Transcript: Brain Management 2.0 - Predicting Outcomes with Dina Cataldo
Hello, my friend.
Today I want to talk to you about predicting outcomes, and I'm going to share a simple way to simplify your life, get your time back, and be happier.
If you own your own practice, I'm sharing a case study that you don't want to miss because you could be hurting your business by not predicting outcomes the way I describe in this podcast.
And if you don't own your own practice, you'll want to keep listening too because this podcast will help you in any area of your life where you are doubting yourself or feeling indecisive.
You'll learn how to make your brain super resourceful, so you're in control and you're not waiting for circumstances to change in your life.
I'm sharing this topic because I did this work with my client Nancy with a result that blew both of our minds. I have her permission to share the numbers, because she wants you to see what's possible when you do this kind of work on yourself and your business.
We didn't believe what we were seeing when we broke down the numbers to predict an outcome that she was ruminating over in her business. When we sat down and did the work I'm going to share with you it opened her brain up to possibilities she didn't see before, it stopped her brain from ruminating on the worst possible outcome, and she stopped worrying about what was going to happen.
When we're facing what our brain perceives as a problem, often we get bogged down in overwhelm and fear because we're afraid of something that will happen that is going to have a negative impact on our lives. We're afraid of losing control.
We want certainty. To our brain, certainty equals control.
And when we don't have absolute certainty immediately, our brain can shut down. It can become unresourceful and spend a lot of time in worst case scenarios that aren't even true. Our brain will tell us stories to keep confirming the idea that we've lost control and that we don't have certainty.
When we tell ourselves this stories, we feel like crap, and we can indulge in behaviors that aren't beneficial to our law practice or our life generally.
We buffer — in other words, we take an action to dull the feelings of doubt and worry and any other negative emotion we're feeling — such as working more but doing less impactful actions or eating when we're not hungry or scrolling social media, we may even start something completely new to distract us from negative emotions like in this case my client wanted to do a 90 Day Glow Up Challenge she saw on the internet.
In coaching we get really clear about where you want to take your life. We get that clarity because then we can keep our eyes open for squirrels that jump in front of us that aren’t necessarily in alignment with our big why.
When we looked deeper at her why — which I always want to dial in before going after a goal — we discovered it was to distract her from feeling disappointed about an outcome her brain was ruminating over that wasn't even true as I'll share later in this episode.
These are self-sabotaging actions that we can't even see without a coach looking at our brain. By having someone look at her brain, she saved herself 3 months of spinning out on a goal she was only taking on to distract herself from the true work she wanted to do serving her clients at a higher level.
This work also saved her from weeks of worrying and wasting time worrying about an outcome that wasn't even a problem.
She is not the only one who does this. We all spend lots of time worrying about things that may or may not come to pass. We worry about how a client is going to respond, we worry about whether we made the right choice, we worry about what outfit we're going to wear.
We spend lots of time thinking about simple decisions like what costume to wear to a Halloween party, so you can imagine how much time we spend ruminating over decisions like how we should be marketing our services, how we should be networking, whether we should hire someone or fire someone.
Worry is not a helpful emotion, and I'm going to show you the magic of the math you can do when it comes to predicting outcomes in your business and in your life.
Let's walk through the outcome that we predicted when we used the magic of the math to predict instead of letting our brain run wild with what horrible thing could happen.
Here's the context.
My client is a partner in a firm. She shares an assistant with a couple of her partners. Those partners were saying things like, “The assistant isn't going to work out.” Those partners weren't inclined to keep her on. Well my client has invested time in training her to help her organize consults, and this assistant has helped her make more money in her practice.
When her brain heard the words that the assistant “wasn't going to work out,” her brain went into overload. It made that mean that she wasn't going to be able to keep her because she couldn't afford to keep her on her own. This created thoughts like she was going backwards in her practice which created a lot of frustration. Remember, our thoughts create our feelings.
Her brain wanted to distract her from these negative feelings, so it became really involved in a 90 Day Glow Up challenge that had nothing to do with the goals we'd talked about for her practice.
I'm going to stop here because every single one of us have done this kind of thing before, and it's important that you notice when this happens to you, so you don't go down a rabbit hole.
When you see your brain wanting to take LOTS OF ACTION in a different direction than you've been focusing your attention, ask yourself why. Are you avoiding something? What are you avoiding? It's always a feeling.
This is why having a coach is so helpful because they can nip this in the bud before you waster your time and energy down a rabbit hole you didn't know you were going down and get refocused on what you REALLY want.
What my client's brain was NOT doing was being resourceful. It didn't want to look at the math of the problem, which is what we did on our call together. Instead it ruminated.
Ruminating is NOT getting down to the math of the problem. It's unresourceful, but we like to believe it's super helpful.
For example, when a lawyer books a consult with me, I'm listening to understand their thought processes, so I can show them to them. Their brain never goes to the math. How much is it worth to them to get their time back. So for instance, if they charge $200 an hour, and they get back 5 hours a week working with me learning where they're undercharging or wasting time, they get their investment with me back in under 2 months, and we keep working together for 4 months after that. It's a no-brainer for them to hire me because they know they're going to get so much more value in our time together.
If we take this a level deeper, let's say they want to create more quality time with their family, and they learn how to manage their mind, so they're not constantly wanting to check their email or distracted about work while they're with their partner, how much are they saving in divorce fees or on alimony by hiring me? tens of thousands at least!
OK, so let's look at the math my client and I worked out.
The first thing I asked her was what her worst case scenarios were with her assistant. Her brain went to two places: 1) She couldn't have the assistant at all, and 2) she would have to pay for the assistant's salary 100% whereas she'd been contributing 33% before.
So we took her brain to those extremes. If she didn't have the assistant at all, it wouldn't be the end of the world. She could find an online assistant. She would figure out how to train them and get systems going. So this wasn't really a problem when we took her brain down this road. Yes, it'd be work, but she was willing to do that to achieve her goals in her practice.
Then we took her brain to the opposite extreme of paying 100% of her assistant's salary. Her brain froze up when we took it there, and it wanted to go into overwhelm, but the result we got when I guided her brain through the overwhelm was phenomenal. We did straight up math that blew both of our minds, and her brain couldn't see it in this unresourceful state.
Here's the math:
Her assistant's salary is about $90,000
Her assistant helped her with vetting and booking consults totaling a value of about $46,000 annually.
Pausing here, her brain could get on board paying 1/3 of the assistant's salary, but still couldn't get on board with paying 100%. Her brain could see it was “worth it” to pay 1/3 of her salary since she was currently making $46K more, and that seemed fine.
So we kept doing math to see if it would be worth it to hire her full time. We got super curious not knowing the answer to the question.
Her brain wanted to assume — without taking time to do the math — that it was NOT worth it. This is normal.
Our brains go straight to “I can't” or “I'll wait and see” by default. They're easy answers that don't require concentration and cater to the brain's desire to stay comfortable and safe.
Predicting outcomes requires a different way of being.
Predicting outcomes requires you to be the CEO of your practice whether you have your own practice or not.
CEOs get freaking in the deep and take responsibility for all of their results.
They get it done.
Get your brain resourceful. Don’t let the default setting of fear drag you to a random destination. You are in charge.
We started looking at what would happen if the assistant was working 40 hours a week for her exclusively. What would that look like? What kind of work would she be doing?
She'd be doing system building, intake, followup, outreach, filing, drafting and more all totalling about 37 hours.
But how much of this would be billable?
We did the math and about $37,000 of that work each year would be billed at the assistant's hourly rate.
So far we have $37K + $46K = $83,000
Ok, so she's just about paying for herself, BUT here's where the magic happened.
When we calculated how much more billable work my client would be able to do by keeping the assistant full time and taking all the non-billable work off her plate, she would be making — conservatively — $201,600 more in her practice.
Yes. We had to do the math on this multiple times because our brains hurt a the difference hiring her assistant full time would make on her practice.
And remember, the assistant is basically paying for herself by booking the consults and doing work at her own hourly rate too.
That means that she would be making — conservatively — about $190,000 more in her practice every year.
And her brain wanted to freak out and tell her that her plans were imploding. That she was going backwards in her business.
We played with this number a half dozen different ways. We were playing with using some of that time as taking days off in her practice, more vacation, using that time for working on her business instead of in it, and she'd still be making 6 figures more in her practice by hiring her full time.
When we allowed her brain to get curious about possibility instead of shutting down and reacting to the overwhelm and fear her brain initially offered her, we were able to predict the outcome objectively instead of letting the brain go down the rabbit hole.
This is what's possible with coaching.
Our brains don't do this kind of work naturally. Our default is to go into overwhelm and try to outwork the fear.
Specificity kills doubt.
When she predicted this outcome with math, she could overcome her brain's doubt and stop ruminating.
She could also make an educated decision about how she wanted to proceed.
Whenever we have an outcome that our brain tells us is in doubt, we can use this work.
Our brain wants to tell us that we could die if it makes a wrong decision.
That's almost never the case — unless you're deciding to jump out of a plane without a parachute.
When our brain goes into this default mode, our default emotion is fear, and we never make the best decisions for ourselves based out of fear.
We want to look at what the worst case scenarios are and ask ourselves if those worst case scenarios are even true.
And we can't do this work in a vague kind of way. We must be systematic and look at it objectively, which is not how our brain wants to look at things.
If you want to start managing your brain instead of letting your brain run the show, I can help you.
Book a call with me at dinacataldo.com and click on the work with me tab.
This kind of work can be life-changing.
It allows you to see possibilities that you didn't know were available.
This is why I do this work.
It helped me see the possibilities for my life, and I love helping lawyers do the same.
Alright my friend, I'll talk to you next week.