Episode 71: The F*ck It Point

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The F*ck It Point

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

We’re in August now, and some people think at this point that the year is pretty much over. If you’re feeling that way, it’s time to ask yourself if you’ve really created what you wanted for this year, or whether you’ve just reached the point where you’re saying fuck it, and giving up until next year.

If you’ve not created what you wanted in 2023 or followed through on your vision for the year, this episode is for you. I’m helping you shift into the person that does what they say they’re going to, instead of saying fuck it and moving on. Fair warning, you’re going to hear the word ‘fuck’ a lot in this episode.

Tune in this week to learn all about the Fuck It Point. I teach you how to get granular and see the point where you decide, either consciously or unconsciously, not to follow through on what you said you were going to do, and I show you how to make a new decision and actually follow through on it.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What the Fuck It Point is and how to recognize when you’ve reached it.
  • Some thoughts you may have when you reach the Fuck It Point.
  • How to see the exact point in time where you need to decide to follow through on what you’ve planned to do.
  • Why following through on a decision is a decision in itself.
  • The big and small ways you might be reaching the Fuck It Point in your career and your personal life.
  • How to work through the Fuck It Point without quitting on your commitments.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 71. Today, we’re talking all about the “fuck it” point. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? Things are pretty good over here in my neck of the woods. I got back from Nashville. My time in Nashville, with my business coach, was amazing. I also got to teach a Breakout room of 12 other entrepreneurs, which was also amazing. I had such an incredible time doing that. I’ve wanted to do that for a really long time.

So, I was in Nashville for a week, and I made a ton of really exciting decisions about my own business and some things that I’m going to be doing in the future. I can’t wait to roll that out over the course of the next several months, and then the next several years. I really did some long-term planning for my business, which is so exciting.

I got to help other people do the same thing for their businesses, so my time in Nashville was super productive. And now, I’m back home in Detroit, getting ready for the live event of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind in Montana. I absolutely can’t wait for that. I can’t wait to be back in Big Sky.

You guys, when I tell you it is stunningly beautiful, it is stunningly beautiful. I’ve never seen that many pine trees in my entire life. There’s just something really breathtaking about it. It looks exactly like A River Runs Through It. When I was there in June, obviously, all of the snow melts in the spring, so the water in the river is really, really high.

So, it comes up, there’s no riverbank, it’s just grass, and then water. It’s so cool. It looks exactly like fly fishing in A River Runs Through It. So, I can’t wait to be back there and see Big Sky in the summer, it’s going to be so marvelous. I’m so excited to be able to enjoy the outdoors. Some of our dinner events are outdoors, so it’s going to be pretty spectacular.

But I’m just getting all of that stuff together while I’m back in the mitten, and then I’ll be heading to Montana. So, that’s a little life update from me. I hope your summer is… I hate to say this, it’s kind of coming to a close pretty soon… but I hope it is coming to a good close.

I just saw something on Instagram today that was talking about how there are four months left in the year. And this is actually funny, I think I talked about this last August with the podcaster on the podcast. But a friend of mine always says that in August, the year is over. I always crack up when she says that because I never think that way.

But I saw this Instagram posts today that said there were four months left in the year. I started doing the math, and I’m like, that can’t be true. I feel like they were definitely rounding to four because we’ve still got most of August, and then September, October, November, and December. But if you’re rounding, or you’re like my friend Cheri, she always says the year is over in August.

So, if you’re feeling that way, I really want you to check in with yourself and ask yourself, are you creating what you wanted to create this year? Are you accomplishing what you wanted to accomplish this year? This episode today, this topic that I want to talk to you about…

Which, spoiler alert! If you listen to this in the car with your kiddos, and you don’t like the swearing, this is not the episode to have them tuned into. Okay? So, I’ve given everyone advanced warning there. Go listen to any of my other episodes, I tend to keep it pretty clean on the podcast.

I try and do that so the little ears can also be present, and maybe pick up a thing or two while you’re listening to this content. Anyways, if you tend to listen to it with little ears round, this is probably not the episode for that.

But check in with yourself. How are you making progress? Are you making progress? Do you feel like you’ve stalled? Do you feel stuck? What’s going on? And if you don’t like the answer that you come up with to that question, the chances are you’re not following through. You’re not doing what you said you were going to do. You’re not implementing the plan that you maybe made earlier in the year.

Or maybe you didn’t even make a plan, you’re just winging it. But if you’re not following through and doing what you said you’re going to do, this episode is really going to help shift you to become the person that does what they say they’re going to do.

So, today specifically, I want to introduce you to a concept that I teach to my clients. I call it the “fuck it” point. I thought about saying the “eff it” point, but I just hate doing that. I prefer the word fuck, so we’re just going to use it a lot today. If you don’t like swearing, I’m very sorry, if you feel offended. It’s just your thoughts about my swearing that make you feel offended, not the words I’m using. Getting very meta on the coaching today.

Anyways, I want to teach you about the “fuck it” point. This is a concept that I teach to my clients. Because when we work together, I get extremely granular and we do that because there’s so much learning going on, when we get extremely granular… I’m using my hands right now, as I say this to you, as I speak into the microphone.

But I basically want to take tweezers to the problems that you face, and we’ve got to like pick them apart bit by bit, and untangle them to really understand what’s going on, on a very microscopic level. When we do that, solving the problems that we’re facing becomes so much easier. Okay?

So, I think people really overcomplicate the problems that they face when they’re not following through, when they’re not honoring the decisions that they’ve made, and when they’re not sticking to their plan and implementing it. And people love to indulge in ‘I don’t know’ thinking here.

They’re like, “I don’t know why I don’t follow through. I don’t know why I don’t stick to my plan. I don’t know why I don’t do the things that I tell myself that I’m going to do.” But if you get really granular and you zoom in on the exact point in time where it comes to you having a decision to follow through or not follow through, then we can gain so much awareness.

And it becomes easier to shift how we respond in this specific, exact moment, to start to make a different decision and be able to actually be consistent and follow through.

So, first things first, you have to make a decision in the first place to do a thing. All right? The next episode on the podcast will be all about entering your billable time, but let’s use that as one of the examples today. So, let’s say you work in a job where you have to enter your billable time.

Now, if you don’t make a decision about when you do this, you’re always going to be deciding in real time, in the moment and that’s going to lead to a disaster, a complete clusterfuck. Because in the moment you’re using your primitive brain, and the primitive brain is always going to seek instant gratification, avoid temporary discomfort, and conserve energy.

So, it’s always going to tell you to enter your time later, that you don’t need to do it right now, that you can do it tomorrow or later in the day, or at the end of the month or whatever. It’s just going to tell you not to do it right now. So, you can’t be using the primitive part of your brain for this exercise, you really need to make a decision ahead of time about what you’re going to do.

In this example, you need to make the decision ahead of time about when you’re going to enter your time. Now, I suggest it be one of two things. Either you enter your time at the end of each day, or you enter it after you complete each task, so contemporaneously throughout the day as you’re working.

Now, I’ll start with the first example. If you decided to enter your time every single day, okay, that means before you rest your head on the pillow at night and you fall asleep, your time would need to be in. Okay? You could also do this so midnight is the cut off, or whatever, if you want to do that. But just whenever your day ends, is when you would need to have your time entered by.

So, before you rest your head on your pillow and close your eyes and tuck yourself in, your time would need to be in. In this example, you’ve made the first decision, which is the frequency and the point at which you’ll do this. Every day before you go to bed. And of course, you can do it at the end of your workday. I just mean that it has to literally be done before you go to bed each day; that’s the last possible moment. Okay?

At that moment, you’ve already made this decision, the first decision of when to enter your time. And now, you’re faced with a new decision. It’s your secondary decision, and it’s whether or not you’re going to stick to the first decision. So, am I going to follow through? Am I going to do what I said I was going to do?

With the second decision that you’re being faced with, you reach this point where you get to choose one of two things. You can either do it and honor your word to yourself and follow through. Or you can say fuck it, and do it later, blow it off, go to bed, ignore the original decision.

You make it a tomorrow you problem, or future you problem, or first day of the month or last day of the month you problem. But you specifically… this is the internal dialogue that’s actually going on in your head. It might be conscious, but it might also be subconscious. You might not use these exact words, but I want to give you this language so you can watch yourself as you make the first decision to do something.

And then, you reach the second decision, which is to follow through with what you decided. You have this internal conflict going on in your head, do I follow through or do I not? Do I follow through or do I say fuck it and break my promise to myself? It’s at this moment, at the fuck it point, which is what I call it, that you want to resist the urge to say fuck it, and you want to follow through. Okay?

So, you want to know that that’s what the urge is going to be for you to do, is to say fuck it, and not honor your original decision. You’ve got to interrupt yourself in that moment and choose to commit and follow the original decision that you made and follow through.

Now, part of that, I’ve talked about this a ton on the podcast, is going to require you to feel certain feelings. So, what I mean by this is, if you have made the decision ahead of time to put your time in every single day, then at 12:06am, when you’re climbing into bed… Maybe you don’t go to bed that late, maybe it’s 10pm.

But whatever time it is that you go to bed, and you haven’t done it yet, you should be lying in bed, thinking, “Oh, I didn’t enter my time. I forgot to do that. I said I was going to do that. I made the decision to do that, and I haven’t done it yet.”

You’re going to have this moment where you can just choose to go to bed, or you can flip back the covers, get out of bed… Maybe you have an app on your phone, so you don’t even have to get out of bed. But however it is that you enter your time… Maybe you have to go grab your laptop, go to your work desktop in your office at home, whatever the case may be, but you’ve got to put in your time.

And when you resist the urge to say fuck it, you actually go do those things. You might have to feel inconvenienced. You might have to feel annoyed because you’re getting out of bed, out of your comfy spot. You’re having to exert energy, embrace temporary discomfort, and not seek that instant pleasure that you’re enjoying.

You have to do all of those things in order to work through and move through the fuck it point without quitting on yourself. Without failing to honor your original decision and commitment, okay? Now, if you make the different decision to enter your time contemporaneously throughout the day, at the end of every task, you’re going to have a lot more fuck it points throughout the day, right?

So, every time you finish doing something, you’re going to have that opportunity to say fuck it, or resist the urge to say fuck it, and follow through, regardless of how it feels.

If you’re thinking about this, in practice, what would this look like? You make the decision to enter your time after you complete every task. You finish typing an email, and you’re supposed to enter your time right then and there for that email. But instead of honoring that, you have a phone call that’s supposed to start in 30 seconds.

Let’s say it’s 1:29, and you have a phone call that’s going to start at 1:30. Do you say fuck it and just start the next call without entering your time? Or do you honor the previous commitment that you made to enter your time contemporaneously, and put in that time entry right then and there, and then start the call?

Do you complete the task, and when you’re so worked up and overwhelmed and trying to rush to get through as much of your to-do list as possible, at the end of the task do you say fuck it, and you just move right on to the next thing before entering your time?

Or do you resist the urge to say fuck it and you calm yourself down, ground yourself, you slow yourself down, and you allow yourself to feel pressured and rushed, you let that discomfort be there, and you enter your time regardless? You honor your original decision, regardless?

I see this come up all the time with decisions about when to get back to people, too. So, think about how you communicate with people. Maybe you’ve listened to my podcast episode about defining enough, and you’ve decided that responsive enough to you means getting back to people within 24 hours. I’m not saying that’s the right rule, you get to decide on whatever feels right for you.

But let’s say that’s the rule that you’ve instituted. So, that’s the initial decision. Decision number one is, “I respond to everyone within 24 hours.” And then, when it comes time to actually implement that decision, it’ll be you on a Tuesday. You’ve got emails from Monday that you need to respond to, before you end work for the day.

It’ll be five o’clock, or maybe it’s six, and you’re kind of tired. It’s been a long day, and you’ve got a choice. You reach the fuck it point, for this decision, for the communication within 24 hours decision. And you have the choice to close your laptop and not send any more emails, and go sit on the sofa, lounge, go get dinner, grab a drink, whatever.

Maybe just pick up your phone and start scrolling on Instagram, or whatever other social media platform you prefer. Or you can hunker down, not say fuck it, resist that urge, and send the emails. Communicate within the time that you previously promised yourself you would communicate with your clients in.

Or it looks like deciding at the beginning of the day, or the day before, “Hey, tomorrow, I’m going to call this person, this person, and this person. I’m going to make these three calls. I’m going to reach out to these three clients, to touch base with them.” And you get to the end of the day, or close to the end of the day, and you haven’t made those three calls yet.

So, you’ve reached the fuck it point for that original decision. What will you do? Will you give in to the urge to say fuck it, or will you resist it? I want you to take a second and think about all the ways that you do this at work.

I also see this come up a ton for people with big projects. Let’s say you’ve got a motion that has been hanging over your head for a while, and you keep pushing it off because you keep handling the shorter, bite-sized tasks first. You’re always going to have a ton of shorter, bite-sized tasks available to you. The more you knock them off the to-do list, the more they keep coming back; the more new ones arise.

So, it’s like Whack-a-Mole; it never ends. If you keep waiting to be through all of the small stuff, before you work on the big stuff, you’re never going to work on the big stuff. And if you do this… You’re probably nodding along as you’re listening to this. “How does she know this?” This is super common. People do this all the time.

They’ll make the plan. They’ll make the original decision, decision number one, “Hey, I’m going to start working on this big project tomorrow.” Now, I recommend not calling it a big project. Because when you call it a big project, you just increase your resistance to starting it.

But when you’re telling yourself, “I’m going to start on this tomorrow,” and then tomorrow comes, now you’ve reached the point again; you’ve reached the fuck it point. Do I actually follow through and get started on this? Or do I say fuck it, and kick the can down the road for another day or another week?

And that’s how weeks go by, when you’re like, “I can’t believe I haven’t worked on that yet. I can’t believe I haven’t started on that yet. I can’t believe I haven’t made any progress.” It’s because you keep reaching the fuck it point. And then, you indulge in saying fuck it rather than allowing that discomfort to be there, resisting the urge to say that, and following through.

Now, I think, also for this, it’s very helpful if you commit to what exactly you’re going to do on the “big” project. So, how will you start? What will that look like? The more specific you can get, and the more you can break it down to those smaller, incremental tasks, you’re going to have a much easier time getting started.

One of the things that I teach people all the time is, can you start for five minutes? Can you start for 30 seconds on something? Just getting that initial resistance out of the way, by allowing yourself to start for a very short period of time, allows you to get into the work and then you catch your rhythm. Then you catch the flow, and you can continue to work with much less resistance. You’ve just got to start.

But in order to start, you have to resist the urge to say fuck it when you reach the fuck it point. So, how does this show up for you at work? What fuck it points are you reaching? And what decisions are you making for that second decision? Are you saying fuck it and canceling on your commitment to yourself? Or are you resisting the urge to say fuck it?

And the way that you resist the urge is that you embrace the discomfort that comes from doing the thing that you said you would do. You’ve got to gag-and-go, as I like to say, through that discomfort, feel it on purpose, and take the action that you already, previously, decided, in decision number one, to take.

Now, as you’re coming up with the different ways that you do this at work, you know I love to talk about all things personal and professional, because you’ve got one whole life, work is just a part of it. So, I also want you to give some thought to where you do this in your personal life. All right?

I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. One of the decisions that I’ve made ahead of time is that I plug my cell phone in every single night before I go to bed. And every single night, actually I shouldn’t say every single night; a lot of nights…

I reach the fuck it point, where I’m in bed, I was on my phone, and I’m ready to go to bed. I don’t want to lean over to grab the cord and plug it in. I really just want to say fuck it; I’ll deal with having a phone that’s not charged tomorrow. That’s tomorrow Olivia’s problem.

But I resist the urge, I allow my discomfort, which is just like mild annoyance and inconvenienced, and I lean over, maybe I flip back the covers, I grabbed the cord, and I plugged my phone in. That’s one small way that this happens.

This also happens for people when it comes to working out or sticking to a certain food plan if you’re trying to reach certain health goals or weight goals. Right? Let’s say you decide to work out three times a week. Now, I don’t love that as the initial decision, the decision made ahead of time, because it’s like, “Well, what days? Is it Monday, Wednesday, Friday? Is it Friday, Saturday, Sunday?”

I like to decide more clearly than that. So, you’re not using that primitive brain each day, where you’re like, “Is today the day that I’m going to work out? Or is it tomorrow,” and kicking the can down the road? So, you want to have a better first decision than that.

Now, let’s say, you say, “I’m going to work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday.” That means, before you rest your head on the pillow and close your eyes to go to sleep, you need to have gotten a workout in that day. Or maybe your decision is you want to work out every day, you want to move your body every day. I would get clear on what does that look like.

How will you work out, so you’re not spending time making that decision. You’ve already made it once, to make it really easy for yourself, easier to implement. But then, each day it comes time to do the workout… I’ve talked about this before. I have an episode all about dread.

You’re not going to feel like doing it. You’re not going to feel like going for a walk. You’re not going to feel like lifting weights. You’re not going to feel like doing whatever it is that you do for exercise. There’s going to be a million other things that are more comfortable and more enjoyable and more gratifying than exerting the energy and effort to work out.

And you’re going to reach that fuck it point, that second decision. Am I going to do what I said I was going to do? Or am I going to say fuck it and quit on myself and go grab the nacho cheese Doritos and a beer, or a glass of wine, and watch TV, or scroll on YouTube or scroll on Tik Tok or Instagram or whatever? Am I going to do that instead? Am I going to call one of my friends and gossip and complain instead of doing the thing that I said I was going to do?

Maybe you decide what you’re going to eat each day, and when it comes time to either prepare that meal or order that meal or go get that meal, however it is that you get your food, you say fuck it. Instead, you reach that point of, am I going to honor the commitment? Am I going to stick to my plan? Or am I going to go off plan and do something completely different that doesn’t support my goals?

In these moments, again, you’ve just got to make the decision, the second decision. Do I say fuck it? Or do I follow through? And if you can pinpoint this specific point in time, you’re going to have so much more success allowing the discomfort.

Because you can ask yourself, at this critical fuck it point, what are the feelings right now, if I make the decision to follow through, that I’m going to be forced to feel? And you can list them. You want to make sure you enumerate them and get very clear on what those specific flavors of discomfort are.

Because by identifying them, you make it easier to embrace them. You’re like, “Oh, I feel annoyed. This is what annoyed feels like when I do this thing that I said I was going to do, when it comes time to do it. Oh, I have to feel deprived. I want to eat a cheeseburger for lunch, but I planned to eat a salad. So, I’ve got to feel deprived in this very moment. That’s the feeling, at the fuck it point, that I’m going to have to embrace.”

For a lot of people, they have to embrace feeling tired. Think if you’ve made a decision, “I want to do one load of laundry a day. I do laundry on Thursday nights,” whatever your decision made ahead of time is. Then it comes time to do that activity that you plan to do, and you’re like, “I’m so tired. I couldn’t possibly.”

It is amazing how much stuff you can accomplish tired. Okay? I’m not telling you to work yourself into the ground and hurt yourself, to do any harm long term. But a lot of people are using tired as an excuse to not do things. You can do a lot of shit tired. Okay?

So, in this moment, when it comes time to go throw a load of laundry in, you reach the fuck it point where you can say to yourself, “I’m going to do the thing and follow through, even though I’m tired.” Or you say, “Fuck it, I’ll worry about that tomorrow. I don’t need clean clothes anyways.”

Maybe, if you work from home, that feels very true and relatable to you. But it’s not about whether you have clean clothes. I mean, you want clean clothes, I get that. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about becoming someone who does what they say they’re going to do, regardless of the results that you’re creating on the back end of the decision.

Clean clothes are great. Weight loss is great if that’s what you’re working towards. Being healthy and exercising for your health is great. But more than the result that comes from any of this, I want you to become the person who describes themselves as someone that follows through with doing what they say they’re going to do.

There is an unshakable confidence that comes from being a person who follows through. The trust that you have with yourself. The pride you have with yourself. The sense of accomplishment that you feel, when you do what you say you’re going to do, is immeasurable, and there’s truly no other way to match it.

So, I want you to give that gift to yourself. And the only way to create it, is to come up and meet that fuck it point, then resist the urge to say fuck it and make it a later you, future you problem. Okay? So, take this concept and bring it into your own life.

Use this terminology to describe that point where you’re making that secondary decision, the decision to follow through with your original decision, and then when you name it, you’re like, “I’m at the fuck it point. Now I’ve got a choice to make, do I say fuck it? Or do I follow through?”

Choose to follow through, gag-and-go, feel the feelings, feel the discomfort, and move forward in spite of it. Resist the urge to kick the can down the road and to quit on yourself. Honor your original decision. You’re going to be so proud of yourself for doing this. Okay?

And when you pinpoint this point in time, the fuck it point, it makes it so much easier to do all of that.

Alright, that’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I was so excited to introduce you to this concept. Hopefully, you’re like me, and you don’t mind a little cursing. If you did, I’m sorry. I used to, when I was a kid, whenever my parents would swear, I would always put my hands over my ears and I would say, “I have ears.”

So, if you’re like that, and you have ears and you didn’t love it, I love you and I trust that you will be okay. And that you can manage your mind, with the tools I’ve given you throughout this podcast, to choose a thought that serves you. And to be able to overcome whatever offense you might be feeling, in order to tune into next week’s episode. All right? It’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait to dive into that topic.

In the meantime, I hope you have a beautiful week. I’ll talk to you all 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 70: Other-Oriented Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Other-Oriented Perfectionism

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

We’ve spoken on the podcast about perfectionism before, but only as it relates to perfectionism directed at yourself. But this week, we’re talking about other-oriented perfectionism. If you’re a perfectionist towards yourself, you almost certainly direct your perfectionism toward others, expecting them to be perfect too.

This is a habit of mine that I’ve been working on a ton lately, and it’s been transformative in my relationships and changed the way I interact with people. Because it’s made such a huge impact on my day-to-day enjoyment of life, I’m super excited to bring it to all of you and share what I’ve learned in this process.

Tune in this week to see how you may be indulging in other-oriented perfectionism. I share why you’re probably unaware you’re directing your perfectionism toward others, how to start spotting it, and the transformation that’s available when you begin shifting your thinking and expectations when it comes to other people.

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 subtlety of other-oriented perfectionism and why it’s difficult to spot.
  • How to spot your other-oriented perfectionism and the way it’s showing up for you.
  • Why everything in life is a 50/50 split, and that includes your feelings about other people.
  • How wanting the best is just as unattainable as wanting perfect.
  • What you can do to start changing your other-oriented perfectionism.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 70. Today, we’re talking all about other oriented 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.

Hey, you guys. How’s it going? I am so jazzed to talk about this topic. I have had a lot of personal breakthroughs. In this area of my life recently, I’ve been doing so much work on this issue. it’s been so transformative for me and in my relationships really changing the way that I interact with people and how I get along with the people in my life, the people that I care about.

because it’s been so transformative for me, and it’s made such an impact on the day to day enjoyment of my life and the people in my life. I’m really excited to talk about this topic, introduce you to it, and share with you what I’ve learned. So we’re talking today about other oriented perfectionism.

If you’re a perfectionist towards yourself, and if you’re new to the podcast, I have several episodes on this topic. They’re episodes 24 through 26. I’ll make sure they’re linked in the show notes. There’s an episode on perfectionism, an episode on worth dysmorphia, which is a concept that I coined where you underestimate your self-worth, or you have a distorted view of your self-worth.

then I have an episode on overcoming perfectionism. So I have covered this topic before. But all three of those episodes really focus on how your perfectionism is directed at yourself or weaponized against yourself.

today, I want to flip that, and I want to talk about other oriented perfectionism. If you’re a perfectionist towards yourself, you’re almost certainly an other oriented perfectionist as well. You almost certainly struggle with other oriented perfectionism, which is perfectionism that’s oriented or aka directed at other people.

So you’re expecting them to be perfect instead of expecting yourself to be perfect. the thing that I find so fascinating about other oriented perfectionism is how subtle it is, which is why addressing it and creating awareness around this topic is so powerful. Because people don’t even realize that they’re doing it most of the time.

Since I started exploring this in my own life and I’ve been having all of these aha’s and breakthroughs, seeing how I’m indulging or engaging in other oriented perfectionism, I see it so ubiquitously with my clients. It comes up for them all the time. I’m seeing it in just every area of their lives. So I was so excited to talk about this because since it’s so prolific and prominent, it’s going to be so transformative for you to shift the way that you think about this and to really dial down your oriented perfectionism.

Now, people don’t even realize they’re doing this, like I said a moment ago. You’re really unaware that this is even a thing that you’re struggling with. it’s because basically no one would articulate that they expect another person to be perfect. You’re not going to say that or even think that to yourself in your own head.

Because if you thought that thought you’d quickly identify it as being unrealistic. You’re like oh, of course no one’s going to be perfect. I don’t expect them to be perfect. So we don’t articulate it in that way using those words.

We simply receive behavior or actions that we don’t like. they’re different from the expectation that we have for people. we get upset when people do certain things that don’t align with our expectations. So it’s having that expectation, and then it contrasting with reality, with our lived experience. But it’s that expectation that we basically formed based on nothing that is the expectation of perfect, that people should behave a certain way.

Now, we make it a problem when people don’t conform with our expectations, when they don’t meet our expectations. As if something’s gone wrong when we don’t like how a person behaves, what they do, what they say, how they act, the way that they show up.

what I’ve started to realize one of the concepts that I teach my clients is that life is 50/50. 50% good, 50% not so good. Now the facts that we experience in and of themselves, they’re neutral. But the human experience is such that you will likely want to think that 50% of what you experience is good. that 50% of what you experience is not so good. that’s just normal. That’s a pretty common way for it to split.

this is, of course, just your opinion, which is in your control, but this is generally how it breaks down. Okay. I like to apply this thinking on that macro level that life is like this and on a micro level. So rather than just thinking 50% good and 50% bad, I like to think that life will be 50% boring and 50% not boring, or 50% fun and 50% not fun.

I like to apply this to myself, that I will be 50% amazing and then 50% not so amazing. That I’ll have my moments too. Giving myself permission to be less than perfect. I also think it’s about entrepreneurship. 50% of owning a business is incredible, and 50% is not so incredible. 50% is easy and 50% is not easy. 50% is fun, and 50% is not fun.

So I’ve started to apply this to people as well. I’m going to like 50% of what they do, and 50% of what they do I won’t like. I will like 50% of their qualities and 50% of their qualities I won’t enjoy. that doesn’t mean that anything’s gone wrong. It just sets my expectations such that when people behave in a way that I don’t prefer, I don’t make it a problem. I’m just like oh, of course. This is the 50% that I’m not going to love. this is subjective, right?

What I like about someone might be something that someone else doesn’t like about them. vice versa. What I don’t like might be someone else’s favorite quality about someone. So these are just our own subjective individual preferences, and we get to have them. There’s nothing wrong with our preferences. But you want to realize and set the expectation that people aren’t going to 100% meet your preferences. They’re not going to perfectly and neatly fit within that box that you create.

I recently had a conversation with my romantic partner. this was such a breakthrough for me, like an epiphany. He was helping me move. one of the things in our relationship that I’ve been working on is for us to always speak to each other respectfully. that’s something I borrowed from a friend of mine, her name is Maggie Reyes. She’s a brilliant marriage coach. That’s something that she teaches her clients.

of course, I can’t control him and how he speaks to me and what he does, I can just control myself and how I speak to him. But I can also have boundaries in how I respond. If I perceive that he’s speaking to me in a way that’s disrespectful, I can choose to end the conversation until he comes in a way that I consider respectful.

So I was getting really frustrated. He was helping me move and the tension was growing throughout the day. We were starting to get on each other’s nerves. I was starting to get frustrated and annoyed. I just felt like the conflict and tension was building as the day went on. I was able to calm myself down rather than being reactive and nasty. But I very calmly said to him, I was like hey babe, sometimes you’re just really hard to get along with.

he took a deep breath. the reason that I wanted to articulate it was I wanted to communicate like where I was at in that moment, how I was feeling, what my thought process was, just where I was at so things didn’t continue to escalate. as I communicated that he just kind of smirked at me. he took a deep breath. He was really calm. he goes, “Babe, do you think that you’re not hard to get along with sometimes?”

I swear it hit me like a ton of bricks. It completely caught me off guard. if I’m being really honest, and I’m not ashamed to admit this to you, I want to be fully transparent but it’s kind of comical to me. I actually was stunned. It surprised me. I was like huh actually, I think that I am easy to get along with like all the time. I admitted that to him.

he was like, “Yeah, no you’re not. That’s not how I see you. That’s not how I feel. I think sometimes you’re hard to get along with too.” it was a complete shock and surprise to me. Maybe that seems arrogant or naive or short sighted or whatever. But because I’m familiar with myself and I know how I am and I like how I am, I just assumed that everyone else likes how I am too. That I fit within their expectations of me and that there’s no friction there. that I’m just a complete goddamn delight is really how I see myself.

Which is great. It makes me feel very confident and pause have about myself, but it also takes me out of awareness that there may be things about me that people don’t enjoy. in this conversation with my partner, I realized oh my goodness, this is me being an other oriented perfectionist where I expect him to behave a certain way that always aligns with my preferences. For me to find him 100% agreeable or 100% easy to get along with.

when I realized that that’s actually unrealistic, because sometimes the way I want him to be is different than how he prefers to be. So there’s going to be that natural tension and conflict there. if I change my expectation to be more in line with this 50/50 concept that sometimes I’m going to love what he does, and sometimes I’m not going to. That nothing’s gone wrong. That isn’t a problem for me to solve. Everything’s okay. That’s just how relationships work.

that there are going to be things about me that he likes and things about me that he doesn’t like. That we’re all looking for these unique combinations of what are the things that I prefer in someone that allow me to tolerate the things that I don’t prefer with the assumption that there are always going to be things that I don’t prefer about someone. That that’s just part of the territory of being in relationship with another person.

when you start to look at all of your relationships, and you become aware am I expecting to like 100% of how someone behaves? Or am I expecting to not like some of the ways in which they behave? If you’re expecting to like 100% of how people behave, you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated a lot of the time because people will invariably not meet your expectations.

If you often find yourself thinking that the people around you are doing things wrong, they’re not doing things the right way, or the way that things should be done. You’re engaging in other oriented perfectionism. You think there’s one right way to do something, the perfect way to do something, the best way to do something. Best is really interchangeable and synonymous with perfect.

we often use it instead of perfect because it seems more realistic, but it’s not. It’s the same thing. It’s just as ambiguous, just as unclear, and just as unattainable. if you constantly find yourself saying they did it the wrong way. There’s a right way to do it. There’s a best way to do it. There’s a better way to do it. they didn’t do it that way.

I’m going to take issue with the way that they’re behaving, with the way that they’re acting because they didn’t do it the way that I think it should have been done. This is other oriented perfectionism. it’s this other oriented perfectionism that’s causing all of your negative emotion when people behave the way that they behave.

the truth of the matter is there’s no right way to be. There’s no right way to do things. There are different ways to do things. everyone gets to have an opinion as to whether their way is the right way or the best way or the wrong way, but there is no objective standard. So you might think it’s the right way, and someone else might think your way is the wrong way and vice versa. There are just different ways.

if you start to open yourself up to the idea that there’s no one right way to be, you can start to see where you expect people to be a certain way and how that expectation is actually what causes your frustration. I started to see all the frustration that I create for myself when I expect people to act a certain way, the “right way” in my opinion.

I realized that this is exactly what other oriented perfectionism looks like in practice. In my moving example, for instance, it’s like there’s one right way to help someone move. if it’s not that way, it’s the wrong way. if I opened my expectations up to say there’s a lot of different ways to help people move. there’s a lot of different ways you can behave when you’re helping someone move. there’s a lot of different moods people get to have as they’re helping someone move, it helps me dial down my own disappointment and frustration when reality doesn’t match what I was expecting.

Think about asking your partner to help you do chores around the house. If you’re engaging in other oriented perfectionism, you’re often going to be frustrated with the way that they perform those duties or those tasks. There’s one “right” way to wash the dishwasher. That’s other oriented perfectionism if you’re putting that on someone. If there’s one right way to do laundry, if there’s one right way to put your kids to bed at night to do the evening routine, if there’s one right way to celebrate the holidays.

That’s been me with my parents. I’ve talked about that on the podcast before where I expect them to be a certain way. To like the holidays and want them to celebrate exactly the way that I want to celebrate them. So this is other oriented perfectionism. That there’s one right way to be. I upset myself when people don’t comply or match my expectation.

Think about how this shows up in work as well, especially when it comes to delegating. If you delegate a brief to someone, and you get it back, and they didn’t write it the way that you would write it. There are a lot of ways to write an argument, to structure a brief, to make your case to the court.

if you’re focused on it not being done the one right way that you think it should be done, you’re going to exhaust yourself and really expend so much effort getting it to match the way that you think it should be. you’re going to be so frustrated in the process thinking that the person that you’re supervising that you delegated to didn’t do it the right way.

Maybe someone phrased an email differently than you would phrase it. If you’re in indulging or engaging in other oriented perfectionism, you’re going to feel embarrassed by what they said in the email because you’re thinking they should have approached it differently than they did. That they should have phrased differently, they should have worded it differently.

Another way this comes up, do you ever get upset with someone and tell yourself or say to them it’s not what you did, but how you did it. It’s not what you said, but how you said it. This is other oriented perfectionism. You think there’s a perfect way or a best way for them to phrase something, and they didn’t match your expectation, your definition of “right” and then you take issue with it. You make them wrong.

That happens for people all the time, and it causes so much unnecessary conflict. If you find yourself doing this, just notice that you’re expecting someone to be perfect. that, of course, they’re not perfect. So they get to say things however they want to say things. if you find it disrespectful, you get to decide what you do with that. That’s your opinion, and you’re welcome to have it. But what if you just let it be okay that they said it the way that they did and not take issue with how they phrased it, with how they worded it.

Think about when you get someone’s work product, and you’re reviewing it, and there are mistakes there. If you get frustrated by this, I want you to check in with yourself. What are you expecting? Are you expecting their work product to be perfect?

You typically wouldn’t articulate that that’s what you’re expecting. That that’s the standard. But if you find yourself frustrated with having to correct things or make changes, I want you to check in with yourself here. What is your expectation? How many mistakes is your team member allowed to make? What’s good enough versus perfect?

How many mistakes are you expecting them to make? What if you changed your expectation and you expected there to be things that you need to correct in their work product if that was just part of the program? What does them getting it wrong look like? Are you expecting this to happen? Or are you unconsciously or subconsciously expecting perfection? How often are they allowed to get it wrong? How often do you expect them to get it wrong?

This is what you want to start to consider because my guess is you haven’t thought through this. because you haven’t thought through this, you’re expecting flawlessness, you’re expecting perfectionism even if you wouldn’t articulate it that way.

Think about this back at home also, kind of reverting back to that for a second. Think about your kids. What are you expecting from them? Are you expecting them to behave 100% of the time? Are you expecting them to follow rules 100% of the time? Does that cause you immense frustration when they don’t follow your rules 100% of the time or when they misbehave some of the time? Same thing with your partner. What are you expecting? Are you expecting them to fall into your preferences 100%?

A really simple example of this just take driving. Are you expecting other drivers to be perfect? Or are you expecting them to be flawed humans just like the rest of us? If you were expecting them to be flawed instead of expecting them to be perfect would you be a lot less upset when someone doesn’t use a blinker when they get over and switch lanes, or when someone cuts you off, or when someone takes too long to start moving after the light turns green?

If you’re fast honker, if you’re quick to hit your horn, you’re probably expecting other people to be perfect when they’re driving and to go as soon as the light turns green, to not waste a single second. What would it look like for you to be way more understanding of other people’s imperfections, of other people’s “flaws”? Again, flaws are just subjective. What someone perceives to be a flaw might be what someone else perceives to be an asset or a positive attribute and quality.

I really want you to take some time this week and start to search for the ways that you indulge in other oriented perfectionism, okay? If you think people aren’t behaving correctly and you think they should be doing something different than they are, you are likely indulging in other oriented perfectionism. Okay.

I’ve talked about this before as well using the term manuals. We typically have instruction manuals for people. we get frustrated when people don’t meet the expectations that we have for them in those instruction manuals that pretty much just exist in our head. We, of course, haven’t taken the time to write them down anywhere or share them with people. But we have these manuals for the people in our lives.

the manuals are really based off or fueled by this other oriented perfectionism. That there’s one right way to be. We know what that right way is. if people don’t adhere to our standard of right then they’re wrong. They’re just de facto incorrect.

But what if there’s no best way to be, no right way to be, no perfect way to be? How does that revelation change the way that you show up and experience your relationships? How does it change the way that you interact with the people in your life? I bet it’s going to make you so much more tolerant, so much more accepting, so much more understanding of the people that you interact with.

You’re going to be able to enjoy the parts of them that you enjoy, and not take issue with the parts of them that you don’t enjoy. You’re just going to come to expect that there’s going to be that 50% that you don’t love, and that that’s okay. really all we’re ever doing is searching for the 50/50 split in people that were willing to accept, okay.

You’re looking for the 50% good that you value and you appreciate that makes whatever their 50% combination is of the things that you don’t like tolerable. everyone’s 50/50 split preferences are going to be different. Just like I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, there’s a 50/50 split with being an employee and a 50/50 split with being an entrepreneur.

I prefer the 50/50 split of being an entrepreneur over the 50/50 split of being an employee. That doesn’t mean that being an entrepreneur is better. It just means that it is my preference to choose that 50/50 versus a different 50/50. A lot of people prefer the 50/50 of being an employee. That’s totally fine. Their choice isn’t right or wrong. Neither is mine.

So with the people we have in our lives, it’s the exact same thing. There’s a 50/50 split of the things that we like and the things that we won’t like. that doesn’t mean that there’s a problem. Nothing has gone wrong. Just plan to expect that from people. it’s all about finding the 50/50 split that you prefer, and that you’re willing to accept in order to get the parts that you love. then to take the parts that you don’t love with a grain of salt.

All right, this is going to transform your relationships and make it so much less tense, so much more enjoyable. You’re really going to be able to appreciate people in such a different way. I promise. It’s so revolutionary. I just can’t say enough about it. It’s completely changed my life as I’ve started to have these realizations and epiphanies. I hope the same is true for you.

I would love to hear about how this concept opens your eyes and changes your life improves your relationships. DM me on social media. I’m on Instagram and LinkedIn. Or write a review for the podcast and tell me how this transforms the way you interact with your loved ones, with the people in your life at work, outside of work, all that good stuff.

Okay. That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. I can’t wait for you to start applying this to overcome your other oriented perfectionism. I hope you have a beautiful week. I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 69: The Labels You Assign Other People

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Labels You Assign Other People

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

What does it mean to assign a label to someone? Labels are just thoughts or judgments that we have about other people and a characteristic that we believe they exhibit. This sounds harmless, but assigning other people labels isn’t always helpful, and in this week’s episode, I’m showing you why.

We’ve spoken on the podcast before about the labels you assign to yourself, but what about the
labels you assign to other people? Even though the framework is similar, I’m giving you some specific
examples of the labels you assign others, what it looks like in practice, and why it’s problematic.

Tune in this week to discover how to create some awareness around the labels you assign to other people. I’m discussing why these thoughts about the people in your life aren’t indisputable facts, and I’m showing you how to workshop these thoughts so you can see the negative results they’re creating in your life.

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:

  • Examples of labels you might assign other people in your life.
  • Why your thoughts about other people and their characteristics aren’t necessarily true.
  • How assigning labels to others directs your brain to look for evidence that corroborates your thoughts.
  • What you can do to question your thoughts about other people.
  • How to see where the labels you’re assigning others are doing you a disservice.
  • Your options for how to proceed if you discover the labels you’re assigning others aren’t serving you.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 69. Today, we’re talking all about the labels you assign other people. 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 you? Things are good. I’m over in my neck of the woods. I just made it to Nashville. I got in yesterday, and I am here to work with my business coach, because even coaches need coaching. I think everyone could benefit from coaching. So, I get coached myself and every six months I go to a different city, and I get to meet with my business coach.

I get to meet with all of my entrepreneur peers, and I just soak up several days of learning in an immersive environment. It’s one of my favorite things. I am a retreat person, that’s why I host my own in-person events. I just absolutely love the experience of being in community with people and being able to immerse myself in the learning and be fully focused.

I just touched down here yesterday. I’m getting acclimated. It’s pretty warm in Nashville. I’m so excited to meet and mingle with everyone, and I also have the pleasure this time of being one of the instructors for the program that I’m a part of. So, I’m a student and an instructor this time, which is so, so fun. I absolutely love teaching people how to make money, and I get to do that as part of this program.

I teach my own clients how to make money, how to build successful law practices, and how to market, and then I get to do that here with coaches and entrepreneurs. So fun. That’s enough about me. I hope wherever you are in the world listening to this, all is well with you.

I’m super excited to talk to you about today’s topic. It’s actually a special request from one of my clients, who is an avid listener of my podcast. She reached out to me and said, “Hey, can you please do an episode on this?” So, I went back through the archives of my podcast, and I did an episode on this before, but it’s slightly different. Let me explain.

Today’s topic is about the labels you assign other people. Episode 14 of this podcast is all about the labels you assign yourself. Even though the concept is the same, the framework is still the same, I want to give you some specific examples of what this looks like in practice and why it’s problematic, specifically when it comes to other people.

This is what I mean by assigning a label to someone. Labels are just thoughts that we have about other people. The thought is a judgment that we have about them, and it’s a characteristic that we believe that they exhibit. So, examples of this would be thoughts like, he’s irresponsible, he’s aggressive, she’s disrespectful, she’s lazy, he’s immature, she’s unprofessional, he’s non-responsive, she’s rude, he’s flaky, he’s narcissistic, she’s unreliable, she’s bitchy, he’s arrogant, or she’s selfish.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, right? These are just examples of the types of labels that you might be assigning to the people in your life. And you have to remember, our thoughts are not true; facts are true. So, in this instance, there would be behavior that someone exhibits, the factual behavior. The actions that they take, that everyone in the world would agree upon if we all listened to what they say, or we watched what they did, it would be in the most factual way possible.

“She said…” blank, you would insert the direct quote. Or “He did this… He said no to attending…” something. Or “She showed up 30 minutes after the start of the event.” Those are facts. Then, you place a judgment on the facts you observe. We label people, we assign them these characteristics, based on our own belief systems and the facts that we encounter.

We end up taking these labels and use them as a lens, where we view people through the label that we assign them. Our brains are so, so powerful, they’re such incredible tools, and they’re so effective that when we assign these labels to people, our brains essentially say, “Roger that, I’m going to go out and find evidence to prove this belief true.” Even though our thoughts aren’t true, our brain accepts the assignment. It’s like, “I’m going to go confirm this for you. I’m going to close the loop.”

So, when you’re thinking that someone is irresponsible, when you assign them that label, your brain says, “Roger that,” and it goes out and finds all the evidence that this person is irresponsible. So, everything that they do, you view all of their actions through that lens of believing that they’re irresponsible. You’re like on hyper alert, looking for evidence and more proof to support your initial belief, that they’re irresponsible.

You’re going to bypass and ignore anything to the contrary. You’re going to miss seeing the ways in which someone might be responsible. And of course, it’s always a subjective opinion on whether someone’s responsible or irresponsible. But you’re going to miss things that you would perceive to be responsible, and you’re going to hyperfocus and look for proof of someone’s irresponsibility.

Same thing when you’re believing that someone’s aggressive. You’re going to look for all the ways that someone’s aggressive. You’re going to miss the ways where they’re mild in nature, and soft or welcoming or thoughtful or caring. You’re going to look for all the ways that they’re aggressive.

If you think that someone’s disrespectful, you’re going to search for all the ways in which they’re disrespectful, and your brain is so good, it will find things to support this. You’ll make the argument subconsciously or unconsciously, to fit your initial assumption about someone.

Same thing with believing that someone’s lazy. You’re going to look for all the ways that they don’t show up the way that you want them to. You’re going to look for the ways that they dropped the ball, when they don’t put in the extra effort, and when they phone it in.

Again, these are all just your opinions about the person and what they’re doing. None of it is actually true, but we believe our thoughts. Especially when you’re not actively engaged in the process of identifying your thoughts, examining them, and questioning them. Which is something that we do when we coach together. You learn that skill set. You learn how to do that.

Now, I want you to take a few minutes, and basically, we’re going to workshop this, during this episode, because I want you to start to create some awareness around the labels that you’re assigning the people in your life. So, maybe you have a boss. What are the labels that you assign to your boss? Maybe you think they’re demanding. Maybe you think they’re toxic. Maybe you think they’re not respectful of your time or your boundaries.

When you think those thoughts, when you assign those labels to them, do you see how you search for and find more evidence to support that initial belief? I also want you to think about how you feel when you think those thoughts about this person, and when you assign these labels to them? It’s going to cause you to feel a negative emotion. Then, get clear. How do you show up when you’re feeling that way? Probably not in a great way, right? So, think about that.

Or if you have someone who reports to you directly, someone that you supervise, what labels do you assign to that person? Do you think that they’re unreliable? Do you think that they’re not responsive enough?

I see that a lot with some of the higher-level partners that I work with. They typically think the associates that work for them aren’t responsive enough. Then, when they think that, every single time they’re interacting with the associate it reinforces their belief that the person’s not responsive enough. So, they’re searching for that evidence, and they find it.

One of the things that I teach my clients to do, is define what “enough” means in the first place. So, we have to go through and figure out what you mean by responsive enough. Does that mean people respond within 24 hours, eight hours an hour, a half an hour? It doesn’t matter what your standard is, everyone gets to have their own standards. You just want to know what yours are.

When you don’t define what “enough” is and you assign someone the label that they’re not responsive enough, even though you haven’t defined it, you’re measuring them against an unclear standard and you’re always going to think that they should have responded faster than they did. Then, you’re going to be really frustrated and annoyed with them.

Then, think about how you show up with your direct report when you’re feeling frustrated and annoyed. It’s not going to be in a way that supports your collaborative relationship with this person. It’s not going to be in a way that supports them to continue to improve and grow and be an integral part of your team.

Same thing if you have an assistant; maybe it’s a paralegal or a legal assistant, a secretary. If you have negative thoughts about them, if you’re assigning negative labels to them, maybe you think that they’re incompetent, or they aren’t attentive enough to detail, that’s a big one that I see with my clients, you will always look for the ways that they’re not competent, or that they miss those details.

Again, you’re going to be frustrated and annoyed. So, if you label a person that you work with this way, you’re going to keep searching for evidence to meet and fill in this belief. It becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. You think it and then you find it and you see it in them, and then you think it some more and then you find it, and you see it in them, and you think at some more.

Think about your clients. What labels do you assign to your clients? A lot of my clients think that their clients are difficult and needy. When they think those thoughts about their clients, they are constantly in search of evidence to prove that true. So, every time that the client messages them after business hours, they’re going to reinforce that belief that the person’s difficult or needy.

Every time they have to explain something to a client a second or third time, they’re going to reinforce their belief that the client is difficult and needy. Because they’re bringing everything that the client does through that lens of the client being difficult, of the client being needy, so it just proves it true. Even though, as I’ve said multiple times already in this episode, your thoughts aren’t true. But they feel true, especially when you are on the hunt, subconsciously, for evidence that supports your initial belief.

Think about the labels that you assign to your parents. I coach a lot of my clients on their relationship with their parents. No one teaches us in life how to have relationships with adult parents, or how parents should have relationships with their adult children. I find there to be a lot of tension and conflict in adult-child parent relationships.

So, take a second and think about how you think about your parents. Do you think that they’re intrusive? Do you think that they’re judgmental? Do you think that they’re unsupportive? Do you think that they’re slow? I actually… My mom, hopefully she’s not listening to this. But this is a label I’ve assigned to her with how she drives.

I notice, I hyper focus, on the speed at which she drives and then how she gets in and out of the car. Kevin Hart has a really funny comedic skit about this, about someone preparing to start driving and someone exiting a car.

It’s a silly label that I’ve assigned to my mom, and then every time I drive with her, I reinforce this belief because I’m hyper focusing on how long it takes her to get her purse together, get in and out of the car, get her seatbelt on, put the car in drive, and do all of that stuff.

If I wasn’t assigning this label to her, none of this would be a problem. But it’s because I’m viewing all of her actions through this lens, through this judgment, that I hyperfocus and I upset myself, right?

So, if I were to get rid of this thought, and choose to think something else instead, I wouldn’t be nearly as annoyed when I drive with her. Because I’m not having this negative thought and viewing everything that she does through that lens of negative belief.

How about the thoughts or the labels you assign to your romantic partner. Do you think that they’re selfish? Do you think that they’re unsupportive? Do you think that they are unhelpful? If you are thinking these things about the person that you’re romantically involved with, notice how you constantly search for evidence that they’re selfish. You’re going to look for all the ways that they’re not holding their own in the relationship.

You’re going to look for all of the ways that they put their needs before you. You’re going to look for all the ways and all the times that they don’t help you versus looking at the times that they do help you.

Now, what’s the problem with assigning these labels? Number one, if you’re assigning a negative label to someone, you’re making yourself feel like shit, okay? I tell my clients all the time, feeling like shit feels like shit. So, you’re causing your own emotional suffering when you do this.

I think a lot of people, the pushback they give me when I invite them to stop assigning labels to the people in their lives, to change the way that they’re thinking about the people in their lives, they’re like, “What am I supposed to do? Just tolerate other people’s behavior and just put up with everything?” It’s not about letting someone else off the hook, it’s about letting yourself off the hook. It’s about not forcing yourself to suffer emotionally when it’s really unnecessary.

So, if you want to feel better, we can’t control what other people do or say. The only thing we can control is how you think about other people. I highly encourage you, and I invite you to entertain the idea of changing the labels that you assign people or just stop assigning labels to them, so you don’t cause yourself emotional suffering that’s completely optional and completely unnecessary.

I also want you to think about, again, how do you show up when you’re feeling these feelings? I want you to get really specific with the emotion that you feel. Remember, it’s a one-word emotion that you feel when you assign these labels to people and when you think these thoughts.

Then, ask yourself, how do I show up in relationship with this person? How do I respond to this person when I’m thinking this thought, when I’m feeling this feeling, if it’s not positive? Then, the label that you’re assigning really doesn’t serve you and you’re doing yourself a disservice by continuing to assign it to someone, because you’re upsetting yourself. You’re not showing up in the way that you want to be showing up.

I want you to be really specific here and get clear when you think that someone is unresponsive or not responsive enough, and you feel that negative feeling, frustrated or annoyed or disrespected. How do you show up when you’re working with them? When you think that your partner is unhelpful, and you feel resentful or disappointed or disrespected or neglected or unsupported? How do you show up?

What do you do? Do you argue with them? Do you withdraw? Do you get passive aggressive? Do you lash out? What do you do? Do you argue more? How does it create more conflict? How does it create more tension? How does it create more of what you don’t want when you’re thinking that your parents are intrusive, and you feel annoyed? What do you do? Do you get combative with them? Do you withdraw? Do you avoid them?

You’re going to start to see how you show up in ways that really don’t create the results that you want, in these different relationships that you have with people. So, what’s the solution here if these thoughts and if these labels don’t serve you?

You’ve got two different options. The first option is that you can just choose to not assign label. You can get rid of the label altogether. One of the ways that you can do this is you can recognize that the way that you’re labeling people assumes that that label is true 100% of the time, right?

It’s not that we’re telling ourselves that they’re sometimes selfish, we’re telling ourselves that they’re selfish 100% of the time. The 100% part is just assumed in the way that we label them. It ends up being really inaccurate because there’s probably plenty of evidence, if you were to look for it intentionally, that you’d be able to find proof to support that someone is selfless. Just like you can find proof to support that they’re selfish.

If you’re thinking that someone’s irresponsible, you can find plenty of proof to support your belief that they’re irresponsible. But if you flip it, you can also find plenty of evidence to support the fact that they’re responsible, or to support the opinion that they’re responsible. So, as an opinion, not a fact.

The truth is, is that people are dynamic, they’re nuanced, and they’re all things. They’re both things, right? We’re a mix. It’s not all or nothing, it’s not black and white, it’s not zero or 100%. So, if you think about that, can you allow yourself to get rid of the label altogether, recognizing that no one is 100% anything? That’s one option, recognizing that your labels are just inaccurate, so can we just get rid of it?

The other option, I call this coaching Mad Libs, that’s just the fun little phrase that I came up with for this, or the way that I think about it in my head. But if you identify the labels that you’re assigning to people… and I like to do this by writing them out. This is one of the times that I do invest the time, and it only takes a few minutes, to just write out what you’re thinking about someone so you can see it in front of you.

When you write it out, I find it so much easier to see it in front of you, written on paper, and to identify all the ways in which that belief is not true. I see it in such a different way when it’s written in front of me, rather than when I do this exercise in my head. So, take the time and write this out.

Pick one person and write out the labels that you’re assigning to them. You’re quickly going to be able to see how the opposite is true, or how something different is true. Again, it’s not actually true, it’s just your opinion. But you’re going to see how you could make an argument in support of a different belief, versus the belief that you’re currently holding.

When you’re doing this, it gives you access to start to try and switch up the way that you’re thinking about this person. What I do, after I’ve written down the labels that I’m assigning to someone, I play the Mad Libs version of this. So, I circle the word. You’re going to circle the term that you’re using to describe the person, you’re going to circle the word that’s the label.

So, “he is arrogant,” arrogant would be the label here that you’re assigning, circle that, and see if you can plug and play different words to change the way that you feel about someone. You’re essentially replacing the label with a label that better serves you.

I recently did this with a client of mine. She was getting ready to do an in-court appearance, she was arguing a motion, and it had been the first time that she was going to be in front of a judge, arguing this type of motion, in a really long time. Because of the pandemic, it had been a while, and she had had a negative experience in front of this judge before. So, she felt particularly anxious about preparing for this motion hearing, going into court in front of this judge.

As we talked about it, I realized that she was assigning certain labels to this judge. One of the labels that she was assigning to this judge was that he was “very aggressive.” So, we circle very aggressive, right? That’s the phrase that we want to swap out. We played with different word choices here, and we ultimately came to, instead of thinking he’s very aggressive, what if you thought he’s very emotional.

It totally changed the way that she felt about the motion hearing and about being in front of this judge. It actually made her giggle, because arguably, you can make the same argument that the person who’s being very aggressive is also being very emotional, right?

There are different ways to think of emotional. I think there’s a feminine connotation often associated with the word “emotional,” with that kind of label. There’s the masculine interpretation of thinking that someone’s very aggressive, but flipping it to something more feminine… This isn’t a knock on feminine attributes, but just the play on words here and replacing “aggressive” with “emotional” made it so much less intimidating for her to appear before the judge.

Rather than being scared or nervous, it’s like almost mildly amused. “Oh, look at this judge not being able to get a handle on their emotions, and not being able to control themselves.” Rather than being something that she needed to be intimidated about, it was something that she almost felt sympathetic about. “Oh, poor judge, not being able to control themselves, and not being able to keep their response controlled or at bay.”

It really empowered her to show up, and prep for that hearing, in a way that felt so much better to her. She ended up killing it. She knocked it out of the park. And part of that is because she chose to assign a different label to this judge in advance of this hearing.

Think about doing the exact same thing with your romantic partner. If you’re thinking that they’re really unhelpful, you’re going to look for all the evidence that supports that belief. But try and swap out a different word, other than “unhelpful.”

For me, one of the ways that I can often get to a different label, get to a different word in the thought Mad Libs, the coaching Mad Libs game, would be to ask myself why I think that they’re that way. Why I think they’re unhelpful. I might be able, in this instance, to get to a thought like, “Oh, well, they don’t know what I need help with.”

So instead of thinking that they’re unhelpful, I might choose to swap that out with “they’re unaware.” They’re unclear on the help that I need or would like. From there, it just puts the onus on me to be better at explaining and asking for the help that I would like. Then, they have more clarity and they’re better informed as to what I’m asking for.

Because no one’s a mind reader. No matter how long you’ve been with someone, they still don’t know what you’re thinking. It’s so much easier if we just tell them and we just ask for what we want, rather than expecting them to read our minds. So, I would just choose to think that they’re unaware or they’re uninformed, and that I can solve that by informing them, just being more clear, and asking for what I want.

Same thing with someone that I might supervise. I might think that they’re incompetent, and that’s not going to make me feel good. I’m going to show up in a pretty negative way when I’m feeling whatever feeling comes from that; frustrated, annoyed, disappointed, discouraged.

Instead of thinking that they’re incompetent, I might think that they’re confused or they’re inexperienced. Then that would make me feel more patient or more curious about how I could approach this situation differently, in order to create a different result.

Okay, so again, try this coaching Mad Libs. Where you identify the sentence, you circle the word that causes the negative emotion, causes you to experience that negative emotion that is your subjective opinion, and see if you can replace it. Try and assign a different label, a more useful, helpful label, to that person.

I promise you, doing this work, identifying the thoughts that you’re thinking about other people, the labels that you’re assigning them, is life changing, and it is simple to do. It has such a massive impact. Just creating awareness around this, alone, will really transform your relationships. How you show up in them, and how you feel about the people in your life on a day-to-day basis.

It is some of the most important work you can do. Okay, from there, just creating that awareness is powerful enough, but you can also choose to stop assigning the label altogether or assign a different one, one that’s more useful, one that’s more helpful, one that’s more positive. Those are your options here. Okay?

So, go out, take some time, and start to identify the labels that you’re assigning to the people in your life. I highly encourage you to knock it off. Stop doing what you’ve been doing, and your relationships will really improve.

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

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

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Episode 68: But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

I have created a life of freedom. That doesn’t mean I have no obligations, but I’m happy about everything I have to do, and everything I get to do. So, this brings me to the most important question that anyone can ever ask themselves: but are you free?

Do you want a life that affords you the freedom to spend your time exactly how you want? Do you want to be financially free to spend money on whatever you want? Do you want to be geographically free, so you can nomadically experience new environments? Or do you just want to be free of society’s expectations and everything you should be doing?

Tune in this week to discover why the question, “But are you free?” is so important. I share times in my life when I haven’t felt free, what true freedom means to me, and how to question yourself so you can change the way you think, feel, and act toward creating the result of more freedom.

You have one chance left to join the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Applications will close on July 21st, but we expect it to fill up sooner than that, so click here and don’t miss out!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why I find it valuable to ask myself, “Are you free?”
  • How freedom has become the pursuit of my lifetime.
  • Some of the areas of my life where I’m trying to create more freedom.
  • The value of being radically honest with yourself.
  • How to use the question, “But are you free?” to discover what your work is moving forward.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 68. Today, we’re talking all about the most important question you can ask yourself. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. Man, I am so excited to record this episode. This is one of my absolute favorite things to talk about. I mentioned in the last episode, in the episode that I talked about setting money goals, when I gave you all my little life update… which I love to do at the start of each podcast episode, like I said, just to bring you along with me, and give you a little behind the scenes look at what’s going on in my life… I talked about how I recently spent some time in northern Michigan.

I got away. I really listened to myself. I knew that I needed a little bit of a breather. I needed some downtime. I just wanted to be with people that I loved. I wanted to catch my breath. I just wanted to chill and enjoy my life for a second. Have some fun, relax, get out of my routine, get away, and just be. Just be with people that I care about. Just be with myself. Just be. I did that. I listened to myself, and I created that opportunity for myself.

I rented a place up north. I took friends up on an invitation to go stay with them for a few days. I made the drive. I took time off of work. I rescheduled some client sessions. I made myself available for those opportunities. I created that opportunity actually, by giving myself the time and the bandwidth and the availability to go spend my time that way.

One thing that was truly not lost on me, and I guess it’s a little coincidental, because all of this was going on around the Fourth of July, which is all about freedom, I realized that I have truly created a life where I’m free to do what I want with my time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have obligations, that I don’t work, and that I don’t have to work in order to make money. All of those things are still true.

I choose to have those obligations in my life. I’m happy to have them. I’m proud to have them. I love the business that I’ve built for myself. But I also love the freedom that I’ve created for myself. To be able to not have to answer to someone, and to be able to reschedule something when I need to.

To be able to get away. The financial freedom to rent a cottage on a lake at the last minute, and to be able to impulsively drive up north, and do all of that stuff to be able to get away. I’ve created a life that affords me the freedom to spend my time how I want to spend my time.

Because this all coincided with the Fourth of July, and the whole let freedom ring theme, I was thinking about this concept. It made me think of my favorite question, which is what this episode is all about. I’m going to ask you my favorite question.

But I want to give you some background as to where this question came from, how it came to me, how I came to know it, why I ask it of myself, why I think it’s so powerful.

So, to give you a little backstory, y’all know I love a good backstory. But every year I pick a word of the year. One year I picked “Intentional.” I think another year I picked “Sufficient,” and I meant that in a couple of different ways. I meant self-sufficient, as in I can take care of myself and be very reliant on myself. I also meant sufficient as in feeling sufficient. Like, feeling like I had enough of the things that I had, enjoying what I had, rather than feeling like I needed or wanted more.

So intentional, sufficient. I’ve picked different words, but those are the two that really come to mind when I think of the words of the year that I’ve chosen. Then, in 2020, I read a book. It’s a sobriety memoir called We Are the Luckiest.

I read it, actually, while I was detoxing from taking Adderall. For those of you who don’t know, I used to struggle with Adderall addiction. I will do a whole episode all about my struggles with that, and how I overcame it, because I know that a lot of people in the legal industry struggle with that as well. I want to be a resource and an open book about my own struggles with it.

But as I was going through detoxing from Adderall, I read this book called We Are the Luckiest. I’ve also talked, I think, a bit on the podcast about my relationship with alcohol. I’ll do a whole episode on that, as well. But that is something that I’ve also struggled with.

Those two things really went in tandem with one another. I would take Adderall to stay awake, and then I would drink in order to be able to fall asleep. A very ineffective way to cope with my stress. So, those two things really went in tandem with one another.

I’d been sober curious, for a while. I’ve really done a lot of work on my relationship with alcohol. I still do consume alcohol. I don’t like to glamorize drinking alcohol. Again, it is something that I’ve done a lot of conscious, intentional work in addressing my relationship, getting it in a place that feels more maintainable, feels more within my control, feels safer, and sustainable.

As part of that, with my sober curiosity, I chose to read I follow this woman on Instagram. The author’s name is Laura McKowen. She came out with a book called We Are the Luckiest. I forget who else read it, maybe it was Glennon Doyle; who I also love; the author of Love Warrior and Untamed. Love Warrior absolutely changed my life. It was the first time I was ever introduced to the concept that discomfort is something that you need to embrace rather than avoid.

So, I believe Glennon reviewed, We Are the Luckiest. She said that the book was going to save lives, because Glennon’s also sober. Again, there was just a lot that resonated with me, coming from Glennon reviewing this book. So, I decided to order it, and I was reading it as I was detoxing from Adderall.

And I frequently refer to We Are the Luckiest as probably my second favorite book of all time. It’s one of the rawest, most honest, candid, beautiful things that I’ve ever read. I also love a memoir, so it falls right in line with kind of my preference, as far as it comes to literary categories and whatnot.

So, I read, We Are the Luckiest, and as I worked through and addressed my own relationship with alcohol, one of the things that Laura talks about in her book is this fixation with throwing a label on your drinking. So many people struggle with addressing their relationship with alcohol, because they don’t want to label themselves to be an alcoholic. Because that word has a lot of negative connotations with it. It tends to have a lot of judgment with it.

She explains that the proper thing to focus on really isn’t whether or not you consider yourself an alcoholic, that there’s a better question to ask yourself. The question that she poses is the question: But are you free? Regardless of what you want to call yourself, do you have a problem, do you not have a problem, are you an alcoholic, are you not an alcoholic. That really doesn’t matter.

The question is: But are you free? Do you feel like you’re free from alcohol, it’s hold that it has on you? Does it feel like it controls you sometimes? Do you feel out of control with it? Or do you feel free? And for me, because I’ve struggled with that word, it doesn’t feel like it’s the right fit for me, alcoholism, or being an alcoholic, that never felt like it aligned for me.

The question, but are you free, was so powerful. Because for me, especially at the time where I was reading this book, my answer was no. That also, especially, rang true with my relationship with Adderall as well. Although, I do use the word addiction when it comes to my use of Adderall in the past. I don’t take it anymore.

I didn’t mean to make that sound like I take it now, and that I’ve fixed my relationship with it. I have fixed my relationship with it by abstaining, completely, from taking it. Because I do consider myself to have an addiction with it. That’s not something that I can take sustainably, or that I would even want to take sustainably, because my life is so much better now that I no longer take it.

But anyways, I’m reading this book, We Are the Luckiest, and the author Laura McKowen poses this question: But are you free? Honestly, when I read it, I knew in that moment that that question is probably the most important question any of us can ever ask ourselves. It doesn’t just need to come to the topic of substance abuse or drinking alcohol or anything else that you take.

It’s such a beautiful question for, really, each and every area of your life. So, after I read this book, I decided that “Free” was going to be my word for the year. I want to say it was my word of the year in 2021, although I can’t remember if that’s true or not. I know it was my word in 2022, and I know it was my word this year, for 2023.

Honestly, I think it will be the word of the year for the rest of my life. It really is like the word of my life. It’s the pursuit of my lifetime; to become freer and freer. To ask that question of myself, but are you free, in whatever area of my life I’m examining at that time. The reason that I love this word and this question so much, is that I think it really articulates and captures the goals that I’ve set for myself.

So, one of my goals is to be financially free. This year, my goal is to make a million dollars. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for the financial goals that I have for myself over the course of my lifetime. But I’m striving to become financially free.

I also want to be geographically free. I’ve done a lot of work this year, especially since December of 2022, to become more geographically free. I now move every six months. I am in furnished condos. It makes it a lot easier for me to travel from place to place, because I have the goal of being geographically free. I want to move closer and closer towards a more nomadic lifestyle.

It doesn’t just stop there. Those are two of the main goals, that I’ve set for myself within the past 12 months, that I’m actively working towards and making extreme progress on. But it doesn’t stop there. For me, to be truly free includes being free from the weight of other people’s opinions. Being free from the excuses that people make for why they aren’t where they want to be.

Being free from crutches and coping mechanisms like alcohol, Adderall, or other things like that, that people use to tolerate the parts of their lives that they don’t love. Being free from judgment and ridicule and doubt. Or from being free of my own self-judgement, self-ridicule, and self-doubt. Being free from regret and worry and fear.

Or free from society’s expectations. Those external pressures that we put on ourselves, that we take on, when we think that we need to do things because it’s how we’re “supposed” to do them, how we should do them. Being free from traditional norms that might not serve me anymore, or ever, for that matter.

Being free in my body is a huge goal of mine. I’ve spent a lot of my life, more than I care to admit, criticizing and going to war with my body instead of being grateful, loving and at peace with it. That’s something that I’m really working to change, and to become free of, that self-criticism. That unnecessary judgment. That meanness that we can all direct at ourselves. I want that to end. I want to be free of that. That’s one of my goals.

Being free to love, boldly, passionately, uninhibitedly. Free of embarrassment or of making a fool of yourself. Free of worrying about that, is what I mean. Being free to explore this world, every part of it that I want to explore; nature, hobbies, adventures, myself, all of it. Being free to be unapologetically myself, to really know myself, to love myself, to enjoy being myself.

To become more me, and more free to be me, every single day. That is what I’m pursuing in my lifetime, this year, last year, next year, in all the years to come. I am pursuing free. That’s my goal from this point forward for my life.

The way that I’m going to get there is really quite simple. It’s by asking myself this question over and over and over again. You know I always say this, if you want better answers, you’ve got to ask better questions. So, the question that’s going to guide me is very simple. I got it from Laura. It’s the question: But are you free?

So, whatever area of my life I’m working on, whether it’s free of other people’s judgments or free in my body or free in relationships, free to love, free to travel, financially free, free of other people’s expectations. No matter what it is, my question is, but am I free? But are you free?

If the answer in any particular area of my life is no, then I know exactly where my work is. My work is to focus on addressing my mindset, and changing my mindset, to feel freer, to change the way that I think, to change the way that I feel. Ultimately, to change what I do. Right? To take the action that enables me to become more free.

What do I need to do to become more free? To create the result of being freer? So, I’ll use this question to guide me. I currently use it, and I’ll continue to use it. It is so, so impactful. This is going to be a short episode because this question is so powerful, I don’t need to overcomplicate it. But now I want to ask you this question: Are you free?

Really be honest with yourself. I want you to take a second, if you don’t want to be… I almost get choked up when I ask this question. It’s such a powerful question. It’s the secret. It’s like the key to unlocking the life that you’re meant to live. It’s so, so powerful.

When I got the idea to record this episode, I was just so excited to record it and to ask you this question. So, you can have this question, and you can bring it into your own life. The same way I’ve brought it into mine once I borrowed it from Laura. I hope you borrow it from Laura. I hope you borrow it from me.

Are you free? Are you free to do what you love? Are you free to work when you want to work? Are you financially free? Are you free from the weight of other people’s opinions? Or do you still care what they think? Are you still letting their opinions, their judgments control you? Are you free from making excuses for why you aren’t where you want to be?

Or are you taking radical ownership of why you are where you are? Why you have what you have? Why you don’t have what you don’t have? Are you owning that? Are you being radically honest with yourself? Are you free from the crutches and the coping mechanisms that people use to tolerate the parts of their lives that they don’t love?

Or are you buffering with the booze, with the food, with that social media addiction of yours, with the Netflix, with sleeping? Are you buffering, are you escaping the parts of your life that you don’t love? Are you tolerating aspects that you don’t enjoy? That you don’t prefer? Are you free from judgment, ridicule, and doubt?

Are you free from your own self judgement, self-ridicule, and self-doubt? Are you free from regret? Are you free from worry? Are you free from fear? Or are you beholden to those things? Are you letting them control you? Are you free from society’s expectations? Or are you living under the “should?” Is the “should” just suffocating you? Are you free from the traditional norms that don’t serve you?

The expectations, the rules that you no longer want to subscribe to, are you still subscribing to them? Are you still living your life in accordance with them, even though they don’t align with the life that you want? Are you free in your body? Or are you like I have been in the past, criticizing it endlessly, going to war with it? Or are you grateful for it, loving of it, and at peace with it?

Are you free to love who you want to love, the way you want to love? Free of embarrassment? Free to love boldly, passionately, uninhibitedly? Are you free to explore this world, nature, hobbies, adventures, yourself, all of it? Are you free to be unapologetically you?

Are you free to be yourself, the version of you that you like the most? The version of yourself that feels the most authentic? The version of yourself that you prefer? The one that you want to be the most? The version of you that you’ve been longing to step into? Are you free to be that you?

Being free is the pursuit of a lifetime. It is the thing that I want most for my life, and every day, I become more of it. Because I work at it. I ask myself this question, and then I pursue it relentlessly. Being free is also the thing that I want most for your life, too.

I want you to take a second and answer this question: But are you free? If you don’t like your answer, you know where your work is. Let me be clear, it’s time for you to get to work. If you don’t like your answer, the time is now. It’s time to get to work.

I promise you; nothing changes in your life if you don’t change it. If you don’t decide right this minute to do something differently, to pursue free the same way I pursue it; intentionally, every single day, with this relentless passion to become more of the most beautiful thing that you can become; freer each and every day.

Make the decision to pursue the life where you get to be free. The life where you are free. In all of the ways that I mentioned in this episode. That’s what I want for you, to be free in each and every one of those ways, and in more. I’m sure you can think of your own ways, the areas of your life where you currently don’t feel free right now.

I want you to think what would be different about your life, what would your life be like, if you were free in those ways? If you were free in those areas? freedom is available to you, in every single one of those areas. I promise you.

You do have to work for it, though. I do not want to be unclear about that. I want to be as direct as I possibly can be. It is available to you. Freedom is available to you, but you have to work for it. It is waiting for you, but you have to claim it. That is what’s true.

If you want to get started, if you answered your question, and you don’t like your answer, and you want to do something about it, and you want to take me up on the invitation to do something about it right now, right this minute, I want you to join me inside the August class of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

That is the place where you are going to learn how to relentlessly pursue free. The place where you’re going to learn how to live a life on your own terms. How to stop caring about what other people think. How to work when you want, how to do what you love, how to accept yourself and be more of yourself, and get rid of all of the “shoulds” that have been holding you back and limiting you.

To get over the buffering, all of the ways that you self-sabotage, and the ways that you cope and tolerate the parts of your life that you don’t love. I’m going to teach you how to be free from all of that. To be more authentically and unapologetically you; the you that you want to be.

If you are ready to get to work, and I know you are, I know you’re ready to make this change; you’re sick of doing it the other way. You’ve got to join me inside the August class of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. I cannot wait for the next time I ask you this question, but are you free for you to have a different answer. An answer that you love.

Alright, my friends. 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 67: Setting Money Goals

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Setting Money Goals

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Setting Money Goals

Now that you’re clear on your thoughts about money, your overspending, underearning, and your shame around spending, we are wrapping up my Money Mindset series this week by discussing the most important piece of the money mindset puzzle: setting money goals.

I’m a huge advocate of setting money goals. However, I’m always seeing people having drama around setting money goals. People want to avoid setting goals around their finances, but the truth is, it’s impossible to achieve your goals and build wealth if you aren’t intentional about setting money goals in the first place. So, if you’re ready to decide what you want to create in your life when it comes to money, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover what’s stopping you from setting money goals, and what you can do about it. I share some of the most common excuses I hear for not setting intentional goals around charging, saving, spending, and investing, and show you a system for setting money goals that move you forward.

You have one chance left to join the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Applications will close on July 21st, but we expect it to fill up sooner than that, so click here and don’t miss out!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why people avoid setting money goals.
  • What happens when you haphazardly embark on achieving your money goals.
  • The most helpful mindset you can have around failure.
  • Why intention is the key to reaching any goal.
  • How to make sure the math around your money goal adds up.
  • Some tips for being more intentional when it comes to your money.
  • How to set money goals and experience the benefits of setting money goals.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 67. Today, we’re talking all about setting money goals. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hello, hello, hello. How are you? I hope you are doing well. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve talked to you. I’m so excited to continue the Money Mindset series that I started. This is the last episode in that series. Before I dive into that, I just want to give you a little life update and talk about what’s been going on in my summer because I love to just take you with me along with my travels.

I’ve actually been traveling a decent amount for pleasure, not for work. Most of the travel that I do is for work. I decided to just take a chance to catch my breath, and take some time off, both before, during and after the Fourth of July holiday. So, I went up north to Lake Huron, on the east side of the state of Michigan, and rented the cutest Airbnb right on the water. It was absolutely amazing. I did that before the Fourth of July.

Then, I just got back from going up to visit friends of mine at their cottage in Baldwin, Michigan. If you’ve never been to Northern Michigan during the summer, or just Michigan in summer, really, I can’t rave about it enough. You’re absolutely missing out if you’ve never experienced the Great Lakes. Put it on your bucket list, your travel to-do list. It is really, really incredible here.

Every time that I get to one of the great lakes, or even the lake that we go to in Baldwin, which is called Big Star lake, it always blows my mind how magnificent Michigan is. I know that there’s been an influx of people from the West Coast, buying up property in Michigan because it’s pretty inexpensive comparatively speaking. They’re seeing what all of the magic is about. It is really incredible here.

Y’all know I don’t like being cold, and I don’t love Michigan winters, but summer in Michigan is truly magical. So, if you’ve never experienced it, put it on your list. Make sure that you make it a point to get here. If you want recommendations reach out, I love talking travel tips. That’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve really just been giving myself a chance to catch my breath.

I have had a really full 12 months since I kicked off The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. My first round of that was the end of June last year. So, it’s been a full year, and a little bit extra, that I’ve been creating them, putting them together, hosting them, selling them, marketing them, all of that stuff. So, it feels like it’s been a really full year in that respect because I added that component to my business.

I’ve also just had a little, I don’t know, emotional turmoil is probably the best way to phrase it, having lost one of my pets. So, I just gave myself a chance to decompress, catch my breath, and spend time with people that I really, really, really love. I’m wishing you the same if your summer hasn’t included enough of that yet. I hope you make time for it.

If you want help making time for it, then you’ve got to binge this podcast because I talk a ton about how to make time for yourself and what’s important to you. You can also take this work to the next level by working with me inside The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. But I highly encourage you, if you don’t feel like you have the freedom to spend your time the way that you want to spend your time.

That’s a skill that you can learn to develop. It’s a skill that I teach you inside my program. So, I want to make sure that you give yourself that gift, and have that opportunity. I’ve been taking advantage of it. It’s a skill I had to learn how to develop, and I’ve been able to do that.

Now that I’ve had a little bit of time off to catch my breath, we’re back. We’re in full swing recording this podcast episode for you, and getting ready to really dive in deep to the last two weeks of open enrollment for the mastermind. So, I’m ready to kick it into full gear again.

But it’s really good to have that ebb and flow, and to be able to tune in and check in with yourself and pay attention. What do I need in this moment? How can I give that to myself? Taking advantage of the freedom that you have to give yourself. Whatever it is that you need to meet the moment.

So, for me, it was a little fresh air, getting out in nature, getting up north, and now we’re back at it. Without further ado, let’s dive in to today’s episode. Like I said, we are continuing the Money Mindset series that I started.

We’ve talked about money habits that you have, overspending, underearning, your money mindset, and the thoughts that you have about money. Shame around spending money was what we talked about in the last episode, and I’m concluding the series with setting money goals, okay?

I’m really a huge advocate of setting money goals. I watch a lot of people have drama about setting money goals. People avoid it. They don’t do it. I wanted to make sure I address this head on because it’s really hard to go somewhere quickly… And when I say go somewhere, I mean, achieve a specific goal. It’s hard to do that intentionally if you’re not intentional about setting the goal in the first place.

It’s much harder to arrive at a desired destination if you don’t decide where you want to end up on the front end, right? Think about driving somewhere. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s going to be really hard for you to end up at a particular location. So, we don’t want you setting out and embarking on money goals haphazardly.

We want you to be really intentional. The reason that we want you to be intentional is because it’s going to help you arrive at your desired destination when it comes to your money goals, so much faster than if you just fly by the seat of your pants and wing it.

This is not an area in life that we want to wing, we do want to be intentional when it comes to setting and achieving the goals that you set for yourself when it comes to money. Now, a big reason people don’t like to set money goals is because they’re afraid to fail at achieving them. This is where your perfectionism really pops up and makes an appearance here.

So, if you’re resistant to setting money goals, if you think about setting it, and then you avoid actually picking a goal and working towards it, it is likely because you have a fear of failure. You’re afraid to set a goal and not hit it. I was recently working, in person, with my business coach; we have breakout instructors. The coach that is in charge of my breakout room, her name’s Lindsay Dotzlaf.

One of the things that she said, which was really jarring to me… Because I tend to not use the word “failure.” I truly believe that you can always only be winning or learning, and that you have to quit in order to fail, because failure requires an endpoint from which to measure. That’s my philosophy on failure.

Her philosophy on failure was a little bit different. She said that she loves to fail. That was such a different way than I think most people think about failing. It really struck me and opened my eyes that you could actually fall in love with failing.

The reason she said that is because she learns so much when she fails, that she really does see failure as the path forward to achieving what she wants to achieve. She just wants to fail as quickly as possible, to learn from it, and then leverage that learning in order to improve and get to her goal more quickly.

Now, most people don’t adopt that mindset, they don’t have that mindset. Then, when they think about setting a goal, they freak themselves out. They worry about not hitting it, instead of not using it as a weapon against yourself, but using it as a way to learn, evaluate, audit, adapt, and continue to improve until you get where you want to go.

People also like to say that having a money goal doesn’t make a difference, that they will make the same amount whether or not they set a money goal. Or they’ll save the same amount, whether or not they set a money goal. I want to encourage you to explore the truth behind that. My guess is that is likely not true. Actually, I’ll go so far as to say that’s just not true. I don’t even need to guess. That’s not true, and that’s really just your brain protecting you from that failure that becomes possible when you set a goal.

So, you want to make sure that you’re not letting your perfectionism drive the bus here. All right? Allow yourself to get out of your own way and focus on setting a specific goal that’s measurable, objective, and attainable.

Now, the reason that it’s important to set a goal, one that’s specific, measurable, objective, and attainable, is because you get so much more intentional when you know what you’re working towards. When it comes to money, money is a math problem. I like to say that with money and time, there are two different categories.

There’s the math, and then there’s the mind drama. The mind drama is the thought work, the mindset, the thinking, and the feeling, that drives action that you take and produces the results that you have. So, that mindset is one category, and that’s where coaching comes in.

But with the math, numbers don’t lie. So, you want to get clear on the math. When you’re not clear on the math, because you haven’t set a goal, it’s so much easier to lose sight of the progress that you’re making, to get discouraged, to get frustrated, to get confused about how to get where you want to go.

You really want to make sure that you will eliminate all of that, as much as you possibly can, by just setting an intentional goal. So, I’m going to give you some examples of goals that you can set, and how to set them specifically enough to where you get really clear on the math.

Okay, so the biggest goal that I think people make when it comes to money is making a certain amount of it. You want to be clear on the math here, all right? There are multiple reasons why you can’t just say, “I want to make more money,” and leave it at that.

Number one, as you make progress, and as you make more, your brain is going to get in the way and it’s going to discount the progress that you make. So, you will end up being underwhelmed or feeling unaccomplished. Like you haven’t made enough, that you haven’t made enough progress, that you haven’t gotten where you want to go, because you were never clear on where you wanted to go in the first place.

In order to keep track of your progress and to feel accomplished, to just even enable yourself to feel accomplished, you want to make sure that you set a specific money goal. How much more do you want to make this year?

Then, once you’ve got that number in mind, you’ve got to make the math work. So, you have to get clear on how exactly will you make that amount. What do you sell? How much of it do you need to sell? What’s the price that you sell it at? You need to come up with all of those specifics.

How frequently do you need to sell the thing that you’re selling? How much of it do you need to sell? It’s a specific math equation that ultimately adds up to whatever your money goal is. So, you have to make sure that the math works.

If you’re like me, at least in part of my business where I do one-on-one coaching, I have a finite amount of time that I can sell. I am still in the space where I’m exchanging time for money. That’s very true with most of the lawyers that I work with, as well.

There’s a specific number of hours that they’re likely to bill, or they have a goal for the number of hours that they want to bill, and they have a billable hour rate. That’s a mathematical equation that comes out to a certain number of dollars that you’re going to make each year. At least when it comes to the gross amount that you’re going to create from the bills that you send out to clients.

Same thing if you do flat rate work. You’re still essentially exchanging time for money. Because the flat-fee work takes a certain amount of your time, and then you’re maxing out what you’re charging for that flat-fee arrangement.

What you’re making, with the time that you spend, it’s essentially still a billable hour model, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You’re going to be capped on the number of hours that you can work to deliver that flat-fee service.

So, when you set a specific goal, you can get clear on whether or not your math works. Now, if you’re also like me, which this is the second part of my business, you have a scalable business model. So, my group coaching program, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind is a scalable program, which means I don’t exchange time for money.

That group can just get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, without me needing to devote more and more and more time at that same exchange rate. Okay? That is a scalable offer.

Most attorneys that I work with don’t have scalable offers unless they have a legal subscription service. Which is more of a newer type business model that is becoming more popular in the industry as of late, because it is scalable, and it doesn’t require you to exchange time for money.

So, if you have that, you still need to make the math work because you need to be clear on what can you expect to make, how many people can you expect to sign into whatever program it is that you’re offering. Are you just picking numbers out of thin air?

I see that happen a lot, especially with newer business owners. They just pick numbers that sound good rather than basing it off of what they can expect; past data, their experience, what it’s taken them to sell thus far, how much they’ve sold in the past, whether they’re likely to repeat that in the future, whether it’s likely to increase, by how much is it likely to increase.

Those are all data driven decisions that you’ve got to conduct some experiments in order to gather the data in the first place. But then, once you’ve got that data, you can use it to inform the projections you make and the goals that you set moving forward. You want to make sure that you’re being realistic. Otherwise, you’re going to set goals, not hit them, and it’s going to feel terrible.

This could have all been avoided, but you set a bad goal to begin with. So, you want to make sure they’re specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. I recently had a conversation with someone, and they were just getting ready to start a new business. I asked them what their goal was for the year. They gave me a number that was in the multiple six figures by the end of the year.

I’m not saying that that’s completely impossible, but I coach a ton of people, both in my own business and in the contract work that I’ve done for several years now, helping brand new entrepreneurs make their first dollars in their business.

What I know to be pretty common, is the ramp up period that it takes when you’re marketing yourself in a new business, marketing a new offer, or selling a new service. It’s going to take time for people to come to know you. For them to come to trust you in order for them to work with you. You have to account for that ramp up time.

You also have to figure out, what am I selling? How much of it am I likely to sell, when I’m being brand new in a business? I just realized that the number that this person had chosen was wholly unrealistic, for where they were at in their entrepreneurial journey.

So, when you’re starting out, if you’re brand new at whatever it is you’re selling, rather than setting a lofty money goal, I suggest that people start with much smaller increments. Because you just need to learn how to create money in the first place. Okay?

I learned something sort of similar from my business coach when I first joined her entry level program. She has a program that’s called 2k for 2k, and she teaches you how to make your first $2,000. I know $2,000 may not sound sexy to someone, but this is what I’ll tell you. If you learn how to make it once, you’ll know how to make it again. That’s the whole concept, you just want to learn how to create those initial dollars.

You want to learn how to make your first sale. You want to learn how to sign your first client. So, if you are doing family law services and you do flat rate divorces, whatever amount that you charge in the very, very beginning, rather than setting $100,000 or a $250,000 monetary goal for the year, I would just focus on making whatever that first flat rate is.

Let’s say it’s $5,000. I would just focus on making your first $5,000, and then I’d see how long it takes you to make it. Then, I would set the goal to make it again in half the time, or to make double that in the same amount of time. Okay? I like to set the goal of never doing more than double what I did previously. It keeps me out of hustle, and it keeps my business feeling very calm.

So, if you made $100,000 one year, the next year, make your goal $200,000. Or make $100,000 in half the time. But either way, you’re learning how to grow at a pace that is sustainable, and it doesn’t break your business model.

When you get into a situation where you can scale, whatever it is that you’re offering, if your business or your practice is set up that way, then you’re in a little bit of a different boat. But if you’re exchanging time for money, you’re either increasing your prices to do double or you’re increasing your workload to do more than double.

So, you don’t want to exceed that. It just gets you into a place where you’re likely to overwork and be at risk of burnout. Now, like I said, when you’re just getting started, start with that smaller monetary amount. You can set that goal, “Oh, I want to make this amount in a month. I want to make this amount in a week. I want to make this amount in this quarter.” But start small, that way you don’t overwhelm yourself and get discouraged.

What I typically see people do, is they’ll embark on a goal, it doesn’t go the way that they want it to, they get frustrated, they get discouraged, they start to feel inadequate and confused about how to get to where they want to go, and then they abandon the goal rather than staying curious and sticking with it.

So, you don’t want to weaponize really lofty goals against yourself. I’m all for dreaming big, but your big dreams need to make sense. You’ve got to be clear on the math. Like I said, you want to make sure that your goal is measurable, that you’ve got a specific monetary amount, that it’s specific, and it’s objective and attainable. Attainable is really important here. You have to make sure the math works.

You’ve got to figure out whatever your equation is, to make sure that you can sell enough of the services that you provide, in order to hit that monetary amount. If you don’t have the time available, you don’t have enough hours in the day, in the week, in the month, in the year, in order to hit your goal at the current rate that you’re selling your time or your services at, something’s got to change.

You either need to increase your prices, you need to reduce your goal, or you need to work more. But obviously, time is finite so you’re going to eventually cap out. You want to make sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail right off the get go because your goal isn’t attainable, because the math doesn’t work. Make sure you get clear on the math.

Then, from there, once you’ve set the goal, you want to manage your mindset. You’ve got to do a thought download. Get clear. What are all of your thoughts about your ability to reach your goal, to achieve your goal? Are your thoughts positive or are they negative?

If they’re negative, you’ve got to clean up your thinking. You can’t reach a goal with negative thinking; it’s not going to work because our thoughts create our results. So, you want to get clear on what is it that you’re currently thinking, and then, the better question, what do you need to think instead, in order to achieve your desired result? In order to make the money that you decided to make?

Now, this should go without saying, but I will just reiterate it here. When you’ve gotten clear on the math, you should have come up with a plan for how you’re going to achieve your money goal. But if you have not come up with a plan yet, if getting clear on the math didn’t involve any planning, you’ve got to come up with your plan for how you’re going to get across the finish line.

How exactly are you going to create that money? Do you need to market yourself? Is there something that you need to do? Do you need to increase your rates? Do you need to stop underearning in all the ways that I talked about a few episodes ago?

You’ve got to be clear on what it’s going to take for you to achieve your goal. And then, you’ve got to put that plan into action. Remember, whenever we’re setting and achieving goals, we’re really just conducting a big experiment. So, you’re going to try and achieve your goal by implementing your plan. But it’s just a hypothesis.

You’re going to also evaluate. Once you’ve started to implement your plan, figure out, is it working? What’s working? What’s not working? Is there anything that you need to do differently? If you do need to do something differently, rather than getting discouraged and quitting, you want to stick with the same money goal. Don’t change the goal. There’s nothing wrong with your goal.

If your goal is specific, measurable, objective, and attainable, it’s a perfectly fine goal. Don’t change it and move the goalpost, move the horizon. You don’t want to do that. Stick with the same goal so you learn how to create that amount of money. All right?

If you need to audit and adapt and make changes, tweak your hypothesis, and give it another go, do that, stick with it. That’s how you achieve money goals. You’re not going to achieve the goals that you set for yourself if you constantly keep changing them. So, set the goal, set it once, and leave it alone. Then, just get to work on finding new ways to solve for how you cross the finish line with whatever goal you set for yourself.

Okay, so that’s what you need to know when it comes to setting money goals, when it comes to creating money. There are also some other ways that you can set money goals. Let’s talk about those briefly. I think they tend to be easier. Probably the most complicated type of money goal is where you’re in the money creation process.

Now, other ways that you can achieve money goals might be with paying off debt. You want to make sure that your debt payoff goals are also specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. I need to be able to come in and measure the progress that you’re making. So, it can’t just be to have less debt.

Be specific; how much debt do you want to pay off? Do you want to be debt free? When do you want to be debt free by? How much would you like to pay off this year? What type of debt are you paying off? Is it credit card debt? Is it your mortgage? Get specific. When are we going to do it by? Include the time element here so we know we can run that math equation and get clear on the numbers.

How much do you need to pay off each month? You can measure your progress. Are you on track? Are you behind? Are you ahead of schedule? Also, you need to make sure it’s attainable. So often, what I see is that people will want to pay off debt at a rate that is not consistent with the amount that they earn.

Then, they feel discouraged that they still have debt. Well, of course, you’re still going to have debt. You can’t pay off as much as you want to pay off based on your current earning capacity, your earning ability. So, you have to make the math work.

How much money do you need to live off of? You net a certain amount in a paycheck, or in the money that you create in your business and your practice. Your take-home, what comes out of it?

There’s going to be your non-negotiable expenses, the ones that you’re going to incur every month, and they’re not going away. You can’t cut that spending, or if you could you don’t want to, so it’s pretty static. What is that amount of money? What else do you need to live off of? Are there other things that you need to put money towards?

Then, after that, you’re going to have money left over. Based on the money that you have left over, what can you devote to paying off debt? You want to make sure that the amount that you decide to put towards your debt payoff strategy doesn’t exceed the amount of money that you have available. Again, we have to make sure the math works. We have to make sure that the goal you’re setting is attainable.

Sure, it might sound lovely to be debt free by the end of the year, but you have to make sure that you have the financial capability to actually achieve that. Otherwise, you’re going to feel really discouraged and frustrated.

The same thing is true about saving money. So, you want to make sure it’s specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. It can’t just be ‘I want to save more money.’ How much do you want to save? In what time period do you want to save it? What is it going to look like? How will you save it? Where will that money go? Is it possible for you to save at that rate?

Again, it’s a mathematical equation. There’s a certain amount, divided by the time periods. So, per month, per year, per week, whatever that is for you. But you’ve got to make sure that you have that money available to you in order to achieve the goal. Again, get clear on running that mathematical equation so you can set yourself up for success.

Now, another big way that perfectionism pops up here, especially with paying off debt, saving money, or investing. If you want to invest in the stock market, or invest in retirement accounts, or any other type of investing that you want to do. People will often get discouraged that they’re not able to make as much progress as they would like to make.

Instead of proceeding anyways, and just being a little underwhelmed by the progress that you can make and moving forward regardless, people will choose to not move forward at all. They won’t pay off debt. They won’t save money. They won’t invest any of it. Because it’s not sufficient, it’s not “enough,” they don’t get started at all.

That is, as they say, ‘penny wise, pound foolish.’ Don’t do that to yourself. That’s your brain really being committed to all-or-nothing thinking. It’s a very perfectionistic tendency to want to do that. To want to be in that all-or-nothing, black-and-white space. But don’t allow yourself to indulge.

Getting started and making progress is better than not getting started at all. Even if it’s underwhelming, even if it’s not what you want it to be, you will be so glad that you moved forward in spite of your discouragement, or your disappointment or your frustration that it’s not “enough.”

So, be on the lookout for that. Future ‘you’ will thank you for gagging and going through your frustration and disappointment, and just getting started. Even if it doesn’t look like exactly what you want it to look like. You’ll be okay. It is fine for you to be slightly dissatisfied with it not looking exactly like what you want it to look like. All right?

So, check in with yourself now. We’ve gone through why people don’t set money goals. Why you want to make sure that you do set money goals. Then, how to set them. You want to make sure they’re specific, measurable, objective, and attainable. So, now check in with yourself.

What do you want your money goal to be? I don’t want you to leave this episode without one. It doesn’t have to be the “best” money goal ever. Don’t give yourself a lot of time to indulge in this. Also, don’t allow yourself to say, “I don’t know.” You do know.

It doesn’t have to be the “right” answer. There is no right answer to this. It’s just arbitrary. You just get to pick the number that you want to pick. So, pick a number, whether it’s with creating money, paying off debt, saving money, or investing. Pick one of those four. You don’t have to pick all four, just pick one for now, and set a money goal.

Pick the number. Pick the first number that pops into your mind, if that’s what comes up for you, if that’s what’s easiest. Get out of your own way. Let this be easy and just pick the number. Now, once you’ve picked the number, check and make sure that it’s attainable. Check and make sure the math works.

How will you get to that number? Does it work? It’s a quick, easy, little mathematical equation. I think I’ve said this once, but if not, I’ll reiterate it just to be safe and sure; you are not allowed to say that you don’t like math. I hear that all the time from attorneys. We’re not going to repeat that anymore.

What I like to say is, “If you don’t like math, you don’t like money.” My guess is you probably like money or you want to like money, and you want to have more of it. So, if that’s the case, you have to get over that limiting belief that you’re not good at math, that you don’t like math; that’s got to go.

You want to like math, so you can like money. You want to like math, so you can have more of it. Run the mathematical equation. What are you selling? How much of it do you have to sell? In what timeframe? What does that look like? Is it feasible? Is it possible? Can you get there?

If it’s saving money, paying off debt, investing, how much? In what timeframe? At what frequency? What’s that going to look like? Where do you want to be by the end of the year? Where do you want to be by the end of 2024?

These are really fun things to think about. So, take a second and just give yourself permission to decide what is your current money goal. If you need to pause this episode and take a second before I wrap up, go ahead, and do that. But I want to make sure that you’re very clear on what it is that you’re working towards, from this point forward.

Then, once you’ve got the goal in your head, you can figure out exactly, what’s my strategy in order to achieve that goal? What’s my plan? Come up with that plan and put it into place.

Now, I will just say this, if you need help coming up with a plan to get yourself across the finish line that you just identified for yourself… If you want to learn how to be better with money, how to save more money, how to reduce the debt that you have, how to pay off debt, how to earn more money, how to create more money, if you want help with all of that…

If you haven’t been great at hitting your money goals in the past, and you want to learn how to do that effectively, I am the person to help you. This is exactly what I teach people how to do in The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. So, make sure, while enrollment is still open… It closes July 21… Make sure you go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind and apply to join the August 2023 class, all right?

We will work on getting you across the finish line when it comes to your own money goals. We’ll identify them together if you need help with that. We’ll formulate the plan that you’re going to implement, in order to achieve it. Then, I’m going to support you every step of the way as you implement those plans, in order to earn more, save more, and have less debt. Really get you to where you want to be when it comes to money.

The time of you not having a money goal is behind you. No more of that. We’re going to get intentional when it comes to making, having, earning, and spending money. That starts now. Like I said, if you want my help, that’s what I’m here for, all right?

That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. I will talk to you in the next episode. In the meantime, 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 66: Shame Around Spending Money

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Shame Around Spending Money

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Shame Around Spending Money

Continuing with our money mindset series, I’m discussing a topic that perhaps doesn’t come up as often as the other issues we’ve discussed like overspending and underearning, but is equally damaging: shame around spending money. People who experience shame around spending money unknowingly end up depriving themselves of meaningful experiences and a higher-quality life.

Money gets a bad rap. We hear phrases like, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” However, money buys a lot of things that make happiness and transformation more easily attainable, like different experiences, freedom, and support that you might not otherwise have. So, if you have shame around spending money to improve your life, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover why you have shame around spending money. I’m discussing the thoughts that lead to a sense of shame when it comes to spending on yourself, and I’m showing you how to identify the root of these thoughts, so you can begin dismantling the shame or guilt you feel about spending your money on the things you want.

You have one chance left to join the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Applications will close on July 21st, but we expect it to fill up sooner than that, so click here and don’t miss out!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How shame around spending money holds you back.
  • The most common concerns I see when it comes to spending money.
  • Why spending is a neutral circumstance that you have negative thoughts and emotions about.
  • How to identify the thoughts that create shame around spending money on yourself.
  • What you can do to start unpacking your shame around spending and begin changing it.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 66. Today, we’re talking all about shame around spending money. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope your week is off to a marvelous start. I’m so excited to talk about today’s topic. We are continuing on in our Money Mindset series. So, I talked to you about your thoughts about money. And then, we talked about some of the problems that come up with money, specifically overspending. And then, even more importantly, underearning.

I broke down all the different ways in which you might be underearning, and we went through how to stop overspending and how to stop underearning. Today, I want to talk about another problem, which is a little bit more of an ancillary issue than the main problems that we’ve discussed thus far in this series. But I do see it come up pretty frequently from my clients.

I think it’s really important to talk about, because people who struggle with this really end up depriving themselves of some really meaningful experiences, of a lot of transformation, of a higher quality life. I know that money can get a bad rap, right? People tend to say that money doesn’t buy happiness. But money buys a lot of things that makes happiness more easily attainable.

I’m not saying money, in and of, itself makes you happier. But money provides you with access to different experiences, a lot of different support that you might not otherwise have, different help that can help make your life easier or more simplified or more streamlined. It buys you freedom, which in a lot of cases does actually lead to happiness.

But one of the problems that I see that people encounter when they’re not dealing with overspending or underearning and they have the money to spend on themselves, or they have access to the money in some way… Maybe it’s through credit or something like that, pulling money out of savings. It’s not budgeted, right? So many people struggle to spend money on themselves if it’s not “in their budget”, but they do have access to the money in some way.

What ends up happening is they don’t spend money on themselves to buy experiences or things that they want. And they don’t spend the money because they have shame around spending it on themselves. Okay, so this episode is actually inspired by a conversation that I had with someone who’s become a really good friend of mine.

We actually weren’t that close at the time. But last summer, I was in Florida, in Orlando, with my business coach and a bunch of other coaches and entrepreneurs that are all part of that business coaching program. I was walking up to the pool; it was after the event had ended. I always stay a couple extra days just to soak up all the learning, really let it sink in, and spend some time with my peers.

So, I’m walking up to the pool and one of the women who was in the program, who I had gotten to know over the course of this trip, she asked me a really frank question. She was like, “Hey, I want to pick your brain about spending money because I have a lot of shame around spending money. And I think you don’t. I think that you don’t have a problem spending money. I really want to adopt your mindset when it comes to spending money on myself.”

I said, “You are absolutely right. I don’t have shame around spending money. I’m definitely the person that you want to talk to.” So, we had a really long talk. We discussed some of her fears that she had around spending and how she was raised, which was very similar to the way that I was raised. So, I really understood her mindset and where she was coming from.

Then I explained to her how I think about spending money. We compared and contrasted our different viewpoints, and she could see how I don’t have shame because of the way that I think about it. Because remember, our thoughts cause our feelings.

So, if you’re feeling ashamed around spending, the spending itself is neutral. It’s just your thoughts that are creating that shame. Because we have different thoughts about spending. We have different emotions that come when we do.

Some of her concerns were the exact same concerns that I see time and time again, with my clients. They’re also some of the concerns that I’ve had to unpack myself. I don’t struggle with this a ton, but every once in a while it does make an appearance.

I have the tools, through coaching, to be able to unpack it, understand what’s going on, and to be able to work through it. To decide if I want to keep the shame, which I very rarely ever do. If I think the shame doesn’t serve me, of course, I want to get rid of it. And I want to transition my thinking to cultivate a different emotion instead.

So, if you feel like you frequently deprive yourself of the things that you want in life, if you’re digging deep and you’re taking that internal inventory, and you know when you do that, you find that shame is the reason that you don’t spend money on yourself.

You feel ashamed spending money on yourself; guilty, indulgent, unworthy, undeserving, impractical, irresponsible, selfish. Any of those emotions, if you feel that way, that really is the more specific version of just feeling shame around spending. Shame is this big category. And then, there are all these different other emotions that kind of fall within that shame framework.

If you feel those emotions, when it comes to spending money on yourself, this episode is definitely for you. Okay? It’s so important to unpack this, to unravel it, and to dismantle it, so you can start providing yourself with the things that you want in your life. With the experiences that you want in your life. With the type of life that you want to live.

A really good friend of mine, she’s also a coach, she actually is a money coach. She works with people on their money mindset. One of the things that she says, and I love this. Her name is Nicole, she likes to say that life is bought. I tend to agree with her. Our lives are bought.

Think about everything that you do, all of the experiences that you have. A lot of people even like to think, “Oh, some of my most precious memories were when I wasn’t spending any money. I was just fishing with family members. It was Christmas morning.”

If you think about all of that, money allows all of that to happen. Money buys the fishing poles. Money buys the presents under the tree. Money buys the time off, right? You don’t have to work extra shifts. You don’t have to work on holidays because you are financially secure. So, money really does provide us with the lives that we want to live.

And if there are certain aspects to a life that you would like to live, and you’re not allowing yourself to have that life because of the shame that you experience around purchasing that life, I want to unpack that with you. So, you can free yourself of that emotional burden, ad give yourself permission to spend money that you have on the things that you’d like.

Now, a lot of this is based on how people were brought up, or what they were taught to think about spending money. So, check in with yourself. You can think back to that episode that I just did on your thoughts about money. But you might think that money’s hard to come by, you need to be responsible with your money, you shouldn’t spend frivolously, that you should only spend money on important things or on things that you need.

And if you don’t need something, then you shouldn’t buy it. That it’s impractical to spend money on things that you don’t need. You might have been taught that being frugal is more responsible than spending money. You might have just learned subconsciously, over the course of a lifetime, that you don’t deserve to spend money on yourself, that it’s selfish.

So, if you believe these thoughts, you can quickly see, by running them through the model, that when you think one of those thoughts you’re going to experience one of those negative feelings that I just mentioned. Okay?

Then from there, you’re going to avoid that discomfort. You’re going to avoid those negative emotions and not spend. Not provide yourself with that thing that you want. You end up depriving yourself of those experiences or those objects, those things that you would like to have in your life. Get clear on what thoughts you’re thinking that make you feel ashamed when it comes to spending.

Now, here’s what I want to do. I want to clue you in on something. So many people are using these thoughts against themselves, so start by asking yourself: Why did you learn this? Why did someone else teach this to you? Who taught this to you? It was probably your parents.

It could have been someone else, but it was likely the people who raised you. And if that’s not your parents, if it’s someone else who raised you, check in with yourself. What did those people teach you about spending money?

I grew up, big-time, learning that you should be practical with money, that it’s hard to come by, that you have to work hard to make it, and that you have to work even harder to make more of it. And therefore, you should be very, very careful with it. Okay? And that it’s impractical and irresponsible to spend it on things that you don’t need. Things that are expensive, especially.

Which is funny, if you actually do a deep dive here and you look at some of my parents’ spending. My dad likes to fly helicopters, and he buys and sells them pretty frequently. He’s had sports cars and a bunch of other stuff. So, one could argue that he doesn’t even follow the rules that I just referenced with you.

But what I really learned from examining the way that he spends money, is that he only likes to spend money on things that he finds very valuable. And a lot of things that I find valuable, he doesn’t find valuable. I had to unpack that in order to unravel and dismantle the shame that I felt, or the guilt that I felt, around spending money on myself. We just have different preferences, and that’s completely okay.

It’s totally fine that my dad likes to spend money on the things that he likes to spend money on. My mom spends money on the things that she spends money on. And I like to spend money on the things that I spend money on. Now, neither of my parents would spend the money that I spend on hotels. My mom is not one to buy luxury items like purses, or things like that, or super expensive shoes, just not her thing.

She doesn’t have to understand that, I just get to understand myself and we get to have a difference of opinion on the value of those expenditures. Similarly, my dad thinks spending lavish amounts of money on really exquisite, decadent meals at incredible restaurants is just wasteful. So, he doesn’t see the same value in it that I see.

He’s not willing to spend on it… We go out to nice dinners as a family, we do that. But I like to do it at an even more extravagant level and at a higher frequency that my parents do. And that’s okay, it’s my preference. Okay? I also am currently renting a condo even though I own a house. I wanted to do that because I wanted to live in a new space, and I could afford to do it.

That was really an area of my life where I had to examine my own resistance to spending money on myself, because I kept hesitating. I finally realized, the thought that I was thinking, that was causing me to hesitate, was that I thought that I was being impractical.

My mortgage payment on the house that I own is so inexpensive. It’s very easy for me to live there. I was going to be increasing my monthly overhead so significantly, by running a condo in the city of Detroit, where I wanted to live, that has all of the things that I wanted it to have.

I don’t need to do that, right? I have another place to live. So, it’s definitely not something that I need to do. It’s just something that I want to do. And I realized, that I was thinking that I was being impractical, that I was being frivolous, that I was being irresponsible, if I was going to move forward and spend that money on myself. That was causing my hesitancy. I was feeling irresponsible. I was feeling foolish.

Then, I was avoiding those emotions by not spending the money on myself, by not moving forward with the move. I finally realized I was living in a place that I really don’t prefer. Sort of being punitive to myself, punishing myself, depriving myself of something that I really, really want, that I think I work very hard for.

It dawned on me that there is no deserving police. No one’s going to come around and give me permission to spend my own money on myself. That’s not going to happen. So, if you have shame or guilt, or you’re feeling irresponsible, or selfish or impractical, when it comes to spending money on yourself, you have to realize that there’s no arbiter of what is worthwhile to spend money on.

You’re going to have to make that determination for yourself. Because no one’s coming and writing you a permission slip. They’re not going to tell you, “Yes, absolutely. Go make that expenditure.” There is no king or queen of “right” when it comes to your spending decisions.

You have to be the one who gives yourself permission. You have to be the one that gives yourself the green light to spend the money. Okay? No one else is going to do that for you.

And that’s one of the things about being an adult, you have to make these decisions. You want to make sure you’re making a decision from a clean space. So, you want to take a look and see what your model looks like.

What are you thinking about making that expenditure? How does that thought that you’re thinking make you feel? And then, what action are you taking when you feel that emotion? And then ultimately, do you like the result that that produces in your life?

A big part of this, if you start to break from the way that you were brought up, the way that you were raised, what you were taught about spending money on yourself, you’re going to have to likely feel misunderstood. Because one of the reasons that people don’t spend money on themselves is because they’re afraid to be judged by other people.

That was a big reason, my friend, when we were having this conversation by the pool that day, she said, “I don’t like to spend money on certain things, because I’m afraid people in my life will judge me. My family members, my husband, they might think that I’m being irresponsible, or that I’m full of myself. That I’m too extravagant. That I’m leaving them behind.”

The reframe that I offered her was, “What if you inspired people? What if you showed other people that spending money on themselves is safe? That it’s acceptable, that there’s nothing wrong with it, that it can be fun, that it can be enjoyable, that bad things don’t happen when you do it, that more money is leftover, that more money comes your way; you don’t run out of it.”

That’s another reason people don’t like to spend money on themselves, they’re coming from a place of scarcity and they’re coming up against that fear. And then, they end up hoarding money instead of spending it to buy the things that they want in their lives.

So, when we talked about that, we were specifically talking about spending money on hotels, especially five-star hotels. Which are pretty pricey, even in my opinion. And as we were talking about that, she said, “Oh, my husband would just really think that it’s frivolous, that it’s wasteful. He just wouldn’t see the value in it.”

I said, “Yeah, I’m sure my parents would probably think that too, until they got here.” When you get to the Four Seasons, you’re like, hey, this is kind of nice. The surface is incredible. The linens are amazing. The pillows are exceptional. The bathrooms gorgeous. The mattress is sublime. The food’s excellent. The pool is breathtaking. Everything is next level.

Really, whatever you want is there for you. They even clean your room twice a day. They come and they do a turndown service, they put out your little slippers, they normally leave you like a little treat, and they give you a million different water bottles. It’s just really lovely.

They also wrap all of your cords, for all of your chargers, up in this really lovely way where everything’s tidy and orderly. If you wear makeup, every time they clean your room they organize all of your makeup, and they lay it all out for you. It’s just exquisite.

And my point to my friend was that if you give people a window into what it’s like on the other side of that expenditure, if they get to see what the experience is like, they may not like it, they may not think it’s worth it. But you may turn them on to a life that they would have never otherwise experienced. And they may realize this is kind of nice.

I just did that with a friend of mine. We went to Boston together and I wanted to splurge on a hotel. So, I offered to pay for it because I really wanted to stay in this one specific place. She got introduced to a lot of that five-star luxury that I tend to experience pretty frequently, because I travel so much and that’s how I like to travel now.

She liked it. She really enjoyed it. She got to see a lot of what I experienced pretty frequently. And she may not choose to spend what I spend on hotels, but just to see the value in it; that it’s special, that it’s a little something extra, or a lot something extra, and that it’s nice, that it’s fun to treat yourself, that it’s not frivolous, that there’s value in it.

So, if you’re worried about what other people think, I want to offer you that you get to invite them along with you, and they can experience it alongside you. It can be something that’s really beautiful that you do together. Now, with that being said, I’m also going to offer to you that you may just need to let yourself feel misunderstood, okay?

They may not get it. They may judge your expenditures. They may judge what you do with your money, and that’s also okay. You can just let them judge you and you can have your own back. What would you need to think, to feel loving and trusting of yourself when it comes to how you spend money, rather than creating that shame and guilt and sense of irresponsibility?

What if you thought that spending money on yourself was responsible? How might that be true? How might it be the most responsible thing you could do with your money? What would be different about your life, if you stopped depriving yourself of the things that you want?

I bet there’s even some things that maybe you don’t need, but they’d really, really, really make an impact on your life if you finally gave yourself permission to spend money to purchase them. What would be different about your life? What would change? What would get better? It’s so fun to think about.

My life is so much better, now that I moved and I’m in spaces that I love, that I feel more at home in. That’s so exciting to me. I feel more comfortable having people over because I feel more comfortable in my space. It helps me feel more connected to people.

So, it’s not just about spending money to have things, it’s about spending money to get to feel a certain way. To create certain connections or certain experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Another example of this is being able to treat people to things that you wouldn’t otherwise get to do with them, like going on vacations. I’m getting ready to take someone on vacation, in my life, and I’m so excited to be able to do it.

Now, we don’t need to go. We’re just choosing to go because I’m choosing to spend the money. And I’m so excited to get that experience with them and to get to be with them in that moment. It’s such a good use of money, as I see it.

So, what I’m doing here, is I’m offering you a lot of the thoughts that I think about spending money on myself. About spending money on things, about spending money on experiences, just to offer you a different perspective. To get you thinking about spending money in a way that doesn’t create that shame or that guilt for yourself.

Think about it. What emotions would you like to think when it comes to spending? Maybe you want to feel carefree. Maybe you want to feel at ease. Maybe you want to feel calm. Maybe you want to feel responsible or assured. What would you need to think to feel each one of those emotions? Think about that.

And then, think about the different action that you’ll take when it comes to spending money, and the different result that you’ll create in your life when you do. All right? A huge area that I see this with, is with people’s decisions about whether or not to work with me, about whether or not to invest in coaching.

They feel irresponsible spending the money on themselves. They think that it might be frivolous. That they should be able to get the same transformation on their own if they just work hard enough. If they just dig deep enough themselves, they can get the same results. And I just want to offer you, very rarely is that true.

Coaching, and working with a coach, provides you with a completely different perspective. You get results a lot faster, and you get results that you just can’t access on your own. Because you can’t see the areas that you’re struggling in.

You can’t see it with the perspective that a coach gets to bring to your life. They’re going to help you find your blind spots, work through them and problem solve, and give you the tools that you don’t currently have in order to do that. And when people finally get out of their own way and they invest in themselves, and they work with a coach, it’s incredible to see how significantly their lives changed for the better.

But people prevent themselves from experiencing that result, because they’re so hung up on spending money to begin with. They feel like they’re taking money away from their families, taking money away from their kids. That they could do something more “responsible” with it. Maybe pay off their student loans, pay off their mortgage, put more money aside in savings or in their retirement.

I just want to offer you; those are all things that you can do with your money. But what if you just invested in your own transformation? Why might that be the best thing that you can do for yourself? One of the things that I teach my clients is if you want better answers, you’ve got to ask better questions.

So, let’s start with this one: How might investing in your personal development and working with a coach be the most transformational thing that you can do? How might that be the best use of your dollars this year? All right, brainstorm that. And if you have questions about it, reach out to me.

The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind is currently open for enrollment. We start in late August; August 23 – 26th, in Big Sky Montana. I just want to invite you to give yourself permission to give this gift to yourself. The gift of coaching, the gift of transformation, the gift of living a different life; the life that you’ve been wanting to live. You get to join me in Big Sky.

Talk about giving yourself permission to experience luxury, at a very discounted rate, mind you. The rate that we have for the hotel that we’re staying at, where the in-person live event is, is extremely discounted. Which is so much fun, that people get to experience some of the luxury that I talked about on the podcast pretty frequently. You’re going to get to experience for yourself.

But aside from the luxury that you’ll get to take part in while we’re together in Big Sky, Montana, you’ll get to experience the transformation that comes when you invest in yourself. Okay? It’s the most selfless thing that you can do. It’s the most responsible thing you could do. It’s the most practical thing you can do. I truly believe that.

I invite you to spend some time brainstorming how that may be true for you, as well. Then, when you figure out that I know what I’m talking about, go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind and apply to join the August class. All right?

I hope this episode helped you. I hope it helped unpack some of the shame that you might feel around spending money on yourself. I just want you to know that that’s optional. Anything that you’ve ever learned about spending money on yourself, is just someone’s opinion. And you don’t have to keep carrying it with you.

If you don’t like what you were taught, you get to leave that. You get to put a pin in it, put it on the shelf, and you never have to think that again. You can choose to think whatever you want about spending money on yourself. You can choose to think that it’s a good idea or a bad idea, or the best idea you’ve ever had. All of the options are available to you. Choose wisely, my friends. The life that you live, ultimately depends on it. All right?

That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Next week, we’re going to talk about setting goals when it comes to money. Which people hate to do, but it’s very important that you do it. So, I’ll talk to you all about why people don’t like to do it, how to overcome that, and then why it’s so important that you do set goals in the first place. HINT: It makes it easier to achieve them.

All right, my friends. That’s all for now. Have a beautiful week and I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 65: Underearning (Why You Do It & How To Stop)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Underearning (Why You Do It & How To Stop)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Underearning (Why You Do It & How To Stop)

Continuing the series of the most common money mindset problems I see in the world, this week’s episode is all about underearning. If you want to see how you’re creating unnecessary suffering around money, underearning is an amazing place to start. 

Underearning is common, however, it’s totally avoidable. Once you realize how underearning is impacting your experience of money as a whole, everything will change. Whether you’re not billing all of your time as a lawyer, you’re undercharging, you’re charging full price but giving discounts, or you aren’t chasing your clients for payment and just writing them off as a loss, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover what underearning is, why it happens, and how to stop. I’m showing you how to spot underearning in your own life, explaining why it’s such a pervasive problem, and exploring the solutions that will allow you to overcome underearning and set your money mindset straight. 

I have a bunch of events coming up. The next one is called How to Get Organized happening on June 23rd 2023. To register for any of my upcoming events, click here!

You have one chance left to join the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. Applications will close on July 21st, but we expect it to fill up sooner than that, so click here and don’t miss out!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Some of the most common ways lawyers end up underearning.
  • How to spot where you’re underearning if you have a practice.
  • Why you might be leaving money on the table if you’re employed by a practice.
  • The practice of performing an audit on your underearning to see how much it’s costing you.
  • Why underearning is always a product of your thoughts and your mind drama.
  • Some shocking calculations to help you see how much money you’re leaving on the table.
  • How to change your money mindset, so you can stop underearning.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 65. Today, we’re talking all about underearning. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hello there. How are you? How are you holding up this week? I always like to start off my episodes by just bringing you guys along with me, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at my life. If I’m being really honest, life has been full on 50/50 lately. That’s actually a concept that I teach my clients to expect that life is going to be 50/50; 50% good 50% not so good. That split is really unavoidable.

It might not always be 50/50 all at the same time. Maybe it’s 80/20 sometimes, and then other times, it’s 20/80, it just depends. But that, over the course of a lifetime, you’re going to get a 50/50 split of things that are great and things that are not so great.

Now, all circumstances are neutral of course. You know I teach that as well. But you’re going to encounter circumstances, 50% of the time approximately, where you’re going to think that the circumstance is not so great. For me, I’ve really been living in this. There’s so much amazing stuff going on in my life; that’s the 50% great.

And then recently, I just felt so compelled to tell you guys this, because I shared about it on social media. But I know I’ve talked about him on my podcast before. I actually just had a client reach out to me and tell me that they were listening to one of my episodes, and that he made a guest appearance because you could hear him purring. But I just lost my sweet, sweet Bear. He’s one of the two cats that I have.

Talk about 50% ass! Just really an unpleasant, unfortunate… For me, really heartbreaking experience. It’s the first pet I’ve ever lost. I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up. So, my two cats that I have were my first pets ever. I unexpectedly had to put him to sleep.

As a coach, it’s been such an incredible example of when you encounter a circumstance that you want to think negative thoughts about. I want to be sad. I want to be heartbroken. I want to feel grief. I want to feel all those negative, complicated emotions. I don’t want to think positive thoughts and feel positive feelings about the situation. I want to have that negative experience.

So, as I’ve been going through this, I’ve really just been tender with myself, giving myself room to be human and to grieve. But it’s been just a really neat experience, as a coach, to watch the thoughts that I think and to see how they create the emotions that I experience, and then what I do from those feelings.

The unintentional action that I might take. Wanting to buffer away the negative emotion, wanting to escape it. That’s just our natural human tendency. Then having the intentionality within me, the discipline within me, to be able to interrupt that and to take a more intentional action instead.

So, I’m going to do a whole episode, at some point, on life being 50/50, and talking all about when something happens, and we want to think that it sucks… I definitely want to think that this sucks. I miss him terribly. My house feels very, very empty without him.

But I just want you to know that the point of coaching, which a lot of people get confused by this, the point of coaching isn’t to feel amazing 100% of the time. You’re going to encounter situations that you want to feel negatively about. You’re going to want to think negative thoughts. You’re going to want to feel negative feelings. All of that is just part of the human experience.

Now, we get to control our thoughts. So, there are going to be a lot of situations in life where we don’t want to think negative thoughts about something and we don’t want to feel negative emotions, and we can change our thoughts in those moments. But there will be those times where you’re going to want to think negative thoughts and feel the negative feelings that come with them. That’s totally okay to do that, you just want to be intentional about it.

I’m being very intentional here. I know that my thoughts are causing my feelings, and I’m giving myself permission to think those thoughts and to have that negative emotional experience. Okay, so that is the negative side of things over here. Just keeping it real. It’s not all rainbows, daisies, and sunshine.

But there is a lot of fun, amazing stuff going on. It is summer here in Michigan, and I could not be more excited. It’s my favorite time of year here. I absolutely love Michigan summers. I have been really giving myself a chance to enjoy the warm weather.

Enjoy my life and just have some downtime. Let my hair down and just soak up friends and family in a way that I haven’t really given myself an opportunity to do so this year. Because I’ve been really intentional about working a lot and hitting some business goals that I’ve set for myself. But I’ve been having a little bit more fun than I’ve had, I’d say, like the past six or 10 months. So, that’s been really amazing.

The other thing that’s really amazing, is that I just reopened enrollment for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. So, if you want to get in to the August class, before we kick-start things with the in-person event in Big Sky, August 23 – 26, you have one more chance to join.

Enrollment is going to be open until spots fill up. Spots are limited, so there’s only a certain number of people that I’ll be accepting into this round of the mastermind. Get your applications and you can go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind in order to apply.

Ultimately, enrollment will close, at the very latest, July 21 at midnight. But I do expect this cohort to fill up, so when it fills enrollment will close. So, don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

There you have it. You can see there’s the good things, and then there’s the not-so-good things. And that’s just part of the human experience, my friends. It is okay. None of it will kill you. You can weather it all. If you’re going through what feels like an emotional time, or you’re experiencing some hardship right now, I promise you, that’s part of the human experience. It’s part of life. It’s okay. You were built for this. You can make it through.

Now, changing the subject a bit. Continuing on the Money Mindset series that we’ve been talking about. In the last episode on the Money Mindset series, we talked about overspending. Which is one of the main problems that I see people encounter when it comes to money.

Today, we’re going to talk about underearning. And if you want to talk about suffering, that is completely unnecessary, this is an excellent area. This is directly on point for that. Underearning is so, so common and so, so avoidable. Today, I want to talk about the different ways that people underearn. And then, we’re going to explore why exactly you might struggle with each one of those ways, and what you need to do in order to overcome each one.

I’m going to give you a framework that you can apply to each one of the ways that you might be underearning, so you can figure out why you’re underearning in that way. And then, what exactly you need to do in order to stop underearning in that way. So, today’s episode is going to be really comprehensive.

Okay, so here are some of the ways that I see people underearn. First things first, you don’t bill all of your time. If you work in a billable hour job, and you don’t enter all of your time, that’s a massive way people underearn. Or you put in all of your time, but you write it off before the bill goes to the client.

Another way people underearn is that they send the full bill to the client, but then the client balks at the bill and then you end up discounting your bill. Or they don’t pay you quickly enough, and you worry that the bill is too expensive, so you end up discounting your bill.

I also watch people do this constantly; they discount their rates. Whether someone asks for a discount or not. I see it actually most frequently when no one’s asked, and yet people still discount their rates. So, you discount your rates.

I also see people undercharge. They just don’t charge enough. They don’t charge what they could be charging based on the demand that they have for their services, or based on what’s common in the market. They charge a lot less than that.

Another common way people underearn is that they don’t raise their rates. They either never raise their rates, or they raise them too infrequently and then they don’t raise them enough when they do raise them. So, not raising your rates is a surefire way to underearn.

People will also not follow up on accounts receivable. Because they don’t like talking about money and they don’t like having uncomfortable conversations with clients. So, they won’t follow up on accounts receivable and they let money fall by the wayside. Because they don’t stay on top of it, they normally end up accepting less than the total amount owed. Or they don’t collect any of it, and they just write it off as a loss.

If you’re not in a position where you’re on the receiving end of client funds, other ways that you will underearn are by not asking for a raise. Or by staying in a job with a lower salary. Maybe you’ve asked for a raise, and they have refused it, they won’t give it to you. They say they don’t have the money available, and you continue to stay in a job where you’re underearning instead of moving and going someplace where you could be earning more.

Another way that people underearn is that they don’t maximize the bonuses that are available to them. Number one, by not advocating for themselves strongly enough. And number two, not understanding their organization’s compensation structure. So, this is especially true if you work in private practice, and you have a compensation model that’s based on developing business or things like that.

If you don’t understand the compensation structure, you will typically underearn. You won’t maximize the money that is available to you, if you were to leverage that compensation structure in your favor.

And then last, but not least, you guys, no, I will never stop talking about the importance of this developing business. I’m going to do a whole series on developing business. But this is a massive way that people underearn. They just rely on their salary.

They don’t develop a business, which leaves them with a lot less leverage. A lot less negotiating power when it comes to salary increases or bonuses. You just leave money on the table, because you’re not taking advantage of that extra compensation that would be available, if you were bringing in your own book of business.

So, those are the ways that people underearn. If you identified any that I didn’t mention, by all means… Oh, actually, I just did a webinar on this topic, around how to be better with money. One of the things someone said, which I thought was so clever, another way that people underearn is that they don’t submit reimbursements.

If you work at an establishment that reimburses you for certain costs; maybe it’s your mileage, maybe it’s lunches, client lunches, whatever, travel expenses. If you don’t submit your receipts to get reimbursed for those, that’s another way that you underearn.

There’s definitely someone out there, that you work with, that submits all that stuff. They get it paid for because it’s company policy or firm policy to cover those costs. And here you are not submitting that stuff. So, it’s a way that you impact your bottom line, pretty subconsciously or unconsciously, but it also leads to underearning.

If you go through that list… Number one, if you spot anything that I didn’t mention, send me a DM on LinkedIn or Instagram. I’d love to hear about the ways that you’ve identified underearning in your own life, in your own career. I can cover that in a future episode.

Number two, I want you to take an inventory, real quick. How are you currently underearning? Which of those actions are you guilty of? What offenses have you been committing? This isn’t for you to judge yourself or beat yourself up. We just want to create awareness here. Are you billing all of your time? Are you writing time off? Are you discounting your rates? Are you discounting your bills? Are you undercharging? Are you not raising your rates?

Are you not following up on accounts receivable? Are you not asking for raises? Are you staying in a job where you’re underpaid? Mind you, that is always a thought, that you’re being underpaid. But it may be a thought that you want to think. Depending on what your salary situation is. And then, are you developing business or are you avoiding it? Are you submitting those receipts to be reimbursed for? So, identify the ways that you’re currently underearning. Let’s start there.

Now, I’m going to ask you an even more painful question. So sorry, in advance, for this one. But it really is an important question for us to ask and answer. If you had to guess, how much is your underearning costing you? If you had to guess. Your brain’s going to want to offer you an ‘I don’t know’ thought. It’s going to want to say, “I don’t know how much.”

But push past that initial response and just take a guess. If you guessed, what would you say it’s costing you? What’s the amount? In brass tacks dollars and cents, right? Now, I like math. I always like to say that there’s two issues: there’s math, and then there’s mind drama. I love solving for the math.

Because one of the things that we’re going to talk about in this episode, you’re going to see that mind drama is the reason we underearn. We think negative thoughts about the intentional action we would need to take, like not discounting or raising our rates or asking for a raise. And then, we feel negative emotions about doing those activities because of our negative thoughts. And then, we avoid those negative feelings by taking the action that causes us to underearn instead. All right?

Now, when you’re not focused on how much this bad behavior is costing you… And that’s not a judgment on the behavior. I’m not trying to make you wrong. I’m just saying, if you want to earn more, it is bad behavior. Because it’s going to lead to you earning less.

So, if we want to stop associating the greatest amount of discomfort with doing the intentional action that would allow you to earn more, we have to increase the pain of your underearning. I find one of the best ways to do that is to make the pain quantifiable. It’s for you to really understand, how much money are you leaving on the table? How much are you underearning?

And then, for you to think about what could you be doing with that money if you were making it? That pain becomes so much more acute. And then, the most severe pain isn’t with taking the intentional, uncomfortable action. It’s with underearning and leaving that money on the table.

So, the discomfort switches, and you care more about making that money than you do about embracing that discomfort. Okay? That’s what we want to do. We want to get clear on, how much are you underearning by? How much money are you leaving on the table?

I did some simple math for you. If you are someone who doesn’t bill all of your time, or writes off your time, here as some simple math. Okay, so let’s say you charge $350 an hour. That’s the average billable hour rate across the US for all attorneys.

So, if you’re charging $350 an hour… I think that’s the high average. There’s also a low average. Which, let me double check that. That is the high average. The low average is $167. Okay, and that’s just from a Google search. So, we’re going to trust Google with this, let’s not get too particular.

But if you’re not within that range, or on the high side of this range, or on the low side of this range, it doesn’t matter. I’m just giving you facts and figures to go by, okay? Don’t use this and weaponize these numbers against yourself. I’m just trying to use them to create some awareness.

So, if you bill $350 an hour, and approximately, you write off or don’t bill four hours of your time each week, okay? If you work 48 weeks a year, I’m giving you four weeks of vacation, and holidays and all that good stuff. That leads to $70,000 that you’re not making.

If your billable rate is $200 an hour, maybe you’re at that lower end of that spectrum. You don’t bill four hours a week. That leads to 200 hours, or just under 200 hours. I think it’s like 192 hours, but we’ll round up to 200 hours. You’re leaving $40,000 on the table.

Now, a lot of my audience is from big law, so maybe these rates aren’t even remotely close to what your billable rate is. I have clients that charge up to $1,600 an hour. Depending on the client and the work and all that stuff. So, I’m not going to go all the way up to $1,600. Actually, now that I said it, I’m going to go all the way up to $1,600.

But let’s start in the middle first. If you charge $800 an hour, and you don’t bill four hours per week. You either write it off after you’ve entered it, or it never makes its way into the system. You’re leaving $160,000 on the table. And you guessed it, if you were to double that hourly rate, and you’re at $1,600 an hour, you’re leaving $320,000 on the table every single year.

So, if you do this over the course of a 20-year career… I’m going to do the math on that real quick, hold on. Oh my god, I’m so glad I did this math really fast. It is upsetting, to say the least. If you do what I just described to you, you write off your time or you don’t enter all of your time, and you do it consistently over the course of a 20-year career.

If your billable rate is $350 an hour, it’s going to cost you $1.4 million over the course of 20 years. If your billable rate is $200 an hour, it’s going to cost you $800,000 over a 20-year career. If your billable rate is $800 an hour, it’s going to cost you $3.2 million. And if your billable rate is $1,600 per hour, it’s going to cost you $6.4 million. All right?

Is this getting painful and uncomfortable enough for you yet, to stop underearning and to start entering your time and to no longer write it off? I sure hope so.

Another common thing that I see people do, like I explained a moment ago, is to discount their bills. So, they bill all of their time. They send the bill out. But they end up giving a discount, either before it goes to the client or after. And maybe you just have a policy where you do this. It’s just normal course of business for you; you give a 10% discount.

If you do that, and you typically bill out $500,000 worth of work per year, you’re leaving $50,000 per year on the table. Over a 20-year career, that’s a million dollars. If you do a million dollars a year, and you give a 10% discount on your bills, that’s $100,000 per year that you’re leaving on the table. Which, of course, is $2 million that you don’t earn. Two million dollars that you leave on the table over the course of a 20-year career.

Maybe you don’t collect 100% of what you bill out. You don’t follow up on those accounts receivable. You give a discount down the road, in hopes of just getting any money versus no dollars. Or you just let certain bills languish and you don’t follow up.

If you’re only collecting 80% of what you bill, if you’re billing $500,000 a year, that’s $100,000 that you’re not collecting. If it’s $1million that you build out each year, that’s $200,000 that you’re not collecting. And then, over the course of a 20-year career, that’s $2 million, and $4 million, respectively.

How about if you don’t raise your rates? I see so much resistance, that my clients have, to raising their rates. So, let’s say you forego raising your rates by $25 in a year. And on average, you bill 1,500 hours each year. You leave $37,500 on the table.

If you don’t increase your rates by $50, and you’re at that same number of billable hours, 1,500, you leave $75,000 on the table. If you don’t raise your rates by $100, you leave $150,000 on the table.

Now, maybe you work a little bit more than 1,500 hours per year. Maybe you’re at that 2,000 mark. If you are, the same breakdown, as far as the numbers. If you don’t increase by $25 per hour, you leave $50,000 on the table. If you don’t increase your rates by $50 per hour, you leave $100,000 on the table. And then, if you don’t increase them by $100, you leave $200,000 on the table.

Again, if you want to see what this costs you, year in, year out, over the course of a 20-year career, you’ve just got to times all those numbers by 20. If you’re billing 1,500 hours per year, and over the course of a 20-year career you don’t raise your rates by $25 each year, you’re leaving $750,000 on the table. If you don’t raise your rates by %50, it’s $1.5 million. If you don’t raise them by $100, it’s $3 million. If you’re doing a 2,000-hour billable year, the numbers are $1 million, $2 million, and $4 million, respectively.

This is a lot of money. It’s just $25 an hour. But over the course of a legal career, over decades, this really adds up. Maybe you’re practicing longer than 20 years. Maybe that’s totally undershooting the amount of time that you’re going to be engaging in this underearning behavior. If so, all that means is that you’re leaving more money on the table.

The same is true if you’re not asking for a pay raise. So, if you go year in, year out, without getting a pay raise, or you’re getting a very minimal cost of living increase. And you’re not getting what you could otherwise get if you were advocating for yourself, that money compounds, right? So, you can’t get further the next year if you didn’t make that progress that you could have made this year.

Over time it leads to compounded underearning. Also, most people receive the largest salary increases when they switch jobs. When they move from one company or firm to another one. I believe the average is 26%, is the salary increase on average when you switch organizations. So, one of my cousins, Emily, her favorite line is, “Y’all, it pays to quit.” It really does; statistics back this up.

So, if you are staying in a job and you’re not happy with your salary, it may be time to move. Consider that. Or even if you’re pretty happy but you want to maximize your earning potential, you’re probably going to move more than you may initially have thought. Specifically, so you can take advantage of those larger pay increases from moving from place to place.

All right, so now that we’re clear on how you might be underearning, you should have your list in your head. You should have spotted, when I named all of those different ways out, which ones you’re guilty of. And you should have a clearer idea of what your underearning activities are costing you, in no-nonsense dollars and cents.

I want to talk about why exactly you’re engaging in these underearning practices, and how to stop. So, we’re going to take them one by one. Before we do that, I want to give you a framework so you can understand what’s actually going on with each one of these issues.

You’ve heard me say this before, but there’s only ever three problems going on in any given issue. So, you’re thinking negative thoughts. In this case, you’re thinking negative thoughts about the intentional action that you should take. Okay?

You’re feeling negative feelings, and then you avoid those feelings, or you react to them in an unintentional manner. And there are positive actions that you would need to take that you’re not taking. Therefore, you’re not getting that result that you would get if you took those positive, intentional actions.

Those are the three problems on a really high 50,000-foot view, service level approach to underearning: you’re thinking negative thoughts. You’re avoiding negative feelings, and you aren’t taking positive intentional actions.

Now, the solution for underearning, no matter how it is that you’re doing it, is basically the flip side of those three issues. So, you need to change your thoughts. You need to think more positive thoughts about the intentional actions that you should be taking.

Contrarily, you need to think negative thoughts about the underearning activities that you’re currently engaged in rather than thinking positive thoughts. Or I’ll even go so far as to say, resigned thoughts. For instance, a lot of people think that they have to discount their rates. That’s a resigned thought where you’re relinquishing control and agency that you actually have over your billing.

So, we need to change that thought about the unintentional action that leads you to underearn, and we need to think a different thought about discounting your bills. Maybe you need to think that you don’t do it or that you don’t need to do it; you have to change the thought. The first step to solving your underearning issues is to change the thoughts that you’re thinking.

The second step to addressing your underearning is gagging and going through the discomfort of taking that intentional action. So, you’re going to have to be willing to feel your negative feelings. You’re going to have to allow them to be there, and you’re going to have to wade into them and move through them with intention.

Which brings me to step three. You’ve got to take that positive, productive, intentional action, in spite and despite the discomfort. All right? In spite of it, and despite it. So, that is the overarching framework for how to resolve your underearning issues.

Now, we’re going to go, step by step, through each of the ways that you underearn, so you can see this at play. Let’s say you don’t bill all of your time. I’m going to do an entire episode on billable time and the issues around it. But there are two main reasons that people don’t bill all of their time.

Number one, they don’t enter all of their time, because they just hate time entry. They dread it. They think it’s boring. They don’t consider it real work. They see it as being administrative. They think their other work, the more substantive work, is more important so they deprioritize entering all their time. Then they fall behind on it, and they have to reinvent the wheel and recreate their time for the entire month.

I used to be guilty of this when I worked in big law. Actually, when I worked and practiced law, in general. In big law and in some of the smaller civil work that I did when I worked at the boutique sized firm, as well. So, I was a terrible offender of this.

It leads to underearning because you don’t capture all of your time. And then, when you try and recreate your time for the month, you just don’t capture everything because you’re doing it at a time that’s far removed when you actually did the work. So, it’s not going to be fresh in your mind. Things are going to fall through the cracks, and you’re going to miss hours.

That’s one reason that people don’t bill all of their time. You can see that it comes from negative thoughts; a lot of the thoughts that I listed. That you don’t have time to do it or that it sucks. Or that you don’t feel like it, and other work’s more important.

And then, those thoughts are going to trigger you to feel negative feelings. Feelings like, feeling bothered or dread or pressured or stressed or overwhelmed. And then, you are unwilling to feel those feelings and you avoid them by not entering your time.

Entering your time is the intentional action that you would need to take in order to not underearn. That’s the action that you don’t end up taking. So, you can see, there’s that framework at play: Negative thoughts you’re thinking. Negative feelings that you’re avoiding, or reacting to. And then, intentional actions that you’re not taking.

You would have to change your thoughts, feel those negative feelings on purpose, and take that intentional action of entering your time every day even if you don’t feel like it, in order to stop underearning.

Another reason people don’t bill all of their time is that they feel guilty or worried about what a client is going to think. So, maybe you think that it shouldn’t have taken you as long as it did take you to complete a task. Then you don’t bill all of your time for that task.

Or you’re worried a client, or a supervising attorney is going to be upset with you for spending as long as you did spend. So, you don’t bill all of your time. Or you just feel guilty about what your billable rate is. And you feel badly for charging a client that much money. Maybe you get in your head about what a client can afford versus what they can’t afford.

And so, for these reasons, this guilt or this fear, this worry, you don’t enter all of your time. This also might be the same reason that you write off your time. Okay?

Now, these negative thoughts that you’re thinking about entering all of your time, are causing this problem to begin with. Then they’re making you feel those negative emotions, and you’re avoiding those negative emotions; that worry or that fear or that guilt. Then you don’t enter all of your time or submit the bill without writing your time off.

In order to stop underearning, you’ve got to change your thoughts about entering all of your time. Instead of thinking that you can’t enter all of your time, or that it should have taken you less time, you want to tell yourself, “It took me as long as it took me. My clients are willing to pay for this. It’s still valuable to them. Regardless of whether I think it’s expensive or not is irrelevant. It’s not my job to give another attorneys client a discount that that attorney didn’t approve.”

That especially happens when you don’t enter all of your time for a client who isn’t your client, someone else’s client. You’re basically giving that person’s client a discount that that attorney didn’t approve, and they don’t know that you’re doing it.

One of my rules is, if you’re going to give a discount, make sure the client knows about it so you get the goodwill. Now, I am not suggesting that you discount your rates or discount your bills. I believe that your clients will pay your full rate. All right?

I have a “No Discounts” policy in my business, and it’s never been a problem. But it comes from me making the decision ahead of time that I don’t discount my rates, ever. No matter what. No matter what circumstance arises, I never, ever discount. That’s just a foundational concept, a cornerstone in my business. You get to have the same exact thing in your practice.

One of the thoughts that I teach my clients to adopt is, “I don’t discount, and I always get paid.” Those are just really great foundational self-concept beliefs to hold about yourself. Because remember, your thoughts create your results. So, those are really powerful thoughts to practice thinking. Because you’ll go on to create those results, if those thoughts become practice thoughts of yours.

Now, in order to enter all of your time, when you’re feeling guilty and worried, you’ve got to be willing to gag-and-go through that guilt and that worry, in order to put in all of your time and to resist the urge to write off that time. Okay? You’ve got to take the intentional action of entering every single hour you worked. All right? And you’ve got to change your thoughts.

You’ve got to be thinking about the time that you enter, differently. If you discount your bills or you discount your rates, the same thing is at play here. You think thoughts about not discounting that are getting in your way. What are those thoughts that are coming up for you? Do you think you have to give a discount? Do you think clients expect a discount? Do you think they will go and work with another attorney if you don’t offer a discount?

In fairness, especially if you’re fully booked with clients, if you’re at your capacity for work… I have a whole episode on understanding your capacity, so go listen to that. I’ll link it in the show notes. If you’re at capacity and you’re full, and you’re still discounting, this makes absolutely no sense.

In fact, even if it’s true, that if you charge a client’s going to go work with someone else, good riddance. You literally want them to because they’re taking up a spot in that capacity of yours. And you want that to be filled with a client who’s going to pay your full rate. There is a client that will pay your full rate.

You have to believe that, in order to receive that client into your practice. But I promise you, they are there. You just have to believe. Even if you’re not in full belief, believe a little bit. Take my word for it. Trust me. Borrow my belief. Someone will work with you at your full rate, but only if you require them to.

That is a really fascinating thing about discounting. When you discount, you create more evidence that people will only work with you at your discounted rate. Or will only continue to work with you if you continue to discount your bills. You don’t create evidence to the contrary, that people will continue to work with you even if you don’t discount, right? So, be careful with the evidence that you’re creating.

Also, people aren’t going to fight you. Sometimes they will, but a lot of times they won’t. If you’re going to offer a discount, people will take it. If you offer a payment plan versus having to pay a retainer up front, people will take you up on it. The only reason people pay you the way that they pay you is because you let them pay you that way. All right?

So, be really clear about that. How are you enabling this? How are you allowing some of this behavior that maybe you don’t care for? Maybe it’s even triggering a lot of frustration in your practice. Check in with yourself. It’s easy to blame your clients, but you’re the one who is allowing this to happen.

It’s time to take radical ownership here and be onto yourself if you’re guilty of engaging in these underearning practices. You’re allowing this to happen. So, if you’re discounting and people are paying discounted rates, it’s only because you’re letting them.

You also might be undercharging. If you’re undercharging, check in with yourself: Why are you doing it? What negative thoughts do you have about charging more than what you’re charging, that are holding you back from charging more? Do you think no one will pay a higher rate? Do you think no one would pay for services at that amount? Do you think that you’re not good enough, not qualified enough, not experienced enough, to warrant charging that much?

If you think these thoughts, you’re going to feel afraid. You’re going to feel guilty. You’re going to feel inadequate. You’re going to feel unqualified, and insecure or uncertain. And then, you end up avoiding those feelings by refusing to charge more; you continue to undercharge.

It’s a way that you avoid all that discomfort. So, check in with yourself: Are you guilty of these thoughts? The thoughts that you think about charging more and increasing your rates are probably very similar if you’re not increasing your rates each year. Okay?

That’s not the right frequency to change your rates. I say, let demand drive your rate increases. If you’re consistently full with clients, and you’ve got more work than you really have room for, continue to increase your rates until you start to get nos, until you start to fall underneath your capacity. If you’re at capacity, that’s when you want to increase your rates. And you can just continue to do it until you start to get resistance.

It’s also the best time to increase your rates because it’s when you need the money the least. A terrible time to increase your rates is when you are in a desperate or graspy or insufficient, insecure place in your practice. If you’re in need of clients, it’s really not ideal to increase your rates then to try and make up for lost revenue. Because you’re going to come with an energy that’s going to be really repelling to clients.

So, you want to be unattached when you raise your rates. And you want to be in a place where you care more about getting the higher rate than you care about getting the client. Okay?

Now, if you aren’t raising your rates, check in with yourself. What are those negative thoughts that you’re thinking about increasing your rates? Maybe you think your clients won’t stand for it. That they’ll be upset. That they won’t want to work with you anymore. That they’re going to hire someone else. They’re going to quit.

Maybe you think you’re not worth a higher rate. Maybe you think you can’t charge a certain rate because people who have been at your firm longer than you don’t charge more than that. That is a really common way that people underearn. Who cares what anyone else charges? Don’t worry about them.

If you have control and autonomy over what you charge, set your rates according to your demand. And by gradually increasing, year in and year out, rather than setting your rates based on what other people charge. People will pay what you require them to pay. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Only compare yourself to yourself.

So, if you’re guilty of undercharging and not increasing your rates, what would you need to think in order to actually increase them? What would you need to believe?

You would need to believe that people are willing to pay more than what they’re paying right now. You need to believe that it’s safe to charge more. You need to believe that your clients like working with you, and that they’ll continue to work with you because they know the value you bring. You need to believe that you will continue to bring more value than what you’re charging, even as you charge more.

You need to believe that other clients are out there who are willing to pay a higher rate, even if your current clients are not. You need to believe that you are in demand and that you’re worth charging more. That even with charging more, it’s still an overdeliver and an undercharge.

That’s one of my favorite ways to think about how I charge and what I charge. That even as I continue to charge more and more and more, I’m still overdelivering and undercharging, based on the value that I provide my clients. Based on what they get from working with me.

A really fun way to engage in that mental exercise for yourself, is to think about, “What’s the value that my clients get from the services that I provide?” For a lot of my clients, the value that they offer their clients, maybe they offer them peace of mind. Maybe they offer them certainty. Maybe there’s a specific monetary amount.

Whether it’s a tangible or intangible benefit, a lot of times it’s either worth far more than what you’re charging, or it’s invaluable. It’s priceless. In which case, you can charge more. And people will still value the service that they’re getting from you, the service that you’re rendering, and they’ll be happy to pay a higher rate.

You’re also going to have to feel those negative emotions, that I listed, that are coming up for you, when you think about increasing your rates and charging more than what you’re currently charging. To be willing to embrace those negative emotions, gag-and-go, and increase your rates anyways; in spite of and despite them.

And take that intentional action of actually increasing your rates. Doing whatever you need to do in order to facilitate that activity. It might be informing your clients. It might be making the decision and honoring it. It might be not discounting, and going back to your original rates when you send out a bill after you’ve decided on a price increase. Okay?

Whatever it is, there’s those intentional actions you’re going to have to take. You want to identify them and be really clear on what they are.

Now, when it comes to following up on accounts receivable, if you’re not doing this, check in with yourself. What are those negative thoughts that you’re thinking about following up on that outstanding invoice, that leads you to not follow up? Maybe you’re thinking that someone doesn’t have the money and they’re not going to be able to pay.

I love coaching people on this limiting belief. People always come up with the money for the things that they prioritize. All right? So, you can look for evidence of this. I assure you; you will find it. People always find the money.

The people who aren’t paying your rates are spending money on other stuff. Absolutely. They’re not just spending money on the essential life stuff. They’re spending money on other things, too: vacations, restaurants out, beer, wine, cigarettes. Those buffers. Those coping mechanisms.

People spend money. They probably have different subscriptions. Maybe they have cable, maybe they have HBO. Maybe they have an expensive lease payment. Maybe they’re paying for private school or kids travel soccer. It doesn’t matter. Maybe they’re paying for elective beauty procedures. It doesn’t matter. People find the money.

So, you’ve got to make them find the money, by following up on accounts receivable and being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, okay? If you’re not following up, you’re doing it because either you think that they’re not going to pay you, that they don’t have the money, you’re feeling guilty.

Or maybe you’re feeling compassionate in a way that really doesn’t serve you. Empathetic in a way that really doesn’t serve you here. You’re prioritizing someone else’s discomfort over your own. You want to be onto yourself if you’re doing that, and you want to resist the urge. Charity starts at home, here. You’ve got to put your own needs first, in order to make sure you don’t underearn.

Maybe you’re thinking there’s no point. You’re never going to collect anything, so why even waste your time. You might think that the money doesn’t make that big of a difference. That you made enough off of them already, so you don’t have to chase the rest of the money. You might think that you hate talking about money.

If you’re thinking these thoughts, the chances of you following up on accounts receivable are very slim to none. So, you’ve got to change your thoughts. You’ve got to think that you’re willing to do this. That it does make a difference. You’ve got to think that thought, that I introduced you to earlier, that you always get paid. That you don’t leave money on the table.

You also are going to have to gag-and-go through the discomfort that’s associated with following up on accounts receivable. You’re going to have to feel pushy. You’re going to have to feel needy. You’re going to have to feel rude. You’re going to have to feel intrusive. You’re going to have to feel worried that the client might judge you, or not like that you’re following up.

I always like to tell people that the clients bring it on themselves. If they don’t pay on time, and you’ve got to follow up with them… You, of course, don’t have to follow up with them, you’re choosing to follow up with them. But if you choose to follow up with them, you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not making them feel uncomfortable. If they feel uncomfortable, it’s because of their thoughts about their own behavior, or their thoughts about your behavior.

You’re not in control of their thoughts. Their thoughts aren’t your business. It’s really irrelevant what they think, okay? But they brought this on themselves by not paying you in a timely fashion. So, don’t go making yourself feel guilty or embarrassed for following up. You’re completely within your rights, as a service provider, to follow up on accounts receivable when you’ve done the work, you’ve provided the value, the clients reaped the benefit, and they owe you money.

Okay, if you’re not in an accounts receivable situation, because you’re an employee, and you work for an organization. Maybe you worked in-house, or at some other type of establishment. Other ways that you underearn, that are different than private practice, are maybe you’re not asking for a raise.

This could also certainly apply to you if you’re working in private practice. Okay? If you’re not asking for a raise, check in with yourself. What are your negative thoughts about asking for a raise? Do you think you don’t deserve one? Do you think your boss is going to be upset if you ask for one? Do you think it makes you look ungrateful? Do you think they’re probably going to say no? Do you think now’s not a great time to ask?

Those thoughts are going to hold you back from asking and earning more. You’ve got to change them. You’ve got to think, “Now’s as good a time as any. I’ve earned it. I’m worth more. I provide more value; therefore, it makes sense for me to receive a raise.” You might need to think, “They might say yes. They will say yes.” That you’ll never know if you don’t ask. You’ve got to be thinking more positive thoughts about asking for the raise.

You’ve also got to be willing to feel negative emotions. So, guilt or feeling entitlement or feeling worried, those negative emotions are emotions you have to be willing to feel. You also might have to feel pushy or rude or inconsiderate, if you’ve got negative thoughts about you asking. You also might have to be willing to feel negative emotions if they tell you no.

You might have to be willing to feel disappointed, offended, hurt, discouraged, resentful, frustrated, rejected. All those negative emotions too, that we prevent ourselves from experiencing when we avoid asking for more money.

Maybe you’re not asking for a bonus, or you’re not negotiating a higher bonus for similar reasons. If that’s the case, you’ve got to change your thoughts. You’ve got to embrace the discomfort that comes from asking.

And then, you’ve got to gag-and-go and take the intentional action of asking for what you want, in spite of and despite the discomfort. This is really going to require you to care less about other people’s opinions, and to prioritize yourself and what you want.

Now, maybe you’ve asked for a raise, and they’ve told you no. Or you’ve asked for more money and you’re not getting it. Or you’re in a job where the compensation structure doesn’t suit you, it leads you to underearn, and you could be working somewhere else with a more conducive beneficial compensation structure.

That means you’ve got to leave and move to a different job. If you don’t do that, and you keep staying in a job with a lower salary or disadvantaged compensation benefits, you want to switch jobs. But if you’re not switching jobs, if you’re not looking, if you’re not applying, if you’re not moving on to a position that would enable you to earn more, you’ve got to ask yourself why.

What are the thoughts that are getting in your way? You might be thinking that you should stay. That your employer has done a lot for you. That it makes you look ungrateful. That it’s good enough. That it’s wrong or greedy of you to want more. Those negative thoughts are getting in your way.

Maybe you think that there isn’t a position out there that will allow you to earn more. I promise you, that’s just not true. There’s always a position that will allow you to earn more. You might think you’re not qualified for it, so you might feel inadequate or insecure. You might feel uncertain about whether or not you’ll get it, and that uncertainty drives you to just maintain the status quo.

So, get really clear here. If you’re guilty of this, staying put when you know it’s time to leave, and that’s causing you to underearn, you’ve got to change your thoughts. What do you need to think instead, about the intentional action you need to take? About looking for a job and about switching jobs?

You might think you’re not going to find as good of a gig. That you’re not going to find as nice of an environment. You’re not going to work with better people or as good of people as you’re currently working with. Those are other limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

So, that doubt that’s going to come in, along with all the other discomfort that comes from the thoughts that I just mentioned, those are going to present as roadblocks that keep you in your place. You’re going to have to change your thoughts and embrace that discomfort, in order to move on to a position that’s more conducive to you earning more.

Last but not least, if you’re not developing business. Actually, not last but not least, let’s talk about reimbursements first. If you’re not submitting your receipts for reimbursement at the job that you work at, ask yourself why? What are your thoughts about submitting receipts for reimbursement? Do you think it makes you look petty? That’s a thought I used to think, actually.

Do you think, “Meh, I really don’t need the money. It’s not that big of a deal.” Check in with yourself. What thoughts come up for you? And then, what flavors of discomfort come up for you? What negative emotions do experience when you think about forcing yourself to submit those receipts for reimbursement? For asking for what you’re technically entitled to?

Or maybe there’s not even a company policy, but you could be asking to be reimbursed and compensated for your financial expenditure. A lot of times, my clients could have their employers pay for their coaching; this is such a great example of this. But they never ask, they leave money on the table, and they end up paying out of pocket for something that the company or the firm might cover.

Now, I’m a big advocate of paying out of pocket. I think when you have your own skin in the game, you show up a little bit differently in that coaching relationship. You take it a little bit more seriously. You value the time and the financial investment a little bit differently when it’s your own money that you’re putting up and spending, to get the ROI that you get from coaching.

However, you could receive compensation from your employer for this expenditure. If spending the money on coaching is something that’s holding you back, check in with your employer and see if they’ll cover the costs. Sometimes they will.

But you might feel guilty about asking. If that’s you, you’re going to have to gag-and-go through that guilt. Or you’re going to have to change the way that you’re thinking about making the ask in order to be able to make it. Okay?

So, check in with yourself. If you’re not submitting things for reimbursement, there’s a couple of reasons why. You’re not thinking the right thoughts. You’re not being willing to feel the negative feelings that come up for you. And you’re not taking the intentional action you would need to take, in spite of and despite the discomfort.

Now, last but not least; for real this time. If you’re not developing business, and you work for an establishment that compensates really well, or at least better than just your salary if you do develop business, you’re leaving money on the table. This is a way that you’re underearning.

Maybe you would get a higher salary because of the business that you bring in. Your firm, your company, would value you more, so you’d receive higher salary increases. That might be one way. Or you’d receive bigger bonuses based on the firm or the company’s compensation structure.

If this is you and you’re not developing business, check in with yourself. Why are you not developing business? Maybe you think you don’t have time for it. Maybe you think it’s too hard. Maybe you think no one wants to hire you. Maybe you think it’s uncomfortable and you don’t know where to start.

If you’re thinking these thoughts, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and pressured, confused, uncertain, unprepared, unqualified, nervous, embarrassed. Exposed maybe when you think about putting yourself out there and marketing yourself.

So, if those thoughts are prevalent for you, and you’re experiencing those negative feelings, you’re not engaging in business development because those thoughts are getting in your way. And you’re avoiding those emotions instead of embracing them. In order to develop business, and take advantage of that compensation structure that you are able to access and leverage when you do develop business, you’re going to have to change your thoughts about business development.

You’re going to have to believe that people want to hire you, and that you do have time to develop business, and that you’re capable of developing business. That business development is fun. That it can be easy. That you’ll be good at it. That it’s a skill you can develop over time, even if it’s a skill that you feel like you don’t have right now. Okay?

So, you’ve got to change your thoughts. And then, you’ve got to be willing to embrace the discomfort of developing business that comes from those negative thoughts that just happen to linger. They just don’t go away completely as you start to practice new thoughts.

You’ve got to take the intentional action of developing business. You’ve got to know what you’re offering people. You’ve got to meet people. Tell them what you do, add value ahead of time to your audience, and make offers to help them when it makes sense. Basically meaning, if they need your help, you’ve got to tell them you can help them, and you got to let them know how to work with you. How to take the next step to move forward.

And in order to take those actions, you’re going to have to be willing to feel uncomfortable. So, you’ve got to gag-and-go through that discomfort and just put yourself out there and start developing business.

These are the ways that you underearn. Find and identify them in your own life. How are you underearning? What is it costing you? Get clear on the negative thoughts you’re thinking about the intentional action that you would need to take in order to not underearn. See what negative emotions come up for you when you think those negative thoughts. And then, be very clear about the intentional action that you’re not taking.

The solution here, once you’ve identified the thoughts, identified the feelings that you’re avoiding, and identified the intentional action that you’re not taking, is to flip the script. And to change your thoughts. Embrace that discomfort and take that intentional action anyways, no matter how you’re underearning. That is the solution.

That framework works for any of the ways in which you may be underearning, okay? So, go out there in your life, apply this framework, and shift from the problem to the solution. Change those thoughts, embrace those feelings, and take that intentional action, in spite of and despite the discomfort.

It is going to be life changing for you if you do this. Okay? Alright, that’s what I have for you this week. I want to add one more final thing before I go. If you struggle with underearning, in any of the ways that I mentioned or in a handful of the ways that I mentioned or in all of the ways that I mentioned, I highly, highly recommend you join the August class of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

We will be addressing each and every one of these underearning issues in the August 2023 cohort. So, make sure you’re in it. We’ll get very clear on exactly what your thoughts are. I’ll help you identify the mindset blocks that are holding you back from earning more. And then, I will help you learn how to take uncomfortable action, in spite of the discomfort, so you can be intentional. So, you can stop underearning. Okay?

It is going to be extremely comprehensive what we cover in this upcoming round, when it comes to underearning. If you’re guilty of doing this, you do not want to miss it. It is literally costing you, I gave you the numbers already, it’s literally costing you tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And it’s costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars, over the course of your legal career.

You literally cannot afford to not solve your underearning issue; to not address this problem. The cost of the mastermind is peanuts compared to the money that you’re leaving on the table. The mastermind is $5,000 for the six-month program. Including the three-and-a-half day in-person event in Big Sky, Montana. The $5,000 doesn’t cover your travel to Big Sky or your hotel accommodations. But it covers, basically, everything else. Okay?

So, the $5,000 expenditure, that you would need to make in order to invest in yourself, in order to invest in learning how to overcome your underearning problem, pales in comparison to the money that you will start to earn. The money that you will recoup. The money that you will stop leaving on the table if you join this program. You will learn the tools, that I’m going to teach you during our six months together.

Get out of your own way. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish. Spend the money now. Make this investment in yourself and your future. Build this skill set. Learn how to solve your underearning problems, once and for all. It’s going to pay dividends, literally, if you do this. All right? Now remember, spots are limited, so don’t wait. Get in and apply now. You can do that at TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind.

Your future self is going to thank you. The future self that has an extra $100,000 to play with a year, or $50,000 to play with a year. Fifty thousand versus five thousand is nothing. Five thousand dollars versus $100,000, nothing. Five thousand dollars versus a million dollars, nothing.

Get out of your own way. I know it can feel icky or uncomfortable to invest in yourself, and to come up out of pocket and spend the money, but seriously, it makes absolutely no sense to continue dealing with this underearning problem year in and year out. Let’s address this issue once and for all.

I cannot wait to see you in the mastermind. I can’t wait to help you with this problem. I think one of my absolute favorite things to coach on, is teaching people how to make more money. You work hard, you don’t need to work harder to make more of it. You need to work smarter, okay?

And one of the best ways to work smarter is to learn how to overcome your underearning tendencies, once and for all. You learn this once; it’s going to last you a lifetime. It’s going to be the best $5,000 you’ve ever spent, I promise you.

Alright, my friends, I will talk to you in the next episode. we’re going to continue talking about money. I’ve got a couple more episodes left in this series. So, if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure you hit the subscribe or follow button. Tune in next week, where we continue with the Money Making Mindset series. All right?

In the meantime, 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.

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Episode 64: Power in Numbers (The Benefits of Group Coaching)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Power in Numbers (The Benefits of Group Coaching)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Power in Numbers (The Benefits of Group Coaching)

There is power in numbers. My personal experience as a student has always been that group coaching containers offer a unique range of benefits. As a coach, I see my clients getting amazing, meaningful results. So, if you’ve ever wondered what group coaching is all about and why it’s a powerful setting to do this work in, this episode is for you.

This episode features three members of the mastermind I’m a part of, and because we all have groups of our own, we’re having a fireside chat about all things group coaching, community, connection, and collaboration. I’m joined by Laura Conley, Andrea Nordling, and Priyanka Venugopal, and you’re going to love this conversation.

Tune in this week to discover the power of group coaching and our experience as coaches who love group coaching. We’re discussing the value of learning with others who share your goals, the biggest breakthrough we’ve had as a result of applying ourselves in groups, and how you can get the best ROI out of any coaching group you join.

I have a bunch of events coming up. The next one is called How to Get Organized happening on June 23rd 2023. To register for any of my upcoming events, click here!

You will have one more chance to join my mastermind. Click here to sign up for the waitlist and be sure to tune in next week to get all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why community is a basic human need.
  • What makes group coaching and retreats different to a group of friends meeting up for a conversation.
  • The significance of showing up in a group and sharing vulnerably.
  • How watching other people getting coached gives you clear answers to your own questions.
  • The work that goes into curating a group coaching container.
  • How to apply yourself and invest more than just money in your group coaching experience.
  • The biggest transformations we’ve all been through since being in group coaching settings.
  • How to get the best possible ROI from any group you join.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 64. Today, we’re talking all about power in numbers and the benefits of group coaching. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Hello, my friends, how are you? I have a special little treat for you today. So, I’m interrupting the Money Mindset series that I’m doing to bring you this special episode. I just spent a long weekend with really good friends of mine in Montana doing reconnaissance and planning for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind live event that’s going to be taking place in August, August 23rd through the 26th.

One of the things that we did while we were there, we turned it into, essentially, a working retreat. And since meeting up, we’ve been talking about how we all came to know each other, which was through joining a group coaching program with our business coach, Stacey Boehman. We’ve been talking all about the power of being in a group, what the experience is like, why it’s so beneficial to our clients, and why it was so beneficial to all of us as we were students of another coach in a group program.

So, all four of us now run our own groups. And what we wanted to do was have a really candid fireside chat, essentially, about our own experiences in a group coaching setting. Some of us, myself included, had some aversion to being in a group setting initially, and how we overcame that, what the benefits were in our own lives personally, professionally.

And then also, what all of us, as coaches, experience with our clients. The benefits that we see be imparted on our clients, what their experience is like, how it’s transformational for them, how it’s so meaningful for them, and the different takeaways and benefits that they receive from being in a group coaching program, like the one that I run, The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

So, the four of us came together and recorded an episode, just like I said, a candid conversation that you guys get to listen to. And all four of us are sharing it on our own respective podcasts. So, it’s myself and three of my closest entrepreneur friends; Laura, Andrea, and Priyanka.

I’m so excited for you to meet them in this episode, for you to get to know them. And for you to hear a couple different perspectives about being in a group coaching program, in addition to the perspective I’ve given you throughout the course of these episodes, since I talked about the mastermind quite a lot.

So, buckle up and tune in to this fun conversation that the four of us had. I hope you enjoy it and learn a thing or two.

Laura: Hey, guys! Okay, so I’m here with my business besties. So, we’re going to go around and introduce ourselves to you guys. Because, guess what? We’re really smart, and we’re all having this podcast on our separate podcasts. I mean, #efficiency.

So, for those of you that don’t know me, I’m Laura Conley. I’m the host of the Yummy Mummy podcast. And I am a life and weight loss coach living in Boulder, Colorado, with my two little babies and my husband. He’s 41, my son is three and my daughter is five. So, Andrea, why don’t you go next? Take it away.

Andrea: Hey, I’m Andrea Nordling. I am a business coach for holistic nutritionists and health coaches. I live in Minnesota. Husband, as well. Two kids, 13 and 10. And I have The Profitable Nutritionist™ podcast.

Laura: So fun. Priyanka.

Priyanka: Hello, hello. I am Priyanka Venugopal. I’m a mind and body health coach for high achieving professional moms. I have two little beans; one is big, he’s seven and he’s driving me bananas, like right now. And then my four-year-old who is super easy. I’m having all the struggles. I live in the Washington DC area, and I am the host of The Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast.

Laura: I love that. So good. Olivia.

Olivia: Hi, everyone. My name is Olivia Vizachero. I am a life coach for lawyers. I run The Less Stressed Lawyer, and I help attorneys who are over the overwhelm live lives with less stress and far more fulfillment. I’m based out of Detroit. And I’m the host of The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. I’m super excited to talk to all three of you today about all the things that we’ve learned from being in communities with one another.

Priyanka: I’m so excited. So excited for this. This is going to be so fun.

Laura: I’m not. This is going to suck. I am just sort of going through this. You guys are just only okay. But yeah, so we are going to talk about community, connection, collaboration, why we think it’s important, and some of the stumbling blocks that might arise, In hopes that you guys, our listeners, get something out of this.

Because I, personally, do think it is one of our basic human needs. I think it is what makes life so sweet and special. And I rarely, rarely, I mean, this could be because I’m an extrovert, we could talk about that too. But I rarely come home from a retreat in Montana with you girls and wish I didn’t. Or a coffee with a friend, even if I’m kind of dreading it. Or a walk, or whatever it is, I rarely come home from connecting with another human and regret it.

So, I just want to shout it from the rooftops, especially post COVID, that I do think that this is something important, like food or water or shelter. So, Olivia.

Olivia: I totally agree with that. And just to give people who are listening context, I’m getting ready to host an event. Actually, Andrea is, as well, in Big Sky, Montana in August. Whenever I host these retreats, I go out and I do a reconnaissance mission. And the four of us all went last weekend.

We went to work on our businesses, brainstorm together, and run ideas past each other. Just really be in an immersive environment where we get to focus on ourselves and that connection, exchanging ideas, deepening our relationships, and being able to share parts of ourselves with one another.

Through that experience, of the four of us coming together and meeting up in Montana, we realized just how much of an enriching experience it is for all of us. And the fact that all four of us run group programs for our clients, same exact thing. So, I think it was the Andrea who got the idea to do the episode?

Andrea: I think it was Priyanka.

Priyanka: I was actually just going to say, I felt like these kinds of weekend getaways sometimes it turns into friends just getting together, like a girls weekend, right? Like a girls night out, a girls weekend, or a group that just gets together in a way that’s for fun. And this was that, but I also really feel the reason that I even thought that this would be such a great experience for our audience to hear about, is we had some hard conversations.

When you think about a weekend getaway and a girls night out, you don’t always have challenging conversations that is going to level up your results that you have in your business, in your life, for your body, for your mind. And I feel like the four of us got together, and we had brain exploding conversations, that I think pushed all of us.

And that was what I thought was something worth sharing. That it’s not always easy to put ourselves in groups and to share vulnerably. But because the four of us all have similar goals, in that we want to expand our reach, we want to expand our orbit. I feel like we did that, because we put ourselves together with other people that had similar goals. That doesn’t happen very easily.

Laura: Yeah, I was actually a little nervous about that. And even my coach called me out. It was like, “Oh, okay. Yeah, let me know how that goes.” I mean, she didn’t say it in those words, but I think she had the same thought. Of like, “Oh, it’s totally going to just be a girls weekend.” And I do, to your point Priyanka, I think it is so important to have those girls weekends for sure.

But how rich and how lucky are we? And we’re not just lucky, because anyone listening, you guys can put yourselves in these rooms, too. But to be able to put yourself in a room where somebody loves you enough that they’re willing to ask the hard question and have the hard conversation in the name of your future self, in the name of your growth is pretty freaking special.

Andrea: Oh, my gosh. Oh, I just jumped it in on you Priyanka. I’m sorry. I’m curious, for you guys, if you have the same experience. I love my friends I’ve had for a really long time. I have history with lots of people; love them. But I don’t have these kinds of conversations that we have with anybody else in my life. And I wonder, I don’t know… I’m wondering, as you’re saying that, Priyanka and Laura, as you were saying that, I was just thinking about it.

I’m like, “Ooh, is it because we have just the best group ever? Or is there something to be said for kind of like, I don’t know, a curated, goal-focused group?” It’s a different experience. We’re all here working on some version of the same goal. And you can just leave all of the past behind. There’re no stories and nobody knows your backstory, unless you want to tell it to them.

It’s not that we don’t do that, but it’s really the ‘future you’ that you’re talking about, that you’re exploring. I don’t know, it’s just so different. I don’t even know how to articulate it. But I think you guys know what I mean. It is so different.

Olivia: Yeah, I think one of the things that we see in all of the groups that we run as well, it’s like everyone there has a common aim. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, you’re building a business, or like me, I focus on working with attorneys or former attorneys, people have this shared experience.

And I was really thinking about, in anticipation for us recording this, what have I found so beneficial about also being in rooms with people who are really similar to me. And I agree, I definitely don’t have a lot of these conversations with the other people in my life. But I also think it takes pressure off of the other people in my life.

Because I stop looking for the people in my life who aren’t like me, like our family members or friends from back home, they’re not entrepreneurs. They don’t understand the same struggles that I face every day, the challenges, or the goals that I’m working towards. So, they can’t really converse with me in as meaningful as a way as you guys can.

I think whenever you’re inserting yourself into a group where there’s that common goal, whatever the goal is, if you’re dealing with the same struggles, you’re encountering the same obstacles, you’re going to have these questions. And it takes that pressure off the rest of your relationships.

So, whether it’s your spouse or your mom or your sister or your friend, you can just enjoy those people, rather than needing something from them that they’re really not capable of providing you.

Priyanka: That’s so good. Yeah, that’s so good. And also, I’m curious how you guys feel about this, but when I am talking to my husband, for example, about a goal that I have, he kind of wants to motivate me and push me. Like, “Yeah, you can do it.” And he might be very practically minded around what my obstacles might be. So, my husband is a good sounding board, he’s meant to be a partner. But he’s very practically minded.

And when I’m with the three of you, what I’ve noticed is, I will be sharing, to me in my mind, a massive obstacle. What seems like the biggest shit show, that’s about… Sorry, I don’t know if we’re cursing or not… But the biggest pile of crap, right?

Laura: Not on mine, I’m going to have to edit that out. I’m going to have to charge you for that.

Priyanka: Edit out the crap. So, when I’m talking to all of you…

Laura: You can’t say “crap”!

Priyanka: We’re not going to say that? Now we’re really holding back. I don’t even know what we’re going to say, because we talk about a lot of that. So, talking about our serious obstacles, you’re not, all three of you guys, are not telling me what is practically available to me.

When we were in Montana, and I’m telling you, “This is what I’m struggling with. This is what I’m dealing with. These are my obstacles,” the three of you would ask me questions, and the conversation would go in a direction where you had my highest belief in your mind. You were like, “Priyanka, you are so capable.”

If you look at your, like what Andrea was saying, your future self, the future part of you is like, “This is solved, and this is done.” The way that you guys kind of had that conversation with me is from that lens. And I don’t get that anywhere, except being in business coaching containers, and in coaching containers that have that highest belief. The four of us have all invested seriously in group coaching containers. And I think that that shows that we take this seriously, which I think was the foundation for us to even have some of these conversations.

Andrea: Yeah. For me, that did not come easily. I would be curious what you guys think about that. But I really resisted investing in any sort of community for a very long time.

Laura: Yeah, I want to go to that topic. Because I think that that’s huge for a lot of the people listening. It’s definitely a barrier, and it’s worth getting over because of all the benefits. I just, real quick, want to speak to what Priyanka was saying, because it came up when Olivia was talking and even Andrea before that.

This idea that when you put yourself in a room with other people with a shared vision or shared goal, you have… Say you’re a Yummy Mummy, you have 29 other Yummy Mummies, or however many are in the group, holding the vision. It’s kind of a cheesy way of saying it, but you have 29 other women holding the vision for you, even if it feels like unrealistic.

I think back to our basic need as humans. I think why connection is such a basic need is to feel not alone. And it can feel so lonely when it comes to weight loss or being stressed at your job or wanting to build your business as an entrepreneur in the nutrition world, or whatever. And so, I think if you are in a container where you don’t, number one, you don’t feel alone. And then you have 29 other people, or however many, whatever, holding that vision for you, it circumvents the doubt and the disbelief that comes up.

I have big goals for my business, and if I’m in doubt, you three are holding the vision for it. I can be in doubt and disbelief and wanting to cry and quit my business and go to the pool every day with my kids, and you guys just sort of think it’s cute. You’re like, “Okay, yeah, that’s cute and normal.” And you help me through it, versus if I were just on an island, I probably would be at sunset pool right now. So, I think that’s a huge benefit.

And so, I kind of want to sell our audience of people listening on why these communities are so amazing, why this connection is so amazing, so that they want to have the motivation to get over their own B.S. Which I think all of us, or at least you three… I was going to sleepaway camp when I was seven. I loved groups from the get-go.

But if we can sell the audiences on why being in a group is so worth it, and then talk about kind of some of the obstacles that we had to overcome, maybe we can convince some people to get in a group setting. So, I just wanted to kind of put that out there.

Priyanka: Just one real quick thing to kind of follow up, and I definitely want to get back to Andrea’s initial thing about investing in a group, for sure. The one thing that, Laura, what you were just touching on, is this idea of being in a group and supported by the group vision. I think the other thing that I have found, and I noticed this when I transitioned from one-on-one to a small intimate group, that I did not get with one-on-one, when I had one-on-one clients, a client can be in their problem, right?

They’re looking at their pile of crap, and they’re trying to navigate it and trying to move forward. But when you’re in a group setting, and you see that you’re not alone in the crap, that it’s not a unique defect of yours. It’s not that you’re uniquely incapable, that you’re not uniquely not skilled at solving this problem. That “Oh, actually, I just have a human brain like every other person in this room. I’m not alone in the struggle.”

I think that being validated in that is deeply impactful in solving the problem. When you feel like you’re alone in not solving a problem, that is a barrier that I think is really hard to overcome. And being in a group, I think, naturally; I love obliterating things; it just naturally obliterates you putting yourself on your own island, which I think is priceless.

Olivia: I totally agree with that. And as the three of you were talking, one thing that really jumped out at me, and I do want to make sure that this is really clear for the people who are listening, the four of us are all coaches, right? So, I don’t want people to hear this and think, “Oh, I can just gather three of my friends. And we can have this incredible experience.” If that’s possible for you, amazing.

But all four of us are professionally trained to be able to hold belief, and to be able to identify someone else’s limiting beliefs, and to be able to ask those questions that really probe at the heart of the issue. So, there’s two components here: There’s the community support that you get from being in a group setting, absolutely.

But it’s also being curated by a coach. Which is what the four of us all do for our respective audiences. It’s that we curate this experience where we’re holding belief, we’re teaching a group how to hold belief collectively for other people.

As much as it’s amazing to rely on your friends, we have the extreme good fortune to all be coaches, and friends as well. So, we’re able to create this experience that I think a lot of people don’t get, unless they invest in coaching containers run by a coach. Which is definitely how I first invested in a group coaching experience, was paying, and working with a coach and joining a community that someone else curated, that was already set up to enable my growth.

Laura: That’s huge. Because I don’t know, Priyanka, if you’ve seen this in weight loss. And I know that this happens in the workplace and with business. If you get a group of friends together, and you can. You can get a group of friends together, and you guys can have this shared vision. But then what happens? This is what used to happen with me with weight loss.

I used to get all these games going, and all these bets going, with all my friends who wanted to lose weight. And then, we’re all rah, rah, and then they’re not doing it. And I’m like, well, fuck. I’m like, “Well, they’re not doing it, so I’m going to quit too.” It’s this false accountability, it doesn’t actually work.

And then you are the one suffering because you thought you did it, and then they’re quitting, and you’re using it as an excuse to quit too. So, to your point, Olivia, I think friend groups and accountability groups can be great, but I just haven’t seen them really work unless you’re invested energetically, financially, timewise too.

Priyanka: It’s fun, when you have that group of friends that you’re having a shared common goal with. There’s an aspect of fun that gets infused into the process. But I think when you have not invested, and by investing I don’t just mean financially. I think you have to decide to invest your time, your energy, and your bandwidth as well.

In the shared goal, the first thing that’s going to go is somebody’s going to drop off. Somebody’s going to drop off. And if we’ve attached our results with the accountability of a group, it’s a surefire way to not hit your goal if you haven’t invested seriously. I think that’s kind of what we’re talking about why we invest seriously. But Andrea, you were saying you hesitated.

Andrea: Oh, yeah.

Priyanka: What was the whole hesitation?

Andrea: No, no, no, no. Let me clarify. Not hesitating on joining up coaching container or a group, but I just didn’t think I needed the group. I was like, “I just want this strategy here. I just want that coach. I want to learn the things. I don’t actually need to know these people. I don’t need to know them, I have friends. I’m good.”

I’ve been trying to really pinpoint what the thought is here, as we’ve been talking, because I want to be honest about it. I guess the thought was, “If I engage in the group,” this is going to sound terrible, “I’m not going to get anything from it. And this is going to take a lot of time.” So, it seemed like a big investment timewise. I already have friends. That’s great.

Priyanka: How did you get over that? How did you get yourself across that line?

Laura: But hold on, she’s totally telling you the truth too. Because I don’t think I even fucking knew you until round three of the container we were in. You were just over there in the corner, and then I’m like, “Wait. Who’s this sleeper cool chick?”

Andrea: Doing my thing. I know, right? My open time was not on… I was closed for friendships, totally closed. “I’m very busy. I’m very focused. Nobody bother me.”

Laura: And very important.

Andrea: Totally. I was an idiot. Because this is the best part of the group, is having the group. Yeah, so I just thought that was a fluffy extra, life if you need accountability. As I’m hearing you talk about accountability groups, I’ve never identified with needing external accountability.

So, I think that’s what I thought a group was. Like, “Oh, a group is for people that don’t get themselves to do things on their own, and I totally do, so I don’t need that.” I just mentally opted out on any benefit that that could possibly bring to me. And I was so incredibly wrong. Because the friendships that we have made…

I mean, it doesn’t even have to be a friendship. Luckily, we are all actually friends. Like, I believe we will be friends forever. We do amazing things together. We get to enjoy as our businesses get bigger. As we do all this cool shit, we get to celebrate with each other. And I think that that’ll continue forever.

But I’ve met so many people amidst these communities I’ve now been part of, that maybe aren’t going to be friends of mine forever, but still those relationships are so valuable in other ways. And I’m so glad that I got out of my own way and got over myself to experience that.

Priyanka: How did you get over it? What did you finally tell yourself when you were like, “You know what? I’m considering this investment. But I don’t know whether the group is going to be valuable for me.” How did you get yourself across that line?

Andrea: So, I always thought the group would be valuable. I just didn’t think I would really participate in the group. I think it was very selfish. Like, I’ll get what I need, but I don’t need to engage. If I’m being honest, some version of that. I mean, that sounds awful, but it was some version of that. I was like, “I’ll just do my thing over here, The lone wolf, that’s cool.”

Priyanka: The cool chick. The lone cool chick on the side.

Andrea: But nobody knew I was cool because I was so quiet about it. I wasn’t telling you how cool I was. I was being so quiet. Okay. So being in-person, the honest answer there is being in-person. When we started doing in-person events together and COVID was over, that was a game changer. Because given the opportunity, I will totally jump in a group. I just would not prioritize that online.

And I do think I really missed the boat. Because I don’t think there’s any comparison to being in-person versus being online, as far as connecting with people. I think in-person, hands down, is a completely different experience. However, when you’re intentional about it, you can have an experience like that online. You just have to be intentional. And I wasn’t until we were in-person together.

Laura: So, it just kind of happened naturally for you. Once you were in the group, you’re like, “Okay, I’ll just do this group, and I’ll take the things that I can get business wise.” And then when you were in person, it sort of just took care of itself.

Andrea: Totally.

Laura: But I know that we have some people on this Zoom call that want to share about what they might have been scared about, in terms of actually joining a group. Because there does take a level of vulnerability of putting yourself in that space. Olivia, do you want to speak to that?

Olivia: Yeah, I see this with my clients too. I, if I’m being completely transparent, and I think this is like the honesty hour for sure, for all of us. At least the three of us, not Laura, because she loves groups.

Laura: Plus, I love to lie too. I don’t like telling the truth. Just kidding.

Olivia: I really love to be in my expert energy. And most people don’t see me as shy. But I tell people all the time, in a group setting I’m a little bit of a wallflower. Just because I love to always be the expert. I don’t love to need things from other people. I don’t love to have questions. I like to appear like I have it all figured out. So, I can definitely hide in a room. Priyanka is also raising her hand.

Priyanka: That’s me. That’s so me.

Olivia: Yeah, she gets it too. I think when you’ve been a high performer in your past life, I’m a former attorney, you get used to that role. And I see it with my clients all the time. Not everyone, but there are certain people in my group, and they love to be in their helpful expert energy as well. They don’t raise their hand, and they don’t end up getting as much value out of the opportunities.

So, for me, and I think this is true for everyone here, but my program is set up where people can continue to reenroll. And one of the things that I learned, through my own process of re-enrolling in the coaching container that we were all together in, was that as I got more familiar… I was like Andrea; I came for the content. I came for the tactics and the skills, and the strategy from the coach.

But then, as you stay in the same container, time in, round after round after round, you’ve already kind of learned that stuff. So, if you want to keep growing, I think the way you utilize a program changes. So, for me, it kind of dawned on me two things: Number one, and I see this with people too, if you get bored in a group coaching program, and you’re not raising your hand, that is a red flag that you are hiding.

I have people say that to me. They’re like, “I don’t always love listening to everyone else deal with their stuff.” I’m like, “Amazing, what would you like to get coached on?” And they’re like, “I have to get coached?” I’m like, “I get the desire to hide…” But that was true for me, too.

I was like, “Oh, my next level of growth is to feel exposed and to feel embarrassed and to allow myself to be seen and known in that imperfect version of myself, the version that needs help.”

And then also, just learning to utilize, and see the people that are in this group with me, as a valuable resource. Sort of like what Andrea was saying. It’s like, I didn’t really think I could benefit either. I was happy to contribute, but I didn’t think I was going to get a lot in return. But the only way that that’s true is if you don’t engage in the process.

If you talk to people, then you will learn from them. And they will share different perspectives with you, and it will be super beneficial. But you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and exposed. And for me, that was really life changing work, if I’m being really honest. I think it was this ancillary benefit that came from joining a group program.

But I think that is where my true growth was. Of learning how to stop being such perfectionist and needing to have everything figured out, and allowing myself to be as much of a student as I like to be an expert.

Priyanka: I feel I was like shaking my head so much as Olivia was talking. Because I think, particularly as in my physician life, I always had the mindset of, I need to have all the answers. And it was just a part of my identity, was being someone that always had the answers. If you come to me with a problem, I will give you an answer. And it should be the right answer. It should be the best answer. It should be an answer that changes your life.

I think the biggest transformation for me, and what I’ve had to contend with coming into a group, is I am coming into this group container not having all the answers. That’s actually why I’m putting myself in these containers. Because I want to grow past the answers I have already come up with. If I had solved my problem, I would have already solved it. So, I’m putting myself in a container saying, “I don’t have certain answers. Being in this group is going to push me to figure out those answers.”

And I think the vulnerable part for me was knowing that I’m asking for help. There was a part of me that felt like I’m supposed to have figured this out by myself. Especially, again, high-achieving professionals. This was, again, my identity for so, so long. That asking for help is kind of weak. Does it mean you’re kind of lazy? You should have figured this out. Maybe you’re just not disciplined, that you didn’t figure this out.

And the idea of asking for “help,” I think implied, in my mind, that I hadn’t figured something out that everybody else had. So, that’s what felt vulnerable for me. I didn’t mind sharing my story. I didn’t mind sharing even the mistakes that I had made. But when it was like, wait, I’m saying that I don’t know the answer to something? That would strike a chord. And as an entrepreneur, I have not known the answer from day one. Because I’ve never been an entrepreneur before, before starting this business.

So, for me, my vulnerability was saying, “I do not know the answer.” But also knowing, this is an opportunity to go figure it out. I think that that’s kind of what helped me bridge my gap. That putting myself here is going to help me figure it out, which was so helpful for me.

Laura: Yeah, I think that our whole culture is set up like that. Like, can you lose weight on your own? Maybe. Can you build your business on your own? Maybe. Can you become less stressed as a lawyer? Maybe. I don’t know.

I mean, I had tried it by myself, the weight loss thing, 72 different times, literally. And I still had this voice in the back of my head, “Yo, you could do it on your own. You can do it on your own. You could do it on your own.” It wasn’t until I put myself in a group that I actually did it, once and for all, nail in a coffin.

And I don’t know where we think we’re getting this badge of honor that we can do it on our own, or we should be able to do it on our own. Okay, for me, I actually love groups. So, it’s like, whether you love a group or not, it doesn’t really matter. I mean, that’s kind of just an added bonus, I guess, if you love groups. Because you should obviously just put yourself in a group, if you want to achieve anything.

Maybe you do have a goal, and maybe you can do it on your own, but what about this idea of making it easy? It’s so much easier. And that’s another badge of honor, I think that we want to wear. Like, “I do it on my own, I get a badge of honor. And it’s really hard, so then I get a badge of honor.” And I’m like, “What about the badge of honor of putting yourself in a group, asking for help, and making it easy?”

Because when you put yourself in a group, it’s so much easier to achieve your goal. So, for me now, it’s like, “Okay, yeah, maybe I can do it on my own. I’m not really exactly sure. But let’s even give it to me; Okay, I could do it on my own. Why would I want to do it on my own? It’s going to be harder; I want it to be easier. And for me, it’s going to be way more fun, and that’s all I’m about, if I do it in a group.”

To your point, Priyanka, it’s like, yeah, we could do it on our own. Yeah, maybe we should know all the answers, but we don’t. We’re literally human beings, we are designed to do life together. Like literally, we are tribal freaking species here. We are. It’s our biology. Okay. Olivia talk.

Olivia: I think one of the other reasons… My brain, I get so logical. I’m like, “Okay, but why does it happen faster or easier in a group?” And one of the transformations for me, number one, I am not a hand raiser. So, there are things, even if I was working with someone one-on-one, that I might not feel comfortable bringing up, okay?

Two, like Priyanka said… What I mean by that, is someone else might bring it up, and you’re like, “Oh, my God. Thank God, you asked that question. Because I’m too embarrassed to ask the question, but I’m so glad you did.” And then you learn from that, because someone else is maybe a little bit more brave than you.

Or people bring stuff up that you don’t even realize is a struggle for you, and you’re like, “Oh, I would have never thought to bring that up.” It would have never come out of a one-on-one coaching container because you didn’t realize that that struck a chord or resonated with you.

But I think the thing that was most transformational for me, I would say my first group experience. It was with the Life Coach School, with Self-Coaching Scholars and being on those calls. And I never, ever, ever raised my hand, and I would just listen to other people get coached. I see this with my clients as well, it’s why I’m such an advocate of group coaching now.

Because you don’t have the ‘can’t see the forest through the trees perspective,’ when it’s someone else’s issue. If you’re dealing with the same or a similar thing, but someone else is working through it and getting coached on it, the answer and the path forward is so abundantly clear. It’s like, “Oh, my God, this is so obvious. You just do that. You just think this way. That’s a thought, and that’s the circumstance. This is where you’re going wrong.” And you’re just like, “Duh, don’t you get it?”

And then you have this little breakthrough moment where you’re like, “Shit, if that’s true for them, that’s probably true for me too.” And then it clicks. And I think you just start to… One of the things that I teach my clients to do is use other people as examples.

What do other people get upset about? What do other people get hurt about? What do other people get overwhelmed about? And to watch their thinking around it so you can see they’re causing this experience for themselves. That’s just such a takeaway that I got from being in a group program. And I think I learned those lessons so much faster because I didn’t have the emotional tie to their situation. The A-ha’s happened so much more quickly.

Laura: It’s so much faster because you’re not in it. When you do get coached, you oftentimes, this is me at least, I have to go I can watch it because sometimes I just blackout, so to speak. So yeah, when you’re watching someone else get coached, you’re not in the blackout space. You’re in a space of total reception. You can receive all the goodness.

And to your point, Olivia, too, I think, yeah, you might be struggling with something, you might not be able to articulate it, and you might struggle with that thing for a week or a month, and you don’t even know that struggle is on the horizon. But then all of a sudden, you have the answer to that struggle, when you find yourself in it in a week.

So, I think it’s cool. It’s almost preventative in a way, too.

Andrea: Totally preventative. I hear my clients say that all the time. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh, this coaching call was so great. I don’t have to make that mistake now. Because I heard about… I didn’t even know that was coming, but now I don’t have to make that mistake. Totally preventative. I love that.

Priyanka: Yeah, there were two things that I’ve noticed come up in my groups. One is, I’ve had so many times, a client will separately message me and say, “If you had changed the time and the place of what that person got coached on, that was me. And I had no idea that that was a struggle that I was having.” A lot of what I coach on is working mom life. So, like, relationships and work life; time, productivity, and connection with your partner, with your kids.

And there are certain times that I think people feel, I think it’s a vulnerability in sharing a perceived weakness, whether it’s in their relationship, or maybe at work. And when they hear somebody else get coached on their marriage, on their kids, on their time, or on their productivity, they feel not only seen and heard, but they really feel like they just got an answer to something that they didn’t know was a problem.

Like, “Wait a second. Oh, I have been feeling so disconnected.” That’s what that is. When they hear somebody else being coached, kind of to your point Laura, they are able to receive the coaching because they’re not the one being coached. They’re able to observe it so much more clearly.

They’re like, “Oh, that’s what that feeling has been for me. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Oh, I’ve been feeling so disconnected from my partner. I’ve been feeling so stressed at work.” And all of a sudden, they’re able to take the coaching that somebody else gets, and change the time and the place, and they can absolutely apply it to their life. Which has been so, so, so, huge.

Laura: So good. I want to know, we’ve talked a lot about ourselves, we’ve talked about our clients to a lot. But do you guys have any fun stories from your clients of how they’ve changed by being in a group? Or what have you seen, the impact of the group dynamic on your clients specifically. Because clearly, we are benefiting from it.

Olivia: Yeah, I think two big takeaways: Number one, with my clients there’s a sense of isolation. Even if you’re not a solo attorney, and you work in a firm, or you work for a corporation, as in-house attorney, you’re really stuck in this ‘keeping up appearances’ space. And you are never really able to be fully vulnerable and talk to people about what you’re struggling with.

That was definitely my experience when I practiced law, as well. I felt very isolated. So, I think number one, just having a sense of belonging and support, and being able to be honest and open. That is a game changer for people on your isolation levels, your connectedness, and how you feel going through your career.

I think the other thing that my people struggle with so significantly, they think they are unicorns. And they have so much shame around struggling with the things that they struggle with. They think it’s only them, they’re the only ones with these problems. And when I work with people one-on-one, I would say over and over again, till I’m blue in the face…

I coach on this literally every day, multiple times a day. I talk to people about procrastination. I talk to people about people pleasing. I talk to people about perfectionism. This is my mainstay of the coaching that I do. Everyone that I work with struggles with this stuff, but they don’t see it themselves. So, I think they think that I’m just blowing smoke up their ass; I’m not. But I think that’s how they take it.

And then they hear other people actually struggle with it when they’re in a group setting, and it creates the sense of, not normal, because I don’t really believe in there being a “normal” thing. But that there’s something not abnormal about them also, like they’re not a unicorn.

They struggle with the same things everyone else struggles with. It’s very common. There’s no reason to be ashamed. And most of what my people, and I think this is true for all of us, the reason they’re struggling with something is because they’ve never learned it before.

Laura: Exactly.

Priyanka: Absolutely.

Andrea: Totally.

Olivia: And my people have so much shame, they think they should have known it or learned it before. And I’m like, “You wouldn’t expect to know Spanish if you had never been taught Spanish. And you wouldn’t expect to know calculus if no one had taught you calculus.” So much of what I teach, whether it’s emotional management or time management, goal setting and achievement, all of that stuff, setting boundaries. If you’ve never been taught it, you’re not going to know how to do it.

So, you want to put yourself in a room where other people just like you also haven’t learned it, and you get to learn it together as quickly as possible.

Laura: Yeah, I feel like this question should bring us home and wrap up our episode. So, let’s definitely hear from Andrea, she was going to talk about it too.

Andrea: Yeah, I think for my clients, community, being in a group, they literally share resources. This is something I see all the time, is people not reinventing the wheel. So, I coach on business, and specifically, people come to me because I’m not on social media.

A lot of people are drawn to that, on building a business without being on social media. So, my community tends to be kind of the anti-establishment. These are my people. I love it for lots of different reasons.

So, inside of that community, just having people with shared values and shared ideas and goals, like we’ve already talked about; huge. But just pragmatically sharing resources. Like, how do you actually do this? Who do you work with for SEO? I had someone…

Oh, my gosh, just the most amazing conversation recently in our group around collecting testimonials. And she’s like, “Oh, I have a great process for getting video testimonials for my clients. I’ll share it with you.” And it’s like this huge google doc of exactly how it goes.

Things like that. That’s like, “Yes, we don’t have to all be by ourselves, figuring things out on our own. Laura, like you said, there’s no badge of honor in figuring it out.” Of course, you can figure out how to get testimonials. And you can take years and years to get your process. But having somebody be tried and true, here you go. So great.

So, sharing resources, huge win for the community, for my people. And I have experienced that. I know we’ve all experienced that. We love that. So, that’s a big one. And then, kind of like Olivia said, I think just normalizing the ups and downs of whatever goal we’re working towards. So, for us, it’s business.

Whether it’s health goals, relationship goals, personal goals, or whatever it is, when you’re surrounded by people that are invested in personal development; they’re reading books about personal development, they’re interested. There’s just a different conversation that’s going to be taking place in that group.

Of course, it’s facilitated by a coach. Hopefully, they’re going to have their own tools and their own frameworks, like we all do, which is really helpful too. But just being around people that are asking different questions, than maybe in the rest of our life and the rest of our relationships. That’s just a goldmine, for sure.

Laura: Oh, it’s so true. I remember going on a girls trip with a new kind of group of friends about a year ago, and I remember coming home feeling like really let down, I admit it. Because the conversations just were not dynamic. And for my besties, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about another trip.

Priyanka: It’s not you, it’s them.

Laura: Yeah, but I remember feeling really let down, just because the conversations were not dynamic. They didn’t light me up like these ones do. So, I think that’s so cool. Priyanka.

Priyanka: I think for me, putting myself into a group, what I’m really seeing for my clients, and what I really want for the universe of humans, is being willing to get shit wrong all the time and not quitting. I, again, because of what I was saying to you guys before, I’ve always kind of prided myself on having the right answer, knowing the right thing, not needing help.

And the biggest pivot I’ve had to make, both in reaching my ideal weight and in really becoming an entrepreneur after being a physician, is the willingness. The willingness to just get it wrong all the time. And a concept that I teach is leveraging mistakes. So, how can you be so willing to get it wrong and so willing to keep going, and then leverage every single mistake you’ve ever made?

If you don’t ever quit, and you leveraged every single mistake, do you know how far you would get? It’s like, your goal is inevitably done. Like, done and done. So, I think it’s that piece. I am so much more willing now… I mean, I still hate getting stuff wrong, let me be totally honest. I hate getting stuff wrong. I hate when I mess up. I hate it.

Laura: What are you making it mean about you though, Priyanka?

Priyanka: We’re human, but I think, again, what if that might be my tendency forever, to hate making mistakes? And also, I hate my mistakes, but I’m just willing to do it. I’m so willing to do it and leverage it and put myself out there and be embarrassed, feel like crap, and then solve the problem. I would rather solve the problem and be embarrassed than not solve the problem and just sit in my quiet bubble and live with the undesired result.

Laura: That’s so good because it’s you’re making it. And when you, whoever’s listening, Priyanka, Olivia, Andrea, our audiences, whatever, but when you put yourself in these containers and these rooms, in these groups, it’s like you’re making it almost impossible to quit. Which is so valuable. So valuable.

And so, for me, with my clients, I think one of the thoughts that they have, and they continually say over and over again is, “If she can do it, so can I. If she can do it, so can I.” And they’re constantly like passing the torch back and forth, I swear to God. Especially with weight loss. Because I’m always teaching it’s two steps forward, one step back. Or three steps forward, seven steps back, whatever, right?

But there’s always somebody that’s holding the torch, right? And it just this dynamic, cool thing of, again, holding the vision and believing in each other. So, it just doesn’t get dropped and you can’t quit. That’s what I would have to say, in terms of just how impactful…

I’ve even said to clients… Because I’ll get clients sometimes, they’ll be like, “Please work with me one-on-one, please.” And I’ve even said, “I don’t know if this is forever. Maybe I’ll do one-on-ones later in life,” or whatever. But right now, for me, it feels a bit out of integrity for me, with weight loss, just because of the results that I’ve seen. So, I’m so committed to the groups because of that.

I feel like this really brings us home. Why don’t we go around and tell the audiences how they can find all of us. Because they probably became obsessed with all of us, and they want to stalk us now. So, Olivia, tell us how we can find you.

Olivia: Yeah, you can find me I’m on LinkedIn and Instagram. LinkedIn, under my name, Olivia Vizachero. Instagram, under the handle The Less Stressed Lawyer. That’s also the name of my podcast and the name of my website. The Less Stressed Lawyer.com

Laura: So good. Andrea.

Andrea: Love it. Okay, I’m Andrea Nordling. You cannot find me on social media. I’m hidden from everyone. No, actually, this late breaking news: New LinkedIn profile has been created. I know. I know. By the time this episode goes live, I’ll get my shit together, and you’ll be able to find The Profitable Nutritionist™ on LinkedIn. The Profitable Nutritionist podcast. TheProfitableNutritionist.com.

Laura: Love it. Priyanka.

Priyanka: Oh, good. So, I am The Unstoppable Mom Brain everywhere on the internet. That’s my website, TheUnstoppableMomBrain.com. It’s my podcast. And it is exactly what I go by on Instagram. So, The Unstoppable Mom Brain, all over the place.

Laura: Oh, that’s so good. So easy. Okay. And I am Laura Conley. You guys can find me at LauraConley.com or LauraConleyCoaching on Instagram. My podcast is the Yummy Mummy Podcast with Laura Conley. That does it. Does anybody have any last things they want to say? It was totally fun.

Olivia: I have one thing I want to add. I think the theme, that I noticed from most of us at least, is you really needed to put yourself in a group program to figure out how exactly it’s valuable for you. Trust that it will be valuable. But it’s going to be one of those things that you’re not exactly going to know how it’s going to change your life until you’re in it.

And if you tend to be a hesitator; I’m not, I’m pretty impulsive. I’ll just make a quick decision and go for it. I think Andrea is probably pretty decisive, just from what I know about her, too. But if you find yourself hesitating, I just really want to encourage you to listen to the four of us. We’ve all had such extremely positive experiences from going through group programs.

Take, if you feel like it’s a risk, take the risk and just invest. You’re going to get so much out of it, but you have to go through it in order to learn that.

Andrea: It’s so true, too. It’s going to be the mystery. It’s the mystery present in that you don’t know what you’re going to open at the end. I know that I’m going to do this, and I don’t know what my prize is going to be at the end. But I’m going to learn something about myself and get something really great out of this. I don’t even know what it is, yet.

Priyanka: I also think, just one last thing, that high achievers love the feeling of certainty. And I think sometimes the reason we hesitate specifically, if it’s foreign investment, like financial investment, if you’re not used to investing in yourself, is you’re waiting to feel certain.

And I think the biggest, most bitter pill I had to swallow was, you can’t actually have certainty. I know all humans want it. High achievers want it. But what would it look like if you felt certain in yourself? Knowing that you are going to figure out how to get your ROI, in whichever group you put yourself. That’s what you get to control. You don’t actually get to control anything else.

I’m curious, do you guys feel like you hesitate when you feel uncertain? When we’re trying to feel certain, that’s why we hesitate. What if you just didn’t worry about feeling uncertain? Just take action.

Laura: Yeah, it’s totally just a part of life. Yeah. No such thing as certainty anyways. All right, you guys that does it.

All right, my friends. I hope you enjoyed that fun, little behind-the-scenes chat between me and my friends, Laura, Andrea, and Priyanka. I hope you learned a little bit more about what it’s like to be in a group coaching program.

If you are listening to this, and you’ve been wanting to work with me, and you’ve been curious about joining The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind; you’ve been intrigued by it, you’ve been curious about it, you’ve been interested, and you’ve been on the fence. Now is the time to get out of your own way to notice that desire to feel certain. To recognize, like Priyanka said, that certainty isn’t guaranteed.

You’re not going to feel that way, you’re going to have to do it 90% excited and confident that it’s the right fit for you. And that just that 10%, 20% uncertain, because you’ve never done it before. And that’s normal. So, if you’ve been on the fence and you’ve been thinking about joining, enrollment is getting ready to reopen on June 19.

Make sure you go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind, and apply as soon as doors open on June 19. I can’t wait to have you in the next round. It is definitely the program for you if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you love what you hear, and you’ve been learning a lot just by listening. I promise you, there’s so much more that you’re not getting from the podcast that you will get when you’re inside that group program.

You also don’t get all those extra benefits from being in a group when you’re just in consumption mode all by yourself, listening through the other end of the speakers. You miss out on that community. You miss out on learning from your peers. You miss out on that support. You miss out on that accountability. So, make sure you take advantage of being in a group program where you get all of those benefits. All right?

Like I said, enrollment opens on June 19. It’s going to be your last chance to join the August 2023 Mastermind class. So, don’t sleep on it. Make sure you go apply. I can’t wait to see you in August, in Big Sky, Montana, where the four of us all just got back from visiting. So, you’ll get to experience what we just experienced. And let me tell you, it is absolutely incredible. It’s going to blow your mind.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. Next week, we will pick back up with the Money Mindset series. And until then, 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.

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Episode 63: Overspending

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Overspending

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Overspending

Last week, we discussed how to get a clearer understanding of your current thoughts about money, and some new thoughts you can try on instead. This week, we’re taking this topic a step further and discussing one of the biggest problems I see when it comes to money: overspending.

Overspending looks different for everyone. You might be spending more money than you have, or you might be spending more than you intend. Either way, overspending outside of the parameters you’ve set for yourself is driven by your thoughts, and in this episode, I’m showing you how to get clear on where you’re overspending, so you can ultimately stop doing it.

Tune in this week to discover how you’re overspending, and how that’s impacting your ability to create the results you want when it comes to money. I’m showing you how to get honest and specific with yourself, so you can start addressing the root causes of your overspending before it gets out of hand.

I have a bunch of events coming up. The next one is called How to Get Organized happening on June 23rd 2023. To register for any of my upcoming events, click here!

You will have one more chance to join my mastermind. Click here to sign up for the waitlist and be sure to tune in next week to get all the details!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why overspending is a consequence of the thoughts you’re thinking about money.
  • The subjective and objective aspects of calculating your overspending.
  • How to decide what constitutes overspending to you specifically.
  • 2 common reasons why people overspend.
  • How to get clear on the thoughts and emotions that are causing your overspending.
  • What you can do to address the thoughts and feelings that are driving your spending.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 63. Today, we’re talking all about overspending. You ready? Let’s go.

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

Well, hello there. How are you? I am marvelous. I just got back from Big Sky. I don’t know if I told you guys that in the last episode, that I was getting ready to head there. But I did, I went out there for sort of like a reconnaissance mission to plan the upcoming live event for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind that’s going to take place in August.

I ended up bringing a couple of my girlfriends with me. We’re all entrepreneurs, so we sort of made a working retreat out of the weekend. And got to relax and enjoy each other’s company, but also really brainstorm about our businesses, bounce ideas off of each other, and just learn from one another. It was just so incredible.

I think people see me, and they know I’m a little glam, so they tend to underestimate that I love the outdoors as much as I do. But I cannot begin to tell you how breathtaking Big Sky was. It was incredible being there. The weather was really nice. Little drizzly, but it was still very charming.

But more than anything, I cannot wait to be there this summer when it’s fully gorgeous and warm, and everything is fully in bloom. And all the snow, there were a couple spots with some snow left on the ground, so all the snow will be gone. It will just be full-on gorgeous summertime nature in Montana. There’s going to be nothing like it.

So, if you’re going to be there with me, you are going to get to soak up all of the Mother Nature goodness right alongside me, along with the learning and the community. That’s really the neat thing about these live events that I do. Is that you get to be there with everyone, in person, and you get to bond and brainstorm and bounce ideas off of them, just like I did with my girlfriends this week.

I think the thing that is still blowing me away, now that I’ve been home for a day, it’s just how many trees there are. I live in Michigan and northern Michigan has a ton of greenery. We get the colors changing through the seasons here, and that’s really beautiful. But man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many trees as I saw in Montana. And there’s just something about it that is so grounding and calm.

And it just warms me up, that there are still places that are so untouched and haven’t been modernized or haven’t been industrialized. I just think that’s really beautiful, that we have the opportunity to go and enjoy places like that in the US. We don’t have to travel that far to see something so beautiful.

I’m excited to introduce some other people to that, as well. If you haven’t been to Montana before, if you haven’t been to Big Sky, then you’ll get the chance when you’re inside the next round of the mastermind. Fun fact, you will actually have one more chance to enroll coming up. And I’ll share more about that in the next episode.

But I just want to put that on your radar. If you watched enrollment close for the last round of enrollment, and you were like, “Oh, I wish I would have joined, and I didn’t join, and I kind of got in my own way, and didn’t move forward and say yes and apply,” and now you’re kind of kicking yourself.

Especially if you follow me on social media and you saw all of the amazing behind-the-scenes moments from my trip to Big Sky, and you’re like, “Man, I want to be there, in person, with Olivia. For the learning, but also just to soak up Montana in all of its majesty.”

Then you’re going to have one more chance to do that in the next couple of weeks. So, stay tuned for that. Make sure you’re on my email list. You can go to Mastermind.TheLessStressedLawyer.com and sign up for the wait-list. Just to make sure that you get all the details as soon as I roll those out. All right?

Okay, so with all of that being said, little life update from me. We’re going to continue talking about the Money Mindset Series that I started in the last episode. So, in the last episode, we talked all about your thoughts about money. And if you followed the prompts in that episode, you should have a much clearer understanding of what you’re currently thinking about money.

I also gave you a lot of different new thoughts to think about money, instead. So, you can start to try some of those thoughts on. Play with them. See which ones resonate with you. See which ones maybe you need to spend a little bit more time working on. But you should be starting to create some new neural pathways when it comes to thinking about money.

I also explained the importance of mindset, in the last episode. And remember, the reason mindset is so important, is because our thoughts about money create the results that we have when it comes to money. Our thoughts always create our results. Because our thoughts cause our feelings, our feelings drive our actions, and our actions produce the results that we have.

So, that’s true in any area of our lives; when it comes to managing your time, when it comes to setting boundaries, when it comes to working less, when it comes to how you act with money. Whether it’s how you make money, how you spend money, how you save money, all of those things. It’s caused by our thinking. The results that we have are directly caused by the thoughts that we think about money.

You are starting to see the importance of cultivating a positive money mindset. If you’re thinking negative thoughts about money, and your relationship with money and how you steward money and what’s possible for you, as far as money is concerned, you’re going to have a lot of negative results in your life when it comes to money. You can see the importance of cultivating that more positive mindset, so we can cultivate more positive results when it comes to money.

Now in this episode, and the next episode, I want to talk about two of the main actions that I see people indulge in as it relates to money. Neither of which serve them. Now, remember, these actions are caused by your thinking. So, if you’re thinking negative thoughts, you’re going to feel negative feelings, and it’s going to drive you to take negative action. This is still a thought problem. All right?

You’ve probably heard me say this before on the podcast, but there are really only ever three problems that you encounter: a negative thought you’re thinking, a negative emotion that you’re avoiding or reacting to, and intentional actions that you’re not taking.

So, the only three solutions are ever; to change your thoughts, to allow yourself to experience the negative emotions, the discomfort, and to take the intentional actions that you haven’t been taking. Those are always the three solutions.

Two of the negative actions that I see people engage in when it comes to money are overspending and underearning. In this episode, we’re going to focus on overspending. And then in the next episode, I’m going to talk all about underearning; the ways we do it, why we do it, and what you need to think and do in order to stop under earning.

When it comes to overspending, first things first, we want to know what kind of behavior we’re actually talking about here. Now, overspending is both subjective and objective. And here’s what I mean by that. What constitutes overspending to one person, may not count as overspending to another person. So, overspending is going to be subjective.

Overspending doesn’t just have to do with how expensive something is. You decide what constitutes overspending to you. I might spend money on something, and you might think that that’s a ridiculous expenditure. That doesn’t mean that I’m overspending. I’m just spending more than you are on something.

What makes it overspending, is whether I’m spending more than I want to spend, or whether I’m spending more than I planned to spend on something. So, it’s going to be subjective to me. I get to decide what constitutes overspending for me.

Now, the objective standard is whether or not I surpassed whatever I’ve decided upon. Okay? So, that part is measurable, and it’s going to be objective. If I said, “Oh, I’m only going to spend 20% of my income on my housing expenses.” And I ended up spending 40%, then I’m overspending, right? That’s objective, that I’m surpassing the limit that I set for myself.

The amount, let’s say it’s $3,000 a month that I’m willing to spend either on my mortgage payment, or my rent payment. And for some people that might seem like crazy high. For some people, that might seem like small potatoes, right? That’s where that subjective piece comes in. So, I might say, “I don’t want to spend more than $3,000,” and I end up spending five, then I’m overspending. That’s objective, I’m spending more than what I set.

But the fact that I decided that three was my limit, not five, that part’s subjective to me. That’s a decision that I make unilaterally, there is no right answer on the amount to spend on living expenses. Okay? Same thing with hotels. I love to splurge on a hotel.

So, what I’m willing to spend might not be what you’re willing to spend on a hotel. That’s okay, that doesn’t mean that I’m overspending if I’ve planned to spend as much as I’m choosing to spend. What would be overspending, is if I budgeted a certain amount for hotels throughout the month or throughout the year, and then I ended up spending three times that. Okay?

I want you to think about that. I want you to give some thought to what overspending means to you. How do you define that? Like I’m always teaching you on the podcast, you always want to define “enough”. What’s enough money? What’s enough spending? You want to know what your answer to those questions are, so you can measure whether or not you’re operating within the parameters that you’re setting for yourself.

And if you’re operating outside of those parameters, then you’re probably overspending. Now, I do think it’s important to understand that subjective and objective piece of overspending. But brass-tacks, end of the day, as simple as I can explain it to you, overspending just means you’re spending more than you intentionally planned to spend or would like to spend. All right?

And it’s going to look like this. It will either look like you spending more than you want to spend, but you actually have the money. Okay? Or it’s going to look like you spending more than you actually have; aka living outside of your means. So, check in with yourself.

If you’re guilty of overspending, which camp are you falling into? Do you have the money, but you’re just spending more in certain areas than you’d like to be? And you’d like to reallocate how you’re spending? Maybe you’re splurging on things, and you’d like to put that money into savings.

Or you’re living outside of your means. And if you are, the solutions to create the results that you want to create when it comes to money, are probably going to be slightly different. So, you just want to be aware: What exactly does your overspending problem look like?

Now, let’s take an inventory. Real quick, let’s get clear, and be honest with ourselves here: How are you overspending right now? Let’s get very specific. Let’s identify all the ways that you’re doing this. And then, we’ll explore why you’re doing this.

The ways that I see people overspend, it can be broken down into two larger categories. And then, there are a bunch of specific habits that I see. So, let’s start with the two main categories. The two main categories: Number one, is you didn’t make any decision about how much to spend. So, you just keep operating on autopilot, on default, really unintentionally.

You’re spending money. You weren’t making any decisions about whether or not you should or should not be spending that; you’re just kind of living and flying by the seat of your pants. And you end up spending a lot more than you plan to, because you didn’t make any decisions ahead of time.

That’s one way that we end up overspending. You don’t make any decisions, you don’t budget, but you still spend more than you’d like to spend, if you had taken the time to make decisions about your spending.

The other way people overspend, more generally, is that they decide how much they’re going to spend on something, and then they feel restricted. And they end up rebelling against that feeling of restriction. And they overspend. They bucked the system, so to speak.

Now, whether you fall in the first camp or the second camp, in either category, what’s happening is your thinking thoughts, and then you’re experiencing negative feelings, and you’re avoiding or reacting to those negative emotions. All right? I’m going to give you some different examples of that in a second.

You want to be onto yourself here, though. Which camp do you mostly fall into; are you making a plan, or are you not making a plan? Based on which camp you fall into, we’re going to start to see different emotions arise. Are you feeling more restricted? Or are you trying to use money to solve other emotional issues? And that leads to that unintentional spending. Because you haven’t made a plan, and you just end up doing the thing that’s the most comfortable in the moment.

Speaking of budgets and feeling restricted, I want to give you an analogy here that really was so helpful for me. I used to think that budgets were so constricting and restrictive. And I had this breakthrough, because I used to think the same exact thing about time management and making a schedule and having to stick to it. That also felt very constricting and restrictive to me.

And what I realized is the reason that making a schedule for the day used to feel constricting and restrictive, was that I was trying to fit more than 24 hours into my schedule. So, I didn’t have time to get to all of the things that I wanted to get to, because I wasn’t doing the math right.

When we’re arguing with how much of a time allowance we have to play with, we’re going to feel restricted. We’re going to feel disappointed that we’re not getting to more. And we’re going to try and buck the system and fit more things in than we actually have room, for based on the amount of time that we have.

And people make the same exact mistake when it comes to money. Let’s say you have $100,000 to spend, and you want to split it between five different things. Well, you can make it really easy, and all five things get $20,000. That’s one way to not feel restricted. You can divvy it up, and one category can get 40%, another one can get 30%, another one can get 20%. And I think that brings us to what, 90%. And then you’d have five and five leftover for the other two. So, that’s another way to do it.

But what I see people do is they want to fit $50,000 into each of the categories, even though they only have $100,000 to play with. Or they want to fit $30,000 into each one of the categories even though they have $100,000 to play with.

So, they’re spending more or budgeting more than what they actually have as an allowance to spend in each of these categories. And that’s why their budgets end up feeling restrictive. Because they don’t like the amount of the allowance that they have to play with in the beginning, from the get-go.

Same thing happens with time. So, if you don’t like the idea of budgeting, check in with yourself here. Is it because you’re wishing that you had more of an allowance to spend than what you do? A really good friend of mine said to me that, “You’re the one who makes the budget, it shouldn’t feel restrictive. Just make a budget that doesn’t feel restrictive.”

And it dawned on me the reason that I hadn’t liked making budgets in the past, and the reason why they did feel so restrictive, is because I always wanted to be playing with more money than I actually had. And when you’re doing that, you’re always going to set yourself up for disappointment and frustration, and you’re going to feel scarce and restricted and insufficient.

So, we want to get really clear on how much money we have to play with. And that’s the allowance that we’ve got to divvy up. We’ve got to, just like with time management, with money, we’ve got to make sure that the math works. That’s the only way that we’re going to prevent ourselves from overspending.

Now, like I said a moment ago, many people overspend because it’s an effective way to avoid negative emotions that they experience. Let me give you some examples of this. For instance, you may want something badly, even though you’re “trying to stick to your budget”. And that wanting, that feeling of deprivation, is really uncomfortable for you to experience. To just sit in, and to be with. To have it come along for the ride, so to speak.

So, instead of just experiencing it and allowing it to be there, what you end up doing is you avoid feeling that feeling by buying whatever it is that you want. Maybe you want to splurge on a first-class ticket, but it really doesn’t align with the budget that you’ve set for yourself, as far as your travel expenditures go this year.

Or you haven’t made a budget, but if you’re being really honest with yourself, and you checked in, you know in your gut, that you’re probably spending more than what it makes sense for you to spend, at this point in your life, at this point in your career, based on the income that you have coming in.

And yet, you buy the first-class ticket anyways. It’s because you feel restricted. You feel deprived. That discomfort, that FOMO, of wanting something that you’re telling yourself you can’t have, feels very uncomfortable. So, instead of just feeling that feeling, and allowing yourself to feel deprived, to feel disappointed, to feel frustrated, to feel restricted, you rebel, and you make the purchase, you make the expenditure.

A close cousin of these feelings, of deprivation and FOMO, is also the experience of feeling entitled. So, remember, there’s always a thought driving these feelings. With entitled, it’s going to look something like, “I deserve this. I’ve earned this. I should have this.” And then it’s going to trigger that negative emotion in you. And then you’re going to end up reacting to it ,and you’re going to spend the money in an unintentional manner.

So, you want to be onto yourself. Feeling entitled to something feels pretty good in the moment, but if you look at the action that you take from it, it’s rarely an emotion that serves us. I’ll actually go so far to say it probably never serves us, to feel entitled and to take action from that place. I think deserving is also akin to entitlement.

If you feel very deserving of something, pay attention to how that feels in your body and then look at the action very specifically, the action that you take when you’re feeling deserving. Is it intentional action? Is it action that aligns with the ultimate results that you want to create for yourself at the end of the day? Especially when it comes to how you spend money and the money that you have, and the money that you save, all of that.

Now, we don’t just experience feelings of deprivation, FOMO, entitlement, we also use spending money as a way to escape other negative emotions that we experience day in and day out. I see a ton of people use money and spending money as a way to avoid and escape feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

And in order to get out of those emotions temporarily, they distract themselves by making an expenditure. You might buy stuff off of social media. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but those targeted Instagram ads are just so spot on. So, it can be very tempting to just click on the ad and then go buy the thing.

You get a hit of dopamine; you get a little bit of excitement when you make the purchase. And then something gets delivered to your house. And you get to feel the same excitement all over again. So, it’s like killing two birds with one stone, when you’re making these expenditures.

You might be feeling frustrated that a deal didn’t work out the way that you wanted it to. Or you’re annoyed with the way opposing counsel has been acting in these deal negotiations. Or you’re frustrated with a client who won’t leave you alone and is really dissatisfied with how the case is going. And you keep having to have the same conversation over and over and over again. Or your boss keeps just burying you with work, and you’re feeling really pressured and behind and inadequate, like you can’t keep up.

A really easy way to escape these negative emotions is to buffer them away by spending money. Maybe it’s not Instagram ads, maybe it’s Amazon. You love to head on over to Amazon and hit that ‘Add to Cart’ button or the ‘Buy It Now’ button. Maybe you love going to Target, and you love just roaming the aisles and finding things that you really don’t need.

Or maybe you’re a little bit more like me, and you like to splurge on luxurious items. You’d like to live a little lavishly. Now, I’m not trying to shame anyone who likes to do that. I also love to live lavishly, and to splurge and to enjoy luxurious things. But you just want to make sure that you know and like your reasons for the spending decisions that you’re making. All right?

You want to make sure that those spending decisions are coming from a clean, intentional place. Not as a way to avoid other discomfort that you’re experiencing. I used to do this myself, when I worked in big law and I was really unsatisfied with my career, with what I was doing, with my future, as I saw it at that moment. I used to use vacations as a way to escape my dissatisfaction with my life.

I also would splurge on expensive meals. So, between spending money on plane tickets, or expensive hotels, or oysters galore or bottles of champagne or nice wine or bone-in rib-eyes, and all of those things. Those were how I used to splurge. Those were the ways that I would go to, in order to give myself some temporary gratification and excitement. And to temporarily escape all the negative emotions that I was experiencing day in and day out through work.

And in my personal life, I had some personal issues that I also needed to contend with. And it was a really easy way for me to escape some of the negative emotions that came up in my personal life, as well. Dissatisfaction with relationships that I was in, feeling frustrated, or out of control sometimes, because I literally can’t control other people. But that was news for me at the time.

And I was trying to control other people in my life, failing miserably at doing so. But because I was failing miserably at doing so, I was feeling a lot of frustration and disappointment and resentment. And I was using spending money as a way to escape those negative emotions, as well as all of the negative emotions that would come up for me at work.

So, as I list these items off, I want you to check in with yourself. What are you guilty of? Where do you overspend? And why do you overspend? Get very specific. The more specific you get, the better you’re going to be at remedying this behavior. At being able to identify it and interrupt the pattern.

Because what you should be starting to see is that your bank account ends up being a reflection of your habits. If you have a habit of seeking and giving yourself that instant gratification, your bank account is going to reflect that. Your credit card statements are going to reflect that. You’re going to be left at a deficit, quite literally. Okay?

So, check in with yourself. Where are you spending? One of the trends that I’m seeing a ton of is this indulgent spending on DoorDash, or Grubhub, or Uber Eats. It’s a really easy way to spend unintentionally. Or the subscription services that we love to subscribe to, and then we never pay any mind to them after we sign up for them.

But we sign up impulsively, and it feels good in the moment. It feels really productive and useful. And lo and behold, later, if we were to take a closer look, you’d be able to see ‘I did that impulsively. I did that, and I got that instant head of gratification. I was able to do that and temporarily escape some of the negative emotion that I was experiencing.’

Even with the delivery apps, just avoiding the emotion of feeling tired, or exhausted or bothered. It’s much more convenient to have something just delivered to your door. But when we do that, A, we end up spending a lot of money that we don’t realize what we’re spending. And you can just feel a little bothered and go pick it up, or cook dinner, right?

If you’re feeling pressured or scarce on time, you’re going to have to allow those emotions to be there, instead of react to them or avoid them by ordering the delivery item. Now, again, this is not to villainize and say that there’s one right way to spend money. And then there are other wrong ways to spend money. This is truly subjective.

You have to decide what you’re okay with and what you’re not okay with. And your answers are going to be different from another person’s answers. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s completely okay. But you want to know for yourself, where are you spending money? How are you spending it? And do you like your reasons for spending it?

Are you using it intentionally or are you spending money as a way to avoid a lot of the discomfort that comes up for you? Both in just feeling restricted, or in all of the other negative emotions that I mentioned earlier; that can come from your work life, your personal life, all of the above.

Now, the way to gain the most clarity here is for you to not just list out the ways in which you overspend. But also, to make a list of the negative emotions that you experience, that drive you to overspend. The negative emotions that you end up avoiding through your overspending.

Go ahead and list them out. What feelings drive you to spend money in a way that is misaligned with the results you want to create in your life around money? And then when you get clear on those emotions… Remember, if you struggle to articulate the one-word emotions that you experience, head on over to the Google and just type in “feelings wheel” and start to look at one, and see if any individual feelings jump out at you. Okay?

And cultivate that list of emotions that you experience, that you end up avoiding through your overspending. And then, take a look at the thoughts that you think that cause you to feel those feelings. That is the way to create the most awareness here, to really address your overspending habit at the root.

As you do this, very quickly, you’re going to see that your thoughts don’t serve you. That there are negative feelings that you’re currently avoiding. And those are the exact emotions that you’re going to have to be willing to embrace, in order to address your overspending problem. Now, if you’re having trouble figuring out the negative thoughts and feelings that drive you to overspend, I want you to complete a model, okay?

And remember, the model is basically like an equation for your life. It has five different variables, five different components: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, Results. We’ll start by plugging in a life situation that you’re dealing with. Maybe it’s life generally, maybe it’s something that you’re dealing with at work, your job. Any situation that you have some emotion around right now.

So, put that in the Circumstance line. And then ask yourself: What am I thinking about that? You’ll identify the thought. And then when you see that thought, ask yourself: What emotion do I feel? What’s the one-word feeling that I experience when I think this thought? And it’s going to be a negative thought and a negative feeling, all right?

When you’re thinking this negative thought and you’re feeling this negative feeling, you will be able to see how, in your action line, you’re avoid feeling that emotion ,or reacting to experiencing that emotion. And then the action that you take is that you overspend instead. And it will produce the current results that you have in your life when it comes to money; your bank balance, your credit card balances, the amount you have in savings, all of that.

It should start to make very apparent sense to you why you have the results that you currently have. So often, I watch people say to themselves, “I should be somewhere different than here. I should be further ahead. I shouldn’t have these results.” But then I always look at their action line. Then I check in and see the thoughts and the feelings driving that action. And it makes perfect sense.

They’re thinking a negative thought, they’re feeling a negative feeling, and they’re taking negative unintentional action, like overspending, and it’s producing the negative results that they have. It all matches perfectly. In fact, they should have exactly the results that they do have, when it comes to money. Based on the thoughts that are thinking, the feelings that they’re avoiding, and the actions that they’re not taking. Right? It all makes perfect sense.

Same thing, if you’re thinking about the Circumstance, not spending money on something. So, if the Circumstance was to not buy X, Y, or Z. Maybe you want a new car, but it doesn’t make sense for your current financial state. So, the Circumstance would be: Don’t buy the Tesla. And you’re thinking, “But dammit, I really want a Tesla.” So, you’re feeling deprived.

Or you’re thinking the thought, “Oh, man, I work so hard. I deserve a Tesla,” and you’re feeling very entitled. So, what do we end up doing when we’re thinking these thoughts or feeling these feelings? You’re feeling deprived or entitled, or that sense of FOMO, like you’re missing out, you end up avoiding those emotions and you end up spending the money. You end up buying the Tesla.

Or buying the handbag or splurging on the dinner or splurging on the hotel or going on vacation, when you can’t really afford it. Whatever the case, may be, you end up buying the thing. And then you have the exact result that you end up having, right? Your current bank balance, your current credit card balance, your current results with money.

I want you to work through these models yourself, so you can start to see, does this thought serve me when I think it? How do I feel? And when I feel that way, how do I act? And what result does it produce? If it produces a negative result, it’s not a result that you like, then that thought doesn’t serve you and we’ve got to change it.

The solution here, to overspending, is threefold. Number one, you’ve got to change the way that you think. You’ve got to change the way that you think about money generally, which we talked about in the last episode. But you also have to change the way that you think about your life, about work, or the situations that you have a lot of negative thoughts and feelings about.

You’ve got to change that type of thinking, so you’re not putting yourself in that avoidant, escapist, buffering pattern. You also have to change your thoughts about not spending the money. Because if you keep creating a situation where you’re making yourself feel deprived, over, and over and over again, it’s going to be so much harder to curb your spending, when you’re dealing with all of that discomfort.

The truth of the matter is, remember this, I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a million times, I’ll say it again: There’s always discomfort both ways. So, there’s going to be discomfort in spending the money, and there’s going to be discomfort in not spending the money. Only one of the two routes gets you closer to the life you ultimately want to have.

And I always suggest you embrace the discomfort that gets you closer to that life that you desire. So, you’ve got to change your thoughts. And then you’ve got to embrace the discomfort that comes up for you. So, sometimes some of our negative thoughts are going to be sticky. And they’re going to linger, which means the discomfort that comes from thinking those thoughts is also going to linger.

You need to become better practiced at experiencing that discomfort, rather than trying to escape it through overspending. Like I said earlier, you want to list out those negative emotions. And you’re going to have to make a deal with yourself. You’re going to have to say, “I’m willing to feel these feelings, in order to produce the results I want, when it comes to money. In order to not overspend, I’m going to be willing to experience these negative emotions.”

And then lastly, the third solution is to take the intentional action that you need to take, to produce the intentional results you want to have. Now, there are a lot of different actions that you can take, in order to produce the intentional results you want to have. Instead of me giving you a long list and overwhelming you, I want you to brainstorm for yourself.

Start by asking yourself: What results would you like to create for yourself when it comes to money and having more of it? How would you like to spend your money? What would you like your spending habits to be? Let’s get really clear on that. And then when you do get clear on that, you’ll be able to start to see the types of changes that you would need to make, in order to create that result when it comes to your spending. Okay?

And now, remember also, that this is a practice, okay? Overspending, you’re not going to go from being bad at overspending to being amazing at it overnight. And that’s okay. You’re not going to be perfect at this, at first. This is a practice. So, you want to commit to getting a little bit better at this, day in and day out over time.

If you make that commitment to yourself, just like I tell you guys to do with time management, you’re going to make consistent 1% improvements, and it’s going to make a world of a difference over time. Now, I said I wasn’t going to give you a full list, but I will give you a couple of things that I do for myself.

Number one, making decisions ahead of time when it comes to my spending is very, very helpful. It keeps me from making indulgent decisions in the moment. So, are there certain things that I don’t buy? Are there certain things that I don’t spend on? Can I have a 24-hour rule in order to get myself out of that instant gratification cycle?

I like to do that and just add things to my cart. And if I want to come back the next day and buy it, by all means, I can. I basically never want to. I get hyped up in the moment, I get excited to buy something, and if I just give myself a day, the impulse passes.

Speaking of impulses, another thing that I do, just knowing myself, I love to hide money from myself. So, I set up automatic daily deductions from my checking account that just goes into a separate savings account, that’s not linked to my bank account in my bank. It’s through a separate service; I use Qapital. That’s with a “Q”; it’s an app.

They deduct certain amounts each day, I do the roundup feature on all of my expenditures, but I also have a certain amount taken out every day. You can set $1 a day, $5 a day, $20 a day, $50 a day, whatever makes sense for you. And then, that money gets taken out. I don’t have to do anything. It’s a way for me to hide money from myself, and just put it in a place that’s a little bit more remote. That really helps me.

I also like to practice constraint. I might only spend on certain things, at certain times, or I might only make purchases from certain places. A great example of this would be you only DoorDash twice a week, rather than every day. That’s a great way to make a decision ahead of time and practice constraint.

Or you always fly Comfort Plus instead of First Class if you want to curb your expenditures. That’s not a decision I make. I am hooked on First Class now, so I budget for it. I make a plan to factor that into my expenditures for the year, because I like to travel in that manner, and I give myself permission to do that. So, it’s not a way that I’m avoiding a negative emotion. I’m doing so intentionally, and I plan for it. I also might be more restrictive in another area to accommodate that expenditure.

So, you’re constantly in a state of give-and-take, right? Like I said, there’s always deprivation two ways. You want to be really clear that you’re picking the type of deprivation that gets you closer to the life you want. Those are a few of the things that I do. But I want to really encourage you to brainstorm.

Think about the results that you want to create. You’re going to know your overspending better than I’m going to know your overspending, because you’re intimately familiar with how you spend your money. And if you’re not, because you’re burying your head in the sand, it’s time to unbury your head and start to take a look at where your money’s going.

So, when you gain that information, when you start to see what you’re doing with your money and the ways in which you’re overspending, you can start to make decisions ahead of time and practice constraint, in order to remedy some of the ways that you’re overspending. But just remember, there’s always those three key solutions. You’ve got to change your thoughts about money, about a situation you’re encountering, about not spending on the thing that you want. You’ve got to change your thoughts. You’ve got to allow yourself to experience discomfort. And you’ve got to take intentional actions that are aligned with the intentional results that you want when it comes to money. If you do that, you will really significantly curb your overspending. This is a habit that you can absolutely overcome. It’s just going to take some practice, some trial and error.

This is another great area for you to practice the evaluations that I teach. What’s working? What’s not working? What do you need to do differently? What’s working, What’s not working? What would you need to do differently? You can do that every week, and you can narrow in specifically on overspending, if this is really a bad habit of yours. Take a look.

“Last week, what did I do that worked, when it comes to spending money and not overspending? What didn’t work? And what would I need to do differently next week, in order to remedy what I did that didn’t work?” If you do that, that’s how you’re going to make those consistent 1% improvements.

That’s what I have for you this week, my friends. Next week, we’re going to talk all about underearning. It is a topic that I am so, so passionate about, and I can’t wait to cover it with you. In the meantime, I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will talk to you in the next episode.

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

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Episode 62: Your Thoughts About Money

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Your Thoughts About Money

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Your Thoughts About Money

Money is one of my favorite topics that I work on with my clients, so this week is the first episode in a series addressing your money mindset, how you think about money, how you interact with money, overspending, under-earning, and all of the most important money topics.

Mindset is the cornerstone to creating the results you want. So, what thoughts do you currently have about money, and what’s your self-concept when it comes to spending, making, and having money? Once we’ve got clear on your current money mindset, then we can work to start improving it. 

Tune in this week to bring some clarity to your current thoughts about money, and the emotions you’re feeling as a result of those thoughts. I’m sharing how feelings of insufficiency and beliefs about money being evil will repel money, and how to develop the mindset that will help you create more money in your life.

I have a bunch of events coming up. The next one is called How to Get Organized happening on June 23rd 2023. To register for any of my upcoming events, click here!

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to get clear on your current thoughts about money.
  • Why your circumstances around money are neutral and are not causing the feelings you have about money.
  • The common emotions that you might be experiencing as a result of your thoughts about money.
  • How you might be reacting to feelings of insufficiency around money.
  • The thoughts and beliefs that will result in you repelling money.
  • How to develop the mindset required to change your thoughts and attract more money into your life.

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!
  • Gary Vaynerchuk

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast, episode 62. Today we’re talking all about your thoughts about money.

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

Well, hello there. How’s it going? I hope you had a marvelous Memorial Day weekend. I absolutely did. I closed the launch for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind on Friday right before Memorial Day, and I don’t do this a ton, but man, did I go off the grid, check out, and just have fun. Normally when I take a break from work, I relax and I really lay low and just rest, and I’m not always the best at going out and just really having unadulterated fun. And that’s exactly what I did this weekend, just three full days of fun.

I was out with friends on a boat on the Detroit River, which is really beautiful in the summer if you’ve never been here. It’s just really, really wonderful. And then we went to this amazing dock crawl at a marina, and I basically ran into everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life, including a bunch of my family members like my cousins, and extended aunts and uncles, and all that good stuff.

So it was just this one big reunion, and I just had the time of my life, and I really just wanted to mention that before we dive in today’s topic, not to rub it in your face of course, but as your friendly little reminder to get out there and have some fun. Check in with yourself. If you’re not having as much fun as you want to be having, go out there and get intentional about it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Today, we’re talking about your thoughts about money, and I’m really excited to get into this topic because money is one of my favorite things to talk about. It’s one of my favorite topics that I teach my clients to change their mindsets around. And I’m actually going to do a series on money. So this is the first episode of a multi-part series addressing your money mindset, how you think about money, how you interact with money, how you steward money, all of those things. So I’m going to talk in subsequent episodes about overspending, about underearning. Those are the two main issues that I see people encounter when it comes to money, and then I also see people really struggle with having shame around spending.

Not the unintentional spending, which is the overspending that I’m going to talk about next, but in spending on things that would really improve their lives, and then they don’t do it because they’re ashamed to spend money on themselves, they think they don’t deserve to spend money on themselves. I’m going to talk about that too.

So I envision this being a four-part series. It’s going to be really fun to cover. So you know ,I’m always talking about how important mindset is, it really is the cornerstone to creating the results that we want to create in our lives. So we’re going to start with addressing your thoughts about money and your self-concept when it comes to money.

So let’s just start with a thought download. Take a second, and as you’re listening to this episode, I want you to start thinking about what are your thoughts about money, about spending money, about making money, around having money? And as another great way to identify some thoughts that you may have a harder time finding, I want you to check in with yourself and ask yourself, what emotions come up for you when you think about money? What feelings do you feel? Are they positive, are they negative? Identify them very specifically and then work your way backwards. What’s the thought that you are thinking that’s making you feel that feeling?

Now, as a reminder, money, having money, making money, spending money, all of those things that I mentioned, that I listed for you, they’re all neutral circumstances. They’re not positive, they’re not negative, they’re simply neutral, and they don’t cause any of the feelings that you feel around money. You know what does cause your feelings around money? Your thoughts about money. So if you feel scared when it comes to money, if you feel scarce when it comes to money, if you feel ignorant or unknowledgeable when it comes to money, that’s all coming from your thoughts.

Same thing with feelings of frustration, or certainty, or regret, or embarrassment, or shame, all of that is coming from your thinking. Now, if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it probably 100 times on the podcast, but the reason that your thoughts are so important is because of the impact that they have on your results. So remember, our thoughts cause our feeling, our feelings drive the action that we take, and our action produces our results.

So if you’re thinking negative thoughts about money, and you are feeling negative feelings about money, you’re going to take negative action or no action at all when it comes to money, and that’s going to produce a negative result when it comes to making money, having money and spending money, it’s going to produce a negative result.

So as I’ve been talking, I hope you’ve been thinking of the thoughts that you think about money, having money, earning money, making money, spending money. They might look something like this. These are some of the common thoughts that I see my clients struggle with. One of the most common thoughts is that I’m not good with money. And if you think you’re not good with money, you’re going to produce that result. Think of that model.

When you think I’m not good with money, how do you feel? Probably inadequate, or disappointed with yourself, or ashamed. And then what do you do from that emotion? How do you treat money? How do you earn money? How do you make money? How are you with having money instead of spending money. Probably not good. And then you’ll create the result of being bad with money.

Same thing if you’re thinking about saving money. If you think you’re bad at saving money, you will be. If you think that you don’t have enough money, you will create more of that result for yourself. You’ll continue to not have enough because you’re going to feel insufficient, and most people do two things when they feel insufficient. Either they buffer and do things that spend their money by drinking too much, or eating too much, or splurging on Amazon, all of those things. Or they’ll react and take a bunch of unintentional action in an effort to get to a better result, but it actually isn’t the action that they need to take to produce the result that they want.

So they end up scrambling, maybe they try a bunch of things, but don’t stick with anything consistently. So then they don’t end up having more money to show for their efforts, they just really spin their wheels and waste a lot of their own time.

You might think that you don’t know how to make money, and if you think that you won’t make a lot of it right, you’ll feel confused, or unprepared, or inadequate, and then you’ll spin, and question yourself, and doubt yourself. You won’t take the actions that are essential for making money. If you believe that money is the root of all evil, you will repel money.

If you think it’s bad for you to want more of it, you will feel guilty, or ashamed, or embarrassed, or selfish, or arrogant, emotions along those lines, and then you won’t take the actions that create more money in your life. So you will continue to not have the money that you want to have because you think it’s shameful or bad.

If you think liking money makes you greedy, there’s another really negative thought. If you believe this is the most money you’ll ever make, it will stay that way. It really is so powerful to see how your thoughts create your results with money. If you believe that making money is out of your control, you won’t be in control of it, you will relinquish control, you’ll cede control over making money to other people. If you believe that you’ll always be in debt, you will always be in debt, that will absolutely prove itself true. If you believe that you’re always going to live paycheck to paycheck, that’s how you will continue to live.

So take a second and find your thoughts about money. What are they? Are they positive? Are they negative? Do they serve you?

If you aren’t sure whether a thought serves you or not, all you have to do to find out if it serves you is run a model on that thought. So put money, or making money, or having money, or spending money, in the C line of the model. And just as a refresher, there’s five components to the model, circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, results. So put that in the C line, and then put your thought in the T line, and ask yourself, “When I think this thought, how do I feel? What’s the one word emotion that I experience when I think it?” Negative thoughts will always lead to negative feelings.

So if you’re thinking a negative thought, it’s going to produce a negative emotion. Identify that emotion specifically, and then ask yourself, what’s the action that I take, or what action don’t I take when I feel that emotion? And then put that in your A line. Get very specific. List it all out. What are all of the things that you do? What are all of the things that you don’t do?

And then ask yourself, what is my current result with money? You’ll be able to see how you’re thinking is creating your current results, and you’ll be able to see whether or not that thought serves you. If it’s producing a negative emotion and driving negative action, it’s going to produce a negative result, you’ll be able to see that. So what is the current result that that thought is creating in your life? Find it, and you’ll clearly be able to see whether it serves you or not to continue to think. If it doesn’t serve you to keep thinking the thought, we have to change it in order to think a thought that better supports the results that you want to have with money.

Another thought that came up for me that I had to do a ton of work on, I deeply believed that I had to work hard to make money, and that I had to work harder to make more of it. And those thoughts are very exhausting because they drive me to feel very resigned that that is just true, feeling powerless, so to speak, that that’s just the reality that I’m forced to live within. And then when we do that, we resign ourselves to that being the way that it has to be. So our action lines reflect that, we end up working harder to make money, we end up working even harder to make more of it.

And then we prove this true to ourselves, we create more money, but we create more evidence that hard work, and working harder, and harder, and harder is what gets you more money, rather than thinking that creating value in the world is what creates money. That’s a beautiful thought to think, it’s one of the thoughts that I practice believing all the time when it comes to money.

I want to offer you some other thoughts that you can practice thinking about money as well. But before I do that, I want to offer you an opportunity to come up with your own positive thoughts about money. So I’m going to walk you through a couple different thought downloads, and you just want to come up with the first thought that’s most top of mind. I call this your most practiced thought. So when it comes to money, what’s your most practiced thought about money? Find it, and then ask yourself, what do you want your most practiced thought to be instead, about money?

Same thing when it comes to making money. What is your most practiced thought about making money? And then ask yourself, do I want to keep thinking that? If not, what do you want your most practiced thought about making money to be? I also love this circumstance, talking about money. So many people hate talking about money, and I used to be one of them because I was probably raised the same way y’all were raised, which is to think that it’s inconsiderate, and rude, and arrogant to talk about money, that it’s very impolite to talk about money with other people, that it should be avoided at all costs.

So we end up being really uncomfortable talking about money, and it’s a really disempowering habit to have, feeling uncomfortable about talking about money. One of the biggest differences between people who are successful and people who aren’t as successful is their comfort level in talking about money. People who are successful are much more comfortable talking about money than people who aren’t as successful. So we’ve got to increase your comfort level with talking about money, and the way that we do that is changing the way that you think about talking about money.

So what is your most practiced thought currently about talking about money? And then ask yourself, what do you want it to be instead? What’s your most practiced thought about having money? And then what do you want your most practiced thought to be about having money?

Same exercise again with spending money. What’s your most practiced thought about spending money? And what do you want your most practiced thought to be? And last but not least, what is your most practiced thought about debt? And what do you want your most practiced thought to be? I see a lot of people have a lot of negative thoughts about debt, and a lot of those negative thoughts drive us to make illogical, unsophisticated decisions when it comes to money.

People will focus more on paying off debt than they do leveraging money, and utilizing debt in order to create more wealth. And it’s because they have so much shame around having debt because of the story that they were taught about debt, the story they continue to tell themselves about debt. It’s a story that doesn’t serve them. So you’ll watch a lot of successful people leverage debt, and use it as a tool, whereas people who are less knowledgeable about how to leverage debt, who think it’s more shameful to have it, they don’t reap the same benefits that you can reap if you know how to use it skillfully.

Now I want to talk about some of my favorite thoughts to think about these topics instead. My first favorite thought is, “I love money.” I really, really do. I love having it, I love what it can buy you, I love that you can leverage it. I just love money. I think money is so fun. You can choose to think that you’re good with money, and if you believe that, you’ll start to search for ways in which you are good with money, and it will help reinforce your self-concept.

If you think that you are learning how to be good with money, or that you can learn how to manage your money well, those are great thoughts to think in the beginning, just to start to replace some of those more negative thoughts that you’ve probably been rehearsing for a long time.

You can also think that you manage your money well, sort of like being good with money, you’ll start to find evidence where you do manage your money well. You can think, “I’m responsible with money.” Tell yourself, how is that true? Answer that question. How is it true that I’m responsible with money? You can believe that you are a good steward of money. I love the thought, “I love having money.” You’ll end up overspending less, and saving more money, and having more money if you believe that you love having it, not just what it can buy you.

You can think that money’s an amazing tool that you can leverage to create the life that you want. You can believe that debt is neutral. You can believe that debt is a tool. Those were hard thoughts for me to practice thinking at first, but now I fully believe them, and it changes how I operate with money. I focus on making money rather than worrying about paying off debt. If you make more money, the debt becomes irrelevant.

Now, I do believe you can’t outearn a bad money mindset. So you have to address the thoughts that you have that aren’t serving you when it comes to money, having money, making money, spending money. But if you prioritize creating wealth and creating money, the debt becomes irrelevant because you’ll have the money there to pay off the debt. Rather than using money you have now to pay off the debt, spending money in a prioritized way to get rid of debt first doesn’t teach you how to create more money, so you deplete your resources, and then you don’t have the knowledge that you need to have, have to generate more income at the end of the day.

So a lot of people do this backwards. You want to focus on learning to create money. That’s a skillset that you can develop. I teach my clients how to do this all the time. And when you’re more focused on paying off debt than you are in creating new money, you end up slowing down your progress. So just check in with yourself to see if that’s something that you do.

And now, here is my most favorite thought of all time when it comes to money and making money. I believe that I create money. And I want to tell you a little story about this. This is a thought that my business coach offered me many years ago, and at the time when I learned of this thought, I didn’t believe it at all, and I was really broke because I had just left my last law firm job, I didn’t have savings, I was getting ready to start this business, I was betting on myself, and I knew that things were going to be financially rocky for a while because I didn’t have that runway built up in savings to go in and start this business in a more secure way.

So here I am, pretty broke, getting my business off the ground, financially struggling in a really hard time, and I’m being told that I create money, that that’s a thought that’s available to me, that’s a belief that’s available to me, that’s a self-concept that’s available to me. And I didn’t believe it at all. I believed that you earn money, that you receive money, things like that, which are much more outside of my control than the thought, “I create money.”

So I kept trying to believe this thought over, and over, and over, and over again, and I just couldn’t get it to stick. I couldn’t see how it was true in my business. I couldn’t see how I could create money as a coach. And then I started to get resourceful and figure out other ways that I could make money to float myself and keep the lights on at my house, and continue to feed my two panthers and myself of course.

I was trying to come up with inventive ways to create money, even though I probably wouldn’t have used that term at the time, just to make money, to get money, to receive money, that didn’t involve going back and working in a law firm. I really didn’t want to do that. And that was really the only way that I knew how to make money or go back into a different type of job where you’re earning money in a job like bartending.

I don’t know if y’all know this about me, but in another life, I worked as a bartender for many, many, many years. So that’s always a skillset that I could fall back on to earn money. So here I am trying to come up with inventive ways to make money, and I get this idea because I’m a huge Gary Vaynerchuk fan, and he talks all the time about retail arbitrage and flipping things on eBay in order to make some money on the side and support yourself, or as a full-time job.

So I had watched his Trash Talk videos on YouTube where he goes around garage sailing, and then he resells what he finds and buys at garage sales on eBay, and he shows you exactly how to do it, how you find items, to check to see how much they’re worth, how you create the listings. He really walks you through the process front to back. So I learned how to do this, and I started asking myself, “Well, what could I sell?”

And I started selling some really not valuable items of mine. It was the stuff that I didn’t mind getting rid of, which, lo and behold, if I didn’t want it, no one else really did either. So it didn’t make me any money, or very, very little. So then I started brainstorming, what else did I have to sell that was worth more than the items that I had already listed? And I realized that I had some nice stuff to sell. I had some really beautiful jewelry to sell, some other designer items that I could list that were actually valuable.

And initially I was like, “Ugh, I don’t want to get rid of that stuff. That’s my nice stuff.” And I quickly snapped out of that entitlement, and realized that doing this was the currency to being able to pursue my dream. And it was such a beautiful, humbling experience to say, “Oh, I don’t actually need any of this nice stuff.” I’m using air quotes here. “I don’t need any of this stuff.

And if what I want more than anything is to pursue this dream of mine, and not take another legal job, not have to go out and do anything more substantial to earn money, and to create the freedom, and the time, and the space to focus on building this coaching business, then the cost of that, the price of admission of that is selling stuff that’s valuable.”

So that’s exactly what I did. I listed my jewelry online, on eBay, and created the listing. And eBay has this fun little feature, when you create a listing and someone buys it, a cash register, noise goes off, it’s the cha-ching, and it’s really fun when your phone makes that noise and you hear it, you know you just made a sale. So it happened one day where I listed it, and very quickly… I think I did this right before Christmas, so it was a great time to list valuable items that people are looking to buy as Christmas gifts.

So I listed my jewelry, and my phone made this cash register noise, and it clicked in my brain instantaneously that I just created money. I realized that I believed that I had something valuable to sell, I took the essential actions to make it possible for someone to buy it. I had to take pictures of the item and create the eBay listing and make an offer by listing the price that I wanted, and then it’s out there for the world to see.

I believed that someone would want to buy the item. I had to have that belief in order to even put it out on eBay in the first place. So I had all of the requisite beliefs, I believed that I could do this, that it’s something that I was capable of, that people would want it, that someone would buy it. I had all the requisite beliefs that I needed to sell something, and then I took all of the requisite actions to list it online. And in doing that and having the mindset, and taking the action necessary, I created money. And it clicked for me in that moment that if I could do it with jewelry on eBay, I could do it in my business. And I started to see how that was true.

If I just started putting myself out there, meeting people, telling them what I do, adding value ahead of time, and making offers to help them with the requisite beliefs that I could help them, that coaching would help them, and that people wanted that help, and that they were willing to pay me for it, if I had the requisite beliefs and I took the requisite action over, and over, and over again until the result comes and never quit in the meantime, that the result will ultimately become inevitable, that I will create money, that I can create money. And that single thought has been one of the most pivotal thoughts in my success since I started my business.

So I offer that thought to you. If you don’t believe it, start to look for the evidence that you do create money. Just sit with that belief for a second. Ask yourself how might that be true? And start to find proof that it is in fact true, that you create money, that you’re capable of creating it, that you are in control of creating it. Those are very, very, very powerful thoughts when it comes to money and making more of it. So those are some of my favorite thoughts to think about money. If you want to come up with your own list of positive thoughts to think about money, I want you to start by thinking about what results you want to create with money.

Do you want to save it? Do you want to make more of it? Do you want to spend it more freely than maybe you have in the past? How do you want to act when it comes to money?

Get very specific here. Make a list. Flesh that all out. And then ask yourself, how would you need to feel? What emotions would you need to cultivate in order to take that action? And then finally, what would you need to think in order to feel those feelings? And you’ll start to identify the thoughts that you need to think about money, about having money, about making money, about talking about money, about spending money, about debt. And you’re going to cultivate a very powerful list of go-to thoughts about these circumstances that you’ll be able to use to create very different results than you have previously when it comes to money. It’s going to be so fun.

So that’s what I have for you this week, my friends. In the next few episodes, like I talked about earlier, we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty when it comes to overspending, underearning, the shame you have around spending. And as I was recording this episode, it actually dawned on me to come up with one more episode that I’d like to talk about, which is setting money goals, setting, and achieving money goals. So we’ll talk about all of those topics in the next several episodes. Make sure you tune in, and if you haven’t subscribed to the podcast yet, go ahead and do that now so you don’t miss any of those topics.

Oh, as another aside, if you haven’t yet, in addition to subscribing, please, please, please, if you like what you’re hearing, and you love learning from me, go leave me a rating and review. It makes a world of difference, and it helps more people find this podcast, and use it to change their lives. So it would mean the world to me. And if you do that, I will shout you out on a future episode. That’s all for this week, 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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