Episode 25: Worth Dysmorphia

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Worth Dysmorphia

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Worth Dysmorphia

Today’s episode follows on from our recent episode about perfectionism. We discussed what perfectionism is, and how to recognize it and interrupt it while it’s happening. But the next couple of episodes are all about the solutions to overcoming perfectionism, and we start this week by discussing something I call worth dysmorphia.

We’re familiar with the idea of body dysmorphia, where one has an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in their appearance, despite it being minor or imagined. Well, I see the same thing occurring when it comes to self-worth, and more often than not, people turn to perfectionism to try to fix the perceived flaws that lead to worth dysmorphia.

Tune in this week to see if you might be struggling with worth dysmorphia. I’m sharing how this might be showing up in your life, how it relates to perfectionism, and I’m giving you three amazing ways to deal with worth dysmorphia, so you can intentionally decide you are good enough, whatever that looks like for you.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What worth dysmorphia is and why so many people struggle with it.
  • Why we turn toward perfectionism to address our lack of self-worth.
  • How to get clear on your own self-worth and where you might be struggling with worth dysmorphia.
  • What changes when you intentionally build belief in your worthiness.
  • Why worthiness and enoughness are 100% subjective and arbitrary.
  • How to define what enough or worthiness actually means to you.
  • 3 ways to establish self-worth and belief in your enoughness, so you can start to overcome worth dysmorphia.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 25. Today, we’re talking all about worth dysmorphia. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, my friends. How are we doing today? Greetings from Miami. I just got down to Florida, I’m going to be here for about 10 days, and I’m having some fun in the sun before I head to my mastermind with my business coach.  Myself and some of my best coach friends are down here soaking up the sun in South Beach having a great time. 

I hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer before we kick into fall. I know I am. I’m super excited for the next couple of days to just relax with some of my peers. Then I’m going to go soak up all the goodness with my business coach, learn all the things and work on scaling my business. Which also gets me super excited for the next round of my mastermind, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Doors to that, are going to be opening up in November, and I cannot wait. I’m so excited for the next live event with that mastermind. 

Just like the mastermind I’m in with my business coach, Stacey Boehman, I also host an in-person live event every six months. Which is, so amazing because it really creates this sense of community among the members, you get to meet everyone in person. You’re in an immersive environment, which I love. I think you either are a conference person or you’re not a conference person, and I definitely am.

I have gone to Tony Robbins events before. I love being in person with my coaches, Brooke Castillo, and Stacey. It’s just so neat to be able to be there. You’re really all in. You’re learning hours and hours a day. And then, there’s all the amazing side conversations in the morning, at lunch, at night. I can’t wait for mine.

Then I can’t wait for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind event, in a couple months. Doors open to that in November, and the next live event is going to be in the very beginning of February. If you are interested in joining, make sure you mark your calendars so you can apply when doors open up.

All right let’s dive into today’s topic. We’re continuing along with the topic of perfectionism. It’s one of the three P’s; people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. I talked in the last episode about what perfectionism looks like in your life.

What does it appear to be in practice? How do you spot it? How can you recognize when you’re in a perfectionistic pattern, in order to interrupt it? So, I gave you lots of intel, for you to be able to spot that when you’re indulging in perfectionism yourself.

But now we want to talk about the solutions to overcoming perfectionism. I decided to break this up into two separate episodes. I’m going to give you some more tactics to apply, in the next episode. Today, I wanted to talk to you about “worth dysmorphia”, which is a term that I coined, and it’s inspired by body dysmorphia.

Now, this isn’t to make light of that, at all. Body dysmorphia is considered a mental illness. It’s where you have an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in your appearance. Oftentimes, it is either minor or imagined; you think that you look different than you are. You think that you’re less attractive than what you actually appear to be.

I was thinking of that concept. I see that come up all the time, when it comes to self-worth, as well. People have a perception that they are less worthy, or that they are not good enough. Again, this can be obsessive, where we’re constantly indulging in perfectionism, in order to fix this perceived flaw, even though it’s not really there. I was thinking about this, and oftentimes, when I ask clients about how they perceive themselves and their self-worth, they tell me, “I just don’t feel good enough.”

I recently had a conversation with a client of mine, she’s actually a member of the mastermind. We were talking about self-worth, and she said that exact thing to me. She said, “Olivia, you know, I just constantly feel like I’m not enough. Like, I’m not good enough. Like, I’m not worthy enough.”  I asked her, “Hey, you know, what is that based on?” She said, “Really, honestly, I don’t know, kind of nothing.”

I tend to find that this is very common. People have this perception that they’re not good enough. It’s really based on absolutely nothing. There’s no substance there. I always like to say, “There’s no there, there.” Just like body dysmorphia, where someone can be very physically attractive, they just don’t see it themselves when they look in the mirror. They perceive their body to be different than it is. They perceive their self-worth to be different than it is.

Before we talk about how to overcome worth dysmorphia, and to establish self-worth and belief in your worthiness, in your enoughness, I just want to do a quick check in with you. Do you think that you are enough? When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Do you think you’re good enough? Do you think you’re worthy enough?

Maybe you’re struggling to answer that in a yes or no capacity. If that’s the case, if it’s kind of a question mark for you, use a 1-10 scale. You guys know I love a good 1-10 scale; it helps flush out where our beliefs lie, a little bit more. On a scale of 1-10, do you think that you are enough? On a scale of 1-10, do you think you’re good enough? Do you think you’re worthy enough? You can break it down into those three questions. 

There are a lot of other ‘enoughs’ that we talk about. I did a whole episode on this, on defining enough. Do you think you’re smart enough? Do you think you’re capable enough? Do you think you’re productive enough? Efficient enough? Those are a little bit more specific, though, and contextualized.

I really want to focus, for the purposes of this episode, on do you just think you are categorically “enough?” You guys can’t see me, but I’m using air quotes. Do you think you are enough? See what answer you come up with. Maybe you’re a five, maybe you’re a two, maybe you’re an eight, maybe you’re a ten? If you’re a ten, amazing? I love that. But you want to check in with yourself and see where you’re at. 

Then, whenever you come up with your rating, you want to ask yourself; what are your reasons for it being the number that you chose? And come up with all of those, list them out so you know what it’s based on. If your numbers, for each of these ratings, are kind of low and then you find that, like my client, it’s based on nothing, you just want to take note of that.

If that’s the case, you may be suffering from worth dysmorphia; where your sense of yourself isn’t based on reality, it’s just an altered perception. It’s a perceived flaw based on nothing; just this human phenomenon where we perceive ourselves to be less worthy than we actually are.

The good news there, is that when it’s based on nothing, you can just believe the opposite. I know that sounds kind of pie-in-the-sky, but it brings me to the three categories that I want to talk to you about today. These are the three ways that you can work through worth dysmorphia, and establish a self-worth practice where you’re building, actively, belief in your worthiness.

You get three options, when it comes to self-worth. Technically four, but I absolutely hate the fourth one. I’m going to give that one to you at the end, and it’s what you’re already engaged in. I’ll explain it in a second. But the first option, when it comes to your self-worth, is that you can just opt out of this concept altogether. You can do what I call, ‘unsubscribing from it’.

There are a lot of concepts in my life that I have unsubscribed from; I have unsubscribed from feeling shameful about myself. I don’t think there’s any purpose; I don’t think shame ever serves us in any way. You can just opt out of that entirely. If you don’t think the thoughts that cause you to feel shame, you won’t experience shame.

I’ve also opted out of regret, I’m just not here for it. I always think that you learn from your experiences, and you probably made the decisions that you made based on a reason. If you course correct afterwards, you realize that it didn’t serve you or you didn’t like the outcome, that’s fine. But there really is no purpose in indulging in the concept of regret; that you chose wrong. You chose whatever you chose for a reason.

I’ve also unsubscribed from failure. It’s just not something that I believe you can do anymore. I really believe that you’re always just winning or learning.  If you don’t quit, you can’t ever fail. That’s another concept that I’ve unsubscribed from. There are quite a few of them, those are just like my top hits. 

Self-worth is another one that I’m adding to my own list. I’ve really thought a lot about this, since having this conversation with my client, where she raised this issue of self-worth. Saying, “I really don’t believe that I’m enough.” I asked her what is it based on, and she said, “Nothing.” 

I got off our call, and this just kept running through my mind over and over and over again. This concept that so many people are going through their lives believing that they’re not enough, based on nothing. The next question that entered my mind was enough to whom? Because not everyone’s going to agree on what good enough is, what worthy enough is, what enoughness constitutes. We’re all going to have our own definitions.

Moreover, we really don’t even have definitions for these words. We just use them very ambiguously, very loosely, very amorphously. When we do that, we’re constantly chasing a horizon of enoughness. Feeling like we’re missing the mark, feeling like we’re not there, that we haven’t arrived yet. But we don’t even know where we’re trying to go, because we don’t have definitions for these terms.

If that’s you, which it likely is, because it’s most people, I just want to turn you on to the concept that enoughness is kind of bullshit. It’s really arbitrary. It’s completely subjective, no one’s going to agree on what it means; no one ever really takes the time to define it anyways. This whole thing that we’re striving for to begin with, we’re so eager to reach this destination, to reach this endpoint, this enoughness, it really doesn’t exist.

You get to buy into this concept with me. By buying into it, I don’t mean the concept of enoughness, I mean, buying into the concept that there is no such thing as enoughness. That it’s arbitrary, it’s totally subjective, it’s just, ultimately, BS, utter BS.  That’s what I’ve chosen to opt into. That’s what I’ve chosen to subscribe to.

That’s the first option when it comes to worth dysmorphia, and deciding what you want to do about your own self-worth. I’m just like, this whole concept is garbage. It’s not a thing, it really doesn’t exist. It’s totally arbitrary. Unsubscribed.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can take option number two, when it comes to self-worth. Which is, you can just decide that you are worthy. That you are enough, right now. You don’t have to do anything differently. You are currently enough. People might be tempted to be like, “Olivia, that is so pie in the sky. What are you talking about? You can’t just decide.”

Honestly, you’re already doing this, but you’re just doing it in the negative, right? You are believing that you’re not enough, that you’re not worthy, that you’re not good enough, also based on nothing. So, just do the opposite. Also, based on nothing. If you want, you can sit here and come up with a long list of reasons why you currently are good enough, make the argument. You’re an attorney, put that attorney hat on and argue your point that you are enough.

If you do that, if you tell your brain what evidence to look for, it’ll go out and find it. When you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, it also goes out and finds evidence of that. You want to make sure you are directing your brain here, and telling it what evidence to search for. But with this being said, you literally just get to decide that you are currently enough.

I was thinking about this. It’s kind of like when we’re kids, and we think adults have it all figured out. We think that they really have their shit together. Then we become them, and we realize how mistaken we were. We realized that; oh, everyone’s kind of just figuring this out as they go along. No one really has it dialed in and figured out, in the way that we may have thought.

Because of that, sometimes we find ourselves a little underwhelmed at what the adult experience is like, or by what the adult experiences like. We’re like, “Oh, I thought it was going to be a little bit more majestic than this. I thought it was going to be a little bit more grandiose.” And, it’s not. We’re just figuring it out as we go along. We may have thought that it was going to be a little bit more put together, a little bit more perfect than it is. 

The same thing can be true for ourselves. We may have thought that ‘good enough’ was going to be a little bit more grandiose than it is. We may have thought it was going to look different, just like you thought adult life was going to look a little bit different than it is in practice. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not an adult, just like it doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough.

You can decide that you are good enough, that you are currently living in the land of enoughness, and it’s just a little underwhelming. It’s just a little less grandiose than you expected it to be, but nothing’s gone wrong. You can just decide that this is what it is. It looks a little bit different than you thought it was going to look like, but this is what it is. This is enough. You currently are it. Nothing needs to change; you don’t need to do anything different. You’ve already arrived, you’ve reached the destination.

So, that’s the second option. First one, is you can just totally unsubscribe, opt out of enoughness altogether. It’s total BS. Second, is you can decide that you already are enough. That this is what it looks like; you’ve arrived. You’re here, this is what it is. The third option, which I think is my least favorite, among the three. It’s not my least favorite of the four, which we’ll talk about in a second. But it’s my least favorite of the three.

If you really want to subscribe to this concept of enoughness, and you’re also really beholden to continue believing that you are currently not enough, then here’s what I want you to do. I want you to define “enough”, very concretely. I want you to define it in an objective manner, where I’d be able to come into your life with a clipboard, and decide whether you’ve reached your definition, your standard of enoughness. I’d be able to check the boxes to see if you qualify or not.

So, you want to make sure your enoughness standard is objective. And then also, attainable. Those are the two qualities you want your definition to meet: objective and attainable. Then when you have this objective, attainable standard, you’ll then have a clear path for how to qualify for that enoughness. For you to eventually become enough, for you to arrive there.  You can begin to work towards that.

Now, this may be hard for you, because enoughness tends to be so amorphous, it’s hard to articulate. But I really want to encourage you to try. Try to articulate it. Try to come up with that objective, attainable standard, and then begin working towards it. So, you can get to the destination of enoughness. So, you can feel that you’re good enough, worthy enough, just all around enough.

Now, those are the three options, that I like, when it comes to enoughness and self-worth. The fourth option is to keep doing what you’re currently doing. Which is, believing that you’re not good enough, not worthy enough, that you’re not enough generally.

And to have a really amorphous, ambiguous standard, that you don’t really understand, so you have no idea how to work towards it.  And, you just keep indulging in this worth dysmorphia. Thinking that you’re not enough, not worthy enough and feeling inadequate as a result, but having no clear path on how to get out of that shitty situation.

That’s option number four. If that’s what you’re doing right now, I want you to, you know, establish some grace with yourself and don’t beat yourself up. I think a lot of people are out in the world doing exactly the same thing, indulging in this worth dysmorphia. But you get to stop anytime you want. You get to choose one of the other three options, that I’ve laid out for you today.

Now, why is this so important in the context of perfectionism? When you indulge in perfectionism, you’re doing it because you think you need to be different than you are, in order to be worthy, in order to be enough. So, you keep chasing that horizon. The chase is your perfectionism in practice. You keep striving for more, because you believe that when you’re just better, when you’re just more perfect, then you’ll finally be good enough.

In order to put down the perfectionism, in order to put a pin in it, once and for all, you have to believe that you’re already enough. Otherwise, you’re constantly just going to be striving for that perfect, for that better, for that best, you’ll keep chasing. That chase is really exhausting, and it also doesn’t feel good, right?

You feel unworthy, you feel insufficient and inadequate in the process, as you’re chasing that standard, that elusive standard of enoughness. These two things go hand-in-hand: We have to solve for the self-worth issue, in order to solve for the perfectionism issue. When you believe that you’re good enough, you’re worthy enough, you’re just good, old fashioned enough, you get to stop indulging in perfectionism.

That’s the goal, for all the reasons I discussed in the last episode. Perfectionism is really a drain emotionally, mentally, taxing on your time, all of the above. It really does not serve you, and it keeps you from accomplishing those big lofty, amazing goals that you set for yourself because we quit.

We give up, we start and then stop, we don’t follow through, we don’t stick with things, we procrastinate. Because of perfectionism. There are all of these problems that our perfectionism causes, so we want to solve for it. Okay, my friends. That is what I have for you today.

I want you to check in with yourself. Are you suffering from worth dysmorphia? If you are, ask yourself why? You’re probably not going to have a good reason, just like most of my clients don’t have a good reason. Then, I want you to make a decision: Pick one of the three options that I laid out for you.

Choose them, in order to work on your self-concept, your worthiness, your self-worth. And then from there, it’ll put you in a better position to implement the tactics, that I’m going to talk about in the next episode, on how to overcome your perfectionism. The daily little tips and tricks that you can utilize in order to get out of this habit.

All right, my friends. Have a beautiful week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 24: Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the second of the three P’s I’m covering in this three-part series, and it’s a big one. Some people don’t even realize they’re perfectionists, which makes it impossible to see how their perfectionist tendencies are negatively impacting their lives. They think that because they aren’t perfect, they aren’t a perfectionist.

Newsflash: no one is perfect. But even knowing this intellectually doesn’t stop people from striving for perfection. You might also think all perfectionists are very Type-A, organized, punctual, orderly, and obsessive. But that’s another common thought error. So, if you’re ready to unlearn everything you thought you knew about perfectionism, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover why perfectionism isn’t all that it seems. I’m sharing how perfectionism might be showing up in your life, personally and professionally, and how you can get clear on the reasons why you struggle in this area, so you can start doing the work of overcoming your perfectionism.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you might be a perfectionist, even if you don’t see how right now.
  • The common threads I see running through my clients who struggle with perfectionism.
  • Some of the myths I come across people believing about perfectionism.
  • The different forms perfectionism takes and how to see where perfectionism is having a negative impact in your life.
  • Why addressing your perfectionism doesn’t mean you start settling for less and stop up-levelling.
  • How to spot perfectionism showing up in real-time, so you can start addressing it in the moment.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 24. We’re talking all about perfectionism. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, my friends, how are we doing today? I hope all is going well in your neck of the woods. Things are pretty exciting over here. I am getting ready to go on a pretty lengthy trip, some for pleasure, some for work, down to Florida.

I’m going to be in Miami with some friends. And then, I’m going to Orlando for my mastermind with my business coach. I’ll be there, at the Four Seasons, for about a week. So, I’m super excited. That’s right around the bend. I’m getting ready for that trip over the course of the next couple of days, and it’ll be hot down there. But I like summer. So, I am looking forward to it. I hope you have something that you’re looking forward to.

Another thing that I’m looking forward to is the topic that I’m going to be talking to you about today, and that is perfectionism. This is the second segment of this essentially three-part series on the three P’s, the main problems that my clients struggle with: people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination.

So, in the past few episodes, I talked about the essential qualities or skills you need to have, that you want to have as a foundation as we go into covering these topics. Which was, to make sure that you’re resourceful, patient, and coachable.

And once we covered that, I started to dive in to the first P, which was people-pleasing. And I went through why you do it, why it’s a problem, and how to stop. We also talked about how to set and honor boundaries, as a way to get around people-pleasing and guard yourself against doing it.

Now we’re going to move into talking about perfectionism. And specifically in this episode, I’m going to cover this in two parts, sort of like I did with people pleasing. In this episode, we’re going to talk about what it is, why you struggle with it, what it looks like in practice. So, you can get clear on whether or not you are a perfectionist, and how your perfectionism may be negatively impacting your life.

Then in the next episode, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to overcome it. All right, so let’s dive in. What is perfectionism? And, do you struggle with it? Perfectionism is one of the most common characteristics I see with my clients. Which is why it’s one of the three P’s that I’m talking about in this series.

Now, people often think they aren’t perfectionists because they aren’t perfect. And newsflash, you guys, no one is perfect. So, being imperfect doesn’t mean that you’re not a perfectionist. And I’m going to repeat this one more time, because I really want you to hear me on this. Absolutely no one is perfect. And I think people can say that they understand this on an intellectual level.

And I have a good friend, she’s also a life coach, her name’s Jenn Deal. She always says that if you say you get something intellectually, you don’t actually get it. Because you’re essentially saying, “No, no, no, I get it intellectually. But in practice, in application, it doesn’t really make sense to me.”

We see that all the time with things like; we’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. People will say to me, “Olivia, I get that intellectually, but like in this specific instance, I really feel like I’m the cause of their disappointment.” Which really just means that you don’t believe the concept, and you don’t get it.

All right. So, the same thing is true with perfectionism. People will often say to me, “No, no, I understand. There’s really no such thing as being perfect,” and yet, in practice, they’re constantly striving for it. Now, if you find yourself constantly striving to be perfect, I just want to offer you this reminder. It’s not attainable; there is no such thing as it. No one is perfect.

All right, so all perfectionists are imperfect. Even the ones who might think that they’re perfect; but I haven’t met anyone who thinks that they are. But all perfectionists are imperfect, yet they’re striving for perfection. So, if you think; oh, I’m not a perfectionist, because I’m imperfect. Guess what? That means that you can still be a perfectionist, right? Every perfectionist is imperfect because no one’s perfect.

Now, a lot of people think that perfectionism looks like being someone who’s type A; very organized, does everything ahead of time in a very orderly manner, and obsesses over something, and is generally error-free, with a lot of the stuff that they do. Again, no one is perfect. So, it’s just a perception that someone is error-free because no one is error-free all the time.

But a lot of people think that that is what perfectionism looks like, or is. That it’s being very type A. And yes, perfectionism can look like that. It can look like those type A tendencies, control freaks, people that obsess over things, and put a ton of extra thought, maybe more than is necessary, into whatever it is that they’re doing. That is perfectionism.

But it’s not the only kind. There are other options. So, a lot of people, in fact, I’ll go as far to say most people who are perfectionist aren’t type A. Instead, they look like the opposite. They’re procrastinators. They’re messy. They’re disorganized. They have a lot of clutter.

They tend to start and stop things. They have a lot of unfinished projects. They struggle with following through. They tend to not be someone who follows through. They quit the things that they start, and they engage in a lot of avoidant behavior and ignore things. All right.

Those are all symptoms of perfectionism, too. And I’m going to explain why that is in a second. But first, I want to get even more clear on what perfectionism is. It’s generally described as an extreme and obsessive striving for perfection. And I hate a definition that uses the word in the definition. So, I’m going to flesh this out a little bit more.

Perfectionists are often people who hold themselves to impossibly high standards. And, “impossible” is really the key word there. They often think that what they do is never good enough. They have this belief that things can always be better. And in addition to that, because I’m someone who also believes that things can always be better. All right? But perfectionists, more than anything, think things should be better. All right?

And that’s the difference here, the use of the word “should’. It’s one thing to believe that things could always be better, because there probably always is room for improvement. That’s part of the human condition, I believe.

But that being said, there’s a difference if you think things should be better. That there’s a problem right now because they aren’t as good as they could be. So, perfectionists fall into that camp; they think things should be better, and that things aren’t good right now, because they aren’t as good as they could be.

If you’re like me, you will have the belief that things can always be better. But you work hard to find sufficiency in the present moment, in the status quo, as well. So, both things get to be true. Right now, can be good enough and there can be room for improvement. There can be sufficiency in what you have right now and your current results, and things can be a little bit better. Rather than, things not being better in the moment being a problem. All right?

So again, this perfectionist tendency is different than having a simple desire to improve and up-level. You’re sort of interested in up-leveling, not because you feel badly now, but just because it’s a fun process; always improving, always pursuing something new, something greater than what you’re doing.

You’re doing it to have more fun. And really see what’s possible for your life, versus believing that you’re currently inadequate and unworthy as you are right now. And believing that you have to improve and be better, in order to be enough. Right? The status quo is insufficient, simply because there’s room for improvement.

Now, another caveat here about people that may not identify as perfectionists, a lot of people may not use the word perfect to describe what they are striving for. And I think that’s a workaround because a lot of us, like I said earlier, have this general understanding that perfection isn’t attainable, so they swap out the word perfect and use something else.

They’ll oftentimes use terms like, I just want to do the best job. And if you can explain to me the difference between best and perfect, I challenge you to. Every time my clients use that standard, what they tend to mean is this unachievable standard of perfection, right? It’s not possible to ever get there, but they’re constantly striving for the best.

Best, then becomes synonymous with perfect. If you don’t use best, you may use better, but not be able to articulate a clearly defined standard for what you mean by better. Or, you want to be more of something or less of something, but you really don’t have a clearly articulated standard for what that looks like in practice.

So, this may be you. You may be using terms like best, better, more, or less, without any understanding of how you would actually get to those finish lines, and really no clear understanding of what that would even look like, once you’re there. Right? And I talked about that in a previous episode when I talked about defining “enough”.

So, if this is you, you want to be on the lookout for it, how it shows up in your life, and what it feels like when you’re striving for something that you haven’t defined, that is really ambiguous, and oftentimes unattainable.

Now, a lot of perfectionists like to tell themselves that they’re only perfectionistic in one area, or a select few areas of their lives. And that tends to be really unlikely and very uncommon. Instead, what I find is that if it shows up in one area, it probably shows up in most, if not all areas of your life.

 And this is because how we do one thing tends to be how we do everything. So, if you’re a perfectionist with things at work, you’re probably a perfectionist when it comes to things in your personal life; your personal space, how you show up in your roles as a friend, as a spouse, as a sister, as a parent, in addition to in your work roles.

You also probably have really high standards for the people in your lives. It’s really likely that you impute your perfectionism, onto the relationships that you have in your life.

So again, if you’re someone who tells yourself, “Oh, I’m only a perfectionist in this one limited area,” I just want to challenge you, be on the lookout for how perfectionism may be showing up in other areas of your life. You just may not be very aware of it, but we want to create that awareness.

Now, I want to give you some examples of what perfectionism looks like in practice, so you can spot it yourself, in the event that you aren’t quite convinced that you are a perfectionist. And I’ve said this a million times, but I’m going to say it again, it’s so important to know what to look for and become aware of your habits.

Because awareness, you guys, is really everything. It is necessary to creating any change; you can’t change what you don’t understand. So, I’m going to give you some examples. So, you’re more easily able to spot perfectionism coming up in your life, so you can change it.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Wait a second, Olivia. Why would I want to not be a perfectionist? Being a perfectionist is a good thing.” And, you might be thinking that sounds crazy. But believe it or not, some people still see being a perfectionist as a positive attribute versus an albatross. Alright?

And if this is you, I just want to offer you, being a perfectionist is not a good character trait. And you’re going to see why, as I go through the list of ways, perfectionism may be coming up for you, what it looks like in practice, all right? But I assure you, it’s not something that you want to strive for.

So, let’s create some awareness so we can spot it, and then you can change it. Alright, first things first: If you often believe that nothing is ever good enough, that’s going to be perfectionism. All right? You are never satisfied with any success that you amass. There’s always more room for improvement. And, you feel really awful because of that.

You’re rarely content with the status quo, and you just want to keep constantly getting better at things. So, when you’re doing this, when success is never enough and you’re constantly moving the goalposts, you end up being constantly dissatisfied.

You also tend to engage in quite a bit of compare and despair. You may feel jealous or envious, when you’re comparing yourself against other people and the results that they have. You may feel really inadequate or discontent with your current results. Nothing is ever good enough, right?

You also might feel ashamed and embarrassed about the current results that you have, because you believe that they’re not good enough. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re also probably very concerned with the end result of what you do. You care very little about what happens in between, any of the wins you have along the way, any progress you make that doesn’t involve getting the end desired result, that you set out to create. All right?

So, you really minimize any small wins or incremental progress along the way, you’re only concerned with that ultimate end goal, that end outcome. And you’ll feel really annoyed or devastated, or disgusted or disappointed, if you don’t achieve that end result. Even if you made some really great progress along the way.

You often become depressed when you don’t achieve your goals. So, you really dwell and indulge in maybe self-pity, or self-punishment, right? You’ll constantly spin over what went wrong. And ask yourself questions like; if I had done something differently, could it have come out a different way? And you’ll really engage in this spin cycle, right? Feeling like; If only I had done something different, it would have come out perfectly. Which is just a really inefficient use of your time. All right?

If you’re a perfectionist, you probably also feel like you’re under a constant state of pressure. There’s no room for mistakes. Mistakes are going to be the worst-case scenario for you. And when you see an error, on the front end, you’re going to be the first person to jump in, fix it, correct it, because you want to make sure there are no mistakes.

And you probably, in the event that you do incur a mistake, you probably feel extremely embarrassed or ashamed when you do something imperfectly, especially when other people see it. So, mistakes are really the worst-case scenario for you.

Not only, as a perfectionist, do not tolerate mistakes, you typically also tend to be pretty intolerant of things being done in a manner that’s different from how you think they should be done. So, you’ll be very critical of yourself and other people, if anything gets accomplished in a way different from how you think it should have been accomplished.

This normally impacts your ability to effectively delegate and productively work with other people, because you’re really controlling over the ‘how’. Even though you’re concerned with the end result, you’re also concerned with the process, not in the positive way to celebrate any progress or small incremental wins. But in a negative way, where you’re hypercritical and really controlling and micromanaging, believing that it has to be done a specific certain way, otherwise it’s unacceptable.

And because of this, people probably don’t love working with you, right? Because you’re really hyper concerned with how things are done, rather than just getting an outcome that is sufficient and acceptable. So, a lot of people may find it hard to work with you, hard to be supervised by you, any of those things. And obviously, that’s not good for your long-term success, right? Long-term success normally relies on teamwork, and being able to delegate, and being able to supervise in an effective and efficient manner.

Being a perfectionist normally really encumbers your ability to do that. Speaking of mistakes, you probably, as a perfectionist, constantly spot mistakes, even when other people don’t see any. And, this is going to come out in a couple different ways. When you spot them, if they’re your mistakes, you’re going to really bully yourself and beat yourself up when you see them.

You’re also constantly going to be concerned about other people’s opinions of you; you’re going to be worried about their opinions. And, do they think that you made a mistake? Do they think you did something perfectly or imperfectly? You’re going to be really hyper concerned with that.

You’re also likely to be hypercritical of other people. So, other people might not see any issue with what they’ve done, but you’re taking issue with it. And again, it’s really going to erode your relationships with people; it’s not going to lead to anything good.

You probably also can’t take a compliment if you’re a perfectionist because you’re always finding flaws in your work. It’s never quite good enough, you always think that it could be better. So, you’re not able to accept a compliment when it’s given to you, and you can’t celebrate your successes.

Whether other people are celebrating you, you often downplay it, and you really never give yourself permission to celebrate yourself. All right? Because again, because there’s room for improvement, it means what you’ve currently done is inadequate, insufficient, and just not good enough.

Now, if you’re a perfectionist, you probably also struggle with completing things. And, that’s going to show up in a couple of different ways. Number one, you probably spend way too much time trying to get something to be perfect. It’s not uncommon for you to sacrifice sleep, personal time, and your well-being just to bring your work to an even higher level, even if it’s not necessary.

And you often will probably do this, despite there being a diminishing return on your investment of time. So, even if something only gets 1% better, you’re willing to invest a lot of time into achieving that 1% increase, right? Even though it may be nonsensical; it might not make sense based on everything you have to do on your to-do list. And this may put you further behind.

You will also struggle to complete things because you will feel unmotivated to even get started, and procrastinate on the front end. And normally, this is because on the front end, you’re telling yourself the work you do isn’t going to be good enough, it’s going to be inadequate.

And, that is really an unmotivated thought pattern, right? You’re going to feel discouraged, and defeated, and inadequate on the front end. And that’s not going to drive you to take massive action. You’re likely going to slip into really avoidant patterns.

If you do get started, you also may struggle to complete things because you interrupt yourself along the way. Because when you’re thinking what you’re doing isn’t good enough and that it could be better, and feeling inadequate because you’re thinking about your work product in this way, or whatever you’re doing, not just work. This could go for completing a project within your house, that has nothing to do with work.

Whatever it is that you’re working on, you may start and stop a bunch of times, constantly interrupting yourself because you’re feeling like it’s not good enough. So, it’s really hard to maintain momentum. It’s like why bother, or you’re afraid of being judged on the work that you do. So, you keep stopping; it’s really hard for you to get to the finish line.

There’s also a really insidious way that procrastination and perfectionism are tied together here. Not only do you avoid getting started and finishing something because you’re afraid of doing it badly, but your procrastination also gives you an escape hatch from ever being judged on your best work.

So, what this looks like in practice is, you’ll wait to the last minute because you’re worried that you’re not going to do something good enough. And then, finally, when the fear of not doing the thing starts to outweigh your fear of doing it poorly, you get started.

And again, this is tied with procrastination and perfectionism, because then you create an escape hatch where you’re never being judged on your best work. Something might not be that great, it might be imperfect, but it’s not because you weren’t capable of doing a perfect job or a “good enough” job. It’s simply because you didn’t give yourself enough time.

So, procrastination is a scapegoat here, it helps you avoid ever being judged on your best work product. If you had all the time in the world, of course, it could have been way better. That’s never actually happening.

You’re never being judged on work that you had all the time in the world to complete, because you purposely, even if it’s happening subconsciously or unconsciously, you waited to the last minute and then created a scenario where you put out B+ or maybe B- or A- work.

And of course, people aren’t happy with it, but it’s not because you do poor work, in and of itself. It’s just because you waited to the last minute, because you’re bad with time management, and you didn’t give yourself enough time. Had you had enough time, it would have been way better, because you’re really capable. You’re not imperfect; you’re not flawed, right?

That’s the narrative that people will tell themselves. And, that’s how procrastination helps people avoid feeling inadequate and avoid feeling imperfect. So, the two are tied together. It’s really insidious, and it’s a little circular, but they really work together to protect you. Even though they ultimately lead to a lot of self-sabotage, overwhelm, stress, feelings of inadequacy anyways, and really don’t create anything good, as far as your goals are concerned. But that being said, it is still protectionist.

Alright, other examples of perfectionism. If you’re a perfectionist, you probably don’t like to do new things. I used to have that self-concept. I used to tell myself all the time, that I hated doing things that I wasn’t good at. And, I kind of was proud of that for a really long time. Like, oh, I only like doing things I’m good at. I only like doing things I’m good at. And yeah, does it feel great do things that you’re already good at? Of course, it does.

But what I realized in my late 20’s, was that if I was always going to identify as that person, who only liked doing things they were already good at, that the rest of my life was probably going to be pretty boring. Because that means from my late 20’s, on, I wasn’t going to try anything new.

Because if you try something new, you have to risk not being good at it in the beginning. And the chances are, you likely won’t be good at it in the beginning. You’re probably going to have to learn how to do new things. And there’s so many benefits to learning how to do new things; the personal growth, you get new skills, you get new hobbies, you have a more dynamic, robust life. So many good reasons why you want to get outside of your comfort zone and try new things, right.

But if you’re a perfectionist, that’s going to be really uncomfortable for you. Because in the beginning, you have to do something imperfectly. So, that may be something that you encounter in your life; you don’t like to do new things, because you’re not inherently good at them.

If you’re a perfectionist, you probably also have a habit of creating unrealistic goals. All right? Really elaborate plans that are totally undoable, super unrealistic, and then you never complete them; you never keep them, you don’t stick to them, you don’t implement them, you don’t get to the finish line.

Sometimes these elaborate plans look like trying to do everything all at once, when clearly, that is just not possible. We see this oftentimes, around New Year’s resolution time, when people set all these lofty plans, all these unrealistic goals, and they try and do everything all at once, experience all this change, all this transformation, and it’s just too heavy of a lift. So, they fail, right?

Or, people will make really elaborate plans and unrealistic goals, and just never get started. Because they’re so heavy, and they’re so unrealistic. And they would take so much effort to achieve, that it’s really hard to get yourself in the position, in the mindset, to even start to take action.

It’s like, why would I get started? Because deep down, I know that this isn’t going to be achievable. It’s not going to be possible for me to accomplish this end result. So, people will create these unrealistic plans and goals and never get started.

Or, you’ll start, and you’ll have one setback, one hiccup, things don’t go smoothly, and then you give up very quickly. All right? These are hallmarks of perfectionism. You engage in really fanciful fantasy planning and goal setting, and you really never have any intention of following through with it.

It sounds great, but if you had to rate on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely you are to actually complete this “unrealistic, lofty” goal, you’re going to rate that very low. Probably like a one or two, even a five. I like to say, if you can’t rate your goal, or plan an eight or higher, that you’re likely to complete it, follow through and accomplish it, you’re probably engaging in a little bit of perfectionist fantasies, okay.

I also see this as being super common with perfectionist; they have a lot of “tomorrow” thinking. And, “perfectionist fantasies” and “tomorrow thinking” were two terms coined by another life coach I know. Also, a former lawyer, her name is Kara Loewentheil. And I love those terms, they’re so perfect at describing, no pun intended there, but they’re really great at describing what this phenomenon looks like in practice, right?

You come up with a complete fantasy goal, that you’re never going to follow through on. And then you tell yourself, “I’m going to get started tomorrow.” And we normally do this because we love the idea of a fresh, perfect start. Can’t start today because today’s already imperfect. We’re already in the middle of things. And we want that clean, fresh start.

So, we’re constantly putting off getting started, in order to start perfectly. You’ll also see this if you think that there’s a right moment to do something. You’re constantly waiting for that right moment to work on your goals. So, you’ve got to start on Monday.

I used to do this with time management, I’d procrastinate because I would want to start at the beginning of the hour. I’ll get started in five minutes, at 10 o’clock. And then, it would be 10:01, and I’d need to wait to 10:30 or 11:00. That’s total perfectionism coming up, you’re waiting for the right time. You think that there’s a best time to get started.

And you only want to start when you’re “ready”, so you can deliver your best quality of work. So, if you’re really obsessed with starting when you feel ready, you’re probably indulging in perfectionism. Because the state of readiness really never seems to come. Right?

Readiness is just a figment of your imagination. I tend to think that we’re never ready. We just have to get started, even while we feel unready. And if you’re obsessed with starting at the right moment, or starting when you feel ready, you end up just perpetually waiting. And, you never accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

Over time, what planning in these really elaborate, unrealistic ways, that are really just indulgences and fantasy planning, what this ends up doing is it really erodes trust with yourself. And planning and goal setting for you, ultimately, just becomes a futile exercise.

You’ll make a plan knowing you have no intention of sticking with it, because it’s really lofty and unrealistic. And then, you never get started. Maybe you tell yourself, you’re going to start tomorrow. But then, tomorrow never comes; you never do. And, you never go about actually taking action and working towards your goals.

So, you really fall out of integrity with yourself, and erode your self-trust. That’s so detrimental to accomplishing the things in your life that you want to accomplish. You tend to not believe yourself when you say you’re ever going to do something.

When you don’t trust yourself, you really have a low opinion of yourself, and that seeps its way in and further substantiates your sense of inadequacy. And it ultimately leads to, again, a ton of inaction a ton of avoidant behavior, more procrastination, it doesn’t lead to anything good.

Also, with perfectionists, you tend to quit pretty easily when you err. Alright? So, if you quit a lot in your life, it’s probably coming from perfectionism. And you’ll tend to be very all-or-nothing, there is no in between. So, you’ll either do something and stop, if it wasn’t perfect, because it’s not worth it at that point.

Or, if you don’t think you can do it perfectly, you won’t even bother doing it at all. I see this all the time with cleaning, right? You’ll be cluttered or messy because you can’t clean everything all at once, so why bother doing it? Or, people won’t plan their time at all, because if they can’t stick to a schedule perfectly, it’s not worth planning even a little bit. So, it’s very all-or-nothing thinking; everything in between is a no-go.

If you are a perfectionist, you also probably have a really significant fear of failure. Failure is a crippling concept for you. It’s your worst-case scenario. If you’re not a perfectionist, you either are like me, and don’t believe that you can fail.

Because I like to choose to believe you’re always either winning or learning. But if you err or falter or make mistakes along the way, it’s not a problem. It doesn’t mean anything about you. You’re still totally sufficient, adequate, and worthy. It’s just a learning opportunity.

Or, you believe that failure’s no big deal, and it’s just part of the self-improvement process; you’re going to fail, you’re going to win, you’re going to have everything in between, and that it isn’t an issue. You just keep trucking along. All right?

But if you’re a perfectionist, you don’t think in either of those two ways. You have a really significant fear of failure, and you think it’s the worst-case scenario. All right, you can see from these examples, that being a perfectionist really isn’t a good thing. It causes a lot of problems, and a really unpleasant emotional experience.

Not only does it impact your results, at the end of the day, and have you indulging in a lot of procrastination, a lot of inaction, a lot of quitting, a lot of failure ahead of time, because you never get started. But also, it feels really terrible because you’re constantly measuring yourself up against the standard that you can’t meet.

So, it’s a really painful process that you get to totally opt out of if you want to. Now, why do we indulge in perfectionism? I just want to let you know that perfectionist typically strive to be perfect, in part out of fear that they will be judged or exposed or rejected, if they’re not perfect. And they also have a desire to fit in and be accepted.

So, it’s kind of like two different sides of the same coin. And, this is very similar to why we people-please. We want to be accepted by the people in our lives. We want to be part of the group, and perfectionists tend to believe that if they are perfect, they will be accepted. And, if they are imperfect, they will be rejected.

And, this is just a remnant of our primitive conditioning. It’s a survival mechanism. Back in the day, when we were hunters and gatherers, and we survived based on being part of a herd, being part of a group, a tribe, we needed to fit in, we needed to be accepted.

If we were rejected by the group, we wouldn’t make it on our own. And we just haven’t evolved enough to have gotten rid of this primitive conditioning. So nowadays, we still strive to be accepted, we still strive to fit in. And we think that if we’re perfect, that’s a way to accomplish avoiding ever being rejected.

Now, like with most things, nowadays we don’t need to do this to survive, right? But we still use this against ourselves. So, you just want to know your brain indulges in this because it thinks it’s protecting you. But you get to tell yourself; hey, brain, that’s not actually the case. This isn’t serving us any longer. And, you get to put a pin in it. All right?

I have just one more thing that I want to add, before I wrap up this episode. And I’m going to do a whole ‘nother episode, a part two, essentially, on how to overcome perfectionism. So, like I said, this is essentially a two-part episode. But before I leave you today, I just want to say this. I don’t want to leave any confusion.

Perfection is complete and utter bullshit. And I learned this from my one-on-one coach, she specifically asked me this question, when I was talking about perfectionism, she said, “Perfect to who?” And that really was life changing for me because I realized that perfect is completely subjective.

It’s a totally arbitrary standard; no one’s going to agree on what perfect means, what it looks like in practice, how we define it. Everyone’s going to have their own different definition for perfection, which means it’s bullshit; there is no such thing.

So, I just want you to keep that in the back of your mind. If you’ve been someone who strives for perfection, and is constantly trying to get to that unattainable endpoint, I want to turn you on and give you a little time to marinate on the truth of the matter, which is that perfect, and perfection are utter bullshit concepts, right? They’re subjective and arbitrary. There is no such thing.

Now, if you were still on the fence about whether or not you’re a perfectionist, even after me going through giving you all of those examples, here are a couple questions for you to run essentially, your own litmus test on yourself: Do you believe that if you were perfect, you would be happy? And, if maybe you don’t use that word “perfect”, if you were better, that you would be happier, right? Or, you would be more worthy? Or, that you would be enough? Your answer to that question, if you’re a perfectionist, is likely, ‘yes’.

Another question: Do you believe you’re good enough right now? As you are, without needing to change a single thing? If you are a perfectionist, your answer is likely ‘no’. Now, if your answer to that question is ‘no’, I also want you to ask yourself; do you even know what it would look like to be good enough? do you know what that standard is for yourself? The answer to that is probably ‘no’.

And if you can enumerate that standard, which is probably pretty rare, most perfectionist can’t enumerate it, they haven’t defined it; it’s just this really ambiguous concept. But if you have enumerated a standard, is that standard of ‘good enough’ attainable? Again, if you’re a perfectionist, the answer is likely ‘no’.

Now, a couple other ways to identify whether or not you’re a perfectionist. When you make plans, I mentioned this earlier, but when you make plans, if you were to rate the plan, is it highly likely that you will follow through with it or that you will be able to achieve it? If your answer is ‘no’, if you’d normally say that it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll follow through with it or be able to achieve and complete your plan, you’re probably a perfectionist.

I often tell my clients that they want to, instead of striving for perfection, the standard that they want to strive for is like A-, B+ work. One of my coaches often says that you want to be striving for B minus work. And, as a perfectionist who is now in recovery, that still makes me a little queasy.

So, I want you to check-in with yourself, when I tell you that you should be striving for A-, B+ work. If that makes you kind of want to vom, if it makes you a little nauseous, you’re probably a perfectionist.

And, last but not least, if you see small, consistent action as really boring, underwhelming, and pointless, you’re probably a perfectionist who likes to indulge in those elaborate fantasy plans that you’re never going to follow through on. You want it to be all-or-nothing. You want to do all the things at once. And, you’re really underwhelmed by the idea of small baby steps, even though, the truth of the matter, is that is the way you get the furthest the fastest.

All right, my friends, those are some questions for you to marinate on, over the next week. In the next episode, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to overcome your perfectionist tendencies. I can’t wait to dive in to that part of this topic.

And until then, I hope you have a marvelous week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 23: How to Set & Honor Boundaries

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How To Set & Honor Boundaries

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How To Set & Honor Boundaries

In last week’s episode, I discussed the first of the three P’s: people-pleasing. Now, I was all ready to jump into the other P’s: procrastination and perfectionism, but I realized there was a missing piece to help you understand all of this. None of this work is possible if you can’t set and honor boundaries.

So, what is a boundary and how do they relate to people-pleasing? Boundaries are essentially limits or rules that we set within our relationships to protect or care for ourselves, whether at work or in our personal lives. When you have boundaries, you are clear on what you will and won’t stand for, and what you’re willing to expose yourself to, and we’re diving into all of it today.

Tune in this week to discover how to set and honor boundaries. I’m sharing why boundaries are decisions you make for yourself, rather than manipulating or threatening other people, and I’m showing you how to decide on and uphold the consequences in the event that your boundaries are violated.

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

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why boundaries are always something you set for yourself, not a way of controlling other people’s behavior.
  • Some examples of boundaries and how to structure them.
  • How to communicate your boundaries to other people, while accepting their free will as human beings.
  • The difference between a boundary and a threat.
  • Why you don’t need to explain yourself or communicate your boundaries to anyone else in order to uphold them.
  • How to decide on the consequences you will take if your boundaries are violated.
  • The importance of following through on the consequences you’ve decided to enforce around your boundaries.
  • My step-by-step process for setting boundaries and honoring them every day.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 23. We’re talking all about how to set and honor boundaries. 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.

Hey there, how’s it going this week? I hope you are doing so well. I am marvelous over here. I actually have a little bit of a course correction for this episode. I got to thinking, after I recorded the last episode, and I was ready to dive in to one of the next two P’s out of the three P’s, I was going to talk about perfectionism or procrastination.

But then it dawned on me, I was like; whoa, need to slow down. After talking about people-pleasing, and how to stop people-pleasing, I realized now is a perfect time to teach you how to set and honor boundaries, so that’s what I want to talk about today.

What is a boundary, and how do boundaries relate to people-pleasing? Boundaries are essentially limits or rules that we set for ourselves, within our relationships with other people. If you’re thinking about a boundary being an imaginary line, it’s between you and the other person. It delineates where you end, and the other person begins.

Now, boundaries are something that we create, to care for and protect ourselves. The proper way to phrase a boundary, they should always be formatted in the following way; if you do blank, so if another person does a particular action, I will do blank. If you do blank, I will do blank.

If you come over unannounced, I will not answer the door. If you email me after 8pm, I will not respond till the following morning. If you bring up politics, I will end the conversation. Notice the format here; it’s always about what you do, the action you take, after another person does something. It’s not about controlling that person’s behavior.

You always want to make sure that your boundaries take into account the truth, and the reality that other people have free will and they get to exercise it at their leisure. When you have boundaries, you’re clear on what you will and what you won’t stand for, and what you will and what you will not expose yourself to.

Boundaries are always something that you do for you. Again, it’s a way that you take care of yourself. They’re not against anyone else. It’s a manual that you follow yourself; the actions that you take, so you know that when something happens, when a particular set of facts occur, this is what you do to take care of yourself. The consequence of a boundary violation is always an action that you take, it’s not what someone else does.

Now, here are a few things that boundaries can be. A boundary can include a request that you make of someone else to change their behavior. But it doesn’t have to include that request, it just simply can. For instance, if you don’t want to talk politics with a member of your family, you can ask them to not bring up politics when you guys speak.

But again, you want to remember that a boundary always takes into account someone’s free will. Your family members, no matter how many times you ask them not to talk about politics, they get to bring up politics over and over and over again. Your boundary can be that you will not have a conversation with them, that you end the conversation, that you walk away.

Now, you don’t have to make the request, you can simply tell yourself, in your head, that under no uncertain terms will you talk politics with family members. When it happens, you can just change the subject or end of the conversation and walk away. You don’t have to ask them to be any different.

You also don’t have to communicate a boundary. You can communicate it, you can tell the person, to whom it applies, that you’re setting the boundary, but you don’t have to, it’s not required. If you decide to set a boundary at work that you don’t answer emails on the weekend, you don’t need to send an office wide email letting everyone know about your boundary. You can simply just not respond to emails on the weekend.

It may go more smoothly if you’re instituting an abrupt change in your own behavior, because you’re setting a boundary, to communicate it to other people just so everyone’s on the same page. But it’s absolutely not required.

A lot of times also, it doesn’t even make sense for you to communicate it. You know those memes where it’s like: Nobody, and then colon, and then it’s blank? And then, it’s like your behavior, what you’ve been doing. So, it’s like; nobody asks you something, or nobody does anything, and then you do something anyways. That’s kind of what it looks like to communicate a boundary, when maybe the situation doesn’t call for it.

I just want you to notice that you might have a tendency to want to be overly communicative, as far as your boundaries go. Normally, we do that, because we want other people to understand our behavior, to be accepting of it, and to not judge what we do.

If you are okay, feeling misunderstood, which I really think is a superpower for us to practice; allowing other people to misunderstand us, or to not get why we’re doing something and for us to be okay with that. If it doesn’t make sense for you to communicate the boundary, because there hasn’t even been a boundary violation, you don’t have to communicate it. You can, it’s just not required.

Speaking of boundary violations, you can also inform someone when they’ve violated one of your boundaries. But again, you don’t have to. You don’t have to tell people that they violated it, you can simply do whatever the consequence is, which is always the action that you will take when someone violates your boundary. You don’t have to explain yourself, that part is optional.

Now, what is required when you’re setting boundaries? All of your boundaries are going to be about the action that you take when there’s a violation of a boundary that you’ve set. It really is about the consequence that you’re going to enact and follow through with. When you’re setting a boundary, that is required. You want to make sure that you’re following through on what you’ve decided the consequences will be, that you will enforce.

If you set a consequence, and then the boundary violation occurs, and you don’t enforce the consequence, you don’t follow through, you haven’t actually set a boundary. What you’ve simply done is made an idle threat.

And, you make it a lot less likely that people are going to honor your boundaries going forward, because they’ve learned that there’s no consequence that they’re going to suffer if they don’t honor your boundary. So, you make it much less likely that people will honor and respect your boundaries, if you don’t enforce them and stick to the ones that you’ve set.

Now, let’s flesh this out a little bit more: What’s the difference between a boundary and a threat? A threat is always about what you want that person to do, it’s about controlling their behavior. And then, you threaten some negative consequence, in hopes that they’ll change their behavior. Threats and ultimatums are very similar this way.

A boundary isn’t an effort to control someone else’s behavior. It’s just simply always about what you will do for yourself, to care for yourself. If you make a boundary request of someone and they violate your boundary, and you do not follow through on instituting that consequence that you previously decided upon, all you’ve done is make that idle threat.

I want you to remember, that isn’t a boundary. Boundaries aren’t about manipulating someone else’s behavior. Boundaries are not about expecting someone else to change for your sake, to make your life easier, to make your life more comfortable. That’s not what they’re about. Other people don’t have to do anything that you want them to do. They certainly can, and you’re welcome to ask them. But that’s not the point of setting a boundary. Boundaries aren’t intended to control other people’s behavior.

Why are they not intended to control other people’s behavior? Because you simply can’t control other people’s behavior. People, and we can go back and forth on this, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but people have free will. We just have to acknowledge and accept that that is the way the world works; that people have free will and they get to do with it what they want.

You also have free will and you get to do with it what you want. If what you want to do is set an honor a boundary, you’re more than welcome to do it. But we don’t set and honor boundaries, in order to control or manipulate another person. We do it to protect ourselves and to keep ourselves from people-pleasing and doing things we don’t want to do, or putting ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in. It’s always about the action we take to take care of ourselves.

Now, another huge misconception I see when people are setting and honoring boundaries, is that they mistakenly believe that it’s another person’s job to respect their boundaries. People will set a boundary, and then they will think that other people need to respect their boundaries.

That is false. The only person who ever has to respect your boundaries, is you. Why is that? Well, it has the misfortune of being true, because honestly, you’re the only person within your control. If it was someone else’s job to respect your boundaries, and they get to have free will and do whatever they want, chances are, they may not respect your boundaries. It just doesn’t work that way.

The only person who ever needs to respect your boundaries is you, because boundaries are truly about what you will do when someone else takes a certain action, or engages in a certain behavior. Okay? Boundaries are not ultimatums. It’s not about manipulating someone or controlling what they do or don’t do.

They’re also not opportunities to blame other people for your behavior. I see this a lot. People will say, “Well, this person did this. And they’re just forcing me to act this way because of what they did.” No, no, no, that’s not how it works. No one ever forces you to act a certain way.

If you’re saying no to something, or you’re refusing to do something, or you’re taking a particular action, it is not because of another person’s behavior. You’re always exercising a choice. You never have to do anything, you’ve heard me say this before, except eat, breathe, drink some water and sleep sometimes.

No one’s forcing you to do anything. You really want to make sure that you step into emotional adulthood here, and you honor your choice that you’re making. No one’s forcing you to take a particular action. You’re always making a decision and exercising your own free will.

Boundaries also aren’t escape routes. Oftentimes, people will say, “You know what? I’m done with this person. I don’t want to have anything to do with them. I’m cutting them off. I want them out of my life.”  They’re doing this, A, not from a clean space. What I mean by that, is they’re doing it from a highly emotional space, they’re really worked up. And, they’re being a little reactionary, in making that decision to cut someone out of their life.

But they do that rather than going through the trouble of actually creating proper boundaries, and learning how to navigate what may feel like a triggering relationship in their lives. Learning how to set a boundary and honor it and how to take care of themselves, rather than having to go to the extreme end of the spectrum, and just eliminate people entirely.

So, you want to check in with yourself. Are you doing that to avoid having to do the heavier lifting that comes from setting and honoring a boundary? Are you going to that drastic extreme, where you just say, “Absolutely not; I don’t want to deal with this at all?”

Can you cut people out of your life? Sure, you can. That can be a more draconian boundary that you set. But you want to make sure that you like your reasons for doing that, and that maybe you’ve tried a more subtle approach before you get to that extreme outcome.

Maybe that you’ve learned how to set and honor boundaries that make the relationship work. Where you make yourself clear about what you’re looking for in the relationship. You might ask them to do certain things for you. And then, you get to decide what you will do if they don’t follow suit, if they don’t make space and accommodate your request.

But people that trigger us can often be our best teachers. I want you to be careful with how you set boundaries. Ask yourself; have I put in the work yet to make this relationship work for me, in my life? Have I figured out what my own limitations are in this relationship? What would it look like if I believed that we could have a healthy productive relationship, rather than needing to go to this extreme?

Let’s talk about some examples of boundaries. I mentioned this earlier, but I’m just gonna reiterate it. If someone comes over to your house unannounced, and I don’t know if you grew up in a family like I did, but I did not grow up in a ‘drop over whenever you want, without letting anyone know, or without being invited’ kind of family. That was a big no-no, growing up for me.

But I know not everyone is like that. Some people think; oh, it’s no big deal. We’re friends, I’ll drop by whenever. But if you grew up like I did, and that’s not normal, and you don’t really enjoy it, a proper boundary would be; if someone comes over unannounced, I will not answer the door. A boundary is not you telling everyone in your life; do not come over unannounced.

The reason that’s not a boundary is because it doesn’t provide for people to exercise free will. People get to come over unannounced as often as they want, simply because they can come over whenever they choose to. A proper boundary here, is you deciding what you will do if they do it.

This is how boundaries and people-pleasing relate to one another. People-pleasing might be someone coming over unannounced and you answering the door, even though you really don’t want to, because you think that it would be rude if you didn’t, and you’d feel guilty not answering the door. So, you choose to answer it, even though you’d really prefer not to. A proper boundary is how you take care of yourself, if someone doesn’t listen to your request, for them to call before they come over.

Another example of a boundary would be choosing to end a conversation if someone brings up a topic you’re not comfortable talking about. Now, you can communicate this boundary and ask them not to discuss a certain topic ahead of time. But you don’t have to, that part’s optional. But if they bring it up, which they’re able to because again, they have the free will, it’s about what you will do in the event they do bring it up.

I used to date someone, and he always liked to talk to me about politics. Now, we didn’t agree on our political ideologies. It was really a source of tension in our relationship. Finally, one day, I decided to set a boundary in this area; if you bring it up, I will not respond. It wasn’t always easy, but I did start to honor that boundary.

Lo and behold, if you stop talking to someone and you refuse to engage in a conversation, guess what they stop doing? They stop bringing up conversations that you don’t want to talk about. Same thing, if you don’t answer the door every time someone comes over unannounced, chances are they will stop wasting their own time, and coming over unannounced. Because they don’t get what they want, when they do it.

Another really good example, and this is kind of just an everyday example, but this has come up in my personal life, too, boundaries with food. If you have certain things that you’d like to eat, and certain things that you would like to not eat, a proper boundary is what you will do if someone serves something that you will not eat.

You can certainly ask other people to take your dietary preferences into account, but they get to ignore your preferences, and they get to prepare whatever it is that they want to prepare. You can have a boundary that looks like; if you serve pasta, and I’m not eating gluten, or I’m not eating carbs, I will just not eat it.

If you consistently serve something that I’m not eating, I will stop coming over for dinner. If you invite me over for dinner, rather than me trying to control everything you serve, I will bring something that I can eat myself. And, I won’t worry about offending you, or you being upset by that, or feeling disrespected. I’m just going to take care of me.

An example of something that isn’t a boundary; is telling people what they need to serve and then getting mad at them if they don’t. That’s just trying to control other people’s actions, which you don’t want to do. You’ll be very upset if you do because they get to act in accordance with what they want to do. Not with what you want them to do.

Another example of a great boundary; is to not work on weekends. People will often say, “You know, I told people I don’t want to work on weekends. And clients keep calling me, or they send me emails, or my colleagues keep sending me emails. And, I told them to stop sending me emails.” That is not a boundary. That’s trying to control other people’s behavior. A proper boundary is; if you email me on the weekend, I will not respond until Monday, because I don’t work weekends.

Same thing with unscheduled calls. You can ask people to only call you at certain times, but guess what? They get to not listen. A proper boundary is; if you call me, and we don’t have a call that’s been scheduled ahead of time, I will not answer. That’s proper boundary there.

Another great example: is people speaking to you in a certain manner. If someone yells at you, a lot of times people think, “Well, I’m not going to let him talk to me like that. I’m not going to let her talk to me that way.” We’ll try and control someone else’s behavior, and how they act towards us. That is not a proper boundary.

A proper boundary is; if you yell at me, or if you swear at me, I will end the conversation and walk out of the room. That you’re just not going to be here to tolerate that kind of behavior.

Another great boundary example, this happens to people all the time is interacting with people who are perpetually late. This tends to be a source of great frustration for people. If you’re dealing with someone who’s late, you might think that setting a boundary is; well, I’m going to tell them that they need to be on time. That is not a proper boundary. That is, again, trying to control other people’s behavior.

What a boundary would look like, in this instance, a proper boundary would be; if you show up more than 15 minutes late, I will not wait for you. Either I will leave, or I’ll order without you. But it’s always about what you will do, in the event someone does that thing, in the event that they’re late.

My cousin once set a great boundary with friends who had wedding showers and bachelorette parties. My cousin lived out of town and a lot of her friend group lives back here in Detroit. She decided that between bachelorette parties and bridal showers and weddings, it was just too much travel for her.

So, she decided that she would only attend bachelorette parties and the wedding, that she would skip bridal showers. Her boundary was; if you invite me to a bridal shower, I will politely decline. She didn’t make people cancel their bridal showers on her account. Or, think that they shouldn’t have them just because she didn’t want to travel home for them. She simply decided that she wouldn’t attend them. It was about what she would do if a certain factual scenario arose.

Here are a couple more examples of what boundaries aren’t: Telling people that they can’t ask you for money. People get to ask you for money as frequently as they want to. And, you get to have a boundary that says; if you ask me for money, I will tell you no.

If someone asks you to take on more work. I coach people on this all the time. They’re like, “I’ve told my boss a million times, I’m too busy. I can’t take on more. He needs to stop giving me work. She needs to stop assigning cases to me.” Yet, their supervisors still assign them more work. Then, they take it and then they’re resentful because they end up people-pleasing, instead of honoring their boundary.

A boundary does not look like; you can’t ask me to take on one more case. Of course, they can keep asking you. A proper boundary would be, when they ask you to take on one more case when you’re already overwhelmed and behind, you say no; no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Another famous example of an ultimatum is when you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time, and you say, “We’ve been dating for X number of years or months, or whatever the case may be, by this point in time, you have to marry me.” Of course, they don’t have to marry you. Of course, they don’t have to propose.

A proper boundary wouldn’t be about controlling them and dictating what they have to do. A proper boundary would be; if you don’t propose, I don’t know, let’s say within the next six months, then I will leave. Then I will go date someone else. That would be a proper boundary, not the ultimatum of telling them what they have to do.

Those are some examples of boundaries that come up for a lot of the people that I work with. They are just different random examples, but I hope they inspired you to start thinking about the boundaries that maybe you’ve set in the past. Maybe you didn’t actually set proper boundaries, you set boundaries that weren’t boundaries; they were threats or ultimatums, or attempts to manipulate other people’s behavior.

If that’s the case, you just want to go back to the drawing board and really rethink those boundaries. Think about what you would need to change, in order to set a proper boundary. If a particular set of events or facts takes place and you encounter them, what do you want to do? How are you going to follow through? How will you react? Boundaries are always about what you will do when a particular factual scenario arises.

Now, I want to give you a framework for setting boundaries; a process that you can always walk yourself through. Step number one is to decide on the boundary that you want to set. And, you want to make sure that it fits follows ‘that if you blank, I will blank’ format. So, it is a proper boundary, and it’s not an effort to control someone else’s behavior.

From there, you want to ask yourself; what are my reasons for setting this boundary? Do I like them? If you don’t like your reasons, you want to go back to the drawing board and decide; do I want to actually set this? Do I want to not set this?

Then, I want you, if you decide that you like the boundary and you like your reasons for setting it, you want to decide on the consequence that you will enact if there’s a boundary violation. Okay? So, get really clear on that.

Now, I want you to be honest with yourself; are you willing to implement that consequence, in the event you encounter a boundary violation? Someone violates your boundary. If the answer’s no, then it’s just going to be an idle threat.

You want to decide; is this really a boundary that I want to institute? Chances are, it’s probably not. If you are unwilling to follow through with the consequences that you identified, then you probably want to give up the boundary in the first place.

If you decide that you are willing to follow through and implement the consequence, for the boundary violation, then all you have to do is wait. Again, you can communicate the boundary ahead of time if you want to, but it’s not necessary. You just need to wait and do nothing.

In the event a boundary violation occurs, then you get to decide what are you going to do? Are you going to communicate the boundary? If you are, ask yourself how? Go ahead and do that, communicate it, and then you get to wait again, for there to be another boundary violation. In the event there is another boundary violation, you get to follow through with the consequence.

Decide on the boundary, identify your reasons, and make sure you like them. Decide on the consequence for the boundary violation. Wait for there to be a boundary violation, you don’t have to do anything, unless there is one. If there is one, you get to decide; do you want to communicate the boundary and the fact that there was a violation to the person and wait to see if they violated again? Or, do you just want to institute the consequence, immediately?

Whatever you choose is fine, you get to decide. And then, in the event that there is another violation, you get to institute and implement that consequence, follow through with it, over and over and over again. Okay? that’s just the process; it’s as simple as that.

Now, the second part. That first part is the process of setting boundaries. The process of honoring boundaries is a little different and much simpler. Most people think the hardest part of having boundaries is honoring them. That makes sense. Normally, it’s going to be requiring you to change your behavior, and do something different than what you’ve done in the past.

That’s not always going to be comfortable. That’s okay, the discomfort doesn’t have to be a problem. You just want to anticipate it. If you expect setting an honoring your boundaries to be comfortable, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Normally, it’s uncomfortable.

You might have to feel afraid; you might have to feel guilty, or emotions like that. You might have to feel worried. You might have to feel judged or misunderstood. Because chances are, some people won’t like that you’re setting and honoring your own boundaries, that you’re enforcing them. A lot of people benefit when we people-please them instead of setting and enforcing boundaries.

I just want you to know that it’s okay, if going to work and setting and honoring your boundaries is uncomfortable, especially at first. You just want to identify the specific flavor of discomfort that you’re experiencing, or that you anticipate that you’ll experience, and make a deal with yourself that you’re going to allow yourself to feel that negative feeling. It can’t actually hurt you; you’ll be able to survive it, I promise you. You’ve survived every negative emotion you’ve ever felt.

I also like to remind my clients that, the truth of the matter is, that there’s discomfort both ways, in setting boundaries and in not setting them. I highly recommend people choose the route that gets them the results they want.

If you people-please and you don’t set and enforce a boundary, chances are you’re going to feel really resentful, and frustrated and disappointed in yourself with how you spend your time. Maybe you’ll feel angry with people, or very annoyed.

On the flip side, if you put a boundary in place and honor it, you might have to feel guilty or afraid, or worried or exposed, or misunderstood or judged; any of those negative emotions. If there’s discomfort either way, there’s no way to avoid it ultimately, I’d like you to decide; which discomfort would you prefer to choose? Which discomfort would you rather experience?

My hope for you is that you choose the one that has you spending your time in the way you want to spend it. To have you choose the option that feels most loving and caring to yourself. Okay? I promise on the other side of setting and honoring your own boundaries, you get to live the life you want to live.

If you’re a chronic people-pleaser, and you’re ready to put an end to it, because you really want to live a life that is in integrity and in alignment with your preferences and what you value, and how you want to spend your time, think about the boundaries you want to set and honor. Decide ahead of time, that you’re willing to feel the discomfort that comes from setting and honoring them. And, get to work curating the type of life you want to live.

That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Get out there, identify the boundaries you want to set. Remember, it’s always; if you do blank, I will do blank. It’s always about what you will do. Boundaries always take into account that other people have free will, and get to do whatever it is that they want. You don’t have to like that they do whatever it is that they want, but you do have to acknowledge that they get to.

Alright, have a beautiful week, my friends. I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 22: How to Stop People-Pleasing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Stop People-Pleasing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Stop People-Pleasing

Are you someone that’s always self-sacrificing and putting everyone else’s needs before your own? If this resonates with you, you’re a people-pleaser, and you’re not the only one. It’s okay to be thoughtful, helpful, and altruistic, but if you’re altering what you say and do because of guilt or fear of another person’s reaction, that’s where we run into trouble.

In my past life, I used to be a huge people-pleaser. However, since I found coaching, all that has changed, and I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned about how to stop people-pleasing, so you can break this habit in your own life. And if you don’t think you’re a people-pleaser, I invite you to listen closely because what I’m giving you this week might just surprise you.

Tune in this week to discover how to stop people-pleasing. I’m showing you how to identify your own people-pleasing behaviors, see the areas where you’re sacrificing yourself for the sake of others, and most importantly, how to decide what your life would look like if you stopped people-pleasing.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What people-pleasing is and how it might be showing up in your professional life.
  • How people-pleasing used to show up in my life before I discovered the world of coaching.
  • The justifications we try to use to show cause for our people-pleasing behavior.
  • How to question yourself and decide whether your kind, thoughtful, helpful behavior is actually people-pleasing.
  • The small ways we ignore our own preferences or desires in our personal lives.
  • Why we people-please and why it actually feels good… in the moment.
  • How to handle the discomfort of saying no and break the people-pleasing cycle in every area of your life.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 22. Today I’m going to teach you how to stop people-pleasing. 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’s it going? I am so excited for this episode; this is one of my absolute favorite topics to talk about. A big reason that I love it so much is that I used to be such a horrific people-pleaser in my past life, before I found coaching. I have made so much progress in my own life in this area. I’m excited to talk to you about people-pleasing, and to teach you how to stop doing it, so you can make that same kind of progress yourself.

When I learned the concepts and the tools that I’ve been teaching you throughout all these podcast episodes, I really transformed my behavior. It allowed me to break this habit that I had of people-pleasing. Hopefully, by listening to this and applying what I teach you in this episode, you’re able to start doing that for yourself, too.

Now, before we dive in, I’m going to ask a favor of you. Chances are, you may know a people-pleaser. It’s probably pretty likely that you know someone that’s always putting themselves last, self-sacrificing, putting other people’s needs before their own. If you do know that person, someone like that, if that sounds familiar, I want you to do me a favor and just send this podcast episode to them.

Send it to someone who you think would really benefit from listening to today’s content, just go give it a share. Honestly, I just want to tell you, a podcast episode changed my life. I’ve told you guys that before. So, you sharing this episode with someone could totally transform someone else’s life just by you doing that. You can shoot it to them in a text or an email. Or, if you really want to share the wealth, share it on one of your social media channels and help lots of people not just one person.

I really want to get this podcast into the hands and ears, I suppose, of as many people as possible. I just love thinking about the ripple effect of the work that I do when people share the content that I produce with the people closest to them, the people that are really important to them in their lives. It’s just so incredible for me to think about. Please, and thank you very much, in advance, for turning someone you know on to this episode.

Now, let’s get down to business. Last time we talked, I laid the foundation for the next several episodes that I’m going to release. Right now, we’re talking about the three P’s: People-pleasing, Perfectionism, and Procrastination.

I told you in the last episode that before I dove deep into each one of these topics, I wanted to talk and tell you all about the three qualities that you want to make sure that you exhibit, as you approach each one of these topics. You want to make sure that you are resourceful, patient, and coachable.

Now, if you haven’t listened to that episode, yet, I want you to make sure that you go back and tune into it. You don’t have to drop what you’re doing right this second, finish this episode first. But that episode really is helpful. It might be actually one of my favorite episodes to date, that I’ve done so far.

I want to make sure that you get that foundation, and you’re able to check in with yourself, make sure you have those three qualities: Resourcefulness, Patience, and Coachability. So that you’re able to apply those skill sets, those qualities to the topics that we’re about to cover.

Now that I’ve laid that foundation, it’s time to dive in to the first P: People-pleasing, which I suppose it’s technically two Ps, but work with me here, we’re talking about people-pleasing. What is people-pleasing? People-pleasing is when you say or do something at your own expense, in order to gain favor or approval from the person on the receiving end of your words or actions.

Normally, you’re engaging in whatever behavior that you’re engaging in, out of guilt or fear. You feel guilty, you think that you should be doing what you’re doing. Or, you feel afraid that if you don’t people-please the person there’s going to be some negative outcome.

Ultimately, when you do this, when you’re operating out of fear and trying to avoid the guilt by doing what you’d rather do, and you people-please instead, you ultimately put that other person’s needs and desires above your own.

Now, when you hear me say that people-pleasing is putting another person’s needs or desires before your own, it may sound kind of altruistic to do that. People-pleasing might not sound all that bad. After all, what’s wrong with being nice to people and trying to help them out or make them happy? Right? It sounds like a pretty good thing that you might want to do.

But people-pleasing generally goes beyond being thoughtful, helpful, or kind. Instead, it involves editing or altering what you say and what you do for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions. You’re doing it at your own expense, making yourself more uncomfortable in order to make someone comfortable.

You know, I used to do this constantly, prior to me finding coaching. But I don’t know that I always had a term for this behavior before I found coaching. I don’t think I would have identified myself as being a people-pleaser, I just thought that I was being dutiful, dedicated, a really caring employee and a caring friend. I would have kind of chalked it all up to that.

But that wasn’t what was going on. Instead, I was people-pleasing. I was constantly sacrificing myself and my own well-being, for the sake of others. That’s a really great way to figure out if what you’re doing constitutes people-pleasing or not. I want you to check in with yourself and see, how does what you’re doing feel to you? Does it feel like love? Like you’re being helpful? Like you’re doing a great thing? Or, does it feel like self-sacrifice? Does it feel like self-abandonment?

That’s a really good way to identify whether what you’re doing is intentional, and serving you, and a great thing. Or, if it really is people-pleasing, and it’s not setting you up for success. It’s not you exhibiting self-care towards yourself.

Another really good litmus test here is for you to ask yourself; does doing what I’m doing feel like a lie? That’s what people-pleasing ultimately is, it’s lying. You’d prefer to be saying or doing something else entirely. And, if it was solely up to you, and you weren’t exposed to someone else’s reaction or judgment, you’d behave differently.

But because you have a perception of how someone else will think or how they’ll feel and what they’ll do as a result of that, you do what they asked you to do. Or maybe, they didn’t even ask you, so you just do what you think that they would want you to do, if they haven’t asked. You’re doing it, again you’re lying, in your words or actions instead of saying or doing what you would if no one else had an opinion about it.

Now, you may be listening to this episode and as soon as you saw the title of it, you knew this one was for you. You’re like raising your hand, “Olivia, I’m a people-pleaser,” and if that’s the case, that’s awesome. You’re in the right place, and I’m going to teach you how to stop.

But maybe that’s not you. I have quite a few clients who don’t realize that they’re people-pleasers; they don’t identify with that label. They were kind of like I was before I found coaching, they just thought that they were being a good employee, or a good friend, or a good spouse, or a good sibling, or a good daughter or son, right? They don’t identify as people-pleasing.

But during the course of our work together, they really do learn that they are a people-pleaser, and they start to gain some awareness that they may not have had prior to our coaching relationship. If that’s you, if you’re like, “I don’t think I’m a people-pleaser. I’m not totally positive. Maybe I am,” I have a couple questions for you that I want you to answer, that may help you identify some of your people-pleasing tendencies.

Here are the questions: When do you have a difficult time saying no? When do you say yes, when you want to say no? Where do you martyr yourself? Where do you ignore your own needs?

Where are you sacrificing yourself for someone else’s sake? Where aren’t you doing what you want to be doing in your life? What do you keep doing because you feel guilty? Where do you fear that by turning people down, you’ll make them think that you’re mean or selfish?

When was the last time you agreed to do something that you don’t like to do? Or, that you didn’t want to do? Where in your life are you doing things to earn other people’s approval? Where’s your behavior apologetic?

Where are you taking the blame even when the problem isn’t your fault? What are you doing that’s causing you to neglect yourself? Where in your life are you pretending to agree with people even though you feel differently?

What conversations are you not having right now, that you know you probably need to have? Where in your life are you avoiding conflict? Were in your life would you do things differently, if no one had an opinion about what you did?

It’s kind of a long list of questions, but I really wanted it to be a comprehensive list that allows you to see certain scenarios in your life from a different angle, a different perspective.

A lot of those questions seem pretty similar to one another, but they’re just ever so slightly different to introduce some nuance. and allow you to identify some more subtle people-pleasing in areas where you may not have otherwise spotted it.

Now, if you came up with some answers that you think might be examples of instances of people-pleasing, that are coming up for you in your life, I just want to offer one small caveat; it may not be people-pleasing. Like I said earlier, people-pleasing is always a lie.

And, it’s always going to feel like a lie. It’s always going to feel like self-abandonment and self-sacrifice. Where you’re putting yourself at a detriment for the sake of benefiting someone else.

You want to start there, check in: Does it feel like love, or does it feel like a lie? Does it feel like love, or does it feel like self-abandonment and self-sacrifice? Now, if you have a hard time discerning whether what you’re doing feels like that or not, here’s one more question you can ask yourself.

When you catch yourself saying or doing something, and you think you might be engaging in some people-pleasing, ask yourself; what are your reasons for doing whatever it is that you’re doing? Or, saying whatever it is that you’re saying?

Identify your reasons for why you’re taking that particular action, or why you’re refraining from taking a particular action, and then ask yourself; do I like my reasons? If the answer’s yes, you like your reasons for taking whatever action you’re taking, then it may not be people-pleasing.

If you don’t like your reasons, it probably is people-pleasing. So, that’s another hard and fast way to check if what you’re doing constitutes people-pleasing or not.

Now, let’s talk about some common examples of people-pleasing. I think the most popular example of people-pleasing is when you do stuff that you hate, in order to avoid other people feeling uncomfortable. Whether you think they’re gonna feel disappointed, or angry, or frustrated, or annoyed, or hurt, whatever the case may be, you say yes to stuff when you really want to say no.

Maybe someone asks you to go to their two-year old’s birthday party, and you’d rather not. I’m putting it nicely, right? Instead of saying no, and not going because you really don’t want to go, you go anyways. Or, you go home during the holidays to see family, even though you really don’t want to because you don’t get along with your family, or whatever your reasons are. You do things that you don’t like to do.

Maybe you’re involved in your kid’s school organizations because you feel like you should do those things to be a good parent, but you really don’t enjoy it, and it just takes away from the quality of your life. So, you’re doing some stuff that you hate.

This is also going to come up for you at work. Maybe you take on tasks or assignments because a client asks you to or a supervisor asks you to, and you hate working on those types of projects, but you keep taking them and you keep saying yes, because you’re afraid of how the other person will respond. That is textbook people-pleasing.

Another example of this is where you overcommit yourself when you don’t have the bandwidth to take something on. This can happen at work. If you say yes to an assignment that you really don’t have time to tackle, people will also come to you and maybe they seek out your help, and you feel guilty telling them that you don’t have the bandwidth.

So, you drop what you’re doing, and you help them instead of helping yourself. You overcommit yourself and say, “Sure, I can help you,” even though you really don’t have the capacity to do that.

Maybe you volunteer, when someone asks you to host Christmas or Thanksgiving, and you really don’t have the capacity to do that either, but you overcommit yourself and agree to do it. Or, you just pack too much into a weekend; maybe you get three different invitations, and you agree to do all three activities even though it’s a little bit of a stretch, and you don’t quite have the capacity to fit all three things in.

Speaking of volunteering for things, a lot of times my clients will people-please by volunteering themselves to help with something, even when they haven’t been asked. They do it because they’re telling themselves the story that the person wants them to volunteer or that if they were a good employee, or a good friend, or a good family member, they would volunteer, they’d help out.

They think just because I could it means I should pitch in and lend a helping hand. Even though, if no one had an opinion about it, you’d probably say no; they wouldn’t do it, they wouldn’t volunteer, they wouldn’t offer up their time. That’s a little bit sneakier type of people-pleasing, there.

Another example of people-pleasing is lying about what you want, or you’re like, “Sure that sounds great. Absolutely.” But in the back of your mind, you’re like, “Oh, my goodness, this sounds terrible. I don’t want to do this at all.” But you’re not willing to be honest about what you want, because you fear the repercussions of your honesty. Right? That’s people-pleasing, too.

This came up for me when I decided to take a job in big law. I really had no genuine interest of going and being a commercial litigator. That wasn’t why I went to law school. I never had any interest in working for a big firm. I’d always just wanted to do criminal defense.

But I started to get in my own head about the opportunities that were available to me, and that I was going to miss the boat on OCI’s and summer associate positions, and all that good stuff. And then finally, when I got an offer for both a summer associate position and a full-time offer, after I took the bar exam, I said yes.

Even though I was kind of lying to myself about wanting that job. I didn’t want to go there; I wanted to do something else. I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. But I had strong opinions about other people’s opinions. I really didn’t want to disappoint some people that were really close to me, family members, friends of mine, who thought it’d be really foolish of me to turn that job down.

So, instead of being really honest with myself and the other people in my life about what I wanted to do, I just people-pleased them. I cared more about not making them uncomfortable, and what their opinions of my decisions were, than I did trusting my own gut.

Maybe you’ve done that yourself. A lot of my clients actually went to law school because they were people-pleasing parents who told them, “Hey, you got to pick between being a doctor or a lawyer. You get to pick, but you got to choose one of those two.”

Maybe they wanted to do something completely different, but they ultimately people-pleased because they were afraid to disappoint their parents, or they were worried that there would be some other negative repercussion. They lied about what they actually wanted.

Another instance where people-pleasing comes up is when you don’t advocate for a preference. You have a clear preference in your head, but you don’t speak up about it, you don’t advocate for yourself. This can be on a grand scale, or it can also be on a really small scale.

A small example of this is when you have a preference about where you go to dinner, or what you eat for dinner. Instead of speaking up about it, you just act like you don’t have a preference, and you keep the peace, so to speak. You just say, “I’ll have whatever you’re having. I’m fine with whatever you choose,” even though you’re really not fine.

You just want to be agreeable. You don’t want to be “difficult” because you think people will judge your being difficult, and that they’ll be uncomfortable or put out by it. That’s another example of people-pleasing.

A few less obvious examples of people-pleasing: One includes going back on a commitment that you’ve made to yourself, because you’re prioritizing someone else’s needs or desires, and you want to make them more comfortable. You minimize what you’ve already committed yourself to.

A great example of this would be like, deciding not to drink or you’re on a diet. Instead of sticking to your plan to not drink at an event, or to stick to the food that you decided earlier that day you were going to eat, you deviate from your plan. You go back on that commitment that you made to yourself, in order to prioritize someone else’s comfort.

Maybe you committed to yourself that you would go work out at the gym, and someone asks you to do something, and you drop that commitment that you made to yourself, in order to attend to their needs instead. So, that’s another example of what that might look like.

Ask yourself: Do you do that? Does that come up in your life? Do you pack out on commitments you make to yourself, in order to prioritize other people’s needs? If so, do you want to keep doing that?

Other small examples of people-pleasing: Not voicing your opinion when you disagree with someone. Or, avoiding conflict. Or, avoiding “difficult” conversations you know that would probably be really beneficial, if you were direct and had a conversation with someone, about something that you have some tension around.

But instead of speaking up and clearing the air, and having the disagreement and flushing all of that out, you just keep quiet; you avoid the conflict, you try and maintain the peace, you just want to be agreeable, and you never have the discussion.

Some other really specific examples of people-pleasing, just so you can see some of the micro ways that we people-please: Not taking a vacation because you’re worried that someone else is going to be angry if you do, or disappointed. Or, they’re going to feel overwhelmed because you’re not around to do the work. That’s an example.

Not asking for help is another example of people-pleasing. If you’re doing it because you feel guilty or afraid that there’s going to be a negative repercussion if you ask for help.

Underbilling and undercharging are two more great examples of the micro ways we people-please. We feel guilty, we’re worried about what we’re billing so we underbill or undercharge. And not marketing yourself, so you don’t make other people uncomfortable is another big one.

I hear from clients all the time, when I’m working with them on developing their books of business, that they don’t want to post on their social media feeds, maybe on LinkedIn™, like I do, because they don’t want other people to be annoyed with their content and to clutter someone’s feed.

They don’t want to just make anyone else uncomfortable by their marketing efforts, with their marketing efforts. So, they choose to not show up, they choose to not do it because they want to avoid that other person’s discomfort. Meanwhile, they’re ignoring the fact that there may be other people who are desperately waiting for them to show up and talk about what they do. Because there are people that need their services.

Those are a bunch of examples. I wanted to give them to you so you could start spotting your own people-pleasing behavior. That is not an exhaustive list of people-pleasing. We do this in so many different ways.

Now that you know what it looks like, I want to talk about why we do it. Why do we people-please. Here’s the big picture: Ultimately, you’re people-pleasing because you’re trying to control how other people feel. You might be trying to keep the peace, to make sure that everyone stays comfortable. You want people to like you. You also want to avoid conflict. Those are the main reasons that we people-please.

I also want to highlight for you, people-pleasing is a bit of a survival mechanism. Now, it’s a dated one; it served us when we were hunters and gatherers. It was a way to make sure that we were well-liked, and we got to stay in the circle of trust, so to speak, with our tribes. It kept us safe. It was a way that we didn’t get ousted from our groups, and it kept us in everyone’s good favor.

We just haven’t evolved past the point of having this be ingrained within us, for that survival mechanism. It also serves us a lot when we’re younger. When we’re growing up, with our parents and other authority figures, people-pleasing normally serves us really well. We get rewarded for it; we get praised for it. Again, it’s feeding in to people-pleasing being that survival mechanism, or having that survival instinct that we’re acting from.

It’s also really important to note that people-pleasing feels good. Just temporarily, usually, but it does feel good temporarily. That’s important to pay attention to, as well. People-pleasing really does feel amazing in the moment, because you get to tell people what they want to hear or what you think they want to hear, and then you get the response that you want to get from them. So, you get that praise, you get that reward.

Your brain releases just a little bit of dopamine, a little bit of adrenaline; it feels good to you. You get to feel needed, and significant, and helpful, and accomplish, and all of those positive emotions that we really crave as human beings. You’re trying to control how other people feel. You want people to like you, part of that is a survival instinct, but good news is we get to override it. It does temporarily feel good when we people-please. Those are the big picture reasons why we do it.

At a more granular level, though, this is what’s actually going on. You’ve heard me say this a bunch of times already, but the reason that we do anything that we do, that doesn’t serve us, the reason that we’re ever engaged in a negative behavior, is always because of one of two problems: A thought that we’re thinking that doesn’t serve us, or a feeling that we’re unwilling to feel, and so we resist, avoid, or react to it. Instead of, just allowing it to be with us and come along for the ride.

When it comes to people-pleasing, the problem thoughts that come up for people look something like the thought; I could help so I should help. If you’re thinking that thought you might feel obligated, and then you will help, you’ll offer to help. You might think thoughts about what a good blank does; what a good employee does, what a good lawyer does, what a good supervisor does, what a good friend does, what a good spouse does.

You might have a lot of rules for yourself, or manuals about what a “good” fill in whatever role you’re identifying with in that moment; what good versions of those roles do. So, a good friend would say yes, when someone asks them to go to a birthday party, or go to dinner, or come over and help them move.

You also might be thinking ‘have to,’ ‘need to,’ or ‘I can’t’ thoughts; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no. Those thoughts are always going to drive you to say yes and people-please, because you feel really constricted, like you don’t have any say in the matter. Now, I’ve mentioned this before, those thoughts are never true.

There are only four things you ever have to, or need to do; Eat sometimes, drink some water, breathe, and sleep infrequently. I’m all for the more sleep, the better. I’ve really pushed the limits on sleep in a past life, and I don’t recommend doing that. But those are really the four things you ever have to do.

Everything else is optional, but we’ll tell ourselves; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no, I don’t have another option. Then we feel really limited and we act in accordance with that limiting thought. Even though it’s a lie; you do have agency, you’re just blinding yourself to it. Those might be the thoughts that you’re thinking, there might be other ones.

What I want you to do is start to mind your brain when you’re people-pleasing, or right after you people-please, and you catch yourself and say, “Oh no, I just people-pleased. I see what I was doing there.” I want you to track it back and find the problem thoughts that drove you to take that people-pleasing action.

Were you thinking: I could help, so I should help? I can help, so I should? Were you thinking a good blank would say yes to this? A good blank would do X, Y and Z? Were you thinking; I have to do this, I need to do this, I can’t say no?

If you were, we’re going to need to change those thoughts, in order to get you to not people-please. You can just flip some of those thoughts around. You can choose to think instead; just because I can help, doesn’t mean I should help.

I also like to think about it this way; I like to think that you’re in the best position, the most appropriate position, to decide whether or not you should do something. Oftentimes, we’d like to outsource this to other people. But really, it’s your job. You’re the person who’s well positioned to decide whether you should say yes, or say no to something. I like thinking about this as; it’s my job to decide whether I should do this or not, no one else’s.

I also love believing that you can be both; you can be a good friend, a good employee, a good lawyer, a good spouse, a good sister, daughter, brother, son, whatever, good parents, you can be a good whatever and say no, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Both can be true.

I love reminding myself that I don’t ever have to or need to do anything. I absolutely can say no. I have all the agency in the world; I always get to choose. Those are some really impactful powerful thoughts that helped me not people-please.

I want you to think what would you need to think, in any given scenario, in order to not people-please? In order to do what you want to do, instead of doing what you don’t want to do for the sake of other people’s comfort?

Sometimes I just choose to tell myself that it’s not my job to make other people comfortable. That’s their job. My job is to make myself comfortable. It’s other people’s jobs to make other people comfortable. I’m supposed to worry about myself, they’re supposed to worry about themselves. Nothing has gone wrong if I choose to do that, it’s totally okay.

Now, there’s always problem thoughts that you’re thinking, or the second part, negative feelings that you’re unwilling to feel. With people-pleasing, we definitely see discomfort avoidance come up here. Right? You start to feel a negative emotion when you think about not people-pleasing, when you think about saying no, when you think about doing what you want to do, instead of doing what you think the other person wants you to do.

And, feelings like, feeling guilty, or worried, or selfish, or irresponsible might come up. Your natural tendency, your natural inclination is to run for the hills, and avoid those emotions. We avoid feeling guilty, we avoid feeling afraid or worried, we avoid feeling selfish and irresponsible, by people-pleasing.

We take those people-pleasing actions and engage in that behavior, instead of just feeling our negative emotions, and taking the intentional non-people-pleasing action that we want to take. Right? So, what’s the solution there?

You’ve got to gag-and-go through the discomfort. I know I’m always bringing it back to that concept, but it really is so ubiquitous in our lives, that the answer is you just got to feel your feelings. You’ve got to feel guilty, at least at first, and say no, anyways. You’ve got to feel a little worried, scared, apprehensive that there might be some consequence from you pushing back and saying no, and that that’s okay.

You want to just take intentional action and feel these feelings, anyways. Now, if you’re a horrific people-pleaser, I really want you to just take a second and think about your answer to this question. What would be different or better about your life if you were willing to feel guilty, worried, afraid, selfish, or irresponsible, and not people-please, anyways? If you were willing to feel that discomfort, and do what you wanted to do, regardless of how it feels?

If you’re anything like me, your life would probably be completely different. Now that I’m on the other side of this, and I’ve learned how to feel my negative feelings and take intentional action in spite of them, which means I don’t people-please, I just feel uncomfortable, and I do what I want to do anyways, everything has changed significantly for me.

Now, I also want to add, the discomfort is just temporary. When you stop people-pleasing, and you start living your life the way you want to be living, it instead of living it how you think other people think you should be living it, you get the reward of living a life that you actually like. The guilt, the worry, the fear, feelings of selfishness or irresponsibility, they tend to dissipate pretty quickly.

Because instead of doing shit you hate, you get to do what you want to be doing. The guilt comes on the front end, the worry comes on the front end, but then you get the reward of spending your time how you want to spend it; being in integrity with yourself. And that, feels really good. It’s just a little discomfort in the beginning, that you have to gag-and-go your way through. Once you do that you get the reward of living in alignment with how you want to live.

Now, again, we’ve got problem thoughts and negative emotions we’re unwilling to feel, you want to take some time and just look for and become aware of the thoughts that you’re thinking that caused you to people-please, and the feelings that you’re unwilling to feel that also drives you to people-please.

With that awareness, you get to decide if you want to keep maintaining the status quo. Do you want to keep being a people-pleaser? Or instead, do you want to change those thoughts and think something else? Do you want to allow yourself to experience those negative emotions, and not people-please in spite of and despite them? Once you have that awareness, you get to decide if you want to change.

If you do want to change and you want to stop people-pleasing, let’s talk about some best practices for you to go about doing that. First and foremost, you’ve got to change your thoughts and feel your feelings. That’s always the foundational answer.

But you also have to get rid of the mistaken belief that you control how other people feel. That is the primary reason we people-please; because we give ourselves a little too much credit, and we think that we control other people’s emotions.

This is a big breaking news flash for you, if you believe that you control how other people feel. I want to be the one to tell you, that’s not true. You actually don’t control how other people feel. Now, this was absolutely transformational for me when I learned it.

I really believe that thought work, which is the kind of work that I’m teaching you throughout the course of this podcasts, the coaching work that I do with people. We identify the thoughts and how they create your results, and what we need to think instead, and how they impact our feelings and all the action we take. We call that thought work.

I believe that there are layers to thought work. The entry level layer is learning that circumstances are neutral, and that our brain serves us up thoughts about them. And, that our thoughts are what cause our emotions, all of the feelings that we feel. And then, they drive our actions and produce our results. Thoughts create results.

When you learn that, you become so empowered because, the best news ever, you get to control what you think, you get to curate what you think. That’s the entry level to thought work: You become aware that circumstances don’t cause your feelings, you cause your feelings with your thoughts.

Now, the next layer of thought work is when you start to realize that if that’s true for you, you are not a unicorn; that is also true for every other person on the face of the earth. That circumstances don’t cause their feelings; their thoughts about circumstances are what caused their emotional experience.

Your actions, what you say or do, is just a circumstance in their model. Your actions, your behavior, what you do or don’t do, doesn’t cause that other person’s emotional experience. It’s their thoughts about your actions that cause their emotional experience. And, it’s their responsibility to manage their thoughts, to manage their emotional experience in this world; that is not your job.

We know this is true because if you’ve ever tried to cheer someone up, and you haven’t been able to do it effectively, it’s not because you weren’t well intentioned, it’s because the other person didn’t change their thoughts. When you took whatever action you did, in order to try and cheer them up.

So, they still felt the exact same way, despite your best efforts to change how they feel.

This was mind blowing for me. This, when I learned it; that other people’s feelings are not caused by my actions, that it’s their thoughts that cause their feelings. It was as if someone came down and wrote me a permission slip, to go live my life the way that I wanted to live it.

Because I finally got to put down the fear that I felt that I was going to disappoint people. That my actions, that certain behavior I was going to engage in by not people-pleasing, was going to disappoint others. When I learned that their thoughts are what caused their feelings, I realized, it very well may be true that they feel disappointed, but not because of my behavior.

They feel disappointed because of their thoughts about my behavior. Because they have some expectation that I act a certain way. It’s their expectation that causes their disappointment. It’s their expectation, that causes their frustration. But for that expectation, they wouldn’t feel whatever negative emotion they feel.

It’s their job to curate their expectations of other people. It’s not my job to live up to their expectations. Once I started to really internalize that message, everything started to shift for me. I started to give myself permission to stop people-pleasing, be honest about what I wanted in my life, and to start acting in accordance with that.

If this seems very striking to you, if you’re like, “What in the world is she talking about? We don’t cause other people’s feelings of disappointment?” I promise you, that’s true.

I just want you to take a second and think about a time where you were recently feeling disappointed. Identify the circumstance; what were the facts? Strictly, the facts that everyone would agree upon in that scenario? Maybe someone said they would do something with you, and then they canceled. And, you felt disappointed. It’s only because you were thinking a thought that made you feel disappointed.

What’s another thought you could think about that exact same set of facts? Maybe something happened in the world. A scenario that you encountered, and you felt disappointed about that situation, because you were thinking a thought that it should have happened differently, or it shouldn’t have happened to that way. Again, it’s your thought, it’s the expectation that you had, that it go one way when it went the other, that causes you to feel disappointed.

I want you to think about friends of yours or family members, or colleagues that you encounter; think about a time where one of them felt disappointed, and they communicated that to you. I want you to identify the facts; what’s the circumstance that they were encountering? And, what were their thoughts about it?

You want to get good at separating the facts from the story that you’re telling about them, so you can see how you create your own disappointment, how you create your own anger, or frustration, or annoyance. Then, you can start to see how other people do the exact same thing. Their emotional experience in the world, is on them, it’s not on you.

Now, not everyone is going to do a great job of curating their emotional experience. They might be blaming their circumstances. They’re allowed to blame their circumstances. Regardless of whether they blame them or not, does not mean that their circumstances are what are causing their feelings. That’s not the case. It’s always their thoughts causing their feelings.

But they’re allowed to blame their circumstances, and you’re allowed to let them and not people-please, even when they do that. I want you to think about those thoughts that cause disappointment, and really embrace this concept that; you don’t cause other people’s disappointment, ever

From there, here’s what you need to do: Once you’ve embraced that truth, that your thoughts cause your feelings, and their thoughts cause their feelings, and that your actions don’t cause anyone’s emotional experience. Once you’ve embraced that, from there, I want you to always acknowledge, when you’re presented with a situation where you’re tempted to people-please, that you always have a choice.

I want you to acknowledge your agency, and then identify all the choices that you have, list them all out. What do you want to do in that moment? Identify your choices, and then identify why you want to choose any of those particular choices.

You want to get really clear on your reasons for taking any particular course of action. Then ask yourself; do I like those reasons? If you do like your reasons, amazing. Sounds like you’re not people-pleasing. Go ahead and act in accordance with that decision, with those reasons, follow through on that.

But if you answer no, you don’t like your reasons for taking whatever action you’re inclined to take, it’s because you’re probably people-pleasing. You want to go back to the drawing board, and identify what you actually want to choose, authentically.

If you’re being really honest with yourself, then choose that, and identify the feelings that you would have to be willing to feel, in order to take that action and not people-please. And then, do that. Take that action. Don’t people-please; follow through, feel your negative feelings, allow the discomfort, and do what you want to do regardless.

Couple other things that you can do if you’re really prone to people-pleasing. This is a great area to practice making decisions ahead of time, and to practice constraint. You can also, if you’re prone to a knee-jerk yes, when someone asks you to do something, memorize a phrase or a response that you can say every time someone asks something of you, to buy yourself a little bit of a time buffer.

Instead of a knee-jerk yes, say, “You know what? I probably can, or I might be able to, but I need to check my schedule. Just let me get back to you. I’ll call you right back.” Just say whatever you need to say to buy yourself a little bit of time, in order to make a decision, without all of the pressure that comes from being in the moment, as soon as you get that request.

I also want you to redefine the meaning of “good,” when it comes to those roles that you have, those identities that you have. So, what does it mean to be a good lawyer, a good friend, a good family member, a good spouse, son, daughter, a good partner, a good associate, any of those things?

Can you redefine “good” to be more inclusive of what you want to do, so that you don’t have to people-please, in order to qualify as a good insert, whatever the blank is.

Make sure and catch yourself that you’re not conflating ‘could’ with ‘should.’ That’s another easy hack. If you think, “I could do it,” that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. You want to make sure you interrupt yourself if you tend to conflate the two.

Last but not least, I want you to remember there’s always discomfort both ways when we’re people-pleasing. There’s the discomfort that we feel from saying no and not people-pleasing; that guilt, worry, fear, selfishness, irresponsibility that we experience.

Then, there’s also the discomfort that comes from people-pleasing. Normally regret, resentment, frustration, annoyance, anger, all of that. FOMO: missing out on what you actually want to do.

Remember, there’s discomfort both ways. I highly recommend, if you have to experience discomfort either way, you choose the route that gets you spending the time how you want to spend it. Do what makes you happy in the long run, if either way, you’re going to be required to feel some discomfort involved.

Now, final note for you; I want to just turn you on to this: If you want to become someone who does not people-please, I want you to ask yourself; when the roles are reversed, how do you respond? Do you like it when people, people-please you?

If you answered, “Yes, I do like it. I appreciate when people, people-please me.” I, myself, used to be a little bit of a pusher if someone would tell me no and I really wanted them to do something with me, like go to dinner, or go on vacation, or help me out with a project at work, or stay late. I used to expect them to people-please me, and I would be pushy, in order to get them to cave.

I would try and attempt to guilt them into doing something. People can’t ever guilt us; we guilt ourselves. And, that’s why we people-please. But I would make every best effort to guilt other people. Sometimes they would cave, and I would love it.

If that’s you, you’ve got to be really honest with yourself here. If you want to become someone who does not people-please, you need to be willing to accept when people, don’t people-please you. It’s how you operate from a place of integrity.

If you’re more accepting and nicer when people don’t people-please you, you’ll be kinder to yourself when you want to resist the urge to people-please, and follow through with what you ultimately want to do. Instead of what you “think” you should do.

Make sure you’re willing to be on the receiving end of someone’s no, if you want to get better at communicating no’s yourself.

I hope this was helpful. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. We will continue talking about the three Ps in the next episode. Have a beautiful week.

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

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Episode 21: Being Resourceful, Patient, and Coachable

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Being Resourceful, Patient, and Coachable

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Being Resourceful, Patient, and Coachable

Today’s episode is all about the three essential qualities you need to possess in order to solve the problems you’re facing and create the success you crave. We’re talking about being resourceful, patient, and coachable, and it’s going to put so much into perspective for you.

I’m going through each of these qualities individually, and how they all come together to make problem-solving and achieving new results faster and easier. By the end of this episode, you’ll be able to see where you’re embodying these qualities, and where you might need to focus and work on these things if you’re not being resourceful, patient, and coachable.

Tune in this week to discover the three essential qualities for solving problems and being successful. I’m sharing why taking action without looking at your mindset is never the answer, and I’m showing you how resourcefulness, patience, and being coachable allow you to think of solutions faster and implement them more effectively.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why resourceful is always the most powerful thing you can be as you try to problem-solve.
  • What it looks like to be resourceful, patient, and coachable.
  • Why being resourceful doesn’t mean never asking for help.
  • The opposites of these three essential qualities and how being stuck there is holding you back.
  • How to see the areas you already display these qualities, and where you still have some work to do.
  • Why taking action without first working on your mindset won’t take you where you want to go.
  • What you can do to start being more resourceful, patient, and coachable right now.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 21. We’re talking all about being resourceful, patient, and coachable. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, my friends. How’s it going? Is it just me, or can you hardly believe that it’s almost the end of July? That is just blowing my mind right now. Two of my friends and I have this inside joke that every year, when it hits August, they both always tell me that the year is over. They’re like, “Olivia, the year’s come to an end, it’s all done.” They don’t even bother saying that it’s practically over. They just tell me that it’s completely over.

I always strenuously object when they say that. If you’re wondering if that is a hat tip to A Few Good Men, yes, it absolutely is. I always say that, I strenuously object. Anyways, I always argue with them and tell them that the year better not be over, because I’ve got a lot more I want to accomplish before the end of the year. Then, we kind of all have a little giggle about it, and we agree to disagree.

So, even though we’ve got lots of time left till the end of the year, which means we’ve got lots of time left to accomplish our 2022 goals, I still can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. You know, maybe that’s because most things have gone back to normal now, since COVID.

The months seems to pass just a little bit faster than they did during quarantines. It’s either that, or I’m just getting older and that’s just how it works, now. The months go by a little bit faster, but they seem to be flying by. It’s hard to say why that is, but they definitely are.

Hope you’ve got a game plan for the rest of your 2022, in order to get you where you want to go. If your year isn’t quite going as you planned for it to go, and you don’t feel like you’re making the most of your year, I’ve got something big in store for you. In the upcoming episodes, I’m going to cover some really meaty topics.

They’re the issues that absolutely plague my clients the most, I always refer to these issues as the three P’s: procrastination, people pleasing and perfectionism. Over the next several episodes, we’re going to cover them in depth. I’m going to explain exactly why you do each one of those bad habits, and how to stop.

If you really make strides in each of the three key areas, you’re really going to transform yourself and ultimately transform your year. You’ll be able to get out of your own way, and stop letting procrastination, people pleasing, or perfectionism present as obstacles or roadblocks that keep you from creating the results you want in your life, accomplishing the goals that you want to accomplish. So, we’re going to tackle those.

If you struggle with them, I don’t want you to beat yourself up. So many of my clients struggle with these issues. They’re super common issues, in the legal industry. And, if we’re being really honest, no one’s ever taught us how to not procrastinate, how to not people please, how to not indulge in perfectionism.

In fact, we’ve kind of been taught the opposite. All throughout growing up, from our parents through our educators, and in a lot of the work relationships that we’ve been in, we get rewarded for people pleasing. We get rewarded for our perfectionism, maybe not for procrastination.

That’s just a normal human tendency that we need to learn, to work, to untangle, and unravel, and unpack, so you can move forward and solve for it. But these habits are really normal. They’re just part of the human experience for most people. We’re going to unlearn these bad habits. There’s a lot to unlearn. And, it’s no wonder we struggle with them if we’ve never learned how to stop engaging in them.

That’s what I’m going to teach you over the course of the next several episodes. It’s why I’m here. It’s why you’re tuning into this podcast; I’ve got you. With that being said, I’m going to give you some advanced warning to gear up. There’s a lot to cover for each of those topics. Like I said, we’re really going to dive into some very meaty content.

I’m super excited to do that, to dive into those discussions. I hope you are, too. But with that being said, what I need to do, because those are meaty topics, I need to lay a foundation for you. That’s what this episode is for. I want to talk about the three essential qualities you need to possess, in order to solve the problems you’re facing and create the success you crave.

Okay, what are those three essential qualities? They’re being resourceful, patient, and coachable. Now it took about absolutely everything in me to put those in that order, because I really wanted to make this list alphabetical. But I gave some thought to doing that, and I truly believe it’s more important, and it serves you more, for me to list them in order of importance.

Even though I think all three of these qualities are essential to problem solving and to being successful, I do think being resourceful is probably the most important item on this list of three qualities. That’s why I wanted to start with that. If you approach any problem you have, by exercising these three characteristics, you’re going to make so much more progress than you would otherwise. You will really wow yourself.

With that being said, I want to dive in and just go over these three qualities, one by one. Give you an understanding of what they look like in practice. So, you can identify; are you already doing these things? Or, maybe you’re not? What improvements can you make?

I’m also going to talk about what the opposite of these attributes looks like in your day-to-day life. So, you can identify that as well, if you’re not being resourceful, patient, and coachable. Okay, let’s go.

All right, the first of the three essential qualities to solving problems and being successful, is being resourceful. Now, what does that look like in practice? This is where you approach problems head-on. You figure out exactly what you don’t know, then you solve for it. You don’t spin. You’re taking action. You evaluate.

I’ve talked quite a bit throughout the podcast about evaluating the action you take and the results you create. Taking that action, auditing and adapting, right? When you’re resourceful, you’re problem solving, you’re doing that adapting. You don’t wait around for someone to hand you the answers. You don’t act helpless or lost. You refuse to stay stuck. You approach every challenge within, “I can figure this out,” mindset. You stay really curious. You’re determined, and you’re searching for solutions.

When you’re searching for solutions, and tapping into your own resourcefulness, and mining your own brain for the answers, rather than staying stuck, you find solutions. You’re able to come up with them. Then, you’re able to implement them and you’re able to get yourself the results that you want.

Being resourceful is so powerful, right? What are some signs that you’re not being resourceful? You might frequently say or think things like I can’t do this. Nothing’s working. I’ve tried everything. It’s never going to work. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I don’t know the answer. I’m stuck.

Alright, if that’s what your mental chatter looks like, it is laden with victimhood, you guys. We’ve got to clean that up. If that’s what’s on your thought playlist most days, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that line of thinking is remarkably negative. It’s really helpless and very defeatist. I know those are strong opinion statements, but this is the work I do with clients every single day.

I know that, that line of thinking produces absolutely nothing positive. We can’t always spot it when we’re in it. I recently pointed this out to a client of mine. I was like, “Do you know how negative your thoughts are?”  I think they weren’t able to see it themselves. But once I pointed it out, they were able to start creating awareness around how negative their thinking was.

Why does that matter? Remember, I told you this before, your thoughts create your results. So, these thoughts, the ones that I just went through with you, they’re going to just create more of the same. You’re going to find yourself caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can’t do it, you won’t do it.

There’s that famous quote about whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. That’s exactly right. If you think you can’t do it, you’re going to feel helpless, or hopeless, or defeated, and not figure it out. Then, you’re going to prove that true. You’re going to create the result of not doing it and it’s just further evidence that you can’t.

If you’re telling yourself nothing is working, you’re going to create more of that result; that nothing is working, telling yourself you tried everything. Such a bad thought to think. It is never true. There’s always something else that you could try.

You want to get curious and resourceful, and figure out what those things are. What else haven’t you tried? What might you be able to do differently? When you think you truly have taken every possible action under the sun, I want to challenge you that you probably haven’t taken it with the right mindset; you want to make sure you’re taking belief fueled action.

So, if you think you can’t do something and it’s not going to work, but you’re following the action steps moving forward, like Eeyore; you’re doing something, but not with the motivated, determined mindset that you want to have. You’re not going to create good results, or positive results, because the negative thoughts are what create your results.

Even if the action looks good, if you’re not bringing the right mindset to the action that you’re taking, it’s not going to get you where you want to go. Don’t think the thought I’ve tried everything; there’s always something else you can try. When you tap into your resourcefulness, you’re able to find out what those things are.

Same thing with; it’s never going to work. If you think that, I promise you, it’s never going to work. So, you want to clean up that thinking. I did a whole episode on indulging. If you missed that, make sure you go back and listen to that episode, it’s so helpful.

This is such a common mindset problem that I see with my clients. But if you’re thinking: I don’t know how to fix this problem, and I don’t know the answer, and you’re just staying confused and continuing to indulge in ‘I don’t know,’ you’re just going to create more not knowing.

Again, that’s a lot of helplessness, that’s not resourcefulness. So, you want to change that to; I can figure this out. Focus on what you do know. Be very specific about what you don’t know, then tap into that resourcefulness and solve for it. If you’re thinking, I’m stuck, you’re going to stay stuck. So, you want to be really careful about all of these negative thoughts. They’re red flags, that you are not being resourceful.

If this is what your mental chatter looks like, you just want to catch yourself, put a pin in that, and ask yourself; what do I need to think, to feel resourceful? What do I need to think and feel in order to be resourceful? Really tap into your resourcefulness.

Another key indicator that you aren’t being resourceful is that you find yourself really hungry for the ‘how.’ One of my coaches calls this indulging in ‘how’ greed, and I love that term of art, because that’s exactly what this shows up like. We’re really greedy and desperate for someone else to give us the ‘how;’ for them to tell us how to proceed, to give us the roadmap moving forward. We don’t want to figure it out ourselves. We just want someone to hand it to us on a silver platter.

A lot of times what I see with clients is that even when they get the ‘how,’ they still keep asking for more ‘hows.’ Like, they get the answer; they don’t love it. They don’t want to implement it. They just want to keep asking, “Yeah, but how? Yeah, but how? Yeah, but how?” over and over and over again.

If you find yourself struggling with ‘how’ greed or being hungry for the ‘how’ you’re going to find yourself in a place where you’re constantly wanting someone else to give you the ‘how,’ instead of being willing to tap into your own resourcefulness and figure things out for yourself.

You may do this because you think that it’s easier this way. I promise you, it’s not. When you’re hungry for the ‘how’ and you’re indulging in ‘how’ greed, and you constantly keep going outside of yourself for all of the answers that you need to solve, the problems that you’re encountering, you keep having to rely on other people for those answers.

When you tap into your own resourcefulness and you start to become someone who figures things out for themselves, you can rely on your own wisdom moving forward. You come up with your own answers. That’s so helpful. It’s so useful to be someone who’s able to do that. You become so much less reliant on other people, which will make you feel more confident as a result. So, you really want to make sure you’re doing this.

Now I just want to add one side note here, when I say that you need to be resourceful in order to problem solve effectively and become successful, this doesn’t mean that you can’t ever ask for help, you can. Sometimes being resourceful is identifying the people around you that may have the answers that you don’t have, and utilizing them to the best of your ability.

But what I want to make sure that you aren’t doing, is showing up and being, what one of my coaches called an ‘ask hole.’ Where you keep asking someone for advice, guidance, the ‘how’ answers to the problems that you’re facing. And when they give you that guidance, then you don’t implement it. You either keep asking, like I just described, or you ask them for guidance, they give it to you, and then you just do absolutely nothing with it.

If you’re going to ask for guidance… And this ties in with being coachable, as well, we’ll talk about in a second. But if you ask for guidance, go implement it. Then, evaluate the action that you took and adapt as needed. If you need to make changes, go for it. But make sure you’re implementing the guidance that you asked for and receive.

Now, being resourceful is truly one of the most important skills you can develop. There is absolutely nothing you cannot accomplish, if you are resourceful. I want you to ask yourself right now, just do a quick check in, where are you not being resourceful in your life right now? Where are you indulging in ‘how’ greed or being hungry for the ‘how’? Where are you indulging in a little bit of helplessness and victimhood, with that defeatist mindset I talked about a little while ago? Where are you not being resourceful?

Then, I want you to ask yourself, what would you do differently, as it relates to that area of your life, as it relates to that problem? If you tapped into your own resourcefulness, whatever answer you came up with, I highly recommend you implement it, take that action. It will get you so much further towards the success you want to achieve.

Now, the next essential quality that you want to have, in order to solve problems and be successful, is being patient. Now, what does this look like in practice? It’s kind of self-explanatory, right? We’re all familiar with patience. But I do want to flesh it out just a little bit. Because there are some aspects, as far as having a patient mindset is concerned, that I think would be helpful for me to highlight.

So, what does it look like to be patient when you are working to solve a problem and create success? It looks like not rushing. It looks like not beating yourself up for the progress that you’ve made, or for the progress that you haven’t made. It’s approaching the process calmly, in a grounded space, being kind to yourself in the process, and not going to war with how it’s going.

Here’s what it doesn’t look like. Being impatient and giving up. So, let’s talk a little bit about the mindset that signifies you’re being impatient and you’re contemplating giving up. Giving up mindset is really evident, it’s just thinking thoughts like I should quit, this is pointless. This won’t work. Being impatient might also look like thinking thoughts like I should be further along. I don’t know why this is taking so long. This shouldn’t be taking so long. Why haven’t I figured this out by now? I should have figured this out by now.

It may seem helpful for you to think those thoughts, like it’s going to speed up the process, but I promise you it will not. It’s only going to slow you down, because you’re going to feel frustrated, and discouraged, and pressured, and rushed, and impatient as a result of thinking those thoughts. And, that’s not going to lead to creating anything good.

You’re going to take less action, withdraw, and not pursue solving the problems. You’re going to create more negative results. So, you want to make sure if you’ve got an impatient mindset, you want to clean that up.

Listen, change absolutely can happen overnight; but it doesn’t always. I teach my clients that. Change can take time; it doesn’t always have to. It doesn’t have to take a long time. But sometimes it might. Especially when you’re undoing years and years and years of conditioning, and programming, and habit forming, that lead you to do things like the three P’s; indulge in perfectionism, procrastinate, people please.

It might take some time to undo all of those habits, that doesn’t have to be a problem. The only reason it ever is a problem, is because you’ve come up with some expectation for yourself, that you figure it out faster. If you adjust your expectation, and you approach yourself with a little bit more grace and kindness, you won’t have that same urgency, you won’t have that same impatience.

Now, what kind of mindset do you want to cultivate instead, in order to be patient? I love approaching problem solving with the mindset of I will not quit this, no matter what. I will figure this out, no matter how long it takes me.

One of my other favorite thoughts; I’m willing to be bad at this, for as long as it takes me to learn how to do this. Remember, you’re learning a new skill, and learning new skills doesn’t always happen overnight. That doesn’t mean anything’s gone wrong. Thinking: this is going to take me as long as it takes. And, that’s okay.

I also love thinking: I’m exactly where I should be in this process. It’s totally fine for me to be right where I am, nothing’s gone wrong. You want to make sure you’re practicing patience with yourself for the progress you’re making. Maybe for the progress you haven’t made yet, all of it is fine. You will eventually get there, so long as you show up in a patient headspace and you don’t allow yourself to entertain the option of quitting. Take quitting right off the table, and be patient, stick with it.

The third and final essential quality that you want to make sure you possess, in order to solve your problems and be successful, is being coachable. This is one of the skills that I really teach my clients to develop, as we work on all of the items that they want to work on during the course of our coaching work together: All the problems that we want to solve. All the habits that they want to remedy. All of the goals that they want to work towards and accomplish.

You want to make sure you’re coachable. Now, what is being coachable look like? How do you do it? When you’re encountering and dealing with a problem that you’re facing, being coachable looks like, first and foremost, humbling yourself that you don’t have all of the answers.

After you’ve tapped into your own resourcefulness, and you’ve tried some things on your own, you may be coming up short, that’s okay. You want to humble yourself and admit that you don’t have all the answers. And, that you might not be able to see your blind spots. You might not know what you’re doing wrong. And, you want to ask for coaching.

But before you ask for coaching, you want to make sure that you’re not coming into being coached, and into receiving feedback or guidance, with an arrogant attitude. Thinking that you know better than the person who’s giving you the guidance.

You want to make sure you come in with some humility, in a grounded place, not thinking that you’ve got this all figured out. So, you want to humble yourself.

Now, I’m going to speak from experience here. When I learned how to develop business and market myself, I didn’t do this, at first. I didn’t humble myself. I thought that I could figure it out on my own. That I had all the answers in this head of mine.

When I first hired my business coach, I joined her entry-level program. I watched a lot of the module videos in her program and I didn’t apply them. And very candidly, I told myself, this is silly. It’s stupid. It won’t work.

I really came with an arrogant, know-it-all energy. I thought I was too good to do it her way. I thought she probably didn’t know what she was talking about. I just didn’t want to like her methodology. It felt foreign to me. It felt awkward. I didn’t want to do it. So, instead of humbling myself, I judged it and didn’t implement it.

All I ended up doing was prolonging my success by doing this, because I didn’t show up in that program very coachable in the beginning. Now, as months went by, and I watched a bunch of other people start getting results and making a lot of money, I finally got to the point where I was willing to humble myself, admit that I didn’t know how to market myself or sell coaching.

I submitted to the process. I opened my mind. I humbled myself. I started implementing what she taught and everything started to shift. So, you want to make sure that you’re coming to problem solve, and you’re coming to work through these issues, like the three P’s that we’re going to talk about, from a humble perspective. Rather than coming in like you know the answers, you’ve got it all figured out.

That might not be easy for a lot of people, especially attorneys that are usually used to presenting like they do have the answers, because clients turn to us to have answers, right? Or, at least we tell ourselves that, and then put a lot of pressure on ourselves as a result.

But this is going to be different. You’re not the teacher, you’re not the expert. In this moment, you’re the student. So, you want to make sure you show up in that student energy; a little humble and open to receiving.

Once you’ve got yourself in that humble mindset and you’re going to approach it with humility, you want to ask for coaching. You don’t want to be stubborn, and just try and figure it out all on your own. Again, sounds a little bit counterintuitive to being resourceful, I get that, but these two things can really beautifully coincide.

You want to ask for coaching. Figure out what you need coaching on, where you’re struggling, what specifically the problem is. Do that work yourself, that’s how you can be resourceful. Then ask for, specifically, what you’re struggling with, get help with that. Then, being coachable looks like submitting yourself to the process.

When you’re getting coached, whether it’s by a coach, by me on a webinar that I do, or in my group program, or if we’re working together one-on-one, for my clients that are listening, or even for you listening to the podcast episodes, I’m going to give you a lot of questions for you to ask yourself and answer.

Be really honest with your answers, to the questions that I asked you. Really submit yourself to the process; don’t hold back, be really open, really give it your all. If you don’t, you’re not going to get the progress that you want to get out of it. You’re not going to get the growth that you want to get out of it. So, make sure you really submit yourself to the process.

Being coachable also looks like trusting the person that you’re seeking guidance from. This may be a coach, this might be a mentor, or a supervisor, if you’re asking them for some guidance or some feedback in any of the areas that you’re struggling with. It’s really easy to not trust, and to get combative, and to take issue with some of the things that you are told, some of the coaching that you receive.

It’s easy to slip into the ‘me versus them’ mindset with this and thinking that you guys are on opposite sides of an issue, and that you aren’t aligned, as far as your best interests go. I promise you; especially working with a coach. But even the people that you talk to and seek guidance from, tell yourself, and really work on establishing trust, that that person is on your side; that they have your best interests at heart, that they want the same things that you want, they want to see you be successful.

I want all of my clients to be successful. I want you to be successful, if you’re listening to this podcast. I want you to take what I’m going to teach you and apply it in your own life. If I say something that feels triggering, or jarring, or challenging, and it’s a little uncomfortable for you, I want to promise you, I’m doing it to serve you. I am on your side; I’m trying to point something out to you that you may not see.

Show you a blind spot that you may not have known was there. Get you to look at something a little bit differently. I’m doing it because I am on your side. It may be a little uncomfortable, that’s okay. I just want you to resist the urge to react negatively to it.

Instead, a great thing that you can do is ask yourself; how might what Olivia is saying and suggesting, be true? How might it be spot on? How might it be accurate? Find what can resonate with you, rather than tearing it apart and picking it apart. Come to it being really open minded.

Then, once you receive the coaching or the guidance that you asked for, make sure you apply it. If you end up wanting more coaching or guidance, only ask for it after you’ve applied what you’ve already received. Okay?

Those are the steps that you want to follow to be coachable. What’s the opposite of being coachable? It’s going to look like being really withdrawn; really resistant, really combative, and not applying any of the coaching or guidance you receive.

The mindset of being un-coachable might look something like: This person’s wrong. They don’t understand. They don’t know what they’re talking about. This doesn’t apply to me.

Instead of that thought pattern, you really want to switch to: Maybe this does apply to me. How might that be true? What if this person knows something I don’t know? Maybe they’re onto something? What if they’re right?

Maybe they could be right. Maybe I should find out for myself, whether or not they’re right, by applying it. Rather than making a preconceived judgment and determination before you’ve applied the coaching and guidance you received.

All right. Those are the three attributes, the three qualities that you want to possess in order to solve the problems that you’re encountering, in order to be successful. I asked you this, with the first attribute, with being resourceful, for you to ask yourself, where are you not being resourceful right now? What would it look like for you to be more resourceful in that area?

I want you to do the same thing with the other two attributes. Where are you not being patient? Where in your life could you be more patient right now? What would be different about your life, if you showed up with a little bit more patience?

Where in your life are you not really being coachable, and going through the steps that I just outlined, to be coachable? What would be different, how would you approach your problems differently, if you showed up being coachable? I want you to give some thought to those questions.

All right, these are the three attributes or skills that I want to make sure you have, as we go into these meatier subjects in the upcoming episodes. Listen to this episode as many times as you need to, in order to really get those ingrained, drill them into your head. You want to be resourceful, you want to be patient, and you want to be coachable.

I just want to tell you; these are three skills that I have mastered over the past several years. So, I assure you, I really do walk the walk when it comes to implementing and living these three skills in practice. I really do practice what I’m preaching.

What I want to tell you is this: Number one, being resourceful, patient, and coachable really pays off. This may sound arrogant, and I really don’t mean it that way. I’m trying not to apology vomit or over-explain myself here, but I have learned how to do so many things, because I’m resourceful patient and coachable.

I’ve learned how to manage my time, I used to be terrible with that. I’ve learned how to follow through, I used to be terrible at that too. I’ve learned how to set boundaries and put myself first, and accomplish really lofty goals. Because I am resourceful, patient, and coachable.

I’ve also learned a lot of hard skills. A lot of people in my life will find out that I know how to do particular things. I always tell people, I’m kind of a Jill-of-all-trades. There’s so many different skill-sets that I possess, that I’ve really taught myself, over the course of my lifetime. They’ll often say to me, “Wow, I can’t believe you know how to do that? You know how to do everything.”

I used to kind of downplay that that is true. Of course, I don’t know how to do everything, right? No one does. But I do know how to do a lot of things. And, I do know how to do a lot of things very well. Here’s why, this is what I often explain to them. I explain; the reason I know how to do so many things is because I’m resourceful, patient, and coachable.

When I encounter a problem and I want to learn how to do something, or I want to find a solution to it, I am relentless. I seek out whatever resources I can, whatever resources I need, to learn how to do something, to learn how to solve the problem. I never give up. I keep sticking with it.

I’m also patient as hell. I try and I fail, and I evaluate, and I don’t get discouraged, and I don’t get frustrated. I don’t think that it should take less time than it does. I just keep learning and adapting, and I learn some more until I master something. I don’t quit. I don’t give up. I stick with it, no matter what. I show up really patient.

I also don’t indulge in confusion. I commit to something and I figure things out, no matter what. If something doesn’t work, I stay curious. I ask questions. I do more research, and then I give it another go. I’ve taught myself how to do graphic design. How to design websites. How to build a membership platform for the mastermind, I just did that.

I know so much about marketing, and business development, and social media platforms, and algorithms, all of this stuff. I know how to fix things around my house. There’s just so much I know how to do, because I take the time, I’m patient, and resourceful. I figure out how to troubleshoot basically every problem I encounter, because I possess those qualities.

I’m also super coachable. Which means when I don’t know something, like I explained earlier, I humble myself. I seek out someone that has greater knowledge than I do, and I ask them for guidance, I get coached. I have my blind spots pointed out to me by an expert, and instead of being combative when I receive the coaching, and oftentimes I get coaching that I don’t like, but it’s usually the coaching I need to hear.

So, when I receive the coaching, instead of being combative, I follow the being coachable steps I outlined for you. I ask myself; how might this apply? How might it be true? I find that, I keep an open mind, and then I go out and implement it. I apply the coaching that I received.

Sometimes, like I said, when I get coached, and I didn’t particularly want to receive that coaching, I have to push myself to see how it’s the coaching I needed. And how it’s right, and how it might be appropriate, and how I might benefit from applying it.

Then, once I figure it out… That’s my work; I figure out how it applies to the situation I’m dealing with, even if it doesn’t seem like it should apply. From there, I go out, and I implement it. When I do that, I basically always find the wisdom that I was meant to receive.

Then, once I’m clear on what that wisdom is, I’m able to go take action and put that coaching into practice. That’s how I grow, right? When I’ve done that, I go back for more. I go back for more coaching. I tap into my resourcefulness. I mine my own brain. I stay patient.

I keep operating from those three qualities, from those three attributes. I bring them with me to every goal that I set for myself, and every problem that I aim to solve. Developing these three skill sets has been absolutely essential to my problem solving and growth.

And I promise you, they’re going to be essential to yours, as well. They’re the exact same skill-sets that you’re going to need to take with you as you approach problem-solving for the three P’s; for fixing your procrastination habit, for dialing down your people pleasing, and learning how to no longer indulge in perfectionism.

They’re the skill-sets that you’re going to need to grow into the next version of yourself. So, if you’re ready to practice what I’m preaching and apply these qualities to tackling the three P’s, let’s go. We’re going to cover it in the next several episodes. I can’t wait until then.

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 20: Giving Feedback (That’s Well Received)

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Giving Feedback (That's Well Received)

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Giving Feedback (That's Well Received)

Last week, we discussed how to accept feedback without getting defensive. But today, we’re talking about the flipside: giving feedback that’s well received. As we spoke about in the previous episode, the feedback you receive is entirely neutral, until you think something about it. So, if all feedback is neutral, why do we need to make an effort to ensure it’s well-received? Surely it’s the other person’s job to manage their mind around your feedback, right?

Well, while I do believe it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to manage their emotional experience, not everyone is going to do that because most people don’t even know their thoughts create their feelings. So, in light of human brains operating the way they always do on default, how can you give feedback that’s going to be well received? Listen closely to find out.

Tune in this week to discover the best practices for giving feedback and doing everything in your power to make sure it’s welcomed by the other person, even if it’s negative. I’m sharing the importance of getting clear on your thoughts, feelings, biases, and your desired results as you prepare your feedback, so you can deliver it in a way that’s well received.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why, no matter how hard we try, we cannot control another person’s reaction to our feedback.
  • My best practices for giving feedback while being mindful of the other person’s reaction.
  • The importance of offering feedback from a neutral or positive perspective.
  • How to make sure your own thoughts and feelings aren’t negatively affecting the delivery of your feedback.
  • The biases that can taint the feedback we give to others, and how to get clear on those biases.
  • My step-by-step process for crafting and delivering feedback that doesn’t make the other person defensive while still clearly communicating what you need from them.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 20. Today I’m teaching you all about how to give feedback that’s well received. 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.

Hey there, how’s it going? I hope you’re doing so well. I’m so excited that this is Episode 20. I can’t believe that I’ve been talking to you guys for 20 different episodes. That’s just so neat to me. I know that we’ll be at 52, a whole year’s worth of podcast episodes, before we even know it.

Before we dive into Episode 20’s topic, I want to talk about two things really quick. First, we’re going to take a minute for a gratitude practice, because I have a lot to be grateful for right now. Over this past weekend, my mom had emergency pacemaker surgery, it totally came out of nowhere.

She went to a routine doctor’s appointment, and lo and behold, they sent her right to the ER. They were able to do the procedure that she ended up really needing, kind of out of nowhere. As I went through that whole process, which was pretty scary on the front end, I was really enamored and in awe of how incredible science is.

So, this week, I am practicing gratitude, for science and the advancements that we have, that make procedures like that kind of routine, even though they’re certainly not routine in my life or my mom’s life. Of course, they are routine, and they happen every single day. Those advancements really make so many incredible things possible. I’m grateful that they caught it. I’m grateful that she was able to have that done. And, I’m grateful that she is making a really incredible, impressive recovery.

So, that’s what I’m grateful for this week. I want you to take a second and pick something that you’re deeply grateful for. I don’t think we take enough time to stop ourselves and acknowledge what it is that we’re grateful for. My one-on-one coach, Jess Johnson, she makes me do this each time we meet. So, I’m going to ask you to do this right now. Because it’s something that I’ve really come to love when I see her every week, that I’m forced to pick something that I’m grateful for and to celebrate it.

I want you to pick something that you’re truly grateful for and celebrate it. Say it out loud; say, “I’m so grateful for…,” insert whatever it is you’re grateful for. Say it slowly. Really drop into that thought. Sit with it until you can place it in your body, until you feel that gratitude within you. Let that gratitude just warm you up. And then, just sit with that for a minute.

Why are you grateful for this thing? How does it impact your life? How does it improve your life? How does it benefit your life? Answer those questions, and just sit and enjoy that feeling. Sit with it, enjoy it, let it flood you. Really find that gratitude in your body. It’s so good.

I love just thinking about what you guys are grateful for. You know, I don’t get to hear what you’re saying out loud. But I’m sure it’s so many different things. And I just think that’s really neat. Alright, that’s the first thing. Just a little moment of gratitude. You can pause the podcast if you want to take a second to sit with it. And then, keep going.

Alright, number two, I want to highlight another amazing listener review. I absolutely love it when you guys leave me reviews letting me know what you think of the podcast. It’s just so awesome to read them. This week’s is from the Legal Guru, and he’s also a friend of mine. Maybe this seems like cheating, but I loved his review and I wanted to give him a shout out.

His name’s Beilal. He said, “How lucky was I to attend law school with Olivia and to be a part of her study group. For a decade now, Olivia has been a wealth of knowledge and guidance to those around her, contributing to and enriching the lives of several attorneys I know personally. I cannot understate how important this podcast is not only for attorneys, but for everyone.” So good. I love it. Beilal, thank you for such an amazing review.

I was the flowchart girl all through law school. For those of you who didn’t know me back then, I was the flowchart girl. We had the best study groups. I was in the evening program in law school and we just had a really tight knit group. We were really supportive of one another. We didn’t have any gunners. We were just really collaborative. It was so much fun. So, thank you to Beilal for the amazing review.

If you’re loving the podcast, I want you to do me a favor. Number one, if you haven’t subscribed already, go do that right now. Number two, please leave me a rating and review, and let me know what you think. Let me know what you’re loving. Let me know what you want to hear. I would love to hear from you. Maybe I will shout you out on a future podcast, as well.

And number three, share this episode with a friend. If you know a lawyer that you think might benefit from listening to this content, shoot it to ‘em, send it on over a text or an email. But don’t hoard the knowledge, share the wealth.

Okay, now that those two business items are out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. This is sort of a two-part episode. In the last episode, I talked about accepting feedback without getting defensive. I taught you the exact steps to follow to do that. Today we’re talking about the flip side, we’re talking about giving feedback. And then in parentheses, I want you to think about giving feedback that’s well received.

Now, based on the discussion that I had with you in that last episode, where I explained that the feedback that you receive is entirely neutral, in and of itself. It’s just a circumstance, it’s just words, they don’t cause your feelings until you think thoughts about them. I also explained that it’s our jobs, to control and curate our thoughts about the feedback that we receive.

Based on all of that, you might think that I would be telling you not to worry about how you give feedback, and that it’s just the other person’s obligation to manage their minds around whatever you say, and however you say it. And, while I do believe that it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to manage their emotional experience, that they have around whatever circumstances they encounter, let’s be honest, for just a second, not everyone’s actually going to do that. Right?

Not everyone is doing that. Not everyone that you know, is managing their minds and listening to podcasts like this. They’re probably not all aware that their thoughts are what caused their feelings. They probably blame the circumstances, most people going through the world operate that way. They think the circumstances they encounter, so the words that you say to them, are what directly cause how they feel.

In light of that, in light of human brains operating the way human brains always do; blaming circumstances for feelings, in light of those truths, it probably behooves you to give some thought to how your feedback is going to be received. And, to implement some of the best practices that I’m about to teach you in this episode, so that you can really increase the likelihood that the feedback that you give other people is received as well as it can be.

Again, it’s everyone’s own individual obligation and responsibility to control their emotional experience. I am not wavering on that at all. But what I am saying, is that when we get down to brass tacks, chances are not everyone’s doing that effectively.

We want to make sure we do everything in our ability to give feedback in, I don’t love this word, but the most constructive way possible. And, make sure that we do everything we can so that our feedback is well received, so it can be implemented and utilized in the most effective manner.

Now, there’s a caveat here, no matter how hard you try, and this might seem a little contradictory to what I just said, no matter how hard you try, you ultimately cannot control another person’s reaction to your actions, to what you say, or what you do. They’re in complete control of the reaction.

You can make the best attempt and undergo the best efforts to ensure that your feedback is well received, and they can still choose not to receive it. Well, that’s in their control, that’s in their power, that’s in their freewill. They still get to control their emotional response and how they act in response to receiving feedback.

These are some best practices that you can follow to make it more likely that the feedback is received well. Okay, step one, or best practice number one, is that you need to check in with yourself before you give the feedback. Ask yourself; how am I feeling in this moment? You want to make sure you find the one-word emotion that you’re experiencing.

If it’s negative, you don’t want to communicate feedback from that place. So, if you’re feeling frustrated, or annoyed, or exasperated, or disappointed, you’re not going to give feedback in the most productive, constructive way. So, you want to find the feeling.

And then, you want to find the thought that you’re thinking, that’s causing you to feel that emotion; what’s the thought? Identify it. It’s probably going to be a judgment of the other person, of what they did, of maybe what they didn’t do. Find that thought.

Chances are, it might even be a ‘should’ thought, which I’ve talked about in previous episodes. if it’s a ‘should’ thought, or another negative thought, I want you to ask yourself; can I change it? Can I replace this negative thought that’s causing this negative feeling, with a more productive thought? With maybe, a little bit more of a neutral thought? I love to think thoughts like: I wonder. I wonder why this person did it this way? I wonder what happened that got us to this current situation?

I also love to think ‘of course’ thoughts. I mentioned both of these tactics in the last episode. “Of course, this happened.” Maybe someone acted on brand and in conformity with how they always act. If they did, you really shouldn’t be all that surprised that you’re being confronted with the situation that you’re being confronted with, in that moment. So, can you get to an ‘I wonder’ thought? Can you get to an ‘of course’ thought?

I also just love to think that people are generally doing the best that they can, under the given circumstances. Maybe that gets you to a place where you feel a little bit of compassion, instead of those more negative emotions that I mentioned a moment ago.

Whatever the case is, you want to find the thought and find that feeling. And then, see if you can switch it out to get to a place where you’re thinking something a little bit more neutral, and feeling more neutral. You want to feel, maybe, understanding, or accepting, or curious, or motivated, or committed, any of those emotions will really serve you as you go about giving feedback.

Alright, step number two, you want to ask yourself some questions. First question I want you to ask yourself is what biases are you bringing with you into this situation? I’ve talked in the podcast before, about the labels that we assign other people and the judgments we make, and how those labels and judgments taint all of our encounters with the people in our lives.

So, if you have a really negative story that you’re telling yourself about the person that you’re about to give feedback to, it’s probably tainting the situation. What are your judgments of them? What do you think of them? Find the bias that you may be bringing with you into that situation. And, can you put a pin in it? Can you table it?

Ask yourself; how would you show up in this moment? How would you deliver the feedback? Or, would you even deliver the feedback, if you didn’t have that negative judgment about them? I also want you to ask yourself; do I have enough information here? Am I making any assumptions, maybe about what their motives are? What drove them to take whatever action they did or to not take a certain action? What information might you need?

Identify questions that you may want to ask to fill in the blanks. Maybe, before you go give the feedback. You also want to ask yourself; what result do I want to create in this encounter, in this exchange? Think about both the short-term and the long-term result that you want to create. And that’s going to inform both how you give the feedback, maybe what feedback you give, it’s going to be really instructive here.

Now, once you get clear on the result that you want to create, we’re going to work backwards. That’s the next step. Let’s call it step number three. I want you to decide on what you want to say when you communicate the feedback. Get really clear on exactly what you want to communicate.

Then once you’ve figured out the words that you want to say, I want you to find your ‘why’. Ask yourself; why do I want to say this? I want you to be brutally honest here. And then decide, do you like that reason? Does that reason, and does what you want to say, support your desired result? Or, are these things in conflict? Is what you want to say to the person really unlikely to lead you to creating the desired result?

Now this next step, step four, is pretty nuanced, but it’s really important. I want you to think about how the feedback, that you’ve decided upon in the previous step, I want you to think about how it’s likely to be received. And listen, I get it, we’re not mind reader’s. We don’t know for certain. But you are a human being, and you know what it’s like to operate in the world.

I’ve also talked to you a great deal about people’s likely response patterns. I want you to think about how is the person likely to feel when they receive that feedback? And, what will that feeling, that they’re feeling, drive them to do? What action will drive them to take? What results will it ultimately produce? I want you to remember; negative feelings drive people to take negative action, or no action. And negative action, or no action, is going to produce a negative result.

We can’t shame someone into improving; it just doesn’t work like that. So, if you ask yourself, you’ve decided upon saying whatever you’re going to say, and when you ask yourself; how is this person likely to receive this message?

If you think they’re going to receive it negatively, and they’re going to feel really negative emotions as a result, because they’re thinking really negatively about the feedback, or they’re thinking really negatively about themselves, they’re probably going to take a negative action, or no action. And, it’s not going to create the desired result that you want to create.

I get that this is really contrary to what a lot of us were taught, right? We were taught that you just need to light a fire under someone’s ass. And normally what we mean by that is, say something negative to them, kind of give them a talking to, a lecture, give them some “constructive criticism”, which really is just negative feedback. And they’ll course correct, they’ll do better.

But that’s not how human beings work. Right? A negative feeling’s going to drive negative action or no action. So, you want to think about; how do you want the person to feel? Maybe you want them to feel encouraged or motivated. What would they need to think about the feedback they receive, in order to feel motivated and encouraged? What would the feedback need to look like, for it to be easy for them to think those types of thoughts about the feedback they’re receiving? Really work through that.

They need to, maybe, think that this person has my back. This person is looking out for me. They’ve got my best interests at heart. They want to help me improve. They’re in this with me. They’re committed. Thoughts like that. They might need to think; it’s okay that I made a mistake. I’m learning. It’s okay for me to fumble sometimes. This isn’t the end of the world.

Think about how would you have to structure the feedback, to make it easy for people to think those types of thoughts? Instead of, really negative thoughts, like I’m a failure. I’m dropping the ball. Why can’t I figure this out? I should be further along. I shouldn’t be struggling with this. I’m pathetic. I’m inadequate.

If they’re likely to think those thoughts, based on the feedback that they receive from you, it’s not going to go well from there. They might shut down, they might procrastinate, they might withdraw, they might get defensive, that doesn’t lead to anything good. It’s definitely not the result you’re probably hoping to create by giving them that feedback.

Once you’ve identified what you want to say to them, go through it: Ask yourself; how are they likely to receive this? What are they most likely to think when they hear this from me, or read this from me? How ever you communicate the feedback. How are they most likely to feel as a result of thinking those thoughts? And then, based on that feeling, what are they most likely to do or not do? And, what result is that going to produce?

If you don’t like your answers to those questions, you want to go back to the drawing board and come up with a different way to communicate that feedback, or a different way to phrase that feedback altogether.

Once you’ve gone through all of that, then you’re going to finally start the conversation, with the person that you’re giving feedback to, whether that is an in-person conversation, over the phone, via email, whatever; you’re going to start the conversation. And if we’re being really honest, I work with a ton of people who have a lot of mind drama about emails.

I will probably do a whole episode on how emails have no tone, they’re neutral. And, we just think thoughts about them. But with that being said, it’s one of the points that I make that people argue with me about the most. So, maybe email’s not the best for giving negative feedback, right? Maybe we want to have that conversation in person or over the phone, that might help you out.

So, start the conversation. You’re going to start, and keep in mind those questions that you identified earlier that you may want to ask. Do you need more information? Do you want to know more about what happened, how you got to this point? Go ahead and ask all of those questions that you identified, and gather that additional information that may be relevant to the situation.

Once you’ve gathered that additional information, I want you to then decide if feedback still makes sense. Okay, maybe it will, maybe it won’t. You might have learned something new, and it put it in a completely different context, and you’re like, “I totally understand what happened,” and there’s no need to deliver that negative feedback.

But if you still feel as though it’s necessary to deliver that feedback, here’s what I want you to do next, this part is vital. I want you to get consent. Giving feedback that wasn’t consented to, that a person didn’t have an opportunity to opt into receiving, is a recipe for disaster; it’s going to feel like a punch to the gut, probably.

They weren’t expecting it, they didn’t have an opportunity to prepare themselves. You want to make sure you get consent and give people an opportunity to opt in to receiving whatever your comments are.

Also, they may not want the feedback. Sometimes, that happens. So, if they tell you ‘no’; they don’t want the feedback, they don’t want to hear your opinion, they don’t want to hear what you have to say, I want you to take a deep breath and just accept and honor their answer. Not everyone wants to know your two cents, even if you’re trying to be helpful.

You know, I work with a lot of people on self-confidence issues. And even though you may have really great intentions, you’re trying to help them, the negative feedback that they receive may be so harmful to their self-concept and to their self-confidence, that it may not do them any good.

It may cause them to have more self-doubt, to second guess themselves, to really feel embarrassed or insecure, unqualified. So, let people be the best judges of whether or not they are in a best position to receive feedback in the first place.

Now, if you get consent, you ask the person, “Hey, you know, are you interested in my thoughts?” Or, “I have some feedback for you, are you open to getting it?” And they opt in, make sure you don’t give the feedback before you actually get an answer from them. Don’t ask and then just go ahead and give it, that’s still consensual. It’s uninvited behavior until the person gives you an affirmative ‘yes’, and opts in.

Once you get consent from the person, to give them your two cents, then you can go ahead and give them the feedback. Again, step number one was check-in with yourself. Make sure you’re feeling a feeling that’s going to drive you to give that feedback in a way that serves you, and supports the result that you want to create.

Once you’re taking action from that emotion, you’ve cultivated it, go ahead and give that feedback. You’re in that positive energy, that positive feeling, take action and deliver the feedback from that space. And then, what I want you to do, I want you to get curious.

That’s one of my favorite emotions and one of my favorite activities; operating from curiosity instead of from judgment. Get curious with the person, and ask questions to understand how you or they reached the current result. Figure out the actual problem, you have to be curious with this.

You actually have to care what the underlying problem is. If you don’t care, it’s going to come across… If you’re like, “I don’t want to deal with this, I just want you to do better,” you’re probably not going to actually solve anything. So, you do, probably want to care and make it your business to find out what the actual underlying problem is.

Identify that problem, and I want you to be as specific as possible. If you were giving feedback to someone about their timeliness or their ability to follow through and hit an internal deadline, maybe someone you’re working with is struggling with that.

A lot of people will just turn around and say, “You know this isn’t working. You’re not measuring up. You’re not hitting internal deadlines, do better.” That’s not the best way to go about giving feedback here. Number one, it’s probably quite likely that the person who is hearing that is going to think really negative thoughts about themselves, once they hear that.

They’re going to feel discouraged and maybe embarrassed; probably isn’t going to lead to anything good. They’re not going to speak up. They’re not going to explain why they’re struggling with whatever it is they’re struggling with. They might withdraw. They might procrastinate some more. Again, none of that is going to produce the result you want to create.

So, instead of giving feedback like that, you might want to get into a place where you feel curious, or understanding, or accepting. And then, from there, ask questions. Deliver the feedback that you want them to improve, and they’re missing the mark. But then, get curious and figure out why they’re missing the mark. What’s the underlying problem here? Why are they struggling with hitting internal deadlines? Ask them to explain it to you.

If they struggle, try brainstorming with them: Is it because they’re underestimating how long assignments are going to take them? Why are they not communicating? How are they feeling? Are they uncomfortable communicating that they might miss an internal deadline? Are they just underestimating how long everything’s going to take?

Or, are they people pleasing and taking things on, or reshuffling their schedule, and the thing that they’re late on just keeps getting pushed to the back of their to-do list? Maybe that’s what’s going on because they’re unwilling to say ‘no’ and unwilling to feel guilty. You want to figure out whatever the underlying problem is because there’s going to be a different solution, depending on which specific problem you’re encountering.

Once you’ve identified that problem, the last step here, for giving feedback is to get a game plan with the person. I want you and them to decide what specifically, will change, what you guys will do differently in order to remedy the situation going forward. Everyone should be clear on exactly what you’ll do differently, in order to create the result you ultimately want to create, instead of the result that you’re currently dealing with.

Get that game plan; make sure everyone’s on the same page. And that way, your feedback is really useful and productive. You’ve given it, it was consensual, it came from a really good place energetically, and it’s specific enough and solution oriented to actually remedy the underlying issue, to course correct and get you where you ultimately want to go.

If you follow these steps, again, it’s not going to guarantee that every time you give negative feedback, it’s going to be well-received, but it is much more likely to be taken that way, if you follow these best practices. I wish you the best of luck in communicating any negative feedback, you have to communicate.

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

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

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Episode 19: Accepting Feedback (Without Getting Defensive)

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Accept Feedback Without Getting Defensive

The Less Stressed Lawyer | How to Accept Feedback Without Getting Defensive

Most humans struggle with accepting feedback. We frequently receive feedback from supervisors, clients, colleagues, friends, and family. It’s always coming our way and it’s unavoidable, so we need to learn to accept feedback without getting our feathers ruffled.

I came up against this feeling numerous times during my tenure in Big Law. I’d have an idea and be told “no” by one of my supervisors, and I found myself making it mean so many negative things about myself, which immediately put me on the defensive. But of course, these negative thoughts weren’t true, and he was just trying to steer me in the right direction. So, if you feel yourself tense up, immediately getting defensive when someone starts giving you feedback, this episode is for you. 

Receiving feedback can be a nerve-wracking experience, so tune in this week to discover how to stop thinking the worst of the comments and critiques you receive from your superiors. I’m sharing why getting defensive is never going to feel good, and what you can do instead when you get some feedback you don’t immediately love.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Where I’ve experienced serious defensiveness during my career in law.
  • How you make yourself feel when you get defensive and assign negative meaning to a reviewer’s feedback.
  • Why your idea not being accepted doesn’t mean you’re not smart or that your suggestion was bad.
  • The importance of working towards a neutral, drama-free space around receiving feedback.
  • Why you don’t need to get defensive and explain yourself, and the learning opportunity that is always available to you in these moments.
  • How to control the narrative in your brain when receiving feedback.
  • 6 steps to getting the outcome you want in feedback situations.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

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

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 19. Today I’m teaching you all about how to accept feedback without getting defensive. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hi, how are you? I hope you’re excited for today’s topic.

We’re talking all about accepting feedback without getting defensive. We have a ton to cover so I’m going to dive right in. I’m really excited to talk about this. I know how much people struggle with accepting feedback, and also with giving feedback, for that matter.

I’m going to talk about giving feedback in the next episode. I’m going to give some guidance on my top tips and suggestions, and how you want to approach it so it’s received as well as it possibly can be. Of course, we can’t control people’s responses, but we can undergo our best efforts and follow some best practices in order to make sure it’s well received.

But today, we’re not talking about giving feedback; we’re talking about accepting it. The reason I want to start here, is because we frequently receive feedback from clients, from supervisors, from colleagues, from friends, from family members, it feels like it’s always coming our way. So, we need to know how to receive feedback without getting our feathers ruffled.

Before we get started, I want you to think to yourself for a minute: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, how would you rate your own ability to receive feedback without getting defensive? Would you rate it higher on the scale? You think you’re really good at it? Do you struggle with this? Do you tend to get those feathers ruffled?

If you do, this is the episode for you. Before I guide you through the steps that I have for you today, I want to give you a little backstory, because as you know, by now, I love a good backstory.

On day three of my tenure in big law, I walked into a partner’s office, he had called me down, and he wanted me to conduct some research for him. So, he gives me the assignment, tells me to go in a bunch of different directions with the legal issue that I was researching, and just come up with any theories that I could think of.

I went back to my office, and spent a couple of days researching, and then I met with him again. I came up with eight different theories or directions to go in. I sat down in his office, in the chair in front of him, I gave him the printout of the email that I had sent with my different ideas. He started going through them one by one by one.

So, as he made his way through the list, I think the first one, he was like, “Yeah, pretty good idea.” Second one, he said ‘no’ and kind of drew an X through it. Third one, he was like, “I like that, let’s research that some more.” The fourth one was like, “That’s pretty good.”

Then, he got to number five, on my list of eight different ideas. I was particularly beholden to number five, I thought it was really smart. I thought it was a great argument to make for what I knew of the case. And again, day three in big law here, so it wasn’t like I was an expert in anything, but I thought it was a good idea. He very quickly just simply said ‘no,’ crossed it out, and moved on to the next one.

A few seconds passed, and before he had a chance to say anything about item number six on my list, I started to explain myself. I started to explain my thought process, explain why I included number five on the list, why I thought it was a good idea. I just started to explain, explain, explain. And that’s when he said it; he just looked up from the sheet of paper that he was going through, with the list of my research ideas, and very calmly he said, “You don’t need to get defensive.”

I remember hearing that and, in the moment, it felt like such a punch to the gut. That because I had such a negative connotation with getting defensive. My immediate thought was, “Defensive feels so weak,” and weak was the last thing I wanted to be, especially in front of this partner, right?

He went through the rest of the list, but all I could think about is, “You don’t need to be so defensive. You don’t need to be so defensive.” I went back to my office and that was still replaying in my mind, “Was I defensive? I don’t think I was defensive. I might have been defensive.” I was just really questioning myself, and I decided to just sit with it for a second once I got back to my office.

When I gave myself that opportunity to just take a deep breath, decompress and examine the exchange that had just taken place, here’s what I settled on: The partner was right. I was defensive in that moment. He got to number five, he dismissed it, for whatever reason, and I started to get defensive and explain why I included that, why I thought my reasoning was right. Why it was a good idea.

I asked myself, “Why did I get defensive?” And this is what I realized, I was explaining myself, and my thought process, and my reasoning because I want wanted him to think that I was smart. I took his comment, just the ‘no,’ that’s all he said, I took it to mean that my suggestion was a bad idea. I made it mean that he thought the idea was stupid. He didn’t say that. Right? He simply said, “No.”

My adorable brain gave meaning to the ‘no,’ and I made a logical leap. I took it a step too far. I read facts into the record that really weren’t there. I made his ‘no’ mean that he thought the suggestion was stupid. When I thought that, I felt really insecure and inadequate, and a little embarrassed, probably. And then, I started to explain myself to get out of that emotion, in order to convince him that I wasn’t stupid, and that my idea was intelligent.

As I reflected on this exchange, I started to ask myself; why would I make it mean, just a simple ‘no,’ why would I make it mean that he thinks my idea’s stupid? There are so many other things that I could choose to think instead of that very negative thought, that I also don’t have evidence to support.

Now, had he told me that he thought my idea was actually stupid, then it might be reasonable for me to think that he thinks my idea is stupid. But he didn’t say that, he simply told me ‘no,’ about a particular suggestion I had made. And then, he moved on to considering the other ones that I presented to him, in my little email memo.

There were so many other thoughts that were available to me, other than; he thinks my idea is stupid, or he thinks I’m stupid, or that I’m not smart, right? Why not choose one of those thoughts instead? So, this became such a valuable learning moment for me. I learned not to give meaning, that isn’t there, to any feedback that I receive. Take the feedback very literally. Don’t assign extra meaning to it, with my adorable thoughts that my primitive brain serves up to me.

And, instead of thinking that there’s anything wrong with receiving feedback, can I switch to an alternate thought? Something along the lines of: Of course, he’s giving me feedback, he’s my supervisor. I’m here to learn and he’s here to teach me. He has a lot more experience than I do at this, so of course, he’s going to steer me and guide me in the right direction. And not all of my ideas are going to be accepted. That doesn’t mean I’m not smart. That doesn’t mean a suggestion was stupid. It just means he’s imparting some of his expertise on to me, this is how I learn.

Now, ever since that happened, I’ve carried that thought with me. Every time I get feedback now, I don’t make it mean anything other than what the person actually said. I don’t explain or defend myself; I just learn.

I’ve also learned to ask better questions, because every time I tell this story about the ‘no,’ and the feedback and the meaning that I gave it, people always say, “Well, the partner should have given you more information about why he didn’t think that item number five on the list was a great idea.” And I tend to agree with that, but here’s the thing, I also could have asked, right?

So, we’ll get into that in a second, about the specific steps to follow with getting feedback. Ultimately, the takeaway here, is that you don’t need to get defensive, and you don’t need to explain yourself. There’s always a learning opportunity available to you.

If you struggle with receiving feedback, I get it. I’ve been there and have done that. But you don’t need to get defensive. I just want to state that for the record. I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to teach you exactly how to accept feedback without getting defensive.

Before we walk through the specific steps, I just want to take a second and really highlight why this is so important. Why you really want to make sure you master the skill. Listen, receiving feedback from a partner or a fellow lawyer can really be a nerve-racking experience.

Oftentimes, when our work’s critiqued, we tend to think the worst of whatever our reviewers are saying. We love to jump to conclusions, just like I did in the story that I just told you. We take their critiques as the referenda on our work.

Now, reacting this way is problematic for several reasons. First, when we assign such negative meaning to a reviewer’s feedback, we make ourselves feel terrible, just like I did. The meaning that I gave the feedback, just the simple ‘no,’ I assigned it that extra meaning, and then I made myself feel insecure, and inadequate, and a little embarrassed with my thoughts about the feedback.

You might be doing the exact same thing. You might be making yourself feel insecure or inadequate, misunderstood, or embarrassed, unsupported, or ashamed, based on how you think about the feedback you’re receiving. Remember, it’s not the feedback that’s causing you to feel that way, it’s your thoughts about the feedback.

Moreover, when we experience this kind of negative emotional response, in any given feedback situation, we tend to not respond well. Because remember, I told you this before, if you’re thinking a negative thought about the feedback, you’re going to feel a negative feeling. And you’re going to take a negative action, or no action.

Oftentimes, people will get defensive or beat themselves up and miss the opportunity to grow and learn. In other instances, a negative experience receiving feedback on one assignment will impact other work. Instead of negatively reacting and getting defensive and explaining yourself, like I did, it might lead you to start to shut down and just resist and avoid those negative feelings that you start to experience through procrastination, self-sabotage, and other avoidant behavior.

Whether you’re negatively reacting in an impulsive manner, explaining yourself, getting defensive, or you’re starting to withdraw, avoid and shut down, none of that’s good. Luckily, with the right strategy, you can control how you respond to receiving feedback.

So, to put your best foot forward and to continue to develop the skills you need for a thriving legal practice, the next time you receive feedback, you want to follow these steps.

Step one, first thing’s first, you want to make up your own mind. Before you submit any assignment or work product, on which you’re likely to receive feedback, I want you to decide for yourself how you think you did. You never want to let the first opinion you receive about your work be someone else’s opinion, you want to anchor your belief in yourself, first.

Doing that, will allow you to control the narrative during the feedback experience, and therefore control your emotional state through the process. This might sound like a silly analogy, but think of a glass of water. And then, think of the positive opinions about your work like blue dye, and negative opinions about your work as red dye. If you add your own opinion about your work first, perhaps you’ll add several drops of blue dye and maybe one or two drops of red.

You’ve decided first, and you’ve anchored the color of the water; it’s going to be a little bit more blue. Now, if someone else comes in with a negative comment about your work, their comment hasn’t changed the water read. If they add a little red dye, it’s just going to make the water a little less blue.

To make up your own mind first, you want to answer these questions: Are you proud of the work you’ve done? Don’t be unduly harsh or overly critical here. Just be honest. Identify the work product’s strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself and answer: What did you do well? What could you improve upon? We talked about this in last week’s episode about evaluating; what worked, what didn’t work, what would you do differently.

If you decide for yourself first, any feedback you do receive will have less of an impact. Asking and answering these questions yourself, before you submit work product for review, will also help you improve your work pre-submission, because it’s going to help you identify deficient areas that you may be able to improve upon before you submit the project for review.

Having done this will also enable you to ask targeted questions when you’re submitting something to your reviewer. If you’re questioning a particular portion of the project, you can just ask for pinpointed feedback on that section, if you’re doubting yourself. Remember, if you want better answers, you have to ask better questions.

Assessing your own work before you receive external feedback, allows you to ask targeted questions that will accelerate your learning and professional development. Another reason to self-assess is that oftentimes, you’ll actually find out that you agree with the person giving the feedback.

When you’ve made the assessment of yourself first, instead of taking the critique personally, you might simply see that you both agree that one or two sections of your work product could be improved upon. You might have a lot in common, as far as your feedback goes. In that case, amazing. Great minds think alike.

I see this so often when I’m coaching a client who’s received feedback. I’ll ask them, “Okay, well, do you actually agree? Do you think they totally got it wrong? Or, do you kind of see what they’re saying?” It’s so fascinating to watch my clients respond. They’re like, “Yeah. Well, I kind of did agree with it. It just felt awful.” And it’s like, “Okay, naturally.” It’s alright, if it doesn’t feel super comfortable receiving feedback that you don’t consider to be positive.

But you dialed down the discomfort of receiving it so significantly, when you actually see that you agree with the person. You make that process so much easier to achieve or access, if you make up your own mind first, before you receive the feedback. So, the feedback’s coming in, and they’re just agreeing with what you’ve already decided, rather with their opinion being the first one that comes in.

That being said, the step is still crucial, even if you don’t see eye to eye with the reviewer’s feedback. Making up your own mind first, puts you in the best mindset to receive feedback, and leverage it to learn the most from it. It also helps you build your self-confidence by teaching you to form your own opinions, and establish trust with yourself when it comes to your own work product.

So, you want to make sure you’re making up your own mind first, then you move to step two, which is find the facts. Once you’ve received feedback, you want to start by separating the facts from the story you’re telling yourself about them. More often than not, when someone says something to us, we instantly assign meaning to what they’ve said. Just like I did, when I heard the ‘no’ from the partner in the story, that I told you a moment ago.

Then, we use that assigned meaning in place of their words when we recount the events in our heads. Spoiler alert, and I’ve said this to you before, our brains aren’t always truth tellers. And sometimes they have a flair for the dramatics, here. All I got was a simple ‘no,’ that’s all the partner said, and I made it mean so many other things.

For example, envision a scenario where a partner reviews an associate’s work, and asks the associate to find a different case to support an argument in the brief. Or, to find a different clause to include in a contract, if you’re on the transactional side of things. Maybe this is in person, maybe it’s in an email.

If the email reads something like, “See if you can find a better case to support this argument.” When the associate reads the email, the associate might think, “The partner thinks I’m not a good researcher.” Or, if it’s a transactional assignment, “The partner thinks I’m not a good drafter.” Or, they might even take the partner out of it, and just make it mean that they aren’t a good researcher, they’re not a good drafter. Even though the partner didn’t say that.

The supervising attorney merely asked the associate to either find a better case or find a better clause. That’s all we know. That’s the circumstance. So, you want to make sure you separate the facts from the thoughts, from the story you’re telling about them, and stick simply with the circumstance.

Then, step three; identify your emotions. After you’ve received feedback, if you feel like I did in that moment, like you’ve taken a punch to the gut, I want you to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Remember, you want to find the one-word emotion that you’re experiencing in that moment? Do you feel embarrassed? Do you feel ashamed? Do you feel inadequate? Do you feel worried? Make sure you find that the one-word feeling.

How? If you struggle to put your emotional experience into words, I highly recommend conducting a quick Google™ search, it can be a huge help. Google a feelings wheel or a list of emotions, and scan through it. See which ones resonate with you the most, in that moment.

You want to get better and more skilled at identifying the specific feeling you’re feeling. It’s going to help you create so much awareness as to what’s going on in that brain of yours when you receive feedback. So, in the example I just gave you where the partner says, “See if you can find a better case to support this argument, or find a better clause to include in the contract,” you might be feeling, if you’re on the receiving end of that email, that statement, that piece of feedback, you might be feeling inadequate.

Now, why is it so important to name the emotion and to accurately identify it? Identifying the emotions you experience is so vital to receiving feedback, in a way that serves you and supports your long-term career goals. Because all of the action that you take or don’t take is caused by the emotions you experience.

So, if you’re feeling a negative feeling, like I said earlier, you will most likely take a negative action or no action at all. If you’re feeling inadequate, your default response is probably not going to be a productive one. You’re either going to withdraw, or you’re going to get defensive. Also, putting a name on your negative emotions helps you identify the thinking that’s causing your negative emotional response.

Contrary to popular belief, circumstances don’t cause your feelings, we’ve talked about that a ton on the podcast, your thoughts do. Now, when you receive feedback, oftentimes, you have a like guttural response to it. So, it may be easier for you to identify the emotion you’re feeling first, as opposed to identifying the thought first.

If that’s the case, that’s not a problem, just start with a feeling. And once you’ve identified how you’re feeling in that moment, you can use that as a clue, as intel, to identify the thinking that’s causing that emotional response.

Which brings us to step four; you want to examine your thoughts about the feedback. Now that you’ve identified your feelings about the feedback, you want to figure out, what’s the thought you’re thinking that’s causing you to feel that emotion? You can do this, just by asking yourself, “What am I making this person’s feedback mean about me?”

This will show you the thinking that’s causing that emotional experience that you’re encountering. Not only is it important to identify your thoughts about the feedback you receive, because your thoughts cause your feelings, your thoughts, ultimately create your results. You’ve heard me say that time and time again by now.

So, if you’re thinking a negative thought, you’re going to feel a negative feeling. And if you’re feeling a negative feeling, you’re most likely going to take a negative action or no action at all. And by taking a negative action or no action, you’ll produce a negative result. That’s all to say, your thoughts matter, a lot here.

To ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward, when you’re receiving feedback, you need to be aware of those default thoughts that are coming up for you. What are you making the person’s feedback mean? And the example that we’ve been working through, where the partner says, “See if you can find a better case to support this argument. See if you can find a better clause to include in this contract,” the associate may feel inadequate, because they may be making it mean that the partner thinks that they’re not a good researcher, or that they’re not a good drafter.

In this scenario, and this is the process that you want to walk yourself through when you get feedback, the circumstance is just what the partner said, “See if you can find a better case to support this argument. See if you can find a better clause to include in this contract.” The thought that the person receiving the feedback might think is, “The partner thinks I’m not a good researcher, or I’m not a good drafter,” and then they feel inadequate.

You just want to really get clear on that causal relationship. What are the facts? What’s the thought you’re thinking about the fact, about the feedback? And how is that thought making you feel?

Now, step five; you want to resist the urge to defend yourself or beat yourself up. Once you receive feedback that you perceive to be negative, your natural instinct might be to defend yourself, or to beat yourself up, bully yourself, kind of be a mean girl or a mean guy in that head of yours. Just to talk to yourself with some really negative self-talk.

I want you to resist the urge to do both, or either; to defend yourself or to beat yourself up. When we get defensive, we stop listening. And what happens is that we reduce our ability to learn or become better attorneys as a result. We also prevent ourselves from understanding the other person’s position.

Maybe they see something we don’t. Perhaps they have a piece of information that we haven’t been made privy to. When we get defensive or we just start beating ourselves up, we reduce our ability to access this information, especially when we start arguing our point and getting defensive.

Same thing with beating ourselves up, it doesn’t do us any good. Shame and growth don’t coexist, because if you’re feeling that negative emotion, you’re not going to take a positive action. So, thinking about yourself in a really negative manner, is only going to make you feel worse, which in turn is going to cause you to show up worse.

If you want to show up well, you can’t beat yourself up along the way. Instead of taking action in a default pattern; feeling inadequate and beating yourself up, distracting yourself, engaging in negative self-talk, maybe defending yourself, over-explaining, withdrawing at work, procrastinating on other assignments… Instead of doing that, which the only thing you’re going to do, if you take those actions, is to not learn and not improve, I want you to resist the urge to go down that path.

And instead, pause, just take a breath. Think about how you want to show up in this moment, having received feedback. Defending yourself probably won’t create the result you want. Every once in a while, you may disagree with feedback you receive, and believe that, in this example, the case or the clause you’ve selected is actually the best option. And that making a change and following the partner’s instructions would be a disservice to the client or to whatever piece of work product that you’re working on.

In those situations, I want you to check in with how you’re feeling before you advocate your stance. If you’re feeling defensive, misunderstood, or frustrated, you want to make sure you shift into different energy before you make your case. Before you advocate for your position, get curious about the person who’s giving you the feedback. Get curious about their position. Ask questions. Gain a better understanding. Become more aware.

You might want to take a second or two, to gather your thoughts and organize your argument, before you go in and advocate your position. Then, from a much more intentional place, you can approach the person who gave you the feedback with that strongest case for why you think your position should prevail. And the example that we keep working through why your case or clause should be included.

Taking action when you feel confident and compelled, is going to have a much different impact than doing so when you feel righteous and frustrated. Now, in order to change how you feel, to get out of that negative feeling and into a more positive emotion, you need to change how you think.

Which brings us to step six; you want to reframe your thinking. In order to create the result that you want, in any given feedback situation, you need to intentionally select your thoughts. Remember? That’s because your thoughts create your results.

Now, if you’re thinking a negative thought, like I said, you’ll feel a negative feeling, you’ll take negative action or no action, and you’ll produce a negative result. If you’re thinking a positive thought, you’ll feel a positive feeling, take a positive action, and you’ll produce a positive result.

So, you want to make sure, in feedback situations, you’re reframing your thinking in order to get you to a positive thought. Here’s how you do that. Number one, to reframe your thinking, I want you to consider the source. People are going to have opinions, they’re humans, we can put in parentheses, unfortunately. So, they get to have them. But that’s just how it works. People are going to have opinions.

You get to decide whether you give their opinions any weight. In deciding exactly how much weight to give an opinion, I want you to consider the source. Is this person a supervisor? If so, maybe they have more experience, and they’re trying to teach you something. Is this peer? If so, perhaps they’re trying to help you.

Is the person that’s giving you feedback a friend or a family member? If so, maybe they feel worried for you or concerned, and they’re reacting from that emotion. Is this person a client? If so, maybe they’re nervous about the outcome of a case, or afraid about what might come in the future.

Considering the source allows you to put the feedback into perspective, and it helps you move closer to feeling understanding, instead of feeling those negative emotions that you experience as soon as you received the feedback.

You can also just choose to not give weight to opinions that come from people who haven’t done what you’re doing, or what you’re attempting to do. You don’t have to make their opinions mean anything about you. You can literally just discount them; you always get to decide. So, consider the source and then decide if you want to give the sources opinion any weight.

Next, to reframe your thinking, I want you to decide on the result that you intentionally want to create instead. Do you want to defend your point? Or, do you want to create the best work product? Those two things may be at odds with one another. Do you want to learn and improve? Or, do you want to be defensive and argue or debate?

When you identify the desired result that you want to create, what you end up doing is you illuminate the action that you need to take, in order to accomplish and achieve that result. If you want to defend your point, the action that you’re going to take will be to defend your work. If you want to learn, improve your skills, and create the best work product possible, you’re probably not going to take the action of getting defensive. You’re going to get curious, instead.

When you get defensive, you don’t learn anything. If you truly want to learn and improve, then you need to stop explaining yourself, because that’s not how you learn. That’s how you defend. Defending yourself teaches you nothing. In order to learn, you need to operate from curiosity. So that’s what you need to do next, you need to get curious.

Now, what exactly does getting curious look like? It looks like asking a lot of questions. Instead of explaining why you included a certain clause in the contract or case in an argument section of a brief, I want you to ask why the partner nixed it. Just like I could have asked the partner why he didn’t think item number five was a good idea. That’s how you’ll learn.

Have the person tell you exactly how they came to the conclusion. Whatever conclusion they made in their feedback. Come to understand their analysis. Maybe they’ve handled a previous matter where this issue, the exact same issue, came up before. What did they learn that’s informing their decision now? That’s the intel that you want to get.

If a peer is giving you advice, ask them what they’ve previously encountered, to see if they have experience in this area. That’ll inform how much weight you give their opinion. If a friend or family member’s giving you negative feedback, feedback that you perceive to be negative, because of course, it’s always just a thought. But if you perceive it to be negative, ask them how they’re feeling. What are they concerned about? Learn what’s driving them.

If a client’s complaining about something, ask them why. What are they concerned about? How are they feeling? Are they afraid, nervous, frustrated, maybe? Then, ask them why. Once you find out the feeling, just ask them why they’re feeling that way. What are they afraid might happen? What are they nervous about? Why might they be frustrated? What do they want you to know? Help them help you by asking them questions from curiosity, not from judgment.

If you ask questions to any of the people I just listed; a supervisor, a peer, a friend or a family member, a client, any of those people, from judgment, it will come off that way. It’s like bad perfume or bad cologne. You want to truly be curious. Ask those questions. Gather more information. Let it inform how you want to proceed, and how you want to value or weigh the feedback you’ve received thus far.

Then, you want to find an alternate thought. If you want to create a positive result, by taking positive curious action, you need to feel curious and understanding. In order to feel curious and understanding, you need to think thoughts that cause you to feel those feelings. In order to do this, I want you to ask yourself; what can I think about the exact same circumstance, the feedback I received, in order to cultivate those emotions? What do I need to think about the feedback, in order to feel curious and understanding?

Thoughts that start with ‘of course,’ will often help you feel understanding: Like, of course, they gave me this feedback. Of course, they’re giving me this direction or guidance. Of course, they are going to give me feedback through my supervisor. That’s literally their job.

That will help you feel understanding. Or, of course they’re saying this because they feel nervous. Of course, they’re telling me this because they’re trying to be helpful. Whether or not it actually is helpful, is an argument for a different day. But if you can get yourself to an ‘of course’ thought it will help you conjure the feeling of understanding.

Thoughts that start with ‘I wonder’ will usually generate a feeling of curiosity: I wonder why they’re telling me this? I wonder why they said that? I wonder what they know that I might not know? All those ‘I wonder’ thoughts will conjure up a feeling of curiosity. So, use these sentence starters as prompts, and complete the sentences in order to cultivate those emotions for yourself.

Whatever the feedback is that you received, just finish the sentence. “Of course, they said that…” fill in the blank. Or, take the piece of feedback and finish the sentence, “I wonder what…” fill in the blank. That will help you feel more understanding and feel more curious about the feedback that you’ve received.

Another way to slip into feeling curious is to ask more questions. What does the partner see that perhaps you don’t? What are they worried about? What might they be wanting to achieve by making the change that they suggested? What are they looking for?

If you struggle with answering these questions yourself, excellent. That just means you’ve uncovered an opportunity to operate from curiosity and gather more information from the person who gave you the feedback, by asking more illuminating questions.

So, if you don’t know what they want to achieve by making the change, go ask them. If you don’t know what they’re looking for, go ask them. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s just an opportunity.

Now, an example of an alternative thought, and the example that we’ve been working through where the partner says, “See if you can find a better case to support this argument, or a better clause to include in this contract.” You could think a thought something along the lines of, “Of course, the partner’s giving me feedback. They’re my supervisor, I’m here to learn. They’re just here to teach me,” and it might make you feel understanding.

And the action that you’re going to take in that situation, is to not get defensive, to not beat yourself up, and to just focus on the work and make revisions, the suggested revisions. What result do you create when you do that? You show up and learn. You receive the feedback without getting defensive, and you allow the partner to teach you something.

Another option for an alternative thought here might be, same exact circumstance, you might think, “I wonder why he thinks a different case or clause would be better?” And that ‘I wonder’ thought is going to make you feel curious. And when you’re operating from curiosity, what you’re probably going to do, is not get defensive or beat yourself up, but instead, ask for additional feedback or insight.

As a result, you’re going to learn from the partner and make the additional work easier, because you’ve gained a little bit more clarity. Now, once you’ve changed your thinking, you’ve changed your entire feedback experience. Because your thoughts create your results, right? Your thoughts cause your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, and your actions produce your results.

So, if you change your thoughts about the feedback you receive, everything else will change, too. Remember, you get to choose what to think about the feedback that you get. That means you always get to choose to settle upon a thought that serves you. If you want to think negative thoughts about the feedback you receive, you totally can. You get to choose to do exactly that.

You just want to know and like your reasons for making that choice if it’s the choice you make. Start by asking yourself; does it serve me to think negative thoughts about the feedback that I just got? If the thought doesn’t serve you, if your answer to that question is ‘no,’ I highly recommend, don’t continue to choose thinking it, if it doesn’t serve you. Ultimately, you get to choose.

Those are the steps to accepting feedback without getting defensive. I just want to go over them, really briefly, once more, so they stay fresh in your mind. Step one; before you open yourself up to getting feedback, make up your own mind first, about how you think you did. Then, submit it for feedback.

When you get the feedback, step two; you want to find the facts. Figure out exactly what the person said. Separate the facts from the story that you’re telling about yourself. So, find just the words they said, what their exact feedback was.

Step three; identify your emotions. How are you feeling? Find those one-word feelings. Identify them very specifically, so you can gain some more awareness.

And then, in step four; work it backwards. Ask yourself, examine your thoughts. What are you thinking that’s making you feel this way?

Step five; once you’ve gotten clear on the thoughts that you’re thinking, and that are making you feel the negative feelings, I want you to freeze and resist the urge to defend yourself or beat yourself up. And instead, I want you to take a breath and move into step six, and reframe your thinking.

How do we do that? We consider the source that we got the feedback from. We decide on the result we want to intentionally create instead, and work backwards. What do we need to do in order to create that result? How do we need to feel? And what do we need to think?

I also want you to get curious, as part of this process. Get curious about the feedback and conjure up a sense of understanding and curiosity, and then find an alternate thought to think instead. A positive thought that creates the result you want to create in that moment. Rather than the negative result of beating yourself up or getting defensive.

Alright, my friends, you’ve got this. That’s what I have for you this week. 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 18: Sunday Self-Audits

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Sunday Self-Audits

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Sunday Self-Audits

How often do you take the time to reflect on your week and consider everything that happened? Sometimes the simple, straightforward processes are the most impactful, and this week, I’m sharing a tool with you that will help you evaluate, make improvements, and stop going through life on autopilot.

Sunday self-audits are simple, straightforward weekly evaluations that help you figure out where you need to make changes or improvements to your projects and goals. You can do them any day of the week, and they consist of three questions to help you evaluate each week and stay in the winning or learning process.

Join me this week as I share what a Sunday self-audit is, how to do one, and how doing this exercise can change everything for you. Find out what you can gain from doing a Sunday self-audit, and why doing them is a sure-fire way to live a more intentional life and get further faster.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why beating yourself up and being a bully to yourself doesn’t serve or motivate you.
  • The importance of celebrating your wins.
  • How to have a curious mindset when you do this work.
  • Why there is no such thing as failure.
  • The importance of focusing on the good as well as the bad.
  • How I make improvements to the way I show up in my life and business.
  • The reason Sunday self-audits are so helpful.

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!
  • Click here to download the free worksheet to help you with Sunday self-audits.

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 18. We’re talking all about Sunday self-audits. 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.

Hey there, how we doing? I am so good. I hope you are, too.

I have so much that I am celebrating over here. I’m going to tell you all about it, for just a second. First of all, I am celebrating the completion of the Mastermind Live event that I did last week; you guys, it was so amazing! It was absolutely wonderful seeing everyone in person, getting them all in the same room with me and with one another. That was so neat. I just loved it; the dinners were great. The learning was great. The camaraderie and the collaboration were so incredible, as well.

I just loved all of it. I’m already looking forward to the next one. And if you’re like, “Damn, I don’t want to miss out on all the action next time,” make sure you’re on the wait-list for the next round of the Mastermind.

You can get on the wait-list, for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, by visiting my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com, or by going to the link in my Instagram bio, and my handle’s @thelessstressedlawyer. So, either of those ways; you can get on the wait-list, so you stay up to speed about all of the details.

You know what else I’m celebrating? I’m like, so excited about this. I finally achieved something huge that I’ve been working on in my business for about a year now. This is the first week that I have achieved and will enjoy a four-day work week. What? I know, how amazing is that?

I set this goal in motion about a year ago. I decided that I wanted to only work Monday through Thursday. I didn’t want to decrease my income at all, but I didn’t want to work Fridays; I want to just have Fridays to myself. And I started making small tweaks and changes over time, in order to accomplish it.

It took me a while. I had to set some boundaries in place. I had to allow myself to feel some discomfort, some guilt, some worry, a little anxiety, all of that was fine. I was able to gag-and-go my way through feeling those feelings. And I finally made it here. I finally blocked off every Friday for the rest of the year, no more work. I do, do webinars on the last Friday of the month, but aside from that, no more work on Fridays.

So, I’m celebrating the living daylights out of that. It’s truly something I couldn’t have imagined for myself a couple of years ago. And, now it’s done. Give that some thought.

Maybe there’s something in your life that you can’t imagine for yourself, right now. Maybe it’s a four-day work week, maybe it’s something totally different. But whatever it is, I just want to offer you, you can make small tweaks and changes over time, and eventually get yourself there. It’s totally possible. If you want my help, that’s what I’m here for.

Now, speaking of help, I’m introducing you to a tool that I use with my clients all the time; something that I teach, that I find to be so helpful. It’s called a Sunday self-audit. Now, what is that? What are Sunday self-audits?

They’re weekly evaluations that you complete. And they’re really simple and straightforward. This is not a complicated process. I call them Sunday self-audits because I love a good alliteration. But if I’m being really honest, you can do them absolutely any day of the week. If you’re not working weekends right now, or that’s something that you’re working on, not working weekends, I might recommend doing your weekly evaluations on Friday afternoons.

Some people that I work with wait until Monday mornings to do them. I don’t love Monday mornings, I’d prefer either a Friday afternoon or a Sunday, probably the middle of the week doesn’t make much sense. But the world is your oyster, you get to pick what day you do your self-audit. I like to do mine on Sundays. That feels good for me.

Now, regardless of what day you pick, you do want to make sure that you stick with doing the self-audits weekly. I find that, that is a frequent enough evaluation cycle for them to be detailed and specific, for you to really be able to use them, and make incremental changes as the weeks go by.

You can do them monthly. I just personally don’t think that’s frequent enough. And most people don’t want to do them daily. I think that’s a little bit of overkill, unless you’re really working on time management, time blocking and not procrastinating. That might be an instance where you do want to do a daily evaluation.

But I like weekly; I think it’s frequent enough. It’s going to be detailed enough because not too much time has passed, so you’re gonna get a lot out of it. You’re going to really drill down into the weeds, identify the problems that are coming up for you, and make very pinpointed, specific changes in order to address those problems and solve for them.

Okay. So how do you do a Sunday self-audit? The process is super simple. It just consists of three questions, and you may have heard me mentioned these before on the podcast. But I did want to devote an entire episode, just a short and sweet little episode to Sunday self-audits, so you know why I suggest doing them, you know how to do them, I walk you through it.

The self-audits consist of three questions: First question is what worked? The second question is what didn’t work? And the third question is what will you do differently?

You don’t need a worksheet to do this, you can just do this yourself on a legal pad or a notebook. But because I love you, I’m putting my worksheet, that I give to my clients, in the show notes for you to download and print if you find it helpful. If you’re like me, and you love a good worksheet, you can go to the website for this episode, download it, and use it to do your own.

I promise you though, completing a Sunday self-audit is not more complicated than asking and answering those three questions. Now, although this is simple, I’ve got one caveat here: Don’t half-ass this process. I’m really tempted, I’m just gonna say it because I can’t stop thinking it, use your whole ass when you do a Sunday self-audit.

Actually answer each of these three questions really thoroughly. Assess what worked. Figure out what went well over the course of the past week. And don’t you dare say “nothing.” So many of my clients love to do that. They always want to say, when I asked them what worked this past week, they want to answer, “Nothing. Nothing worked this week, It’s all gone wrong.” And that’s simply isn’t true.

Our brains love to go to the negative here and bypass the things that did work. But, nope, I’m not going to let that fly. All right? And I don’t want you to let it fly either. I want you to force yourself to find the things that did work, to find the things that you did do well. I don’t care how big or small they are. I want you to make a list. What worked? Celebrate your wins.

Beating yourself up, I’ve talked about this time and time again, over the course of the episodes that I’ve done already, it doesn’t serve you. It doesn’t motivate you. Being mean, being a bully to yourself isn’t a motivator, contrary to popular belief.

You need to be your own hype-person here. You need to celebrate your wins. Focus on what worked, what you did well, and that’s going to set you up to go into identifying what didn’t work, over the course of the past week, from a much more positive place. You’re going to go into that second question with a curious mindset, not a discouraged mindset; not a defeated mindset, not a judgmental mindset.

You want to make sure you build yourself up first, so you can bring a curious, inquisitive mind to identifying and problem solving for what didn’t work. So, that’s where we move next; going to identify specifically what did not work over the course of the past week.

I want you to also ask, as part of that; why didn’t it work? For extra credit here, for my overachievers, you can begin to identify the negative thoughts that you were thinking; that caused problems, maybe the actions that you took that didn’t serve you, or any inaction that you indulged in.

You can also identify the negative feelings that you were unwilling to feel; that you resisted, avoided, or reacted to, that drove you to take actions that didn’t serve you, or to, again, indulge in that inaction. You want to be specific with what didn’t work here. The more specific you are, the easier it’s going to be to problem solve for it. I don’t want you to skimp when it comes to completing this step. Really flesh it out.

Lastly, be just as specific with figuring out what you’ll do differently. So, you’re going to take a look, at that list you made of what didn’t work over the past week, and for each item, you’re going to solve for it. For each thing that didn’t work, ask yourself; what am I going to do differently, in order to get it to work in the week ahead?

Don’t simply say you’re just going to do better next time, or something equally as vague or ambiguous. Be specific here. Come up with a plan that you’re going to implement. And if you aren’t sure what the solution is, for what didn’t work last week, just guess. That’s how you make changes and improvements, you don’t have to know all of the right answers, right?

There may not be a right answer. There may be a lot of different answers, and you get to pick one and test a theory. It’s like science class, experiment here, you guys. Come up with your hypothesis, and then test it out in the week ahead. Going forward, see if it works. And then if it doesn’t, you take another guess and see if that works.

Basically, the process I’m describing to you, is you act, and then you audit, and then you adapt: Act, audit, adapt. Act, audit, adapt. Over and over and over again. If you don’t get it right the first time, you get to take another stab at it. That’s the best news ever, right?

Now, why do you want to do Sunday self-audits? Number one, completing a Sunday self-audit prevents you from going on autopilot. Most of us just go through our day-to-day lives, really unintentionally, proceeding on autopilot. And honestly, how are you going to learn and improve, if you don’t evaluate? Most people just look at their week and say, “No, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to. That didn’t go so well, as I had planned.”

Instead of taking time to do a meaningful evaluation, they basically just shrug their shoulders and say, “I’ll just do better next week. I’ll just do better next time.” But literally, how will you do better? What changes will you implement? What theories will you test out? You want to be answering those questions. You want to know the answers to those questions.

That’s how you improve, instead of just proceeding on autopilot. Proceeding on autopilot really doesn’t pan out in the long run. You don’t get where you want to go. Or, if you do, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get there than if you’re meaningfully evaluating.

The second thing that doing a Sunday self-audit does, is that it forces you to focus on the good, not just the bad. Your brain loves to go directly to what doesn’t work. It likes to bypass what’s working. It has a tendency to go into the negative and focus on that, to spend its time there. You want to direct your brain and focus, be a truth teller, and give equal airtime to both stories.

So, you’re going to start by focusing on what worked. That’s really important. You’re going to feel a lot more confident and feel better about the job you’re doing in your life, when you give equal airtime to what’s working, what you’re doing well, and not just focus on what you’re not doing well. It’s gonna be a big competence boost for you.

This process also makes you look at what you did, that didn’t serve you, other than avoiding it and burying your head in the sand. Sometimes we don’t like to take a look at our behavior, it’s easier to just ignore it entirely. This doesn’t let you do that. It makes you look under the hood of the car, so to speak, and figure out what’s going on, why there’s problems in the first place, what’s causing them.

It makes you become very aware and take a look at what you’re doing, that’s leading to the results that you have, that you may not like. So, again, it’s keeping you intentional. And it also gets you focused on solutions instead of problems. Because of the third question, what are you going to do differently to fix what didn’t work?

You’re focusing on those solutions; on coming up with those theories, testing a hypothesis, implementing, tweaking, improving constantly. Rather than, just dwelling or spinning in what’s not working, and kind of chasing your own tail; not making any improvements, not making any progress.

This process gets you out of that. It forces you to focus on finding a solution and then working on implementing it, and then evaluating again. Also, last but not least, the best part of this process, it keeps you from failing; everyone’s least favorite F-word, certainly mine.

One of the things that I teach my clients is that there’s no such thing as failure. That’s a hard concept for people to grasp. I’ll do an entire episode on it. I’ve just unsubscribed from failure; that it’s something that you can do. I don’t believe in it anymore.

What I teach people is that so long as you don’t quit, you can’t fail. Because failure requires an endpoint from which you measure. So as long as you don’t create an endpoint, by quitting, you can’t ever fail. You’re always just winning or learning. Winning or learning. Winning or learning.

By evaluating each week, you’re staying in that winning or learning process. You’re evaluating, and then constantly taking action, auditing, and then adapting. And the action that you take, you evaluate it again, audit, adapt: Act, audit, adapt. Over and over and over again, so you stay in that winning or learning cycle. You’re just constantly improving.

That way, you’re never failing, right? You’re either winning, or figuring out what’s not working, learning from it, and improving as you put that into practice. It’s a constant self-improvement cycle. That’s what you get when you do these Sunday self-audits.

Now, I know this seems overly simplified, so much so, that you may be tempted to think that doing a Sunday self-audit won’t make a difference. I assure you, it will. Sometimes the simplest, most straightforward processes are the most effective and impactful. This is one of them.

I use evaluations in my business all the time. When I do something big, like the live event that I did for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, that gets evaluated through this process; what worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently? I also do this with the webinars or the public speaking that I do; what worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently?

I do this with my weeks, generally, on Sundays, like I told you. That’s how I make improvements to the way that I manage my time; how I treat my calendar, or interact with my calendar, how I set up my business, how I split my time between coaching and working with my clients, and doing things like business development, or working on my business behind the scenes.

I also use this process with other goals I set. I’ve used this with; losing weight, or getting organized around my house, decluttering things, reaching financial goals in my life, learning to drink less and change my relationship with alcohol, that’s something that I’ve worked on a ton.

So, you can use this evaluation process both with work and in your personal life. Just evaluate your week, really comprehensively. Focus on work and the personal stuff because it all blends together; one impacts the other and vice versa. But you can use this process to evaluate and make improvements on absolutely anything that you have going on in your life.

Think about it for a second: What goals are you working on right now? What are you working towards accomplishing? Whatever those goals are make sure you make weekly evaluations part of your goal accomplishment process. Figure out what’s working; do more of that, whatever’s working, always do more of it. Then, figure out what’s not working, and very specifically determine what you’ll do differently to solve for what’s not working.

Completing these self-audits is a surefire way to live a much more intentional life and to get further faster.

Alright, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week. 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 17: Resting and The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Resting and The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Resting and The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

I haven’t always had a healthy relationship with rest. Like so many lawyers, I had a nasty habit of pulling all-nighters when something was due, and I know a lot of people see their colleagues operating on very little rest and think they’re superhuman. But the chances are they’re burned out beyond belief, and if you continue down the same path, you will be too.

There is an Italian phrase I’ve been coming across more and more lately, and it’s one I needed reminding of: dolce far niente. This means, “The sweetness of doing nothing.” This is exactly how I think about resting, giving yourself a break from doing and allowing yourself to just be, and the sweetness this practice has to offer.

If you’re currently believing that overworking is more productive than resting, you need to listen closely this week. I’m sharing why efficiency isn’t just doing, doing, doing, and how you can turn your hustle mindset around so you can enjoy the benefits that come with proper rest and sleep.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What overworking, chronic exhaustion, and burnout look like.
  • The problem with comparing and despairing, thinking you should be doing more.
  • My own story with overworking, hustle culture, and burnout.
  • The carcinogenic effects of depriving yourself of sleep.
  • The important differences between sleep and rest, and why you can’t have a better relationship with sleep until you learn how to be at rest.
  • How to get to the core reasons for why you don’t like resting.
  • Why a well-rested mind and body allow you to do better work in less time.
  • What you can do to show yourself that resting is far more productive than overworking.
  • Simple ways to incorporate more rest into your life, and how your life will change as a result.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 17. We’re talking all about Resting and the Sweetness of Doing Nothing. 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.

Hey there, how’s it going? As I sat down to record this episode for you, I actually had to laugh to myself because I have been doing quite the opposite of nothing.

So, it’s kind of funny or ironic that this is this week’s episode, because I’ve just been over here crossing things off my to-do list, left and right, for the upcoming mastermind live event. And by the time you hear this, all of my work will have come together to fruition and the event will be over. Which kind of makes me sad, but also super excited, because I can’t wait for everyone to be in Detroit, in person, and for us to get to work.

If you followed along on social media, because I did a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff on Instagram, I’ll probably have a highlight posted there. You can go check out the behind-the-scenes stuff if you missed it, and you’re just hearing about it now. But if you followed along on social media, and you’re like, “Oh my god, I have to make sure I don’t miss the next round of the mastermind,” listen, mark your calendars.

I mark my calendar months and months in advance for the mastermind that I’m a part of, with my business coach. As soon as I know the dates for the enrollment period and for the live event, they go right on my calendar, so I don’t miss a beat. Everything’s aligned. I already have the time blocked off, so I never have a conflict.

I just wanted to give you that suggestion so you can do the same thing, if you want to make sure you’re in the next round of the mastermind, and then you’re at the next live event. If you’re like me, I get crazy FOMO when I see a bunch of people, masterminding together.

Enrollment for the next round of the mastermind opens November 1st; make sure you put that on your calendar. And then, the next live event; it’ll be three days, in person, will be February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of next year, 2023. So, make sure that goes on your calendar. If you need to pause this audio for a second, go create that calendar event so you can plan accordingly.

Alright, now that we’ve got that squared away, let’s dive in to today’s topic. We’re talking about resting and the sweetness of doing nothing. This is actually an Italian phrase that I’ve seen a few times recently, which means the universe must be speaking to me. I think when messages keep coming at you in different arenas from different avenues, you’re meant to see that message. This one’s definitely been coming to me.

And the phrase is, “dolce far niente,” which means the sweetness of doing nothing. To me, that’s how I think of resting; I think of it as the sweetness of doing nothing. You give yourself a break from doing, and you just allow yourself to be. For me, there really is a sweetness to that practice, to doing nothing. It’s something that I really enjoy. It’s one of my favorite ways that I get to spend my time, just doing nothing and being with myself.

Now, let’s get really clear about what I mean by the word “rest” here. Rest is not the same thing as sleep. Sleep is sleep; rest is rest. They are different things. In fairness, I used to be terrible at both of them. So, for someone who is going to preach to you today about the power of practicing both well, having a healthy relationship with both…

I do want to be really candid with you guys, and tell you that this used to be a big struggle for me. I had a really nasty habit of pulling all-nighters. It started when I was an undergrad, during final season, and then it would get exponentially worse as I went through law school.

When I worked on trials as a law clerk, I would hardly sleep. I would also hardly sleep when I studied for finals, at the end of every semester. I would always have to play catch-up because I was working full time throughout the semester. And then, I would cram, towards the end of the semester, to fit in a semester’s worth of coursework in the period of two or three weeks.

So, there were a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of all-nighters. And, for the sake of transparency, I’m also really honest about this, I am not a superhuman. That came, A: At a huge expense to my health. But I also pulled those all-nighters. I like to say that they were sponsored by unprescribed Adderall.

That’s not something I’m proud of, but I do think it’s really important to be transparent about that. I know a lot of people who see colleagues, and they’re like, “God, I wish I could operate like that on so little sleep.” I think people used to think that about me because they see it as something like, “Oh my goodness, you’re kind of like the Energizer Bunny™.” Not naturally, you guys.

So, keep that in the back of your mind if you’re comparing and despairing, and thinking that you should be doing more. Other people might be “energy juicing,” as they say, or “academic juicing,” in order to be able to pull those crazy hours. I just want to be really transparent about that.

Now, my refusal to rest and sleep reached an all-time high when I was practicing law. And then, go figure, cue the burnout, right? That’s when the burnout started to enter the situation. At the same time, I was starting to really experience all of the negative effects of burnout, I also met my friend Kelly Campana.

I met her in the course of completing the certification program that I went through, to become a life coach. Kelly’s so incredible. She is a coach for C-Suite women in Fortune 500 companies. I consider her one of the best coaches in the business. She’s such an inspiration to me, and she’s really taught me a ton about this topic.

Anyways, I met Kelly at the height of my burnout, and I’m sure she could see the exhaustion and lack of rest and sleep written all over me. It was probably as clear as day. If you think you’re hiding your lack of sleep and exhaustion, well, ask someone around you; you’re probably not.

In Kelly’s previous life, she had also been a chronic over-worker. So, she knew the telltale signs of overworking, of exhaustion, of burnout, all of it. Lovingly… As we started to become friends during the course of our certification program, and then afterwards, during catch-up conversations that we would have with one another, she would always talk about her rest routine. And how wonderful sleep was. And how it played such an important integral role in her life.

Now, I think it’s really important to mention that she talked about this in a really loving way. She just led by example, right? She didn’t preach to me; she didn’t tell me what I needed to do. She didn’t tell me that I should or shouldn’t make changes. She didn’t “should” on me. She just led by example. She talked about her relationship with rest and sleep.

Honestly, when she first met me, I was full-on Gordon Gekko energy here. I fully believed that “Money never sleeps.” I was all about the rise and grind mantra, hustle harder, can’t stop; won’t stop. I think I even used those hashtags back in the day, which I’m not proud of. But again, full transparency here. I had really bought into that hustle culture, hook, line, and sinker.

Again, honestly, if given a chance at that time… If you would have given me the option to just never sleep, I would have taken it. I really viewed sleep and rest as being useless, unproductive, inefficient. If I could have opted out of it, I would have. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I didn’t have to do this. I wish I could just skip sleep entirely and operate without it.” That seemed so much more efficient to me.

So again, lucky for me, Kelly didn’t preach. She just led by example; a well-rested, wonderful example. She kept talking about this nighttime routine she had, and how well rested she was, and how getting lots of sleep really helped her thrive the following day. It started to plant a seed. This didn’t happen overnight, but I started to entertain the idea that my really brilliant friend might be onto something.

I met Kelly in the fall of 2018, and it took me quite a while longer to finally come around to address my Adderall dependency, and my affliction to rest and sleep. But I finally did. And I credit Kelly for getting that process started, or at least helping me to get that process started.

Now, once I stopped taking Adderall, I literally could not function on the lack of sleep that I once did. So, I had to start making peace with sleeping. When I did, imagine this; my life started to change. Right? I felt so much better. I started to realize I was giving myself an opportunity to gain a different perspective about sleep. I was experiencing sleep differently.

And I started to realize that overworking was far less productive than resting and sleeping. I had it flipped. I thought overworking was more productive than resting and sleeping, in the beginning. But as I started to rest and sleep more and more, I realized that, actually the opposite was true.

I can think back to times… I remember typing on my computer, being so exhausted that I would fall asleep in the middle of typing a sentence, because I was so sleep deprived. I really pushed my body to its absolute limits. At the time, I just felt like it was the right thing to do, to just keep working until I literally couldn’t anymore.

But the truth is, that working like that, with hardly any sleep, it honestly slowed me down. My cognitive functioning was significantly impaired. My analytical skills were impacted. Everything took me longer, and it wasn’t as good as it would have been had I approached it with a well-rested mind.

Those three sentence emails took me forever to write. I was slower mentally. I really struggled to articulate things. I second-guessed myself; just everything took longer. Working in a state of exhaustion like that was inefficient, was unproductive, not the other way around.

As I started to see this, I started to change my thoughts about getting regular rest and sleep. And then, I’m not quite sure how I found it, but right around the same time, so this is early 2020, I listened to Matt Walker’s TED Talk called, “Sleep Is Your Superpower.”

In that TED Talk, he talks about the carcinogenic effects of consistently depriving yourself of sleep. Now, as an ex-smoker, I clearly understood at that time, that cigarettes are carcinogenic. And that’s why we don’t, probably, want to smoke, because they have really negative impacts on our health if we expose ourselves to them long-term.

But I had no idea that a lack of sleep could also have that much of an impact on our health. So, if I’m going to quit smoking, I probably want to quit depriving myself of sleep, for the exact same reason. At the time, when I learned this, I was like, “What? You’ve got to be kidding me. A lack of sleep, like I know, it probably causes fine lines and wrinkles, and maybe I’ll age a little prematurely if I keep doing this to myself, but cancer?” That seemed insane to me.

So, this was really the wakeup call that I needed; that not sleeping can actually kill you. Since learning that, I have completely changed my relationship with sleep. If you are hearing this, and you’re like me, and you’re like, “What? You’ve got to be kidding me, Olivia.” Go listen to Matt Walker’s TED Talk, “Sleep Is Your Superpower.” It will probably blow your mind, just like it blew my mind. And it will likely change your relationship with sleep. If you have a habit like I used to have of constantly depriving yourself of it.

Now, I sleep like a normal human, and I love it. I function so much more efficiently and effectively because of it. So, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is nice to like sleep; I enjoy my bed, now. I like climbing under the covers late at night. I, like Kelly, now have a nighttime ritual. I like to sleep with it being really cold in my room, it helps me fall asleep more quickly, and stay asleep throughout the night.

Find your groove with sleep. Embrace sleep into your life if you have an affliction or a negative relationship with it. That’s a bit of backstory. And, you guys know, I love a good backstory.

But sleep is not exactly what I want to talk about today. Again, sleep is sleep; rest is rest. And I want to talk to you today about rest. But up until this point in the story, where I started to learn about Matt’s TED Talk, and introduce myself back to the world of sleeping like a normal human being, I really didn’t understand the difference yet between sleep and rest.

Once I jumped on the regular sleep cycle bandwagon, in early 2020, because my relationship had changed with it, and I started realizing how impactful it was to have regular sleep, I wanted to tell everyone that I knew about it. About the whole overworking, and working-while-tired schtick was just a total lie. I started to scream it from the rooftops a little bit. I wanted people to learn what I had learned.

Hopefully, with a little less struggle, and a lot less burnout than me, than the way that I had to learn this lesson. So, in June of 2020, some months later, I hosted a virtual summit called, Thrive and Five. It was a five-day long event. Obviously virtual because it was like the height of COVID back then. I had over 30 speakers come, and they talked about every topic over the sun. We talked about all things mindset, relationship related branding, legal innovation, and leadership. So, everything from personal to professional.

It really gave the attendees everything that they would need, in all areas of their lives, to live lives with less stress and far more fulfillment. So, as I was putting this event together, on the mindset day, I knew I wanted to have Kelly speak about sleep and rest, and our relationship with both of those things, and the mindset that we need to have in order to do them effectively.

I call up Kelly, I told her about Thrive, and I asked her to speak to the Thrive and Five audience about sleep. I was so excited to have her do that. She listened intently as we’re on the phone, took a long pause, and then she told me “no.” Admittedly, I was pretty shocked. I was like, “What? You don’t want to?” Then, after another long pause, she goes, “I’m not going to talk about sleep. But I’d love to talk to them about rest. Because they can’t have a better relationship with sleep, until they learn how to rest, until they learn how to be at rest.”

The profound nature of the statement, honestly, went over my head a little bit, because I replied to her and said, “What’s the difference, Kelly?” And then she told me; she explained to me that rest isn’t what you do when you’re asleep. Learning to be at rest is something you do while you’re awake. It’s a state of being not a state of doing. It’s about stopping activity. It’s just sitting with yourself; allowing yourself to do nothing.

The benefits of this are it increases your physical and mental well-being. Now, sleep is certainly a restful state. But sleep is when you’re sleeping, right? It’s a disengagement, that’s a lot different than just resting. So, resting, you’re awake; sleep, you’re not.

Because I think Kelly’s brilliant, I told her to talk about whatever she wanted to talk about to the Thrive audience. Then, I went back to planning the summit; I had a lot of things to do. When the day came, I watched her present and teach the audience about resting. Honestly, she blew my mind.

Despite being a little skeptical about this whole rest business, I started to give it a try. And lo and behold, just like with sleep, Kelly was right. Resting, truly resting, is the practice of doing nothing.

So, it’s sort of like meditation, not a guided meditation, where you’re listening to someone prompt you and tell you what to do, and where to focus your mind. That’s still you consuming information, consuming content. True rest eliminates consumption. You don’t have to process anything external. So, you finally get a chance to process what’s internal, in that head of yours.

In Kelly’s talk, she started to explain that one of the ways that you can begin to practice rest is to pick an amount of time where you let yourself not consume; you just sit with yourself, you just let yourself be. So, that’s how I started my practice. I have breaks in between my coaching sessions throughout the day, so that’s when I started to implement this and work it into my schedule.

In between my coaching sessions, I would just lay down, do nothing for about 20 minutes or so. No phones, no distractions, no nothing. Now, as I started to practice this, I really fell in love with doing this, with spending time this way.

Here’s why. Number one, it gives my brain a chance to process things. So, I think of it like clearing out my mental inbox. You can’t get to mental inbox zero, if you’re constantly taking in new information, listening to podcasts, listening to music, reading things, scrolling on your phones, doing, doing, doing. Your brain has to process all of that new information, so you never give your brain a chance to be at rest, to take a breather. That’s exhausting.

Also, when you stop consuming and you quiet your brain, you give it a chance to start creating. You access your creativity. You access your problem-solving skills. This is why you get your best ideas in the shower. For most of us, we are not consuming information, music, or other content while we’re in the shower.

That’s not true for everyone, I know. With the advent of technology and waterproof phones and things like that, a lot of people are starting to consume while they’re in the shower. So, if you are doing that, I want to encourage you, maybe give it a little rest. While you’re in the shower, give your brain that 10-minute, 15-minute breather.

Okay, now again, the first way that you can practice resting, being at rest, is to just lay there or sit there and do nothing, for a period of time. If you’re lying there, and your eyes are closed while you’re doing this, I think that this is actually what a catnap is, and you are welcome to disagree with me. But I used to hear about catnaps all the time.

I’m not someone who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I used to date a guy who could fall asleep… He was like those baby dolls, where when you lay them down their eyes close, that was him. He could fall asleep in, I don’t know, 10 seconds or less, I think. That is not me. My mind is normally racing so it takes me quite a while to fall asleep.

I never really understood the concept of catnaps. I couldn’t wrap my head around people who could lay down and actually fall asleep for 20 minutes at a time. I’m like a two hours-or-nothing kind of girl. But with that said, I started practicing resting like this, for 20 or 30 minutes, of doing nothing, and just being there.

Then, I’d go back to work. I started to realize how refreshed I would feel afterwards. How I get this boost of energy that I would feel throughout the rest of the day; like way better than coffee, you guys. So, it started to dawn on me, I’m like, “Maybe that’s what a catnap is. It’s just like laying down and closing your eyes for 20 or 30 minutes.”

That’s kind of my definition of a catnap. Maybe yours is different, if you’re like my ex, and you can fall asleep pretty quickly. But that’s not me. So, these 20- or 30-minute breaks of closing my eyes and just lying there doing nothing, that’s my kind of catnap. And it’s really refreshing. It’s really restorative, very energizing for me.

As I started to rest my mind more and more, the silence started to become a little addictive. It felt so good to clear out my mental inbox and give my brain a chance to process information, and access its creativity. Just give it a chance to rest, to breathe, to recharge, essentially.

I started incorporating more and more silence throughout my day when it came to doing other activities, outside of these 20 to 30 minute “catnaps,” where I would just lay down and not really do anything. I started incorporating silence in more places.

Now, I usually drive in complete silence. I have friends who think I’m a complete lunatic when it comes to this. They’re like, “How? How do you do that? You sound like a serial killer.” I promise you, I’m not. But I do love it. I love driving in complete silence, especially on longer car rides. It really gives my brain a chance to think of different things, clear out that mental inbox.

I also like to walk in complete silence. I used to go for walks, and I would listen to something, like a podcast episode. And now, I just give myself that time to take in my surroundings, to think, to brainstorm. I just let myself get really quiet. I give my brain that additional break.

The more and more I do this, the more and more essential it becomes in my life. It is one of the reasons I’m able to create big things like; this podcast, the mastermind, all the content that I create, my webinars. Because I just give myself a chance to let my brain run wild and think of things.

As it’s become an essential, integral part of my life and I’ve realized the benefits of doing this, I started to talk about my rest practice more and more and more. And it’s so fascinating to see people’s responses when they hear that I give myself a mental break like this. People are normally horrified if I’m being really honest. They’re like, “How? Why would you do that?” They really find it impossible to be that still. To do nothing. To just be alone with themselves and their thoughts.

In fact, I had talked to a couple people about this recently, and they thought it was so bizarre, it inspired me to do an Instagram poll. I asked people if they had the ability to sit with themselves and just do nothing for 20 minutes. And every single person, aside from one, said, “Absolutely not.” The one person I know: she’s my cousin. She was like, “Yes. I love to be alone with myself.” I’m like, “Of course, you do. We’re so similar that way.”

But everyone else saying, “Absolutely not,” was really striking to me. I was blown away. It got my gears turning. I started to think about and explore the different reasons why people really struggle with practicing rest.

Number one, I think it feels super unproductive, and feeling unproductive feels awful to a lot of people. They’ve bought into the belief that they should always be doing something. That that’s what’s valuable; is to constantly be doing. It feels like they’re wasting time, otherwise. They perceive wasting time as one of the worst things you could do.

Another reason that people don’t practice rest, is that they won’t carve out the time because of other people’s demands on their time; work, kids, maybe their partner, their spouse. This is really going to look like a lot of martyrdom. Like, “Maybe I’d love to have that, but it’s just not something that’s accessible to me because people constantly need me.” It’s going to look like a lack of boundaries, or very weak boundaries.

I think people also tell themselves that they’re bad at doing nothing. That they’re bad at being still. That they’re not good at it. And who likes to practice doing something that they’re not good at? Not most of us.

I think people also, just don’t like to be alone with themselves and with their minds. They think it’s scary. They think it’s going to be a dark place. Maybe you don’t talk to yourself kindly, so being alone with yourself isn’t an enjoyable experience. If that’s the case, rather than avoiding doing this, you want to work through that. That is your work; to become someone who talks to yourself more kindly.

Another reason people don’t rest is because they haven’t tried it. You assume it’s going to feel terrible, so you avoid it without giving it a chance. If you tried it, you might actually really like it. I think one of the reasons that people assume that it will feel terrible, is because they assume that they will be bored. And being bored is something that we, nowadays, perceive to truly be a problem. It should be avoided at all costs.

I’m using “should” really loosely here because I don’t believe that at all. I think being bored, giving yourself an opportunity to experience boredom, is really something that benefits you. It’s not a problem. We access a lot of creativity when we’re bored. When we’re bored, we typically problem-solve for the things in our lives that aren’t working. It gives us an opportunity to address what’s not working, what we’re tolerating.

So, we want to give ourselves a chance to experience boredom. But bored is really uncomfortable for people. That’s been an emotion that I’ve really had to work on allowing rather than resisting, avoiding, or negatively reacting to. So, that’s probably a reason that you don’t practice rest, too, if you have an aversion to being bored.

 And then lastly, you won’t practice rest, if you don’t think you’ll gain anything from it. So, I just want you to hold space for the belief that practicing rest can be really beneficial in your life. Rest, just like sleep, can be a superpower.

A way to think through that list of reasons, that I just went through, and ask yourself; which one of those reasons resonates with you the most? Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s a combination. But you want to gain that awareness. What are your thoughts about resting? And why don’t you want to do it if you don’t want to do it?

Here’s what I want to offer you. First and foremost, don’t knock it till you try it. It can be really beneficial. I want to go so far as to say, it will be really beneficial, if you give this a chance. Give yourself an opportunity to experience the benefits of practicing rest, and then make up your mind. Don’t make up your mind beforehand, and just assume that it won’t help or that it will be awful. You might be surprised.

Also, if you struggle with embracing the sweetness of doing nothing and resting, I just want to tell you, this is a skill set that you can build. Even if it’s not easy for you at first, you can work on this and make progress. I once had a client ask me… We were talking about practicing rest, and it is not a skill set of hers. It’s not a superpower of hers, or at least it wasn’t at the time.

She wanted to practice the sweetness of doing nothing, in order to realize the benefits that I’ve listed in this episode. She asked me if she should start with 20 minutes of a guided meditation? Or, five minutes of doing nothing? And I asked her, I kind of already knew the answer to this, but I asked her, “Which of the two would be more uncomfortable for her?” And she said, “The five minutes of doing absolutely nothing.” And I said, “Great, do that then.”

Of course, I think she was hoping that I would say the 20 minutes of guided meditation, but I told her to start with the five minutes. So, that’s my recommendation for you. If you want to be at peace in your body, you have to be at peace with being alone with yourself, in your mind.

The way to become someone who is at peace in their body, with their mind, is to start small and build the skill set, build this practice. So, start with five minutes of doing nothing. Evaluate how you feel after the five minutes; what do you think about? It’s okay, if you think about all the things you have to do, that’s your brain processing. That’s not a problem; let it do that. Let the thoughts come and go

Again, this is sort of a meditative experience. You’re just noticing what comes to mind. What works through your brain. What you realize. What you notice; that’s normal. So, start with five minutes, evaluate how you feel afterwards. And then, do this every day; five minutes every day.

Increase it a minute each week. So, seven days of five minutes, then seven days of six minutes, seven days of seven, all the way until you can get to 20. I think 20 is a really great number. If you can do more than that amazing. But 20 is going to give you that restorative benefit, like that catnap I talked about.

Now, if you’re bored at first, that’s okay. It’s okay to be bored. We bend over backwards and do, what I call backward handsprings, to avoid being bored nowadays. It gets us into a lot of trouble. A lot of our bad habits and coping mechanisms come as a result of our unwillingness to feel bored. In a world of constant entertainment. We need to be able to put the world on mute, and process everything. We need to be able to be alone with ourselves and in relationship with ourselves.

So, if you struggle with this, you want to build the skill set. And for your own sake, I want you to know, if you have an inability to be alone with yourself, ask yourself, “Why?” If you don’t like resting and the sweetness of doing nothing; why not? What is it that you don’t like? Get really specific here. You want to gain this understanding about yourself.

And then lastly, how do you need to think about being with yourself, to feel differently about it, so that you’ll do it? What benefits might you get from this practice of resting? Explore it and find out for yourself. Report back. Let me know how this goes. I would love to hear about it.

Alright. That’s our show. Have a beautiful week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 16: Following Through and Being Consistent (Part 2)

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Following Through and Being Consistent (Part 2)

The Less Stressed Lawyer | Following Through and Being Consistent (Part 2)

Last week, we talked about being consistent, and I gave you a repeatable process to practice to become someone who follows through every time. Now you have the how-to, I’m offering you some tips to help you speed up your success in building the skillset of consistency, the common obstacles that you can expect while learning how to follow through, and how to overcome them.

This is going to require you to be honest with yourself and get super clear and constrained around what you’re committing to and following through on. This is important because once you know you’re going to follow through on everything, the need to be selective with your energy and focus grows, otherwise, burnout won’t be far behind.

Tune in this week as we continue our discussion around following through and being consistent. I’m showing you how to define consistency for yourself, how to be discerning and decide what you want to commit to, and how to define what this process is going to look like for you specifically.

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

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

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The importance of constraint when it comes to your commitments.
  • Why you should never commit to anything you don’t actually want to do.
  • How to decide specifically what you’re aiming for and what consistency looks like for you, so you can measure your success.
  • The common thought errors I come across when helping clients with their consistency.
  • Why becoming consistent isn’t about being perfect.
  • How to speed up your ability to become consistent and keep things manageable when building the skill of following through.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 16. This week we’re picking up where we left off talking about Following Through and Being Consistent Part 2. 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.

Hey, my friends. How are we doing today? I hope you are awesome. I am awesome, right now. I’m getting so excited. The live event for the mastermind, The Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind, is right around the corner.

I’m just in the process, over here, getting the last-minute plans in place. I’ve ordered the swag and waiting for it to arrive; I can’t wait to see it. I’ve got the menus picked out for the two incredible dinners I’m hosting. I’m putting all of the finishing touches on the live event. And I can’t wait to see it all come together.

I can’t wait to meet everyone that’s coming, in person. I have a couple former clients that are in this round of the mastermind. And then a lot of the people who are in this round, are also new clients of mine. So, I’m so excited to meet all of them. Whether they’re returning to work with me in a group setting, or if it’s the first time I get to work with these masterminders, I can’t wait.

We are going to get to work. There’s two full days of training. We’re going to cover all the things; really get them to the place where they’re able to reverse engineer their own goals, see the roadmap forward to create the results, and identify some of the obstacles that have been holding them back and getting in their way, and implement strategies to overcome them. So, I can’t wait.

I hope you have something going on in your life that you’re equally excited about, and that you’re equally looking forward to, like I am with this. If you do have something like that, I just want to offer you this; just relish that feeling, just for a second. Isn’t anticipation awesome?

I used to work in a cigar bar, years ago, as a bartender. One of the owners of that cigar bar, he used to say that anticipation is half the fun. And, if I’m being honest, he was talking about something a little bit more risqué. But I think that concept applies to so many different aspects of our lives.

Anticipation is half the fun. So, when you experience it, savor it, savor that anticipation. Sometimes we can be so excited to get to our destination that we rush past the other fun parts, like that anticipation. So, don’t rush past it. Really notice it, relish it, enjoy it, take it all in if there’s something that’s coming up for you that you’re excited about, that you’re really looking forward to.

Alright, speaking of things that we’re looking forward to, I know you’re excited to hear about part two of following through and being consistent. So, let’s get down to business. In the last episode I talked about following through and being consistent, and I laid out a repeatable process that you can follow to practice following through.

If you struggle with following through, if you’re not someone who thinks that they’re good at it, and you tend to stumble or struggle, but you want to become someone who consistently does follow through, you want to go back. Make sure you listen to part one of this two-part episode so you can start to implement those strategies that I talked about.

Just to highlight them again, briefly here. Here’s what I told you to do: First, you’re going to want to commit to building the skill set, not only for what following through provides you result-wise, but also for the sake of simply being someone who follows through. You have to commit to being someone who’s committed to following through.

Next, I talked about cultivating the follow-through mindset that you want to have. Instead of telling yourself that you’re bad at it, you want to find better thoughts to practice when it comes to following through: You can think that you’re working at it, you’re learning how to follow through, sometimes you follow-through. Finding a different thought, even if it’s just slightly better than what you’re telling yourself right now about your ability to follow through, it’s really going to make a big difference in how you approach practicing following through.

Then, I told you to pick one task to complete or one habit to build. You want to make it small and simple. If you have to, set a minimum baseline, and have it be repeatable, so you can get those reps in and build the muscle of following through over and over and over again. The more often you get to do it, The more at bats you have, the faster you will build this skill of being someone who follows through.

Then, I talked to you about gamifying this process a bit, by creating a new reward system. I use marbles in a jar, but you can use glass beads, anything that allows you to get that visual. Instead of having a reward system from not doing the task that you committed to, you start to replace it with a new reward system. Every time you complete the task, that you promised yourself you would do, you add an object to the jar. It switches the dopamine that gets released from avoiding it, to following through with it.

Then, it just comes down to taking action. So that’s the next step. You’re going to do the thing that you said you were going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, regardless of the discomfort. And then, each week, I want you to evaluate your progress. You’re going to act, then you’re going to audit, and then you’re going to adapt. Go through and figure out what didn’t work; what you’re going to do differently through that evaluation process.

Alright, so that’s the 50,000-foot view of the follow-through process that I walked you through last week.

Now today, I want to talk about a few more important aspects that are relevant to following through. Specifically, I want to offer you some tips that will help you speed up the success you have with building this skill set. And, I also want to discuss some common obstacles that come up for people when they’re learning how to follow through, and how you can overcome them.

My first tip is to practice constraint. Be really honest with yourself about the lift that the commitment that you’re making requires. I know I mentioned this, when I told you to pick one task or habit at a time and focus on that one thing when it comes to following through. But in addition to practicing following through, I want you to just practice constraint generally here, with what you commit to.

I’m super honest with how heavy of a lift each commitment I make is likely to be. So, I don’t take on a ton of stuff. I’m very selective about the commitments I make; I practice constraint. And it’s because I know I’m going to follow through. And I know what following through requires of me; I know what it takes to do that. I don’t ever underestimate the investment of time, energy, mental focus, any of it. I accurately understand what is going to be required; how heavy of a lift it’s going to be with all of those resources. So, I’m very selective with what I choose to commit to.

I want you to do the same thing. Practice constraint; more isn’t better, here. More is just more. You want to be selective. Pick the things that will really make an impact. And start small, don’t try, and do all of the things.

Another tip, if you’re picking a repeatable task to practice the skill set of following through, and it’s something that you want to be consistent with, I want you to define what you mean by consistent. That definition is going to be different for everyone. You need to know what you’re aiming for specifically, so you can measure your success.

Also, when you define consistent, it helps you reduce the amount of negotiating that you do with yourself. So, think about this, if you’re like, “I want to exercise consistently,” what does that mean to you? We want to come up with a definition of the frequency, the parameters, how often, for how long. How do you define consistency in this context?

For me, this also comes up a ton with posting on social media. I defined showing up consistently, on social media, as about four times a week on average, for me. Now, I don’t pick the specific days that I’m going to post. I have some trends that I tend to stick to, just because I know what works for my audience and how the algorithms respond to me. But outside of that, I’m not perfect. So, if I say four times a week, and I miss some of the days that I normally post, I just know the back half of my week is going to be a little bit more content heavy than it might normally be.

You can do the same thing with exercising. Or, you can say, “I’m going to define consistent as every day, or once a week.” You get to define consistency; what it means for you. But I want you to define it. So, you’re not negotiating with yourself, so you know what you are committing to, and what you need to follow through with, as you’re practicing the art of following through.

Okay, another tip here is don’t pick something to commit to that you don’t actually want to do. I know that seems really intuitive, and probably obvious, but I watch people pick commitments that go outside of their preference all the time. So, think of it this way. Think about waking up early.

I used to do this too, back when I practiced law, especially when I worked in big law, I would tell myself, “I’m going to wake up at 5am. Successful people always say they’re waking up at 5am.” And thank goodness, I fell into a crowd and a community of people that really broke that limiting belief for me. And now, I know you don’t have to wake up at 5am in order to be very successful.

That was something that I would “commit” to because I never followed through with it. I said that I wanted to do it, and that I would do it, and then I never stuck to that plan. It’s because I don’t want to wake up at 5am. It’s really that simple. It’s not my preference to wake up that early.

I used to either wake up at midnight, and then I’d work from midnight until 7am, and then get ready for work, which I do not recommend. That’s when I was really caught up in hustle culture and had some really unhealthy habits around overworking. Or, I’d wake up at 7:38 am. Five a.m. was just a no-go for me; it is truly not my preference.

Even when I started building this business, I would tell myself, “Let’s wake up at 6am. Let’s get the day started. Let’s get a head start on what you want to do, what you want to accomplish. That’s what it’s gonna take to be successful.” And then, I would set my alarm, and every single day, I would hit snooze. I wasn’t following through on the commitment that I had said that I was making, about what time I was going to wake up. It’s because I don’t want to wake up at 6am, either.

So, instead of continuing to force myself to work to wake up, at a time that I don’t want to, and then miss the mark and beat myself up about it, I just decided to commit to something that is actually aligned with my preferences. Now, I wake up at the time I actually want to wake up, which for me is about eight o’clock; between 8am and 8:30am. I like that. Every once in a while, I wake up a little earlier, but that’s pretty much my average. It’s my preference, I plan my day around it; it works for me.

Other things that I see people commit to, that they don’t really want to follow through with and then they really struggle to follow through: Dieting, exercising, drinking water, things like that. Or, people will pick things that they think they should commit to, but they don’t actually care about. Like, staying on top of laundry or having a clean sink.

Whether you don’t actually want to do it, or you don’t care about doing it, don’t pick those things to practice the art of following through with. I also want to highlight here; you want to be on to yourself. There’s a big difference between wanting to do something and wanting to want to do something.

So, you might want to want to exercise every day, or you might want to want to lose weight, but you don’t actually want to. Because wanting to lose weight, actually losing weight, would look like eating at a calorie deficit, or maybe cutting out some of the foods that aren’t supporting your weight loss.

Maybe you want to want to work out every day. But truly wanting to work out every day, would look like working out every day. So, catch the distinction there. Do you want to do the thing that you’re committing to? Or, do you want to want to do it? Either because you think you should, or it would be nice in a perfect world, whatever the case may be.

Also, “should” as your reason, isn’t a good enough reason for committing to something. It’s never coming from a positive place. “Should” is really unmotivating; normally makes us feel badly about ourselves, very discouraged, frustrated, disappointed with ourselves, or guilty. So, “should-ing” on yourself is not going to get you to follow through. Find a better reason for making whatever commitment that you make. Don’t let “should” be the only reason that you pick something for commitment.

Now, I want to talk about how your perfectionism tends to make an appearance and prevent you from following through. You may know you’re a perfectionist, so some of the things I’m about to explain might seem obvious to you. But many of my clients, sometimes, don’t realize these habits are subtle ways that their perfectionism is showing up in their lives and sabotaging their success when it comes to following through.

So, let’s talk about it. How is your perfectionism preventing you from following through? One of the ways this comes up is, you want to start with the biggest, most meaningful commitment first. I see this all the time; people will want to pick the biggest task or challenge that they encounter throughout their workday. And when you start with something really big, it’s going to be a heavy lift. So, it’s going to require more discipline, more commitment, more discomfort allowance.

You’re going to have to gag-and-go through all the discomfort that’s going to come up for you. And it’s going to probably require more of your time, more of your focus, all of it. And because it’s going to require more of all of those assets I just mentioned, it’s going to be harder for you to follow through. So, that’s a no. You don’t want to start with the biggest, most meaningful thing first. It’s simply just going to be too heavy of a lift, if you haven’t built the skill set of following through.

Think about lifting weights at the gym; if you never work out, you can’t start by lifting 300 pounds. It’s not going to work. You won’t follow through with it. It’s going to be too heavy. And then, what you’re going to do, is tell yourself that you’re bad at lifting weights, when you aren’t. And, you wouldn’t be if you started small, built muscle, and eventually worked your way up to the heavier weights.

The same thing is true with practicing the art of following through; you don’t want to start with the biggest thing, first. You want to start small, with the lighter weights, with the lighter lifts, the smaller commitments that require less of you. And then, build that muscle, get those reps in, practice. You’ll work your way up to the heavier lifts, being able to tackle those bigger projects, those bigger tasks.

I get that you want to make the most progress, that’s why you want to start with the biggest thing, first. But it’s a thought error to think that the way that you make the most progress, is by starting with the biggest thing first. It’s not; that will actually slow you down because you’re not going to get anywhere, fast. You’re probably going to get discouraged. And then you’re going to quit. So, small, and steady wins the race here. Remember that.

Another way I see perfectionism pop up, when it comes to practicing following through, is people will start over from zero. If they start taking action, practicing following through, getting that repeatable task in every day, those reps, and you miss a day. People will want to have a perfectly clean record, so they say that it doesn’t count, the progress that they’ve made thus far, and they start over from zero. That’s a no, ma’am. I want you to not do that. Resist the temptation to restart the clock.

What happens when you start off from zero, even though you think that that serving you, it’s not. Because, cue the discouragement… When you are counting those marbles in a jar, or keeping track of your progress, and then you decide, just because you slipped once or twice, or let’s be honest, even a couple more times than that, you think that you need to start over from zero and go at it from a fresh clean slate, you’re really not going to be motivated. You’re going to be discouraged to keep going. So, you want to resist the urge to start from scratch, it doesn’t serve you.

I also see people, rather than starting over from zero, they’ll just quit altogether because of an imperfect track record. That’s definitely your perfectionism making an appearance here. And you want to resist the temptation to throw in the towel, to quit, just because you’ve taken imperfect action.

This happened to me recently. Every Friday I send an email to my email list. It’s content that I don’t share anywhere else, on any social media platform. So, if you’re not on that list, you want to make sure that you’re on it. If you go to the link of my bio on Instagram, you can get on that list. But anyways, I send out this email every Friday at 6pm Eastern. And it’s just a little dose of inspiration straight to your inbox. It’s just a thought that comes to me throughout the week. And then, I send it out, kind of like a little love note to guys.

I decided a long time ago, almost a year ago I guess, that I was going to do this consistently. Now, I defined consistently, which means every week and then, I decided at what time I was going to do it, by 6pm on Fridays. When I first made the decision to make this commitment, it was a little clunky in the beginning. I wasn’t used to following through with this new task yet. So, I did it imperfectly, and then I evaluated; I figured out what was working, what wasn’t working.

I started to get in the swing of things and really hit my stride when it came to drafting and sending out these emails each week. Throughout the past year there have been, I don’t know, less than five times where I’ve missed the mark. I just haven’t sent the email out like I planned to. Typically, what I find, is that it’s when I’m traveling either for work or for pleasure. But this hasn’t happened at all recently.

I’ve been really good about it, I’ve been really consistent, I’ve been following through. Until May, when I had two back-to-back Fridays where I was traveling; I spoke in Connecticut at a CLE, and then I went up north for Memorial Day weekend with friends. Both Fridays, it didn’t dawn on me until about 4:30pm, that I hadn’t written an email yet.

I was already engrossed in my schedule for the day, and I didn’t want to take the fifteen to thirty minutes, that it would have taken me, to stop what I was doing, go draft the email, set it up in MailChimp, and make sure it scheduled to send out at 6pm. So, I made the executive decision in that moment, that I was going to purposely miss sending out an email on Friday at 6pm.

Now, I liked my reason for making that decision at the time. But that being said, this is a commitment I made to myself, so I evaluated; “Why am I missing two weeks, back-to-back? What’s going on?” Again, it’s because I wasn’t putting it on my calendar. I wasn’t planning for it, and how that would work with traveling. I just have to plan better next time.

So, I’ll either make sure the email is written and scheduled, before I leave. Or, I’m going to make sure that I have a calendar reminder and event created so I know to see it earlier on my Friday, which is normally when I write the emails. That way, I’m not getting into my schedule already out the door; attending events, and whatnot, where I’m not willing to pump the brakes, take time out of what I’m already doing, to go write that email late in the afternoon or early evening, before 6pm.

So, I did the evaluation, and I’m going to implement it going forward. I didn’t say, “You know what? I missed two weeks. I must suck at writing Friday emails, I should quit. I’ll never be good at this.” I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I allowed myself to be imperfect. Sometimes A-/ B+ work looks like being a little inconsistent.

You can solve for it and implement your strategies to prevent things from happening again. I didn’t make that a good enough reason to not keep showing up. And sure enough, I’ve been sending out emails on Fridays since I got back from those two trips. So, I’m back on the consistency bandwagon. And I didn’t give myself that opportunity to quit just because I didn’t do it perfectly.

When you commit to whatever the task or habit is that you’re going to practice following through with, I want you to make a decision ahead of time, and plan for what you’re going to do when you happen to take imperfect action. Instead of quitting, instead of starting from zero, what are you going to do?

This came up recently in a client session, we were talking about following through with entering billable time every day. My client had been traveling for work, and she had been on a pretty good run of consistently entering time before she went on the work trip. But when she came back, she had time from while she was out of the office traveling, that she hadn’t entered.

So, come Monday morning, back in the office or work from home office, but you get what I’m saying, she started to have mind drama about not having been perfect the previous week. She still had time from the last week that needed to be entered, and she started to spin out about it.

In her mind, the perfectionism wanted her to enter all of last week’s time before she could enter any of Monday’s time, for that new week that she was just starting out with. If she skipped the previous week’s time, it felt imperfect, it felt messy. She wanted it to all be in, sequentially.

Again, that’s perfectionism popping up, big time. You want to make a plan for what you do when you miss a day or two of entering that time consistently, at the end of every day. So, you can tell yourself, “I’m going to always take the time and put in last week’s time, first. Because, I’m going to have so much mind drama about skipping it and just starting with today, that I’m going to get in my own way.”

What she would tend to do, is not enter last week’s time, and then also not enter Monday’s time, because of her perfectionism. So, if that’s you, either make the executive decision to enter last week’s time and keep the system going, or decide ahead of time, you’ll get to last week’s time when you get to it.

You’re going to start where you are, at that moment in time, and work forward. That’s probably what I would suggest, even though it might be a little bit more uncomfortable if your perfectionism is really coming in strong. I think it is the lightest lift, as far as taking imperfect action and just moving forward, rather than having to devote time, mental energy, resources to focus on last week, instead.

Perfectionism also shows up when people don’t get started, so they don’t have to be inconsistent. They’ll make the plan, but then they never actually implement the plan. They’ll “decide” to commit to following through, but then they never do anything to honor that commitment.

So long as they don’t get started, they can’t be inconsistent. They can’t do a bad job. They can’t be imperfect. They can’t be fallible. You want to resist the urge to avoid getting started. Gag-and-go through the discomfort of doing A-/ B+ or even less than that, kind of work.

People will also refuse to evaluate because they don’t want to see their imperfections or their inconsistency. That’s also a big, no. Evaluating is so important here. You want to make sure you’re going through what worked, what didn’t work, and what you’ll do differently in order to keep tweaking, keep learning, keep growing and keep improving. Don’t let your perfectionism prevent you from making progress faster through evaluations.

People will also not keep track of their progress, because they don’t want to see the imperfect action that they’re taking. You want to keep track of your progress, especially if you have that reward system that’s really associated with avoiding following through, rather than with following through. Keep track of your progress. You want that visual, so you get the dopamine hit from following through, rather than your avoidant behavior.

People will also not set a minimum baseline goal, because they think it’s not impactful enough. This is kind of like the one I mentioned earlier, where you want to start with the biggest thing. I will suggest to people that they pick a minimum baseline because you want to practice the skill of following through and establishing trust with yourself.

Not because you want to get the results that comes from completing the minimum baseline task. You’re not going to lose 50 pounds from walking five minutes a day; I get that. The point isn’t to lose weight, the point is to commit to following through with daily physical activity, no matter how big or small.

The smaller your minimum baseline goal is, the easier it’s going to be to follow through, the less resistance you’re going to have to doing that task, when it comes time to do it.

Perfectionism will also appear when people commit to doing too much, all at the same time. I see this very frequently with clients. When I tell them to pick just one thing to practice following through, and building that skill set, they want to argue with me. They want to say, “Yeah, but can I have like, three or four? But they’re really small, can I just have half a dozen? I promise I’ll stick to them,” and then they don’t, because it’s too much, all at the same time. Pick one, get it dialed in, and then you can add another one.

Perfectionism also pops up when you use the word “failure,” or that you failed, or that you’re failing. It’s my least favorite F word, of all time. So, be on to yourself. Do you have a pretty strong attachment to that word? And do you weaponize it against yourself? If you do, that’s your perfectionism making an appearance.

I just want to offer you this, I will do a whole episode on this because it’s one of my favorite topics to talk about, but you can only fail at something if you quit. If you take quitting off the table, and you decide to stick with the commitment, and building the skill of following through, no matter what.

No matter how imperfect you have to do it, or for how long you need to do it. No matter how messy it is. No matter how long it takes. If you commit to following through, and learning how to be someone who is committed to the commitments that they make, you cannot fail.

Failure requires an end point from which you measure. So, if you take quitting off the table, and you decide to stick with this, no matter what, you will eliminate the possibility of failing. Instead, you’re always simply just winning or learning. If the F word pops up, you want to eliminate it from your vocabulary.

I mentioned earlier that quitting is normally your perfectionism popping up. You quit because you’re unwilling to feel the discomfort that is associated with continuing to take action, while you’re feeling badly about your progress. You have to feel discouraged and continue to take action. You have to feel frustrated, or disappointed, or defeated, or confused, and continue to take action; that’s quite uncomfortable. It’s more comfortable to quit and jump to something else.

I used to do this a lot, when I was younger, especially with different business ideas that I had. I would jump because I wouldn’t want to sit in the discomfort when I didn’t get the immediate results that I wanted, that instant gratification when my expectations went on met.

So, understand your reasons for quitting. You never want to quit to avoid, or as a reaction to a negative emotion. If you’re going to quit something, you want to like your reasons for doing it. So, you always want to check in that you’re not quitting as an avoidant tactic. You’re quitting from a clean space.

That’s not to say that you can’t quit things ever, you can you just want to make sure that you know and like your reasons for doing so. Maybe it doesn’t serve you anymore. Maybe your interests aren’t aligned with a specific commitment anymore.

Let’s say you make a commitment to be someone who runs, and you run consistently every day. And then you sustain an injury, or the wear and tear on your body starts to make it really uncomfortable. You might like your reasons for changing the habit, or for quitting and doing something else instead.

That’s a lot different than quitting, because you tried to be consistent every day, and go for a mile long run, and you just couldn’t bring yourself to stick to that program. So, you quit because you’re frustrated, and discouraged, and disappointed with yourself. One is the clean quitting decision; the other is not.

I also see perfectionism pop up, when people change the commitment too fast, rather than sticking with it and practicing, and working on building that skill set of following through, they decide that they picked the wrong goal. Then, they switch it. They do that in order to avoid seeing their inconsistencies, seeing their imperfections, feeling like they’re missing the mark, not doing that perfect job.

If you keep changing the goal then you, basically, keep restarting the clock but in a little bit of a different way than what I explained earlier. You keep changing the goal, switching to something else, before you’ve really given yourself the time and the opportunity to build the skill set, of building that habit, and following through with that commitment. So, don’t do that.

I think you should pick a specific amount of time that you’re willing to commit to something, and then evaluate at the end of it. I love 90 days here; I think you can do six months. Pick a significant amount of time and obviously significance of judgment, it’s arbitrary, that’s going to be different for everyone. But pick a significant amount of time where you commit to not changing it.

I do this in business coaching, when I teach people to pick the same goal or pick the same offer to market and learn how to sell, rather than constantly changing what they sell and then never being good at selling any of it, or marketing any of it.

Same thing goes with building skill sets, and following through, and establishing habits. You want to pick one thing and stick with it, for a predetermined amount of time, so you’re not habit hopping or goal swapping. That’s not going to serve you, you want to stick with one thing.

And just quickly, I want to go over a couple more obstacles that people encounter, when it comes to following through and being consistent. A big one, and I did a poll on social media about this too, to see what people in my audience encountered as obstacles, when it comes to following through on their commitments.

A consistent one, that came up in the answers, was that they have a hard time following through when they’re tired, or they don’t feel like it. With love, I want to offer you; do it tired. So, what if you’re tired?

I want to make sure I underscore, I’m not asking you to sacrifice your health, for the sake of following through on a commitment. I’m not advocating for hustle culture here. But what I do teach my clients to do, is rate how exhausted you are on a scale of one to ten tired, okay? One being you have as much energy as the Energizer Bunny, and ten being you couldn’t bring yourself to possibly get up off the couch and function, no matter what.

Then ask yourself, so you have that scale; rate your level of tired. And then, decide ahead of time, if you’re below a certain number you’ll just go do the thing that you don’t feel like doing. You’ll complete the task anyways.

I like to think about this when I’m going through and rating on a scale; am I Oprah tired, or Tony Robbins tired? And what I mean by that is, if someone that you really look up to, that you really idolize, called you on the phone… For me, it would be Oprah, or Tony Robbins would be a big one. And they said, “Hey, Olivia, I know you’re exhausted. But I’m gonna pick you up in thirty minutes. You just have to be packed, and out front, ready for me to scoop you up. See you outside?”

Am I tired enough to turn them down? The answer, almost 100% of the time, is going to be no. I’m not tired enough to turn them down. I’m not Oprah tired, or Tony tired. I am going to dig into my energy reserves, get up off the sofa, even though I feel exhausted. I’m gonna go pack a bag, and I’m gonna be outside in like, twenty-eight minutes, so I don’t miss getting scooped up.

So, pick your number; maybe it’s an eight on the tired scale, maybe it’s a six. You get to decide what it is. You want to have a scale and a rating ahead of time, so that if you’re underneath it you just decide to follow through. That’s how you know that you’re either being indulgent or not being indulgent, when it comes to not doing something based on how tired you are.

Also, I want to offer you; you’re perfectly capable of doing things tired. Especially for any parents who are listening, you do things tired all the time. Law students do this, as well. We do it with work all the time. We do things even when we’re tired. So, this is the same skill set. Follow through, even though you’re tired. Even though you don’t feel like it.

If you’ve decided that you’re going to enter your time in, before you go to bed every night, and you find yourself curled up under the covers, and your time’s not in… Even though you’re tired and you really don’t feel like it, I want you to get up from under the covers, and walk across the hallway into your office, where your computer is, and put in your time. I get that you don’t want to. But that’s what following through on your commitment really looks like.

Another obstacle that I see, is with how people talk to themselves. If you beat yourself up while you practice building the skill set of following through, I promise you, it will not go well. Negative self-talk is not going to create a positive result ever, ever, ever. So, you have to be your own best friend here.

You have to be kind to yourself, encourage yourself, hype yourself up, focus on what’s working, in addition to identifying what’s not working. Be a friend to yourself here. It is easy to buy into the lie that you need to beat yourself up in order to do better, but that does not work. I’ve talked about that in previous episodes.

You want to make sure that you are not sabotaging your success in this department, by saying really nasty things to yourself. Speak to yourself kindly.

Another obstacle that people mentioned when I polled my audience about where they struggle, or why they struggle with following through, is that they commonly put other people first. If that’s you, I want you to ask yourself; why?

Chances are you think it’s selfish for you to put yourself before others, or you feel guilty doing so, or maybe you feel afraid to do so. If that’s the case, and it’s the reason that you’re not following through on commitments that you’ve made to yourself, you’re going to want to allow yourself to experience those negative emotions and follow through. In spite of and despite them, gag-and-go, like I always tell you.

Those negative emotions aren’t a good enough reason for you to not follow through on the commitment that you made to yourself. You can follow through and feel those negative feelings. They won’t kill you; I promise.

Also, this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. You can tend to other people, if you want to, it’s never required. But if you want to, you can. And you can follow through on the commitments you make to yourself. You just need to make sure that the math works out. That boils down to a math problem.

Time is finite, you get to spend it like an allowance, however you choose. Just make sure that if you’re committing to do something for other people and making a commitment to yourself, you’re not double-booking yourself, or trying to fit ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound sack. Or, ten hours of commitments into a five-hour time span. You’re fitting ten in ten. You want to make sure that the math works out.

And last but not least, I see people tell themselves this all the time, when it comes to following through, and it’s one of the thoughts that gets in their way and prevents them from making any progress in this area. It’s that they tell themselves that there’s something inherently wrong with them, and that’s why they can’t follow through. That’s why they can’t stick, and stay committed to what they’ve committed to. It’s just an inherent flaw. There’s something wrong with them.

That is such a convenient excuse that your primitive brain serves up to you, but it’s total BS, okay? There’s nothing inherently wrong with you. All that’s happening is you’re thinking a negative thought, that’s causing you to feel a negative feeling, and causing you to take negative action or no action, and it’s producing a negative result. Or, you’re currently experiencing, or you anticipate that you’ll experience a negative emotion, and you’re unwilling to feel that negative feeling. And so, you don’t follow through as a result. As a way to avoid or a reaction to that negative emotion.

The only difference between you and people who follow through, and take consistent action, is that they think different thoughts than you think. Or, they’re willing to feel negative emotions that you’re unwilling to feel. That’s the only difference between the people that follow through and the ones that don’t.

The good news is that you can generate those thoughts. You can even ask people, who you think are good at following through, what they think about certain commitments, and you can borrow those thoughts. That’s one way to go about it. You can also identify the specific emotions. You’re going to have to be willing to feel, and make a deal with yourself ahead of time, that you’re willing to feel them and take action, in spite of and despite them.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. You now have everything you need to know, in order to practice the art of following through, and build the skill set of being someone who takes consistent action. We went through the specific process you need to follow. And now, you know all the obstacles to be on the lookout for, and how to overcome them, what to do instead.

With that, I want you to go out there and practice being someone who’s committed to commitment. Practice being someone who follows through. You guys have got this.

Talk to you in the next episode. Have a great week.

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

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