Transcript: Judging Other People with Dina Cataldo
Whenever we judge someone, we want them to be different.
When we want someone to be different, we wish we could control them.
Who doesn't want to control all the people?
Wouldn't it be great if we could tell adults how to behave, and they would just do what we tell them to do?
If this was something that was possible for us, and I could teach it, I would be all over it. I would make a fortune teaching people how to control each other.
It sounds horrible when I call it control, right?
But this is exactly what we want when we
– complain on social media that people are behaving differently than we believe they should
– blame defense attorneys for inconveniences to our lives because they should have done things differently
– ruminate and fume about a client who expects us to answer emails and gets upset when we don't
– beat ourselves up for doing something we think we should have done like followed through on a to-do list item
Yes, we want to control ourselves the same way we want to control other people. We want perfect hind-sight, and we want to behave perfectly all the time.
We think we should be able to be annoyed, angry and shame other people — including ourselves — into taking different actions.
If you want to spend your energy there, you're welcome to do so.
What I'm offering you here in this episode is a way for you to take back control of your time, energy and brainpower to use them in a way that is more impactful.
You can use that newfound time, energy and brainpower to implement systems that will help you avoid some of the same issues in the future, see red flags so that you didn't see before, make more billables that you otherwise would have spent ruminating and spinning out in “What if”-Land.
“What-if”-Land is where you hypothesize every potential outcome, and you don't problem solve. You just spin out like you're on a merry-go-round, and you don't take the time to think through predicting outcomes, which we talked about in episode 176.
There's a much better way to get what we want in our lives when we keep our brains resources, and I'm going to help you do that as we go through this episode.
And I'll give you some questions to start asking yourself, so you can begin this process today.
Before I do, I want to invite you to my latest Masterclass this Saturday.
I call it my Calendar Masterclass for Lawyers, but it's so much more than that.
I help the lawyers who come change how they think about the way they're approaching their practice, to calm the overwhelm and get focused on what's most important to them.
During the course of the Masterclass, I offer you a 90 Day Challenge that will help you improve everything in your practice and life using the system I offer you.
I've seen how implementing these practices helps shift my clients and even attendees to this event that have told me about their progress.
If you want to have more time, feel lighter, and start loving life again, join us Saturday at 8am Pacific.
If you absolutely can't make it Saturday, I send a out a replay that's up for a few days, but I encourage you to show up live.
We just have a better energy that we bring to our life when we show up, dig in, and get to work with other people cheering us on.
You can sign up at dinacataldo.com/calendarmasterclass
If you go to where you're listening to this podcast where the notes are, there's probably a link you can tap right there to sign up.
The first thing I want to do in this episode is introduce you to a concept my coach calls the Manual.
The Manual is a shortcut for talking about the way we believe that other people should behave and how things in the world should be.
I want you to think about someone who annoys you, angers you, pushes your buttons.
What do you think about them?
How should they be different?
How do you think they should behave?
Should they be nicer? Should they show up on time? Should they make better decisions for their life?
I've thought all of these things about people.
What I've learned over time is that when I notice these thoughts, I need to take a step back from them because they feel true to me. But they're not.
They should be exactly as they are right now.
There's a lesson they may need to learn that they haven't learned yet, and they need to learn it in their own time and in their own way.
We have zero control over when or if that happens.
Or maybe they're going through something that we can't see because we're not all-knowing, and it's impacting how they show up in the world.
This is what I want to offer to you in this episode: each one of us is on our own path. What's most important is that we put our attention on our own life and how we're living.
Here's how the Manual shows up for us.
– We think our romantic partner said or did or didn't do something. You have a thought that they should have X [taken out the garbage, whatever], what you're really making it mean is that they don't care about you or they're not pulling their weight in the relationship. You feel angry, but they don't. When we think this thought, we become angry or hurt. Maybe we push push the feeling away for a while telling ourself it's not that big of a deal, but the anger and hurt can still come out in really rude ways where we snap seemingly no reason. Or we make passive aggressive remarks, or we ignore them, and we don't investigate why we feel what we're feeling, and we don't talk to our partner in a deeply connective way about what's bothering us. We might just yell our what's bothering us. All of these actions lead to the result that we make it so we're more disconnected from our partner, and we probably just wanted more connection in the first place.
– Maybe you're in a business partnership, and you think that the other partners in your firm should behave differently. For instance, maybe you think that the other partners are slow in making a decision impacting your shares, and they need to get their butts in gear. When you think this thought, you feel annoyed. When you feel annoyed, you fume in your office, you don't want to talk to the other partners, maybe you disengage in meetings, if you voice your opinion it may come out more snippy than is helpful, maybe you get defensive when you're asked questions. What's not happening is that you're not problem-solving for what they need to come to a decision. You're not thinking about how you can make their lives easier. You're also disconnecting from the partnership. Our business partnership is like any relationship: We need to nourish it for it to continue to thrive. The result is that you disconnect from the partnership, and they probably don't make their decision any faster.
– You get an email from opposing counsel or a client. You read it, and you think something like, “That is so unprofessional.” You feel angry. So you write a nasty email back, or you fume in your office, or you go and complain to other people in your office about how unprofessional they were – and it's not always (or ever) a quick complaint where you just tell someone what happened, so you can fix the problem. Instead, you and your co-conspirator tear this person down and point out every fault they have.
Have I engaged in these behaviors? Of course! And it's always the least productive way to approach things.
I've also been on the other end of this behavior, and it's always not what they think. When you get an email from a lawyer who feels very angry and self-righteous about their response, it makes the other person shut down. They don't want to engage You didn't “put them in their place.” You just killed a relationship, and you missed an opportunity to have an adult conversation. I'm not saying you don't take time to think through a response if it's appropriate, but telling the person they're unprofessional or that they're rude or whatever you want to say to them in the heat of the moment is usually never the right decision. You're actually becoming the person that you originally thought THEY were.
Most of us don't see that.
Whatever you think about the person on the other end of your self-righteousness is actually coming out in your actions. So you're BECOMING the person you're judging.
Let's go through those examples
– In the first one about the romantic partner, you were thinking something like “they don't care about me or they're not pulling their weight in the relationship.” That was the judgment your brain had. Proceeding to be passive aggressive or snap at your partner and everything we talked about is not showing that you care about them, and it's definitely not pulling your weight in the relationship. A relationship works two ways.
– In the second example about the business partners, you were upset that the other partners weren't making a decision quickly enough. The judgment your brain had about them applies to you. You can continue to make decisions that impact you instead of giving your power away to their indecision. Because your brain is working on a plan to either get the result you want no matter what, your brain is waiting for something to happen. You're being indecisive.
– In the email example, if you fume and snap at the co-counsel, or you gossip, or you send out an angry email, you are becoming the unprofessional person you were judging them to be.
Did that hurt a little?
When I learned this, it hurt.
And when I point this out to my clients, I've been told it's like a punch to the gut.
If it did, that's okay. This is just something to bring into your awareness.
Our anger, our annoyance or frustration, it all feels very self-righteous. That's all ego talking.
We're right, they're wrong. We know what we're doing, they don't.
Catch yourself and then ask yourself how YOU can improve your thoughts to improve the outcome instead of them DOING something differently and you telling them how they should behave.
That never goes over well. How would you like it if someone told you what to do and how to behave?
Because they don't have to change
They get to continue behaving exactly as they do.
They get to think whatever they want to think.
Can you influence outcomes with YOUR behavior? Yes. But you have to work on your thoughts to do that.
I'm going to give you some questions to ask yourself, so you can begin doing that.
How to you believe they should be behaving?
In what ways do you believe that they should be more like you?
In what ways do you wish you were more like them? I guarantee you some of the judgement comes from you wishing you could do something they were doing.
How would you feel if someone told you to be different?
OK, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I”ll talk to you soon.