Transcript: Uncovering Hidden Beliefs with Dina Cataldo
Hello, how are you doing today? I hope you are having a wonderful day, whether you are at your desk, whether you are sitting on your porch or washing the dishes, or, you know, trying to clean the house in some way, or maybe you're taking a break from your desk job and whatever you're doing right now, like writing a brief for doing some research and just, you know, enjoying some time with me.
I appreciate it. I'm thankful that you want to spend some time with me. So today we're going to talk about something that is one of my favorite topics, and that is uncovering hidden beliefs. I would not have said that there was such a thing 10 years ago. I would have told you that things are what they are, that I have, you know, beliefs. And that they're true to me. And I would not have been able to tell you that they truly impact my day to day life. The way that I achieved my goals, the fact that I achieved my goals, I would not have been able to tell you that. But today, talking to you now, I can tell you that uncovering my hidden beliefs and beginning to intentionally believe what I choose to believe has impacted every area of my life. And so I want to give you some secrets to looking for your own hidden beliefs.
So today we're going to learn about why uncovering hidden beliefs is important. If you want to change anything in your life, if you feel stuck, or if you are unsatisfied with anything in your life, then you're going to want to pay attention today. These hidden beliefs can be sneaky and we can't see them unless we do exactly what I am going to walk through with you today. I'm going to tell you what a belief really is. I'm going to tell you how to uncover hidden beliefs that you may not know you have, that are hindering your progress. And I'm going to give you a tool to work out how a belief is impacting your life. And at the end, I'm going to share with you what to do when you want change a belief that isn't serving you before we get started. I want to tell you a belief that you might have, and I want to give you some help in that area.
I remember when I was procrastinating my life away, I wasn't achieving what I wanted to achieve. And I knew that I had really big dreams, but I felt completely stuck. I felt like I was immobile that I couldn't really even move. I felt incredible stress in my shoulders and this anxiety that was just pouring over my body. And I thought that it was me. I thought that I just wasn't able to get things done. That I was lazy, that I wasn't working hard enough, but it turned out that a huge thing that I was missing, this huge piece of the puzzle that I was missing to get myself into motion was the idea that time is not it's, it's not that I'm not having enough time or that I'm lazy. It's that I'm not looking at time and looking at myself with compassion to get things done.
It was a really interesting change of mindset that I needed to have in order to start getting the ball rolling on the things that I wanted to create in my life. So if this sounds like you, if you feel stuck, if you feel like you don't have enough time to do things, if you feel like you're working yourself to the bone and that you're still not creating what you want to create in your life, I'm going to encourage you to go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer to download the busy lawyers, quick start guide to getting back five more hours each week. And it's not just about getting that tangible time back. It's about looking at how you are using your time and how you're structuring your time so that you can create the life that you want. So go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer, and you can download the free PDF guide there.
All right. Okay. So let's jump into this. So why, why are UN or why is uncovering hidden beliefs important if you want to change anything in your life? So let me start off by letting you know that we have surface thoughts and we have hidden thoughts and we have to dig deeper for those hidden thoughts. And what you think is the truth about yourself may not actually be the truth. For example, we might have a thought, like, I don't want to get married, but we never dig deeper to see the real reason why we think that we take it for granted. That that is just who we are. That we're just not the kind of person who gets married, or maybe we have a thought like, you know, I I'm just lazy. I, I'm just not the kind of person who can create things out of thin air.
I can't achieve these goals that people talk about achieving that. That's just not the kind of person I am. And then we give up, or maybe we have a thought, like, you know what, I'm never gonna make more money as a lawyer. That I'm just the kind of lawyer who's going to make the exact same amount forever. And I'm just not the kind of lawyer who is going to go out on my own or achieve a higher level of financial freedom because that's just not me. Like, I just, it looks too hard. It's, it's not for me. Well, we can't create something new in our lives. If we don't begin thinking new thoughts, when we don't question these thoughts, then we create something unintentionally. And when we create something unintentionally, then we're not truly in control of our life. We're at the whim, we're at the whim of wherever our brain takes us.
And we may wake up one day regretting that we didn't take a closer look at our thoughts. So that's what I wanted to talk to you about today, because this is so crucial to creating exactly what you want in your life. It's sometimes it sounds like this farfetched dream, right? Like these people are talking about creating, you know a hundred thousand dollar businesses. You know, they're creating these these lives where they have free time. I know, but like, as a lawyer, a lot of lawyers I talked to free time is just a fantasy. They, they never really feel free because they're always thinking about work and they're always have some underlying anxiety in their body. So they never really feel like they are disconnecting from the job. So what is a belief and what is a belief? A belief is a thought that we have over and over again.
We actually create a stronger neuro pathway in our brain. The more that we think a thought then once we've thought it enough, when we become really practiced at it, it's become a habit. Then we begin to believe that it is truth. For instance, the thought I don't want to get married may not be the truth, but we believe that it is true because we've thought it over and over again, it's a habit. Same thing. The thought that, you know what, I'm just lazy. That may not be the truth. And honestly, if you're listening to this, I highly doubt that you are lazy because I know very few lawyers who are lazy. I know, burned out lawyers that I know very few lawyers who are lazy. The interesting thing is, is that everything that we believe is based on our past often, they are things that we witnessed when we were children, right?
And we, we had a belief because we didn't have the capacity to understand or distance ourself from the event that was in front of us. But we formed this belief about it. For instance, maybe our parents argued a lot or it didn't seem like they liked each other at times. And when we're children, we don't understand. So our brain goes on autopilot and it tries to create it a story. That's what our brain does. It creates story worries to explain the world to us. And our brain creates a story for us to understand it and to understand the world and to protect ourselves. It may not serve us as adults, but our brain really does think that it is protecting us from something painful, full, or that it is explaining the world to us. Even if we are completely wrong, right? Our brain believes leaving these thoughts to be true.
Constantly only then looks for evidence that we don't want to get married or that her parents don't love each other. And it adds to the queue of thoughts in our brain. And when we see a married couple, we think something like, well, that's why I'm not a married, not married. It's a habit, right? Like we see a married couple fight and we think to ourselves, well, see, that's not what that's why I'm not married. Or let's say with the thought of I'm lazy. Well, I didn't do that thing again that I had planned on. I guess I'm just lazy or I, I didn't follow through with my commitments. So that must mean that I'm not a hard worker. Just recognize that just because you are thinking something does not mean that it is true. So how do you uncover a hidden belief? So the first hint and that you have a belief is that, and it's a negative belief that we're looking for is that you have a negative feeling.
So it's important to know that the entire reason that your thought is hidden is because our brain tries to protect us. It wants to bring us pleasure. It wants to keep us away from pain and wants to make our lives really easy. It sounds like a benefactor, right? It sounds like a really great thing. Our brain doesn't want us to feel anything negative. And that's why a negative feeling is a strong indicator of negative thought. Here's one of the problems that lawyers face though. We become so adept at stuffing down our emotions, stuffing down the excit, the fear, the overwhelm, the frustration, the anger that we then lose connection with our emotions. And instead of using those emotions to uncover these hidden beliefs that aren't serving us, we stuffed them down. We stuffed them down with work. We stuffed them down with alcohol, with food, with all these different things that distract us rather than feeling those emotions, because there's nothing inherently wrong with those emotions.
Our emotions are just chemicals in our body that were triggered by a thought in our brain. Like that is literally what is happening. We have chemicals that cascade through our body that is causing an emotion. It's not dangerous. It's not bad. It's not wrong. It's a signal to them, us to look at our thoughts. That's how I look at it is if we are feeling anxious, if we're feeling overwhelmed, that's when we need to take pause and we need to take a look at all right, what is going on in my life right now, now that I am feeling this way, the second tool that you can use to uncover a hidden belief is a thought download. All right? And this is a journal entry. I do this every single morning because my brain always has thoughts that come up and I want to take a look at them.
I want to see if they are serving me or they are not serving me. I want to direct my brain, the direction that I want it to go that day. And if I don't take the time to do with that download, then my, my brain can get scattered. I won't be focused on what I want to create. And by the end of the day, I probably will not have accomplished what I set out to accomplish that day. I want you to know that this isn't new credible tool. So I encourage you just to sit down pen to paper every single morning and write down what you're thinking. You will be amazed at what is going on in your brain. And I say, put down pen to paper because that act slows down our brain. And it helps us create distance between what we are thinking.
So we can really see our thoughts and really get into our brain. And the more we do these thought downs downloads, the more we can clean out our brain. So it's pretty cool. All right. So sometimes if I don't have anything I can really think of in the morning, I'll just pick a topic, I'll pick a topic and then I'll write down all of my thoughts. And I will keep asking myself why I believe that thought, just keep asking myself why, why, why? And I come at it from a place of curiosity. So if you don't have a particular subject, you want to focus on, you can start asking yourself all kinds of questions about what's going on in your life and what you believe about it. So if there's a particular area of your life, you're unhappy with focus on that topic, ask yourself what are all of your thoughts about that particular topic, and then ask yourself, why do I believe that?
Why do I think that just keep asking yourself why, why, why? And this is what I do with my coaching clients in a more in a more in depth way. So I'll ask them lots of questions to start digging out, what's going on in their brain and pulling out different thoughts. And then they'll begin to see what is going on in their brain. Okay. So here's the tool I told you. I was going to share with you so you can see how those thoughts are impacting your life. Before I dive into it, I want to tell you a little story. So the other day I went over to my friend's house for a nice socially distanced visit to her and her husband and her baby. And, you know, the electricity went out pretty much as soon as I got there. And when her husband came home, they started talking about, you know, what happened with the electricity?
What could go, would have gotten wrong? And they started checking all the things and they had a disagreement really about how they should be approaching this, who they should be calling to help fix the situation. And it's like, you know, 108 degrees or something that day. So it was pretty important for them to figure this out. But what I witnessed was them having not only a disagreement, but kind of like a passive aggressive disagreement where one was mumbling under their breath and the other one was doing, you know, they were both doing the best that they could, but it was clear that this was a very awkward moment for me, just kind of watching them, you know, I didn't say anything to them. It was just me observing their relationship. Has anyone else been in this awkward exchange between a married couple or maybe you've been that couple?
I just, you know, I had all of these different thoughts, right. And I didn't say anything, but I just, I had had thoughts. So missing this conversation, a person could have the thought, I don't want to get married and this would be a surface thought, okay, I'll tell you why in a little bit, but this would be a surface thought and there could be some other hidden thoughts underneath that. I'm going to get into that in a second. But if we think this thought over and over again, I don't want to get married. Then we're creating a really strong neuro pathway in our brain. That is now a belief. All right. So I'm going to tell you secret. This used to be my belief and I did multiple thought downloads on this. And this is the thought that came up for me. And I had to do some digging to discover what my, a hidden belief was because yes, I had a hidden belief about marriage.
What I discovered is that my brain over the years has collected evidence for all the reasons why I didn't want to get married. And it probably started when I was a kid hearing, my parents argue and they had arguments. You know, all parents have arguments, but to create protection for myself or to understand the world, my brain came up with stories that, you know, I don't want to be married, right. Just to completely avoid that potential pain that I had when I was a kid, it was teaching me to protect myself in a way that a brain does, but it is overall not serving me if I want a partnership, right. Like if I didn't want a partnership and I didn't dig deeper into my thoughts about this, then that would be something completely different. Like if I had really dug in and I saw, you know, I really don't want a partnership, then that would be a totally different story.
However, I also had a thought that I did want a partner. So it was really interesting to me to also have this thought that I don't want to get married. They're totally different thoughts. Right. So I started asking myself, did a thought download. I started asking myself questions. I said, well, why don't I want to get married? I asked myself this over and I kind of bunch of different thoughts, but one of them stuck out to me and that was marriage doesn't look like fun. That is the thought that was hidden. The one that wasn't at the very top of the heap, that was really easy to see. It was one that I had to keep asking myself, why, why do I believe that I don't want to get married? And it's because it doesn't look like fun to me. And what I had discovered is that over the years, that is where my brain had its focus over and over and over again, because it had the belief that I didn't want to get married.
So it was very easy for me to pick out evidence of marriage, not looking like fun, that it ha you know, you would have a lot of problems that I didn't want certain aspects of a marriage, but instead I have had to make the conscious decision to look for evidence that marriage can be fun, that I can make a marriage fund for myself, that I can make a partnership fun for myself, but I have to have that conscious thought and I have to practice it over and over again and give my brain equal air time to the thoughts I want to have, because I've repeated these thoughts over and over and over again that I don't want to partnership. So it's fascinating when you start really looking into your brain, what is going on, all right, I'm going to give you another example before I get into that tool.
I'm telling, I want to tell you about, so I was helping a client recently uncover her beliefs about herself in her legal practice and the partner that she works for has been reviewing drafts of her work and has been telling her whenever he reads these drafts of her work, that her diff her writing is difficult to read. And I asked her, you know, well, what's the problem with that. And it's because, you know, she feels anxious and she feels like, you know, he's not helpful. And, and he's not really trying, right. And he's not really communicated with her. And there's all these different thoughts surrounding that particular circumstance. And what I got at, at the bottom after asking her a lot of questions is really that she does not believe that her writing is very good at all. So what we had to do is model this out because her belief that her writing isn't that good is going to impact her writing, right?
Because she's going to be doubting herself as she's writing. She's second guessing herself as she's writing. And she's already thinking ahead to her partner criticizing her. And she recognized that she is not writing the best that she can. So she's really creating her own reality. Her brain is creating evidence for her that she's not a good writer, same thing with the marriage thing, right? So I have this thought that I don't want to get married, or that marriage doesn't look like fun. And I'm very dismissive of marriage. I'm repelled by it is the word that I came up with. And the actions that a person who's repelled by marriage takes are not the ones that are going to lead to a successful partnership, right? So that is something that is imperative, that we look at our, and uncovering our thoughts. Otherwise, we're not going to be able to see how we are behaving in the world and creating our beliefs.
Like we're fulfilling our beliefs. So we have to look at them carefully. So this is the tool I want you to use after you've done a thought download and you've uncovered a belief. So we will use the the example of marriage doesn't look like fun. So I do a thought download. I write down all my thoughts about what marriage is to me. What am I, what are all my thoughts about it? And I asked myself, why do I believe that? Why do I believe that? Why am I choosing to believe that? Why am I deciding to believe that particular thing? And then what I do is I use this five step process. You have a circumstance, you have a thought about that circumstance. Then that thought creates a feeling that feeling then generates actions, right? Like we always act from how we feel. And then we create a result from our actions, make sense, right?
So the circumstance in this instance would be marriage, right? Just, just marriage. And then the thought, you just pick one thought and I chose the thought marriage doesn't look like fun. And the feeling that I got whenever I thought that thought was repelled. And when I am repelled, then I am not going to take action to meet people, to engage with people, flirt with people, all of that, right? Like all of those actions that would naturally lead to somebody, you know, dating or, you know, getting in a partnership, I'm not going to do those things. Right. In fact, I could even go on dates and I could self sabotage those dates. Right. Like I, I been on dates and I could look at them and be like, no, I'm not interested. Like, I'm just not interested. I guess. I just, I just don't want to be married.
I can have all these different thoughts again. Right. That's that's also an action. And then I create the result of not being married. And then it makes sense. Right? Well, marriage doesn't look like fun. So I create the result of not getting married, not having a partnership because I am providing evidence to my brain. The marriage just doesn't look like fun. Okay. Same thing as we walked through with my client, right? Like she was given critique by her partner, her thought is, I'm not a very good writer. And then she feels this self doubt, this anxiousness. And then she acts as if she's someone who is not a good writer, like she's second guessing herself. She's not asking questions to him. She's not listening to his feedback and attempting to make herself a better writer. She, instead she's writing her word was flimsily. So I want you to recognize that once we uncover this belief, then you can see the impact that it is having on your life.
So how do you believe something new? What do you do, right? Like how do you get yourself out of this cycle? Well, the first thing is looking for evidence that that belief is not true. I just remember when I talked to you about giving equal airtime to these thoughts while it's important that when you recognize one of these self sabotaging thoughts, right? Like marriage, it doesn't look like fun, or I'm not a good writer that we look for evidence of the opposite because our brains already automatically going to look for all the evidence of the negative. Okay. Everything that we already believe, we're going to look for the friends who are having a little disagreement. We're going to look for the friends who, you know, get divorced. We're going to look at those couples. I'm going to say that totally lends evidence to my belief.
But when we do that, we have to take pause and we've got to recognize, okay, let me just take a moment here. There are examples of couples that do have fun of couples that, you know, really enjoy being around each other. And yes, they may get in disagreements that like this very same couple that I was telling you about. As soon as the electricity thing was done, like we got the electricity back. They were great. They're just the most adoring couple. And it's just like a small instance in their marriage that I witnessed. So it's important that we give equal airtime to the opposite of what our negative belief is. Same thing. With the writing example, you can look at how you write in other ways at other things that you're really good at so that you can build confidence for yourself and how you approach things.
And what we actually did with her is we then, and I did this with myself too, with the marriage example is I worked the model that we just went through, circumstance, thought, feeling actions, results. We worked it backwards. So let me tell you what that looks like. So once you've created your unintentional model, the one with that hidden belief that you've discovered, and you've worked out exactly what is going on, how you were creating, the result that you're creating, you can create an intentional model. You can create exactly what you want. What you do is you use the exact same circumstance. Okay? So the circumstance is that your partner tells you that you are not a good writer or says your writing is difficult to read. Those were the words. And the result you start with is what you want to create. So in this case, you wanted to create a circuit, a create a result in which she was a good writer.
She was creating really good work product. That's what she wanted. And she wanted to create a result where she was responsible for that result in creating better writing samples, but not just for that particular job, but for everything in her life. You know, she could take what she learns in this legal firm and take that anywhere in her life, the actions that she knew she would have to take in order to create her own result were very different from the ones that were in her unintentional model. So for instance, in her unintentional model, she wanted to or she didn't want to, she was doing this without thinking about it. She wasn't listening to him. She wasn't asking questions. She was second guessing herself. So she wasn't asking him questions about what his feedback was. She was in this loop in her brain where she could not focus on what he was telling her.
And she ended up writing a work product that wasn't as good as it could be. And that all came from a feeling of anxiety and thinking that she wasn't a good writer. And she was also, I mean, there's other parts to this, right? Like she's also seeking external validation and she's not receiving it. And that is all part of this model. But what I want you to see is that when she creates the new model, when she creates the model and that's intentional, she can see all the stuff she does unintentionally and do the opposite of it. She can listen intently. She can ask questions. She can allow herself to be a little bit vulnerable because asking questions is hard. When you are afraid that your question isn't going to sound smart enough, that it's not going to be up to the level that the partner wants from you.
And, but she knew it was in her best interest to be a little vulnerable so that she could create the result that she wanted. And in order to do these things, in order to create the result where she was creating a better work product, she knew she had to feel more open. She couldn't feel anxious and closed down. She had to open herself up and to feel open. She just had to start telling herself, you know what, I can do this. That was the thought, the thought she needed was I can do this. And just that change in the way that she thought when her partner began critiquing her writing is going to change everything in her result. Now, same thing for the marriage, right? The thought about, you know, marriage not looking fun. I can create the result that I want. And the result that I want is a loving partnership.
One that's fun. And I know the actions that I need to take actually need to, you know, date number one, I gotta be more open. I have to be more flirtatious. I want to make sure that I am, you know, I look good when I'm going out. Right. and that I am more open to talking to people and not having any expectations and making things fun. Cause also part of that result is, is I am fun. Right? And the feeling that I need to have to create that is open allowing. Right? And the thought that I wanted to have is that, you know what, I'm fun. I'm fun. So I want you to see that you can take a hidden belief, understand completely how that is impacting your life. And then use that to fuel an intentional belief. One, that's going to create the result that you want in your life, but you've got to practice it, right?
Like it's not just one and done. You've got to intentionally get up in the morning, write down your thoughts, understand what you want and go for it. And what I mean by understand what you want is write it down because there is this connection between our brain and writing things down. It's something like we're 42% more likely to get what we want. When we write it down. There was a study on this at a Dominican university. I saw, I want you to understand that you have this power that we don't use. And that's the power of our brain. I mean, it's like we have this masterful computer and we never take it out of the box. We just sit on it. We don't do anything with it. But when you start using these kinds of tools, you will be able to not only uncover these hidden beliefs, not only understand the negative beliefs that are impacting your life in a way that you don't want them to.
And you probably didn't even know they were, you can begin making serious change in your life, right? Imagine the power that you could have in your life. If you uncovered all of the thoughts that were holding you back from achieving anything that you want it imagine the power of intentionally working through each of those thoughts and practicing the thoughts that you wanted to have so that you could create the feelings that you knew you needed to have to generate the actions and the results that you intended to have. You would end up with an entirely different life. In fact, you wouldn't be ending up with anything. You would be creating it intentionally. How amazing is that? And that's the reason I do the work that I do. That's the reason life coaching is just so amazing to me and understanding these tools and understanding how our brain works is because it opens us up to this huge possibility of what we are capable of.
When we start taking a hundred percent responsibility of what's going on in our brain and the results that we are creating in the world, that is where the magic is. That is what makes life worth living. All right? So I hope you take this to heart. I hope you took notes. I hope you wrote this down. I hope you go back and you listen to this episode again and you break down these concepts and you apply them to your life. Cause it's super easy to just sit back and listen to this. And I love being with you and talking to you. But what I love even more is when my clients come back to me and they say, thank you for showing me exactly how to do that because I went out and I created the results that I wanted in my life. So thank you for being here. I hope you have a wonderful day and I will talk to you soon. Bye. Hey, if you enjoy this podcast, I offer one on one coaching using my, be a better lawyer framework. That's where we rewire your brain to help you create the life and the practice that you want. Go to Dina, cataldo.com to schedule a strategy session.