Transcript: Rewiring Your Lawyer Brain to Relax with Dina Cataldo
Hello, my friend. I hope you’re having a lovely morning.
Hopefully you’re enjoying some nice Fall weather. I’m sitting here with my cup of coffee recording this early in the morning.
Wherever you’re listening to this I hope you and you’re safe and sound and that you can take a deep breath and appreciate all that you have.
Let’s do that, since this is a podcast about training our brain to relax. Take a big breath in, hold it at the top, and let it go.
Our physiology impacts how we feel just as much as our thoughts do.
Breathing deeply and consciously can help us tap into relaxation.
This podcast is about thought work thought, so I’m going to focus on that for the rest of this episode.
I want to share with you that there’s one thing more than anything else that’s helped me rewire my lawyer brain to relax and that’s consistent coaching. And when I created my coaching program, I wanted to create a container that allowed my clients to show up as they were – stressed out, overwhelmed, a hot mess – and know that they had time with me each week to refocus their brain on what they wanted. I also wanted them to know they’d be taken care of and given questions to redirect their brain over and over again to what they were working on with me. I’ve found this really effective in them creating their results faster than they thought possible. When we’re given that space to be ourselves — hot mess and all — without judgment, it’s freeing. It’s a feeling I never had with my colleagues at the office. Coaching allowed me to open up about my most personal and really what I thought were ugly thoughts, and understand that I was 100% normal. It also helped me see that I could shape how I thought about my life and feel better without changing a thing if that’s what I wanted. If this soul changing work is something you want to do with me, you can learn how to work with me at dinacataldo.com. Book a call with me, and we’ll take it from there.
This take me to the #1 problem I hear from lawyers.
What is it?
They can't get their brain to turn off.
When they try to sleep, their brain runs through all the things they did wrong during the day or turns to the to-do list they have to get through tomorrow.
When they're spending time with their partner, they're thinking about the office, their to-do list and feel like they have to check their e-mail to stay on top of work.
And when they're trying to get focussed work done, their brain wants to go into overwhelm and tell them that they have a ton to do, so they better hurry up!
When you’re a lawyer with your own practice, you can add on to all of these things keeping you up at night the worries of building your practice and paying employees.
Let’s also not forget that right now, there’s a pandemic.
Our brain has a LOT of thoughts about the world.
You can probably see that not knowing how to rewire our Lawyer Brain is a huge problem costing us…
⇒ peace of mind
⇒ our relationships
⇒ and our sense of well-being
But how do we do that when we have all of these thoughts running through our brain?
If you’re new to thought work, I’m going to break down the Model. If you’re not new to thought work, this is a good refresher.
Everything that I just mentioned: the to-do lists, the e-mail in your inbox, the files in your office, Covid-19, they are all circumstances. They are things that exists in the world.
The drama in our brain starts when we begin thinking about them.
We stress ourselves out when we thinking things like:
- I have too much to do
- I can’t stay on top of it all.
- What is wrong with me that I can’t get this done?
- This pandemic is really hurting business.
All those thoughts I just mentioned are all just sentences in your head. They’re not true. We decide if we want to believe them or not.
Don’t believe me?
I used to think that feeling stressed out was just part of being a lawyer. It was a fact.
Then I discovered that I had control over what I felt.
I didn’t have to do everything “perfectly.” I didn’t have to work 70 hours a week. I didn’t have to use alcohol to unwind.
It took me slowing my brain down to uncover some of these thoughts thought before I could unravel them and really see them.
Let me give you another example.
People saw the very same presidential debates Tuesday night and thought completely different things.
- Someone thought one looked like a bully and another seemed nice.
- Someone thought one looked strong and another looked weak.
- Someone else thought that they want to vote for the incumbent.
- Someone else thought that they want to vote for anyone else.
- Someone else thought they didn’t want to vote at all.
- Plus there were about 1000 other thoughts that people thought.
The point is, people can watch the same debate – a circumstance in the world – and have different thoughts about it.
You may think you have a million emails in your inbox, but someone else like Bill Gates can think that’s not all that many.
You may think the pandemic is hurting business when others lawyers are seeing a boost in business during the pandemic.
You might think that you have too much to do, but if someone else looked at your calendar they’d wonder what you do with all your time?
We have a lot of thoughts, and they aren’t necessarily true.
We tend to get stuck in our drama because we’re married to the belief that our thoughts are true.
I work with my clients on this all the time.
They swear their employees aren’t doing what they want them to do because they’re not very bright when the truth may actually be that they’re not doing what they want them to do because they haven’t taken the time to train their employees properly.
I have clients swear up and down that creating a calendar will just take too much time from their work, then when they begin to think differently about trying it they revolutionize how they spend their time and bill more hours than they thought possible.
Our thoughts are not necessarily truth.
The cool thing is about our brains is we get to decide what to think.
There are no thought police.
We can believe whatever we want and we don’t have fact checkers running around us.
You get to decide what you want to believe.
And a belief is just a thought that we have over and over again.
If you want to begin rewiring your brain to relax, then this is the first thing to understand.
The thoughts you have about having to check your email during dinner, about you having to be available by phone after hours, about you having to put more hours in at the office to make your hours aren’t true.
You’re choosing to believe them because that’s what you’re used to thinking.
Your brain has thought those same thoughts over and over, so it’s an easy habit.
It’s like the midday snack we’re used to grabbing when we’re not even hungry. It’s midday, and our brain is used to getting a quick dopamine hit at the same time.
The kind of deep relaxation we all crave is the result of rewiring our brain over time.
We’re all looking for the quick fix, but a quick fix doesn’t exist.
The ability to relax at will comes with working on ourselves. It comes with never-ending self-improvement millimeter by millimeter.
That’s why coaching is so impactful in changing people’s lives is because every week they come to a session to have their brain scrubbed clean and a light shined on all the thoughts that are keeping them from getting the results they want.
Until we learn to see our thoughts for what they are, we can’t rewire our brain. But it’s not like all of a sudden you’re rewired. If you do this kind of deep mental work, you’re constantly uncovering something new about how your brain thinks.
Doing thought work like this is an unfolding.
I think of those old maps in the movies when people thought the Earth was flat, and there would be a continent, then all around it oceans, then way out in the ocean there’d be calligraphy that says “Here there be dragons.” When you’re devoted to self-mastery, you’re like a sailor pushing your limits into uncharted territories. You don’t know what you’re going to find and sometimes it’s a little scary.
Here are some questions to begin asking yourself as you embark on this journey. I’m going to read them twice, so you can write them down and answer them after this podcast.
These questions are going to stretch your brain a bit and help it see other possibilities. This is part of retraining your brain. You help it see other possibilities, then you decide where you want to focus your brain. Do you want to let it run amok and do what it wants and allowing it to stress you out and make you overwhelmed with its thoughts, or do you want to take the reins and tell it what to focus on?
What we focus on expands. If we want new results in our life, we have to think differently.
It’s uncomfortable for our brain that’s practiced these old thoughts, but this practice is necessary if you want unwind your tense brain and give it space to breath.
Here are the questions:
- What would your day/week/month look like if it were easy?
- What’s the worst-case scenario if you couldn’t check your email during dinner/stay late at the office/whatever bad habit you want to purge?
- Can you commit for a week to not beating yourself up over anything? If not, why not?
- What do you think is preventing you from sleeping? I recently did a Reel on Instagram about sleep habits and posted about them. If you’re not on Instagram come join me there because I share a lot of things to help you rewire your brain consistently. @dina.cataldo
- What’s preventing you from spending more quiet time with yourself? What if you took 100% responsibility for the time you created for yourself?
- What if everything was perfect exactly as is right now? What would that mean?
- What’s one habit you’ve been thinking about doing, but you’ve been avoiding? [getting up early for tea, journaling, meditating, running, yoga] Why are you avoiding it? What do you want to make that mean?
Seriously ask yourself these questions. You’ll learn so much about yourself and how your brain works. Just remember that it’s totally normal for your brain to avoid even answering these questions. It doesn’t want to expend energy and it definitely doesn’t want change. You have to take it by the reins and tell it what to do.
Do I have too many metaphors in this podcast? You get my point.
This unravelling of your thoughts will help you learn to relax your lawyer brain. It’ll help you get clear on why you’re holding on so tightly to old thoughts that don’t serve you. And then you have the power to choose different thoughts if you’d like to make some changes.
I’d love to hear what you think of this episode. Be sure to tag me on Instagram @dina.cataldo, so I see your posts.
Hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll talk to you soon.