Episode 109: Being Unrealistic with Your Schedule

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Being Unrealistic with Your Schedule

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Being Unrealistic with Your Schedule

One of the biggest things lawyers struggle with is being unrealistic with their schedules. You might think it makes sense to cram as much as possible into every day, but planning inaccurately and unrealistically is actually leading to procrastination. So, it’s time to stop lying to yourself about what you can really get done.

Honesty is essential for planning and managing your time in a way that sets you up for success. But the biggest problem here is that you probably don’t even consider an unrealistic schedule to be lying to yourself. You might think you’re being optimistic or aspirational, but really, you need to look inward and see how your unrealistic schedule is making life way harder than it needs to be.

Tune in this week to discover the problem with being unrealistic when it comes to scheduling, and how to fix it. I discuss the massive impact that having an unrealistic schedule is having on your life, I show you how to see the ways you’re being unrealistic around your schedule, and you’ll learn how to start being realistic about how time works and what you can actually achieve.

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 I see lawyers making unrealistic plans way too often.
  • Why being unrealistic with your schedule isn’t being aspirational, it’s just lying to yourself.
  • The wider impact that an unrealistic schedule is having on your reputation.
  • How an unrealistic schedule is a manifestation of your perfectionist brain.
  • My tips for planning realistically instead of lying to yourself about your schedule.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 109. Today, we’re talking all about being unrealistic with your schedule. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a good start. I’m so excited to talk about today’s topic. This has come up on a couple of my coaching calls recently, some of my one-on-one calls earlier this week, and we did a deep dive into this topic on this week’s Lawyers Only call. 

And for those of you who are listening and you’re new to the podcast, Lawyers Only is my signature coaching membership program for, you guessed it, lawyers only. So, we do group calls inside that program once a week, and this month, we’re talking all about procrastination. 

One of the ways that you overcome procrastination is that you start planning your schedule accurately. Because if you’re planning inaccurately and unrealistically, it’s much more likely that you’re going to put things off to the last minute, because you’re underestimating how long stuff will take you. 

So, I taught my people inside the program how to plan their day. I teach a 10-step process. That might seem like a lot of steps, but it is truly foolproof. It is so specific and so easy to implement. It walks you through absolutely every step you need to take in order to plan your schedule accurately. 

And one of the things that we were discussing, in relation to planning your schedule accurately, is that in order to get better at time management, you have to stop lying to yourself. It is absolutely essential when it comes to managing your time and planning in a way that sets you up for success. You cannot lie to yourself. 

Now, most people wouldn’t see this as lying to themselves. This is what my clients tell me, they’re being aspirational with the way that they plan their plans. Just aspirational. Maybe they’re being optimistic about what they can get done. I really want to challenge you to look inward. Are you thinking about your schedule this way? Are you thinking about your planning this way? 

I want you to replace the word “aspirational” or “optimistic” with “unrealistic” or “impossible”, because that’s really what you’re doing at the end of the day. Those “aspirational plans” end up not coming to fruition, right? Because they’re not possible. And when you start using more accurate terminology, like unrealistic or impossible, you’re going to be less inclined to make these unrealistic plans to begin with. 

Because it’s going to seem absolutely nonsensical to you to make a plan that you can’t actually accomplish. When you use words like aspirational or optimistic, or ideal, there’s still a part of you that believes it’s possible. So, I want you to shift your terminology here. 

I want to walk you through some of the ways that I see people make “aspirational”, or better yet, unrealistic plans. Now, the worst offending example of this is double booking yourself. You quite literally cannot be in two places at once. So, if you have double bookings on your schedule, you have to resolve those. You have to see those and know, “Hey, that’s not possible for me to accomplish. There is no best-case scenario where I can clone myself and be in two places at once. It’s not going to happen.”

So, when you see those double bookings, you’ve got to resolve them. I know you’re hearing me say this and you’re like, “No, no. Sometimes I really can do two things at once.” Don’t make the exception the reason that you plan this way all the time. Because more often than not, it doesn’t really work. 

You might say, “Oh, I am going to attend this meeting. But I’m also going to respond to these emails while I’m attending this meeting.” That is not ideal planning. Alright? That’s setting yourself up to fail. Chances are that meeting is going to require more of your attention and focus than you’re giving yourself credit for. Or that you’re giving credit to the meeting for. You’re going to need to be more focused. 

And that means that you’re not going to get through the other items that you planned to be doing during that time. So, even if there are some slight instances where you can technically pay attention to one thing while working on the other thing, A. you’re not showing up the way that you want to be, fully present and paying attention to what is in front of you. Okay? 

So, if you’re in a meeting, you’re going to be checked out. That’s probably not the professional impression that you want to set, or the reputation that you want to create for yourself; someone who’s checked out of the things that they’re attending. 

But more than anything, you don’t want to be doing this because you’re going to think, in your perfectionist brain, that you can make it work. More often than not, it’s not going to go to plan. It’s going to be harder for you to achieve the second thing while you’re already engaged in the first activity. So, just don’t set yourself up for that. 

And then, of course, the worst example of this is when it literally requires you to be in two places at once. I used to work for a man who would do this all the time. He would have double bookings where he needed to be in two different courts at the exact same time, and the court appearances were in person. That is asinine. It is completely impossible for you to be in two places at once. 

So, when you see those conflicts, you’ve got to resolve them. Alright? That’s going to be your new goal. You’ve got to make me a promise, no more double booking yourself. 

Now, there’s also a really subtle way that people double book themselves; actually, two ways. One is where you underestimate the amount of time something is going to take, and then you schedule something back-to-back with that initial task, that initial thing that you have to do. 

So, if you know deep down, if you’re being really honest with yourself, that court appearance isn’t going to take just a half an hour, even though it’s scheduled for a half an hour, or your assistant put it on your calendar for half an hour and it’s really going to take you an hour and a half, and you schedule something back-to-back with that half an hour time slot, you’ve double booked yourself. 

Because you’re going to be stuck in court longer than you planned for, and it’s going to run into the next thing. That’s one way that you double book. So, that’s another reason, or way, that people schedule unrealistically. They plan things back-to-back. 

If you’re a sucker for underestimating how long stuff takes, this is a way that you double book yourself and you create “aspirational” game plans for the day. We want to get out of that aspirational space to the absolute greatest extent that we can. 

Another way that people double book themselves, is they’ll plan every minute of their day, but they won’t factor in any time for the stuff that they do every single day no matter what. Alright? An example of this would be, you say, “I’m going to work from 9am until 5pm.” Okay, and then you plan all eight hours with substantive project work, some big-ticket items.

Maybe you’re working on a brief and you’re like, “I’m going to spend all eight hours on the brief. It’s going to take me eight hours to write it. I’m going to spend all eight hours of my day and crank that out.” However, if, on average, you spend two hours a day reading and responding to email, you’ve double booked yourself. Because you’re going to be checking your email; it’s what you do every single day. 

If it’s your habit to be in your inbox pretty frequently, it’s very unlikely you’re just going to ignore your inbox all day long. So, instead of planning those eight hours to work on that brief, you really need at least 10 hours. And I would suggest even more than that, because there are going to be interruptions. 

You’re going to need to be human; eat lunch, use the restroom, grab a cup of coffee, do whatever, have a conversation with someone that was maybe unplanned. Now, you can always set boundaries to avoid that for sure. But you’ve got to be realistic. Do you supervise people? Are they going to have questions that’s going to take up some of your time? 

So, if you’ve got an eight-hour project and two hours’ worth of email, you need more than 10 hours to factor in that human – being, and that interruption time, okay? And if you’re not factoring in that email time… Or let’s say you enter your billable time at the end of every day. If you’re not factoring that in, and you’re planning all of the time that you have set aside for work, you’re double booking yourself and it makes your plan completely unrealistic. 

What’s going to happen? What you’re going to see is that by the end of the day you’re going to be behind schedule. And you’re likely behind schedule because you were unrealistic about your plan. That’s what we want to avoid. 

It’s really wild to me when I have conversations with my clients… And part of this is because I coach on this so frequently, I know what questions to ask… But someone inside Lawyers Only today; we were talking about her schedule. 

When we got to talking, I started to probe into some of the standing appointments that she has on her calendar. I asked her, “Hey, does that actually go 15 minutes? You scheduled 15 minutes for that meeting with one of your team members. Does it typically take 15 minutes? Because, in my experience, very few meetings take only 15 minutes.”

She was really honest with me, and she was like, “No, it almost always runs over. I’m like, “That’s amazing to know. You’re planning aspirationally. You’re planning too little time for that meeting. How long does it normally go? Or worst-case scenario, how long does it normally go?”

She explained to me that pretty often it actually lasts up to an hour. I’m like, “That’s great information to have. Instead of planning aspirationally, you’re

going to start allocating an hour for that meeting. If you finish early, fantastic. But if you don’t, if it goes the full hour, now you’re not going to be behind schedule. You’re going to be right on schedule, because you planned accurately and realistically, not aspirationally.”

Same thing with figuring out how much time you spend on those repeatable tasks, if you just start to pay attention to your day. This is why doing time audits is so important. I have a whole episode all about doing time audits. But you want to study yourself and learn how long you spend doing things, because you can start to factor that into your daily game plan. That way, you’re not double booking yourself, or being unrealistic about how long you spend on things. 

Use the intel from your daily life to get better at planning realistically each day. If you can get 1% better at planning realistically every single day, you will be in such a different place six months from now.

The other thing that you want to be on the lookout for when it comes to aspirational planning, and this came up in one of my client’s sessions earlier this week, you’ll want it to take less time than it actually takes. So, you’ll just make that plan. And the way that I’m describing this to my clients is that you want the plan to look good on paper. 

If you were being realistic, you wouldn’t like what it looks like when it actually is mapped out on your calendar. Okay? Instead of just coming to terms with what it looks like when it’s mapped out on your calendar, and being a little frustrated or disappointed that that’s all you can get to, or that it’s going to take you that long, you’ll lie to yourself. You’ll be aspirational. You’ll make it fit into the time you’d prefer that it took. 

A client of mine was working on a brief earlier this week. And she said to herself, “Maybe that’ll take me four hours.” When I probed a little bit deeper, I was like, was four hours really realistic? Now, one of the things that I teach is that you want to break down all of the micro tasks that go into a project. That way you get a much more accurate assessment of how long each of those tasks will take you. 

Then you can add that up and get a better sense of how long the project itself will take you. And when we did that, it was very clear that it wasn’t going to take her four hours to complete this project, it was going to take her nearly 12 hours to complete this project. 

When I asked her, “Did you do the math on this?” She sort of avoided doing the math. We got to talking and she admitted, “I just didn’t want it to take me that long. So, I just picked four hours.” And that’s when it clicked for me. I’m like, “Oh, she wanted it to look on paper.” She wanted to like what the schedule looks like, rather than being realistic. 

When you do that, you set yourself up to fall behind and fail. Because the task is going to take as long as the task takes. The project is going to take as long as the project takes you. Even if you don’t like the answer, you’re not going to be able to cheat that system. Alright? Like they say about casinos, “The house is going to win.” Time is going to win. If it is going to take you 12 hours to do that task, it’s going to take you 12 hours to do that task, no matter if you only allot four for it. 

So, you don’t want to a lot four. You don’t want to be aspirational or optimistic, or better yet, delusional about the time that you assigned to that project. You want to be really honest with yourself. That’s going to be your goal when it comes to working on mapping out your daily schedules. 

And I highly recommend you take this a day at a time when you’re beginning working on time management. If you try and work on doing a whole week in the beginning, you’re going to get really frustrated because you’re not going to be good at planning. 

Realistically, this is something that you have to be willing to be bad at for a while. Let it be clunky and work on it over time. You’ll get better and better and better. And when you’re taking this a day at a time, you get to leverage the learning that you experience every single day. 

Because you can evaluate, at the end of the day, “Hey, what worked today? What didn’t work? What would I need to do differently tomorrow?” And then you can implement that learning based on the data you received on that self-exploration that you conducted, and you can apply it the very next day. You’re going to increase your speed of improving so significantly when you go about it this way. 

You can look at how you plan your schedule, and at the end of the day you’re like, “Was I realistic or was I aspirational? Was I realistic or was I delusional? Was I realistic or was I being unrealistic?” 

And if you were being the latter, if you were being aspirational, optimistic, delusional, or unrealistic, ask yourself: What would have been more realistic for me to do? What would have been a more realistic game plan? How could I have made tweaks or changes to make my plan more realistic, to better match what actually happened in reality? And you take those little kernels of knowledge, those kernels of wisdom that you gained, and you apply them to the very next today. 

So, this is my challenge for you. In this episode, I want you to commit, “I’m going to stop lying to myself. I’m going to stop making aspirational game plans when it comes to planning my schedule. When it comes to planning my day, I’m going to come to terms with how time works. I’m going to be very realistic. I’m going to review my daily game plan and check in with myself. Is this aspirational? Is this a little too hopeful? Or do I think I can actually accomplish this?”

If you had to rate it on a scale of 1-10, I want it to be higher than an eight; that it’s realistic. That’s a good space to be in. And you will know. 

If you start to have, and engage, in dialogue with yourself, and you’ve got that gut check that you force yourself to do, you will get better and better and better at hearing that voice inside of you that’s like, “Eek, this is going to be a little tight. This is going to be a little close. I’m cutting it a little close here. This is a little too aspirational. This is a little too optimistic. It’s a little unreasonable.”

When you get that sense, because you’re checking in with yourself and you’re having that really candid conversation, if that’s the answer you get back when you do that check in, you’ve got to adjust the game plan. You’ve got to make it more realistic, so you can actually get to a place where it’s like, “This is doable. I can knock this out. I’m not being hopeful. I’m not being too ambitious with this game plan. This feels really achievable and attainable.”

That’s the space you want to be in. Okay? So, no more double booking yourself. You want to go through and look for these mistakes, if you’re making them, and then figure out what you’re going to do instead. How can you make those tweaks and changes to make sure your plan for the day is as realistic as absolutely possible?

This is going to change your life. It’s going to reduce your stress so significantly, I promise you. When you stop lying to yourself, things get so much better. The overwhelm dials down, you’re going to feel more capable, and you’re going to feel more accomplished at the end of the day. So, give this a try. Get out there. Start to look for where you’re being a little too hopeful about what you can get done. 

Just be really honest, and you’ll amaze yourself with how good it feels to be a truth teller when it comes to time management. Alright?

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.

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Episode 108: Being People-Pleased

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Being People-Pleased

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Being People-Pleased

How do you feel when others try to please you excessively? While being a people-pleaser can be uncomfortable, dealing with someone else’s people-pleasing behavior often leads to frustration. How can recognizing and understanding the people-pleasing tendencies in others help you manage your own?

People people-please because they think it’s better than honoring their own preferences and doing what they actually want to do. If someone is prioritizing your wants and needs over their own, something is going on, and this episode is here to help you get to the bottom of it.

Tune in this week for a fresh perspective on people-pleasing, viewed through the lens of being on the receiving end. You know how uncomfortable it can be to be people-pleased, so let’s unpack this experience from the recipient’s viewpoint. By understanding this dynamic, you can better avoid falling into people-pleasing habits in the future.

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 people decide to people-please others.
  • The unintended consequences of people-pleasing.
  • Why being on the receiving end of people-pleasing can be an incredibly unpleasant experience.
  • The most common ways I see people people-pleasing.
  • How you might be people-pleasing without realizing what you’re doing.
  • My tips for understanding your people-pleasing, so you can ultimately choose a different way of operating.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 108. Today, we’re talking all about being people pleased. 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 you’re doing really, really well. I am doing so great. I am catching my breath after a couple of weeks away. I was in New York for a little while, and then I spent quite a bit of time in Italy, which was just absolutely amazing. It’s my favorite place on earth. But now, I’m back stateside, I’m back to work and getting ready for a bunch of exciting stuff over here. 

Most importantly, the launch of my next retreat which is going to be in Palm Springs. I think I’ll do a whole episode talking all about that, just to fill you guys in. But that’s what I’ve been up to, and I’m excited to get back to putting out podcast episodes after my time away resting and relaxing. 

I’ve got a doozy for you this week. This is an episode that I’m really excited to record. I remember when I was first introduced to this concept, and really it started to shift the way that I think. I’ve been reminded of it recently, because I’ve been on the receiving end of this myself as of late, and I wanted to talk to you about how it feels. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s topic. We’re talking all about being people pleased. Now, why is it so important for us to talk about this? Well, I want to give voice to what it feels like to be people pleased, for the people who are on the receiving end of this. Because if it’s leading to some frustration for you, mind you, our thoughts cause our frustration. 

But if you’re feeling a little frustrated being on the receiving end of this, I just want to normalize that for you and give you some tips on how to navigate that. More than that, I want to talk about being on the receiving end of people pleasing as a way to dissuade the people pleasers from people pleasing. To offer you a different perspective about people pleasing, 

Because here’s the thing, people people-please because they think it’s better to people please than to honor their own preferences and to do what they actually want to do. Alright? That’s why we do it. You wouldn’t make yourself your last priority, and put yourself at the bottom of your list, and then prioritize other people’s wants and needs if you thought that was the bad thing to do. If you thought that that didn’t lead to something good. 

You think it leads to something good. That it’s better for them, and that it might ultimately be better for you because remember, we people please out of fear, we do it out of guilt, out of worry. You take an action that goes against your own wants, needs, and desires, prioritizing someone else’s wants, needs, and desires instead because you think it’s better. 

And you might not just think that it’s better for them, but also better for yourself. That you’ll avoid some negative consequences if you do that, if you take care of other people before taking care of yourself. 

So, I want to offer you a different perspective about people pleasing by talking about being on the receiving end of people pleasing, aka being people pleased. Because I want to offer you that it actually isn’t great to people-please people. 

And when you see what I’m talking about, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. You’ll see the nuance here. You’ll see why it might not be the best route for you to choose, the best course of action for you to take, and that there are some negative consequences. Maybe they’re unintended, but they are there. And if you can start to see that, in the instances that you people please in, you may be less inclined to do it. 

So, I always tell you that it is more than enough reason to just do what you want simply because you want to do it. You don’t need a better reason than that. That’s plenty of reason enough. But this is another reason to not people please, because it’s not always a pleasant experience being on the receiving end of it. 

Let me give you some examples of what this looks like. One of the most common areas or ways that I watch someone people please is that they promise or agree to a deadline that they can’t meet. I used to be so guilty of this in my professional life, back when I practiced law. I was a really serious people pleaser. 

I would agree to deadlines that I had no business agreeing to because I thought it was better to give an answer that sounded good in the moment, to just agree with the person, to give them the answer that I thought they wanted to hear. Now, in hindsight, after I’ve learned everything that I’ve learned through coaching… 

And people used to tell me this, I just didn’t believe them. People used to tell me, “Please, don’t just agree to something that you can’t meet. Give me a realistic answer instead.” And I wouldn’t think that that was the best case scenario. I wouldn’t think that that was the best course of action. I thought that telling them what they wanted to hear was the best thing that I could do at that moment. 

Then I would try my damnedest to meet an impossible deadline, while I had other things on my plate. Now, in hindsight, I recognize that what they really wanted was some certainty on when they could expect work for me. So, when they told me they really wanted the truth, they were being honest; they weren’t lying. I just couldn’t see it at the time, because I was so focused on making sure everyone was always happy with me. And I was always focused on doing that in the most immediate sense. 

So, I wanted to make sure that they were happy in the moment, even if it led to them being displeased in the long run because I would fail to meet the deadline. People would tell me that it was frustrating to work with me because I wouldn’t hit the deadlines that I agreed to. I wasn’t on the receiving end of this at the time, so I didn’t really have the full context. I didn’t experience it from their perspective, so I didn’t understand how much frustration this would ultimately lead to with my working relationships. 

Now, that I’m someone who follows through and does what I say I’m going to do. I give work to contractors, or even friends of mine. They make agreements with me or make promises to me, and then they don’t follow through because they overestimated their ability. They were a little too optimistic. And then, I’m on the receiving end of them going back on what they said. I realized what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that. 

I had this epiphany that the people that I used to work with, who used to beg me to just be honest with them, they really did mean it. They preferred certainty and they preferred knowing when they could reasonably expect something from me, rather than just receiving the answer that sounded good on the front end. They used to be so frustrated. 

Again, their frustration is caused by their thoughts, but it is really likely, highly likely, that someone is going to think negative thoughts if you promised something by a certain point in time and then you go back on that, you miss that self-imposed deadline, or that deadline that you agreed to. People are going to feel frustrated. 

So, you think you’re giving the better answer, in the instant moment when the situation’s presented to you, but you’re actually people pleasing them. And it’s not in their best interest, nor is it in yours. This is an example of being people pleased, where it really sucks to be on the receiving end of being people pleased. Alright?

Another example is when you take on work that you don’t have time for. There are two people that are on the receiving end of your people pleasing here. There’s the person who you agreed to take on the work for. Maybe that’s a client, or maybe that’s a colleague that you work with, and you’re already at capacity or over capacity. So, you’re either not going to do a good job, you’re going to do a rush job, or again, you’re going to miss the deadline that you agreed to. 

You also might be people pleasing the person who came to you last in time, and you agree to push back someone else’s work, or to put that on the backburner, so you can jump on that thing that just came to you. So, the person that you were supposed to be doing the work for originally, you’ve now put that work on pause. They’re also on the receiving end of your people pleasing. Okay? 

Neither of these people are getting your best, right? The person who you’ve just paused for, they’re going to feel frustrated because you’re supposed to be doing work for them, and now you’re not doing what you said you were going to be doing. 

And then, the person who you’re now doing the work for, they’re not getting the best you. They’re getting like half of you, or rushed you, or 40% you, or last minute you. And that’s not what they were expecting when they asked you to work on that project. They were expecting you to be fully present and all-in, and to have the capacity to work on it. So, they’re getting shortchanged, too. 

You know what it feels like if you’ve ever been in this position, to ask someone to do something and then they keep making excuses. They keep pushing it back, they keep asking for more time, because they have too much on their plate and they’re being overly optimistic, or better yet, unrealistic about what they’re able to do. Okay? It’s not fun being on the receiving end of that. 

So, if you’re tempted to be a “team player” to help out another person that you work with or help out a client, do them a favor, check in with yourself. Are you really doing them a favor? Are you going to be able to show up the way you want to show up? Or are you being unrealistic? Is it not going to go the way that you want it to go? If it’s not going to go that way, I really want you to consider saying no; apologize if you want to. 

You don’t have to apologize for being overcapacity, but communicate that you’re not able to take it on and you can explain why. Say, “Hey, I’m not going to be able to do it the way that you want me to do it. And I’m not willing to put you in that position, or myself in that position, where it’s likely that you’re going to be disappointed by what you receive from me.”

People will want to push back on this sometimes, alright? Maybe not everyone, but I’ll see a lot of people who are like, “No, no, it’s okay. You can do it. I trust you. Anything’s better than nothing.” But you’ve got to be honest with yourself. Are you going to be able to give it what you would normally be able to give it if you weren’t overcapacity? And if the answer’s no, you can’t give it your all, take a step back. Just communicate that you’re not able to work on it. 

Another example of people pleasing someone is if you stay on a call too long, when you’re supposed to end a call in an hour, or maybe half an hour, and the call’s running over. I watch people do this on calls with me all the time. And I can see them people pleasing me. Now, I don’t mind staying on a couple minutes longer, if I don’t have something that is back to back. I don’t schedule my calls back to back, so that’s not normally a position that I find myself in. 

But I try and be respectful of other people’s time. Normally, I’ll ask them if they can stay over a few minutes, rather than just making the assumption. But not everyone’s going to do that, right? I can even watch people, if we’re coming up at time, and they’re worried the call’s going to go over and they’re people pleasing me by not speaking up, saying that they have another call that’s about to start.

They’ll get really distracted, they won’t be present, they won’t be focused on our call, on what we’re talking about. And I can see them starting to freak out and panic, or scramble. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of that people pleasing. They’re trying to be polite, they don’t want to tell me that they have to go, but it would be better if they were just honest with me about needing to get off the call. It’s totally fine. 

Or they can communicate earlier in the call, “Hey, I’ve got a hard stop.” That way I know exactly how much time we have together. And like I said, this is not something that I try and do often. This isn’t a habit of mine, but it is something I’ve noticed on my phone calls or Zoom calls, whatever the case may be. 

So, if you tend to stay over on calls, that makes you late for your next call, if you’ve got something that’s back to back. So, someone who’s waiting for you is on the receiving end of that people pleasing, in that sense, but then also the person that you’re on the original, initial call with. 

They’re also on the receiving end of your people pleasing. It doesn’t feel good to get someone’s lackluster focus or concentration because you’re in your head freaking out about getting to your next call. Just be honest. Don’t people please the person. Tell them you have to go. 

Another example of this, and this can come up both in professional settings and in personal settings, is if you agree to do something, or you volunteer yourself for something that you don’t want to do, and then you end up being resentful about it. Alright?

Think of the last time you volunteered to do something at your kid’s school. Maybe it was something that you really didn’t want to say yes to, but you felt guilty so you agreed to do it. Maybe you agreed to help with a family event or party, and you really don’t enjoy doing those things, or you don’t have time to do it, but you agreed to do it anyway.

Then you show up and you’re kind of a sourpuss about it, and everyone there that you’re working on this project with has to deal with you being in a bad mood, being resentful, being a sourpuss, being disgruntled about the action that you agreed to. You did this to yourself because you people pleased. Think about what it feels like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s bad mood. 

This came up for me recently while I was traveling. There were some activities that I didn’t want to partake in, and I really thought about how I was going to be if I went along with it; if I people pleased to the people that I was with, okay? And the older I get, and the more that I spend time in coaching, I really don’t enjoy faking it. I don’t enjoy baring my true feelings about something. I’d rather just communicate my no and honor my own preferences. 

So, I know that if I people please someone, and I go do something that I don’t want to do, I’m not going to be very pleasant to be around. I really do think about, “What is the impact of that on other people?” An example of this is I don’t enjoy going to see the Colosseum. I’ve never liked it. I’ve been once; once was more than enough for me. I think you get the gist from seeing the outside of it. I don’t enjoy going inside. 

My friends who I was with in Italy wanted to go on a tour of it. I was totally fine with that, more than okay with it. I just didn’t want to go. So, instead of people pleasing them, because I was telling myself that they’d be upset with me if I didn’t go, or that if I wanted to be a team player or a good travel companion I would go on all the things with them, I just let myself opt out of it. 

I also opted out of going on a wine tour. I’ve really cut back on my drinking, and I just didn’t feel like going to an event that was going to be an all-day drinking activity. I know you’re not drinking a ton at vineyard tours, and things like that, touring a winery. You’re just tasting the wine, but it just did not sound enjoyable to me. 

And rather than going, and being resentful that I was there and I was spending my whole day bopping around Tuscany, what I really wanted to do more than anything in the world was stay at our beautiful villa, sit by the pool… it was super-hot out, it was like 96⁰… read my book, chill by the pool, get in the pool, go for a swim and just relax. I have been uncharacteristically tired lately, and I just wanted a chance to rest, relax, restore, by myself. Just have a moment to myself, some downtime. 

I really did think about what I would be like if I people pleased and partook in this activity that I really didn’t want to take part in. I realized that it wasn’t fair to the people that I was traveling with. To go do an “activity” for their benefit, when it really wouldn’t be for their benefit. I would be doing it to avoid their judgment. So, I’m doing it for my own benefit, but then I would be a sourpuss on the excursion. 

And yes, am I in control of how much of a sourpuss I am? Yes, but I also don’t want to shove and bury all of my feelings down. And if you’ve checked in with yourself when you’re “faking it”, you probably don’t do as good of a job as you think, right? Our true feelings tend to bubble to the surface and come through. People are perceptive, they can pick up on what we’re thinking and feeling. 

With that being said, I just chose to opt out and resisted the urge to people please other people. Because I didn’t want them to have to be on the receiving end of my people pleasing. 

Alright, last but not least, a really common way that people people-please… and I was recently on the receiving end of this one. I did not love it… you lie or withhold your preferences or your opinion about something. So, think about hanging out with a group of friends. I travel a lot with friends, and I’m normally the one in charge of picking restaurants.

What I typically like to do, is I like to offer a couple of different suggestions for people to choose from. I really do want their input. So, this came up on my recent trip. I would ask people, “Hey, do you want to go here? Do you want to eat this? What are you in the mood for?” It can be daunting to be in charge of making all the decisions all of the time. 

Now, I like to think that I’m good at making decisions. So, it is a skill that I can exercise, and I’m more than capable of doing it, but when I ask someone for their input, I really do want it. What I’ll notice is people are afraid of voicing their opinion because they don’t want to be “difficult”. They don’t want to be disagreeable. They want to just “go with the flow”. 

But if someone’s asking you for your preference, and you actually have a preference, voice your preference. Because if someone gives you options, and they’re hoping that you choose or narrow it down, because they’ve already done some of the narrowing and they’re trying to empower you to make sure that you get what you want, and you drop the ball and you don’t give them your perspective, it can be really frustrating to be on the receiving end of that. 

So, maybe you’re trying to choose what movie to watch. If you have a preference, voice it, alright? Now, someone else can disagree with you and ask you for a favor to watch something else instead; same thing with restaurants. But if you have a preference, voice your preference. Think about the person on the receiving end. 

Or think about when you’re on the receiving end of this, when you’re asking someone for their input, and you actually really do want it. Now, don’t ask people for their input if you don’t want it, okay? That’s another way that we people please. If you just want to be able to make the decisions and do what you want to do, then make the decisions and tell people this is the itinerary, “You’re either in or you’re out.”

But if you really do want input, ask people for input and then hope that they give it to you, or press them to give it to you. And if someone asks you for their input, give it to them. If you have input, it can be really frustrating to not get an answer when you want an answer from someone. Alright?

So, these are different ways that people can be on the receiving end of people pleasing, where it’s a less than ideal experience. I wanted to introduce you to a lot of these examples so you can start to pay attention to the instances that you people please in. And I want you to put yourself in that person’s shoes. How does it feel for them to be on the receiving end of your people pleasing? 

Now, if you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s people pleasing, or at least you suspect that someone is people pleasing you, the thing that I want you to do is I want you to call it out. Not in an antagonistic way. I just want you to ask people… I asked people this all the time. 

“Hey, are you people pleasing me right now? Because I don’t want you to do that. I want you to give me an honest answer. Please, don’t people-please me. It doesn’t feel good for me to be on the receiving end of your people pleasing.” Tell them what you’re experiencing. Explain what you’re experiencing. Highlight it for them. 

When you do this, it gives people a chance to check in with themselves. Are they people pleasing you? They can sort of take inventory. And sometimes people will be like, “Yeah, I really don’t want to do that. Amazing. Thank you so much for being honest with me.” Don’t get mad at people if they’re honest with you, they communicate a no, they resist the urge to people please you. That’s what you asked for. 

You can’t punish someone. It’s not fair to punish someone if they were honest with you when you asked them about it. Now, if they give you an honest, “No, I’m not people pleasing you,” then take their yes, or their answer or whatever it is that they’ve agreed to do, take it at face value and move forward. 

But give people an opportunity to check in with themselves. Slow the situation down. Because a lot of times people pleasers are operating so quickly that they just knee jerk their people pleasing response. They’re not even thinking about it, it just happens so fast. So, slow the situation down. Give them an opportunity to check in with themselves. 

“Hey, I love you. Are you people pleasing me right now? If you are, please don’t. It doesn’t feel good to be on the receiving end of your people pleasing. It doesn’t feel good to have you agree to do something that you don’t want to do. Alright? I want you to be honest with me. What is it that you want to do? What’s better for you? At this moment, you can tell me. I’ll respect it. Just tell me the truth”. And then honor whatever it is that they tell you next. 

That’s my advice for you, if you’re suspecting you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s people pleasing. I hope this helps challenge the way that you’re thinking about people pleasing, if you’re inclined to do it. And if you’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s people pleasing, I hope this normalizes what the experience is like, being on the receiving end. It doesn’t always feel good. And I gave you a tip for how to navigate those moments moving forward. 

Alright, I hope this helps you. 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 107: All-or-Nothing Thinking

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | All-or-Nothing Thinking

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | All-or-Nothing Thinking

If you identify as a perfectionist, chances are you’re falling victim to all-or-nothing thinking often. Perfectionists tend to look at the world in extremes and see things as binary, black or white, this or that with no room for the grey, and this rigidity brings with it a lot of unnecessary emotional suffering.

If you hold yourself to insane standards and your reality often fails to live up to the expectations you’ve set for both yourself and other people, it might feel like things are always going wrong. Indulging in this type of thinking isn’t serving you because the truth is life is full of nuance, variations, and exceptions to the rule, and I’m inviting you to start looking for them this week. 

Join me on this episode to learn examples of how all-or-nothing thinking may be showing up in your life and what happens when you habitually indulge in it. I’m showing you how to begin identifying where all-or-nothing thinking comes up for you, what the opposite of all-or-nothing thinking looks like, and the long-term benefits you’ll experience when you stop this cycle.

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:

  • What all-or-nothing thinking means.
  • Examples of how all-or-nothing thinking may be showing up in your life.
  • Why all-or-nothing thinking is a problem.
  • How to break out of all-or-nothing thinking.
  • The long-term benefits you’ll experience when you stop indulging in all-or-nothing thinking.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 107. Today, we’re talking all about all-or-nothing thinking. 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, hello, how are you? I hope you’re doing as well as I’m doing today. I am bopping all around Italy just having a grand old time. It is June here and it is hot. So, I’m doing my best to stay cool during an Italian summer. But I’m having a wonderful time. I just left Rome. I got to Florence. I’m headed to Tuscany next and then headed on down to the Amalfi coast. But while I’m doing that, I decided to take a little break and record a little podcast for you. 

A couple of podcasts episodes back I recorded an episode all about perfectionist tendencies. In that episode, I introduced you to the concept of “all-or-nothing thinking”, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about in today’s episode. 

I want to introduce you to what the concept of all-or-nothing thinking is. I’m going to give you a bunch of examples of it. And then I’m going to tell you why it’s a problem and how to overcome it, so you don’t fall victim to this type of mindset and then suffer the negative consequences of this line of thinking. Alright? Let’s go. 

All-or-nothing thinking is a very black and white way of looking at the world. It’s where you see everything as binary. You’re thinking in extremes, there’s no gray area, there’s no spectrum. Things are just all one way or all the other. Okay? It’s very this or that, not and/or both. 

Now, the first thing that you want to know about all-or-nothing thinking is that this is a version of perfectionism. Perfectionists love to look at the world as all black or all white, very one way or the other. There’s not a lot of that gray area, or that in between space. There aren’t any exceptions. There’s just a lot of rules and a lot of rigidity. 

And with that rigidity, comes a lot of negative emotion. So, when you’re holding yourself to these very rigid black-and-white standards, when reality fails to live up to that expectation that you have set for yourself or for other people, you experience a lot of negative emotion. Things feel like they’re going wrong, even though they’re not. It’s just your thinking that’s causing the problem. 

So, let me give you some examples of all-or-nothing thinking. And if these examples resonate with you, you’re going to be able to start to identify your own all-or-nothing thinking. An example of this would be if you say to yourself, “If I don’t want every motion, I’m a terrible attorney.” Or maybe if you get a negative review, you tell yourself that you’re doing a bad job, or that you’re a terrible lawyer, you’re not competent in what you do. 

You also might think, “If I’m not the best, I’m not good enough.” That’s an example of all-or-nothing thinking. Or if you make a mistake, you tell yourself that you did a terrible job. One mistake ruins everything else that you did. 

Same thing applies if you get negative feedback on a project that you’ve been working on, and you make that mean that the person who gave you the feedback thinks that you’re an idiot. It’s that one negative critique, or maybe it’s a handful of negative comments, and you make it ruin the whole assignment and the job that you did. 

Another example of that black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking would be that you delineate between either being a success or a failure. There is no spectrum. There’s no nuance. You’re either all one thing, or you’re all the other. You might think that if your performance wasn’t perfect, it was terrible. Or that there are only those two options, it’s either perfect or terrible. 

I see this one a lot with my clients if they don’t get a pay raise that they’re hoping to get, or a promotion that they’re hoping to get, or a particular bonus. They’ll tell themselves that their employer doesn’t value them. They make the compensation that they receive mean that they’re valued or not valued, rather than there being nuance there. That it is possible that you could be valued and still not receive the compensation that you want. 

Another thing that I see people struggle with all the time is if they don’t say everything the right or perfect way, they tell themselves that they’re a bad communicator, even though they communicate really well most of the time. They make those few instances, where they think they don’t say things the right way, be indicative of being bad at communicating overall.

You might tell yourself that if you’re not good at something that you’ll always be bad at it. I talked about this in the perfectionist tendencies episode. Where you expect yourself to be good from the get-go, and if you see yourself as not being good at something from the get-go, you’ll make it mean that you’re always going to be bad at it. You don’t give yourself any room for there to be nuance where you could make improvements, you could learn how to do something, you could build a skill set. 

If you’re a procrastinator who’s also a perfectionist, you might struggle with this one. This is an example of all-or-nothing thinking. You’ll tell yourself that you have too much to do, so you can’t get started. This happens a lot. You’ll have such a long to-do list, you’ll make the length of your to-do list a problem, and then you won’t take action and make a dent in that to-do list. You just say, “There’s no way I can get it all done. So, I might as well not do anything.” Alright?

You also might speak in really hyperbolic terms. Maybe you tell yourself that people always do things or they never do things. Maybe you’re thinking of a colleague or a partner, and you tell yourself, “They never help me.” Even though, if you had to get really honest, they probably do sometimes help you; maybe not just as often as you’d like. 

Or maybe you think someone always speaks to you disrespectfully, or they always raise their voice. Again, that’s that hyperbole coming through. It’s either all one way or all another. But if you were to look at the evidence, the evidence doesn’t actually support that belief. 

You might also ruin your day over something going wrong. If one bad thing happens, the entire day is ruined. You’ll let it taint your entire experience, rather than having a little bit of nuance and saying, “Yeah, not everything went my way, but it was overall a pretty good day. Even though one or two things happened that I wish they wouldn’t have gone the way that they did.”

“Should” thinking can also be an example of all-or-nothing thinking. People will speak in very extreme terms when it comes to “should’ thoughts. You might tell yourself that people shouldn’t lie. But if you started to explore that a little bit further, a little bit deeper, you might find some nuance there. Are there certain situations where you think it’s okay to lie? 

But when you encounter it, when you’re in that state of all-or-nothing thinking and someone lies, you have a really strong reaction to it. Because you’re in that state of it being all one way or all another way, all good or all bad. You either can do it or you can’t. Okay?

I see this happen a lot. Here’s another example of a “should” thought. People will tell themselves, if the phone rings, “I should answer it always.” Now, you might have been told that by a mentor or by a supervisor. Someone who had a little bit of a scarcity mindset, that if you miss one call you’re going to go out of business. That’s a great example of all-or-nothing thinking. You don’t leave any room for there to be a discrepancy, for there to be some nuance. 

A much better thought to think is, “Sometimes I can choose to not answer and I can call the person back, and it’ll be okay.” to give yourself some breathing room, to be able to finish projects that you’re in the middle of without having to interrupt yourself. 

These are all examples of all-or-nothing thinking. Again, it’s that very black and white, all one way or all another way, types of thoughts. And here’s why they’re a problem. First and foremost, you hold yourself and others to an extremely rigid standard. 

And when you hold yourself to an extremely rigid standard, and reality doesn’t match that expectation or that standard, you create and will experience a lot of negative emotion. Okay? There’s no room for exceptions to the rule, so when reality doesn’t conform to the rule, you suffer emotionally. 

Now, when you’re suffering from this type of thinking, or indulging in this type of thinking, you’re going to create a really unnecessary negative outlook of the world. And you’re going to feel terrible as a result. You’re going to feel really badly about yourself. You’re going to feel negatively about other people. You’re going to feel negatively just about your experience in the world. 

And all of that is unnecessary and avoidable. Okay? So, we want you to avoid it if you can. And you can, because your thinking is within your control. 

So, first and foremost, you are going to feel more negatively if you’re indulging in all-or-nothing thinking. In addition to feeling negatively, remember your feelings drive your actions. If you’re feeling negative feelings, you’re going to take negative action or no action. And if you’re all-or-nothing thinking, chances are you’re probably going to be buffering a lot. You’re going to seek that instant gratification. 

You’re also going to indulge in inaction. If you look at your A-line, if you look at the action that you’re taking, it’s not going to be very impressive. It’s not going to be very positive. You’re going to freeze, you’re going to spin, you’re going to shut down. You also will probably find yourself giving up really easily because you’re going to be telling yourself, “What’s the point? If it’s not all perfect, if it’s not all good, then it’s all bad. And if it’s all bad, why would I even bother?”

So, you can see why this is a problem. You think negative thoughts because you’re in all-or-nothing thinking, you feel negative feelings, and then you take negative actions or no action at all. And that’s not what we want. So, we want to break out of all-or-nothing thinking. We want to get out of this perfectionistic mindset that you might find yourself in.

Now, you can check in with yourself and say, “Where might I have picked this up?” Perfectionism normally gets passed down to us from other people. So, check in. Are your parents, or the people who raised you, or the people who trained you, do they indulge in all-or-nothing thinking? 

You can start to spot it in other people. I find that sometimes it’s easier to start to challenge these thought processes when you see it in other people, because it doesn’t feel as true for you when someone else is doing it. And you can see the nuance, you can identify the gray area, you can identify the spectrum. And you can choose better thoughts to think along that spectrum. Okay? 

You can make room for that nuance, for that gray matter. Which can free you up to feel better, a lot less frustrated, a lot less resigned. All of which is just going to benefit you in the long run. 

Now that you know what it is and why it’s a problem, let’s talk about how to solve for all-or-nothing thinking. First things first, you need to create awareness around it. You’ve heard me say this before, but the first step to solving any problem is becoming aware of the problem to begin with. 

You want to start to identify, “Am I indulging an all-or-nothing thinking here?” If you’re experiencing a negative emotion, if you’re feeling frustrated with yourself or inadequate or disappointed, ask yourself: Am I thinking about this in a black-and-white manner? Am I in all-or-nothing thinking? Do I think it needs to be all one way or all another way, or am I leaving room for nuance?

If you identify this, you will make it a lot easier for you to start to shift out of this thought pattern. Okay, and then from there, once you’ve created awareness around it, you can start to find the gray area and the spectrum between those two bookends, between those two extremes. 

Life is full of nuance, variations, and exceptions to the rule, so you want to start to find those exceptions. You want to start to find that nuance. You want to start to find that gray area and those spectrums. And see if you can plot a point along that spectrum that isn’t at one of the polar ends. 

When you do this, when you start to find other points along the spectrum instead of the two ends of it, you’re going to feel so much better about yourself, about other people, and about your experience in the world. So, let’s take those examples that I gave you a moment ago and go through what “spectrum thinking” would look like, or that gray area thinking would look like.

You could tell yourself, “I don’t have to win every time in order to be good at my job. I don’t have to be the best in order to be good or great, or at the very least good enough.” You can tell yourself, “One mistake doesn’t invalidate everything else that I’ve done.” You can tell yourself, “I can do a great job and still get feedback that allows me to improve further.” 

That was a big one for me. I used to make negative feedback a real problem. And then it dawned on me, “Of course, I’m going to get feedback from people. Of course, they’re going to push me to improve even further. I’m new at this. I’m learning. Not every comment that I get is going to be glowing. And that’s okay. I can still be smart. I can still be capable. I can still be competent and have room for improvement.”

“I can tell myself that it isn’t all or nothing. It’s not just ‘perfect’ or ‘terrible’ when it comes to my performance. My performance can be good enough. There can be aspects about my performance that were good and aspects that were maybe not so good. And that’s okay.”

“I can tell myself that just because I didn’t get the result that I wanted doesn’t mean that everything’s bad. Just because I didn’t get the compensation I want it doesn’t mean I’m not valued. Just because someone gave me a critique doesn’t mean they think I’m not smart.”

“I can tell myself that I don’t always need to say everything perfectly, and I can still be a good communicator. Even though I have a lot to do, I can make a dent in my to-do list just by getting started. Even if that means I’m not going to get through all of it today. That’s okay. Progress is better than perfect. Getting started is better than expecting myself  to be done with everything, and freezing because I won’t be able to get done with everything today.”

“Rather than being in that hyperbolic all-or-nothing, always/never thinking, I can tell myself that sometimes this person helps me. Sometimes they speak to me in a way that I don’t love, and sometimes they speak to me in a way that I do.” It’s okay for people to be nuanced themselves, right? People don’t have to be all one way or all another way, and very rarely are they ever all one way or all another way. 

“I can just look at the day overall and say one or two setbacks don’t determine the course of my whole day. My day can have highs and lows.” You’ve probably heard me say this on the podcast, that life is 50/50. And just because something is “negative”… and I’m using air quotes there, because “negative” is a thought… just because something negative happens doesn’t make the whole day bad. Okay? 

What I want you to start to do is identify the all-or-nothing thinking that you might be indulging in, and then ask yourself: What does the in-between space, between that all-or-nothing thinking, look like? What’s the gray area look like? What’s the spectrum look like? Where’s the nuance? What are some alternate ways I could think about the situation that aren’t at the polar opposite ends of the spectrum?

That’s going to help you feel so much better day in and day out. Alright? If you can overcome and stop indulging in your all-or-nothing thinking, it’s really going to make an impact on the quality of your day-to-day life. Alright? I hope this helps you. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. I will talk to you next week, 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 106: Defining Clear Results

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Defining Clear Results

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Defining Clear Results

Are you being specific enough when it comes to the results you want to create? Do you feel directionless or confused when it comes to the action you should be taking? How is failing to define clear results preventing you from achieving your full potential, and what can you do about it?

In my world, we always reverse-engineer our desired results. This means working backward to come up with the action items you must follow to go from where you currently are to where you want to end up. However, to identify the exact route that will get you there the quickest, you must first approach your goals with intentionality, specificity, and clarity.

Tune in this week as I invite you to audit your life and the goals you’re working towards. I’m showing you the importance of defining clear results, what happens when you fail to do so, how you might be adding confusion and indecision to the mix, and what you can do to begin making the most of the action you’re taking toward your goals.

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:

  • 3 things that happen when you fail to define clear results.
  • Why you’re unlikely to create the results you want if you’re unclear about them.
  • What it means to reverse engineer your desired results.
  • How a failure to define clear results can present itself.
  • The value of setting micro goals.
  • What to do if you have multiple goals that are incongruent with one another.

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 106. Today, we’re talking all about defining clear results. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a good start. Today, we’re going to talk about defining clear results. I’m going to dive into why it’s important to define clear results, and then I’m going to teach you exactly how to do it. I’ll walk you through a couple examples just to give you some context. 

Now, because I’ve seen this come up a few times recently in the coaching sessions that I’ve been doing, I know that if I’m seeing this consistently with my clients, it’s definitely a problem for so many other people. Tony Robbins has a quote, “if it’s a problem for one person, it’s a problem for a million.” So, I’m guessing this will be helpful to you, because it’s helpful to the people that I work with. 

I don’t want people to struggle or suffer with this, okay? With a failure to define clear results. Because failing to define clear results prevents people from achieving their full potential. So, I want to make sure that this isn’t happening to you so that you’re able to accomplish what you want to accomplish, and that you don’t fail to accomplish it because you weren’t clear enough when you were figuring out what results you want to create. 

Think of the old adage… there’s two of these. One is, “be careful what you wish for.” The other is, “if you don’t ask, you can’t receive it.” So, “be careful what you wish for” means you want to make sure that you’re being specific enough, because you might just get what you’re asking for. And if you’re not being clear enough, you’re not going to get what you want. 

And then, same thing with, “if you don’t ask you can’t receive.” If you’re not asking for the very clear, specific results that you want, you’re unlikely to create them. You’re unlikely to get them. So, both of those concepts are at play here. You want to make sure that you’re being specific enough, because that specificity is what’s going to allow you to create the intentional desired results that you want. 

Now, remember, you’ve probably heard me talk about this on the podcast before if you’ve been listening for a while, but we reverse engineer results here. Okay? We get very clear on what it is we want to achieve, and then we work it backwards. We can come up with all of the little action items to create that “follow the yellow brick road” pathway to get from where we are to where we want to go. 

So, it’s like trying to go to dinner. If you don’t pick a restaurant, if you’re not clear enough about where you want to go, you’re not going to be able to get there. We’ve got to have the specific coordinates that we’re going to type into the GPS in order to figure out the pathway there. We want to make sure that we get hyper specific about the results we want to create. 

A failure to define clear results can present itself in a couple of different ways. The first way is not having a goal at all. And this normally happens for a couple different reasons. So, check in with yourself right now. Are you working towards a goal? If it feels like you’re not, then this is going to be you, okay? You don’t have a goal. 

Now, one reason this happens is because you’re afraid to fail. You won’t identify a specific goal, because if you don’t identify a specific goal, you can’t fail at it, right? However, if you don’t pick a specific goal, you don’t have anything to work towards. You can end up feeling a little adrift or kind of afloat, or a little lost, a little rudderless or directionless. Normally, that feels very uncomfortable for people. So, we want to make sure that we identify a specific goal. 

In addition to being afraid to fail and not picking a goal for that reason, I’ll also see people find themselves in this position when they’ve recently achieved a goal and they haven’t set a new one. They’re sort of in this limbo, in this in between; between accomplishing something that they already set their mind to, and then picking the next thing that they want to achieve. 

If that’s you, and you’re feeling purposeless, you want to make sure that you identify a new goal to work towards. So, if you’re not working towards a goal right now, the thing that I want you to do is ask yourself, why? Why is that? Do you fall in camp one or camp two? Are you afraid to fail, and that’s why you’re not identifying clear results that you want to work towards?

If that’s you, you’re going to have to embrace the fear of failure. Now, I love to tell myself that I can’t fail, I’m always just winning or learning. That helps me to move forward and give myself permission to pick a new goal and to start anew, okay? Now, if that doesn’t resonate with you, then you might be in the second camp. So, check in. Have you recently achieved something?

I see this happen a lot when people become new attorneys. They’ve worked so hard towards one specific goal, becoming a licensed attorney and passing the bar exam, and then they get into their careers and they sort of feel directionless because they haven’t set a new goal. They haven’t picked a new destination that they want to arrive at. 

So, if you’re a new attorney and you’re feeling a little adrift, this is probably you. You want to identify a clear result to work towards in the early stages of your career. This could also be you if you’ve recently made partner. You’ve probably been working towards that for a while, and now you’re like, “Hey, what comes next? I’m not sure what I want to achieve.” You can feel a little afloat. 

Now, the second way that a failure to define clear results manifests itself is by being too vague about what you’re working towards. So, I’m going to give you a couple examples of this. It would be saying to yourself, “I want to make more money. I want to bill more hours. I want to sign more clients. I want to work less.” Those aren’t specific enough results. 

The problem with that is they beg so many questions. For example, if you want to make more money, how much more money do you want to make? And how will you make it? Depending on the amount you set, that’s going to give you a different strategy. 

And if you’re not super clear about the specific result that you want to achieve, you’re not going to be able to measure your progress. It’s going to be really challenging. You’re not going to be able to determine ‘am I working less enough? Am I billing enough hours? Am I billing enough?’ We want to be really clear. How much do you want to bill? How much less do you want to work?

You want to measure that in terms of hours, or in terms of days of the week. Let’s say you don’t want to work weekends, that’s a much more specific result than saying you simply want to work less. Is one hour less enough? Is 10 hours less enough? You want to make sure that you get crystal clear about what it is you’re aiming for. 

So, check in with yourself. If you feel like, “Hey, Olivia, I do have a goal. I’m not in the first camp,” are you being specific enough? If these goals that I listed out for you resonate, then you want to make sure that you get more specific. How much money do you want to make this year? Define it in terms of the dollar amount in a given period of time.

If you want to bill more hours. How many more hours would you like to bill? And in what timeframe? Are we talking about per week, per day, per month, per quarter, per year? You want to make sure you get hyper specific here so you are able to measure your progress. 

And then, you can break it down over the course of the days and the weeks. That way you know whether or not you’re on target to hit your goal. If you want to sign more clients. How many more clients do you want to sign? And then get clear, how are you going to do that? What are the specific action items that you’re going to take in order to create those clients? 

If you want to work less, how much less do you want to work? Measure it in terms of hours, or specific time periods during the week that you’ll work and then the time periods during the week that you won’t work. That way you’re able to keep yourself honest as you’re working towards that very clear result. 

Now, something that you can do here that will keep you even more intentional, is once you identify the clear result that you’re working towards, ask yourself: Is this a situation that’s ripe for micro goals? That’s going to help keep you even more on track than you would with just defining that overarching goal. Okay?

So, if you want to sign more clients, what are some micro goals that you can set for yourself that will help you move in that direction? Maybe you want to build an audience. How big do you want that audience to be? The number of connections that you have on LinkedIn, or the number of followers that you have on Instagram, the number of people you have subscribed to your email list, how many people do you want to aim for? 

If you identify those micro goals, it’s going to help you get really clear. What do you need to do in order to get those connections? What do you need to do in order to get those followers? What do you need to do in order to get those email subscribers? 

You’re going to have to promote your email list in order to get those subscribers. You’re going to have to send connection requests on LinkedIn in order to hit that number. In order to get followers on Instagram, you’re going to have to engage with your ideal clients by liking and commenting on their social media content. That’s going to help you achieve those micro goals. Okay?

You can also set a specific goal for the number of consultations you do. Again, that’s going to help you figure out the action items that you need to take and complete in order to create that result. So, how many times per week are you going to have to make an offer for a consultation in order to hit your goal, if you want to hit a certain number of consultations per week or per month? The more specific you get, the clearer the actions that you need to take are going to be for you to find. 

And last but not least, the third way that this manifests, failing to find clear results, is when you find yourself torn between multiple different results that are somewhat incongruent with one another. An example of this that came up recently in one of my client sessions was, my client was torn between wanting to build the highest number of hours possible and then being an excellent firm citizen. 

She found herself volunteering for a lot of non-billable tasks and projects at work, because she really wanted to be a great firm citizen. She wanted to be a “team player”. She also wants to hit a specific billable target in order to make partner. And these two goals are a little incongruent with one another, because the more time she devotes to those non-billable matters, she’s not able to spend that time billing hours towards her billable target goal. Okay?

So, check in with yourself. Are you pursuing multiple different goals, and are they at odds with each other? If they are, you’re introducing confusion into the mix. Because one result requires a certain action, and the other result requires different actions. You’re pulling yourself in two different directions, sort of like Stretch Armstrong. 

You’re going to feel really confused day in and day out about what you should be doing in order to achieve your goals, because the further you head in one direction, the further you get from achieving the goal in the opposite direction. 

So, when this happens, you can do one of two things. One, you can recognize that you’re pursuing goals that are a little incongruent to one another, okay? And when you find yourself in that case, you can choose one of the goals. You can pick the one that you most prefer to achieve and make that your focus. That’s one option. 

If you are in the same position that my client is in, if you’re torn between being a great firm citizen and billing the highest number of hours, which one’s more important to you, and why? Get really clear on your reasons, and then pick the one that you prefer. 

So, for her, she’s most concerned with billing the highest number of hours possible, and hitting her billable target. That means reducing the number of hours she devotes to those non-billable matters. That means she’s going to be volunteering a lot less for the mentoring opportunities that she’s been taking part in, in order to devote that time to billing hours instead. 

Now, the second option here is that you combine the two and make it one specific goal. Okay? What that would look like here is, “I want to bill the highest number of hours while still being a good firm citizen.” And your action plan is going to be a little different than if you were to just pursue one of those things on their own, or being torn in between the two of them feeling like you’re being pulled in multiple different directions. 

So, you’re going to get hyper specific on how much you want to bill while also being a good firm citizen. What are the things that you want to do that constitute being a good firm citizen? You’ll get clear on those, and then you’ll limit that in order to allow yourself to still hit your billable hour target. 

You’re able to achieve both of those things, but you’re not doing it, where they’re working against one another. You’re doing it where you’re working in tandem and pursuing both of them at the same time. Your action line, again, gets a little different and more specific about what you need to be doing in order to achieve what you want to achieve. You end up factoring both of your desired results into the equation, and it changes how you show up. 

If you do this, if you audit your life and the goals that you’re working towards, and check in; Am I being specific enough? Have I defined the clear results that I want to work towards? You will be so much more intentional with the action that you take and the results that you ultimately produce. 

It’s going to be way easier to reverse engineer your desired results when you’re really clear about the results that you’re working towards. It’s going to help you make the most progress as fast as you possibly can. And it’s going to prevent you from feeling directionless, or feeling confused about which direction to head in, or about what to do when. 

Again, use that analogy from earlier. It’s like trying to go somewhere without having the destination locked into the GPS. You want to make sure you set that very specific destination so you know the exact route you need to take in order to get there. Alright? This is really going to help you accomplish what you want to accomplish. 

So, check in. Are you being specific enough? Have you defined clear results? And if not, go get clear. 

That’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I hope this helps you go out and make the most of all of the action you’re taking. And I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 105: Perfectionist Tendencies

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Perfectionist Tendencies

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Perfectionist Tendencies

Many people wrongly believe that perfectionism looks like that Type-A tendency to always be on top of things with all your ducks in a row, never a hair out of place. Maybe you resonate with this kind of perfectionism. However, I can guarantee that this isn’t the only way perfectionistic tendencies are making an appearance in your life.

If you believe being perfectionistic is a good thing, you’re in good company. I used to think so too, until I discovered how it ends up paralyzing us. The first step to overcoming any problem is to create awareness. You must be able to spot your perfectionism in order to combat it. That’s why, on this episode, I’m introducing you to all the different types of perfectionistic tendencies I’ve noticed in my clients.

Listen in this week as I lay out 20 different ways perfectionistic tendencies might be showing up for you and why they cause you so much unnecessary emotional suffering. You’ll hear why you must address your negative self-talk, how you might be unwittingly being perfectionistic with other people, and how to save yourself the time and stress you’re currently wasting on perfectionism.

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 so many people don’t realize they’re perfectionists.
  • 20 different types of perfectionism that may be making an appearance in your life.
  • Why you might be making unrealistic plans and setting vague goals.
  • The power of striving for 1% improvements.
  • What other-oriented perfectionism means.
  • How negative self-talk leads to negative results.

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 105. Today, we’re talking all about perfectionist tendencies. 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? Things are good in my neck of the woods. Life is a little crazy over here, but in a good way. I just moved home to Michigan for the summer, and I’ve got a lot of travel coming up. I’m getting ready to head to New York to see some friends before I hop on over to Italy for about two weeks. I’m looking forward to that. 

And then, I have a bunch of exciting travel coming up over the summer. Some of it’s for work. Some of it’s for pleasure. I hope you are starting to get ready to enjoy your summer. Charleston was a little too hot for me, y’all. It was like 95⁰ the week that I was leaving, and humid as all hell. I didn’t know this, but the mosquitoes down there are vicious. So, I’m excited to be back in Michigan for the summer. There is nothing better than a Michigan summer, in my opinion. 

But I hope that you are enjoying the months as they start to get warmer, wherever it is you’re tuning in from. I guess, unless you’re on the other side of the world, then it’s getting ready to be winter for you. Which I always find kind of crazy. Anyways, I digress. 

Today, I want to talk about a really enlightening topic. So many of my clients don’t realize they’re perfectionists, and I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before. Many people believe, wrongly, that perfectionism only looks like Type-A perfectionism. Which is where you’ve got all of your t’s crossed, all of your i’s dotted, all of your ducks in a row all of the time. You’re on top of everything. There’s never a hair out of place. 

As one of my clients said, she used to be perfectionistic about hosting dinner parties. And there’s a joke from one of my past live events, that she couldn’t tolerate a chickpea being out of place, because she likes to make hummus when she hosts dinner parties. 

So, if that’s you, if you think that that’s the only way perfectionism makes an appearance in your life, this podcast episode is going to be so informative for you. Because I’m going to introduce you to all of the different types of perfectionism, all of the perfectionistic tendencies that I notice in my clients. 

I’ve identified 20 of them, we’re going to walk through, and I’m going to explain what this looks like in practice, what it looks like in your day-to-day life so you can start to spot it. 

The first step to overcoming any problem is creating awareness around that problem. So, you have to be able to spot your perfectionism in order to combat it. Okay? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to teach you how to spot it in your own life, so you can start to solve for it when you see it. So it stops holding you back. 

Because you might be like me, I used to think being perfectionistic was a good thing. But it really, really isn’t. It ends up paralyzing us. So, I’m going to teach you how to spot it, so you can solve it. Alright?

The first perfectionist tendency is striving for flawlessness. That’s going to be your quintessential perfectionism. You just expect yourself to be flawless. To never, ever make a mistake. So, check in with yourself. Are you doing that? Are you expecting perfection from yourself? What do you expect from yourself? What are your standards that you’re holding yourself to? 

Do you get really frustrated with yourself when something doesn’t go flawlessly? If that’s the case, then you’re being perfectionistic. I also want you to check in with yourself: What do you expect from yourself in your job, in your personal life, in the roles that you have? Do you have really unattainable descriptions for those jobs, for those roles that you hold? 

Do you expect yourself to win every case? Do you expect yourself to win every motion? Do you expect yourself to get the terms and the deals that you do, all of them without fail? Do you expect yourself to be a perfect parent? Maybe you wouldn’t use “perfect”, you might use the term “best”. Which just means perfect if we’re striving for best or better or more, those are perfectionistic terms. 

So, I want you to check in with yourself. Are these standards that you’re setting for yourself completely unrealistic? And if so, that’s your perfectionism making an appearance. 

The second perfectionist tendency is a fear of being messy or imperfect. So, if you’re someone who experiences a lot of embarrassment, or that’s your greatest fear, is feeling embarrassed in front of other people or feeling judged by other people or people having a negative opinion of you, if that’s you, it’s coming from this place of being afraid of being messy or imperfect.

I’ve had to do so much work on this in my own life. I used to really have a serious fear of being perceived as messy or imperfect. Being perceived like I didn’t have my shit together. I loved to keep up that appearance, of having everything figured out. I wanted people to always think that I had all of my ducks in a row. So, if that’s you, if embarrassment is your worst nightmare, then you probably have a fear of being messy or imperfect. 

Okay, the third perfectionistic tendency is all-or-nothing thinking. Now, I’ll record an entire episode on this concept because I think it warrants it. There’s a lot to talk about here. But all-or-nothing thinking is very rigid, black-and-white thinking. So, things are either all one thing or all another thing. There’s no nuance, there’s no spectrum, there’s no gray area in between. 

So, if someone gives you negative feedback on a project that you worked on, you think the entire thing is bad. You don’t have the ability to differentiate between, ‘oh, that just needs to be improved a little bit,’ and ‘the rest of this is good.’ 

Or if someone says something to you that you don’t like, you think they just don’t like you. Right? You take it to the farthest extreme. There’s no nuance. Or someone can say something that you don’t like to you, or something that you think is a little rude or maybe offensive, and they can still like you.

I work with a lot of people, if they don’t get the bonuses that they want in their jobs, they’ll go into all-or-nothing thinking and they will make it mean that they’re not valued at work. They make the bonus responsible for all of the value that the company places in them. And that’s not true, people can value you and you can not get the bonus that you want. There can be nuance there, there’s an in between area. 

So, perfectionists really like to indulge in being all one way or all another way. There’s nothing in between, okay?

Now, the fourth perfectionist tendency is taking too long to complete tasks. If you’re like me, you know all too well what this looks like. Think of the email, that is three sentences, that take 30 minutes to write when you could have taken five minutes to write it. Or you’re going down rabbit holes when it comes to legal research, and you just keep searching and searching and searching and searching, when you know you’ve probably already found a good enough answer. 

Maybe you don’t do legal research, but you look for templates or precedent when it comes to drafting documents and you just spend hours looking for the perfect template. You end up investing a lot of time unnecessarily because you’re searching for perfection, right? So, you end up taking way too long to complete tasks; you reword things, you overwork them, you over edit. And the task ends up taking way longer than it needs to be. That’s definitely a perfectionistic tendency. 

Now, the fifth perfectionist tendency is on the opposite side of this. So, you tell yourself that things shouldn’t take as long as they do. So many of my clients struggle with this. They’re constantly doing work and telling themselves that they should have been able to do it faster. Now, they make this decision or determination based on nothing. There is no guidebook that says it should take you X amount of time to complete this task, there’s just going to be what’s normal for you. 

And even though they’re basing this on nothing, their brain just offers up to them, “This shouldn’t have taken me this long. I should have been able to do this faster.” They don’t like how long it takes them, so then they make themselves wrong. This is perfectionism at its finest. 

When you’re doing this, I tell people that you want to ask yourself, when you’re done with a task, write out what you did to complete that task. Write out all of the micro steps. And then, from there, you can start to review it and edit. Are there any steps that you would eliminate? Or are there any steps that you would reduce the time that you spent on it? 

If the answer is no to both, then it shouldn’t have taken you any less time to complete. It took you the amount of time it was supposed to take, and you can stop beating yourself up for taking as long as it took. Alright? 

Number six, as far as perfectionistic tendencies go, is needing things to be complete. So, I see my clients struggle with this when they’re planning out their day and they don’t want to get started on something because they want to be able to finish it in one sitting. Then they end up kicking the can down the road, not getting started, because they’re telling themselves, “I need to be able to start and finish it all at one time.”

They really can’t stand the feeling of incompleteness. They love to tie a bow and finalize things. Now, I get that that feels good, and your brain releases dopamine when you finish things, but if you set yourself up to work that way, you’re going to be postponing those big-ticket items. And that’s really what moves the dial on you getting your work done. You’ve got to be willing to start those big-ticket items, even if that means that you’re not going to be able to complete it all in one sitting. 

Now, another thing that you can do here if you struggle with this is just to break the task into smaller micro tasks, because then you can finish those micro tasks. Maybe you are overwhelmed at the thought of cleaning your entire house and you keep kicking the can down the road. But if you break it up into, “I’m just going to vacuum. I’m just going to unload the dishwasher. I’m just going to do a load of laundry,” then you can get the dopamine of completing that micro task. 

And over time, you’ll eventually complete everything that goes into cleaning your house. Same thing with working on a brief or drafting a document. If you break it into those smaller micro tasks, you’ll be able to get those quick wins and feel like you’re accomplishing something. 

Alright, perfectionist tendency number seven: making unrealistic plans. I’ve talked about that a ton on the podcast. When it comes to time management, we love to try and shove 30 hours into an 8 hour workday. And I promise you, if you do this, you will not win when it’s you against time. Time is a math problem, and the math never lies. So, time is going to come out ahead and you’re going to lose, right?

But people make unrealistic plans because they don’t like the reality of what they can actually accomplish in a given time period. They want to make unrealistic plans so they can feel better about the plan, instead of feeling underwhelmed by a realistic plan. So, if you do this you’ve got to come to terms with how much you can get done in a given time period. It is underwhelming and accepting this is going to feel uncomfortable. 

But what is truly uncomfortable is making unrealistic plans and setting yourself up to fail. Alright? So, you want to be on yourself if you do this. 

Perfectionist tendency number eight is remaking plans over and over and over again. People will do this to avoid getting started. They will think that they need a better plan. They like the space where they get to ideate, and just keep brainstorming and thinking. So, you’ll make a plan, and then, instead of getting started, you’ll go back to the drawing board and remake the plan. 

You’ll try and make it better. You’ll add things to it. You really enjoy the planning phase. Because if you’re planning you can’t fail. Doing is where failure comes into play, and perfectionists hate failure. So, you’ll stay in the space where you’re just making plans and remaking plans, in order to avoid setting yourself up to fail, or having to experience that negative emotion that comes with failing. 

You think you fail, and then you feel inadequate or incapable and that feels uncomfortable. So, you’ll keep remaking plans to avoid getting started. 

Perfectionist tendency number nine is overcomplicating systems. I watch my clients do this, especially when it comes to planning their days, or entering their time, or managing their email inbox, or creating their schedules, managing their to-do lists. 

They come up with really overcomplicated systems because they think complicated is better. It’s not. The most simplistic systems are ideal, because there’s so much less friction to honoring that system and to working that system. So, check in with yourself. Do you make things harder than they have to be?

I just coached someone on this who was trying to come up with a system for delegating, and they were really overcomplicating it. You don’t need to make delegation complicated. Create a list in your phone of things you’d like to delegate. You can add to it all the time. And then, create a standing meeting with the person that you delegate to so you can assign tasks to them. 

That’s the whole system. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. You don’t need a complicated spreadsheet. You don’t need special tech. You can just use the Notes app on your phone. That works perfectly fine. Alright? So, if you’re making overcomplicated systems, that’s because you’re indulging in perfectionism. You want to be onto yourself. Ask yourself, “How can I make this simpler?”

Alright, perfectionist tendency number 10 is never getting started. You just keep avoiding starting. Again, this is because you’re afraid to do a bad job. You’re afraid to fail. You’re afraid something isn’t going to be good enough, so you just never start. You distract yourself with things. You keep pushing it off. You’re always avoiding the starting line. This comes from your perfectionism. Okay? 

Perfectionist tendency number 11 is waiting for a better time to start. This looks like “tomorrow thinking”. “I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll start later. I’ll do that later. I’ll start at the top of the hour.” That used to be a big one for me. I’d look at the clock, it would be 9:42, and I’m like, “I’ll start at 10:00. 10:00 is a better time to start.” 

A clean start; we love clean starts. But then we end up putting things back in perpetuity. Because 10:01 would come around, and I’d be like, “Nope, I’ve got to wait until 10:30 or 11:00. I need that clean, fresh start.” So, if you do this, be onto yourself. There’s never a better time to start than now. I know that sounds super cliche, but I promise you, it’s true. 

So, this is sort of similar to never getting started, or waiting until a better time to start. But perfectionist tendency number 12 is waiting until the last minute. And there’s a specific reason we do this, alright? 

One is that fear of failure, you just want to keep kicking the can down the road. But also, I used to be guilty of this, you wait until the last minute because you’re never being judged on your best work, you’re only allowing yourself to be judged on rushed work, on last-minute work. 

It creates an escape hatch, because perfectionists are afraid that their best isn’t good enough. And if you wait until the last minute, you’re not ever demonstrating your best, you’re demonstrating your rushed work. So, it’s going to be like B- work, just by the default aspect that you’re waiting until the last minute and you didn’t give yourself enough time. 

So, if you get negative feedback on your last minute work, you’re like, “Oh, of course, it wasn’t good enough. I rushed. I didn’t give myself enough time. That’s the reason it’s not good enough.” Not because, “I gave this my all, and my all wasn’t good enough.”

It creates an escape hatch from being judged on your work, alright? If you do this, you want to be onto yourself. It’s really insidious how perfectionists will procrastinate in order to avoid being judged on their work product.

Perfectionist tendency number 13 is quitting prematurely. So, instead of not getting started, you start, but if things don’t go as planned, or they don’t go seamlessly right off the get go, you’ll quit prematurely and jump to something else that feels good. 

Like I said earlier, perfectionists don’t like feeling messy and imperfect. So, if you’re learning something new, or you’re working on something and you’re confused, or it doesn’t go well… Maybe you’re working on developing business and you don’t get the results that you want, you’ll quit. 

Or if you’re working on learning how to manage your time and it’s not going very well, it’s really clunky because you’re learning a new process, you’ll quit prematurely and just revert back to doing what you did before. Because perfectionists like flawlessness, they like perfection, right? 

So, if you don’t experience perfection, you make it a problem. You think something’s gone wrong, and then you go back to the status quo. If you do this, you’ve got to be onto yourself. You have to resist the urge to quit and keep going. You want to strive for 1% improvements, that’s the sweet spot.

Perfectionist tendency number 14 is you make changes to what you’re doing without data or without letting sufficient time pass. Business development is a really great example here. 

If you’re working on developing business, and you’re feeling frustrated because you’re not getting the results that you want, if you haven’t let enough time go by, to let the action you’re taking take root, or you’re making changes but you’re not basing it on data because you haven’t done enough to collect reliable data, this is perfectionism.

You don’t like that feeling of inadequacy or disappointment, and you want to jump to something new because that ideating phase is so much more exciting. You love to be in that brainstorming space where you’re coming up with and trying something new. Because when you do something for the first time, you get to indulge in the perfectionist fantasy that it’s going to go perfectly. 

Once you’ve started to implement and it hasn’t gone perfectly, now you’re dealing with reality, and perfectionists don’t like to deal with reality. Okay? 

Perfectionist tendency number 15 is beating yourself up. If you are really hard on yourself, if you’re really mean to yourself, this is your perfectionism talking. Again, it’s expecting that flawlessness of yourself. So, how do you talk to yourself when you’re going through your work day? Are you mean? Do you kind of bully yourself? Is your inner critic really loud? 

If it is, that’s your perfectionism having a conversation with yourself, alright? You want to make sure you dial that down, because negative self-talk leads to negative emotion. Negative emotion drives negative action or inaction, and produces negative results. 

We like to think that beating ourselves up is going to help us perform better, that it’s going to light a fire under our ass. But that doesn’t actually work. Okay? It just leads to more negativity, more negative feelings, more negative action, more negative results.

Perfectionist tendency number 16 is expecting to be good from the get-go. If you’re working on developing a skill, or you’re trying something new, you’ll expect yourself to be great at it from the start. 

Another thing that I see pop up here is expecting yourself to know more than you do. So many of my clients struggle with this. They expect themselves to be an expert at everything. They expect themselves to have more knowledge at “this stage”, whatever stage in your career you’re at, they expect themselves to know more than they do. 

And they make what they don’t know a problem, rather than celebrating themselves for having learned what they’ve already learned. So, check in with yourself. Are you expecting yourself to be good from the get-go? Do you give yourself any grace to learn new things? If you don’t, you’re being a perfectionist.

Perfectionist tendency number 17 is reinventing the wheel to make things better when you don’t have to. You have something that’s good enough already, but you tell yourself, “Meh, this could be better. So, I’m going to start from scratch and create something new.”

We like creating, it feels really productive, but we end up spending a lot of time unnecessarily reinventing the wheel. So, if you do this, you want to be onto yourself. Can you just use what you already have and save yourself the headache and the time? Is it good enough? Remember, we’re aiming for good enough work, we’re not aiming for perfection. We’re not aiming for the best. 

I just coached someone on this. She created a presentation in January of this year, and she presented it to an online audience. It went really, really well, and she got asked to speak at a conference. She was talking to me, and she was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to present on.” 

I’m like, “Why don’t you just use the presentation that you did in January? It sounds like that was really good, and you’ve already got it all dialed in. It’s all created, you don’t have to start from scratch. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That sounds like a perfect thing to do.” 

And she was like, “No, no, no, that’s not good enough. I need to make it better. I need to tweak it. I need to add more to it.” I’m like, “What if you don’t have to do that? What if what you’ve already done is good enough? You can save yourself the headache and just use what you already have.”

Check in with yourself. Are you doing that? Can you use what you already have? Alright, one caveat here is, where using what you already have doesn’t actually save you time. So, I used to do this with looking for the perfect template. I’d pour hours and hours into searching for the perfect template. 

I used to do contract coaching for one of my coaches. I would search for all of my old answers. We would get written coaching requests; they would submit them, her clients. We would get those requests and we would respond to them in writing. So, we would get the requests, and a lot of the requests were on the same or similar topics. 

I would think to myself, “Ooh, I remember answering a question really similar to this. That answer was so good. I liked the way that I said things in that answer. I’m going to go search for it.” And I would spend so much time going to search for those answers. 

I’d finally find the answer that I was looking for, I’d read through it, I’d copy and paste it into the new response that I was going to put together, but it wouldn’t be a good fit. Things would be different about the original answer versus the new answer that I was trying to craft. 

And then, I’d have to spend all of this time tweaking the original answer to make it fit the new answer, the new coaching request. That ended up being a really indulgent use of my time, when what I could have just done was start from scratch and it would have taken me a lot less time. 

So, you’ve got to know yourself and know the situation. Does reinventing the wheel waste a lot of time here? Or would it be better for me to just start from scratch because I can do that faster than searching for the perfect template? 

Both ways, perfectionism is present here and can be problematic. But you’ve got to be able to read the situation and figure out which approach works best for you. 

Perfectionist tendency number 18 is holding yourself to vague or ambiguous standards. So, perfectionists really don’t like setting clear goals. We love making unrealistic plans, but we don’t love setting concrete goals. And it’s because when you set concrete goals, when you call your shot, you set yourself up to experience failure. 

If you’re very specific about what you’re aiming for and you don’t hit it, you’re going to tell yourself you’ve failed. Now, I don’t believe in failure. I believe you’re always winning or learning, and that you have to quit in order to fail. Because failure requires an end point from which you measure. So, you have to quit in order to fail. 

But perfectionists will refuse to set concrete, specific, measurable goals. They’ll just strive for better, or more, or less, in order to keep it from being concrete and specific. Because you can’t really monitor your progress, therefore you can’t fail if you don’t really know what you’re aiming for. 

Now, the problem with this is that you never feel accomplished either. Because you always tell yourself, “I don’t know what good enough is. I don’t know what enough progress is, but it’s not this,” and you’re constantly striving for more. You’re constantly chasing the horizon, and that feels terrible. You often feel inadequate as a result. 

So, are you striving for vague or ambiguous standards? Check in with yourself. Where are you striving for more? Where are you striving for better? 

People do this with their to-do lists too. They just want to get “more” done in a given day. They just want to be more productive. They want to be more efficient, but they don’t really know what they’re aiming for. So, if you’re doing this, you want to break this habit. Break the cycle, and start to get clearer and more specific about what it is you want to accomplish. 

Now, perfectionist tendency number 19 is where you get to the 90% mark of a project that you’re working on, and then, instead of completing it you jump to something else. Now, as much as perfectionists don’t like feeling incomplete, we also don’t like feeling judged. 

When you finish something and you have to send it off to someone else, that’s when you open yourself up to other people’s criticism, other people’s opinions, other people’s judgment, and you want to avoid that. So, you’ll avoid completing something in order to avoid being judged on that work. 

If you draft an email and you’re almost done with it, and you’ve jumped to something else, this is perfectionism running the show. If you’re working on a brief or drafting a contract, and you get to the 90% mark but you don’t proofread it, you don’t finalize it and send it off, this is your perfectionism. You’re doing it to avoid exposure, avoid that judgment. 

You’ve got to be onto yourself. And if you do this, you’ve got to override that desire to avoid feeling judged. Gag-and-go, complete it, cross the finish line, and send it off. It’s going to save you so much strife and stress if you get things out the door.

And perfectionist tendency number 20, this is so common. If you struggle with 1-19, I guarantee you do number 20. So, perfectionist tendencies 1-19 are all about you; what you do, how perfectionism shows up in your life, the expectations you have for yourself. 

Perfectionist tendency number 20 is all about “other oriented” perfectionism. Where you think there’s one right way of doing things, and when people don’t do it that way you think that they’re doing it wrong. Now, this might be with the way people say things, with what they say, with what they do, with what they don’t do. 

But if you feel a lot of frustration, disappointment, and resentment in your life towards other people, you are indulging in “other oriented” perfectionism and you’re struggling with this perfectionistic tendency. Thinking that there’s one right way to do things, and thinking that everyone else is doing it wrong if they’re not doing it the “right” way. 

This will cause you so much emotional suffering in your life if you struggle with other oriented perfectionism. If you’re perfectionistic with yourself, I promise you, you are perfectionistic with other people. There’s no doubt about it. 

So, you want to start to become aware of how you are being perfectionistic with other people in your life. What do you expect of them? Do you expect flawlessness from them too? Do you expect them to do things the “right” way? If you do, what I want you to start to open yourself up to is the distinct possibility that there is more than one way to do things. That there isn’t one right way, there are just different ways, and a lot of ways work. 

I think I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but my ex-boyfriend was helping me move a while back and he was loading a bellhop car. I was getting really frustrated with how he was doing it because I was totally indulging in other oriented perfectionism. 

I was starting to critique him, and he was really direct with me. He’s like, “Hey, I’m a grown adult. I know how to load a car. Let me just do this.” I was like, “Alright, you’re right. I’m totally micromanaging you. I will stop. I’ll knock it off.” So, I let him do it, and lo and behold, he did it better than me. He had a better idea; I just didn’t see the vision. 

It taught me, and I was able to learn that there’s more than one way to do something. And even if his way hadn’t been as efficient or as effective as mine, that’s just my opinion, and it still gets the job done. There are different ways to go about doing things. I don’t need to be frustrated that it didn’t go the exact way that I envisioned it going. 

So, check in with yourself. Do you indulge in other oriented perfectionism? And if you do, how can you open your mind to recognize that other people aren’t behaving wrongly? They are doing what they think is best. And “best” is an opinion, it’s not a fact. You can just hold space for them to have their own opinions, and for you to have your opinions, and for all of those opinions to coexist. 

Okay, so these are the 20 perfectionist tendencies that I wanted to introduce you to. This is not an exhaustive list, there are others I’m sure. But these were the ones that I was able to identify, that I wanted to make sure you were aware of. You want to start to look for these perfectionistic tendencies in your own life so you can start to overcome perfectionism. 

Now, if you want help overcoming perfectionism, I teach a system, a process, for overcoming perfectionism… how to define good enough, how to strive for B+ work… so you can be less hard on yourself. So you can get more done. So you can stop freezing from the pressure that you create for yourself as a result of being perfectionistic. So you can dial down the negative emotion you experience when you’re not attaining the impossible. 

If you want help with this, you want to make sure you get inside my signature coaching program for lawyers. It’s called Lawyers Only. Inside that program, we get weekly coaching calls, group coaching calls, on Tuesdays at 1pm Eastern. 

They’re an hour long, and we coach on so many different topics. Like, overcoming perfectionism, stopping pleasing people, procrastination… how to stop doing that… how to manage your time, how to develop business, how to delegate so many things that lawyers struggle with. It really is a one-stop shop for everything law school, your employers, and your parents didn’t teach you. 

So, you get those weekly coaching calls, but you also get access to the Member Portal. Inside the Member Portal you’ve got a community platform where you can engage with the almost 100 other attorneys that are in the program. And this is just the beginning, we’re just getting started. This group is going to grow and grow and grow, which is so exciting. 

But we’ve got almost 100 members right now, so you want to get in there. It’s such an amazing networking opportunity. People get to crowdsource and share ideas with each other. There’s nothing like being in a community of other like-minded people. People who face the same issues you face, struggle with the same problems that you struggle with, and want the same things that you want. 

They’ve got the same goals. They’re working on the same things. They’re going the same places you’re going. So, you want to make sure that you join a community where you can be open and honest about the things that you’re struggling with and have that support system. It is imperative to really striving and succeeding in legal, okay?

And then, aside from the community platform, you’ve also got a Coaching Requests space. So, in between our weekly calls, you can get coached as often as you want, on any topic that you want; all things professional and personal. 

And then, there’s a Masterclass Vault with over 50 master classes that I’ve done, on every topic under the sun: How to focus, how to relax, how to get stuff done, how to get organized, how to set and achieve goals, how to develop business, how to get better at managing money, how to manage your time, how to manage a team. The list goes on and on. 

Then you’ve also got a space where you can ask me for feedback on things. If you’re working on, let’s say, social media marketing, and you want my feedback on some content that you’ve created, you can post in the Member Portal and I’ll give you feedback. 

There’s some foundational course content that teaches you, basically, mind management 101, thought work 101. So, it’s really a deep dive into the introduction to coaching. I teach you the fundamentals, so you have a strong foundation of how to use the tools that I teach. And that, you can watch it on demand. You’ve got that. 

Then, over the course of the summer and fall, I’m going to be releasing two new courses; Time Management for Lawyers, and Business Development for Lawyers. You want to make sure that you’re in this program so you get access to those courses. 

And then, last but not least, you also have the ability to purchase one-on-one coaching calls with me; one-off calls for an extra little bit of support. That’s something I’ve never offered before. If you’ve worked with me one on one in the past, you’ve always had to work with me for a long period of time, six months or five months at a time. 

This way, you’re able to just get that pinpointed support when you’re struggling with something. If you just need a little extra help, a little guidance or insight because you’re struggling with a problem, you can jump in there, schedule a one-on-one call with me, and we’ll meet to go through whatever it is you’re struggling with. Alright? 

You want to make sure you get inside Lawyers Only. The way to do that is head to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/lawyers-only. I’ll link it in the show notes. There are two ways to become a member. You can join as a monthly member, for $150 a month. I promise you, there is no better value in the coaching industry for lawyers than this program. 

It is incredibly accessible. I designed it that way. I wanted to make sure it was incredibly accessible to people. I promise you, you can get creative and figure out how to make that monthly payment to get yourself the support that is going to make all the difference to you succeeding in the legal industry. Okay?

And then, if you want to save a little bit of money, you can pay all at once and you can join as an annual member, and that’s $1,500 a year. So, you save a couple of hundred when you join as an annual member. 

When you join, you lock in these prices. If I increase the price in the future, you’ll lock in these prices now. So, you want to make sure you join while it’s still $150 a month, or $1,500 for the year. You lock in that price for life. 

Go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com/lawyers-only, and go join us inside the program. It will make all the difference in the world. If you struggle with perfectionism, that’s the place you want to be to overcome it. Alright?

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 104: Drama

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Drama

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero |  Drama

Where are you experiencing unnecessary drama in your life? Do you know how you might be creating an emotional rollercoaster for yourself through your behaviors? How is drama addiction showing up in your storytelling? And why is this a problem?

One of the biggest benefits people experience from coaching is learning that the dramatic stories they tell themselves aren’t true, and that they have the power to change it. If you often find yourself navigating emotional highs and lows when what you really want is a calm, grounded experience, there might be some drama addiction going on, and it’s time to learn how to tell more empowering stories instead.

Join me on this episode to hear how drama addiction manifests and examples of how you might be unwittingly engaging in it. I’m showing you why telling unnecessarily dramatic stories is a problem, how to identify if you’re stuck in a dramatic narrative that isn’t serving you, and how to begin telling less dramatic versions of your experience. 

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 drama addiction manifests.
  • Why we tell dramatic stories, and why it’s a problem.
  • The importance of checking in to see how you feel when you tell dramatic stories.
  • How to identify if you’re stuck in a dramatic narrative.
  • Examples of what unnecessarily dramatic storytelling sounds like.
  • Why cultivating a sense of calm can be luxurious.
  • How to tell less dramatic stories.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast episode 104. Today we’re talking about drama. 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 you’re doing well. I am fabulous and I am even more excited to dive into today’s topic. This is an issue that I see people struggle with all the time. So today we’re talking about drama, and if I’m being frank, I watch people really become addicted to the drama in their day-to-day lives. 

Now, what do I mean by this? Well there’s a couple different ways drama addiction manifests itself. The main way that I see people struggle with drama addiction is that they tell themselves the most dramatic version of a story. So what I mean by that is that their thoughts are really dramatic. They encounter circumstances, and remember circumstances are neutral but it’s our thoughts that aren’t neutral. They’re either positive or negative. 

And I’ll watch people choose very negative thoughts and very dramatic thoughts on top of that. So the more negative your thought is, the chances are the more dramatic that thought it. Now, why do we do this and why is it a problem? Well first and foremost, people think their thoughts are true. 

If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you’ve heard me talk about this, that our thoughts aren’t actually true. Our thoughts are subjective opinion statements and we have the ability and control to change them. Its circumstances are true and circumstances are facts that everyone would agree upon. 

But people believe that their thoughts are facts. So the way that you can distinguish between a thought or a fact is to ask yourself, would every single person in the world agree with this? Are there subjective statements in it? Are there adjectives? If there are, it’s likely a thought, not a fact. 

But people mistakenly believe that their thoughts are true. So they’ll tell a dramatic version of a story of a situation that they encounter because they think it’s the only way to look at it. And one of the massive benefits that people get from coaching is learning that these dramatic stories that they’re telling themselves aren’t true and that they have the power to change it, to tell a less dramatic version of the story, which is what I’m going to teach you how to do in today’s episode. 

So one reason that we tell ourselves dramatic stories is because we think they’re true, even though they’re not. The other reason that we do this is because dramatic stories make us feel significant. When we’re telling a dramatic story, we end up making ourselves the victim in that story. Sometimes we’ll also make ourselves the hero, but it’s much more likely that you’re the victim in that narrative that you’re telling yourself. 

Now, it feels good to feel significant. If you listen to Tony Robbins, he has a TED Talk on the six basic human needs, and the need to be needed or the need to feel significant is one of those six basic human needs. It’s an excellent TED Talk that he did. You can find it on YouTube. I’ll have it linked here in the show notes. It is definitely worth a listen. It was so eye-opening to me the first time that I listened to it, and I’ve listened to it multiple times over and over again, and I recommend it to my clients to listen to very frequently. 

So he talks about how we have this innate human need to feel needed or to feel significant. Now, for a lot of people that I work with, this is one of their main needs. We all have all six needs that he talks about, but we all have a preference, we prefer two out of the six. And for a lot of the people that I work with, their need to feel needed or their need to feel significant ranks high among their needs. 

So if you find yourself telling very dramatic versions of stories, it’s probably serving that need to feel significant. So when you’re telling yourself a very dramatic story, you end up feeling significant in that story. Things are happening to you, bad things based on the negative story that you’re likely telling yourself, and you’ll be the one who’s center at that story. So you’ll end up feeling very, very significant. 

So it feeds that need, even though it doesn’t ultimately serve you. It feels good in the moment because you get to feel important in that narrative. Now, why is this a problem though? All right, maybe drama kind of sounds exciting. And if that’s where your brain goes first when you hear me talking about drama and kind of working my best to talk you out of telling dramatic stories, what I want you to do is check in with yourself and see how you feel when you tell a dramatic story. 

If you’re telling a negative dramatic story, you’re probably not going to be feeling very good. It’s going to create a lot of unnecessary negative emotion. And I’m going to give you some examples of dramatic stories in just a minute so you can see this for yourself. But when you’re in a dramatic story, your emotions are going to be heightened and not in a great way. 

Most of the dramatic storytelling that I see my clients engage in is negative dramatic storytelling. They’re telling a pretty negative, a pretty unhelpful version of what they’re experiencing. And as a result, they end up feeling a lot of negative emotion. And remember, when you’re feeling negative emotion, you’re going to take negative action or no action, and it’s going to produce negative results. 

So I want to give you some examples of what I mean by dramatic storytelling so you can see for yourself what it looks like. And then you can do an audit and take inventory in your own life. Where are you telling dramatic stories? And are your dramatic stories serving you? 

So the first example might sound something like this. I’ve had clients say this version of a dramatic story to me over and over and over again. They’ll tell me, Olivia, I’m working on a massive project. This matter, it’s the biggest project I’ve ever handled and it’s just the worst. The opposing side is completely unreasonable. 

I absolutely hate working with them. They’re terrible. They have no idea what they’re doing. Honestly, they’re committing malpractice. They shouldn’t even be able to practice law. It’s just horrible. I cannot wait for this matter to be over, but honestly, it’s just never going to end. I’m going to have to suffer my way through it, but I have no idea how I’m going to survive it. 

All right, does that sound at all familiar? If it is, you’re stuck inside a dramatic narrative. So if you’re telling yourself a story like this about a matter or a case that you’re working on, here’s what I want you to do instead. I want you to ask yourself this question. What’s the less dramatic version of the story? And see what you can tell yourself. 

I actually like to write the dramatic stories out because you can just take a pen to what you’ve written and cross out the drama and tell a much less dramatic version of the story instead. So you could take the story that I just offered you and change it to this. Rather than, I’m working on a massive project, I’m working on a project and it’s not my favorite matter that I’ve ever worked on. 

And I don’t love working with opposing counsel, we have different ways of going about the case. I don’t agree with a lot of the decisions they’re making, but we are making progress. And you know, if I’m being honest, before I know it the matter will be over and it’ll be behind me. 

That is such a different version of the same facts, right? You’re still working on the case or the matter. You’re still dealing with opposing counsel, but it’s way different. It’s way more positive. It’s way more grounded, way more neutral than the original story. We’ve taken out the drama. 

And how you feel when you tell yourself the first story is going to be pretty awful. You’re going to feel overwhelmed and pressured and maybe inadequate or incapable because you’re telling yourself it’s the biggest thing that you’ve worked on and it’s so massive. You’re going to feel really stressed when you’re stuck in that story. 

You’re also going to feel resentful and frustrated with the other side. And you’ll create a lot of dread for yourself in working on that case. Now, if you think about it, when you feel those negative emotions, how do you show up? What type of action do you take? Either you’ll react and you’ll complain and you’ll be harder to get along with when you’re dealing with the other side. Maybe you complain to your colleagues or friends and family members. 

Or you’ll shut down from all that pressure and overwhelm and you’ll procrastinate. You’ll avoid working on it. You’ll do other stuff instead. And then it’ll just be hanging there like a weight over you, which is going to feel terrible. 

So the feelings that you feel that you create for yourself by the story that you’re telling impact the action that you take. And if you don’t like the action that you’re taking, you’re going to have to change the story in order to feel differently and then show up differently. 

Now, in the latter story, the less dramatic version that I offered you, you’re going to feel so much more capable, so much more in control, so much more grounded, so much more calm. And that’s going to enable you to show up in such a better way. 

So let’s walk through another example. Let’s say you have some work to do. If you’re telling yourself the most dramatic story of the work that you have on your plate, it might sound something like this. I have so much work to do. I mean, it’s just an insane amount of stuff to get done and I have absolutely no time to do it. I’m never going to get everything done. 

There’s just no way around it. I’m going to disappoint my clients and it’s because they have the most unrealistic expectations. And it just seems like no matter what I do, nothing is ever good enough. All right, that’s one version of the story that you can tell yourself. 

Or you could ask yourself the question, what’s a less dramatic version of this story? Or what’s the least dramatic version of this story? And you could tell yourself something like this instead. I have some work to do. I’m going to have to be diligent and deliberate with my time, but I will get it done. Even if it’s not as fast as I’d like it to be, I’ll get it finished and that’s okay. 

And my clients will be okay. I’ll communicate realistic expectations. And I’m going to do my best, which is all I can do. And I’m going to trust that that’s going to be good enough. 

If you tell yourself that version of the story, it’s going to feel so much differently than the original dramatic version. Way less stress, way less overwhelm, way less pressure, okay? You’re going to feel capable and more confident and more calm, which is my goal for you. 

Now, another example, I often tell my clients not to answer unscheduled phone calls or to respond to emails as soon as they come in, because you end up interrupting yourself while you’re in the middle of doing something else and it really slows you down. If you look up the statistics on multitasking, you will see studies back this up. Multitasking is really inefficient. 

But when I offer them this suggestion to not respond to everything immediately, or to not answer an unscheduled phone call and interrupt themselves, they give me a very dramatic version of what will happen if they do that. And maybe it’s someone, maybe it’s not even with a current client, but it’s with new clients coming in. A lot of people I work with believe that if they don’t answer, then the client will go elsewhere and their business will suffer. 

So the story that they tell themselves looks something like this. I can’t not answer. If I don’t answer the phone when it rings, people will go elsewhere and I’ll stop getting clients and then I will go out of business. The only way that I can be successful is if I’m always on and always available because that’s what people expect. Okay, that’s a dramatic version of this story. 

If you ask yourself, what’s a less dramatic version of the story? You could tell yourself this instead. You know, there’s plenty of work to go around. I have plenty of work right now. I don’t have to be tethered to my phone. If I miss one client opportunity, more will come my way, that always seems to be the case. And people don’t expect me to be available every single minute of the day. 

All right, that is a much more empowered and empowering story. So check in with yourself here. Those are a couple examples of what dramatic storytelling looks like. If you are experiencing a lot of negative emotion about a particular situation in your life, I really want to encourage you to write out the story you’re telling yourself about it. I actually like to go through and highlight the actual facts. 

They will be hard to find. Most of the things that you’re telling yourself are thoughts, not facts. So you can go through and highlight the facts and then see what else could you tell yourself about those facts, okay? And then go through and take a pen and cross out. Where’s the drama? Go through and just strike it out, okay? 

And then you’ll come up with a much different version of the story. You could go line by line and ask yourself, what’s a less dramatic version of this sentence? And you’ll string together a bunch of less dramatic sentences and you’ll come up with a narrative that really serves you. It makes you feel so much less negative than you’re probably used to feeling because of the dramatic stories that you’re telling. 

Now, if you have a habit of telling dramatic stories, you’ve got to look inward and check in with yourself. Identify how telling those dramatic stories makes you feel significant. How do you get to feel? Do you get to be the hero or do you get to be the victim? Which is, like I said earlier, I find that to be way more likely. People end up being the victim in their story, but they get to feel very important or significant as a result of telling that dramatic version to themselves. 

You also might tell dramatic versions of the story to other people. It might get you sympathy from them. They might empathize with you. If that’s the case, ask yourself, is this really serving me? Because you end up believing your stories. It’s the reality that you create for yourself. So even if it makes you feel significant or important, or you get that sympathy from other people, you end up feeling the negative emotions that correspond with that negative storyline. 

So if you don’t want to feel negatively and you don’t want to take negative action from those negative feelings, you’ve got to change the narrative that you’re telling yourself and you have to be willing to give up that sense of significance or that sense of importance in order to move into being able to tell a less dramatic version of the story to yourself and to other people. You’ve got to be willing to feel deprived of that significance, of that sympathy, of whatever feel-good emotion you get from that dramatic storytelling. 

So the simple solution here is once you’ve identified the dramatic version you’re telling yourself, which you will be able to identify because of the dramatic feelings that you experience, you’re simply going to ask yourself this question, what’s the less dramatic version of the story? And come up with that. 

And then check in with yourself. When you live in that story, how do you get to feel? What negative emotions are dialed down? And how significantly are they dialed down? The less dramatic the story, the more your negative emotions are going to be dialed down. And then what positive emotions do you start to get access to because you’ve changed the narrative that you’re telling yourself? You’ll be really surprised with how effective this is. And it’s just that simple question. What’s the less dramatic version of the story? 

Now, there’s one other way that people engage in drama addiction, okay? And they wait until the last minute to do things. And this will typically look like the way that you procrastinate, right? And I see this both with projects or another famous way that people do this, it could be with making plans. I also see it with paying bills. And that’s when I first learned that this was a way that we create unnecessary drama for ourselves. 

I was listening to a podcast episode years ago. I don’t remember which one it was, but it might have been on the Life Coach School podcast with my coach, Brooke Castillo. And I learned the concept that we postpone things because it creates drama for ourselves. And people typically do this while paying bills. Instead of paying it as soon as it comes in, you’ll tell yourself that you’ll get to it later and then you forget about it and it goes by. 

And then you create this dramatic moment where you remember and then your pulse starts to race and you start to freak out. Oh my goodness, did I miss the deadline? Is it late? And then you go check and then you have that relief of, oh my goodness, I didn’t miss it. I still have time to take care of it. 

Or we’ll do that with projects. Rather than doing it when you could do it earlier than the deadline, you’ll wait until the very last minute because it creates a lot of drama right around the deadline. I used to do this with filing all the time. I’d wait until the very last minute and it would create a very emotionally heightened experience for me. Now, that was my drama addiction. I liked how it felt to be the hero in that story, right? 

Sometimes you don’t get to be the hero because you miss whatever the deadline is and then you have to deal with the embarrassment or the shame or the guilt. But if you do manage to pull it off, you create this worry and then the relief that comes when you handle whatever you need to handle within the time allotted. But it’s right up against the wire, so it’s a very dramatic emotional experience when you handle things this way. 

Or maybe you don’t make plans in advance and you have to scramble at the last minute. I’ve definitely overpaid for things, hotels, flights, things like that, waiting until the last minute. So now I do my best to make plans more in advance and I allow myself to feel bored by my planning or by handling a project ahead of time or by paying a bill as soon as it comes in. 

I’ve recognized that I used to do these things, waiting till the last minute in order to create this drama unnecessarily. And I love that significant, heroic feeling that I’d get to experience when I would figure everything out up against the wire. But sometimes things didn’t go best case scenario and then I’d have to deal with the negative emotion that would come from things going sort of worst case scenario. 

And I recognize I didn’t want to create that stress for myself anymore. I also used to leave at the last minute for things and then I’d be in a rush. And I’ve really worked on eliminating rushing from my life. I see it as luxurious to be on time for things or to give myself enough time to get somewhere if I have dinner plans or I’m going to a show. I don’t need to be incredibly early, I just need to be on time versus giving myself enough time and then creating a dramatic rushed experience getting myself there. I hate how that feels now. 

And I really do think it is a small luxury to have enough space to be able to get to something without the pressure or to be able to plan something without the pressure and the stress, to be able to pay for something without the stress, to be able to complete a project without the unnecessary stress. 

So check in with yourself. Are you creating emotional roller coasters because you like the feeling, the sense of that risk and then the reward? The risk and then the relief. If that’s you, there’s some drama addiction going on here and you want to be cognizant because again, you create a lot of unnecessary highs and lows for yourself when you could just have a really calm, grounded experience. 

And I want to challenge you to start thinking calmly, not as boring, but as something that is quite luxurious. Something that is a way that you practice self-care for yourself. Something that is a positive indulgence. Something that you get to create for yourself that’s really kind of delicious and exquisite. 

If you crave the drama, if you like to indulge in the drama, chances are you don’t love feeling bored and you’re creating instances in your life to escape boredom, whether it’s in waiting until the last minute to do something or just amping yourself up because work would otherwise be boring if you weren’t telling dramatic stories about what your day-to-day experience is like. 

I really want to encourage you to embrace boredom and stop making it your enemy. I’ve had to coach myself a ton on embracing boredom and when I finally stopped going to war and waging a battle against it and I started to embrace boredom in my life, I once heard that embracing boredom is really the key to success. 

When I started to embrace it in my own life, that’s when I started to dial down the drama and my life started to get a lot less emotional. I got off that emotional rollercoaster and it started to be calm and I started to get more done because I wasn’t having to exert all of this emotional energy on the highs and then the lows, and the lows were low, all right? 

So take an audit, take an inventory. Where are you experiencing or creating for yourself unnecessary amounts of drama in your life by the behavior that you’re exhibiting, waiting to the last minute, poor planning, coming up against deadlines? Where are you doing it there and then where are you doing it in your storytelling? Audit your stories. Are they dramatic? If so, dial down the drama. What’s the less dramatic version of the story you can tell yourself? It will change your life, okay? 

Save the drama for your mama, like they say, but don’t save it for her either because she doesn’t want to listen to it, I’m sure, okay? Just cut out the drama and you’ll cut out a lot of unnecessary negative emotion and you will free yourself up to feel better and do better in the process. 

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 103: Taking Time Off

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Taking Time Off

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Taking Time Off

Are you stuck in a rut at work? Do you feel drained, uninspired, or burnt out? Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of taking time off, knowing it will recharge your batteries, but get hung up on the what ifs. 

Whether you worry about what other people will think about you taking time off, tell yourself there’s some better time in the future for a break, or otherwise feel guilty or overwhelmed when you think about taking time off, this episode is for you. The truth is you have so much power over the experience you create for yourself when it comes to taking time off work, and I’m showing you how to change your mindset on this episode.

Join me this week as I break down the negative thoughts you might be experiencing about taking time off and show you how to change the way you’re currently thinking about giving yourself a break. You’ll also learn why it’s worth questioning your judgments of other people taking time off, and my best practices for taking some time away from work. 

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 you struggle to take time off.
  • Questions to ask yourself about your thoughts on taking time off.
  • 2 steps to change the way you’re currently thinking about taking time off.
  • Why it’s worth questioning your judgments of other people taking time off.
  • My top suggestions for best practices when it comes to taking time off.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

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Full Episode Transcript:





You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 103. Today, we’re talking about taking time off. 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 all is well in your neck of the woods. Things are going very well for me. I am actually getting ready to head into a season of quite a bit of travel. And that inspired today’s episode. 

Today I want to talk about taking time off. If you struggle with taking time off, and you feel like you’re always working, this episode is for you. So, I want to start by talking about the thoughts that you’re thinking about taking time off that hold you back. And then, we’re going to talk about the negative feelings that you avoid by avoiding taking time off. And then, I’m going to break down some of the best practices that I recommend for taking time off so you can start to do it effectively. 

So, check in with yourself. When you think about taking time off, what thoughts come up for you? If you’re anything like my clients, you might be thinking, “I can’t take time off. It’s irresponsible for me to take time off.” A lot of people think it’s more work than it’s worth. 

You might be thinking that everything needs to be done before you can take time off. If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re never going to take time off because not everything will ever be done. There will always be more to do. That’s just the nature of our careers. 

A lot of people also worry that people will be mad at them if they take time off. You may think that it’s unfair to your colleagues, especially if work feels really busy right now. That people will not understand if you take time off, or they’ll be resentful, or they’ll hold it against you. You might also tell yourself that now isn’t a good time, or that you need to wait for things to slow down. 

If you’re thinking these thoughts, you’re really going to struggle to take time off. Remember, if you’re thinking a thought it’s going to cause you to feel a feeling, and then it’s going to drive the action you take. So, these are all thoughts that are going to make you feel negative emotions. And then, the action that you’re going to take from them is you’re not going to take time off. 

If you think you can’t take time off, you won’t take time off. If you think it’s irresponsible, you’re going to avoid feeling irresponsible by not taking time off. If you’re telling yourself it’s more work than it’s worth, the way that you approach taking time off probably proves that true. 

Maybe you front load and create a heavy back load when you return, so it feels like everything just piles up and that it’s not worth it to take time off. Instead of planning more intentionally and making sure that it doesn’t feel like an avalanche of work is waiting for you when you get back. 

If you’re worried that people will be mad at you, you’ll feel worried or guilty or nervous or afraid. And then, you’ll avoid taking time off in order to avoid being exposed to those emotions. And if you’re being perfectionistic about this, thinking that there’s a better time to take time off, now’s not a good time but you need to wait until later, you’re going to keep kicking the can down the road. 

So, what comes up for you when you think about taking time off? I want you to spend a second and identify the thoughts that you’re thinking about taking a vacation, taking time off. I also know a lot of people think that they should only take time off if they’re going somewhere, and that’s just not a thought that I practice at all. I take time off if I’m not feeling well. 

I want you to think about what warrants taking time off for you? And do you like the definition that you currently have or do you want to change it? It’s okay if you just feel really out of it one day and you want to take a day off so you can recuperate or rest up. 

You also might be thinking that time off needs to be earned or rest needs to be earned. All of these thoughts won’t serve you if you want to work less and take more time off. 

You also want to check in with yourself: What emotions do you experience when you think about taking time off? Do you feel guilty? Do you feel worried? Do you feel stressed or overwhelmed or maybe discouraged or defeated, like you can never seem to get away because there’s always so much to do?

Whatever negative emotions are coming up for you, ask yourself how do you respond to those feelings? Are you avoiding them? My guess is you probably are. So, what’s the solution here? Well, you know from listening to the podcast that we always need to identify the thoughts that we’re thinking, and then shift them. We need to change the way that we’re thinking about something in order to create a different result. 

That’s always step one, we need to change our thoughts. And then, step two, is you need to embrace the negative emotions in order to be able to move forward in spite of them. So, here are some thoughts that you could choose to think instead. You could choose to replace, “I can’t take time off,” with, “I can take time off. It’s okay for me to take time off.”

I also love to remind myself, “It’s safe for me to take time off.” Think about being an example to the other people that you work with, especially if you supervise people. Demonstrate for them that it is okay for them to take time off of work. Be an example of what’s possible.

I want you to remind yourself that you don’t need to wait to take time off. That now is as good a time as any to take a vacation or to take a day to yourself. I want you to work on believing that people will understand that you want to take time off. People will understand that you do take time off. That it’s all something that we’re allowed to do as employees, or even as business owners. 

That’s something that I’ve worked on a ton. I was definitely raised by a dad who was an entrepreneur, and he didn’t believe that you could take time off and be successful. That was a limiting belief that he had. I’ve really worked to break that cycle for myself. 

So, I’ve built my belief that I can have a successful business and take time off. I’ve created that result for myself, because it’s a belief that I’ve practiced believing. It’s a thought that I’ve worked to think over and over and over again. And then, I take the action of taking time off and still have a successful business, so I’ve proven that true. 

If you’re going to struggle to believe that people will understand, I want you to work on believing that it’s not your job to manage other people’s opinions or manage other people’s emotions. They’re allowed to think whatever they want about you taking time off, and you’re still allowed to take it. Trust them to manage their own emotional experience. They’ll be able to get over it, I promise you that is true. Your clients will get over it, your colleagues will get over it, everything will end up being fine. 

I also want you to practice believing that it’s worth it for you to do. If you’re someone who thinks that it’s more work than it’s worth. Or that there’s just so much work waiting for you it’s not worth it to take time off because of the headache that you come back to, I want you to challenge that and start to solve for how could you take time off in a way that works for you? 

And then, practice believing that you can take time off in a way that works for you. And that the reward that you get, the benefit that you get from taking a break from work, actually serves you. It sets you up for success. It makes work better. It makes you show up better when you have a bit of a break in the action. 

Something that I’ve been coaching my clients on, especially the people who tend to work weekends or work almost every weekend, when they practice setting boundaries and limiting the amount that they work and they stop working weekends, they notice how refreshed they are when they come back to work on Monday. They’re ready to hit the ground running. They’re ready to just take action and produce results in their work. 

If you’re feeling a little burned out, a little unmotivated, a little frustrated with work, contemplate giving yourself a break from it so you can take some time and have an opportunity to become reinvigorated and return to work with that drive and passion that you’ve had in the past. 

So, those are some thoughts that I suggest you practice. But I want you to take a second for yourself and also think: What would you want to think about taking time off? What would you need to believe in order to do it? In order to give yourself permission to take a break from work, go on vacation, take a day to yourself, whatever it is that you want to do?

Now, once you’ve identified some new thoughts to think about taking time off, I want you to check in with your emotions. What negative emotions are you going to have to allow yourself to feel, on purpose, in order to follow through with a plan to take time off of work? Are you going to have to gag-and-go, and feel guilty or worried or judged or misunderstood? Maybe you’re going to have to feel pressured or stressed or overwhelmed because there’s still work to be done. 

What would it look like for you to embrace those negative emotions and take time off in spite of and despite them? I want you to remember, in order to gag-and-go through a feeling you want to find that feeling in your body. Where exactly do you feel that emotion? Describe it to yourself. What does it feel like? That’s all that’s ever happening when you’re experiencing an emotion, you’re feeling a vibe emotion in your body. 

So, if you give yourself permission to just experience that vibration, you can move forward in spite of and despite it. And then, take the intentional action of honoring your plan to take time off regardless of feeling that experience in your body. That’s all that happens. Taking time off isn’t going to kill you, you just have to feel that emotion within the layers of your skin, essentially. That’s all that’s going on. 

And by doing that, taking intentional action of taking time off in spite of those emotions, you’re going to create a body of evidence that it’s safe for you to take time off. That the world doesn’t come to a screeching halt. That everything doesn’t crumble around you when you take a break from work. 

And then, when you take time off in the future, it’s going to be less uncomfortable because you have a new body of evidence to support that it is in fact safe for you to do. 

One other tip for you in order to change your mindset around taking time off, is to check in with yourself and see what judgments you have of other people taking time off. Identify the mirror judgments that you have here. If you judge other people for taking time off of work, you’re going to fear that other people are going to judge you for taking time off of work. 

Do you think other people, when they take time off during a busy season, that they’re not team players or that they’re irresponsible or that they’re lazy? If you have those judgments, you’re going to be afraid that other people are going to think the same things about you. 

So, check in. Is there something else that you could think about your colleagues or your employees taking time off? If you can shift your thinking about other people taking time off, you’ll be able to apply those same new thoughts to yourself as well. 

One other thing that I’d like to add here is, I want you to get rid of the expectation that taking time off feels comfortable for you in the beginning. If you’re expecting it to feel really easy to take time off, when you’re not used to taking time off, you’re setting yourself up for failure here. It’s likely going to be uncomfortable because you’re changing the status quo. 

So, I want you to embrace the idea that it is okay and normal for this to feel uncomfortable at first, if you’re new to doing it, if you’re not very seasoned or skilled at giving yourself a break. If you embrace that in the beginning it’s going to feel uncomfortable, you’re going to have an easier time embracing that discomfort. Alright?

Now, let’s talk about some best practices when it comes to taking time off. One of my first suggestions is that I want you to decide ahead of time when you take time off. If you make a decision ahead of time it’s going to be easier to honor it and follow through. 

I like to plan the time that I’m going to take off at the beginning of the year. Sometimes, throughout the year, additional trips will come up. But very early on this year, I decided I’m going to Italy twice this year; once in June and once in September. I planned that at the beginning of the year, and I blocked my calendar. 

And I’ve been able to communicate to my clients that I’m going to be taking time off in June and in September. Everyone’s on the same bandwagon. Everyone’s on the same schedule. They know what to expect from me because I made the decision ahead of time. It’s not like I’m springing this on myself or on them at the last minute. 

I watch a lot of people plan to take time off, and then they don’t communicate it because they don’t want to be judged for taking the time off. And then, it comes time to honor the decision and because they didn’t communicate it to people, then they back up off of the original decision to take the time off. They cave, they cower to the pressure, right? They avoid feeling worried and they avoid feeling judged by avoiding taking the time off. 

So, I want you to decide early when you’re going to take the time off, and then start to communicate it to people so you don’t put yourself in a position where it comes down to the wire and you’re about to take the time off. And then, you feel really guilty for not having communicated it, so then you don’t take the time. You want to communicate it early and often so people know what to expect. 

I also, at the beginning of the year, plan my time off at the end of the year. So, for the last several years I’ve taken time off at the end of the year. I’ve slowly but surely worked up to taking more and more and more time off. The first time I did this, I took a week off between Christmas and New Year’s. And then, I realized I wanted more of a break, so I worked up to taking two weeks off. 

I remember I heard one of my coaches talk about taking a full month off, and when I first heard that I had a lot of mirror judgments around it. About her being an irresponsible business owner. About that being completely unrealistic. And I realized that it was actually something that I envied and that that did sound marvelous to me. I just didn’t think it was possible for me to do.

So, I worked on building my belief that I could do it, that it was possible. And then, I realized I didn’t have the comfort tolerance of taking that much time off to begin with. So, I made the decision to work up to it. 

That’s my second recommendation to you. Start with what feels more attainable or approachable for you. You can work up to taking more and more time off as you start to create that body of evidence that it’s safe to take time off. 

I’ve really worked on building my belief that it’s better for my clients, for me to take time off. I think about what I model for them. I think about how I show up better in my business when I’ve taken time to myself to rest and recuperate and enjoy my life outside of work. I show up better for the people that I serve. I want you to think about how would you show up better for the people that you serve by giving yourself some time off, as well? 

Alright, you’re going to build up to what’s aspirational. Decide ahead of time the time that you take off. You want to make sure you block that time on your calendar and honor it. Okay? Then, I want you to also think about how you can tweak or change the way that you take time off in order to make it less of a burden? 

What I watch people do typically is that they front load a ton of work, because they’re trying to get a bunch of stuff done before they take time off. And then, they also double up on the back end and they save a ton of stuff for when they return. So, the week before and the week after they take time off ends up feeling horrible to them. 

I want to offer you that you don’t have to take time off that way. You can just extend the timeline. You can work like you normally work up until you take time off, and then you can be off. And then, you can come back into work and work at a normal pace. You don’t have to double everything up, or pile it up ahead of when you leave and after you return. It’s okay for you to just extend the timeline. 

Also, check in with yourself. Are there other best practices that you could introduce here? Could you get coverage? Could you ask someone for assistance or help? Could you delegate some of what you have on your plate to someone else, in order to take some of the obligation or responsibility off of yourself? That would also help you create an easier time leaving and coming back to work.

I want you to also think about how you can ease back in? A lot of people, because they feel so guilty taking time off, they’ll bombard their schedule with a lot of meetings as soon as they’re back in the office. I don’t recommend you doing that. If you know you’re going to come back to a whole lot of emails, give yourself a full day to go through your inbox. 

Don’t play on calls, don’t plan meetings with people, just allow yourself to see what you’ve missed while you were out and start to get back up to speed. That’s totally acceptable. You really do get to make the rules for yourself. 

So, evaluate. Think about what’s worked in the past when you’ve taken time off, think about what hasn’t worked, and then be very specific about the things that haven’t worked in the past. What would you like to do differently moving forward, in order to remedy the things that didn’t work? 

If you get very clear with your evaluations when it comes to taking time off, you’re going to create a more sustainable way to take a vacation, to take time off of work. In a way that doesn’t feel punishing or punitive for you when you come back or before you leave. 

You really have so much power over the experience that you create for yourself when it comes to taking time off of work. I want to highly encourage you to figure out what are your preferences when it comes to taking time off? 

Make those decisions ahead of time, honor it, and then every time you take time off evaluate: What worked? What didn’t work? What would I do differently? So, you can really create the ability for you to enjoy time away from your job, give yourself a chance to reset, and then come back to work really motivated to get back into it, get down to business and get some stuff accomplished. Alright?

I hope you’ve got some fun stuff planned for the summer months. Or for later in the year if you like to take time off during the holidays. But spend a second as this episode ends thinking about: What time do you want to take off this year? It’s not too late to make your decisions ahead of time. You can decide right now. Block that time on your calendar. Start to communicate it to people. Build it into your game plan. 

And think about what you would like a couple years from now. Work your way up to what feels aspirational. And then, figure out what changes do you need to make in how you take time off, in order to make it worth your while and to feel really good and enjoyable when you do take that time away from the office? 

 That’s what I have 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 102: Mixed Models

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mixed Models

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Mixed Models

The coaching model is a five-part equation that helps you create awareness around the thought-feeling-action cycle. If you’re familiar with thought work, you probably practice running models in your daily life. However, there’s a common mistake that I often see my clients making in this process, and it must be addressed.

Mixed models are models where you’ve jumbled up positive and negative components together. This is where you might have a negative thought and feeling but a positive action and result (or vice versa), and while you might have multiple models running at one time, they should never be combined, and I’m showing you why.

Listen in this week to learn why mixed models are a problem and the power of separating your models. I’m showing you how operating from mixed models keep you stuck in unnecessary emotional suffering, and how to address your mixed models so it’s easier for you to achieve the things you most want.

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:

  • The 5 components of the coaching model.
  • What a mixed model is, and how people make this mistake when using the model.
  • Why mixed models are a problem.
  • Examples of how mixed models keep you stuck in emotional suffering.
  • How to address a mixed model.

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 102. Today, we’re talking all about “mixed models”. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello, my friends. How are you? I hope you’re doing well. I am so excited to introduce you to a topic that I teach my clients frequently. This is a problem that I see people make, and it’s a mistake that they make with “The Model”. The Model is the coaching tool that I use with all of my clients. 

I like to describe it as an equation for your life. There are five components, and I’ve talked about it on the podcast a lot. The five components are: Circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. When you plug in information to any one of those lines, you learn other things in that model. 

So, you learn if you’re thinking a particular thought about a circumstance, and circumstances are just facts. If you identify a thought, and you plug it into the model, you figure out what emotion you feel when you think that thought? And then, when you’re feeling that feeling, what do you do? What’s the action that you take? And then, what result does it produce? 

Now, you’ve heard me talk about this on the podcast before. But when you’re doing what we call “running a model”, that just means filling in those five different components of a model, to create that awareness to understand the thought, feeling, action, cycle, the think-feel-act cycle, that you’re operating within. 

When you plug in a thought, if the thought is negative, everything else in that model will be negative. If you’re thinking a negative thought, you’ll feel a negative feeling, you’ll take a negative action or no action, and it will produce a negative result. If you’re thinking a positive thought, you’ll feel a positive feeling, you’ll take positive, productive action, and you’ll create a positive result. 

Now, one of the mistakes that I see people make when they’re new to using the model is they create what we call a “mixed model”. A mixed model is where you have some positive components of a model and some negative components of a model. You basically jumble them up together. So, this is based off of a misconception. 

Typically, what I see people do is that they’ll have a negative thought and a negative feeling, and then in their action line and the result line, they’ll have a positive action and a positive result. That’s never going to happen. You can have multiple models going on at once, sort of like the angel on your shoulder and the devil on your shoulder, but in the same model you’re never going to have negative thoughts – negative feelings – positive action – positive results.

You’re also not going to have positive thoughts and positive feelings, creating negative action and creating a negative result. So, you’re not going to have the two combined in one model. 

Now, the reason I wanted to record a podcast episode on this topic of mixed models, is because mixed models end up being pretty problematic. They cause issues. First and foremost, mixed models are a problem because you misconstrue the causal connection between what you’re thinking, how you feel, what you do, and the results that you create. So, you mess with the awareness that you want to be creating by using the model. 

One of the reasons we use the model is to figure out: What’s the impact of this thought? When I think this way, how does it make me feel? What do I do as a result of feeling that feeling? What result do I ultimately create through that action? 

And if you’re misconstruing the causal connection, because you’re thinking a negative thought drives you to take positive action, you don’t actually learn what the actual impact is of that negative thought. It blocks you from creating that extra awareness. 

And then when you’re blocked from having that extra awareness, because you’re making this mistake by misconstruing the causal connection, you keep thinking the negative thoughts because you don’t see them as a problem. You’re like, “No, no, no, they’re driving me to take positive productive action. So, this thought isn’t hurting me, it’s serving me,” even though it’s not.

Then you’re not incentivized to shift out of that negative thinking. You’re not incentivized to do the work to dismantle that thought because you realize that it’s not serving you. So, we want to make sure that we’re not mixing our models and that we’re actually keeping things clear. 

If it’s a negative thought it causes a negative feeling, drives a negative action, produces a negative result. If it’s a positive thought it causes a positive feeling, drives positive productive action, and creates a positive result. You want to make sure you’re not mixing this up. Because if you have a negative thought that you’re thinking and you identify the negative thought, you want to make sure you identify the impact of thinking that thought. 

“When I think this negative thought, how do I feel? What do I do when I feel that way? And what result does it create?” You want to be seeing how that thinking doesn’t serve you. 

The other reason that mixed models are a problem is that you’re creating more emotional resistance. You’re making it harder to achieve what you actually want. It’s like putting rocks in your backpack. You’re still able to move forward, because like that angel on your shoulder devil on your shoulder situation, you are thinking some positive thoughts that are fueling you forward. If you’re taking some positive action, it’s coming from a positive thought and a positive feeling. 

But you’re creating resistance unnecessarily, because on the other side of things, you’re also thinking negative thoughts, feeling negative feelings, and then creating resistance and slowing yourself down. 

Now, when you misconstrue the causal connection, because you’re in a mixed model, you think the negative thought is fueling you, but it’s not. You’re actually taking positive productive action in spite of that negative thought. So, again, it’s like weighing yourself down, and you’re creating unnecessary suffering. 

And because you’re misconstruing the connection between the thinking and the action that you’re taking from it, like I said earlier, you’re not incentivized to shift out of that negative thought. So, you continue thinking it longer than you want to be. And then, you prolong your suffering longer than you want it to be. Alright?

So, let me give you some examples of this so you can see what I’m talking about, how you create unnecessary negative emotion and continue to carry that negative emotion with you. And then, I’m going to teach you how to address a mixed model if you find yourself in one. 

Let’s use the first example, we’ll use the circumstance of your job. You can check in with yourself right now. What are the thoughts you’re thinking about your job? Are they positive thoughts or are they negative thoughts? You might be thinking, “I hate my job.” 

Now, an example of a mixed model would be your thinking the thought, “I hate my job,” and then that thought makes you feel resentful. But in your mixed model, instead of identifying the negative action you take from feeling resentful, you tell yourself, “No, no, that resentment, my anger drives me to take positive action.”

So you might think, “Oh, in that model, I start searching for a new job. I interview really well. I present myself very confidently. I demonstrate the value that I would have at another organization. Then, I get an offer and I accept it.” Those would be the actions that you take. The result you create is that you get a new job. 

Now, that’s a positive result from a negative thought, which isn’t something that happens, that’s a mixed model. Instead, what you want to do when you encounter a mixed model is separate it into the two separate models. We want to separate it into two separate models, so we can understand the impact of both thoughts. 

A: You want to identify both thoughts. There’s the negative thought that you’ve already identified. And then, there’s the positive thought and the positive feeling that are driving you to take that positive action and produce that positive result. So, you want to be really clear on that causal connection in that think-feel-act cycle, and then the causal connection from the original line of thinking. 

For this example, the thoughts you’re thinking about your job, we want to break that up into two separate models. Okay? We’ll start with the original thought, “I hate my job.” That thought makes you feel resentful. If resentment was the only emotion you were feeling… 

Think about putting yourself in an emotional vacuum where you’re only able to experience one emotion at a time, rather than what is really the case. As a human, we get to experience multiple emotions at the same time, because we get to think multiple thoughts, right? 

So, if you were only feeling resentful, how would you show up? What actions would you be likely to take? You’d probably complain, you’d stew, you’d feel sorry for yourself, you’d search for all the different things that you hate about your job. You’d really just dwell in that negativity. And you’d probably carry that negative emotion with you, sort of like bad perfume or bad cologne, into your interviewing process. Alright?

The result that you’d create is you don’t interview well, and you continue hating your job, because you just keep looking for all the ways that you hate it. And you’re probably not performing the way that you’d like to be performing at work. You’re probably pushing stuff off and procrastinating. And then, as a defense mechanism, looking for all of the things that you hate about your job as a way to justify the action that you’re taking, or the inaction better yet, right?

So, that would be the negative model that you’re in. “I hate my job,” is the thought, you feel resentful. The action you’d take is you complain, stew, feel sorry for yourself, look for the bad, interview poorly, and then you stay stuck in a job that you hate. You continue to hate the job and you don’t interview well. 

Now, in the positive model, where you search for a new job, you interview, well, you get an offer, and you accept it, that’s coming from a different thought and feeling. Okay? That might be coming from the thought of you thinking, “I can find something better suited for me.” The feeling you might feel from that thought would be encouraged or committed. 

So, you’re thinking, “I can find something better suited to me,” you’re feeling empowered or encouraged, and then you take that action. You search for a new job, you interview well, you demonstrate your value to another organization, you get the offer, accept it, and you create the positive result of getting a new job. 

Like I explained, when you encounter a mixed model, you want to separate it into two models, and then understand the impact of both thoughts. Now, when you see that the positive thought is what’s actually driving you to feel a positive emotion, take positive productive action, and produce a positive result, you learn and realize that the negative thought isn’t helping you do those things. 

So, then you can start to see that the negative thought really isn’t useful. It’s creating a negative emotion, it’s driving you to take action that doesn’t serve you, and it’s producing negative results. 

From there, once you can see the impact that negative thinking has on the rest of the components of the model, on how you feel and what you do and on the results you create, you can start to realize that that thought isn’t useful, and you want to get rid of it. 

From there, you can do the work to dismantle the negative thought. That’s one of the things that I teach my clients how to do. We work on poking holes in our thinking. A simple way to do that, and I cover this in depth inside the programs that I run, is just to ask yourself: How is this thought not true?

So, in the instance of, “I hate my job,” you might start to look for the aspects of your job that you love, or at least like, or maybe even tolerate, if like or love seems like too much of a stretch. What are the parts of your job that you’re grateful for? What are the parts that aren’t that bad? 

Obviously, if you’re still there, you don’t hate your job enough to just outright leave. So, there are aspects that you appreciate or enjoy. You want to start to look for those to poke holes in that negative thinking. 

And when you dismantle the negative thought, you’re going to replace it with a different thought instead. That’s going to change how you feel, reduce your negativity, and help you move forward with greater ease. Because, can you find a new job while being weighed down with resentment? Yeah, perhaps. But you’re going to make it a lot harder on yourself. 

You’re going to be taking all that action in spite of that resentment. When, what you could do, is dial down the resentment by getting rid of that thought, changing how you feel, and just freeing yourself up to take action from that positive emotion instead; from feeling empowered or encouraged and committed. That’s going to serve you way more and make the experience a lot less emotionally taxing. 

Another example of this would be, let’s say you’re thinking about the work that you have to do, and you’re telling yourself, “I have so much to do.” You’re feeling really overwhelmed. Well, a mixed model would be in your action line and your result line. You work on projects really productively, you efficiently complete tasks, you get through your work, and you create the result of getting so much done. 

That’s not going to come from the thought, “I have so much to do,” and feeling overwhelmed. If you’re thinking that thought, “I have so much to do,” and you’re feeling overwhelmed, those are negative thoughts and negative feelings. It’s going to drive you to take negative action that doesn’t serve you and produce a negative result. 

So, you’ve got a mixed model here, and you want to break it up into those two separate models so you can understand the impact that the positive thoughts have and the negative thoughts have on you. 

If we were to break this model up into two separate models, we’d take the negative thought and feeling and put that in one model. Okay? You’re thinking the thought, “I have so much to do,” and you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you could put yourself in an emotional vacuum, what is the action you would take, if overwhelmed was the only feeling you were feeling? 

You’d probably procrastinate, maybe dwell, avoid your work, buffer, do anything that brings you temporary satisfaction and instant gratification and helps you avoid that overwhelm. You’d probably shut down. 

Some people tend to work really unproductively so they try to multitask. They’re constantly jumping from one thing to the next. They’re not really completing anything. So, work feels like it’s being completed, but you’re actually not completing tasks. You’re not getting things across the finish line. You’re working in a really unproductive manner, not making great use of your time. 

When you work that way, whether you’re procrastinating or you’re working really unintentionally, you end up creating the result of still having so much to do. So, that would be the negative thought model. 

The second model, where you work on projects productively and you complete tasks efficiently, you don’t buffer, you don’t procrastinate, you just put your head down and get to work, you create the result of completing work productively. That’s coming from a different thought and a different feeling than in the first model. 

So, that might be coming from a thought like, “The only way out is through. Action reduces anxiety, I just need to start with one thing.” Any of those thoughts would serve you here. And if you were thinking any of those thoughts, you might feel determined or in control, or committed or capable. And if you’re thinking those thoughts and feeling any of those positive feelings, those are the thoughts and feelings that are going to drive you to take that positive productive action and produce a positive result. 

Remember, if you encounter… I want you to be practicing utilizing the model in your day-to-day life. I used to do this on a legal pad in my office. You can just pick a circumstance; what’s the situation that you’re facing? Remember, keep it only restricted to just the facts. Then, figure out: What thoughts am I thinking about it?

And run a model. Pick one thought, and then figure out: When I think that thought, what’s the one-word emotion I feel? What’s the action I take when I feel that feeling? What result do I produce when I take that action?

If you’ve got negative thoughts and negative feelings, and positive actions and positive results, you’ve got yourself a mixed model. Whenever you find yourself in a mixed model, you want to separate it into those two separate models, complete both of them so you can understand the impact of both thoughts, and then dismantle the negative thought. Challenge it. Poke holes in it so you can change how you feel, reduce your negativity, and move forward with greater ease. 

This is how you’re going to get out of that unnecessary emotional suffering. It’s how you’re going to dial down your resistance to moving forward and getting stuff done. You’re going to make it so much easier for you to achieve the things that you want to achieve day in and day out, when you are not misconstruing the causal connection between what you think, how you feel, what you do, and the results you create. Okay? 

So, use this as you’re doing your thought work, as you’re running your models. Just to basically check your work, it’s sort of like checking your work in math class. Are all aspects of my model positive, or are all aspects of my model negative? 

If you’ve got a mix, you’ve got to split it up so you really understand the impact that your thinking has on the results you create. And you can identify which thoughts are serving you, which ones aren’t, and you can shift out of the ones that aren’t. 

I hope you find this helpful. Go out and practice with this. Be on the lookout for mixed models. And if you find yourself in one, do the work to get out of it. You’re going to feel so much better if you do. 

Alright, my friend, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will talk to you in the next episode. 

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 101: How to Get Unstuck

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Get Unstuck

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | How to Get Unstuck

Want to know how to get unstuck? Whatever you’re stuck with, whether it’s your time, money, making an investment, or anything else, I’ve got you covered in today’s episode because I recently recorded a masterclass on exactly how to get unstuck.

There are two common themes I see people face when they’re stuck. They either not taking enough action, or their mindset is a mess. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both. Generally, there are 10 reasons I see often for people getting stuck in the first place, and I share all of those in this episode too. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.

Tune in this week to discover 10 obstacles that are stopping you from making progress on your goals, and the 10 specific solutions to help you get unstuck. Wherever you’re stuck, whether it’s in your career, your business, or in your relationships, I’m giving you behind-the-scenes access to a masterclass that will be pivotal in getting you unstuck.

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 spot where you’re stuck in your life.
  • 2 common themes in people who are stuck.
  • 10 reasons you’re stuck right now.
  • How to make a game plan for implementing the solutions I’m sharing today.
  • 10 ways to get unstuck right now.

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 101. Today, we’re talking all about how to get unstuck. 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 you’re doing well, and I hope after this podcast you’re doing even better. You’re in for a treat today. I just recently recorded a masterclass on how to get unstuck. During that masterclass, I went through the two common themes that I see people face when they are feeling like they’re stuck.

The two main themes are either that you’re not taking enough action, or your mindset is a mess. But then, I got even more specific, and I talked about the top 10 reasons that I see are causing people to get stuck.

So, they’re the 10 obstacles that you might be facing that are keeping you from making progress on the goals that you’re setting for yourself. And then, I went through, and I gave 10 specific solutions, one solution per reason that you might be stuck, in order to really help people get unstuck or unstick themselves, so to speak.

For today’s podcast episode, I’m giving you behind-the-scenes access to the replay of that masterclass. You can tune in, listen, see which of the 10 reasons you might be facing… Maybe it’s just one, maybe it’s a combination of a couple… and I’m going to talk you through what the solutions are. And then you can go through, and at the end of the episode, I talk about how to make a game plan for what you’ll need to do in order to implement those solutions so you can unstick yourself. Alright?

I hope you enjoy this. The feedback that I got from this masterclass was incredible. It really resonated with people. They definitely saw themselves in the 10 reasons that I talked about. I think you’ll see yourself in it, too. Enjoy.

So, one of the things that you’re going to notice today, is that there are two main themes that we’re going to be discussing; two core components to why you’re stuck. They break down into these two things: Either you aren’t taking action or you’re not taking enough action. Maybe you’re showing up inconsistently or infrequently. Or your mindset is a mess.

I just did a post about this yesterday. I’ve had people ask me, “Olivia, can it be both?” Yes, absolutely. Of course, it can be both. But you just want to start to look for these themes. Now, we’re going to get more specific with regard to the exact causes. And we’re going to talk about 10 specific reasons you may be finding yourself stuck in an area of your life, not making progress.

But creating awareness starts with understanding these two issues, okay? Because they’re the core components, the core themes that are going to run through all 10 of those reasons. And if you get an idea of what your issues are, you’re going to have a better understanding of what the solution is, right? The solutions that you need to implement in order to get unstuck.

Now, one of the things that I teach is “The model.” That is a thought-work tool where you figure out what you’re thinking, how your thoughts make you feel, how your feelings drive the action that you take, and your action produces your results. Alright?

With that being said, it might seem because that thought-feel-act cycle starts with thinking that we want to focus on mindset first. But when I’m specifically working with someone on how to get unstuck, I actually like to focus on the action first, and that’s why I’ve listed it here.

Now, normally, you won’t be taking action, probably because your mindset is a mess. But I want to solve for the action first. So, when I’m working with my clients I start there. I look for: Are you taking enough action? Are you not taking any action at all? We need to get you taking action. If we solve for the action and we get you taking enough action, that might be the only problem that you’re facing. Alright? So, it’s a simple solution, we just need you showing up more.

If you’re taking the action that you need to be taking for a prolonged period of time… I teach people you want to show up consistently for at least three months, I recommend six. And then, you can gather the data from the action that you’ve taken.

But if you show up consistently and you’re not getting the results that you want, then we take a look at your mindset because there’s some negative thinking going on that’s causing you to not get the results that you want. Alright?

So, as we go through these 10 reasons, I want you to be on the lookout: Is this an action problem? Is this a mindset problem? Some of the 10 reasons that we’re going to talk about are both, but I want you to be keeping note and highlighting: Am I having an action issue or am I having a mindset issue? Is this an action problem or a mindset problem? Because that’s going to help you, like I said, identify the solution that you need to implement. Right?

We always want to start with creating awareness. Where in your life are you stuck? Drop an answer in the chat: Where in your life do you feel stuck? Now, we can start by looking at: Is there a goal that you’re in pursuit of that you’re not achieving?

But I want to get a little bit more specific than that, too. I teach a concept called “The life wheel.” I just listed out the sections of the life wheel today, rather than putting it in a circle. But these are the sections of the life wheel, and I like to use them just to make an assessment of where you might be stuck in your life.

Are you stuck in your business or in your career? Are you stuck with your finances? Are you not getting out of debt? Are you not investing? Are you not saving money? Are you not making what you want to be making?

Are you stuck in the health category? Do you want to be losing weight? Do you want to be working out? Do you want to have some health routine that you’re not engaged in?

How are your family and friend relationships? Are those not where you want them to be? Are you struggling? Is there conflict in those relationships? Are your relationships not getting better, richer, more fulfilling?

Same thing with romance. Do you feel stuck there? Maybe you’re not dating. Maybe you’re married, but if you were to rate your marriage on a scale of 1-10, it wouldn’t be on the high side of the scale. So, check in there. When it comes to romance, “Where am I stuck?”

Same thing with personal development. Now, if you’re here, you’re investing time into your personal development. But could you be doing more? Could you be growing more? Do you feel like you’re the same version of yourself right now that you were a couple years ago? If that’s the case, you’re always growing and developing into a new, better version of yourself. So, check in there. Are you stuck there?

Fun and recreation. Are you having fun in your life? Are you enjoying yourself?

The last one is physical environment. That’s the space that you spend time in. So, the house that you live in, the car that you drive. What’s your office look like? Is it a disaster? I just coached someone on this yesterday, on getting organized and working through a space that was really not conducive to working productively. So, are you stuck in any of these areas?

Do me a favor, drop in the chat, and tell me where are you stuck in your life. That’ll help me better tailor some of what we talk about to what you’re specifically struggling with. Are you not making the money you want to make? Are you not living the life that you want to be living? If so, how so?

“Finances and health,” amazing. “Stuck behind the pile of work that I need to get for clients.” Yeah, absolutely. “Ditto. Career progress as a senior associate. My business and finances.” So good. “Physical environment cluttered. Business, career, finances, and romance.” Alright, now that you’ve identified this… “Need family, finances, health, romance, business.” So good. “Finances and health.” Amazing.

So, as we go through these 10 reasons, I want you specifically looking at: Where am I stuck in my life? Does this reason apply to this area that I’m stuck in? Again, it’s going to help you figure out your game plan moving forward. Let’s dive in to the 10 reasons you’re finding yourself stuck.

Reason number one: You don’t know what you want. Right? If that resonates with you drop a “me” in the chat. “I don’t know what I want,” I hear this from clients all the time.

Now, how does this keep you stuck? First and foremost, it isn’t true. I deeply, deeply, deeply believe that we always know what we want. We just don’t give ourselves permission to access the truth. So, if you’re telling yourself, “I just don’t know what I want,” you end up living at the expense of a lie. Alright? You end up living in conformity with a lie that you’re believing, a lie that you’re convincing yourself.

Also, when you indulge in ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what I want,’ A- you’re going to feel confused, and you give yourself permission to remain in your comfort zone. So, ‘I don’t know’… One of the things you’re going to see very consistently throughout our time today, is that a lot of the reasons, they’re defense mechanisms; the reasons you’re stuck.

We’re indulging in a line of thinking or in a type of behavior and action pattern that keeps us in our comfort zone and pretends to protect us from the unknown, from scary things, from change. Alright? That’s just a defense mechanism. But it actually doesn’t protect you, it prevents you from moving forward.

So, when you’re telling yourself ‘I don’t know,’ you’re giving yourself permission to remain in your comfort zone, to stay safe, and not pursue a goal. Alright?

What’s the solution to not knowing what you want? Well, first and foremost, you have to change the way that you think. You have to start believing… and this might seem like a stretch for you. That’s okay. We’re going to plant some seeds today, and you’re going to work on building your belief in some of the thoughts that I introduce you to…

But we’re going to work on believing, “I do know what I want. I know what I want.” And from there asking yourself: What is it that I want? What do I want?

What I want you to do is answer three different questions. They’re all different variants of the same question. So, the first question is: If I did know what I wanted, what would I say? Give yourself permission to guess. So, that’s another question that you can answer: If I had to guess at what I wanted, what would my answer be? So, that’s another place to start.

Another question that I love to ask myself, or ask my clients, is: If you weren’t worried about anyone’s opinion, what would you choose? What would you pick for yourself? What would you give yourself permission to want for your life, or to pursue for your life?

Then, when you’ve answered those questions: If I did know what I wanted what would it be? If I allowed myself to just guess at what I wanted, what would it be? If I wasn’t concerned about what other people’s opinions were, what other people think, what would it be? What would I want for myself?

And then, choose that. “A space for reading. Yoga. Peace in my house.” Amazing.

Once we identify it, you can start to take action and come up with a game plan in order to create that. “I want to lose 15% of my weight and have energy to keep growing my law office.” I love that. “Efficient work product and workspace and financial stability.” Amazing, Brad. What I want you to do is define what does “efficient work” mean? And then, what does financial stability mean for you?

The clearer we get on these definitions, the easier we’re going to be able to work towards them. Alright? So, if you frequently tell yourself, “You know what? I don’t know what I want,” we’re not doing that anymore. Today, moving forward, you’re going to start saying, “I do know what I want.” And then, you’re going to ask yourself these questions. Force yourself to bypass your instinct to say, ‘I don’t know’ and come up with an answer. Alright?

One of the neat things is that you don’t have to tell anyone else what you want. You can just keep that to yourself. If you don’t want to share with anyone, you don’t have to. You can share it with me here, and I’d love it if you did. But you don’t have to share it with anyone. You can just know for you.

But you want to be in a conversation with yourself day in, day out, figuring out what it is you want for your life and then giving yourself permission to pursue that. Okay?

Also, if this dials down to pressure at all, just because you identify what you want doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it. Alright? I want you to do something about it. But if that feels intimidating, and that’s a reason that you keep allowing yourself to indulge in ‘I don’t know,’ I want you to give yourself permission. “I’m just going to identify what I want for right now. And then, later on, I can decide if I want to pursue it or not. But I’m just going to get the answer right now, to begin with.”

“I want to be successful my new business. I want to firmly believe I’m an entrepreneur after 10 years of a corporate job.” Amazing, Kristen. Congratulations on entrepreneurship. It is the journey of a lifetime. I absolutely love it. What I want you to do is define what does success mean for you this year? So, we can start to identify it and work towards it.

“Are we uploading this presentation into the Lawyers Only vault?” Aaron, you better believe it. Absolutely. “I want to write my memoir.” I love that. I love a memoir, Deborah. So good.

So, when you start to identify this stuff you can begin working towards it. And to answer Aaron’s question, every single masterclass I do gets uploaded into the Lawyers Only vault. There are over 50 master classes, workshops, and trainings in there already. There’s going to be one more after today.

Reason number two: You don’t know what all of your options are. This is another reason that you’re stuck. “I want more time in the day.” So, I want you to be really careful about that. We only get 24 hours a day, all of us get the same amount of time. We cannot create more time. What I think you mean by that is, you want to spend your time differently. So, get clear on how do you want to spend your time differently? Come up with what that answer is for you, and then we can work towards it.

Reason number two: You don’t know what all of your options are. How does this keep you stuck? Number one, you limit your potential. You don’t know what all of your options are probably because you’re not stretching your brain. You’re thinking inside the box. You’re not challenging your limiting beliefs here, okay?

So, you limit your potential to only the obvious options in front of you. Or you’re telling yourself that you don’t have options, which is absolutely never true. You always have options, you just may not always like all of them, okay?

You’re either limiting your potential or you’re choosing options you don’t prefer, because you haven’t identified all the options that are available to you. I watch a lot of people choose options they don’t prefer, so they stay stuck, they don’t make the progress that they want to make. Or they don’t pick any of the options that they’ve identified because they don’t like them.

There are some other options out there that they haven’t identified that they’d prefer to choose if they knew about them, so they don’t make any decision at all, and they don’t make progress because they don’t like the options that that they’ve identified for themselves.

What’s the solution to not knowing what all of your options are? First and foremost, I want to invite you to get a different perspective. Alright? This is where the power of having a coach really comes in. Because it’s very hard for us to challenge limiting beliefs when we don’t realize that they’re limiting beliefs. Okay?

So, getting a different perspective from people who have done the things that you want to do. Or from a coach who’s able to identify your limiting beliefs and point out, “No, no, no. This is an option. This is an option. This is an option.” That’s one of my favorite things that I get to do with my clients; we identify all of the options that are available to them.

Get a different perspective. Identify your limiting beliefs, either on your own if you’ve learned how to do that, or by working with a coach who can help you identify your limiting beliefs. And then once you identify them, you dismantle them. Alright?

I teach this inside the programs that I run, a specific process for how to dismantle your thoughts. How to identify the thoughts that you’re thinking, poke holes in them, and replace those limiting beliefs with a more open-minded narrative.

Now, once you’ve done that, once you’ve taken a jackhammer to those limiting beliefs and you’ve broken up that foundation, you can start to actually identify the options that are available to you. So, I want you to list them out. And I want you to list them out with the belief that you always have at least two options; you typically have more than that, usually three. Sometimes, a lot more than that.

I want you to list out your options and keep going. If you’ve only found two, wrack your brain. Push yourself. What’s my third option? What’s a fourth option? How else might I be able to approach this? And then, what I tell people to do is, you want to get clear on what your reasons would be for choosing any of the options that are available to you.

So, get clear on what your reasons would be for choosing them, and then choose the option with the reasons that you like the most. You want to choose your preference. Once you choose your preference, then you can come up with a game plan on how you’re going to pursue that goal.

Yes, “I struggle to identify more things to do to achieve my goal, besides what I’m already doing.” Totally. I think, again, this is where working with a coach really comes in handy. Because you might not know what you don’t know. Right? So, one of the things that I’m constantly doing with the people that I work with is, strategizing, offering suggestions. Have you tried this? Have you thought about this? What about this? What would this be like? What if you did this?

If you want to create this result, if we work it backwards, I bet this will get you there. We identify some things you probably haven’t thought of. I know that’s been true for me working with my coaches. They make suggestions that I’ve never thought about.

And then, I realized, “Oh, that’s an option that’s on the table that was always there. I just didn’t have access to it before. I couldn’t see it.” And then I’m able to consider a different assortment of options, a different order of platter of options, so to speak.

“I’m feeling physical resistance in my body to these fantastic suggestions.” Totally, Shannon. Tell me more about that. What’s the resistance? Does it feel like it’s going to be hard to do these things? Or maybe just uncomfortable? How might you need to feel? What negative feelings might come up for you? If you had to name the resistance what would it be?

“It hurts my stomach.” That’s why I teach gag-and-go. It might make you feel nauseous, a little “vomity,” that’s okay. That’s the sign that you’re moving in the right direction and you’re making progress. Alright? That is… We’re going to talk about that in a minute. But learning how to feel that discomfort and take action anyways is part of how you get unstuck. The things that you need to do in order to get unstuck. Got to feel those negative feelings. Got to embrace that discomfort.

Reason number three that you’re stuck: You think you can’t actually have what you want. So, how does this keep you stuck? People don’t like to waste their own time. “I have ‘gag-and-go’ on a Post-it on my monitor.” Amazing, Jennifer. I love that.

So, people don’t like to waste their own time. I know I don’t like to waste my own time. I know my clients don’t like to waste their time. We want the expenditure of our time to be fruitful, so if you’re telling yourself that you can’t have something or that it won’t work, you won’t pursue it. You’re not going to pursue something that you think you can’t attain.

Instead of moving forward, even if you’re clear on what you want, if you believe you can’t have it, that it’s not possible, you’re going to tell yourself that you can’t do X, Y or Z, and you’re going to maintain the status quo. Again, this is another one of those defense mechanisms, right? It’s preventing you from ‘wasting your time.’ What it’s really doing is preventing you from making progress.

So, what’s the solution here? We want to eliminate “can’t” thinking. One of the things that I teach my clients to believe is that there is no result you cannot create. I teach my clients how to create results with intention. You’ve got to cultivate the mindset, so you need to make sure you’re thinking the right thoughts that support you achieving the results that you want.

You’ve got to identify the negative feelings that you’re going to have to be willing to feel. And, you’ve got to feel them on purpose instead of avoiding them. And then, you’ve got to identify the action that you need to take and take it intentionally.

Those are the three things you need to do to create any result that you want. “It’s that ‘I won’t.” It’s that ‘I won’t,’ not that ‘I can’t,’ for sure. Which is a little bit of a different issue. We’re going to talk about not doing the work, needing to believe in yourself, and figuring out how to challenge thoughts like, “Oh, I won’t do that.”

But if people think… A great example of this would be, my clients will often think, “There’s no way I can be successful without working weekends,” right? Yes, you can. Yes, you can. We need to eliminate that “can’t” thinking. You need to believe that you can create the result of being successful and not working weekends.

I also want you to understand why you think you can’t. So, ask yourself, if you’re telling yourself ‘I can’t do that,’ why? Why do you think that? Where did that belief come from? And when you recognize where that belief came from, you can start to debunk it. You can start to poke holes in it. Once you start to challenge it you’re going to get access to new beliefs.

I also teach people how to build new beliefs, so you can work to build an argument. How might I be able to do this? One of the things I teach in my programs, I teach people to walk through four different phases of belief; how to go from thinking something’s impossible to thinking it’s possible, to thinking it’s probable, to thinking it’s inevitable.

There’s a framework to move from one step or one stage of belief to the next. Alright? So, that’s a framework that you learn when you work with me; how to get yourself from thinking something’s impossible to thinking that it’s inevitable. And, as you walk your way through that your belief grows stronger. And when your belief grows stronger, you take more action in furtherance of the goal. Alright?

If you believe that there’s no result you can’t create, you’re going to get to work. You’re going to unstick yourself; I promise you. Our thoughts create our results, and so long as you’re thinking the thoughts you need to be thinking, allowing yourself to feel the discomfort you need to feel and taking intentional action, there is no result that you cannot create.

Reason number four that you’re stuck: You’re afraid to make the wrong decision. How is this keeping you stuck? Making progress requires making decisions. We make so many decisions each and every day, and if you’re someone who struggles with decision making you’re going to halt your progress. You’re going to stunt your growth, okay?

What’s happening is, you’re letting your fear prevent you from deciding. And when you let your fear prevent you from deciding you prevent yourself from moving forward. You just continue to spin and second guess. Does anyone here struggle with decision making? Do you second guess yourself? Do you question? Do you hem and haw? Do you spin? Do you make a decision and then redecide it?

“Oh, my God, yes.” Yes, it comes from decision… Dave, “Totally.” Jennifer, “Yes.” It comes from believing that you can make a wrong decision or that decision making is hard. I teach that there are different… “I can make decisions,” amazing.

Debbie was at my event in Miami, in March. One of the things that we talked about at length there was how to make decisions and really debunking decision making myths. So, one of the decision-making myths that I debunk for my clients is that there are right or wrong decisions. There aren’t right or wrong decisions, there are just different decisions. Alright?

“Yes, I worry about the negative consequences too much.” Totally, Jasmine, that’s really common.

So, what’s the solution to this? Number one: You need to change the way that you think about making decisions. You’ve got to stop believing that there are right or wrong decisions. There are different decisions, okay? Sometimes the different decisions lead to the exact same results, right? You can take two different routes to the grocery store and still get to the grocery store. There’s not one way to go to the grocery store.

Sometimes different decisions lead to different results. And what I want you to do there is, instead of fretting and worrying on the front end, thinking about the worst-case scenario, you need to learn how to trust yourself to be able to handle what comes after you decide. Alright?

There are two ways to go about doing that. Number one: You can just choose to trust yourself. You can say, “You know what? I’m capable. I’m confident. I’m competent. No matter what comes my way I’ll be able to handle it. I’ve never met a situation that I wasn’t able to get myself through or figure out.”

That’s why you’re all here today. You’ve gotten through every situation you’ve ever faced in your life. Maybe not unscathed. Maybe not flawlessly, but that’s okay. That’s part of the human experience, right? So, you can just start to build your belief that, “No matter what happens, I’ll be able to handle it.” That’s how you create your own certainty.

Not in the what we want to have happen, which is, we want the certainty before we decide or before we move forward. We want to know that something’s going to work. That’s not how you create your own certainty. You create your own certainty by choosing, right now, that no matter what happens later you’ll be able to handle it. You’ll be able to navigate that situation.

Another thing you can do is, while you’re making the decision, run down the ‘what ifs.’ Actually answer: What if this happens? What do I think could happen? What if this happens? What if that happens? And then make a game plan for what you’ll do if that happens. Run down the ‘what ifs’. Answer the ‘what ifs’. When you do that you’re going to build your confidence, that no matter what happens you’ll be able to figure it out. You’ll be able to navigate it.

This is going to make you feel confident moving forward. It’s going to create safety and security for you to decide. And then last, but not least, in order to actually decide you’re going to have to gag-and-go through the discomfort. You might have to gag-and-go through the worry. You might have to gag-and-go through the fear. You might have to gag-and-go through the FOMO.

I just coached one of my clients on this. She really struggles with making a decision and choosing, because she doesn’t want to let go of another opportunity. So, if you’re going to choose this that might mean saying no to something else. And people don’t want to feel that FOMO. They don’t want to feel deprived of both things that they want.

And they end up, as a result, depriving themselves of both things, rather than just one. So, you want to be onto yourself. If that’s you, you’ve got to do gag-and-go through that discomfort, through that uncertainty through that not knowing.

Reason number five that you’re stuck: You don’t set clear goals with an action plan to achieve them. Now, one of the reasons we do this is because people are afraid to fail. “If you don’t set a goal you can’t really fail.” Now, I don’t agree with that. I think that’s a thought error. You absolutely can fail because you don’t achieve the things that you want in life. You don’t get the results that you desire most, right?

So, if that’s you, if you’re afraid to sort of call your shots and to pick out ‘this is where I want to be,’ you’ve got to embrace that fear and gag-and-go your way through it. We’re going to set clear goals.

Now, how does this keep you stuck? When you don’t make a game plan you invite confusion and overwhelm into the picture, okay? If you’re thinking about, “Oh, I want my life to be a certain way. I want to make more money. I want more time. I want to have more balance in my life. I want to be more successful,” those are really vague goals.

And when there’s a lack of clarity, again, we invite confusion and overwhelm. It’s really unclear on what you need to do in order to get where you want to go. You don’t even really know where you want to go because you haven’t specifically identified it. So, it’s hard to take action or figure out what action you need to even take if you’re unclear about where you’re headed.

It’s like trying to get someplace but you don’t pick a destination, right? It’s impossible to go to dinner if you don’t pick a restaurant. This is exactly the same situation. So, you either end up not taking any action, or you take really unintentional action. You’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. You’re kind of all over the place.

And when you’re all over the place, you really slow yourself down and you don’t produce as good of results as you otherwise could if you were showing up really intentionally, right? Instead, what we want to do is, we want to set goals. If you need to get over your fear of failure or your fear of setting goals, now’s the time to do it.

Recognize that goals aren’t something that you need to weaponize against yourself. A really good friend of mine, one of the things she says is, “The worst thing that can happen to you as you pursue a goal,” or after you’ve crossed the finish line if your goal had a deadline on it, “The worst thing that can happen is how you talk to yourself.”

So, just decide right now that you’re not going to beat yourself up. You’re going to stay curious with yourself. You’re going to study yourself. You’re going to learn, and then we take action, audit, and adapt. Act, audit, and adapt, in order to continue to make progress.

You’ve got to set goals. You want to make sure your goals are objective, specific, measurable, and attainable. One of the standards that I like to use with each of my clients is: I should be able to come into your life, and check boxes on one of those little clipboards, to see if you’re doing the things required to achieve your goals. Or that you’ve achieved the goal itself if you’ve accomplished the specific results.

So, you want to have a very clear action plan and clear goals. You want to make sure you have both of those things.

Now, I also want you to remember to constrain. If you are trying to achieve 20 things at once you’re really going to slow yourself down. It’s going to be very hard to stay consistent when you’re splitting your time between so many different results that you want to create. So, the fewer goals that you set at a time, the more successful you will be.

I know it can feel a little underwhelming to only pursue one or two things at a time. But I promise you, if you give that a try you’re going to feel so accomplished, so proud, so encouraged, to keep going. And once you tackle one goal, come up with another one. Just keep tacking them on one after another, creating like a train or a chain of goals, rather than pursuing them all at once.

It’s really hard to hold all those goals all at the same time. You end up getting inconsistent. And typically, you quit because it’s just too heavy of a load. Alright?

Now, once you set the goal because you know what you want… We’ve already talked about that. You’ve gotten clear on it. You know what your options are. You’ve debunked the myth that you ‘can’t have it,’ so you believe that you can have it. You’ve set the goal; it’s got to be specific, measurable, attainable, and objective.

And from there, you want to reverse engineer it. You want to ask yourself: What are all of the things that I need to do in order to achieve this goal? In order to make achieving this result inevitable? By doing that, by answering that question, you’re going to create a “results roadmap” that you can follow and implement.

One of the things that we do inside my programs, both Lawyers Only and The Obsessed Retreat, is we work on creating action plans. Part of that is getting clear on the results that you want to achieve; you set those goals. We identify all the actions that you need to take.

And then, we get really clear on: What feelings do you need to gag-and-go through, do you need to allow yourself to feel instead of avoiding? What emotions do you need to cultivate, in order to fuel you forward to take all that action that you identified?

And then, we need to work on your mindset. What thoughts are you not going to think, and what thoughts are you going to think, that are going to fuel you to take the action that you need to take?

We also include in our action plans: What are the things that you’re not going to do? What do you need to not do in order to make achieving your results inevitable? So, you want to come up with that very clear game plan to eliminate all the confusion and overwhelm.

My goal for my clients is that I want you spending the least amount of time deciding what to do and the most amount of time doing it. So, this action plan becomes the playbook that you just follow and implement. You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. You don’t have to keep deciding. You decide once and you move forward. Alright

Tell me in the chat: Do you have an action plan? Do you have a clear goal right now? Do you have an action plan to achieve it, yes or no? This is such a huge reason that people don’t achieve… “Yes,” amazing, Nina. So good. “Not really. Yes and No. No. I, for sure have a clear goal, but action plan is not clear enough.” Yes, that’s an amazing awareness to have. That’s where you want to start. You want to start fleshing out that action plan; getting really clear on it.

One of the things we get to do inside my programs, too, is people submit their action plans to me, and then…. Rosalinda, “Thanks to you.” Yes, so good. “Yes, thanks to working with you,” amazing. One of the things that we do inside my programs is, people submit their action plans to me and I’m able to review them.

I go through them, and I’m like, “Ooh, not specific enough here. I’ve got questions about this. Let’s add to this. How about this? I don’t know if this is going to be enough in order to achieve that goal.”

One of my other clients earlier this week, she was talking about posting once a week on social media, on LinkedIn. And I was like, “Nope, we’ve got to up that. We need more action in your action plan.”

So, I’m able to go through and issue spot, “This is going to help you get there. We need to get more specific about this. Let’s create more clarity here,” in order to make your action plans foolproof. Very consistently, the theme that I see with my clients is, they are not specific enough.

And when they’re not specific enough about what they need to be doing, then they get lost. That confusion overwhelm enters the scene, and then they don’t take action because it’s not clear enough what action they need to take. Alright?

Speaking of not being clear about what action you need to take, reason number six that you’re stuck: You don’t know what you need to do. Now, how does this keep you stuck? Again, say hello to confusion and overwhelm, right? The “how” is your process. And if you don’t know your “how,” if you don’t know what to do, you can’t do it.

You can’t implement a process if you don’t know what the process is. And if you don’t know, and you can’t do it, then you end up doing nothing and you produce nothing. Now, one of the things that I have learned… What do  we have here? “Twinsies, Adrian. Nice seeing you here.” So good to see that.

“I know I should write multiple posts per week for LinkedIn, for example, but it takes two hours to do, and I simply can’t make that every day, due to my other workload.” So, one of the things we do is, we learn how to shorten that timeframe and make room for it. I think people have the expectation that it shouldn’t take a certain amount of time.

I’ve worked with a lot of people who think, “A social media post should take me 15 minutes.” Mine don’t take me 15 minutes; they take me a lot longer than that. In the beginning, it took me about an hour and a half. Now, it takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to really write a post and then share it. And then, I spend time engaging on social media. But we want to clear the time.

If you’ve got business development goals, that has to become a priority. One of the things that I teach people is that your marketing needs to be the most important part of your day. I know that is a shift in thinking from how most of us are taught; we think doing the client work is the most important part. But we’ve got to keep the leads coming in.

“The time calculation is what messed me around, as you always said.” One thousand percent, Nina. “What context?” “Thanks, makes a lot of sense.” Yeah, there’s a concept called “The one thing.” You want to make sure that the one thing that makes everything else irrelevant or unnecessary, is the thing that you prioritize.

And for most of us who have business development goals, the one thing is marketing, right? It’s why I start my day with it. I continue to reinforce the idea that it is the most important thing I do every single day. Because I start my day with it every single day. I wake up in the morning, I open my laptop, I type up a post, and I share it on social media. And then, I reshare that same post on Instagram later in the evening. But I always start with it.

That way I can’t be in the excuse factory later in the day, “I’m tired. I don’t feel like it. I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s too late to post,” none of that. We start our day with the most important thing. If you’ve got business development goals, that’s going to be marketing.

Think about the areas that you’re stuck in. We listed them out earlier today, right? Do you know what you need to do? Be really honest here. There’s absolutely no shame in saying, “I don’t know what I need to do in order to get where I want to go. I don’t know what I need to do in order to accomplish this result.”

I consistently see my clients expect themselves to know things that they’ve never been taught. That is insane. With all the love, just stop beating yourself up. Stop being mean to yourself in that way. I don’t know how to speak Greek because no one’s ever taught me to speak Greek. Okay? I don’t know how to do astrophysics because no one’s ever told me that either. I don’t beat myself up for that.

But when it comes to time management… when it comes to business development… when it comes to setting boundaries… when it comes to investing in the stock market, if that’s a financial goal of yours… if it comes to improving your relationships… if you’ve never learned how to do these things…

Some of you have health goals. If you’ve never learned how to lose weight and keep it off, because you haven’t learned the mindset components, or you haven’t learned the actions that you actually need to take in order to create that result, there is no shame in that.

There’s no shame in not knowing how to do something you’ve never been taught to do, something you’ve never learned. So, you have to stop expecting yourself to know things that you haven’t been taught.

And then what I want you to do… My people are very resourceful. We’re very proud. We love to wear that badge of honor of ‘I do it all on my own,’ right? I promise you, what’s on the other side of being humble, embracing some humility, and admitting that you don’t know what to do, is freeing.

I did this when I was learning how to manage my time. I had to come to terms with, “I have no idea how to do this. I’ve never been taught it. I struggle with it. I’m going to go out and find an education source. I’m going to find someone who can teach me how to do this.” I learned some things, and then I implemented, I applied. And then I learned more. Because that’s really how you learn, you implement and then you audit and adapt.

You’ve got to evaluate; figure out what works, what doesn’t; and then what you’re going to do differently moving forward, to continue to make progress and continue to learn. Alright?

I joined a coaching program to teach me how to develop business in the very beginning. Because I knew how to coach; I got certified and learn how to do that. But I had no idea how to develop business. I had no idea how to market.

I joined a program, and I didn’t apply what I was taught. I was being arrogant. I was thinking that I knew better. And then, I wasn’t getting results. I went months without getting results. Finally, I admitted to myself that I didn’t know what to do, that I didn’t know how to do this myself, that I had never learned it, and that my way wasn’t working.

And when I admitted that to myself, I was able to free myself and move forward and start learning from someone. So, I had already found an education source, because I had already joined a coaching program. But if you haven’t, find an education source. Figure out what your goal is, and then figure out what you need to learn.

So, find someone who teaches the thing that you want to learn how to do. Whether that’s time management, whether that’s business development, improving your relationships, setting boundaries, no longer people pleasing, overcoming perfectionism, setting, and achieving goals, losing weight; whatever your goal is. How to get out of debt, how to manage your money better, how to invest. Find an education source.

And, you want to constrain to it. Another issue that I see people do that leads to them not knowing what to do, is they listen to a lot of competing people in the same space. People tell them to do different things, and then that creates confusion and overwhelm. Because they’re like, “Should I do this? Should I do this? Should I do this? I don’t know where to start. I don’t know who to listen to. These people are telling me things that are incongruent, in conflict, with one another.”

I want you to constrain to the source that you identify. Pick one source,  listen to it, and implement what they teach. So, you’re going to consume that education source, and then you’ve got to… rather than continuing to just consume, consume, consume… you’ve got to be onto yourself if you’re someone who does this. Do you consume, and then you’re like, “You know what? I need more information. Then I’ll go find another education source. I consume, and then I’m like, ‘I need more information.’”

If that’s you, you’ve got to cut yourself off. Complete the education that the one source you constrained to makes available to you, and then apply. “100% me, for sure.” That’s so many people. I know how to identify it because I used to be a chronic consumer myself, okay? If that’s you, you’ve got to learn how to catch it.

One of my rules that I created for myself early on was: I need to consume as much as I create. I need to create as much as I consume. So, if I’m listening to something for an hour, I need to go take action for an hour. If I’m listening to something for eight hours, I need to go take action for eight hours. I’ve got to be creating just as much as I’m consuming.

If your split looks like 90/10 or 100/0, we’ve got a problem. We need it to at least be 50/50. Once you start taking action, that’s what’s going to change. Now, I hardly consume at all. I might come in with tweezers; it’s going to be a very pinpointed, intentional consumption of information to learn how to do one specific thing. And then, I’m out there implementing again.

I really don’t consume much anymore. I’m all about applying, because applying is what actually gets you unstuck and moves you forward, helps you make progress. Okay?

So, be really clear with yourself: Do you know what you need to do? And if the answer’s no, stop shaming yourself. Stop beating yourself up. You’ve never been taught before, it’s time to learn. And, that’s okay. So, you’re going to find a place for you to learn it, and then you can go from there. You can implement what you’ve learned.

Now, once you’ve learned what to do. Another reason you might be stuck is that you know what to do, but you aren’t doing it. Now, this is obvious. But why does this keep you stuck? I want to get a little bit more specific. Obviously, if you’re not taking action you’re not going to move forward, right?

But a couple other things happen that keep you stuck if this is your issue. Number one: You beat yourself up for this. And when you beat yourself up, you take worse action, or no action at all. We tend to think if we beat ourselves up, if we’re mean to ourselves, if we give ourselves a really harsh pep talk like a football coach, we’re going to take better action. It’s going to light a fire under our ass, and we’re going to get moving in the right direction.

That doesn’t work. That’s not how the think-feel-act cycle plays out in reality, okay? If you’re saying mean things to yourself you’re going to feel negative feelings, and then you’re going to take negative action or no action. You’re going to try and escape that negative emotion through instant gratification, temporary pleasure.

You’re going to avoid that negative feeling and go do something else, buffer; eat too much, drink too much, watch Netflix, scroll on social media, shop on Amazon… do all the things that don’t serve you… take a nap. I used to buffer with travel.

You would do anything to get out of that negative emotion, that negative space that you’re in. So, beating yourself up just creates negative results. Negative thoughts lead to negative results. Always, always, always. So, if you’re not taking the action that you need to be taking, and you’re beating yourself up, that’s going to keep you stuck.

You’re also likely blaming the wrong thing if this is where you’re at. A lot of my clients tell themselves, “I’m lazy.” Or you’re telling yourself, like Debbie said earlier, “I just won’t do it. I can’t do it.” Not that it’s impossible for someone to do, but that you actually can’t do it or that you won’t do it. You’re blaming. “This is just the way that I am. I’m lazy. I’m not capable. I am not driven or motivated enough.”

You’re blaming the wrong thing, okay? You’re blaming your inherent nature, and that’s not what’s actually going on. When you blame the wrong thing, you don’t solve the right problem. Okay?

The other thing that I see people do is, they consistently don’t do “The work.” What I mean by that is, the thought work that you need to do to get unstuck, to actually take the action you need to take. So, one of the things I’ve noticed with the people that I coach is, they’ll make a plan for what to do… They know what to do, right? They know the action that they need to take, at least.

They might not know how to do the thought work that actually gets them to move forward, but they know the action that they need to take but they’re not taking it. So, they make the plan, then it comes time to implement the plan, and then they stop, and they go off to do something else.

And then they’ll come to me, and they’re like, “Olivia, I’m not making progress.” I’m like, “Okay, well, what do you do after you experienced the resistance? What comes after that?” They’re like, “Nothing, I just go off and do something else.” I’m like, “Well, of course that’s why you’re not making progress. You’re not doing the work.”

So, the work that I teach is, that we need to figure out: Why aren’t you moving forward and taking the action that you need to be taking? The solution here is to do the work. You’ve got to study yourself. You need to figure out what the actual problem is. It’s not your inherent nature. It’s not that you’re lazy. I promise you, that is not it.

There are three problems causing the issue of knowing what to do but not doing it. There are negative thoughts that you’re thinking, negative emotions that you’re avoiding, and intentional actions that you’re refusing to take. Those are the only three problems causing you to not take action. That’s it, those are the only three problems ever.

And, there are three simple solutions to them: You need to change your thoughts. You need to decide to feel your negative feelings on purpose. And, you need to take intentional action in spite of them. Those are the three problems. Those are the three solutions.

This is the skill set you master when you work with me inside my programs. This is coaching. This is thought work. The biggest problem, I would say, out of all 10 reasons that you are not moving forward, is that you don’t know how to change your thoughts and feel your negative feelings on purpose, in order to get you have to take the intentional action you need to take.

So if you are stuck, and you know what you need to be doing but you’re not doing it, this is the solution that you need to learn how to implement. You need to figure out: What am I thinking? What negative thoughts are coming up for me that are causing me to not move forward?

What negative emotions? We want to be more specific than just saying that you’re uncomfortable. Are you feeling dread? Are you feeling confused? Are you feeling uncertain? Are you feeling worried? Are you feeling guilty? Are you feeling inadequate or unprepared? Are you feeling overwhelmed or pressured? What specific flavors of discomfort are you avoiding?

You’ve got to learn how to feel those feelings on purpose and take action in spite of them. How to gag-and-go despite those negative feelings.

Reason number eight that you’re stuck: You’re implementing your plan but you’re not making progress. You’re not making the progress that you think you should be making. Right? Number one: I always want to check-in here. Where did your expectation come from?

One of the things that I consistently see, people form expectations based on nothing, that’s just a natural part of our human conditioning. We love certainty so much, that we decide ahead of time what the results should be, even when we’re conducting an experiment for the first time.

I watch people post on social media, and they’ll think, “Oh, after a month I should be signing clients.” Where did that expectation come from? I promise you, there’s no social media or marketing book that tells you ‘after this many social media posts you should have this result. It takes you a month, and then you should have made this amount of money.’

There’s not a book that says that anywhere. But our brains come up with these ideas, and then we measure our results against our expectations. And wherever there’s a gap between our lived experience and the expectation we have, this is where our suffering exists. This is where our negative emotion lives.

So, my goal for people is to figure out: What is your expectation? Where did it come from? What was it based on? A lot of times, we base it on nothing. Our brain just serves us up an expectation out of nowhere. I want to try to bridge the gap and bring the expectation closer to the lived reality.

That doesn’t mean you have to like the current results that you have, you can want them to be different. But expecting them to be different creates a different energy, right? A disappointment or an entitlement to having different results. That really doesn’t serve you.

Now, if you’re implementing your plan and not making the progress that you think you should be making, another thing that I see is that people keep running the same playbook, the same game plan. So, if you’ve been at it for a while and you don’t have the results you want, you’re probably not evaluating, and so you just do more of the same. More of the same gets you more of the same results. Okay?

Plus, like I said, you’re probably feeling disappointed, discouraged, exasperated, frustrated. So, those negative emotions coming from the thoughts that you should be somewhere different than you are, it leads you or drives you to take less action over time, okay? Or you take action, but with really negative energy. Think of taking action, but with bad perfume or bad cologne on. It impacts everything that you do. Gives it a stench, so to speak.

So, what’s the solution? You’ve got to evaluate. We need to create awareness: What’s working? What’s not working? What do you need to do differently? I want you to choose the frequency that you’re going to evaluate every week, every month, every quarter; it’s up to you. You’re going to conduct an evaluation. So, that way, you take action, you audit the action that you take, and then you adapt.

The evaluation process I teach is really simple. We just answer: What’s working? What worked? What didn’t work? You want to be very specific here. And then, you want to solve for what didn’t work by figuring out: What will I do differently moving forward? You want these two things to match. Don’t come up with things that you’ll do differently, that don’t address what you identified didn’t work. Okay?

You also want to focus on action and mindset. So, one of the things we do in my programs is, we talk about: What are the thoughts that you were thinking while you were taking action? What are the thoughts that you’re thinking right now? Because, like I said earlier, there are these two consistent themes; we’ve got an action problem or a mindset problem, or both. And, we want to make sure that we’re solving for both of those.

Sometimes it’s just going to be about taking different actions. Sometimes it’s going to be about changing the thoughts that you are thinking in order to show up more effectively. I know people don’t love to evaluate. We love to just be like, “It didn’t work. I’ll do better next time,” and just keep moving forward. But that is how you stay stuck.

Evaluations really move the dial. You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing them, but you do you want to make sure you do them.

Reason number nine you stay stuck: You quit too early. Again, this comes from those expectations that you should be getting results faster. I want you to understand why this happens. Why do we quit? One, you expect it shouldn’t take as long as it’s taking. So, you’re feeling frustrated, you’re feeling exasperated, you’re feeling confused, you’re feeling discouraged, feeling defeated. Maybe even embarrassed if it’s taking you a while.

So, you feel those feelings, and then you avoid those feelings by quitting. You quit to escape the discomfort. And typically, what we do is we jump to something new. How do I know this is a thing? Because I used to do it.

What we tend to do is we start taking action. We get an idea, and we feel really determined, feel really motivated, really confident. Then we start taking action. We don’t get the results we want right away, and we start to feel a little confused. We keep moving forward, but maybe we start to take a little less action.

Then we feel frustrated, because we’re still not getting results. And now, we’re starting to feel disappointed and we’re taking less action, showing up less consistently. Then we’re starting to feel discouraged. Now, we’re starting to feel out of control, and maybe hopeless or helpless. And then, right around the time that we feel defeated, we quit. And, we jump to something new.

I started a lot of businesses in my 20s. I used to do this. I’d show up less consistently, less consistently, less consistently. So, of course, I’d get fewer and fewer desirable results. And then, I would quit. I’d get a new idea and I’d start this process over again. I’d go back to feeling determined, motivated, and confident; I just repeated this cycle.

Now, if you do that, you will never make progress. You’ll never get where you want to go if you keep quitting too early. I just heard a quote recently; this was so good. Someone said there are only two outcomes, you succeed, or you quit before you do. If that’s not true, I don’t know what is. If you’re evaluating, if you’re taking action, you’re auditing, and adapting, and you never give up, you will succeed. Okay?

The only difference between people who succeed and people who don’t, is that people who succeed are willing to do the things that people who don’t succeed, people who quit early aren’t willing to do. Right? They’re thinking better thoughts, they’re willing to feel the discomfort, and they’re taking action that the people without the results aren’t taking. Again, it’s always those three problems, and always those three solutions. So, you want to make sure that you don’t quit.

If you quit, you don’t give your efforts time to compound. You don’t give yourself a chance for the progress that you’re making to compound, in order to produce the results that you want. So, what’s the solution? You’ve got to take quitting off the table. Alright? When I started this business, because I had learned that that was my habit in the past, I decided that I was going to take quitting off the table entirely.

I said, “I will not quit this business. I’m willing to feel every feeling that I need to feel in order to be successful. I’m willing to be bad at marketing for however long it takes me to be good at it. I’m going to study. I’m going to find that education source. I’m going to implement what I learn. I’m going to learn more through implementing. I’m going to evaluate; take action, audit, and adapt. And, I’m going to move forward. I will not quit, no matter what.”

I released the timeline. I said, “No matter how long this takes me, I will figure it out.” And when you’re new at approaching a goal, I want you to release the timeline. The timeline can create so much pressure and so much negative emotion. And if you don’t know the underlying skill set…

I’ll watch people in the very beginning of their business, they won’t know how to create clients consistently yet. And they’ll say, “You know what? I want to make $100,000 this year. I want to make a quarter million dollars this year.” You don’t have the foundational skills figured out. You don’t know how to create a client consistently.

So, when you say, ‘I want to do this within this time period,’ but you don’t know how to create repeatable results, you’re really setting yourself up to feel so discouraged, to feel out of control, and then you end up quitting. I want you to release the timeline. Focus on the skills first.

One of the things that I teach is, when we talk about business development, the goal for the first few months is zero clients. We just want you taking action consistently. We’re going to come up with an action plan, and you’re going to work it. And then, like three months in, have the goal be one client. And once you hit that, we want to repeat that result. A couple more times, then we can increase it to two.

You start to learn the thinking that’s required to achieve this goal. This is the discomfort allowance; the feelings I need to feel to achieve this goal. And this is the intentional action I need to take in order to achieve this goal. That becomes your playbook for creating a specific result consistently.

Once you have that playbook, and you have certainty over what is required to produce a specific result, then you can introduce timelines into the equation and set goals with timeline parameters to them. But if you don’t have the skills down first, you’re going to feel very frustrated about trying to hit a timeline that feels very outside of your control. Okay?

I want you to take quitting off the table; release your expectations that things should happen within a certain time period. You’re going to start to conduct some experiments so you learn how long does it take you in your business or in your life, whether it’s business development or any other results.

Let’s say you’re working on time management. We’re going to take quitting off the table, release the timeline, and focus on mastering the skills first. Monitor your mindset; make sure your thoughts are in the right place. Identify those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. And then, choose on purpose to feel those negative feelings. That’s going to be how you don’t quit. how you keep going, no matter what.

Anyone I see who entertains the idea of quitting is less successful. I’ve watched it happen time and time again. Anyone who’s got one foot in and one foot out slows their progress, and makes it less likely that they’ll achieve their desired results. So, if you’ve got a plan B, we’ve got to get that plan B out of there. You need to be all in on planning.

Reason number 10. The last reason that you’re stuck: You don’t enjoy the journey. You’re all about the end result, and you end up hating the process in the meantime. You don’t enjoy the day-to-day. I see this a lot with people who don’t enjoy the day-to-day of time management. You want more time, you want to spend your time differently, but you don’t want to put in the work of planning your schedule, making a to-do list, and honoring your to-do list.

You want to make money in your business, in your law practice; whatever it is that you do. But you don’t want to do the marketing every day. You don’t want to put the action in every day. You think marketing sucks. You think connection calls suck. You think doing trainings like this suck, but you want the end result.

If you don’t enjoy the journey and you’re all about the end result, you end up hating the process. It’s hard to keep going and stay consistent when you create a negative experience for yourself day in and day out. And less action, as we’ve discussed today, leads to less progress.

You also end up looking for pleasure elsewhere. So, what I want you to do to solve for this, you need to detach yourself from your attachment to the results. You need to recognize that there is no there, there. ‘There’ is not better than ‘here,’ okay? You think there is going to be better and that you’re going to feel a certain way, or that things will be better at that end point. I promise you, you will still have problems there.

They might be different problems. They might be new problems. Some of the problems will be the same, but there is not better than here. You can want more for your life, but you want to do it with the mindset that it’s still going to be 50/50; there’s going to be good stuff and bad stuff. And then, when you stop thinking that there is better than here, you can start to appreciate here, where you’re at right now. Okay?

I also want you to change your expectations. You probably have expectations of what the journey should be like, how it should feel. I watch a lot of my clients think that the day to day should feel really pleasurable. It’s not going to. It’s going to feel some good and some bad. You’re going to have to embrace dread. You’re going to have to embrace boredom. I once heard that the secret to success is falling in love with boredom. I couldn’t agree with that more.

So, you want to embrace that experience. Everyday might not be super exciting. Working your playbook, working your game plan, that action plan that you create for yourself may not always feel exciting. Change your expectation that it should be 100% exciting all the time.

I also want you to stop focusing on what you dislike, highlighting what you dislike when you’re in the day-to-day. Instead, find the parts that you do like. If you don’t like networking, think about, do you like people? And if you don’t like people, I have a podcast episode on that. That is a really unhelpful thought, if you tell yourself you don’t like people, or you hate people. You’re in the people business, we have to interact with people.

So, you want to find ways to enjoy connecting with people. Do you like hearing people’s stories? Do you like learning about them? How could you enjoy it? How could you set it up to be more fun? Who would you need to talk to in order to enjoy that more?

If you don’t like posting on social media? You’ve got to change your thoughts about it. It’s free. It is one of the most incredible tools that we have access to. If you have negative thoughts about it come see me, I have really, really positive thoughts. But you need to find parts you do like or change your thoughts so you can get yourself to like them.

Really embrace and fall in love with the journey. Focus on who you become in the process of pursuing a goal. If you enjoy the day-to-day more, and you make it less about the trophy at the end of the road, you’re going to have so much more fun. You’re going to show up more consistently, more frequently.

You’re going to take better action with better energy. And we know if you take better action with better energy, you’re going to produce better results. You’re going to make more progress, and get yourself unstuck.

Those are the 10 reasons that you are finding yourself stuck. What I want you to do is, review now. Which of the two main themes are you struggling with, action, mindset, or both? I’m want you to write that down. Get really clear. Action, or inaction better yet. Mindset. Or three, both.

Then go through and figure out: Which of the 10… it can be an assortment… which of the 10 reasons are keeping me stuck? List them out.

What I want you to do from there, is I want you to work through the solutions that I gave you. So, make a plan. Go through it. If listing them out, you’re like, “Oh, three is one of my problems: I think that I can’t have what I actually watch.”  

And then, “I don’t know what to do,” I think that was number six, let me check. Yep. “I don’t know what to do. I need an education source.”

“In some of my areas, I do know what to do but I’m not doing it. I’m not doing the work.” So, that’s seven.

“And then, I quit too early,” that’s number nine.

So, if you list those things you can start to come up with a game plan. “What’s the solution Olivia taught me for 3, 6, 7 and 9?” List it out and come up with your game plan. If you’re not setting goals, list that here.

Alright, number five: What’s the solution for that? Reverse engineering and coming up with an action plan.

The other thing that I want to invite you to do is, I have two ways to work with me. If you recognize you’re stuck and you want to get unstuck, and you want my help doing that, here’s what I want you to do. Decide, if you’re a lawyer, you want to join Lawyers Only. There are two ways to join Lawyers Only: You can join as an annual member, for $1,500 for the year. Or as a monthly member, for $150 a month. If you’re a lawyer, you want to be in that program.

All of the things we talked about today; the inaction, the mindset, the specific ways that you’re stuck; you’re going to learn how to work through all of that with my help. You’re going to learn how to figure out what you want. You’re going to learn how to dismantle your limiting beliefs; that things aren’t possible for you.

You’re going to learn how to create action plans, and figure out the result roadmap that you need to implement in order to get there; I’m going to teach you the specific skill. How to manage your time, how to develop business, how to set boundaries, how to improve your relationships; those areas in your life where you’re struggling, if you don’t know what you need to be doing I’m going to teach you the “how.”

I’m going to teach you how to evaluate, so that when you’re taking action you’re able to act, audit, and adapt. If you know what you need to do, or once you learn it from me, you can… If you know what to do and you’re not taking the action you need to be taking, I’m going to help you work through that.

I’m going to teach you how to do “The work.” I’m going to teach you how to cultivate the mindset that you need to have. Teach you how to embrace those negative emotions that you need to embrace, and teach you how to take intentional action. I’m going to help you not quit on your goals and embrace the journey; embrace the journey of pursuing them.

“Does monthly require a certain number of months?” It doesn’t. That’s a great question. Okay, any other questions about Lawyers Only? “Cool, thanks.”

“Anyone on the fence about joining a program with Olivia, I’ve joined all four of her retreats, I’m in Lawyers Only, and I’ve done one-on-one coaching with her. I’ve yet to regret a single moment of interacting with her. Pure gold.” Sondra, thank you so, so much.

The other links. If you’re not a lawyer, and you’re like, “Olivia, I want in on this. I want to work with you, too. I want to work through these problems with you,” I want to give you a link to sign up for my next retreat. I also host a retreat that’s open to everyone, not just lawyers, okay? I do those events twice a year. I’m going to give you the link to the “Interest List” for the next Obsessed Retreat.

Now, as part of the Obsessed Retreat, you get the in-person event, which is three and a half days, in person. We do a deep dive on solving the problems keeping you stuck, learning essential skills that you need to have to move forward, and then setting goals and making plans to achieve them. You also get access, lifetime access, to monthly group coaching calls. And lifetime access to the Member Portal.

We have such a robust community in there, so if you’re not a lawyer and you’re dying to work with me, get in that program. That’s the way to work with me outside of Lawyers Only.

Through Lawyers Only you get weekly group coaching calls, and access to the Member Portal. There is a Masterclass Vault of 50 master classes in there. In both of my programs, you get access to written coaching. There’s a coaching request section where you can submit any problem that you’re struggling with.

There’s foundational material videos that teach you the foundational concepts of coaching, that you’re able to watch on demand. Those masterclasses, in the Masterclass Vault, you can also watch on demand.

You have a space where you can submit stuff for feedback. So, if you’re working on social media and you want feedback on posts, or if you’re putting together a training and you want feedback on that, you can drop that stuff in there and I’ll give you feedback on it. You get feedback on your action plans; we work through that very specifically.

There’s also a space to do those evaluations. We work through them, and I can coach you on the things that aren’t working, so we can figure out what you need to do differently.

In both of these programs, whether you’re an attorney or you’re not, I give you all the support you could possibly need in order to get where you want to go. If you feel stuck in the areas of your life that you identified earlier and you want to stop struggling on your own, come work with me. Alright? This is how you will unstick yourself the fastest, with the help of a coach. So, get in Lawyers Only.

Over the course of the next three months, in Lawyers Only, we’re going to do a deep dive on talking about people pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. And then, I’m going to be releasing a Time Management for Lawyers course this summer, and a Business Development for Lawyers course in the fall.

So, you want to be in those programs and learn the foundational concepts before that stuff comes out, that way you can hit the ground running and learn as I release that.

“I was initially skeptical, and paid twice during this presentation, because I’m actually impressed.” Amazing. I got your message, Bonita. I will… the double payment, I will fix for you.

Alright, any other questions anyone has about any of the programs that I host? I’d love to see you inside of them. If you have questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking here, reach out to me on social media. I’m on LinkedIn and on Instagram. I’m happy to answer questions.

“Do I still do one-on-one coaching?” Very, very rarely. I’m winding down my one-on-one coaching practice. I don’t have any availability for several months. If you want to work with me, it’s either in the Obsessed Retreat or in Lawyers Only.

If you’re an attorney get in Lawyers Only. That is the one‑stop shop that you want to be in; working on everything personal and professional, everything law school, your employer and your parents didn’t teach you. Get inside there.

If you’re not an attorney and you’re dying to work with me, that’s the Obsessed Retreat, lifetime access to that community. And then, you get access to, of course, the next in-person event, which is going to be this fall.

One of the things that’s neat about Lawyers Only specifically, is that you have the ability to schedule one-off one-on-one calls with me. So, that’s something that I’m releasing in the month of May. There’s an additional charge for that, but I’ve never done that before. You have to be in my programs though in order to have access to that.

In the past, I’ve worked with people one on one for a certain time period, typically six months. More recently, it’s been five months. But that’s not something I’m offering right now, and won’t be offering anytime soon. So, if you want to work with me, don’t wait for that. Get inside these programs and then you have access to being able to book those one-off one-on-one calls if you want additional support.

But I promise, you really don’t need that. You get plenty of support inside the Member Portal and on our group coaching calls.

“Where do the retreats take place?” They change every single time. I’m getting ready to finalize the location for the next one. But so far, we’ve done Detroit, because I’m originally from there. Charleston, which is where I live now. One of the reasons I moved down here is because I fell in love with it.

Zoom loves to recognize my hand gestures. One of the reasons I moved down here is because I hosted a retreat here and really fell in love with Charleston. And then I did Big Sky, Montana, last August. We just did the last one in Miami this past March.

So, I’m picking out the location for the next one right now. I’m in talks with an incredible hotel that I’m really excited about, but I’m not ready to announce it yet. Which is why you want to sign up for the Interest List. If you’re on the Interest List you’re going to get all of the details and a chance to join before I release that information to the public. Any other questions?

“For those of us who are in both the Obsessed Retreat and Lawyers Only spaces, how do I decide where to post and request coaching? I know that sounds like spinning.” I love it. That’s actually a great question. I know quite a few people are in both communities because they want to work with me at my in-person events, and they also want the support and community of a lawyer’s only space. So, you can be in both.

If you’re an attorney, definitely do the retreat and do Lawyers Only. The more support you have, the better and the further you’ll get the fastest. What I’ve seen people do… Some people have posted in both spaces. If it’s something that we talked about in person, I’ve seen people share that in the Obsessed Retreat space. If it is something…

I think this is the standard that I would use. If you think both communities would benefit from it, post it. And then, if I respond to you, I’ll respond in both places. You don’t have to respond in both places, you can just continue to thread in one. But how I think about it is, I want the coaching conversation to take place in as many places as possible.

So, you can choose between the two or you can just do it in both. And then, I’ll share my responses in both. That way, people in the communities get access to all of that good coaching. One of the things that makes these programs so beneficial and robust is that people get to see other people work through the same issues that they’re facing. So, the more we have access to that the better.

But you can also just trust yourself to decide. I trust you to make the right decision. Even though there are no right decisions, just different decisions. Thank you, Habib D.

Alright, my friends. That’s our show for today. Amazing to see you on this Friday. I will see you all at the next masterclass. Stay tuned. I’ll be announcing that soon. Have a beautiful weekend.

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 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:

Featured on the Show:

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.

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