Transcript: Making Change Inevitable with Dina Cataldo
Hello, there. How are you doing today?
The sun is hot here in Northern California. I love going for walks in the morning and not having a chill in the air. Any time it's dark outside and still warm, I'm in my happy place. My brain doesn't think those two things should go together, so I'm delighted every time it happens.
Alright, let's get down to business.
If you've been spending time with me on Instagram, then you know this week I've posted quite a bit about making change.
And if you're not hanging out with me on Instagram, come say hi. I'm @dina.cataldo – I especially like hanging out in my stories. If you tag me with a pic of you listening to the podcast, I'll be sure to share it with everyone.
In this podcast, I wanted to talk about making change from a different angle.
When we're deep in our problems, we deeply identify with how we feel.
We personify ourselves as feelings.
We say, “I'm overwhelmed.” “I'm busy.”
Remember personification back in high school and college English?
The wind howled through the air.
The cat danced around the mouse.
The alarm yelled at me.
When we closely identify with something, our brain no longer disconnects them and see them for what they are: characteristics.
They're not stuck like glue onto us.
They're just words that we use to describe how we're feeling in that moment.
But if we repeat them enough, then they stick onto us like they're super-glued on.
It's why it's important to notice what words we use to describe who we are.
What we tell ourselves becomes reality if we repeat it enough.
This is where change comes in.
I will have lawyers come to me scared that they can't change.
They believe that they're just the kind of person who's overwhelmed.
They believe they're just the kind of person who doesn't know what they're doing. Who doesn't trust themselves. Who can't change.
The only reason they believe it is because they're repeated that thought so many times that that personification is stuck to them like glue.
The good news is, unsticking ourselves from these personifications is easier than you might think.
I'm going to tell you a little story.
About 11 years ago, I was walking down the street, and I saw a yoga studio. It was a few blocks from my apartment at the time, and every time I walked past it I thought, “I'd like to try yoga.”
I would say I want to try it, but then I'd think to myself, “It's probably not for me.” I made up this story about how the people who do yoga are flaky. That they're a little too woo. That they're all slender women who were snobby.
I talked myself out of trying yoga for over a year. Every time I walked by or drove by the studio I thought the same thing – Maybe I should try it. And my brain would counter with, but it's probably not for you.
Then one day I was really struggling. I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I had one thought: I needed to do something different.
And just at that moment a co-worker of mine suggested that I try the yoga studio she went to out. It was called Zuda. It was the same one I walked and drove by for a year.
And that offer by someone who was a member of the studio at just the right time in my life allowed my brain to think, “Maybe I could try it.”
That opened my brain up to feeling willing to go and try it.
I was in so much pain emotionally that it helped having an invitation to try something that was so out of my comfort zone.
My mind relaxed a bit even if I still had a thought that I might not belong there.
This is the first step to change. Allowing yourself to be open to change. Being willing to think differently, so you can do something completely different.
This willingness helped me continue going to yoga even when it was hard. It became the place I turned when I needed emotional and spiritual nourishment.
I see this with some of my coaching clients who come to me struggling with anxiety and overwhelm.
They're unsure if coaching is for them. They aren't sure that coaching is where they belong.
Once they allow themselves to be willing to do something different and outside their comfort zone, they start to see how it changes how they think and feel. Really they're changing. They're just learning new skills.
That was a lot like yoga was for me. Just like coaching, it allowed me to connect with myself in a way I didn't realize was possible.
And I would have deprived myself of that experience if I wasn't willing to do something outside my comfort zone.
So that's the first step to inevitable change: being willing to do something completely different than you've ever done before.
Here's the second: radical compassion for yourself.
When I stepped into that yoga studio the first 50 times at least, I was uncomfortable.
It was new, and it was bringing up all the insecurities that I wasn't good enough, that I didn't belong, that I stood out, that people were judging me. The first 30-40 times, I didn't have hair because I was going through chemo, so I wore a bandana. I felt so awkward and I felt the opposite of graceful, which is what I thought yoga was supposed to be about.
Having radical compassion for myself — which was fostered by the teachers in that community — helped me keep going even when I was tired and I was just going to lay on my mat that day.
What might radical compassion look like for you?
It may be planning your calendar meticulously on Monday morning, and not following through on some of what was on it. Can you be kind to yourself even though your week wasn't exactly how you'd planned it?
Can you be kind to yourself when you make mistakes?
Can you be kind to yourself when you fail?
One of the things that I learned was that falling out of poses in yoga was a sign that you're building strength. Of course, I didn't want to fall out of poses, but when I learned that falling wasn't failing, and allowed myself to fall, I got stronger. To trust myself to do that without feeling like a failure was part of the work. I became more compassionate to myself.
A lot of lawyers label themselves as change resistant instead of allowing themselves to be open to change.
They identify with feeling overwhelmed. I used to be that way, so I understand it.
I would stay late at the office and on weekends believing that's what I should do. I believed I should work harder and that the reason I felt so bad was that I wasn't doing enough.
The truth is, I wasn't open to the possibility of change, and I definitely wasn't compassionate to myself.
When clients come to me with this belief system that they always need to be doing something or available to their clients or associates, I know they just haven't been taught the skills they need.
There's nothing wrong with them. They are exactly how our society wanted them to be.
They learned the techniques our culture has taught perfectly, and they've got you this far: perfectionism, drive to work to the exclusion of all else, and this has led to a paralyzing fear of failure in a lot of people – me included.
Fear to do anything different because then we might look like we don't know what we're doing.
Even if you feel this way right now, change is inevitable for you if you do two things:
- Be willing to do things completely differently than you are now
- have radical compassion for yourself
Be compassionate to yourself no matter how many times you fall, no matter how many times you think you've gone down the wrong path, no matter how many times you are sure you should have given up long ago.
If you do, then you won't ever give up on yourself or what you want.
If you're like me, you might need an invitation to do something completely different for yourself, so I'm extending an invitation to you.
Working with me requires a willingness to do something completely different in your life.
To think differently, to understand yourself differently, to connect differently to yourself and others.
When you do, you'll begin building your law practice and your business how you want them to be and not how you were taught by old school attorneys how they were quote unquote supposed to be run.
If this resonates with you, I want to invite you to a strategy session with me. We'll talk about what you think is preventing you from living your most fulfilled life. And I'll talk to you about building a game plan to work with me to create the change you're looking for.
You can book a call with me at www.dinacataldo.com and go to the work with me tab.
You don't have to stay late nights and weekends to get the job done. You can enjoy your life without the overwhelm.
I hope you have a wonderful day, and I'll talk to you soon.