Episode 100: My Backstory, Lawyers Only & The Invitation of a Lifetime

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | My Backstory, Lawyers Only & The Invitation of a Lifetime

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | My Backstory, Lawyers Only & The Invitation of a Lifetime

In honor of the 100th episode of The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, I’m walking you through my backstory of why I decided to make the shift from attorney to coach, the impact coaching has had on my life, and something exciting that I’ve had in the works since 2017.

Listening to other people’s stories have always been incredibly inspirational to me and have provided me with the promise of hope on the other side of whatever I may be struggling through. That’s why, today, I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes look into my experience practicing law, how I got into coaching, and the dream I’ve brought to fruition for attorneys who are looking to thrive both personally and professionally.

Join me this week as we celebrate the huge milestone of reaching 100 podcast episodes! You’ll learn how I always knew I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, why I struggled to perform in Big Law, how my life is unrecognizable now compared to just a few years ago, and the invitation of a lifetime that I’m offering you right now. 

If you want to start helping yourself first, it’s time to join Lawyers Only. This is my signature coaching program only for lawyers, and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why I wanted to become a criminal defense attorney.
  • My advice to all pre-law students.
  • One thing I’ve consistently seen in my work as a coach and as an attorney.
  • My experience in Big Law and the toll it took on me.
  • Why I decided to become a coach and how coaching transformed my life.
  • The point at which I decided to bet on and support myself.
  • My Adderall addiction journey and how I set myself free from it.
  • The money I’ve made in my coaching business. 
  • Why it’s been a dream of mine to create a coaching membership exclusively for attorneys.
  • How Lawyers Only is the one-stop shop for learning everything you need to know to thrive personally and professionally.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 100. In honor of the 100th episode, I wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look, tell you a little bit about myself, explain how I got into coaching from lawyering, and then tell you about something I’ve had in the works since 2017. 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 am so excited! Episode 100, can you get over that? I think it is so amazing that I get to come into your headphones or your speakers every week, and talk to you and teach you the amazing concepts that you can use to live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. I love to give immense value in these episodes. I always want to have you walking away from listening to the episode and be able to implement something right away, and to get a quick win, get a quick transformation.

So, something I’ve strayed away from doing in the first 100 episodes is really going into my story in great detail. I wanted to make sure that I served you amazing content upfront. But I do think that there is value in having you know a little bit more about me. I know for me, listening to other people’s stories was really inspirational to me. It let me know that, A- I wasn’t alone, other people struggled with the same things that I struggled with, that there was hope on the other side of the struggle. 

I want to talk a little bit about my journey, what I experienced when I practiced law, how coaching helped me, and just give you guys a little bit more insight into what makes me tick and how I got to where I am. And then, I’m going to let you in… I’ve talked a little bit about it on the podcast before… but I want to let you in on something that has been brewing since 2017 and tell you all about that too. So, let’s dive in. 

Okay, not to give you the War and Peace version, but to give you the War and Peace version of my life. A lot of people typically ask me, how did you get into the legal industry and then what made you switch? So, let’s get into it. 

I decided that I wanted to be an attorney when I was eight years old. That came as a result… I was really fascinated with the Italian-American mafia. It started with a Scholastic Book Fair; I found a book about Al Capone. And of course it said “Italian” on the front, and I am a very proud Italian. I was very close with my Italian grandfather; my grandfather on my dad’s side. I was just really into all things Italian. 

So, I saw the book cover, I bought the book, and I started learning more about organized crime. Now, because it was a Scholastic Book Fair book, it was a very romanticized version of Al Capone’s story, right? I started to read that, and then got a little bit more into it and I saw a commercial for a documentary on the five crime families in New York, in the Italian Mob. This was right around the same time; I was about eight years old. 

I asked my mom if we could watch it because I wanted to learn more about Italians; that’s how they were promoting it. They were talking about Italian-American mafia families. So, we watched the documentary, and in the documentary there was an attorney who counseled one of the heads of the five families, Vinny “The Chin” Gigante. I believe he was the head of the Genovese crime family.

The attorney… this is when all the RICO indictments were going down, during the wiretap era where everyone was getting busted… the attorney told Vinny “The Chin” that what he should do is walk around the streets of New York in a bathrobe and talk to himself. It actually worked; he evaded the RICO indictment for a really long time. 

I remember, my takeaway from that, at a precocious young age of eight was, “Oh, my goodness, I want to be one of these guys that helps the good guys stay away from the bad guys.” I told my mom that and she was like, “Oh, Jesus Christ. Good Lord, I hope you grow out of this. You’ve got this all wrong. The mobsters aren’t the good guys, the FBI agents aren’t the bad guys, and it’s not a good thing that the attorney helped the mobsters evade law enforcement.”

I was like, “Yeah, I just disagree with you. If we’re keeping Italians out of jail, then it’s a good thing.” That’s basically what my eight-year-old brain told me. So, I decided at that moment that I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney for the Italian Mafia. Like I said, I think my parents thought I would grow out of that, but I never did. 

I set my sights on law school at that point and I just kept working towards it. Obviously, I went through high school, went to undergrad, and then took the LSAT and applied to law school. I ended up getting a full ride to Wayne State University Law School, which is in Detroit; which is where I’m originally from. 

I grew up just outside of Detroit and went to school in the city. I bought a house in the suburbs of Detroit when I was 20? That’s right. It was in 2009, so I was 20 years old. I commuted to school, both during undergrad and then ultimately law school. 

Now, one thing I want to mention if there are any pre-law students listening to this podcast, is that I applied to a bunch of different law schools. I got into some higher ranked schools than Wayne State, but I got offered a full scholarship to Wayne State. At the time, I didn’t realize how impactful that would be for me. 

One of the things that I typically tell pre-law students now is, if you are thinking about going to law school, if you can go someplace where you can get a full scholarship, or any scholarship for that matter, it is so helpful. Not just because of the financial expense associated with going to law school, but because it gives you options. 

I have absolutely no student loan debt. And as I start to tell you the rest of my story, that really does play a part in giving me leverage and autonomy and options that were available to me, because I wasn’t tied to a high-paying job because I had student loans to pay off. 

There are certain jobs where it absolutely helps you to go to a T-14 school, something that’s really highly ranked. But if you want to do family law, or criminal defense like I wanted to do, it really doesn’t make that big of a difference where you go to school. So, if you can take a full scholarship to a school that’s not as highly ranked, you can still get an amazing education. 

You can get great opportunities, because you’re probably going to be in an urban area where the court system is. You’ll be able to get in at firms where you can get great trial experience or courtroom experience, or experience doing whatever it is that you want to do. 

But if you’re not worried about wanting to be a professor or wanting to work in “big law”, take advantage of those scholarship opportunities. It made all the difference for me. Anyways, I digress. 

So, I got accepted. I get a full ride; I say yes to Wayne State. And then I started attending Wayne State as an evening student. I went to law school at night, and I worked full time during the day. At the time, I had a couple different jobs. I was still bartending, and then I was running a personal assistant business. 

In that capacity, I worked for the chief of police in a city that surrounded or bordered Detroit. I worked for him for a number of years. And while I was working for him, during my early years of law school, he knew what I wanted to ultimately do. 

He knew that I wanted to go into criminal defense so he ended up introducing me to someone I ultimately worked for, which happens to be one of the best trial attorneys in the state of Michigan. Someone who handled high-stakes felonies, a lot of homicide cases, a lot of really high profile trials. 

So, I get introduced to him and he invites me out to his office to be interviewed. I drove out there… I had to go home, throw out a suit… I went out to his office and we started talking. He learns more about me, what I’m like, what my experience is, how my law school experience has been going, and we really hit it off. He was impressed with my background and my work ethic and all of that good stuff, then asked me, “When do you want to start?”

This was in March of 2014, I think. I had been planning on starting after law school finals were over, so not until the end of April. I was like, “Oh, I think after finals.” He goes, “Well, when are finals?” I tell him that they’re not until the end of April. He’s like, “Oh, no, I meant when do you want to start this week?” I explained to him, “Well, I have three jobs,” and he just kind of smirked at me and he goes, “No, now you have one.” So, I ended up starting there the next day. 

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. So, I quit my bartending job and I wound down my personal assistant business. I ended up still working for the chief of police; I did payroll for him and some other administrative stuff. I did that, literally in the middle of the night, while I started working at this criminal defense firm. 

But I dove headfirst into this criminal defense work, and honestly, it was a dream come true. It is all I have ever wanted to do. A couple months in, right after finals ended, I started on my first felony trial where I was supporting two attorneys, our Managing Partner and then another attorney that we worked with, as a law clerk. 

I spent seven weeks working on a felony rape case up in Lansing, and it was like playing in the Super Bowl. It is exactly what I had always wanted to do, and I was getting the opportunity to do it, which was so incredible. I ended up working there all through law school. 

One of the things that I learned while I was there is that just because you’re a great trial attorney doesn’t mean you’re a great business owner. One of the things that I’ve consistently seen both in my work as a coach and in my life as an attorney, is that if you are in private practice, you really need to be good at both. You need to be good at the practice of law but also in running a business. 

Even if you don’t own your own business, if you’re working at a firm you basically have your own practice, and it is its own micro business. So, you have to have both skill sets. And even though we had the best cases, we worked with the best people, and we had so much fun, the person that I worked for wasn’t the best business owner. So, things were a little chaotic at times, a little disorganized, and it felt unstable. Unstable to me felt scary. I have supported myself since I was 18. I’ve lived on my own. I’m super proud of that, but with that comes a lot of responsibility, right? No one else is contributing to my household expenses, so all of the responsibility falls on me.  When things were unstable or inconsistent or chaotic, for me, it really freaked me out. Because it’s like, I don’t have anyone to fall back on. Right? It’s literally just me. So, I started to get a little nervous, and I wanted to explore my other options. I was at the point in my law school career where it was my last opportunity to go out for on-campus interviews. I had absolutely no interest in working at a big firm. But other friends of mine in law school were going out for on-campus interviews. I had heard about it; people get these things called “summer associate” positions. I wasn’t really familiar with that. But I decided, you know what? What do I have to lose? I might kick myself later if I don’t go out for this and just see what’s available to me, identify what are even my options.  So, I applied for on-campus interviews with a bunch of the firms in Detroit, and got a bunch of callback interviews. Went on those callback interviews, and I ended up getting a summer associate offer from the best firm in the state of Michigan. And even though it really wasn’t what I wanted to do, I didn’t have any desire to do civil litigation, it was a very prestigious job.  This was after there was a salary increase. Most Detroit firms didn’t do the salary increase, but this firm did. So, it was significantly more money than I would have made at the criminal defense firm. Or if I wanted to go be a prosecutor; way, way, way more money than I would have made as a prosecutor, if I wanted to get that trial experience. And if we were comparing litigation firms, civil litigation firms, this was definitely the best opportunity just because it was such a lucrative position. So, I was apprehensive because it wasn’t really what I was passionate about. But I felt crazy turning it down.  When I told people that I got this offer, they also told me that I would be crazy to turn it down. So, caring a lot about what other people thought and caring about the money and the prestige, I ended up accepting the position. I ended up going there.  If you’re familiar with summer associate positions, it takes a while for you to actually start that position after you get the offer. So, the rest of the year unfolds. I actually worked on the Flint Water Crisis investigation in the interim, and then it came time for me to start my summer associate position and I went to work there.  Pretty quickly I realized this probably wasn’t the right fit for me. But I went through the summer and succeeded in that role, and ultimately got a full time offer from that firm. And for the same exact reasons as I took the initial offer, me caring about what other people thought, me worrying about the money, me being kind of focused on the prestige, I said yes even though my heart really wasn’t in it. 

I went back. I continued working at the criminal defense firm after my summer associate position. And then, once I left to take the bar exam I left that firm. After I took the bar exam I started in “big law”. It took me all of about a month to realize, “Oh my goodness, what have I done?” I very quickly realized that I did not want to be there, it was not the right fit for me. I don’t have a personality that I think is conducive to that environment, so I very quickly started to regret my decision. 

A couple of different things were happening. Number one, I started blaming people around me. I can say this now sort of with a chuckle or a smile, because I have so much more awareness now about what was going on at the time, but in that moment this felt so true for me. I recognize it’s not true now, but I very deeply felt like I had been forced to take this job. 

I felt like my parents forced me to take the job. I felt like my friends and other family members forced me to take the job, because they had such strong opinions about me taking it. So, I felt like I had made this decision against my own will, which felt very disempowering. I felt very out of control, which is one of my least favorite emotions to feel. 

And I felt very resentful. I was very angry with people around me. I felt like they didn’t support my decision to pursue my passion, which was criminal defense. They had strong opinions about me staying at the firm that I had worked out throughout law school just because it was unstable. I just felt very unsupported. I resented the people around me for having these strong opinions and for voicing them. 

I felt like my hands were tied even though now I know that they were not, and that I made those choices all along the way. I also felt really frustrated and mad at myself, because I felt like I had abandoned what was deeply, deeply important to me. I felt like I had reached a fork in the road moment in my life, in my career, and I felt like I had made the wrong choice. I felt like I abandoned my dream. 

I think that really eroded a lot of trust with myself. Feeling like I didn’t have my own back. Feeling like I wasn’t prioritizing what it was that I really wanted in my life. I had this deep sadness and sort of grief because I felt like the longer I stayed in this new position, the further away from my dream I was getting. Now, I also don’t agree with that either. I think that you can find a detour and ultimately get back to your path. 

But at the time I just couldn’t see that, so I was very frustrated with myself and very sad. Because I felt that dream sort of slipping through my fingers and getting further and further away from me. It was like riding off into the distance, and I wasn’t going with it. 

Now, there are a couple other things I want to mention. Number one, I deeply believed at the time that there was a “right” amount of time to stay at this job, to work in big law. I cared a lot at the time about what other people thought. I thought I would look flaky and look like a failure if I left early, so I decided in my mind I would bide my time and I would stay for a few years. 

If that’s you, if you’re in a position right now and you’re worried about what other people are going to think or how it’s going to look for you to leave, if you know right now that it is not a good fit, I really challenge you to question that, okay? There is a consequence. 

I’m going to talk about burnout a little bit in a minute, but there is a very severe consequence to doing something that feels out of alignment for you for a prolonged period of time. There is an emotional toll, or tax, that you will pay by abandoning yourself and what you want in life every single day. I deeply believe that that is what causes burnout. 

Also, if you have a lack of autonomy, or feel like you do, it’s not just about overworking, it’s about a misalignment in what you’re doing. You don’t enjoy your work, but you force yourself to go every day. You don’t like where you work. You don’t like the people you work with, but you force yourself to do it every day. You’re not passionate about it, you find it very disinteresting, you don’t enjoy your day-to-day work life, but you keep forcing yourself to do it, that takes a toll. 

So, at the time, I didn’t realize this. This is all information that I have since gained, and I can play Monday morning quarterback now and try and spare you from experiencing that. But at the time, I didn’t know that that was a thing. I thought I was just tough and impenetrable. I didn’t realize that could cause burnout. So, I decided I was going to tough it out for a while; don’t recommend it if you know something’s not a good fit. 

The other thing that I want to say is that from day one, probably even when I was a summer associate, I always knew I wanted to go back to work at the criminal defense firm that I worked at. I think that turns a stint at a different place into a prison sentence. You’re literally just biding your time.  I think that also had an emotional toll, because you’re never fully committed to the opportunity that you’re in, at that moment. I always had my eye on the door. I was always looking for the exit. I was always planning my escape. So, I never allowed myself to be fully present. 

If you have a backup plan… I always knew I was going to be welcomed back at the criminal defense firm. I talked to my boss, and it was part of our game plan, that I would work there for a while and then I would ultimately go back and do the criminal defense work with him and his team. 

So, because I had that security of always having the option to go back, I had a little bit of a dismissive attitude about the work that I was doing there. I was never fully invested. I was never fully committed. I was never all-in. Had I not had that safety net, I think I would have shown up differently in that position. 

One of the things that I teach people now, is if you want to be someplace else and you deeply know that, I highly recommend you just jump straight there. I gave that advice to a friend of mine. We actually worked at the same big law firm together. She was a year behind me, and she had the opportunity to work with her mom. 

We went out for drinks one night. She had an offer from the firm that she was a summer associate at, and she was considering whether or not she was going to start there as a first-year associate. I asked her, “Do you ultimately want to leave to go work with your mom?” Her mom is an incredible attorney in Michigan. 

Through our conversation, she ultimately figured out that she did know that at the end of the day she just wanted to go and work with her mom. That it was a really unique opportunity. They’re both powerhouse women. My viewpoint was, why would you prolong that, if that’s where you ultimately want to be? 

Because you are losing years if you know that’s where you want to go. If you discover along the way that you want to be someplace else, then it’s never too late. Go ahead and make the pivot. But I think if you already know you want to be someplace else, just invest in that right now and figure out how to make it work. 

If you think you won’t make as much money, go figure out how to make more money. If you think that you’re going to get some skill set from a different opportunity that you wouldn’t otherwise get there, really question yourself. Do you need that skill set? 

I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney; did I get better at doing civil discovery when I worked in big law? Yes, much better than I would have otherwise. But that’s not a skill set that I needed to develop to do the work that I ultimately did. 

Now, are there skill sets that I did develop that made me a better lawyer overall? Yes. But I think the question you really want to ask yourself is: What makes me the best lawyer that I want to be? That question, had I asked myself that, would have made a really big difference. 

I had a friend of mine, and we went out to dinner one night. This is when I was deciding whether or not to accept the full-time first-year associate position. He asked me, “What makes you the best lawyer at the end of the day?” I said I’m going to work in big law. 

But what I realize now, is that it was an incomplete question, or it wasn’t the right question. What makes you the best type of lawyer that you actually want to be? Whatever the answer to that question is, that’s what I think you should pursue. 

So, for me, I didn’t know any of this stuff at the time so I decided to stay put for a couple of years, not realizing that it was going to take a toll on me. I also underestimated that having my eye on the door, and one foot in one foot out, was ultimately going to negatively impact the way that I showed up. 

If you can avoid those, if you can avoid those “mistakes”, I highly recommend that you avoid them. Because they do impact your experience wherever you’re working. 

That being said, I’m in my first month, two months in big law, and I’m realizing this is not what I want for myself. I made the wrong decision. I shouldn’t have ended up here. I want to do criminal defense. How on earth can I get out of here? What I realized as well… Of course, I could have just left, but I cared too much about what other people thought. I also didn’t want to give up the money. 

So, I crafted this bananas scheme in my head. And I think entrepreneurs are a little delusional. I think you kind of need to be, you need to be a dreamer in order to undergo what entrepreneurship requires of you. I’m so glad that I was, as the kids say now, a little “delulu”, because it’s what helped me embark on the journey that I ultimately embarked on. 

I decided that in order to not give up big law money, but to be able to do the work that I was really passionate about, criminal defense work, I was going to start a side hustle while I was working in big law; working 70 hours a week. I was going to build that side hustle to bankroll my lifestyle, match my big law salary. And then once I had done that, I would be able to quit my big law job, go back to work at the criminal defense firm; where I also worked like 70 or 80 hours a week at the time. And do both.

I would run my side hustle successfully, I would continue to fund my lifestyle, and I would be able to do the work that I wanted to do without having to worry about the instability, because I wanted to go back and work at the exact same firm that I had been at before. I loved the cases that we got to work on, it was the best. 

So, that was my game plan. I was going to start a business, build it, and then use it to go pursue my dream and not have to worry about finances. I had no idea what kind of business I wanted to start. And, I see this a lot with people. I very frequently get asked, “Olivia, how do I find my next thing? I want to do something else, other than practice law, but I don’t know how to figure out what I should do.”

What I’ll watch people do is, they just wrack their brain. They just keep thinking about it. “What do I want? What do I want? What do I want to do?” A lot of times that answer probably isn’t in that brain of yours, alright? You have to start to explore the world and learn some things, and expose yourself to new information in order to get inspired, in order to learn what’s even available to you, in order to get some new ideas. 

For me, I started binge listening to podcasts. I started to consume everything that I could possibly get my hands on, as far as entrepreneurship was concerned. I was binge listening to Gary Vaynerchuk, he talks all about entrepreneurship. So, I started listening to his podcast, watching his keynote speeches on YouTube. I just devoured everything he had to say. 

I also started listening to a podcast called Hack the Entrepreneur. The host of that podcast, which is no longer in active production… which really bums me out… anyways, that host, he would interview entrepreneurs and talk about their stories. You get inspired by listening to their success story. Then, he would distill the interview down to one life hack that you could use and apply to your own life, in order to make progress or make a change or to do something better or more efficient. It was so good. 

One of the episodes that he did, he interviewed this woman who, I kid you not, basically had the same story as me. She wasn’t an attorney, but she had gone into corporate America because it was “the safe and secure thing to do”. Her family members had strong opinions about her doing it. They thought she should take the safe and secure route, the responsible route, the practical route. So, she went into corporate America.

Just like me, she very quickly realized it was not a good fit for her. She proceeded to stay for a while, and was really, really unhappy. Ultimately, she found a life coach. That was the first time I had ever heard that phrase. She explained that she worked with the life coach and stopped blaming the people around her. She started recognizing what fears were holding her back, and she worked on her limiting beliefs. 

She leveraged the coaching tools that she learned from working with a life coach. And, she was able to quit her job, start her own business, and then she went on to make seven figures a year. 

I was like, “Yes! This is exactly what I want for my life.” So, I’m like, “Tell me more. Who is this magical person you worked with?” She explained that her coach no longer worked with people one on one, but that her coach had the best podcast on the planet. So, I decided to go give it a listen. 

The first episode I listened to changed my life. I tell people this all the time, that a podcast episode changed my life. I kid you not, I deeply, deeply mean that in the first episode that I listened to, I learned that everything that I have in my life is the result of a choice that I’ve made. I realized that instead of making it my parents’ fault… me taking this job that I knew ahead of time that I probably wouldn’t like… that was actually my fault. 

That was my doing. That was a choice that I actively made, and I kept making it every single day. Why? Because I cared more about other people’s approval, and getting other people to think good things about me, than I did about making myself happy. I cared more about what other people thought than what I wanted for my own life. That was a massive wake up call for me. 

So, I felt like this person intimately knew me. The coach’s name was Brooke Castillo. The podcast that she created is called The Life Coach School Podcast. As soon as I listened to that first episode, I was hooked. I was like, “Alright, give me more.” So, I started binge listening to it. 

A couple months after binge listening to the podcast… It was pretty new at that time. She still records the podcast. It’s been out for a long time now. But I started in the early episodes, and I just listened to everything I could get my hands on… then I joined her group program. 

It was called Self-Coaching Scholars, and it was a weekly group coaching program. She did more than one call a week, but it was a weekly group coaching program where you could come and get coached live by her or you could watch other people get coached. I learned so much from watching other people work through the exact same problems that I had in my life. 

I started to realize all of these things that I was struggling with, that I didn’t even realize I was struggling with… I was a massive people pleaser. I was a huge perfectionist. I had a really hard time managing my time. I really struggled with procrastination. 

I didn’t even know that I had a great vocabulary of this stuff at the time. I think now, in a world where self-help and personal development is so much more popular than it was back in 2017, people are way more familiar with these terms. Terms like impostor syndrome or self-sabotage. But these were relatively new concepts at the time, and they were definitely new to me. 

So, I started to just devour everything that Brooke taught. I started to work on not caring so much about what other people think. I started to work through my tendency to people please. I started to understand why people please, and how to stop. I started to recognize that I have options. 

At the time, I didn’t realize I was such a negative person. But I really was a negative person. I had so many negative thoughts. We think 60,000 thoughts a day, most of them… when you haven’t been introduced to coaching… most of them are negative. 

I started to work through all of my negative thoughts. My “should” thoughts about other people; that they “should” do this, that they “shouldn’t” do that. My “should” thoughts about myself; what I “should” do and what I “shouldn’t” do. Beating myself up. I started to work through all of that. 

And very quickly, I started to feel better. I started to see a different way to look at the world, to go through the world, and I really couldn’t believe that this was the first time I was learning the concepts that I learned through coaching. 

Using these tools, I immediately started to feel better. I became a much more positive person. I felt more in control of my emotional experience, my relationships improved, so much stuff in my life immediately got better. 

Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I learned incredible tools right from the get-go. But some of this stuff is more deeply ingrained than others. A lot of the mindset tools I was able to apply immediately. Some of the skills-based tools that I learned took me a while to really master. That part of the story is going to unfold in a minute. 

But as I was starting to become more positive and look at the world through a different lens, and approach situations differently, in a more empowered manner, in a less victim-ey way, I started to look around me and I realized that the people around me were suffering just like I had been. 

They were struggling with the same mindset blocks that I had struggled with. They were looking at the world the way that we’re just taught to look at the world. That we’re living at the effect of our circumstances. That things happen to us. That our emotions are outside of our control. That the situations that we encounter automatically or directly cause our feelings; which is super disempowering and simply not true.  So, I saw people feeling overwhelmed or disappointed or frustrated, or resentful, or feeling insecure, or inadequate or nervous or anxious. All of those negative emotions that my clients typically feel day in and day out. All of my colleagues were feeling those feelings, too. 

And I know this is going to sound so cheesy, but I felt like I had the secret to the universe and I just wanted to scream it from the rooftops. Like, “Guys, I have the solution. You don’t have to feel this way. You don’t have to live this way. It doesn’t have to be this bad.” 

So, in the summer of 2017, I got this idea. I wanted to start a group coaching program for lawyers, specifically. A place where they could learn all of the things that I was learning. All of the things that law school, our employers, and our parents never teach us. I wanted to teach them a different way to go through life, a more empowered way to go through life, a different way to look at the world. 

I wanted to teach them the skill sets that we didn’t learn. Speaking of skill sets we don’t learn. So, at this time, even though I was having all of these breakthroughs with my mindset, I was still struggling in big law. I was still committed to toughing it out and staying for a couple years. But I was not performing the way that they wanted me to perform. I was struggling in that environment.

I, at the time, was so good at working for one person. That is what I had done all throughout law school. When I worked for the chief of police or worked as a personal assistant, whoever I was working for, I was answering to one person within an organization. 

And then, when I worked at the criminal defense firm, same exact thing. I worked for the managing partner of the firm. I was like his right-hand girl; I liked to say, “His Girl Friday.” I could think for him, I could anticipate his needs, I was the person who took care of everything behind the scenes. And when I work with one person like that, I’m really able to thrive because I know how to prioritize everything. 

None of the needs or assignments are competing. You have a very clear direction. You know what needs to go first. And then, in big law, I really struggled because I was working for a lot of different attorneys. That was a very new experience for me. 

I was such a people pleaser; like I said, I was learning tools to overcome that. But they hadn’t taken root yet. I hadn’t mastered the art of not people pleasing. I had mastered the art of not people pleasing at this point in my personal life, but not in my professional life. 

What I have learned through doing this work, both in my own life and working with so many clients that I’ve worked with, is that we attach such a sense of pride with being the person who goes above and beyond, that it’s normally harder for people to apply these skill sets or these tools in their professional lives than it is in their personal lives. And, that was definitely the case for me. 

So, I’m in big law. I’m working for what felt like a million different people. I had competing deadlines, and I didn’t know how to navigate it. I didn’t know how to communicate my capacity, or how to even understand what my capacity was. I had always just been the person through law school, and then at the criminal defense firm, that just figured it out. 

It’s like, I would look at my to-do list, which would be a mile-long, and an empty calendar, because I wouldn’t plan my schedule. I wouldn’t put things from my to-do list into my calendar. I wouldn’t factor in the time that it would take me to get things done. 

These are all things that I now teach people to do, but I wasn’t doing any of that. So, I would look at my blank calendar and be like, “I’ll just work until it gets done. I’ll figure it out.” But I’d constantly underestimate how long things would take. I wouldn’t communicate when I was falling behind on something, because I didn’t want to disappoint people. 

I was worried about what they would think of me, even though they weren’t going to think anything good by me missing an internal deadline. So, I was really struggling to keep up and meet expectations at the firm. And one of the men that I worked for, he was sort of a mentor to me while I was working in big law, we went to lunch one day. I had received several “talking to’s” at this point about my time management, or lack thereof. 

He was like, “Olivia, you do such good work. But you really need to get a handle on time management. You just need to get better at it.” I was, honestly, ready to pull my hair out. I had been listening to podcast episodes on it. I had been reading books on it, watching YouTube videos. I had bought every planner on the face of the earth, and nothing was moving the dial. 

I set my fork down… I was eating a salmon salad, in the building of the law firm that I worked at, at the restaurant on the first floor… and I was just really frank, because I felt so exasperated and so frustrated with myself and the situation. 

I just looked at him, and I was like, “Honestly, you got any fucking tips? Because I’m fresh out. I have no idea how to solve this for myself. I feel like I’ve tried everything, and it’s not making a difference. I just don’t know what the answer is. So, if you have any suggestions about what I could do differently, like actual steps that I could take to remedy this issue, I am all ears.” 

Honestly, bless his heart, he was so honest with me. He was like, “Honestly, no. I don’t have any suggestions. I suck at this too. I have just managed to make my way up the ladder in spite of my bad time management habits. And now that I am an equity partner, I can kind of get away with being a little disorganized and not having great time management practices. But unfortunately, you’re an associate and you answer to people. This is something that you are going to have to figure out and work on.”

In that moment, it was such a freeing experience for me because I was able to set down my shame around it. I realized that the reason that I was bad at it is because they don’t teach us this stuff. We don’t learn it. We don’t learn it in school, our parents don’t teach it to us, and the people that we work with also don’t know how to teach us the skills. All they really know how to do is tell you that you need to be better at it. 

And for me, that wasn’t sufficient enough guidance to actually be better at it. So, I made it my mission. I was like, “Come hell or high water, I’m going to figure this out.” I realized I hadn’t really dived into using coaching for time management, yet. But I realized that coaching and mindset work likely was the solution to this problem. 

So, I started to work on it. Again, like I said a moment ago, this is one of those areas for me, like overcoming my perfectionism and time management, procrastination for sure, were topics where I needed to learn the tools but it took them a while to take root. It took me a while to really master them. 

As I was learning these things, I decided, “I am not alone in this. Other people struggle with the same things that I struggle with.” And, that there wasn’t a great resource out there for lawyers to learn these things. So, I wanted to become that person for attorneys. I decided to get certified to become a coach. 

I registered to get certified in February of 2018. I started my certification process in August, late August of 2018, and I completed my certification in December of 2018. At the end of December of 2018, I put in my notice at the firm that I worked at, and I decided that I was going to go back to the criminal defense firm. I was going to start my coaching business, and I was going to do both.

I was going to be a criminal defense attorney and a life coach for lawyers. I was going to do both 50/50. Help attorneys with the things that I wanted to help them with, and then go get to do the trial work that I really wanted to do. 

Now, I do not want to make this sound like it’s all rainbows, daisies and sunshine over here. To be very fully transparent, while I was working in big law, getting certified, going through all of those steps to pursue the future that I really wanted to pursue, I was really struggling. So, this is where I want to talk about burnout. 

I kept showing up to a job that I didn’t like, and it took a massive emotional toll on me. Number one, feeling like I was underperforming felt terrible. That was very, very new for me. I have always excelled at basically everything I’ve ever done in my life. So, to feel like I wasn’t a good fit and I wasn’t meeting expectations, felt terrible. And, I took it really personally. It really, really impacted my mental health. 

I also was using Adderall. Abusing Adderall, I should say, in order to overperform. I took it through undergrad, not prescribed, but I took it through undergrad to study for finals and to pull all-nighters. I worked multiple jobs through undergrad, and would cram at the end of the semester. Basically, all of us did that in undergrad. It was definitely part of our culture in our study groups. So, I started to use it in undergrad. 

And then I also used it in law school, both to study for finals and to make it through trials. I get it, this is going to sound absolutely insane, but this was my schedule when we were in trial. I was an evening student, so I’d go to class at night. And then, I would go back to work after classes. So, I’d get out of class at 8pm and then I’d go back to the office and I’d work till about midnight.

I would go home, and typically take Adderall before I went to bed. I used to sleep on the floor of my guest bedroom, on the rug there. I would sleep with the lights on because I wouldn’t want to actually fall into a deep REM sleep. And then, I’d wake up at about 2:00 or 2:30, I would shower, put on comfy clothes… leggings, something comfortable… and then I would head to the office. 

I would print things out. Get ready for court. I would go meet with my boss before court, and we’d prep for trial. I’d go to the courthouse, I’d spend all day in court with him, then I’d go back to class at night. And, I’d do the whole thing over again. 

Then what happened is, the more that I took it, the more I needed it to work. So, my energy levels would be so depleted. I started to take it so consistently that my body became dependent on Adderall for a source of energy. So, when I got into big law and I was working there, and I was falling behind and struggling to manage my time, I would think, “Oh, the solution to this is that I just need to stay up later. I just need to work more.”

I would, typically, average about three all-nighters a week, sometimes less than that. But that was, typically, my average. I’d stay up for two days at a time. I have since learned how unproductive I was. Because the fun fact about Adderall is that you just get more interested in whatever you’re doing or more focused on whatever it is that you’re doing. 

So, if I was buffering to avoid work, because I didn’t know where to start, or I thought it was going to be hard, or I was just overwhelmed by all the work on my plate and felt so behind, I turned to something like Instagram or anything else I could get my hands on to avoid doing my work. 

I’d also go down insane research rabbit holes, and I’d waste a bunch of time not getting things done. Or I’d be fixated on organizing my inbox, instead of actually getting the work done that I needed to get done. But I felt like I was chasing this productivity high, and always wanting to take more Adderall in order to perform at my “highest”. Even though it definitely wasn’t my highest level of productivity when I was on it. 

But the more I took it, the more I needed to take it in order to function. If I wasn’t taking it, I would have absolutely no energy. Just imagine if you took the Energizer Bunny, but took his batteries out; that was essentially me. I couldn’t function without it. The more and more I built up the dependency, the more and more I was not able to focus and perform. So, things just kept getting worse and worse and worse at work. 

I had this perfect little storm going on. I was unhappy. I felt really unfulfilled by the job that I had. I felt like I wasn’t measuring up, like I didn’t fit there. And I personally really didn’t like the atmosphere. This is just my own personal preference. I know a lot of people who like working in their office by themselves and just getting their work done. 

I had come from a criminal defense firm where it was very common for us to all be in the conference room all day long brainstorming through things together, reviewing evidence, figuring out the evidentiary arguments that we were going to make. There is nothing better than that. That is my jam. There is nothing more that I love than being surrounded by colleagues arguing about the rules of evidence, figuring out how we’re going to prep for trial, and working together as a team. 

And, that just was not the dynamic. When I was working in big law we worked in staffed cases in a hierarchy structure. I hated that. I really loved the idea of ‘all hands on deck’ and everyone’s equal. Everyone contributes and is a valued member of the team, and no one’s above one another. That really resonates with me. And, that just was not the dynamic in big law. That doesn’t make big law bad, it just means that it didn’t align with my preferences. 

So, I’m feeling bad about myself and my performance. I’m struggling to perform at the level that they wanted me to perform at, because I still hadn’t mastered the skills that I really needed to have in order to thrive there. Then, I’m also dealing with this very severe dependency on Adderall. 

I was heading into the end of the year, and I had decided that I wanted to stay until the end of the year to get my bonus, and I met with the Attorney Development Director, the head of Attorney Development. 

She sat me down and she was like, “Hey, people think you’re brilliant, but you’re really struggling in a couple of key areas. We’re going to have to work on it. But before we get into talking about what that’s going to look like for you to make improvements in these areas, I just want to ask you a really honest question.” And she said to me, “Olivia, I think you’re terribly unhappy here. I just want to know if that’s true, and to ask you why you want to be here? Do you want to be here?” 

At that moment, in her office, I just broke down. I think it was the first time I really admitted how unhappy I was, and how much of an ill-fitting position this felt like it was for me, that it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. I just finally let it all out, took a deep breath and was honest with myself, like deeply, deeply honest with myself. Because I was really trying to tough it out, to make it to that three year mark that I had glamorized in my head.

So, while we’re having this conversation, I was really honest with her. I was like, “I am terribly unhappy.” I recognized that the reason that I was staying was because I didn’t want people to think that I couldn’t hack it. Even if I’m being really honest, I wasn’t hacking it. I didn’t want people to disapprove of my decision to go back and work at a place that wasn’t very stable; my parents had strong opinions about that. 

Again, I was still making a professional decision because I was worried about what other people would think. This woman was like a godsend. She just said to me, “Those aren’t great reasons to stay in a job. Great reasons to stay in a job are because you’re passionate about the work, you like the people you work with, it feels like it’s what you want to be doing with your life.”

And when she said that to me, I quickly could see that none of that was true for me, right? So, it was in her office that I made the decision to leave. I told her I had another job opportunity. That I could literally walk out of her office, make one phone call, and line that up. Which is exactly what I did. I walked out of her office, I called my former boss, and I said, “We need to sit down. I’m ready to come back. And, I want to talk through the logistics of that.”

So, like I said, I left big law, and I went back to work at my criminal defense firm. I had really planned on doing both coaching and doing the criminal defense stuff, 50/50. Now, I was still in a little bit of denial around my Adderall abuse. I wasn’t ready to face it or come to terms with it. So, I went back to work at that firm and tried to pick up where I left off. 

That being said though, I had changed significantly since I had left there. I had been such a terrific people pleaser when I worked there. I had no boundaries with my boss. And when I went back there, I was a different person. I had learned these coaching tools. I had become someone who had opinions and didn’t mind voicing them. I was someone who had boundaries and wasn’t just willing to follow someone blindly, especially when I disagreed with their decisions. 

So, when I went back there, we butted heads. I had a decent amount of conflict with the people that I worked with because I didn’t agree with the business decisions that they were making. I went back there thinking that I was going to have more control over running the firm than I ended up having. And I recognized it while I was there… I wasn’t there for very long, I only worked there for like nine months and then I went off and started my coaching practice. 

But while I was there, I recognized that I was no longer okay being the second-in-command, or lower than that actually. I wasn’t okay just letting other people make decisions that impacted my livelihood, that impacted my financial security and stability. I had opinions, because I just spent years learning about entrepreneurship in order to start my own business. 

I felt like I had some really good ideas and I wanted to be able to implement them, but I wasn’t given the runway to implement them. So, very early on in returning to that firm there was tension, there was conflict. I was no longer someone who was okay not offering my ideas. I was going to challenge the way things were being done. 

I had ideas about what I wanted the firm to be like, and I wanted to implement them. And I realized that this wasn’t going to be a place where I was going to be able to do that. I could either tolerate how it was being run or I could leave. Because continuing to stay there and complain and not accept it wasn’t a good option. 

And then, the only two real options that I had were to make peace with it, which wasn’t an option. I just had too strong of opinions about what I thought should happen. My other option was to leave. So, I ultimately decided to do that. 

In the interim, though, despite the tension, I was very close with my employer. My boss sat me down one day, and he saw that I was struggling with Adderall. He called me out on it in the most kind, loving way. I’ve had a lot of people say to me, “Oh, was it a mistake to go back there? Should you have just started your coaching business?” Very honestly, I just wasn’t in a place to start a business at the time. I needed to clean my shit up. 

And going back to a place that felt like home for me is what enabled me to do that. I will never forget. This conversation absolutely changed my life. It was the first time that I looked at someone and said out loud, “I have a problem. I’m struggling with this. I don’t have a handle on it. It’s gotten away from me, it’s winning. I’m not in control here.”

That conversation was this loving, wakeup call that I needed to start really prioritizing my health, and admitting to myself that this is something that I needed to work through. That things weren’t going to get better in my life until I worked through it. 

So, this conversation was in the early summer of 2019. And things, like they had always been at this firm, got rocky, got unstable again. I had had dreams of grandeur of being able to go back there and start my coaching practice, and bankroll my lifestyle. Like I told you guys a moment ago, that that was my initial game plan. 

But again, I was a little delusional. Because the trial work that we did was a full-time job and then some. I was still working 70-, 80-hour, 90-hour weeks doing homicide trials with our team. So, I didn’t have the capacity or time to build my business. 

I also didn’t have the capacity as far as my wellness went, because I was struggling with this Adderall addiction. The reason that I so openly talk about this, I am not ashamed of it at all, I deeply understand that it was my drive for excellence that took me down this path. Wanting to perform and wanting to not disappoint people, and wanting to be everything to everyone. That’s what got me there. 

So, I don’t beat myself up. I just deeply have compassion for myself. I understand why what happened, happened. But I also recognize that I couldn’t pursue my dreams, in the way that I wanted to pursue my dreams, with that being in the picture. 

Now, a few more months went by and things really began to unravel at the firm. Things got more unstable. I continued to disagree more with the way that the firm was being run, and it ultimately came to a head. I chose very abruptly to leave. I had never done that before. 

If you want to talk about the power of coaching, I was willing to bet on myself. I was willing to leave without a game plan. I was willing to let things be rocky in order to bet on myself. I had worked on a homicide trial. And through that I wasn’t getting paid on time. And as that summer unfolded, my income was really inconsistent so we would miss payroll. Things were just very, very scary, and I was absolutely broke. 

Like I said a moment ago, I totally support myself, so there was no other money coming in in order to support me. I thought that I would be able to go back and weather the storm because I loved working with the people that I worked with and I loved the work that we got to do. But I was so much less tolerant of it going back, after becoming empowered and learning what I had learned through coaching. 

So, I finally decided that I could stay and weather the storm, but I would never really be able to tolerate how the firm was being run. But I could stay there because it felt “safer” than going out on my own with no game plan. But I realized that if I was willing to endure a rocky period, and be broke for a while, be scared for a while and have a lot of uncertainty in my life for a period of time… If I went all in on my business, in five years from now I would have way more control over my life and my financial stability than I would if I stayed there. 

At the time I didn’t want to work anywhere else. I didn’t want to go work for another firm. I wanted to be a coach. I felt that so certainly after going back. The only place that I ever wanted to work was this firm. So, if it wasn’t going to be there, that wasn’t what I was going to do. So, I left. I left without a game plan. I left very, very broke; I had no money to my name. I had no savings saved up. 

I had gone a really long time without consistent income, so my credit cards were maxed out. I didn’t have any savings. It was a really grim situation. But I decided to bet on myself, so I left there. 

A couple of weeks went by, and I was like, “Alright, what am I going to do?” I ended up applying for a contract coaching position. It was super, super part time; it was 10 hours a week. But it gave me just enough money to pay my mortgage and feed myself, and keep the lights and the internet on at my house, to enable me to build a business. 

Once I had that foundation, I knew the thing that I had to tackle next was the Adderall. So, in January of 2020, January 19th to be exact, I quit taking Adderall. I went cold turkey. It is hands down one of the hardest experiences of my life. 

And if you’re someone who’s struggling with Adderall addiction, I just want to warn you, and I’ve done research on this, there are medical consequences to going cold turkey. So, please consult a doctor and don’t just take this as any advice that you should follow. 

Very transparently, I was just not willing to go talk to someone or see a doctor about this. So, I assumed the risk. But you can have seizures and other complications from withdrawal. But I decided that I was going to quit and I did. It took me three weeks to detox. It was horrific. 

And then, I came out on the other side. That was in early February. And in early February, I was like, “Alright, I’m ready to start this business.” I started marketing myself. Every single day I deeply knew that I could help people. I was finally able, free from Adderall, I was able to start implementing the tools that I had learned through the past several years of coaching. 

So, I was able to start tackling my perfectionism. I was able to start working on my time management. I was able to start building and developing my discipline. I was able to start making plans and following through. Everything that I learned, now that I was free from Adderall, was able to take root and I was able to put it into practice and use it to build a successful business. 

I started going out and meeting people. I went to in-person conferences before the world shut down. And then when the world shut down, because of the pandemic, I felt like I was in my moment. I felt like people around the world were freaking out, and that I so deeply had the tools to help them through that time. 

I started showing up on LinkedIn. I started creating my own content. I started telling people how to manage their mindset. I started hosting free meetups on Sundays. Anyone who’s been around since March of 2020, and has known me from the streets of LinkedIn or Instagram, remembers those Less Stressed Sunday sessions that I used to host during pandemic times, during “quaren” times, when we were all at home and no one really had a sense of community or knew what to do. 

I started hosting webinars and trainings. And through showing up and meeting people and telling them what I did, and adding value ahead of time and making offers to help people, and just serving in every single way that I knew how to serve, people started reaching out to me. I started to get consultations. I started to sign clients, and my business started to take off. 

I signed my first client in April of 2020. And the rest was, I don’t know if ‘downhill from there’ or ‘uphill from there’ is the right term here, but everything started to fall into place. I started helping people. I started to teach attorneys the tools that I had been spending years learning and practicing in my own life. 

I started to see my clients get results, start to feel better, start to overcome their people-pleasing tendencies, start to dial down their perfectionism, start to get a handle on their procrastination, learning how to manage their time, developing discipline and following through. I started to reach more people, build my audience, help more people change their lives. 

Amazing things started to happen quickly. I think it was in August of 2020 that I beat my monthly “big law” salary. I couldn’t believe that that had happened so quickly. It was such an incredible day. I think in September of 2020 I had my first five-figure day, which was just insane to me. In the first 12 months, from when I made my first dollar in my coaching business to 12 months later, I beat my “big law” annual salary. 

In my second year, I made a quarter of a million dollars. In the third and fourth year of my business, I made a half a million dollars each year. I share those figures with you because one of the things that was so inspirational for me was hearing entrepreneurs talk about the money that they were able to make. 

Because I had known so many people that told me, “You’ll never make more money than you make in big law. This will be the most amount of money that you ever make. You should never leave it because of that.” And because other people boldly talked about the amount of money that they made, I felt safe and secure betting on myself. I was like, “If it works for them, it could work for me. It will work for me. I can be successful at this.”

It was their transparency that gave me the courage to go all in and bet on myself. So, for the first several years of my coaching practice, I focused on coaching clients one on one. Which has been such an incredible experience for me, being able to spend significant amounts of time with people, being able to get to know them intimately and work through their problems intimately. I still do a ton of one-on-one coaching, although I am winding that down now. 

Then in June of 2020, I created my first group program, and I started hosting in-person events because I have been on a mission to create a community for lawyers. For a while, I did this three times… that sounds right to me. Three separate times, I did a six-month group coaching program for lawyers. It was called the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. 

That gave me an amazing experience coaching attorneys in larger groups, being able to understand what that dynamic is like, and bring attorneys together; attorneys who are struggling with the same things. Give them a place where they can come and learn from me and learn from one another, connect with one another, and feel safe and feel like they’re not alone. 

So many people that I work with, especially my one-on-one clients, they feel like they’re the only ones struggling with these things. What they don’t realize is I have identical conversations with my clients session after session. They just don’t know that because they’re not in those other sessions, they’re just in that one-on-one session with me. 

I have been deeply interested in creating a space where attorneys can realize that they’re not alone in their struggle. They’re not the only ones suffering with these things. They’re not the only ones who feel like they don’t have the skills that they need to have in order to really thrive in this profession. 

Now, as much as I loved running those six-month programs, I knew in my heart that that is not what I was put on this earth to do. Since 2017 I’ve had a dream to create a coaching membership for attorneys. The group membership that I joined in 2017 was open to everyone. And as helpful as that was to me, I knew there was something sacred and special about creating that type of environment for lawyers only. 

And after gaining years and years of experience coaching one on one and running group programs, I knew it was time for me to create what I had always wanted to create, that weekly coaching membership program for, you guessed it, lawyers only. That is when the idea for Lawyers Only, my signature coaching program for lawyers only, was born. 

I decided to put it together. I wanted to have weekly group coaching calls, and then have this amazing community member portal where people could come and get coached, in writing, by me. They could bring anything that they were struggling with at any time, day or night, and I would be able to come into the portal and talk them through it. We could go back and forth and have this space where other people could learn from the issues that they were struggling with.

So, you could crowdsource ideas. You could network with one another. You could realize that you’re not alone, and you have this support system. Not for six months, but for your entire legal career. It’s a subscription service, it’s a membership. So, you sign up and you just stay enrolled and it keeps renewing as long as you’re practicing, as long as you want to be a member in that program. It is there to support you at every stage in your legal career. 

And so, that’s what I’ve done over the past eight months. I got the idea last summer to really implement this and get this off the ground. I started putting it together. I started outlining what I wanted it to be like. And then, over the course of the winter, I started announcing it to people and building the interest, and talking about it and getting it in front of people’s eyeballs. 

We opened up the doors to Lawyers Only in the beginning of March of this year. We had our first group call at the beginning of April 2024; whenever you’re listening to this, maybe it’s right now, maybe it’s years from now. 

This membership that has been on my heart since 2017, it is exactly what I dreamed of creating. A place where people could come and learn everything that law school didn’t teach them. To come and learn how to manage their time, how to follow through, how to overcome your tendency to people please, how to set boundaries and say no.

How to care less about what other people think, how to get comfortable with other people’s discomfort, how to define what’s good enough so you can overcome your perfectionism. How to have difficult conversations, how to delegate, how to manage other people, how to hire, how to supervise, how to develop business, how to network, how to make partner, how to transition jobs.

How to get into a different practice group, how to transition out of practicing law if that’s what you want to do. Learning how to manage your emotional experience in the world. How to control what you think, how to change what you think, how to dismantle beliefs that don’t serve you, how to overcome your imposter syndrome, how to stop self-sabotaging.

How to improve your relationships; dial down your frustration and your resentment and experience the people that you love and care about differently. How to dial down your guilt and shame and experience yourself differently. How to feel less overwhelmed, less stressed, less behind. How to feel more proud, more accomplished, more productive.

I wanted to teach people how to set goals and achieve them, and become someone who deeply trusts themselves, someone who feels confident, capable, and in control of themselves. Someone who feels like they take intentional action and they show up in furtherance of the life that they want. Someone who acts in integrity and in alignment with what they want for their lives. I wanted to be able to teach people how to feel better day in and day out, both at work and in their personal lives too. 

That is exactly what I have created with Lawyers Only. It is a one-stop shop. And I mean that when I say it, it is the one-stop shop to come and learn everything you need to know to thrive personally and professionally. To come and learn what you need to know to live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. That is the idea that I got in 2017, and that is what I have created this year with this program. 

Now, I want to talk a little bit about what’s inside the program, and what you get when you join. First and foremost, you get weekly group coaching calls, those are on Tuesdays at 1pm Eastern. They’re an hour long. People keep asking me, “Olivia, are they different from the master classes that you teach each month?” Yes, they are different. What is different about them? You raise your hand and we talk through an issue that you particularly are facing; you specifically are facing. 

So, I’m having a one-on-one conversation with you, but I get through multiple people each call. And the amazing thing about this is, because everyone on the call is an attorney we’re all struggling with the same issues, right? So, if you’re struggling with time management, another person who’s listening is also struggling with time management. 

If you’re struggling with delegating to your paralegal, another person on the call is also struggling with that. So, they can take the issue that we’re working through and apply the coaching to their own lives, to themselves. If you’re an attorney and you’re struggling with how to develop business, there’s someone else on the call who’s also struggling with that. 

If you’re an attorney and you’re struggling to get started working on a brief or redlining a contract, there’s someone else on the call also struggling with that. If you’re an attorney and you’re struggling with undercharging or underbilling because you feel guilty about how expensive your rates are, there’s someone else on the call who is also struggling with that. If you feel like you’re never measuring up, there’s someone on the call also struggling with that.

If you don’t know how to manage interruptions from colleagues, or even family members or friends, there’s someone on the call who is also struggling with that. So, every single thing we talk about week in week out is going to be relevant to you. You’re going to be able to apply it to your own life, and you’re also going to be able to get coached by me. 

First and foremost, we’ve got the weekly calls. Then, we’ve got the Lawyers Only Member Portal. Inside the member portal there is so much good stuff there. Number one, there are foundational materials that you’re able to go through, to just get familiar with the type of mindset coaching that we do in the program. It’s like, how to feel better 101, how to live more intentionally 101.

It is everything that you need to know to get started in the coaching space. I’m going to teach you the tools that we use on our weekly calls, that we use inside the member portal. It’s like a crash course in how to live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. So, you’re going to have those materials to go through. 

And then, you’re going to have a written coaching section where you can submit any coaching issue that you’re dealing with; any problem you’re facing, any question that you have for me, anything that you want to work through that you feel stuck on, any obstacle that you want help overcoming. You can just bring it there, you write up a description, then we go back and forth in writing, and I work you through it. We go through and we solve that problem together. 

There’s also a Feedback Request space. So, if you’re working on time management and you want to sort out your daily schedules with me, you can drop them there and I’ll give you my feedback. If you are working on business development and you want to work on your social media strategy for your legal practice, you can drop a social media post there and I’ll give you feedback on it. 

If you’re planning on doing a training, maybe a webinar to talk about the services that you offer and teach people about the work that you do, you can drop your outline there and I’ll give you feedback on it. 

There’s also a Masterclass Vault. Every single masterclass that I’ve ever done is in that vault. So, it’s there for you to watch on demand. If you want to learn more about how to delegate or how to make decisions or how to manage your time, you can do that in that Masterclass Vault.

There are also going to be specific courses on topics that I’m going to be releasing. We’re going to have Time Management for Lawyers, and that course is going to be released in summer of 2024. So, later this year. Then, Business Development for Lawyers is going to get released in fall of 2024. 

So, if you’re struggling with either of those areas, you want to be inside Lawyers Only because there’s going to be full on-demand courses to go through that are going to teach you every single thing that you need to know in order to master your time and develop business. 

You also have a Discussion space within the member portal that allows you to engage with your peers, the other members of Lawyers Only. It is an amazing networking opportunity in this program. We have attorneys from every practice area that you could possibly imagine. We have people who are in private practice. We have people who work in-house. We have people who work for the government. 

We have solo practitioners, people in “mid law” and people in “big law”. Every area that you could possibly think of we have attorneys in that space. So, you want to be in this program to network with them. It’s so easy. Inside the member portal, you can just DM the other members. You can set up virtual coffees. You can make those connections, be able to refer each other business, and just have people that you can run questions by and crowdsource ideas from.

I love seeing the members share with one another. They’re like, “Hey, have you tried this? Hey, this worked for me. Here’s a suggestion I have for you.” It is like the brain trust inside this program. So, you get access to that when you join Lawyers Only. 

The other incredible thing that you get, and I’ve never offered this before, but when you’re a member of Lawyers Only you get the ability to book one-on-one calls with me. If you would like additional support on a specific issue that you’re dealing with, and you just want to be able to talk with me one on one and do a deep dive in order to get unstuck, you can book a call one on one with me. 

There is an additional charge for that but it is well worth it. If you’re really stuck or you have something that feels really personal or sensitive, and you don’t want to talk about it on one of the weekly calls, you can just book a call with me directly. That is something that is only available to the members of Lawyers Only. I have never allowed people to just book a one-off session with me outside of that. 

My one-on-one clients have to work with me, in the past it’s been six months, now it’s five months. But you have to work with me for a committed amount of time. This is a really unique opportunity. If there’s just one thing that you want to work on, or you just want a little additional support as you go through the program, you’re able to do that by booking those one-on-one calls. 

Which is just something I’m so excited about, because I’m going to be able to keep that intimate aspect of coaching by offering that to people who want it. But then still being able to offer a program that is really accessible and really affordable to people. 

Speaking of affordability, let’s talk about the investment that you would need to make in order to join Lawyers Only. So, there are two ways to join Lawyers Only. One, you can become a Monthly Member. All it costs is $150 a month to be inside this program. Which, honestly, is just insane. There is nothing like this on the market at this type of price point. It is so accessible. 

I wanted it to be accessible and affordable to any type of lawyer. Whether you work in big law, or you are a prosecutor, or you work for a nonprofit, I wanted you to be able to be in this program. I wanted this help and these tools to be accessible to you. 

If you want to save a little bit of money, and you know you want to be in this program for the long-haul, you should join as an Annual Member. That is $1,500 for a full-year membership. Honestly, that is what I recommend you do, because I want Lawyers Only to be a resource that you have by your side throughout the entirety of your legal career. 

You’re going to go through seasons in your legal career. If you’re an associate, there’s going to be the trials and tribulations that you experience as an associate. As you move on up to a non-equity partner or an equity partner, there are going to be different challenges, different skill sets that you need to develop.

Learning how to develop business. Learning how to manage and supervise other people. Learning how to delegate and trust members of your team. Learning how to make higher-level strategy decisions can be very uncomfortable for people. You’re going to experience exposure that you haven’t felt before, that’s going to feel new for you. 

So, as you’ve worked through one level of struggles and obstacles, you’re going to embrace and experience a new level of obstacles. I like to say, “New levels bring new devils,” so you want to have the support that Lawyers Only offers you every step of the way. Same thing if you transition to working in-house. That’s going to come with its own set of new challenges. 

As you transition to each next phase of your career, you’re going to want the support of this program. So, I highly suggest you join as an Annual Member. 

If that is too much of a financial investment for you at this point, you’ve got the Monthly Membership option, which is, again, just $150 a month. But plan on being in this program for the long haul. You always want to have this support. You always want to have a space where you can come and get coached by me, work with other people in the program, learn from them, crowdsource ideas, talk through things with them, support one another. Just have a space that’s for you.

The people in your life, I’m guessing, don’t know how to support you if they’re not attorneys. And if they are attorneys, if they have the same  messy mindset, the same limiting beliefs, the same negative thinking, they’re not a great resource for you. You want to surround yourself with people who know these tools, with a coach who knows exactly what you need to learn in order to succeed, and with other people who think like you do and have the same commitment to really thriving in the legal industry. 

That is what you’re going to find in Lawyers Only. So, I want to invite you to join this program with me. We’re getting ready to do an amazing deep dive on what I call the three P’s: People pleasing, Perfectionism and Procrastination. We’re going to be talking about those three topics over the course of the next month. And you want to make sure you’re in this program so you can take advantage and be a part of those conversations. So, you can learn to overcome them. 

Those are the three biggest pain points I watch attorneys struggle with, and I want to make sure that you’re inside Lawyers Only so you can start to overcome those, alongside all of the other members of this incredible membership. 

Last but not least, and if I can get through this last part without my voice cracking I will be amazed. Here’s what I want to say to you. I want you in this program because I do not want you to miss out. I wanted to tell you my story today, because I wanted to show you the impact of coaching and I want to highlight how coaching guided me through that journey. Okay? 

I got out of victimhood. I stopped blaming other people around me for what my life experience was like. I reclaimed control. I started to empower myself. I recognize that my choices are my own and that no one forces me to do anything. And then, with that knowledge, with that awareness, I was able to start making different choices. I learned that what I want from my life matters. 

I learned to trust myself. That I know what’s best for me, and that other people don’t know more than I know about what I want from my life, what is important, and what I should do. I learned that it’s okay for people to disagree with my decisions. I learned how to let myself feel judged and misunderstood by people. I learned how to stop people pleasing them, how to set boundaries, and say no. 

I learned how to care less about what other people thought of my decisions. And to get comfortable with other people being uncomfortable, in order to prioritize myself, what I want, and to chase and pursue the life of my dreams. I learned how to get out of my own way, to stop being frozen or stay stuck. I learned how to stop procrastinating. I am a master at taking uncomfortable action now. 

I teach a concept called “gag-and-go” that I created, because I was my own first student. I learned how to work through my own discomfort and not let it be an obstacle that stops me in my tracks and keeps me from accomplishing my goals. I learned how to be realistic with my time and how to actually manage it. I learned how to plan my schedule accurately, how to control my calendar, and how to honor that plan. 

How to start ‘working’ when I plan to work, how to work without interruptions, and how to stop working on time because I’m not obsessing over doing a perfect job, I’m not indulging in perfectionism. I learned how to define what’s good enough for me, and how to release my perfectionistic tendencies in order to get more done and be more effective. 

Now, I’m able to put so much amazing work out into the world, because I’m not obsessed with it being an A+ job. I’m able to aim for B+ and get more done, and help more people as a result of that. I was able to stop beating myself up, because I was no longer holding myself to impossible standards. Which helped me feel prouder of myself and more accomplished, and that helped me increase my confidence. 

I was able to learn how to manage my mindset. Being able to recognize thoughts that I was thinking and being able to distinguish those thoughts from the facts that I was encountering in my life. Being able to change how I think so I could change how I feel. 

And if you change how you feel, you’ll change what you do. You’ll change how you show up. I stopped self-sabotaging and getting in my own way. I dismantled limiting beliefs that didn’t serve me. I challenged old ways of thinking, things that I had been taught that had been passed down to me. And by dismantling those limiting beliefs, I was able to unlock a whole world that was never available to me before. 

Now, I know how to set big goals and achieve them, and I am achieving them. I’m living a life that was incomprehensible to me years ago. I can’t believe what I have accomplished in a very short amount of time. I deeply promise you that would not have happened had I not found coaching. 

I feel like everything in my life is better because I found this work. And, it’s what I want for you, too. Every relationship in my life is better. My friendships are deeper and richer. My relationships with my family members are so much healthier. 

I went through a rough patch, especially when I left my legal career, with my parents. They really didn’t support my decision, and I was able to allow them to judge me, and for them to have their opinion of me, without me needing to solve that. I just let that be okay. I loved them from a distance through it. I trusted myself to have my own back and to bet on myself. 

And now I have such a beautiful, deep relationship with them because I don’t hold things against them. I don’t resent them. I let them be them. And I’m easier to get along with because of the tools that I apply in my own life. I let other people be the way that they are. I let myself be the way that I want to be. I just let there be room for all of that. I don’t resent people, I don’t feel frustrated, I don’t feel disappointed by people. I don’t feel guilty. 

I’ve learned how to work through fear of embarrassment, or fear of failure. I’ve learned how to work through all of that, which has just made me unstoppable in my life. I’m so much more positive day in and day out. I love the outlook that I have with the world. I love how I get to show up in the world. I love the experiences that I get to create for myself and that I get to have with other people. I am living a life on my terms. 

I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I am in pursuit of being free in every aspect of my life. I am the freest I have ever been, and I can’t wait to see how that journey and my pursuit of freedom continues to unfold. But I want that for you, too. I am more vulnerable than I’ve ever been in my life. I allow people to know me and see me, and to be connected to me in a way that I never before experienced. 

I have given more of my true self to the people around me in a way that I find just beautiful and inspiring. I used to put on a brave face, and I used to only let people see the part of me that I was comfortable showing them. I wanted everyone to think that I always had it 100% perfectly together, and that left me feeling so alone and disconnected, and unknown and unseen, by even the people closest to me. Now, I don’t do that. 

Now, I share myself with people, and I share what is good about my life and what is tough about my life, and what I’m struggling with and what I’m proud of, and what I have going on. I’m just so open. Am I done growing? No, I don’t think we’ll ever be done growing. But my life is unrecognizable in 2024 from what it was in 2017, before I found this work. 

Some of my transformation was immediate, it felt like lightning. There were moments where I learned something, like when I learned that I don’t cause other people’s feelings and other people don’t cause mine, and that transformation was night and day difference. I was just a different person from one minute to the next. 

Other transformations took time. It took me a while to unlearn my perfectionism. It took me a while to master time management. It took me a while to develop discipline, how to become someone who follows through and who does what they say they’re going to do. 

Whether my transformations were immediate or took a while doesn’t matter, the journey has unfolded perfectly. I am so proud of what I have accomplished during the time that I’ve been accomplishing these things. I want to offer you, when you start to do this work your transformations will be both instantaneous and will take some time to unfold. 

What I want for you is to get out of your own way and start this transformation process now. Number one, so you can experience those lightning bolt transformations and start to have those quick wins instantaneously. And you will get those immediate, instantaneous a-has inside Lawyers Only. 

I also want you to start getting to work on this now because some of your transformation is going to take a little bit of time. And the longer you prolong getting inside this program, the longer you’re going to prolong having this transformation be a part of your journey. 

I don’t want you to miss out on that, because there is a world on the other side of joining this program that is available to you. That life is waiting for you ,and the faster you get inside this program the faster you get to claim it. 

I have created a life that I love, a life that I am deeply, deeply proud of. A life that I’m living on my own terms, for me. A life that I’m obsessed with. And, I want that for you. 

Joining Lawyers Only, if you are an attorney and you are struggling with any of the things that I talked about on this podcast, is the best gift you will ever give yourself, hands down. I promise you that. Do yourself a favor, get out of your own way right now. Head on over to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/lawyers-only. I’ll link it in the show notes. 

This work is going to change your life just like it changed mine. You’re going to have an incredible story one day to share with people about all of the obstacles that you overcame because you listened to a podcast one time, and that podcast episode changed your life. Let it be this episode. Alright?

Alright, I’m done being emotional with y’all. I love you deeply. I can’t wait to work with you inside this program that has been on my heart since 2017. I will see you inside the Member Portal. The second you join we’re going to get to work. The life you’re waiting to live, that life with less stress and far more fulfillment, is waiting for you inside this program. We’ll see you inside. 

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 99: Great Expectations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Great Expectations

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Great Expectations

One of the main benefits of working with a coach is reducing your emotional suffering. There are many reasons we suffer emotionally, but one of the most common sources of emotional suffering comes from the expectations that we have. So, what is the easiest and most effective way of reducing our suffering? We change our expectations.

It’s tricky to spot in the moment when we have unrealistic expectations. That’s why I have a practical exercise to share today, showing you exactly how to identify your current expectations, and what you can do to bring them into alignment with what you really want. Doing this work has made a massive difference in both my personal and professional life, and it will make the same impact for you.

Tune in this week to discover how changing your expectations will help you feel better in your life. You’ll learn how great expectations are disrupting your happiness, and I share how to reduce your emotional suffering by better aligning your expectations in a more helpful way.

If you want to start helping yourself first, it’s time to join Lawyers Only. This is my signature coaching program only for lawyers, and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How our suffering lives in between our expectations and our lived experience.
  • Ways to create clarity around your current level of expectation.
  • Why your expectations might not even align with what you really want to happen.
  • The expectations that might be leading to your emotional suffering.
  • Examples from my clients’ lives and my own life of having unrealistic expectations.
  • How to get out of emotional suffering by addressing your unrealistic expectations.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 99. Today, we’re talking all about great expectations. You ready? Let’s go. Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero. Hello there. How are you? I am so excited about this episode. This comes up all the time in my coaching sessions, and it’s probably one of my favorite things to coach on. A big reason is because I’ve done this own work in my personal life and my professional life, and it has made such a difference for me.  I have really changed the way that I think about things as a result of doing the exercise that I’m going to give to you in this episode. It has changed my life. It has changed how I feel about my life. It has changed what I do. It has made such an incredible impact. I’m so excited to share it with you. I often find that when I coach my clients on it, it is an absolute game changer for them as well. So, I expect this to be no different. I think it’s going to be a game changer for you.  So, what the heck are we talking about today? We’re talking about great expectations. One of the main benefits that you get out of coaching and working with a coach is that you reduce your emotional suffering. There are a lot of reasons that we suffer emotionally. Of course, it’s always coming from our thinking, because our thoughts cause our feelings. But a category that I see to be one of the most common sources of emotional suffering comes from the expectations that we have.  Emotional suffering happens when there’s a gap between our expectations and our lived experience. It’s the space in between those two things, which is where our suffering lives. So, if you’re thinking about it on a spectrum, there is what we expect, then there’s our lived experience, and there’s a gap in between the two.  So, our reality doesn’t match our expectations, and it’s the space in between which has all of our emotional suffering in it. It’s where all our negative emotion derives from.  Now, through coaching, we want to reduce our emotional suffering. The easiest way that we can do that is to change our expectations, and have them more closely aligned with what our lived experience is.  The way to do this is to start by just figuring out what you expected in the first place. So, you have to ask yourself that question: What did I actually expect here? I want you to answer it as honestly as you possibly can and see what comes up.  Now, your brain might offer you the answer, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I expected.” We don’t want to just stop there, that’s a really easy default response that our brains love to serve up to us. But we want to push past that initial ‘I don’t know’ and search for: What did I actually expect? What was my expectation in this situation?  And like I said, give yourself the opportunity to answer as honestly as you possibly can. You will be surprised with what comes up for you. I have answered this question: What did I expect this to be like? What did I expect to happen? And when I give myself permission to just answer honestly, normally I catch myself giggling because my answer is pretty ridiculous.  Obviously, ridiculous is a judgment. It’s just an opinion, a thought. But I will laugh at my own expectation because it’s so wildly outside the realm of what my reality is. And oftentimes, I’ll come to find that I don’t actually even want what my expectation originally was.  So, I’ll see what my expectation was, and I’m like, “Oh, if I actually played that out, I wouldn’t really like that reality.” It allows me to very easily change what my expectation is going forward.  Now, that won’t always be the case for you. Sometimes that will happen. You’ll be like, “Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe that was my expectation. That was so clearly outside the realm of what I should have expected. I’m going to quickly change that.”  Other times, you’ll be like, “No, I did have this expectation. That expectation, to me, seems reasonable.” But because reality doesn’t match it you then still get to decide: Do I want to keep that original expectation? Is it serving me to have that expectation? Or am I setting myself to be frustrated or disappointed, because I’m expecting one thing and my lived experience is another? Now, the reason that changing your expectations… Starting by figuring out what they are in the first place, then deciding if you want to keep them or change them… The reason this is so effective is because, remember, our circumstances don’t cause how we feel.  So, if we want to feel better, rather than going through all of this work, all of this effort, jumping through hoops to try and change our circumstances, sometimes our circumstances are within our control. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes you can just change the circumstance. But a lot of times, you can’t. So, a direct route to feeling better, without having to exert all of this effort and twist yourself into a pretzel, as I like to say, is you simply just change your expectation.  The reason it’s so effective is because an expectation is really just a thought. So, if you change your thoughts, you’ll change how you feel. and then you’ll feel better. Also, by changing your expectations you get access to new thoughts.  So, instead of thinking that things shouldn’t be happening the way that they are, or that something’s gone wrong, or that something’s a problem, you get rid of all of that line of thinking, and then you get to feel so much better, because you get access to even better thoughts, to more positive thoughts.  Now, I want to walk through some examples of what I mean by this. Because I have done this work myself, like I said. I have figured out what my expectations were in different areas of my life, and I could see how my expectations were causing all of my emotional suffering. And then, by changing my expectations I was able to feel so much better about different aspects of my life.  I have also done this work time and time again with my clients. We’ll go through and we’ll figure out, what’s the current situation? What were their expectations? We’ll see the gap between the two, between their expectation and their lived experience, their current reality. And then we’ll decide: Do we want to change the expectation? And how might we feel better if that expectation does, in fact, change? When we do that work to change the expectation, they get that benefit of feeling better and reducing their emotional suffering. So, I want to give you a bunch of examples where this has come up in both my life and in the lives of my clients, so you can start to see how changing your own expectations can impact your life and make you feel better.  The first example comes from one of my client sessions last week. One of my clients has been interviewing candidates for an associate position, and one of the things that my client keeps encountering is that people don’t want to do the work that the job entails, that the job position requires. As we were talking about questions that she could ask for her interviewing process, one of the questions that we came up with was: What are your expectations? What do you expect to do in this job? She’s had a lot of resistance to people engaging in activities like conducting discovery or doing document review. I think doc. review gets a really bad rap. People talk about how they hate it, all the time. I used to have very negative thoughts about doing discovery. And what I recognize now, is that I had this expectation that all of my work assignments would be very exciting, alright?  When that’s your expectation, when you encounter an aspect of your job that you don’t consider to be exciting, you make it a problem. So, there’s the gap between what your expectation is and what your lived experience is. So, you expect things to be exciting 100% of the time, and then they aren’t and you make it a problem.  So, you end up feeling really bored, really frustrated and annoyed with the work that you have to do. You’ll feel bothered, and you’ll talk about how you don’t like this aspect of your job. You’ll complain about it, and you’ll dwell on it. And you create a really negative experience for yourself.  Now, what I’ve learned is that no matter what you do, there will be aspects of your job that you don’t love. I love what I do for a living, and there are aspects of my job that I don’t love. But because I’ve changed my expectation, and I don’t expect myself to love 100% of my job, I don’t expect myself to enjoy every single aspect of running a business, I no longer have that resistance to those parts of my job.  So, if there are parts of your job that you don’t like, I want you to check in with yourself and ask yourself: What did you expect? Did you have this “great expectation” that every single aspect of your job would be amazing and super entertaining? If you did, is that actually realistic? What happens when you start to shift your expectation to be more in line with your lived experience?  Which would be that some parts of your job you’re going to absolutely love, and you’re going to find those things very exciting. Other aspects of your job are going to be less exciting and less interesting. And that isn’t a problem. Nothing’s gone wrong, that’s just the way that it is.  One of the concepts that I teach, you’ve heard me talk about it on the podcast before, is that everything in life is 50/50. So, when you change your expectation to expect 100% of your job to be exciting, and you switch it to 50% will be exciting and 50% will be boring, what happens? How does that shift your experience of the more boring aspects of your job, of the parts of your job that you don’t love or really enjoy doing?  I will give you the spoiler alert, your resistance dials down significantly. Your emotional suffering when you’re engaged in doing those activities is greatly reduced, because you’re not thinking that it should be better than it is.  One of the realizations that came out of this conversation that I was having with my client, was that a lot of the people that want to work with her, the people that she’s interviewing, they want trial experience. As we started talking about it, it’s like, “Okay, well, what do you expect, if you want to get trial experience?” There’s a lot of prep work that goes into being prepared and trial ready. And part of that requires you to review documents, okay? To review “evidence”, to do doc. review. If you want to be prepared and aware enough to properly question witnesses, whether at a deposition or at trial, you need to know the facts of the case. And one of the ways that we learn the facts of the case is to review the documents that are at the center of the case.  I get it, some cases are more interesting than others. I did complex commercial litigation, and I also did criminal defense. So I can tell you, based on my personal preferences and areas of interest, the facts of my criminal defense cases tended to be a lot more interesting than the facts of my complex commercial litigation matters. But if you want trial experience, and you’re expecting yourself to never do anything boring, you’re really going to set yourself up for a lot of emotional suffering.  Because in order to be adequately prepared to go to trial, you’re going to have to learn the underlying facts of the case. And in order to learn the underlying facts of the case, you’re going to have to engage in the document review or the discovery process. That’s just all part of the deal. Now, if you expect it to not be, you’re going to set yourself up to be really frustrated and bothered when that part of the job comes time to be completed.  I was recently coaching another client on this issue as well. Because boredom tends to be an emotion that my clients, and myself, we don’t like feeling. I’ve had to do a ton of work on expanding my capacity to feel bored and not making it a problem, and not doing everything in my power to try and escape that negative emotion.  So, I was asking my client, who was telling me that she was feeling like she was in a bit of a rut. She was feeling really unfocused and unmotivated, I was like, “Alright, well, tell me what’s been going on.” She’s like, “I’m not loving work right now.” I’m like, “Okay, well, tell me why. Tell me, what is your expectation of work?”  One of the things that we identified through the course of our conversation was that she expects work to be exciting or entertaining. That was the word she used, “I expect work to be entertaining all of the time.” Again, some of the things that she does as part of her job aren’t going to be entertaining. Entertaining, whether you find something to be entertaining or not, it’s going to be your thought, it’s going to be an opinion. But you get to choose it. And sometimes we don’t want to just try and gaslight ourselves to think something’s entertaining if we deeply believe that it’s not. But the problem here isn’t with something being entertaining or not, it’s with your expectation that things be entertaining all the time.  Now, what got really interesting is, as we started to have this conversation, I asked her, “Is that something you really want?” Because if you play that out in our brains, our perfectionist-where-everything-is-absolutely-ideal part of our brains, we would think that entertaining would be fun. But if you play that out, my guess is that entertaining, while it wouldn’t be boring, would probably be also stressful and filled with a lot of pressure.  So, if you were thinking of the situations that would feel very “entertaining” to you, are your clients going to have very high expectations? Is work going to be chaotic? Are you going to need to be on more than you normally are? Are you going to have calls maybe at different hours of the day? Is your structure going to go out the window? Are you going to have to respond to things?  I was thinking of a PR crisis, essentially. That would be quite entertaining. But if you have a PR crisis on your hands, you’re going to be working odd hours and needing to respond to issues as they come up, with press inquiries and whatnot. So, it’s also going to feel chaotic and stressful. So, do you really want 100% entertainment all the time?  Or is there some benefit to things being a little less exciting than 100% entertaining? Is there some benefit to things being a little boring and mundane? Then you, at least, know what’s coming down the pike, right? You can prepare. You know what’s predictable. You know what to expect. There’s a lot of comfort that comes with knowing what to expect. There’s also a lot of comfort in doing the same stuff over and over and over again, because you’re able to build up a competency.  So, you can label it as “boring”, or you can label it as “easy”. The choice is really up to you. But when we start to shift out of the expectation that things be entertaining all the time, when you encounter a part of your day that isn’t entertaining you don’t make it a problem, and you don’t have as much resistance to just embarking on it and moving through it. Because you’re not telling yourself that something’s gone wrong.  This also came up for me. I’ve done a ton of work on working through my own resistance to feeling bored. I worked with one of my coaches on weekday boredom, or better yet, week night boredom. I was feeling really bored after I’d get done with work during the weekdays. One of the ways that I would work to escape my boredom was I would have a couple glasses of wine. Because everything’s just a little bit more exciting with a couple glasses of wine. At least that’s what I would tell myself.  The problem with that though, is the older I get wine really has an effect on me. So, I wouldn’t like how I would feel the next morning. I’d have some brain fog. I’d have a dull headache. I just wasn’t operating at my prime. So, I wanted to reduce my weeknight alcohol consumption. One of the ways that I was going about doing that was changing the way that I think and how I feel about weeknights. Because I was buffering with alcohol in order to escape the negative emotion that I was experiencing.  And the negative emotion that I was experiencing was being caused by my negative thoughts about my week night experience. So, my weeknights basically look like I get done with work around six or seven. And then I hang out and just chill and veg for about an hour. Then I figure out dinner; whether I order food or I cook food that takes between an hour and two hours.  And then, I have a little time if I want to watch something. While I eat I normally turn on the TV. Then I can either do a little bit more work, or I can scroll on social media, and just consume and sort of entertain myself with that. And then, it’s time for me to go to bed, and the day starts all over again.  I was making this situation on my weeknights a problem. Now I live alone, so it’s just me on my own, and I was feeling bored with what my weeknights entailed. So, my coach asked me, “What did you expect?” I sort of giggled to myself, and said, “You know what? I expect my life to be exhilarating all the time.” And she’s like, “Okay, what does that even mean? What would that look like?”  At the time, I think I was binge watching Succession, and I said, “I want my life to kind of look like it does on the show Succession, which is all about a billionaire’s lifestyle, flying private, being on yachts, going to galas, and just being all over the place jet-setting all of the time.”  And I laughed when I said that as my answer, because that is definitely not my life right now. I aspire to have that one day be my life. But with that being said, I recognized A: That’s just an unrealistic expectation for me to have at this season in my life.  I also don’t want that to be my life right now. I travel a decent amount for work as it is already, and it is very exhausting for me. It really takes a lot out of me. So, to be jet-setting on a plane every single day, or to be out at a function every single evening, that would have a profound impact on my health and on my ability to prioritize my business and achieve my business goals.  I would be depleted from my coaching calls. I wouldn’t be on top of my game. I wouldn’t mark it the same way that I do now. So, that would all take a toll on my business, and I’m not willing to sacrifice my business success for that day-to-day experience.  As soon as I articulated what my expectation had been, I was very quickly able to replace it to match my reality. I was like, “Oh, I actually want my life to look like what my life looks like right now. I want to have these sort of mundane Tuesday nights, where I have time to just unwind and then prepare for the next day, and I go to bed at a reasonable hour, and I wake up and I do it all over again.” As I shifted my expectations, I significantly decreased the boredom that I was experiencing on an average Tuesday night. So, my emotional suffering was greatly reduced as soon as my expectations changed.  Speaking of resistance to things being mundane, I coached another client of mine on this recently, where she was just kind of feeling blah or meh when it comes to her day-to-day life as well.  She was like, “Basically everything is the same. I wake up in the morning. I get my kids up. I get them ready for school. I get ready for work. I take them to school. I drop them off. I go to work. I work. I leave work. I pick the kids up from school. I get home. I spend some time with them. I prepare dinner. I get them ready for bed. I get myself ready for bed. And then, I go to bed, I wake up and I do it all over again.  And I was like, “Right, that sounds like an average day with kids. What’s the problem? What was your expectation?” She sort of giggled, which is typically what happens when I ask people to answer this question honestly and sincerely. She said, “You know what? I kind of expected my life to look like wanderlusting in Italy.” I love that answer, who doesn’t want to be wanderlusting in Italy?  But as we started to explore that, I was like, “Alright, what if you did that? How could you do that?” She could either take her family to Italy and they could all wanderlust together, or she could go to Italy… Because we all have free will to do whatever we want… and leave her kids with her husband.  Would that have an impact on her marriage? Maybe? Would that have an impact on her kiddos? Maybe, maybe not. But you get to decide: What am I willing to do? What am I not willing to do? As we started to unpack it more and more and more, she realized that she likes the schedule on the routine and the systems that her family is in. She likes how that benefits her kiddos.  Then we also analyzed, “Okay, if you weren’t wanderlusting in Italy, could you be doing things on weeknights? Could you be out to dinner? Or could you be mixing up your routine a little bit?” She realized she doesn’t really want to do that either, she actually prefers the current status quo. But because her expectation was wanting it to be different than it is she was suffering emotionally.  But as soon as we figured out what the expectation was, and then we played that out and realized, “Oh, that thing that I’m expecting it to be like, I wouldn’t even actually prefer that if that’s how my life was. So, I don’t really want to change anything.” Then the resistance to the current reality starts to melt away. And your emotional suffering starts to melt away, as well.  Another expectation that gets a lot of people in trouble is they expect their clients to always be happy. If you’re expecting this of yourself or of your clients, you’re expecting your clients to always be happy, and that doesn’t match your lived experience, you’re going to create a lot of emotional suffering for yourself.  So, you’re going to be worried all the time. Or you’re going to feel inadequate. You’re going to feel guilty, because you’re making yourself responsible for how your clients feel.  Now, I like to distinguish between ‘what’s within my control’ and ‘what’s not within my control.’ It’s your job to control everything that is within your control. But it is not your job to control how your clients feel, because their feelings are caused by their thoughts and they’re in control of what they think, not you. If you have this expectation, you’re going to have an immense amount of pressure on yourself. Because you’re expecting this great expectation of your clients always being happy.  Now, if you change that to have your expectation be more in line with your lived experience… Which might be, “Some of my clients are happy, some of my clients aren’t. Most of my clients are happy, but there will always be a few who aren’t. It’s my job that I expect myself to do a good enough job or to give my clients what they need, not necessarily what they want.”  Those are all different expectations to hold yourself to that are really going to decrease your emotional suffering. But expecting your clients to always be happy is a really, really, really high bar to set for yourself. So, if you do set that for yourself and them, you’re going to create a lot of emotional suffering.  And that emotional suffering is truly optional. You just have to change your expectation of what your client’s experience will be like in order to feel better.  Another great expectation that is very common for people to have is that they expect themselves to know more than they do. So, when I’m coaching my clients who feel like they’re not enough of an expert on something, or they feel like they’re behind when it comes to their knowledge of their craft, of their practice area, of what they do day in and day out, they focus on all of the things that they don’t know instead of focusing on the things that they do know.  When I ask them, “Well, what do you expect of yourself? What’s the expectation that you’re holding yourself to?” They’ll typically either say, “I don’t know what I’m expecting of myself.” Or they’ll tell me they just expect themselves to know more. But “more” isn’t specific enough.  So what happens is, you’re always thinking you should know “more” than you do and you always feel inadequate. If this is you, the gap between what you know and what you think you should know is going to create a lot of emotional suffering for you.  Now, the way to get out of that emotional suffering isn’t simply to just learn more. Because if this is the line of thinking that you bring with you to your work, you’re always going to tell yourself that you should know more than you do. The standard that you’re holding yourself to, or the expectation that you have for yourself, is always going to be greater than where you currently are situated in your current reality.  You’re always going to feel like you’re not measuring up. So, the solution here is to change your expectations. Instead of expecting yourself to know more, or to know everything, to never have questions, to always know what you’re doing 100% of the time, you want to change your expectation to more closely match reality.  “I expect myself to know some things and I expect myself to not know other things. I expect myself to be learning every single day. I expect myself to get better and better as each day passes. I expect that I’m not going to know how to do a lot of things. Especially the more complex they are, the more I’m not going to know.” If that’s your expectation, you’re going to feel so much more competent inside your work life, inside your day-to-day operating within your practice, because your expectation is going to more closely match your lived experience. Which is what we want.  I think I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I also did this exercise with myself. I was feeling really pressured and behind when it came to work. I asked myself: What’s my expectation? What do I expect? And my answer was, I expected myself to get to the end of the day and be done with everything.  When I realized that that was my expectation, I realized how unrealistic it was. Because we’re always going to have stuff on our to-do lists. That’s literally the nature of a to-do list; you cross some things off, you add some more things. You cross some stuff off; you add some more stuff. That’s how they work. The point of a to-do list isn’t to get to the bottom of it, it’s just to keep track of what you have on your plate.  And the nature of this career is that there’s always going to be stuff on your plate. There’s always going to be more work to do. And when I realized that my expectation was to get done with everything, I started to realize I wouldn’t even want that to be the case, because if I had no more work left to do I would be in a seriously bad situation. I wouldn’t have any money coming in. I wouldn’t have clients to coach. My business would really be in trouble.  When I use this example with clients of mine, they realize that they’re wanting the same thing too, or they’re expecting the same thing of themselves to “get done” with everything by the end of the day. And that that would be a worst case scenario for them, as well.  Now, you might not be as extreme as wishing that you’re done with everything, or expecting that you’re done with everything on your to-do list, but you might be expecting yourself to get through more of your to-do list than you do in a given day. And that is also an expectation that leads to a ton of emotional suffering. Because there’s your expectation that you have for yourself, and then there’s the reality of the time you actually have to get stuff done. So, in order to feel better, to feel less overwhelmed, less behind, less inadequate, to feel more proud, more accomplished, what you need to do is have your expectation for yourself match what you actually have time to do in a day.  I teach this in the way that I teach time management. When I teach you how you want to go about planning your day, we really focus on the math of time management. Because you need to have a clear understanding of how much time you have available, what can you get done within that period of time, and make that your expectation.  Rather than your expectation just being a wish list of what you’d like to get through and accomplish between the start of your day and the end of your day. You have to focus on the time that you have available, and focus on the math, in order to actually feel good about the job that you’ve done in a given day. If you don’t, you’ll always feel badly about yourself.  People think it’s what they accomplished or what they didn’t accomplish that determines how they feel. But I promise you, it’s not. It’s the expectation you had for yourself about what you accomplished. And if you don’t meet the expectation, you’re going to feel bad because you’re going to think negative thoughts about yourself. If you change the expectation, you get rid of those negative thoughts, and then you’ll feel better.  I want to run through a few more examples just to drive this home. So, when I work with people on business development, they’ll expect to sign clients right away. As much as I believe that things can happen very quickly, I also believe at the same time that it is okay and not a problem if things take time.  Now, I normally see it takes a bit of time for the action that you take to compound, to build up, to create the results that you want. So, if you start off month one of marketing yourself and you don’t sign a client, if your expectation is that you sign clients right away, you’re going to feel very discouraged and frustrated.  If you change your expectation to include, “I’m going to have to take some action for a while, and it’s going to take some time for that action to compound and build up, before I start seeing positive results come from the action that I’m taking,” then your expectation is going to be so much more closely aligned with reality. And you’re going to dial down all that frustration and disappointment.  So, I always tell people, “Let’s adjust your expectations to allow for the action that you take to have time to take root.” We want to make space for that so we can dial down you feeling discouraged, or you feeling disappointed, or you feeling rejected, or you feeling like you failed, feeling inadequate. That’s all based on what you choose to expect from your business development efforts.  If you expect something that’s unrealistic, you’re going to create a lot of emotional suffering for yourself. So, you want to make sure that your expectations are much more in line with reality.  Now, I coach so many people on developing business, that through coaching thousands of people on this I’ve seen some statistics come out of all of that coaching. So, I know what is reasonable to expect, or what likely happens, how long it takes more action to take root. And that’s one of the things that I work with my clients on.  I tell them what they can come to expect based on what I’ve seen other people do. And when you set those expectations to be in line with reality, you feel so much better and so much more encouraged, and so much more capable than if you expect something that is unlikely to happen.  Speaking of expecting things that are unlikely to happen, if you get work product back from colleagues, from the people that you supervise, and you experience a lot of negative emotion around it in response to the work that you receive, I want you to ask yourself: What did you expect? Did you expect to not have to train the person? Or maybe you thought they’d catch on faster than they are? Did you expect to get a flawless work product back?  When you force yourself to answer the question ‘What did I expect’ you’ll be really surprised by what you come up with. Then you can ask yourself: Is that expectation realistic? Or was I setting myself up to feel frustrated and disappointed? I strongly encourage you not to expect a flawless work product, because you’re probably not going to get it.  Now, there are things you can do to make it much more likely that you get a work product that meets your expectations. But expecting a work product to be completely flawless, especially when someone’s learning how to do something for the first time, or the first few times, you’re really going to set yourself up for all of that negative emotion.  If you change your expectations to anticipate that there will be errors, or to anticipate that you will need to train longer than you think you should have to, you will reduce your emotional suffering substantially.  Same thing goes with the expectations you have for yourself when you’re learning how to do something new. Are you expecting yourself to figure it out right from the get go, right from the start? To be able to do something for the first time and to nail it? If that’s your expectation, you’re going to suffer emotionally a lot. Because whenever we’re learning something new, it takes time. I did a whole podcast on this, about the messiness that’s involved in learning something new. So, when people come to me to learn how to manage their time, or learn how to develop business, and they struggle in the beginning, if they experience a lot of negative emotion as it relates to that struggle, as it relates to being involved in the messiness of learning something new, it’s because they expected something of themselves that isn’t in alignment with reality. Okay? So, all you need to do, in order to reduce your emotional suffering, is to change the expectation you have of yourself. Expect it to take time for you to learn how to do something new. Expect it to take time for you to build a skill set for the first time.  Another very common expectation that my clients have is that they expect everyone to like them. And if this is you, if you expect everyone to like you, my guess is your reality is not going to match that expectation. So, what you want to do is change your expectation to more closely match reality.  What if you expected not everyone to like you? Think about this in the context of food. We don’t like every type of food. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the food, that just means we don’t prefer it; other people might prefer it. Like, I don’t like Chicago style pizza. No offense to the people from Chicago that are listening to this.  I understand there are two types of Chicago style pizza; there’s the deep dish Chicago style, and then the tavern style pizza. I’m talking about the deep dish. I think it’s more like a casserole than a pizza, but that’s just my opinion. There are people who love Chicago style deep dish pizza. That doesn’t make them wrong or me right, or me wrong and them right. We just get to have different preferences.  Same thing when it comes to people. You might love people who are loud and the life of the party and the center of attention, or you might dislike them. That doesn’t make the person wrong for being a particular way. It just means you get to have preferences. Other people get to have preferences as well, and you might fit within their preferences or you might not. And that doesn’t mean anything wrong has happened. It doesn’t make you bad. It just means that people get to prefer you or not prefer you.  And if you adjust your expectation to make room for the fact that some people will like you and some people won’t and that’s totally fine, you’re going to feel so much better when people don’t think that you’re their cup of tea, when they’re not your biggest fan. You’re like, “Yeah, they’re entitled to that opinion. Nothing is wrong with me. I am me, I am fine. I like how I am. And I leave space for not everyone to agree with my opinion of myself. It’s totally fine.” Same thing applies to other people. Do you expect other people to never say or do something that you don’t like? If that’s your expectation, when people invariably do or say things that you don’t like you’re going to be really frustrated. You’re going to be really annoyed, very resentful, or disappointed.  So, if those are emotions you commonly experience, I strongly recommend you adjust your expectations. That is the way to reduce your emotional suffering the quickest. Because, and I say this time and time again, you cannot control other people’s behavior. So, people are going to do and say things that you don’t care for. And if you don’t want to experience negative emotion as a result of that, change your expectation.  Now, the pushback that I get when it comes to talking about great expectations, and the emotional suffering that comes from having expectations that aren’t in alignment with the reality that we experience, the pushback that I get is that people tell me, “What? Am I not supposed to have expectations?”  I’ve said this before, you’re allowed to have expectations, you just have to take the frustration and the disappointment that comes with them when those expectations are not met. I promise you, reality will deliver on not meeting your expectations. That’s going to happen time and time again.  So, this is an example of where you really want to hold two things at once, and these two things are sort of going to seem in conflict with one another. You can change your expectations to be more in alignment with your current lived experience. And you can also solve for, “How do I make this better? What’s within my control, in order to get the current reality to be more closely aligned with what I want my life to be like? What do I want things to look like?” An example of this, we’ll use the delegation example. You can expect yourself to get a work product back that is not flawless. And you can wrack your brain, get super curious and be resourceful, and think of all of the things that are within your control, that are within your power, in order to tweak your delegation process to get a work product back that more closely aligns with what you expect.  So, you’re able to want things to be better and different, without arguing with your current reality thinking something’s gone terribly wrong. If we were thinking about the boredom that you might experience with work, you can adjust your expectation and expect for some parts of your job to be boring. And also, to take an inventory and say, “Are there any changes that I could make to make aspects of my job more exciting?” If you want to learn more inside the area of law that you practice, but you don’t want to feel inadequate in the process of learning more, you can adjust your expectation and say, “What I know right now is great for the level I’m at in my career currently.” And you can set specific goals to get certain levels of experience.  So, you can set the goal, “I want to take my first deposition this year,” and then put yourself out there for those types of opportunities. Or maybe you want to expand into a particular practice area. Do the things that set you up to be able to do that, while also not making it a problem that you don’t know how to do yet.  This is how those two things coexist at the same time. You’re not arguing with your current reality, you’re adjusting your expectations to be more in line with your current reality. And, you can want things to improve moving forward.  This is the difference between arguing with where you are versus accepting where you are and wanting things to be better. I want you to accept where you are, to accept reality as it is right now without arguing with it. And if you want things to be better, tap into your own resourcefulness and start to solve for, “What changes could I make to improve moving forward, without making my current situation a problem or a negative experience for me?” Alright, we went through a lot of examples. I love giving you very specific examples, so you know how to spot this stuff in your own life. What I want you to do is start to pay attention: Where am I experiencing emotional suffering?  Get clear on what those emotions actually are, because that intel really helps you figure out ‘what am I thinking that’s making me feel this way?’ It will help you start to identify your expectations.  But where there is emotional suffering, simply ask yourself: What did I expect? And then, force yourself to push past the ‘I don’t know’ and answer that question honestly and sincerely. You will be shocked with what your brain offers up to you.  And once you identify your current expectation, ask yourself: What do I want to expect moving forward, in order to have my expectation be more closely aligned with my lived experience? It’s going to help you feel so much better day in and day out.  Alright, my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, 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 98: Mirror Judgments

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mirror Judgments

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mirror Judgments

Mirror judgments have come up on the podcast before, but I’m diving deeper in today’s episode. A mirror judgment is a judgment that you have about another person that you also have of yourself. So, you judge a person for something and then subconsciously, you’re judging yourself for it at the same time. 

Mirror judgments are tricky. They’re essentially a manual or a rule that you hold for yourself and other people, coming from the belief that there’s a right and a wrong way to behave or act in a situation. But living in this place and creating these judgments is creating unnecessary pressure in your life.

Tune in this week as I break down what a mirror judgment is, teach you why it’s important to identify them, and show you what to do with your mirror judgments. You’ll learn how to spot mirror judgments when they come up for you, and most importantly, you’ll discover how to get out of this place of judging both yourself and other people.

If you want to start helping yourself first, it’s time to join Lawyers Only. This is my signature coaching program only for lawyers, and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why it’s important to identify and address your mirror judgments.
  • Some examples of mirror judgments you may be holding in your personal and professional life.
  • Why mirror judgments unintentionally create pressure and uncomfortable emotion.
  • How to spot the mirror judgments that are impacting how you feel.
  • What to do about your mirror judgments, changing the way you think about yourself and other people in the process.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 98. Today, we’re talking all about mirror judgments. 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 everything is going well in your neck of the woods. Things are good with me. I just got back from Louisville. I spent a couple days with some of the people that I’m in my own mastermind with, and got to meet with my business coach for our Q2 meeting. 

It was a very productive few days, and I got so much out of it. Which just goes to show you the power of coaching. It is incredible, especially group coaching. I am going to be talking more about this on the podcast because I want to tell you guys about what I have going on right now. I just launched Lawyer’s Only, which is my weekly group coaching membership for, you guessed it, lawyers only. 

I just so deeply believe in the power of group coaching, because you will learn so much from watching other people work through situations that you’re also dealing with. That’s definitely what I got to do last week. I got to watch other coaches and other entrepreneurs work through issues that I also struggle with. 

I just learned so much. I took voracious notes, and I can’t wait to put it all into practice. You’ll be seeing some of what I decided on at that quarterly meeting, you’ll be seeing some of that roll out over the course of the next couple of months. I also came up with some really amazing ideas for free trainings. So, I’ll share more about those once I get all of the details finalized. 

In the meantime, though, before I go into talking all about that in future episodes, I’ve got something I want to talk to you guys about today. I’ve mentioned this briefly on the podcast before, when I was doing the series on people pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. I talked a bit about this during the perfectionism part of that series. 

But I want to be more thorough in my coverage of this topic, because it’s something that comes up in my coaching conversations with my clients all the time. And when I reference it, either on a webinar or on a coaching call, I always get a lot of questions about it, so I want to give it its own space here on the podcast. 

So, today we’re talking about mirror judgments. I want to go through, and I’m going to break down and explain to you, what a mirror judgment is. I’m going to teach about why it’s important to identify them. And then once you identify them, what do you do with them? Why is it important to identify them? What’s the impact of this on your own life? Getting out of these mirror judgments, and getting out of this habit of judging other people. 

Then, I want to give you examples of mirror judgments because you know I love a good example. It helps you identify this concept in your own life and to actually take what you learn on the podcast and apply it in your life. Okay, so let’s dive in. 

What is a mirror judgment? A mirror judgment is a judgment that you have about another person that you also have of yourself. So, you judge another person for this thing, and then subconsciously or unconsciously, you also judge yourself for it. So, it’s essentially a rule or a manual that you have for both other people and for yourself.

A manual is just like… Think of an instruction manual. It’s filled with all the ‘do’s and don’ts,’ all of the things that you’re supposed to do or the things that you’re not supposed to do. It basically just has instructions for how you operate. Normally, that’s operating like a piece of technology or machinery. But when it comes to coaching, we have manuals for other people, and we have manuals for ourselves as well. 

So, mirror judgments are really predicated on those rules, or manuals, that we have for other people and for ourselves. You think that there’s a right or a wrong way to do something. And when people don’t do the thing that you think is right, they operate in a way that’s “wrong,” you judge them when they do that thing that you consider to be wrong, versus what you think is right. 

Like I said, subconsciously you’re holding yourself to this same exact standard. And by creating these judgments of other people, and then implicitly holding yourself to that same standard, you create so much pressure for yourself. So, if you identify as a perfectionist, I guarantee you’re definitely engaging in mirror judgments. 

You’re judging other people and then you have that same standard for yourself, you’re holding yourself to it, and you have a lot of negative emotion that results from that. So, you either create a lot of pressure or worry for yourself if you diverge from that standard at all. And when you’re not doing the “right” thing, then you feel really inadequate or badly about yourself. You’ll probably also worried that people are going to judge you for doing the “wrong” thing. 

The reason that you have that worry is because you judge other people. So, you’re assuming, if you judge other people for it other people will judge you for it. And of course, we can’t control whether someone thinks a negative thought about us. That’s just not something that we can control as human beings. Other people get to think, literally whatever they want to think about us. That is their innate human right. They have freewill over what they think, and we don’t have a say in controlling that. 

But when you change how you view other people, you’ll then, in turn, change how you view yourself. So, you’ll really dial down that worry or that fear you have of being judged because we’re projecting our own judgments of ourselves onto other people. If you’re judging yourself for doing something, you’re also going to worry that other people are going to judge you for that same thing. 

If you stop judging yourself for doing what it is that you’re doing, you won’t have the same concern that someone else is going to judge you for it, because you stop projecting your own worries onto those other people, onto the collective “they,” so to speak. Okay?

So, that’s what a mirror judgment is. Like I said, I’m going to go through several examples so you can start to see how this plays out in real life. But I want to tell you what to do once you identify the mirror judgments that you have of other people. 

The first thing you want to do when you identify mirror judgment, is you want to change the way that you think about the other person’s behavior. Now, the first reason that you want to do this is because when you judge someone else you create a lot of negative emotion for yourself. They are not causing your negative emotion. 

Their behavior is not making you feel frustrated or annoyed or disappointed. It’s not making you feel any of those feelings. It’s not making you feel resentful or angry. All of that’s coming from your thinking, from the judgments that you have about their behavior. 

So, if you stop judging their behavior, the first thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to feel better. It’s going to drastically decrease all of that negative emotion that I just listed. That’s a great reason to do this, first and foremost. You’ll just get to start feeling better, a lot less frustrated, a lot less disappointed, a lot less angry, a lot less annoyed. And that is a payoff, in and of itself. 

In order to change the way that you think about another person’s behavior, first and foremost, you need to identify it; which we’ve already done. Right? If you’ve identified that you have a mirror judgment, you’ve identified what the judgment is. 

And then I want you to question: Where’s that judgment coming from in the first place? Now, remember, your judgments of another person are merely thoughts that you’re thinking about their actions. Remember, your thoughts are not true. So, this is just your subjective viewpoint, it’s just an opinion that you hold. This judgment is not true. 

What that means is you can change your judgment. You can change your opinion. You can change your thoughts. That’s the power of doing the thought work that we do in coaching. 

Now, the best way I found to start to shake up or break free from these judgments, is to question: Where did the judgment come from in the first place? A lot of times, we’re taught judgments by other people in our lives. Maybe by our parents, or from colleagues that we’ve worked for, that have supervised us in the past. A lot of lawyers, especially, hand down their limiting beliefs to the people that they supervise. 

So, you might have received a lot of limiting beliefs from people that you’ve worked underneath in the past. And then, you took those to basically be facts about the profession, about how you should or should not operate. But really, it’s just an opinion, it’s not a fact. So, question where the judgment came from in the first place. 

Sometimes you won’t even know, which is always fascinating. It’s like, “Where did that even come from? I’m not even sure. My brain just served that up to me as something you should or should not do. And it’s just something that I invented with my mind.” If that’s the case, all the better. You’re like, “That’s based on nothing, I can totally just shift out of that. I can get rid of that right now. I’m not basing it on anything.”

But if it did come from some place, if you picked it up from another person, I love to ask myself: Do I want to keep carrying that with me? Where do I think they learned that? Where do I think they got that limiting belief from, or that judgment, or that opinion? Does it serve me to keep having that judgment or opinion?

Chances are, if it’s a mirror judgment it probably does not serve you, because not only are you using it to judge another person, and that’s creating its own negativity, you’re also holding yourself to that same standard and that creates a lot of pressure and other flavors of negative emotion for yourself as well. 

I also love asking myself: Do I want their life? So, when people pass down their limiting beliefs, or their opinions or their judgments, to us, and we adopt them as our own, if those opinions and judgments lead them to have the life that they have, I love to take a look at their life and say, “Do I want my life to look like theirs?”

I picked up a lot of limiting beliefs and judgments about how you need to work in order to have a successful business, and some of that served me and some of it has not served me. Over the years, I’ve gotten rid of some of the mirror judgments that I’ve had, some of those opinions that were offered to me that I picked up on, because I don’t want my life to look like the lives of the people that passed those limiting beliefs down to me. 

So, you can check in with yourself. If you’re picking up judgments that other people offered to you, that you’ve utilized and went with in the past, if you don’t want the life that the person who offered you that judgment has, you can start to opt out of a lot of these judgments and opinions and limiting beliefs. 

From there, you just get to decide: Do I want to keep this judgment? Do I want to keep this opinion, this rule, this manual, this standard? If you don’t, just ask yourself: What can I choose to think instead? Now, once you’ve done this, like I said a moment ago, you’re going to improve the way that you feel. 

Because as you start to change the standard that you have for people, you’re going to get rid of the judgments that you have when people don’t live up to that standard. And then, you’re going to feel better in the process. 

Then, what’s going to happen next is, because you’re changing the way that you’re thinking about other people, you’re changing these mirror judgments, you’re getting rid of them, you’re also going to start changing the way that you think about yourself. 

So, if you don’t judge other people, and you change the standard of “right and wrong,” and you just get rid of the idea that there’s right and wrong, and you just adopt the concept that there are different ways to go about doing things, and that everyone is open and welcome to pick whatever works for them, then what you’re able to do for yourself is allow yourself to do whatever it is that you want to do. 

If there’s a standard you’ve been holding yourself to in the past, but really you don’t want to act in accordance with that standard, there’s something else you want to do instead, you free yourself up to do that by eliminating these mirror judgments, and changing the standards that you have in your mind that people should adhere to. 

By doing this, you’re going to, A- reduce the pressure. You’re going to be doing things that you actually want to do, and you’re going to feel better about everything that you’re doing. So, you’re going to feel better about yourself. You’re going to feel less inadequate. You’re going to be able to feel more accomplished and proud.

You’re not going to have as much fear about other people judging you, because you won’t be judging other people. And then, you won’t project those fears onto other people in your life because you’re also not going to be judging yourself. And if you’re not judging yourself, you won’t have as much fear or worry that other people will be judging you either. Alright? So, you really free yourself up to feel so much better about yourself when you drop these mirror judgments. 

Let’s talk about some examples of mirror judgments to give you an idea of what this looks like in your day-to-day life. So, I actually just got off a coaching call where this came up. We were talking about mirror judgments this morning, and the context that it came up in was about the quality of work product. 

So, let’s say you’re an attorney and you get a brief from opposing counsel, you review their brief, and you have all of these judgments about it. You’re like, “This is terrible. It’s sloppy. It’s an incoherent argument. They did a really terrible job. I can’t believe they sent this out. They should be so embarrassed. This shouldn’t even pass for lawyering. They’re doing a terrible disservice to their clients.”

Everything that I just mentioned is a judgment. Okay? It’s your opinion about the brief. Now, the reason none of it is true, I guarantee if you called up opposing counsel and asked them what they think about their brief, they don’t think any of the thoughts that I just rattled off. They probably think that they did good work, that it gets the job done, that they got their point across, that they made “good” arguments. 

So, all of these opinions are just subjective. You’re welcome to think whatever it is that you want to think, and they’re welcome to think whatever it is they want to think. But if you’re thinking all those negative thoughts about someone else’s work product, you’ll likely hold yourself to an impossibly high standard. 

You’re likely striving to do the “best” job possible on every single thing that you write. And “best”, remember, is just synonymous for “perfect.” So, you create so much pressure for yourself when you go to work on a writing assignment. You also probably beat yourself up. You probably think that your work isn’t good enough, that it could always be better. 

You’re always feeling like you’re missing the mark, and creating a lot of inadequacy or self-doubt, or feeling discouraged about the work product that you do create because you’re holding yourself to this impossibly high standard. 

So, what’s the trick here? You want to start to get rid of these mirror judgments. When you get work from opposing counsel, can you just go through it and look for the arguments, and analyze their brief without adding all of this extra judgment on top of it? 

What have you actually used it as an example of what’s possible? Like, “Oh, you can have less than perfect work, you could have B+ work, and it still gets the job done. They still have clients, and they’re still successful; it’s still fine.” 

If you start to view their work product differently, you’re going to view your work product differently. You’re going to give yourself some grace, and start to change the way you think about what constitutes a good enough piece of writing. 

One of the things that I teach when I teach the concept of ‘defining enough’… which I have a whole podcast episode on… is you want to go through and actually decide: What is a good enough job on this work product, on this writing assignment that I’m working on? 

And if you’re working on a brief, I suggest you identify what are the sections of the brief that I want to make sure that I include, and then what makes a good enough fact section, and then what makes a good enough analysis section. You just get to define what good enough is for you. 

So, maybe you want to make sure you get all of the dates correct, that would make a good fact section. Or that you include facts that support the arguments that you’re going to be making. 

And then for the Analysis section, maybe you have some arguments, more than one, and you break that up. What makes a good enough argument for each one of those arguments? You probably have a rule, right? Think of Iraq back in the day. You go through and Iraq it: Issue, rule, analysis, conclusion.

Maybe for your analysis you make sure that you address each element that is part of your argument, and you support that argument with the relevant facts and case law, if case law exists. If you’ve done that, that makes a good enough brief, rather than holding yourself to that “best” standard. 

So, if you stop judging other people for how they write, and you create a different standard in your head for what is “good enough”, you’ll hold yourself to a different standard and you’ll stop judging yourself for how you write, and then you’ll worry a lot less about what other people will think of your writing. Because you will have decided that it is okay for you to just hit that good enough standard. 

Now, the follow-up conversation that I had about this was, what happens when you’re delegating your writing assignment to someone who’s working for you? Are you just supposed to think that their work is good enough and to not judge it? I do think it is really important to not judge, because judgments just really never serve us. 

So, when you’re judging an associate’s work product and you’re creating that frustration for yourself, or that disappointment, or that annoyance, or that resentment, you’re not going to show up in a way that creates a good result. You’re probably going to withdraw. You’re either going to get passive aggressive with the person that you’re delegating to. 

Or you’re going to bring that bad attitude with you as you’re talking to them and instructing them on what they need to do differently, and people can just pick up on that energy that you’re bringing to the conversation. Instead, what I want you to do is to define what a good enough job is on the brief and then teach to that standard. 

So, talk to the person that you delegated to, and work with them on what improvements they need to make in order to get to good enough. But that isn’t going to be you just wordsmithing things, or thinking that they could have done a much better job on this, without having any real clarity on what they should have done differently. 

When you don’t define the “good enough” standard, and you just bring your judgmental side of you to reviewing someone’s work product, you’re going to find so much fault with it, and it’s not going to lead to anything positive. 

So, what I want you to do instead is get curious and say, “How could I teach this, in order to get the person to make the improvements that I want them to make?” And then, moving forward, “How can I set this up ahead of time, in order to make it much more likely that I get a work product that matches what my expectation is?”

You want to make sure that your expectation is realistic. So, if you’re holding everyone to “best” or “perfect” writing, you’re going to be really frustrated most of the time. Because people aren’t going to submit that kind of work. They’re going to probably submit good enough work or less than good enough work, and it’s your job to get less than good enough work up to good enough work by being very clear on what good enough is, alright?

Another example of a mirror judgment would be: Do you judge people who take time off work? What are your thoughts about them? Do you think that they’re lazy? Do you think that they’re not committed? Do you think that they’re leaving at a really inconvenient time? That they shouldn’t take time off because you’re in a busy season, and that it’s disrespectful to other members of the team? 

If you’re thinking these thoughts about other people, you’re going to feel very negatively when other people on your team take time off. Not because they’re taking time off, but because of the judgments you have about them taking time off. And my guess is, if you judge other people for taking time off, you also judge yourself for taking time off.

You will either do it, you’ll take the time off, and feel terrible while you’re off of work, or you won’t take the time off of work, because you are judging yourself, or you would judge yourself if you took the time off of work and you’d be worried that everyone else would be judging you as well. And you worry that other people would be judging you because you judge people when they take time off of work. 

So, you get to decide: Do I want to keep this? Where did this judgment come from in the first place? Who did I pick that up from? Do I want to keep it? Does it serve me to keep this judgment? What could I choose to think instead? And then, apply that standard to yourself. 

You could choose to think that other people, it’s amazing that they have boundaries. They’re an example that you can be successful and take time off of work. You can stop thinking of everything being so black and white. That you can be a dedicated member of the team and take time off work. You can be hard working and take time off of work. That both of those things can mutually exist alongside one another, rather than being mutually exclusive. 

And if you stop judging other people for taking time off, you’ll stop judging yourself for taking time off. And you’ll either start taking time off, if you want to take time off, or if you’re already taking the time, you’ll take it but you’ll have so much less negative emotion come with you as you take that time off.

You’ll also worry a lot less about what other people think of you taking time off, because you’ll have changed the standard that you have in your head for people who take time off. 

Alright, another example is saying no to work. Do you judge other people when they say no to work? If you do, if you think they’re lazy, or they’re being entitled, or they’re not being a team player, you probably don’t give yourself permission to say no to work. And you probably work over your capacity all the time. 

Because if you judge other people for saying no to work, and for being boundaried, and for taking care of themselves, you won’t give yourself permission to be boundaried, to say no to work, and to take care of yourself. 

And you’ll also have crippling fear and worry that other people will judge you if you say no to work, because you judge other people for saying no to work. So, the mirror judgment here is that people should always say yes, and when they don’t they’re doing something wrong. 

You want to ask yourself: Where did that judgment come from in the first place? Where did I get that standard from? Do I want to keep it? Does it serve me to keep it? No, it does not. And then, you can decide what you think instead.

One of my favorite things to think here is, “That people are in the best position to know for themselves how much work is right for them.” You have no idea what someone else is going through. They might be going through mental health challenges. Maybe they have something going on in their family that you don’t know about. 

Maybe they just know they can’t handle any more on their plate right now, that they’re at capacity or over capacity, and they’d be doing you a disservice by saying yes to do work that they don’t have the bandwidth for. 

So, I love to trust other people to make decisions that are right for them, even if I don’t know all of the information. I don’t need to know all of the information. I just trust them to make the best decision possible for themselves. And then, you get to trust yourself to make the best decision possible for you. 

You can think that someone can be a team player and say no. You can think that it’s actually a service for someone to say no if they don’t have the capacity, and that it’s okay to do. That you can be a good employee or a good colleague and say no.

If you change the way that you think about someone else saying no, you’ll change the way that you think about yourself saying no, and you’ll give yourself permission to do it when it makes sense for you to do it. And then, in turn, you’ll worry a lot less about what other people think of your decision to say no. 

Now this works with work, and it also works outside of work. If there are things that you want to say no to, but you don’t allow yourself to say no or you feel immense guilt and you really beat yourself up and you “should” on yourself when you say no, it’s because you also expect no one to say no to you. 

So, check in with yourself and see: Where do I judge other people for saying no to me? Where do I judge other people for setting and honoring a boundary with me? If you don’t like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s no, or someone else’s boundary, you’re really going to struggle with saying no and setting boundaries yourself. And you’re going to have, again, so much fear and worry that other people are going to judge you if you say no and set boundaries. 

Maybe you want to say no to go into an event. When you watch other people say no to going to an event you probably judge them for it. They’re being a terrible friend or being a bad family member. That’s so rude. That’s disrespectful. That’s impolite. So, you have to change the way that you think about these things. 

What if you trust them to know what their availability is? Or that you get out of that black-and-white thinking, and you decide instead you can be a great friend and say no to attending something. You don’t have to go to every social function. You don’t have to go to every event in order to be a good friend or family member. 

You can say no to things, when it makes sense for you to say no to it, and simply wanting to say no is a sufficient enough reason. You can still be a great family member or a great friend. 

Also, another thing to highlight here is, that when you give yourself permission to do this, you also get the benefit of not doing shit you hate. That is a reward and a payoff, in and of itself. So, when you reap the benefit of saying no or setting boundaries, it’s going to be easier moving forward to say no and set boundaries.

Because you’re going to like the result that you create for yourself. Because you’re going to stop doing things you don’t want to do. It’s also going to dial down your frustration and your resentment, which is another added bonus. 

If you’re someone who works weekends, and you don’t want to work weekends, or you at least don’t want to work most weekends, check in with yourself to see if you have mirror judgments around other people not working weekends. What do you make it mean when someone else doesn’t work a weekend? 

Do you think that they’re dropping the ball? Do you think that they’re not doing a good enough job? Do you think that they’re offloading their work onto other members of the team? If you have those mirror judgments, you will work every weekend more than likely, and you will have a lot of fear that people will think those things about you if you were to take a weekend off. Or to not work most weekends and set boundaries around working on the weekends. 

Now, working weekends is a neutral circumstance. You get to decide to think whatever it is that you want to think about it. But if you don’t want to work weekends, and you want to spend that time on the weekend doing something else, you want to make sure that you address these mirror judgments so you can free yourself up to actually make room in your brain for you to do what you want to do instead, without all the negative emotion attached to it. Alright?

If you change the way that you think about other people not working weekends, you’ll change the way that you think about yourself not working them. It’ll be so good. 

Okay, a couple more examples; these are personal life examples. Number one: If you’re a parent, and you have lots of parent guilt, check in with yourself on what your mirror judgments are. What do you judge other parents for? Maybe you judge other parents for taking vacations away from their kids? Or maybe you judge parents for sending their kids to daycare, or summer camp or anything like that? Anything that allows you to take a break or allows them to take a break from their parenting obligations.

Do you judge people for that? What do you judge them for? What are those specific judgments? Do you think that they’re doing a bad job parenting? Do you think that they’re not a dedicated parent? What are all of the “shoulds” that you’re thinking about them? 

Now, when you’re judging other people, I would check in here: Look for righteousness. Where do you feel righteous or superior? That’s another great way to spot mirror judgments. You can start to question yourself: Does it serve me to have this judgment? Where did this judgment come from? Do I want to keep it? 

My guess is, if you’re judging other parents for how they parent you also judge yourself immensely for how you parent. And either, when you take a break from parenting… and I know you’re probably hearing this and saying, “No one ever gets a break from parenting.” I totally get what you’re saying, okay?

But I mean like taking a night off. Whether it’s a date night, or you’re going on vacation with your spouse without the kids, or you’re asking someone else to watch your children. Whether you’re paying for that, or you’re using family support, or friend support, whatever the case may be, if you’re judging yourself for that, one of two things is going to happen. 

Either, one, you’re going to take the time away from your kids and immensely judge yourself for it. So, you’re going to feel so inadequate, so guilty, so ashamed, so embarrassed, so judged. Or you’re just not going to give yourself permission to do that, and you’re going to really limit your ability to do the things that you want to do in your life, because of all of that judgment that you have. 

So, check in with yourself. Can you change the way that you think about other people’s parenting decisions? Can you just trust them to make the decision that’s right for them? Recognizing that there are no “right” decisions, but everyone gets to just make the decision that’s best for them in the moment. 

And then, give yourself permission to make decisions that are “right” for you, even though there’s no right standard. There are just different things that you can do, and you get to decide which one’s better for you in the moment. 

Can you think of all of the good reasons to let other people watch your children? Again, whether it’s paid for, or whether you’re relying on free support by way of family or friends. What benefits come from spending time around other people, learning from other people, and being socialized to be around other people? 

Think of all of the good things that happen for your kids, and all the good things that happen for you, when you give yourself time to pour into yourself and to do things that make you happy, healthy parents and adults. You get to decide what the standard is for good enough parenting.

Check in: Are you judging other people for not being “good” enough? Do you even have a standard? Do you want to change your standard? And changing the standard allows you to live a life that’s much more aligned with how you actually want to be living?

Now, if you change your mirror judgments of other people, you’re going to change the way that you judge yourself. You’re going to significantly reduce those judgments that you have of yourself. So, you’re going to feel so much better. And then, you’re going to worry so much less about other people judging you. Because you won’t be judging other people, you won’t be judging yourself, which means you’ll worry so much less about other people doing that to you. 

The last example that I want to talk through, is mirror judgments that you may have around how other people spend money. Do you judge other people when they spend money on certain things? Do you think that they’re being extravagant or irresponsible or impractical or reckless with their spending?

If you judge what other people do with their money, you will judge yourself for what you do with your money. And you’ll also worry that other people are going to judge you for the way that you spend the money that you have. 

So, if you want to feel better about the way that you spend your own money, stop judging other people for how they spend theirs. You get to decide: What do I want to think instead?

I love to think that people get to spend money on whatever they want to spend their money on. I love to think that there’s no right or wrong way to spend money. That there’s different ways to spend it based on what your preferences are, and everyone gets to do what they want. And that means that you get to do what you want. 

So, if you change the way that you’re thinking about how other people use their finances, you get to decide to think whatever it is that you want to think about yours. And again, you’ll either stop beating yourself up for the way that you’re already spending your money. Or you’ll give yourself permission to spend it the way you want to spend it. You won’t hold yourself back because you’re worried about what other people will think, or because you would just be beating yourself up so badly yourself. 

Alright, those are the examples that I have for you. I want you to go out there and take this concept of mirror judgments and be on the lookout for what mirror judgments you’re engaging in. What standards have you crafted in that head of yours, that beautiful brain of yours? What are you holding people to? What are you expecting from other people? 

And then, when they don’t live up to those standards, when they don’t follow those rules, or the manuals that you’ve created for both of them and for yourself, what do you do? You judge them. 

What’s the impact of those judgments? How do you feel when you’re making those mirror judgments of other people? And then, how do you weaponize that same standard or rule against yourself? Do you want to keep these standards? Do you want to keep these judgments? Do you want to keep these opinions? Or do you want to replace them? 

If you want to replace them, start by asking yourself: Where did you get them from in the first place? Does it serve you to have them? And then, what can you choose to think instead, if it doesn’t serve you to have them? Once you start changing the way that you view or judge other people, you’re going to change the way that you view and judge yourself.

Then, you’re going to worry so much less about how other people view and judge you. Because you won’t be doing it to other people, so you won’t be thinking that other people will be doing it to you. 

What is amazing is not only will you feel so much better when it comes to how you feel about other people, but you’ll also feel so much better about how you feel about yourself. You’ll stop judging other people, you’ll stop judging yourself, and you really free yourself in the process. 

And you know I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. My goal for you is for you to live as free a life as you possibly can. Alright? This is one of the ways to get there. 

That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 97: Helping Yourself First

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Helping Yourself First

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Committing to the Finish

Something I’ve noticed about humans is that, oftentimes, they aren’t willing to help themselves first. It’s great that we live in a world where you can ask for help when you’re having a problem, but have you ever stopped to consider whether you’re helping yourself first?

Whether you’re in a less-than-ideal financial situation, you’re struggling at work, or you’re dealing with any kind of problem and you’re looking to other people for the answers, it’s time to try helping yourself first, so you can come up with long-term solutions.

Tune in this week to start committing to helping yourself first. You have to be the person most willing to solve your problems, and you’ll learn today why other people don’t have the long-term solution to your problems, and I show you what you need to do to help yourself first and create meaningful change in your life.

If you want to start helping yourself first, it’s time to join Lawyers Only. This is my signature coaching program only for lawyers, and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to see where you need to start helping yourself first.
  • My own story of helping myself first.
  • Why other people’s help doesn’t solve your problems in the long term.
  • The problem-solving process you need to start engaging in.
  • Why helping yourself first is the only way you can solve your problems in a way that lasts.
  • Some ideas you can use to start the work of helping yourself first.

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!
  • My Linktree

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer, episode 97. Today, we’re talking all about helping yourself first. 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 overwhelmed 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, hello. How are you? All as well over here. I am enjoying spring. It doesn’t feel like spring down here. It feels like summer down here. I am loving the south, y’all. I just absolutely love it here.

I know I recently talked in a podcast episode about not knowing which decision is better, and you just have to trust the reality that you’re living in. I am certainly doing that with this decision to move. I just absolutely love it, love it, love it. I hope that you’re making choices that you love, love, love too. I think I’m going to do an episode.

I just, when I was in Miami for the obsessed retreat, I taught a whole portion of the second day all about making decisions. I talked a lot about the thoughts that you don’t want to think about making decisions and the thoughts that you do want to think. So I think I should do a whole podcast episode on that. I think you would find it very useful.

But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Today we’re talking about, I’m going to tell you a story that inspired this podcast episode topic. Then I’m going to teach you two different ways that this concept applies. So today, we’re talking all about helping yourself first.

So I was recently on the streets of social media. I was scrolling through content. It was shortly after I had shared my own post for the day. I was just given a scroll through my feed, and I stumbled upon a post from someone I know socially from my past. They were talking about how they were really struggling financially. They were asking for help from their community, asking people to donate in order to get them through a tough time.

I really love to support people within my network, support their charitable initiatives to help people out when I can. Sometimes I’ll just see like a GoFundMe of a random stranger and donate. I just love being charitable in that way. One of the things that I love and value about myself is that I consider myself to be quite generous. I’m so grateful for the success that I’ve achieved.

I really love sharing it with other people. I do that in a bunch of different ways. By donating to causes that come across my feed or my eyeballs, whatever. I’m also very generous with gratuity when I’m out in the world. I was in the service industry for a really long time. That’s one of the ways that I just love to give back and to treat people. It made a huge impact when people used to do that for me when I was in the service industry. So I just love being that person in the world now that I have the opportunity to do that.

So I saw this post, and I didn’t pay much attention to it initially. Then I logged back in the following day, and the person had another post also asking for help, talking about their situation, giving a little bit more context. The government agency support that they typically relied upon, they were having troubles accessing the funding that is normally available to them. They were also encountering food bank issues and just a whole slew of different obstacles and problems. The person who was posting seemed quite panicked, and my heart really broke for them.

I have been broke one time in my life. When I quit my last law firm job before I got my business off the ground, and zero out of 10 do not recommend. Now I will tell you this, I learned that I could survive a situation like that. That was very empowering. It brought me a ton of sufficiency going through that experience.

However, it is unpleasant. Worrying about how you’re going to keep a roof over your head or how you’re going to feed yourself is not fun. So while I do find it empowering and it made me tap into my own resourcefulness, I understand that it is quite unpleasant. I also recognize that I only support myself, and at the time two cats. This person who was posting has young children. So my heart really went out to them.

I was debating on whether I should donate. I felt compelled to donate and just send some money. We can do that through all the ways that we now have means to do that. Cash App, Venmo, Zelle, right. There are different ways that we can just support people in our network.

But while I was doing this, I got called to read the social media posts really thoroughly. Then I went to their page on social media. I was reading through all of the person’s posts, and I saw all of their social media activity. There were quite a few posts talking about their current tough time, but there were also a ton of posts sharing like memes and funny things.

When you started to piece it together, you could see the timestamps of the social media activity. It was quite apparent that this person was spending hours and hours and hours on social media every day. Like probably from the timestamps at least 12 hours on social media a day.

I went back and forth on whether or not it actually serves the person for people to help them out. Because one of the things that I coach on, and I recognize that not everyone has coaching tools, right. But it is a way that we buffer with social media. We buffer away our problems, even though buffering away the problem, quote unquote, away doesn’t actually make the problem go away. It makes the problem worse, but we indulge in an instant gratification activity, like dicking around on social media, for lack of a better term.

When we do that, we don’t actually come up with a solution to the problem that is causing our negative emotion in the first place. Of course, our thoughts cause our negative emotions. But we’re thinking negative thoughts about the situation and those thoughts are causing our negative feelings. Then we buffer away our negative emotion by indulging in that instant gratification activity.

So I’m assuming this person was using social media to buffer, right? They’re feeling very stressed. They’re feeling very panicked. They’re feeling very worried about what to do next. Maybe feeling out of control or helpless, and they’re turning towards social media as a way to temporarily escape all of that negative emotion.

Now I coach on stuff like this all day long. So A, I’m not judging this. B, I deeply understand it. I understand why we do something that is counterintuitive or counterproductive for the result that we want. So I sat there, and again, I felt really compelled to donate and help the person out of a bind.

Then I also was torn because I don’t think that helping them in the short term actually helps them in the long run. Now, I ultimately did decide to support the person, and I just sent them money. I didn’t need a thank you. I didn’t need anything. They, of course, reached out to thank me. But I didn’t contact them. I didn’t message them. I never coach without permission. So I definitely wasn’t going to offer any of my insight or the way that I was viewing this situation. That’s not my place when someone hasn’t hired me as their coach.

But I was thinking, I did have this thought process that ultimately, providing them money isn’t really in the highest service. The thing that struck me the most is this person was coming from such a place of desperation. Yet, they weren’t willing to be the person helping themselves first.

Now, I do feel a little qualified to comment on this, okay, because when I was broke, no one offered to help me out of being broke. I didn’t turn to other people and ask for financial help. I didn’t call on my network or my community for support.

I got really fucking scrappy, and I figured it out. I watched YouTube videos on how to sell things online. I sold my own stuff. I took pictures of it with my cell phone. I learned how to create an eBay listing. I marketed my things on eBay. I posted them for the public. I priced them low enough that people would be urged or inspired to buy them without much resistance. I was very fortunate I had stuff to sell. I will recognize that that is a good position to find yourself in.

I also, once I started making money, took the money that I made, and I started engaging in what they call retail arbitrage where you buy things at a lower price point, and you sell them at a higher price point. you flip things. So I started going to garage sales, Salvation Army’s, Goodwill stores, things like that.

I know more about Pyrex dishes and men’s ties than I care to admit okay because I started to become an expert in a few select items so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time that I went to a garage sale or store. I knew what to look for, and I knew what would sell, what would get a good price.

So I learned how to do all of that. I watched YouTube video after YouTube video after YouTube video. I sold books on Amazon. I sold books on eBay. I sold old VHS tapes, which you wouldn’t think are worth something but sometimes they are. It’s bananas. But I learned so much, and I taught it to myself.

Now I was spending oftentimes eight to 12 hours a day doing this kind of stuff, going, sourcing material, watching YouTube videos, learning, learning what sells, learning what to look for, what men’s tie labels or what Pyrex dishes go for more than other Pyrex dishes. Scouting out estate sales through an app on my phone, seeing what was there, bidding on it, going to pick it up. I was doing all of that stuff in order to bring in money.

All right, going to the post office, shipping things, packaging things, all of that stuff. I remember I went to go meet a guy, I don’t know, like an hour from my house to buy a bunch of shipping envelopes at a really low cost so I could reduce my overhead in order to make the most amount of money possible.

But I was so committed to getting myself out of a bad situation. I was willing to help myself first. I think that is the most important thing whenever we’re trying to get ourselves out of a less than ideal situation. Maybe you’re in a less than ideal financial situation right now.

Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe you’re struggling at work. Maybe you’re having a hard time with time management. People keep giving you a pep talk or talking to and telling you that you need to get better at it. You’re just looking for someone else to help solve the problem, but you’re not engaged in doing the work to solve it yourself. You’re looking for someone else to have the answers. You’re looking for someone else to just wave their magic wand.

I’m not trying to be disparaging here. But you have to be really honest with yourself if this is what you’re hoping for, if this is what you’re waiting for. Because help is not going to come to you, not in a truly long lasting life changing meaningful way, until you commit to helping yourself first. You have to be the one who’s most willing to solve the problem, or at least as willing to solve the problem is the people willing to help you.

You can’t want the solution for them. You have to want the solution for yourself. You have to want to engage in the problem solving process yourself. Both of those things are what is required of you. You have to be willing to help yourself first.

So as I was donating this money to this person, the thing that just stuck out the most to me was they’re going to find themselves in the same position for as long as they remain in the spot of not being willing to help themselves first, as long as they’re willing to invest 12 hours on Facebook versus 12 hours flipping shit on eBay or 12 hours babysitting or 12 hours doing literally anything to create money.

There are so many ways to create money nowadays. I recognize that when you have childcare obligations, the ways that you go about making money are different, right? You can drive for Uber, drive for DoorDash, grocery shop on Shipt. There are so many different options these days.

You can get creative. You can make money in ways that you can’t even possibly fathom. My cousin who is also a business owner, her and I kind of geek out. We send each other videos, we’ll see TikToks or reels on Instagram, and we’ll send them back and forth to each other just the wild audacious ways that people make money. You can create things. You can craft. You can sell that stuff on Etsy.

You can buy textbooks and sell them. People make a lot of money doing that. There are so many YouTube videos about how to sell books on Amazon. It’s wild what you can do. You can buy things in bulk and then sell them individually. Right? That, again, is retail arbitrage.

You can find Starbucks mugs and sell them for a lot of money. It is wild the opportunities that are out there. You can become a face painter and do children’s parties. Or my cousin used to do, a different cousin than the one I was just talking about. But a different cousin does spray tanning. All right, you can learn how to be a spray tan artist and then you can spray tan, right? Or a makeup artist or anything that you want to do, anything that you feel skilled to do. I promise you every single person has a skill.

I watched people online start bread baking companies or cookie making companies. They have that as a side hustle. They market it on social media, and people put in orders. I deeply believe people are going to be willing to help you, some people are going to be willing to help you even when you aren’t willing to help yourself.

But I think the process that you engage in and how you get to feel about yourself when you’re willing to help yourself and you’re engaged in the problem solving process and you’re taking the first steps forward, people are going to be so much more willing, so many more people are going to be willing to help you when you’re in a bind. If you’re helping yourself first, if you’re willing to lead first, and put in the work first.

The support that’s going to rally behind you is going to be so much more extreme. So much bigger than what you’re going to get from people just tapping into their generosity when you’re not willing to help yourself first.

Also, I promise you, helping yourself first is the only way you’re going to solve these problems in a way that lasts. It’s the only way that you’re going to create meaningful, long lasting change. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, and do the hard work and tap into your own resourcefulness, that’s what’s going to be required of you, but that is what is going to make meaningful change.

That’s what’s going to shift everything when you’re the one who is more committed to getting out of a negative situation than anyone else, when you’re willing to do whatever it takes to solve the problems you’re facing.

All right. So I want you to check in with yourself here. Whatever problems you’re facing, are you willing to help yourself first? Are you actively engaged in the process of helping yourself first? Or are you indulging in your victimhood? Are you wallowing in self-pity? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you indulging in your own helplessness? Are you throwing your hands up in the air and waiting for someone to come save you?

I know this is a sensitive topic. It might seem like I’m being harsh. But if this is you, I want to lovingly call you out and highlight this for you because nothing is going to get better until you commit to your own transformation. Until you commit to helping yourself first, before anyone else comes in to offer their support. You have to be the one most committed to saving yourself. That is required for things to meaningfully get better, for things to truly improve. You have to be the one that leads. You have to be the one more committed than anyone else.

I’ll even bring that back a step. You have to be committed as someone else because one of the things that I tell my clients when they come work with me, I’m like I will want your results for you as much as you want them, right. But we need to make sure that you want them as much as you can possibly want them. I want them as much as I can possibly want them for you.

But I cannot want your success. I cannot want your results more than you want them. You’ve got to meet me halfway. You’ve got to be just as committed to getting yourself your results as I am committed to helping you get them. All right. I’m 100% in.

I tell my clients all the time. I will not quit on you no matter what. I am in it. I’m in it for the long haul. I’m here. I will get you across the finish line but only if you’re committed to getting across the finish line too. I will help you solve the problems you’re facing but only if you are committed to solving the problems you’re facing too. You’ve got to want it for yourself as much as I want it for you. I can’t want it more than you. You won’t be successful if I want your success more than you want your success. All right.

So you’ve got to meet me halfway. You’ve got to start by deciding and committing to helping yourself first. Then you can team up with me, and we can go, and I mean really go. Go for the results you want. Go for the solutions that you’re looking for. We can do that work together, but you have to commit to helping yourself first. That is the way that it’s going to really stick and have a shift, make a difference. Okay.

So if there’s an area of your life where you haven’t been willing to help yourself first, just decide in this moment, this can happen in a split second, okay. An absolute lightning split second that you can just decide hey, I realize I haven’t been committed. I haven’t been willing to help myself first, but I’m willing right now because I know what Olivia says is true. I’m not going to make the changes I want to make and solve the problems that I’m facing if I don’t go all in and fully commit to being the one who helps myself first.

The other way that I want you to decide to help yourself first is if you find yourself being someone who loves to help everyone else around you before you help yourself, we’ve got to knock that shit off. Okay, with love, that does not serve you. You cannot keep putting yourself last because I promise you, it isn’t anyone else’s job to put you first. You might think that it is.

If you do, you’re outsourcing so much of your power to other people, your results to other people because it’s not their job to make you their top priority. It’s your job to make yourself your top priority. So if you have a habit of thinking that it’s selfish to put yourself first, and you put everyone else before yourself, you put everyone’s needs ahead of your own, we’re going to have problems. If you’re doing this, you already know that you’re going to have problems because you probably have those problems right now.

You’re reaping the negative consequences rather than reaping the benefits of putting yourself last. It will be abundantly obvious, readily apparent, that you don’t have the life that you want when you’re constantly getting the last billing, when you’re last on the list all the time.

So if that’s you, this is another instance in where you have to commit to putting yourself first, to helping yourself first. It is super cliche. You all know the oxygen mask analogy from airplanes. You’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help someone else with theirs. It’s literally because you’ll die if you don’t, okay? That’s how serious this is. Maybe you don’t die, but you certainly don’t live the life that you’re meant to live if you constantly put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own.

So I want you to commit to helping yourself first in two different ways. Number one, in being willing to do the work rather than outsourcing it to other people, relying on other people to give you a helping hand, to support you when you’re not willing to do that yourself. You’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty.

Then second, you’ve got to be willing to help yourself before you help everyone else in your life. If that is a more comfortable identity for you just being the helper and supporting everyone else. We’ve got to start getting uncomfortable. Maybe you have to feel selfish, maybe you have to feel impolite, unhelpful, rude, arrogant, self-absorbed, whatever negative emotion you want to put in there.

You have to be willing to gag and go through those feelings and put yourself first and help yourself first in order to create the life you want to live. Okay. I want you to decide to do both of those things right now.

Once you’ve made that decision, I want you to come work with me inside Lawyers Only. That’s where I’m going to meet you halfway and help get you across the finish line. You’re going to decide to help yourself first and help yourself rather than helping everyone else instead of yourself, and then I’m going to help you solve the problems you’re facing, develop the skills you need to have to live the life you want, to move forward, to get where you want to go. Then I’m going to help you set goals and make plans to achieve them. Okay.

I’m going to help you thrive professionally and personally. I’m going to teach you everything law school, your employers, and your parents didn’t teach you. Everything you need to know to live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment like time management, how to set boundaries, how to say no, how to stop people pleasing, overcome perfectionism, right? All that good stuff.

How to develop business, how to delegate, how to manage a team, how to follow through, how to develop discipline, how to make decisions, how to practice constraint, how to simplify your life, I can just keep going. The list is endless. You’re going to learn so much in Lawyers Only.

Lawyers Only is my signature weekly coaching program for, you guessed it, lawyers only. It is where you can come and join other people inside the legal community. People who want to thrive personally and professionally but don’t have the skill set or the knowledge that they need in order to do that. Lawyers Only is where you’re going to get that skill set and that knowledge, all of the solutions to the problems that you’ve been facing. You’re going to come learn it from me.

I’m going to meet you in the middle. You’re going to commit to helping yourself first, and I’m committed to getting you where you want to go okay. Head to my website, thelessstressedlawyer.com/lawyers-only. Or you can head to the show notes to this podcast episode and click the link there. You can go sign up to join Lawyers Only right now.

The sooner you get in there, the sooner you commit to yourself, to helping yourself first, the sooner we can get started helping you live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. All right, my friends. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, and I’ll talk to you in the next episode.

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

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 96: Committing to the Finish

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Committing to the Finish

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Committing to the Finish

Committing to the finish makes a massive difference in how you approach your goals and pursue the life you want to live. I watch too many people make lavish plans and deeply commit to getting started on them, feeling excited and motivated to take consistent action, until things don’t go exactly as they’d expected.

When the results they want are taking longer than they’d like, or when it turns out they need to put more effort in than they’d initially anticipated, that motivation starts to fade. But what you need to do is commit all the way to the finish line, so listen in to learn exactly what that looks like.

Tune in this week to discover how to start committing to the finish. I discuss the problem with telling yourself you’re ‘trying’, share why you’re struggling to fully commit yourself until the finish, and you’ll learn how to pursue your goals from a place of being fully committed to the finish.

Enrollment is open for Lawyers Only, my monthly subscription for lawyers. We get started April 2nd 2024 and you can click here for all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why I don’t believe it’s helpful to tell yourself you’re ‘trying’.
  • What it looks like when you aren’t committed to the finish.
  • The deal you make with yourself when you commit to the finish.
  • Why discomfort is part of the process of achieving the goals that matter most.
  • How to cultivate the kinds of emotions that will empower you to commit to the finish.

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!
  • My Linktree

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 96. Today, we’re talking all about committing to the finish. 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’m so excited to talk about today’s topic, about committing to the finish. This is a mindset shift that I really think makes a massive difference in how you approach your goals, and how you pursue what you’re working towards; the life you want to live, the career ambitions that you have, the achievements that you want to amass.

It all depends on the mindset that you have when you approach those end goals, those finish lines, those mile markers. I watch so many people make these lavish plans and truly, deeply, meaningfully commit to getting started on them, they get so excited. This used to be me, I used to be so gung-ho to start new ventures.

I actually started quite a few businesses in my 20s, before I started this business, and I would get so excited in the beginning. I’d feel so determined, so motivated, just so fired up, just committed, very confident, compelled that it was going to make a difference, that it was going to be successful, that it was going to work, that people were going to take me up on what I was offering. Everything was going to go exactly the way that I wanted it to go.

And then, lo and behold, I’d start taking action and it wouldn’t go the way that I’d planned. Results that I wanted would take longer to come, a lot longer than I wanted. Typically, what I also learned was that more work was required for me to get the results that I wanted than I initially anticipated.

So, I would start embarking on taking the action that I thought I would need to take in order to produce the results that I wanted, but then after I wouldn’t see a return on that investment, on that effort, I’d start getting really inconsistent. I’d start doing what I call “micro-quitting.” I would show up less and less, less and less, over time. I’d get more inconsistent, more inconsistent. My frequency, of whatever action I was taking, would start to go down.

And, of course, as your effort starts to decrease, so do your results. So, if you weren’t getting results to begin with, you’re going to get even less results at that point when you start quitting, when you start showing up inconsistently.

I really think what I’m describing to you is what “trying” looks like. I absolutely hate that word. My clients that work with me know that I hate that word. I deeply believe that “trying” means not doing. So, instead of telling yourself that you’re trying something or that you’re “working at it” or “working on it”, just tell yourself you’re not doing it. Because that’s actually what is happening if you take a closer look and examine your actions.

You’re showing up inconsistently. You’re not following through with the plan. You’re not taking enough action to produce your desired results. You’re kind of being a little flaky, right? Or you’re not getting started at all.

So, if you’re guilty of this, if the action pattern that I’m describing to you sounds quite familiar… Maybe you’re working on managing your time, and you do a couple of days of planning your schedule each day, like I teach you, but then you don’t stick with it.

You start to get inconsistent, and then you plan maybe a little bit of your day but you don’t plan the whole thing. And then, you don’t plan for a couple of days. And then, you beat yourself up and you tell yourself that you’re going to start again. But then you don’t, you wait till Monday. And then, Monday comes and Monday’s already busy. So, you just want to dive into the work and not make a plan. You tell yourself you don’t have time for it.

This is what I’m talking about. You’re not following through. Maybe you decided that this is going to be the time that you finally lose the weight. You decide what you’re going to eat, but then you cheat a little. And then you’re like, “I’ll be better tomorrow,” and then you cheat a little bit more. And then, you stop planning what you’re going to eat in advance.

You just let the instant gratification monster take over, and you start eating things that tastes good but don’t serve you, as far as your weight loss goals are concerned. And then, you tell yourself that you’re going to start again tomorrow or you’re going to start next week or at the beginning of the next month. And then, you don’t. You just get inconsistent and sort of flaky and your commitment drops off and you quit. You get inconsistent and then you quit.

Maybe you’re working on developing business. People that I work with on business development are guilty of doing this, too. They tell themselves that they’re going to do it, they’re going to put in the effort, they’re really going to “try”. I always call them out on that, when I see them thinking that or saying that to themselves or to me.

But you commit, you commit to developing business. But then you start to embark on the action required to develop business, which is figuring out what your offer is, meeting people, telling them what you do, adding value ahead of time, and making offers to help when it makes sense. So, you start to embark on that action, but then you get flaky, you get inconsistent, you start showing up less and less and less.

And then, of course, as you do that, your results become inconsistent or nonexistent. And then you quit, right? You micro-quit until you actually quit. This is what it looks like to commit to starting a goal instead of committing to finish the goal.

These are very different processes. Okay? So, I want you to think about whatever it is that you’re working towards right now, are you committed to starting? Or are you committed to finishing? Now, how do you think the two are different?

The examples that I just gave you are examples of what it looks like to commit to starting. You do actually start. You start taking action, you begin to move forward, but then when it doesn’t go the way that you want it to, it doesn’t happen as fast as you’d like it to, you don’t get the results you want in the time that you think you should have them, you start to get inconsistent.

You start to show up less. You start to waver in your commitment and you ultimately quit. You ultimately give up and jump to something else. Where, again, you commit to the start, you don’t commit to the finish. And this cycle just repeats itself over and over and over again.

Committing to the finish looks very, very different. Because what you’re doing when you commit to the finish is you’re making a deal with yourself that you’re going to embrace all of the negative emotion that comes from and with the pursuit of a goal.

So that means, you’re going to have to feel confused about why it’s not going the way that you want it to. Why you’re encountering some obstacles, and you’re going to have to work through them. You’re going to have to feel overwhelmed by everything that you have to learn and work through in order to get to the finish line.

You’re going to have to feel that overwhelm and work through it, take action in spite of and despite it. You’re going to have to feel frustrated that it’s not going exactly like you thought that it would. You’re also going to have to feel disappointed and feel that disappointment, allow that disappointment to be there, and take action in spite of and despite it.

You’re going to have to feel discouraged and maybe embarrassed or uncertain or worried. All of that negative emotion comes with pursuing a goal, especially when you’re pursuing a goal for the first time; when it’s uncharted and unfamiliar territory, and you don’t know what to expect. You have to be willing to experience that discomfort.

You have to feel impatient, and let that impatience be there rather than reacting to it negatively or avoiding your impatience by jumping ship and quitting or being inconsistent. Nothing will slow you down like inconsistency, I promise you. So, you want to sit with your impatience rather than reacting to it. Because you will just make things go more slowly if you react to your impatience.

Committing to the finish looks like making a deal with yourself that you’re willing to feel whatever negative emotion comes your way between you and the finish line of your goal. Committing to the finish also looks like making a deal with yourself that you’re not going to indulge in negative thinking that does not serve you.

You get to decide where to direct your brain when you’re pursuing a goal, when you’re working towards something. You can indulge in all of the negative thought patterns that just come to you by default, because that’s what our brains like to do in order to get us to seek pleasure, avoid discomfort, and conserve energy.

You can let your mind run rampant with all of that negative thinking, or you can make an intentional decision to course correct. To catch those negative thoughts, and to replace them with thoughts that serve you and fuel you forward. That’s an intentional choice that you get to make.

When you are committed to the finish you’re not going to allow yourself to indulge in thought patterns that don’t serve you. You’re going to catch those thoughts, identify them, dismantle them, and then work to replace them with thoughts that move you in the right direction. All right?

You’re going to do that with your thinking, and you’re going to do that with the emotions that come your way as well. You’re going to identify the negative emotions that you’re currently experiencing as you’re embarking on that goal achievement process. You’re going to make a deal with yourself that you’re going to be willing to feel those feelings on purpose instead of that knee jerk “No” trying to escape them and avoid them.

That’s not what you’re going to do. You’re going to decide, “Hey, I’m going to feel this type of discomfort whether I like it or not. Especially if I don’t like it,” right? And be willing to feel those feelings, and keep showing up taking that intentional action despite that emotional experience that is quite unpleasant.

And then, you’re also going to decide what positive emotions do I need to cultivate on purpose in order to keep moving in the right direction? So, you can indulge and wallow in all the negative feelings that you’re feeling, or you can decide to just embrace them say, “Hey, that’s part of the currency to living the life of my dreams.

I’ve got to be willing to feel those feelings. But also,” or and also, “I get to contrast them and counteract them by cultivating positive emotions with the thoughts that I’m choosing to think.”

So, think about it. If you’re committed to the finish, what positive emotions do you want to cultivate for yourself? Maybe you want to feel capable, or in control, or determined, or competent, or confidence, or compelled. Maybe you want to feel assured or proud. You can create all of those emotions with the thoughts that you choose to think.

So, identify the feelings that you want to cultivate that are going to help fuel you forward, keep you moving in the right direction, make it easier for you to tolerate that discomfort that’s just part of the process. Identify those feelings, and then identify the thoughts you need to think in order to cultivate those emotions, so you can feel better as you pursue your goal, as you work towards that finish line.

Just identifying whether you’ve been committed to starting or committing to finishing is going to be a game changer for you. You’re going to so clearly see where you’ve been committed to the start, as opposed to being committed to the finish. So, I want you to identify that.

And then, I want you to figure out what would be different about the way that you pursued your goals if you were committed to the finish instead of only being committed to the start? What would change? How would you approach the finish line differently? How would you approach the process differently?

I bet you’d make the discomfort much less of a problem than you’re currently making it. You’re indulging in comfort entitlement and avoiding discomfort as it comes, because you’re only committed to the start not committed to the finish. And when you’re committed to the start, you’re going to make that discomfort that makes an appearance a problem. And you’re going to work as hard as you possibly can to avoid it.

When you commit to finishing no matter what you don’t go to war with experiencing that negative emotion, you just embrace it as part of the process. You know that that just is inherently part of approaching and working towards your goals.

Now, once you’ve identified how you would show up differently if you were committed to the finish, I want you to go out there and work that action plan. Put that plan into practice, okay? Everything will start to shift into place. You’re going to feel so much better as you approach your goals because everything’s going to start to feel so much better.

You’re going to feel more in control. You’re going to feel more capable. You’re going to feel more in charge of creating and cultivating the results that you want. You’re going to have so much less mind drama as you pursue your goals, because you’re not going to be left wondering, “Am I actually going to do this? Am I actually in this?”

Because that’s what happens when you only commit to the start, you’re not decided about what the rest of the process is going to look like. You’re unsure about whether or not you’re going to cross the finish line, because you haven’t yet committed to crossing the finish line. When you commit to the finish line all of the uncertainty goes away, because you’re very clear on what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do.

And what you’re not going to do is quit. That’s what happens when you commit to the finish. I deeply believe that people’s success is directly correlated to whether they’re committed to only the start, or they’re committed to the finish.

I know when I approached my business, this business that I operate now, I approached it so much differently than the businesses that I started in my 20s. In my 20s I was only committed to the start. I wasn’t committed to the finish. So, when things got tough, when things got uncomfortable, I quit.

I stopped showing up and I jumped to something else new and exciting instead of committing to the finish and following my plan all the way through. Acting, auditing and adapting along the way, figuring out what worked, what didn’t work, what I would do differently, and then implementing that plan, tweaking things as I went, in order to ultimately get where I wanted to go.

When I started this business I committed to the finish. I took quitting off the table completely. I made myself a deal. I said, “I will not quit this, no matter what. No matter what.” And I’ve stuck with that. I’ve told myself, “I’m willing to be bad at this for however long it takes me to be good.” I committed to learning everything that I needed to learn, in order to develop a business successfully.

I keep learning at every next level; the learning never stops. I keep learning new things. I keep having to feel new feelings. Sometimes it’s the same feeling but in a different situation. I keep expanding my capacity to feel negative emotions. I keep growing. I keep doing more. I keep pushing myself to new levels, because I’m committed to the finish.

And here’s the thing, when you’re in business there really is no finish. I’m crossing mile markers, but there’s no end point. The point is to just keep going at higher, higher levels. That’s the whole point here. It’s an infinite game. So many of these games that we play are infinite games. Meaning, there is no end point. There is no point at which we’re declared “the winner”.

Developing business, managing our time, keeping our house clean, losing weight, or maintaining a body that we love, all of those things are infinite games. Meaning, there isn’t an opponent, we’re just playing against ourselves essentially. And the point isn’t to be declared “the winner”, the point is to keep playing, to keep winning, to keep doing it.

So, when you commit to the finish and you take quitting off the table, you just decide, “I’m never going to quit this. I’m going to keep at it, no matter what.” All right? I watch people not commit in this manner, they don’t commit to the finish, they just commit to the start. And then, they embark on their action plan half decided, half sold, half pregnant, between going for it and retreating.

Tony Robbins has a saying that if you want to take the island, if you are invading an island, the one way to ensure that you’re successful is to burn the boats that you’re approaching the island on. “If you want to take the island, then burn the boats.”

And I so deeply believe in that concept. This is what I mean by “committing to the finish”. If you burn the boats you commit to the finish, because your only option is to take the island and invade successfully or to die. You can’t retreat, because you have no other way back. It’s only forward, it’s only progress. It’s only moving in one direction, and that’s the direction in front of you, not behind you.

So, when you commit to the finish and you take quitting off the table, you show up with a level of commitment and determination that you will not otherwise have. You just can’t cultivate it when you’re only committed to the start.

So I urge you, whatever it is that you’re pursuing, commit to the finish. Don’t just commit to getting started. Take quitting off the table entirely. Make yourself the promise, “That no matter what comes my way, I will not quit. I’m in this, no matter what.” and watch how everything shifts. This is a total game changer.

If you want to thrive personally and professionally this is how you need to approach what you’re working towards. Only being committed to the start stops now. We’re going to commit to the finish. Whatever we pursue, we commit to it. And we do everything with that end result in mind. No micro‑quitting, no inconsistency. We stay focused, we stay determined, and we show up in spite of and despite the discomfort. All right?

Get out there. Go commit to the start and the finish, and watch your life change.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, 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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