s true, like you’re just reporting the news to me, it actually isn’t true. That’s just your opinion. That’s just your belief.”

When I tell them that, they struggle to see it. So, one of the ways that I help them see that it’s not actually true, is we start to find other ways to describe it. We work on identifying other thoughts to think about it. I was coaching a client on this earlier today, and the conversation that we had around the situation that she was dealing with, she said to me, like it was true even though it’s not, she said, “This person’s not getting back to me, and it’s beyond frustrating.”

Do you see how it sounds like she’s reporting the news? When you think that thought you’re going to feel very frustrated or very angry. And listen, you get to pick those feelings and that emotional experience on purpose, if you want to.

But when I teach people that it’s not true that something is inherently frustrating, that that is just their opinion, I’m also teaching them what is happening is that they’re causing their own frustration.

Another person isn’t causing your frustration. What they do is neutral, what they say is neutral, what they don’t do is neutral, what they don’t say is neutral, and the situation, or the fact that you’re encountering, is also neutral. It’s not causing you to feel frustrated; none of it is.

What causes you to feel frustrated is your thought about the fact. Which means you cause your own frustration because you have control over your thoughts. Now, this begs the question, do you want to make yourself feel frustrated?

Most people don’t think like that, they don’t talk like that, they blame other people for their feelings of frustration. But that’s not what’s actually going on. You’re causing your own frustration by thinking things are frustrating. Now, if you want to feel frustrated, you get to; you get to choose that emotional experience for yourself.

So, if you want to feel frustrated, keep your thoughts, don’t change them, you get to continue to think that the thing is frustrating. Now, when I ask most people, “Do you want to feel frustrated,” they tell me no. Which means you have to change your thought about the circumstance. You cannot keep the thought, “It’s frustrating,” and not feel frustrated, the two simply go together. If you keep thinking something is frustrating, you’re going to feel frustrated. That’s just how this works.

In order to not feel frustrated… Which, who wants to feel frustrated? Like 99.9% of the time, I don’t want to feel frustrated. Every once in a blue moon, I’ll choose to feel frustrated because I will not want to think anything else about a particular situation. But that’s very, very rare.

I want that to be the 1% rule for you as well, rather than the 99% rule or even the 70/30 rule. I want it to be rare that you think something is frustrating.

So, think about a situation that you currently find “frustrating.” What are the facts? What actually happened? Get very clear on what those facts are. Then ask yourself: What am I thinking about those facts? You might be thinking the simple thought, “It’s frustrating. This is frustrating,” and that will make you feel frustrated.

But you also might be thinking something else, so dig a little bit deeper and see if there are other thoughts that are making you feel frustrated too. See what those thoughts are.

From there, once you’ve identified those thoughts, ask yourself: Can I think something else, instead? You can start with identifying the feeling. How do you want to feel about this situation, instead? About this circumstance, instead?

Do you want to feel accepting? Do you want to feel understanding? Do you want to feel in control or at peace or grounded? How do you want to feel? Pick the emotional experience that you want to have for yourself.

From there, work it backwards. Ask yourself: What would I need to think in order to feel that feeling?

Now, one more tip that I have for you. People will try and do this, and they’ll find one replacement thought, and the replacement thought won’t land with them. It won’t resonate. So, they give up really quickly and they just go back to the original thought. Instead of approaching this like trying on clothes. Okay?

You might not settle on the first article of clothing that you try on, especially if you’re shopping for something for a special occasion, right? You’re going to try on lots of things probably, until you find something that fits, something that looks good on you, or something you feel comfortable in. You keep trying until you find the ideal fit.

That’s what I want you to do here when it comes to finding new thoughts to think. I want you to keep going until you find a replacement thought that feels like it clicks into place. Where you’re like, “Ah, I could believe that. I could choose to think that. That makes me feel differently. That makes me feel a little bit better.”

It’s going to make you feel better because you actually believe it. If you don’t believe it, it’s not going to change the way that you feel. So, you’re going to still feel frustrated because the thought, the primary thought that you’re continuing to think, is the original thought that made you feel frustrated in the first place. You can’t get rid of the feeling of frustration until you get rid of the thought causing it. So, you want to replace that thought with something else.

Another way that you can break up the thought, dismantle the thought making you feel frustrated, is simply by making the argument: How is that thought not true? Now, I know you’re going to feel like it is very true; that the situation that you’re encountering is frustrating.

But I want you to put your thinking cap on and really go to work here. How is it not true? How might someone else look at the situation? How might the business that is telling you you can’t return something, how might they look at it? How might your mom look at the situation? Specifically, what she said, how might she look at that? Will she think it’s frustrating or will she have a different thought about it?

Will your spouse think it’s frustrating that they bought you the present that they bought you? Will someone else think it’s frustrating your colleague said what they said, or they did what they did? Or the person that turned something in late to you, will they think it’s frustrating? What might they think, instead?

Even just going there helps you get perspective on how other people can look at the exact same fact through a different lens, from a different vantage point. When you start to see those different lenses and those different vantage points, you get access to different thoughts to think about the facts that you encounter. And when you get access to those thoughts, you also get access to different feelings.

So, if you’re someone who frequently feels frustrated… Which a lot of the people I work with they frequently feel frustrated. They feel frustrated about traffic, that there shouldn’t be traffic. Or that it’s frustrating to be in traffic… what else could you think about that?

I promise you, there’s one person, at least, probably many more people than one, but there’s one person on the planet that has a different thought about traffic. What do you think they think? How do you think they feel about it?

Try that on. What would someone else, who got the present that you received, think about it? What might another person think about it? Maybe not what would they, but what might they think about it? Just to give you access to different thoughts to think, instead of the thoughts you might be thinking.

Try doing this. Find the things that you feel frustrated about, and figure out what you’re thinking that’s making you feel frustrated. Because I promise you, you are frustrating yourself. No one else is doing it to you. And then, make up your mind: Do I want to feel frustrated? I highly recommend you don’t choose frustrated most of the time. And in that case, what can you choose to think instead?

Think of how you want to feel instead of feeling frustrated, and let that be your common experience, feeling those feelings instead of feeling frustration, it’s way better. I hope this helps you dial down the frustration that you feel day in and day out, so you can feel less stressed and more fulfilled. That’s what we do here on The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast.

All right, my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will talk to you in the next episode. Oh, one more thing. I talked about this last week, but I’m going to mention it again here.

Remember, I am doing another rating and review giveaway. So, if you rate and review the podcast before the end of the year, before December 31, 2023, you will be entered to win a $50 gift card to Amazon.

I just gave out five of these gift cards, which was so fun for me to do. It’s not like there’s only one bite at the apple, you have a lot of chances to win. There’s also no limit on how many times you can leave a rating and review.

So, go in there, leave me a rating and a review, and then either email me at Olivia@thelessstressedlawyer.com letting me know that you did it, include a screenshot so I can see that you did, and then I’ll have your email address.

Or you can DM me on LinkedIn or Instagram with a screenshot and your email address, that way I can enter you to win. And if you win, I can easily send over that Amazon gift card to you.

It’s so much fun giving away a little extra holiday cheer. I really appreciate you taking the time to go help me get this podcast in the ears of more listeners, that’s what happens when you leave me a rating and review. I greatly, greatly appreciate it.

All right, my friends, that’s it. I will talk to you next week.

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

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