Lexlee Overton is a 5th generation lawyer who coaches lawyers to create better results in the courtroom and in their lives. She practically grew up in the courtroom, so it was no surprise when she became a successful trial lawyer.
After chest pains took brought her into the emergency room, Lexlee realized it was time to create change in her life. She credits one habit with helping her transform her mindset and her life. She talks about that habit and how it's improved every area of her life in this episode.
She's a leading results coach for lawyers and law firms that want to accelerate their progress and produce breakthrough results. Her goal is to transform her clients so they “become the happiest lawyer you know.”
Along with group and one- on- one coaching, Lexlee currently leads mindset retreats, team building workshops, and VIP intensive trial prep workshops for lawyers and trial teams. Her work has been featured by TedX blog, Elephant Journal, The Mediation Minute, and Forbes. Her motivational speeches have been sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar, Louisiana Association for Justice, and Mississippi Association for Justice.
She's also the founder and president of the board of Lexlee’s Kids, one of Louisiana’s foremost non-profit organizations dedicated to injury prevention of children.
Pretty amazing woman, right? You'll love our chat. Learn more about Lexlee in the links below!
- Mind Over Law
- 7 Day Beginner Meditation Challenge with Lexlee Overton
- Thich Nhat Hahn [His book “Peace is Every Step” ~ affiliate link]
- Soul Roadmap Facebook Group
- Morning Roadmap
- Guided Meditations with Dina
Dina Cataldo: Welcome to Soul Roadmap Podcast. Each week you'll hear strategies and inspiration to take action and live life better. Hi, I'm Dina Cataldo, lawyer, coach, and entrepreneur. This podcast is your roadmap to creating more success in your life, business, and relationships. Let's get started. Hi, there. Thank you for joining me today. I have a very special guest I want to introduce you to. Lexlee Overton shares with us insights and tools to use to introduce more intention into our daily lives. Once you hear that Lexlee and I are both lawyers, you may begin thinking that we're going to go into lawyer talk mode, or ask yourself, “What can you learn from this episode?” Let me tell you, Lexlee and I are very different from your stereotypical lawyer. And whether you're a lawyer or not, you need to hear our conversation about intention, awareness, reaction, and distractions. Once you begin implementing the tools that Lexlee shares with us, you will see a difference in how you feel daily. You'll notice a difference in how you interact with people and yourself, and you'll become addicted to how good you feel. I'm speaking from personal experience.
Before I introduce you to Lexlee, I want to give a shout out to Yogini Karen, who gave an amazing review on iTunes for Soul Roadmap. She says, “Dina has a great way of keeping the focus on practical applications. I've been listening while commuting and feel shifts in my thinking already. If that's something that speaks to you, give it a shot. We all deserve to live our best lives. This podcast is helping me get there.” Thank you, Karen, for taking the time to give a review, because it helps Soul Roadmap in the rankings in iTunes, which means more people can find this podcast. If you'd like a shout out in a future episode of Soul Roadmap, leave a review in iTunes. I'd love to feature you here. I also want to let you know that all the links you hear mentioned in this episode are on my website at dinacataldo.com/episodeseven, including where you can get my free morning roadmap that will help you design your mornings to be more productive and help you start your day off right.
Since I redesigned my mornings, I've been happier and more productive every single day. One of the questions I'm asked most is, how do you work as a lawyer, have a podcast, have a coaching business, and manage to have time for yoga, too? This morning roadmap is one of the tools I use. Even if you're not a morning person, check it out. You can use the tips and strategies I give you to design the routines that benefit you most, even if you're a night owl. You can get the morning roadmap and links to everything else Lexlee and I talk about at dinacataldo.com/episodeseven. Now onto our guest, Lexlee Overton is a lawyer, entrepreneur, mindset expert, and creator of Mind Over Law the Method. A program that helps hundreds of lawyers achieve optimal mindset for superior levels of performance in and out of the courtroom. She's a leading results coach for lawyers and law firms that want to accelerate their progress and produce breakthrough results. Her goal is to transform her clients so the become the happiest lawyer you know.
After years as a successful trial lawyer, Lexlee suffered from professional overwhelm and burnout, and decided to explore ways to be a better lawyer, without sacrificing mental and physical well being. Using psychology, meditation, and Eastern energy medicine, she developed a modern day approach to release stress, anxiety, and fear using scientifically proven techniques to train the mind and become a power performer. Lexlee coaches lawyers, leads mindset retreats, team building workshops, and VIP intensive trial prep workshops for lawyers and trial teams. Her work has been featured by the TEDx blog, Elephant Journal, The Mediation Minute, and Forbes. She's also the founder of Lexlee's Kids, one of Louisiana's foremost, non-profit organizations dedicated to injury prevention of children. You're going to love what she has to share with you, on not only becoming a successful lawyer, but how to become successful at anything you choose to do. Let's listen into our conversation. Hi, Lexlee. How are you doing today?
Lexlee Overton: I'm great. How are you?
Dina Cataldo: I'm doing fantastic, thank you. And thanks for being here. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to chat.
Lexlee Overton: I'm so excited to be here. I love your show.
Dina Cataldo: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I was really intrigued by having a discussion with you because it's not often I get to have a conversation with another lawyer who is as aware of the importance of mindfulness and creating that presence to create a more successful life, but also just to be more successful as a lawyer.
Lexlee Overton: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Dina Cataldo: Can you introduce yourself to our audience and just tell us what made you decide to be a lawyer?
Lexlee Overton: Wow. That one was, I think, predestined for me, maybe. I'm Lexlee Overton, and I have been a trial lawyer for almost 23 years now. I am a fifth generation lawyer. Both of my parents were lawyers, three out of four grandparents, a great-grandfather, and a great-great-grandfather. That's why I say, there's something that says you're going to go into law. I have six siblings, and four of us are lawyers.
Dina Cataldo: Really?
Lexlee Overton: Yeah. We were just raised with the law. I went into law school with a belief that I could help people. That it was a calling. Very idealistic in the sense that once I got into law school, I realized first, the brutal competition. And then some unwritten rules in law and one is that it's about winning. And you start to be trained how to think and argue any position. That winning goes into when you go into the practice, and you know this. When you're representing clients, you're their advocate. You're their warrior. It's a field, that for a reason, there is a high rate of depression and alcohol and drug abuse, because of the pressure that it takes on you mentally and physically. It's very exhausting.
Dina Cataldo: Yeah. I am a criminal prosecutor and we're not necessarily representing a certain person, but we're representing the interest of the State of California, where I am, and we're representing the interest and the safety of the public, as well as victims that may be involved in the crime.
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: It's very taxing on you because you feel a pressure to perform in a way that is at the utmost level, that is above and beyond being tired, feeling any distraction in terms of a family, or anything like that. Your entire focus is on that case that you are currently working on, specifically when we're talking about trial work.
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: And you're waking up in the middle of the night to jot down notes. You're thinking constantly about the case that you're currently in. Can you explain a little bit of your experience with trial work and some of the challenges that you've faced when you were coming up as an attorney?
Lexlee Overton: Yeah. I was really fortunate to go in and practice with my parents. And my dad believed that the best way to learn was to be immediately in the courtroom. I was in the courtroom, probably in the first week that I started practicing with him, coming out of law school. And I was really lucky for that, it also gave me a lot of experience very quickly. But a lot of pressure when people are depending on you, and you and your position as a prosecutor, the community is depending upon you. And there are victims that are looking to what you are going to do. And for me, I practiced in a civil litigation, it was about my personal clients and some of them were depending on me because there were serious injuries where they wouldn't be able to work again. How would they support themselves? And looking for recovery that way.
And I think we just get caught up in the adversarial nature of the practice requires that you be aggressive in some ways. It also requires that you wear certain masks. It's like you can't let them know that you're afraid, you can't let them know that you're worried, or let your position, if your case is, your argument is not strong, you can't let that be known. If you're worried about whether or not you're as good as your opponent, that can't be known. And most of us aren't. There's a study that's done by lawyers, and the fears of lawyers, all of them come down to whether or not they're good enough. Which is true for all of us.
Dina Cataldo: Right.
Lexlee Overton: Whatever our chosen practice is, and what we're doing, am I good enough for what I'm choosing to do? But the pressure of having people depend upon you, and then the opposite of what you do, and having people who do criminal defense work, and literally people are, their clients are looking to them sometimes in life and death cases. I work with a lot of lawyers that do death penalty work. The strain is very high, and then when you're in practice, if you're in practice for yourself, just like anybody who's an entrepreneur, you're looking to survive. And one case can make or break you, in some cases, depending on the money that's invested. It's also your clients story at the same time. It's all enfolded together.
For me, I had really good success at what I was doing. I was very obsessed with doing well in trial work. I enjoyed it. I was able to read people in a way that I didn't understand my intuitive ability when I first started out. And really, it's about learning to read energy and I could do that. I could listen to a witness and know whether or not the story was true or not. We all do that on some level. When you're in a room with someone and you've never met them, and you look across and you already know about something about how they feel. We're all reading the energy of things. I did it to the point where it was just a nonstop pace.
Eventually, I became, I think at the age of 32, ended up in the Emergency Room thinking I was having a heart attack. The test, the initial tests were coming back that, “Yes, I was having a heart attack.” But I wasn't. Them giving me medicine that basically dropped and bottomed out my blood pressure. It was just an experience. And going through a bunch of tests, after that, that basically the diagnosis was that I was probably just having some type of a panic attack. That the muscles around the esophagus were responding, just as it feels like a heart attack. And here's some drugs to help you deal with your anxiety, when I just didn't want to go down that route. And I think that for stress, for all of us, it doesn't have to be in the practice of law, like you said. Stress is the modern day predator for all of us.
What we're talking about is the fight or flight response, which is just an innate beautiful response that our body has to protect us. It was really great when we lived in the jungle 300 years ago, and had animals that could eat us. That was a great response in that the body goes into this automatic response of increasing your blood pressure and increasing your heart rate, and dilating our pupils so you have a clearer vision. And emptying your bowels so that you're light on your feet, and dumping cortisol into your system, which basically suppresses the immune system. And that's all great because you don't need an immune system if you're getting ready to be eaten, right?
Dina Cataldo: Right.
Lexlee Overton: You don't need to have energy on that. But the problem is, is today is that we don't ever come out of that stress response. We get stressed when we're in traffic. We get stressed with a phone call or an email, or an argument with our spouse, or worrying about our kids with some things. We're always at this low level rate of stress. We have this suppression of immune system, and the increased heart rate and blood pressure, and eventually we know that that is taking a toll on us. That stress is becoming, it is linked to, every leading disease that there is, including cancer.
It's our bodies response to long term stress. My bodies response to that was, in the sense that I didn't sleep, hardly at all. I often woke up in the middle of the night thinking about cases, like you said. And I had a young child at the time when I had that experience, when they decided it was panic attacks, and I said, “I have to do something different. I like what I do, but it's killing me.” At the age of 32, really something is going to, my body is going to respond in even a stronger way.
Dina Cataldo: The interesting thing that I took away from that, and I'm curious if your experience was this. When I had my diagnosis with breast cancer and it put me in a state of mind where I needed to figure out where I needed to change things, because I didn't recognize that I was in a state of high anxiety or stress all the time. I didn't recognize it, I didn't see it, it was a complete blind spot to me. But looking back, I recognize those things that were happening were me reacting instead of being present. It was me trying to maintain control of a million things at once, and not recognizing that I have limited control and I need to focus on those things, specifically, within myself. What was your experience leading up to your panic attack?
Lexlee Overton: That was the experience. I was multi-tasking and never stopping. Like I said, I had a young child at the time, so I had on top of that, managing everything within a business and working and having a very heavy trial schedule, and having a child on top of that. Everything that comes with that. I don't think I ever, I can look back at it now and realize, I was going through all the motions but I had no idea where I was. If that makes sense.
Dina Cataldo: It totally does.
Lexlee Overton: I had no awareness of where I was, and how heightened of a level of anxiety that I existed in, although I controlled it. Because I'm a very, come across usually as a very calm person. But, it was on the inside what it was doing, was something, like I said, it's the silent predator. What I know now is, is that existing at that high level of anxiety and stress, we are not functioning anywhere near at the level that we can be. It's impossible because our energy is so stressed. Our energy is so taxed, in so many different areas that we don't have the focus and the clarity that we can have once we start doing some of these practices that you're talking about. I listen to the show, and meditation being one of the most, I know for me it was the thing that I started with. All of a sudden I had to figure out how to do something differently, meditation is what started me on the path.
Dina Cataldo: There was something that you had said in another venue, I heard it in another podcast where you were interviewed on, and it was that you have more impact when you have more presence.
Lexlee Overton: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Dina Cataldo: That really spoke to me because I think that it's so overlooked that we really have tools available to us to increase our impact, whether we're a lawyer, or we're in some other field where we may have those reactions. We maybe have those distractions, and that need to have control. What is your experience with different tools in order to help you have a bigger impact in your job?
Lexlee Overton: I actually call some of the things that I use mind empowering practices. Because I do believe that the word mindset is a lot of what we're talking about and we use that, people use the word, the term mindset, in different ways. The way that I define mindset is, it is the beliefs that you have about yourself and your abilities in the world around you. And those beliefs are the mental energy that you have. And everything begins with a mental energy of awareness, which leads into a mind empowering practice of presence. The first practice I have is of awareness, and we can think as having a mindfulness practice, but more so than just being mindful of being present right here in the moment. I think it's a mindfulness practice about your life. Really slowing down and understanding who you are and where you're going. Where am I right now? It's being in this moment, what am I feeling? And then the next question is, is who am I? It was a powerful exercise that I love of asking that question and allowing yourself to answer it without any labels. Not the roles that you play.
For me, not that I'm a lawyer. I can't answer it as a lawyer or a coach, or a mother, or a daughter, or as a friend, who am I without those labels? That's a really true self awareness. And where am I going? Those questions of what do I really want to create because I think that when you have awareness, you slow down. You can actually change the energy of the mind and how you act from that. That would be the first practice.
I know that you've talked about awareness before, it's just a different way of looking at it. It's not just about the awareness of my energy right now in this moment, but who am I and where am I going? And I know that I lost track of that really quickly in practicing law. And I think a lot of us do, not just with practicing law, but when we get into whatever we're doing. There's this certain belief, “Okay. I'm gonna go to school. And then I'm gonna get a job, and then maybe I get married. And then maybe I have children.” And then we do all these things and we get so caught up in it, that we've forgotten who are we and what do we really want to do.
Dina Cataldo: Oh, yeah. I think that speaks to a lot of people when we get on a track and you are just completely focused on what is the next step. How do I get to the next thing? What do I need to do to win this case? What do I need to do to make sure I'm doing well? And-
Dina Cataldo: What do I need to do to make sure I'm doing well? And something that you said before, and I think a lot of people can relate to this is, am I good enough? Do I have what it takes to do this job? Can I do this? And I don't know how it was in your legal culture, it sounds like you were working with your dad in his dad's office at first, but you know, the saying goes overall, which is you're only as good as your last case. So how do you deal with that feeling? Do you have any tools to help people deal with that feeling of am I good enough to do this?
Lexlee Overton: Well, I think the very first thing is having awareness that you need to think like that. Most of us don't even acknowledge that we don't think that we're good enough, or that we're worried that we're not good enough, or that we're going to be, in a courtroom, shown up our opponent or embarrassed by not being good enough. But the number one thing when I work with people, it's one of the basic fears that we all have, is that either we're not good enough or we're not worthy.
So the first is having an understanding and awareness that you actually have those thoughts. So when I say the mind empowering practice of awareness, it's about starting to have awareness of the way that you even talk to yourself. The thoughts that we have, the beliefs which are just continued thoughts about ourselves, are the things that are going to make a difference about whether or not we end up doing what we really want to. And it also makes … I think it's the single determinant for success or failure, is our mindset, and I've done a lot of studying around growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, and I think that's very, very important. the ability to think that whether or not you're good enough and whether you can be comes down to whether or not you have a growth mindset and believe that you always have the ability to develop your abilities. We always have the ability to be better.
As a mother, I'm really conscious of the way that I talk to my children because if we have a fixed mindset, it's an inherent intelligence or ability that we have that really can't be improved with effort, and there's ways that we actually, even as children, that we start to think that will influence whether or not you have that growth mindset or that fixed mindset. So if my son is in cross country right now, started out really challenged, and you just got to practice. You got to keep pushing yourself. And he is improving, so all it's about … Talking to him about it is like, “Gosh, look at how much your time has improved because you practiced and you put in the work and you put in the effort,” so that he understands that it's not some kind of innate, “Oh, you're a good runner or you're not.”
It comes down to whether or not you have … You always have the ability to grow. And that fear of, “Am I good enough?” comes from something about being told, at some point, there's an experience that we had where we totally didn't feel good enough in the moment. And walking away with a belief like that, even as a child at five, can affect us today. It can affect me today at 50. Does that make sense?
Dina Cataldo: It completely makes sense. Because you work with a lot of lawyers in your coaching practice, I imagine, and I'm curious, so please tell me if this is true, when a lawyer comes to you, they may not feel … or they may not know whether or not what you have to offer them is going to help them, and they might have some mental roadblocks to doing some of the things that you suggest. Do you have that come up, or what kind of things do you have come up when you start talking to a lawyer that you're going to coach?
Lexlee Overton: You know, most lawyers that come to me come to me because they're in some kind of place of where either they're searching to do things differently because they're just so overwhelmed and stressed that they're open to the possibility of things that you can change that, you can do … There has to be a way to do it differently. I'd say probably 80% of the time, the reason they're coming to me is that because they're absolutely burned out, and that appears in different ways.
A lot of times it comes across as that they're angry a lot, and that comes from … That's just a stress response. Anger is the way that we express fight or flight in a modern society. The aggressiveness. So instead of attacking the saber tooth tiger, the anger is the way that we're expressing that energy of the … like it's a need for survival. And that comes across, a lot of lawyers leave their offices with, at the end of the day, exhausted and stressed out dealing and arguing for a living, and then go home and take that energy out in a way of not being very patient with their family or their kids and easily getting triggered.
So I think that they're open because they're usually searching for a different way of doing something. When we start talking about the first thing that I teach is this awareness practice, which really leads into a mindfulness practice, and leading into some type of meditation practice. And when I mention meditation, they usually want to run the other way because they think that they can't meditate. They can't have a quiet mind. You know? It should be called the M word, a lot of times the way that their response is to it.
Dina Cataldo: I hate even saying the word meditation around people because it does have that triggering effect for a lot of people.
Lexlee Overton: Yeah, but it really … It's an ancient practice of training the mind. That's really what it is. It's thousands of years old, and all it does is train the mind, and there's so many different types of meditation practices. Try one and you think, “Oh, I can't do this because I can't think.” Then first of all, you have to know that it's a complete myth that you're meant to sit down to meditate and not think. The job of the mind is to have thoughts. It would be like sitting down to say that you're going to meditate and telling your heart to stop beating. It's not going to. It's an involuntary, so same thing for thought. So if you can get out of the place that you have to not have thought to be able to be a good meditator, then that's starts to ease up some of this anxiety of even trying to meditate. Thoughts are going to happen.
It's about having some practices that allow you to let go of those thoughts, and there are spaces that are silence and stillness that are before thought. And when you can start to find those and allow those spaces to grow, even if it's just for a few seconds or even a second, it has an effect on the mind and the body that science is proving is so powerful.
But even having … using meditation just to have the awareness that you have the thoughts, that those thoughts are there, the thoughts of, “Am I good enough?” and all of those things, and that those are thoughts and that you realize that we are not our thoughts, but they are constantly driving us. So it's an ability of having the awareness and learning to let that go. So I think that's the first thing that I give lawyers, and I get the guided meditations to do that in practices, and using simple things like breathing. So they start to almost immediately have an effect from that because the breath connects the mind and the body, and it starts to slow down all those stress responses so they can physically feel a difference. And so when they start to feel little things like that, Dina, then they're like, “Okay, well maybe she's taught … She knows a little bit about something that can make me feel better,” and then they're open to more practices from that place.
Dina Cataldo: That's a great place to start because I didn't start with meditation. I started with yoga, and I knew that that was a way to make myself feel better physically. It was only after recognizing that going to yoga was helping me with my mind that I started incorporating a little bit of meditation. But when I really started a regular meditation practice, I noticed a significant difference in being able to create distance between what I'm feeling and how I behave. So if I am listening to somebody talk and I'm starting to feel anxious or I start to feel angry, I can step away with a breath and think, “Okay, why am I feeling angry? Why do I feel this way?” And instead of reacting, maybe before I would react in anger, I can take a step back and just take a breath and recognize, “You know what? This does not affect me. This is the other person who is metabolizing their responses in their own way. It has nothing to do with me.”
Lexlee Overton: Yeah. It's a big myth that we think that the way that people act and speak towards us has something to do with us. It really doesn't. It has to do with them, and that's a really … a powerful insight that you get when you start to meditate. You also realize that your thoughts really are not about right now. A lot of times it's about past experiences, and your beliefs are coming from places that you may not even remember, and you have the ability to start to shift that and shift your mindset around that.
I think meditation, having a practice where we're mindful, which is like the … Mindfulness is what most people are familiar with. It's where the most research is done. But meditation is a term that is very broad. It's like equal to the term of athletics, and under athletics there's many different types of sports. Meditation is equal to athletics, and underneath the meditation there's many different types of meditation, and mindfulness is just one of them. It's the easiest, most powerful way to start because it's really about, going back to what you talked about before, about being present right here in this moment. And when we're present, then we have more power. I totally believe that.
But I think that the benefits of meditation is connection with yourself, starting to have awareness of where you are and who you are, and then … and that allows you to have a different connection with other people, which is what you're talking about. Being able to have the space between what someone is saying and all of a sudden understanding you're having a trigger from that, and being able to step back from it and look at it from your space so that it doesn't interfere with this connection with this other person, if that makes sense. It helps us to understand what is theirs and what is ours, and so that the connection doesn't have to go haywire, but we had a misunderstanding of whose energy is what.
Dina Cataldo: I think we should bring up that this takes time and that it's not an automatic overnight easy thing. At least it wasn't for me. I don't know. Other people may have different experiences, but for me, it has taken me quite some time to take that step back, and even when I'm speaking with someone and recognizing that my mind has wandered and that, to pull myself back and to really focus on that conversation that I'm having, to actively listen, to ask a question that is on topic, that takes time. But with just these little steps that you're explaining, you will get there.
Lexlee Overton: You will, and there's so many different practices that will help you with that. Like I said, doing breathing practices will help you, that you can reconnect into the moment, reconnect into your body at any moment, because the breath is always with you. So there's this one that I teach. It's called the Seven Breath, and you basically, you breathe in through the nose for a count of seven, and then you hold it in for a count of seven, and then you breathe out for a count of seven, and then you hold it out for a count of seven, and just repeat. It's really great to help you go to sleep because you get so caught into the counting and bringing you back to the present moment so that your thoughts aren't everywhere.
I think that that's one of the most powerful practices that you'll start to see an immediate effect with, is because if you use your breath, it really brings you right here. If I have to focus right now on my breath, and it's the only thing I'm focusing on, I'm not going to … If a thought comes in, I'm just going to bring it back to my breath. It brings everything back to right now and to the power of presence, so that's a simple one that you could be using standing in the grocery line or standing in the courtroom, that you can always be bringing your power, your energy, your awareness, your focus right back right here. And that is a meditative practice.
Meditation doesn't have to be sitting still in a room, in a quiet room with a candle lit, humming, or whatever the view is that you have in your mind when you think about meditation. A meditation practice can be doing yard work. It's about bringing your mind into the present and of what you're doing. Most of the time we're so distracted. We have this conversation going on in our head, that that's the sensation that you have. You get in the car and you drive, and then all of a sudden you're home and you don't even remember the turns that you took. So a meditative practice of a mind … say, mindfulness practice, is just about being aware really, really, really right now.
Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Buddhist meditation teacher, and he talks about even taking the practice of washing the dishes. If you wanted to make that a meditative practice and a mindfulness practice, it would be like when I have my hands in the water, what's the … Being really aware, like so engulfed in it, what's the temperature of the water? What does the water feel like running on my hands? What is the weight of the plate or the pot that I'm holding? Seeing the sight of whatever is there, the suds, the bubbles, the whatever it is that you're washing away. Like bringing in all of your senses just into the moment. If you did that when you were washing dishes, that's a meditative practice. It's a mindfulness practice that brings you right here.
And so all this stuff that we talk about, stress, being it really is about worrying about the future, regretting the past, or actually resisting what is happening right now. And meditation practice just help you to be right here, right now, and allow everything that's here without having the response to it, like you were talking about when someone says something that you start to get triggered.
Dina Cataldo: And everything that you've just said are tools that will help you be better at life, and if you're a lawyer, better in the courtroom. You'll be able to focus better on the witness that's in front of you, the juror that you're interviewing, the argument that you were making before a judge. I mean, these are all things that will help you be better. So the resistance that … If a lawyer is listening right now, if you feel any resistance coming up, know that this is something that will make you better. And when you start combining that with what you've been talking about, Lexlee, which is the knowledge of what you want, how do we want to be in this world, what kind of lawyer do you want to be, all of those tools help make you better.
And one of the things that you were talking about are all of the distractions that come before us, that we make it difficult. For instance, email popups on our computer all day long. We have social media. We have people coming into our office, people who are asking us questions. In addition, I work with a lot of young attorneys and young interns, and they come into my office and they're asking me questions, and I have to remember to be mindful and be able to refocus my attention. How do you talk to lawyers that are facing some of these same difficulties with all of these distractions that are before them?
Lexlee Overton: Well, that goes into the mind empowering practice of presence that we've mentioned, and that begins first with, where is your presence right now? Where is your focus? Where is your attention? And trying to do multiple things at once, which is unfortunately the way that we've been trained to do things … I'm supposed to handle a bunch of things at once, but really, the mind is unable to do that. The mind cannot multitask. You think that you're multitasking, but you're really just doing things in rapid succession. So if you understood that, then you could stop and say, “I'm going to only focus on this,” and when you do that, you will have better results in that you will get it done quicker and with more clarity and outcome in that.
So to answer your email and … or read an email at the same time that someone's talking to you, which is something we all do with our phones, right? We're reading text or email and halfway listening to what someone's saying, is really you're not … You don't have the clarity that you need for either one of those, and it slows you down, trying to do both at once.
If I give practical tips on that, in that you have to start to create boundaries, and if you understood that your mind can't handle that and that you would be more effective if you chose to have presence with one thing at a time, then it's easier to say, “Okay, I can create these boundaries.” A simple one that I try to say is, it's like pick the most important things that you need to do in the day, because if you begin in the morning, and I know you have an incredible brain practice that you have for your listeners, and one of the things that I have in mind is like pick the three most important things that have to be done today and then find a time block that you're going to concentrate on that, and that means that you have to be willing to say, “I'm not going to look at my phone. I'm not going to look at email. I'm actually going to close my door.”
My staff knew, when I was my practice and I had a staff of 10 people, if my door was closed it meant don't bother me. And I used to have a kind of phone, an office phone where I could click do not disturb so they couldn't ring me. Right? So unless somebody was on fire or bleeding, the door shouldn't be open because this was my time to focus. But if you could have that mentality for a two hour period, you will achieve more in that two hours than you normally do all day long. That's a really great tip in being able not to trying to multitask and having your energy drawn in all these different ways.
The other thing is, is we only have so much energy to give. So if you start thinking of it like a bank account, like I have $100 a day of energy to invest in my day, and if you start investing it in conversations or in email or in… testing it in conversations, or in email, or in thinking about whatever has to be done in this place. Eventually, you're going to get to a point or like let's just say that you … even going and working 12-hour days because you're going to get to a point where you don't have enough energy. So then, it starts to go into a deficit, and that affects us in different ways, and the very first place that it affects us is in creativity, and for lawyers, it's really important for you to be creative. You have to. You're thinking about arguments in different ways, and ways of planning, and the steps to take in a case, and the most powerful steps to take, and you need creativity, energy to be able to do that. If you're physically and mentally exhausted, you can't. You're not going to be as creative as you could be.
Then, if you keep going into a deficit, then it's going to start to affect your relationships because you're so … Your energy is at such a deficit that you're so focused on whatever you're trying to do with work. Then, you don't have the energy for the relationships around you. You cut back on times with friends and with family, and skip the things that were really important to you, but you don't have the energy for them. Then, eventually, if you keep going into a deficit, then it's just going to affect you physically. It's the way that we become sick.
Dina Cataldo: It's important that we start these things before we get sick.
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: Before we have that wake up call where we know we have to do something different and we're willing to do anything.
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: Like, “Hey, we're offering this to you before any of that happens, so when you start implementing what you're talking about, that's when the magic happens. That's when you start to make amazing shifts in your life.” Can you explain to us some of the shifts that happened in your life when you started meditating?
Lexlee Overton: Yeah. One of the biggest powers I find from meditating besides what we've already talked about, understanding what my own thoughts are, and how they were holding me back, and what my fears were, and having the space of the quietness in a way that gives your mind and your body a rest, one of the biggest, I say, powers, rewards of meditation for me is that when I take the time to intentionally be present, I know that any question that I have, I can tap into the energy of the answer.
One of the practices that I have when I teach lawyers a daily mindset practice, which includes being really clear about creating a mind map like what do they truly want in life and what are the beliefs that support that, so there's a process of doing that and stepping into the energy of that every morning by doing some visualization about where they're going and really reading and feeling the energy of beliefs that support that and the mindset practice every morning with just a five-minute of what I call a listing meditation.
It's just where you set an intention. Maybe it's like, “What is the next thing that I need to do just to be on path of these things I want to create?” These are the questions that … “What's the next thing I need to do?” Just sitting in five minutes of listening to see what comes through. What inspired ideas? I've had the best ideas for my business and for problems that come in in that five minutes and things … It's like it's setting the intention to do it and also being in the space of listening.
Now, a lot of times, that happens for us when our minds are just off a little bit so that ideas can come in. It used to happen to me when I was doing a lot of trial work in the middle of the night. I would have a dream, and all of a sudden, I'd have the answer to the problem, and I'd wake up, and I had to start to get in the practice of writing it down because I wouldn't remember it the next morning.
Dina Cataldo: Right.
Lexlee Overton: What was that? Well, that was my mind getting in a place where it can slow down enough where it can receive guidance in the sense that I can be in this place where I could even hear my own ideas or creativity, and what you're tapping into on I think a higher level of consciousness that you can tap into for getting answers. What I really love is when people start to understand that when you slow down and you place yourself in a space to listen, that the silence has so many answers when we're all the time trying to control things that if we just slow down and listen in that meditative space, you can invite what can come through.
Dina Cataldo: Oh, yes. That's been exactly my experience too. I wake up really early in the morning, and that's my quiet time. When I sit there, I make it a point of doing a visualization and creating my day because if you don't enter your day with an intention, it's going to run all over you, and that's what leads to the reactionary behavior, the inability to maintain focus, I believe, because if you don't have a plan and you don't set the tone, it's not going to go the way you'd like it to go.
Lexlee Overton: Right, that's what I … When I talk about the power, the mind and power … practice of presence, when we've talked about self-presence, we've talked a little bit about being present with others and like really listening and doing active listening, and even I say try the tip of like when you're looking at somebody eye-to-eye in a conversation of like really just like, “I'm giving you all of my energy.” If you do it correctly, they'll usually stop and be like, “What? What are you doing?” They can feel it because we're so used to not being present with each other.
But then, the third part of doing presence is truly being present with an intention, and that practice, Dina, that you're doing, I know because I do it in the morning too, I create a power word that is like, “What is my intention for the day?” because I believe and know that your energy is your power, so choosing your presence is choosing your energy. “What am I tapping into?” That's even what a visualization is. It's like tapping into the energy of what I want to create, and you're doing that in the morning when you set an intention of, “What do I want for today? If it can unfold perfectly, and I could see that in my mind's eye, how would I feel?”
Whatever it is for the day, maybe it's exciting, maybe it's empowering, maybe it's focused, but if you could say, “That's my intention for the day,” one, you're training the mind for that. The mind is already going to start to look for ways to feel whatever you're intention is for the day, and science has shown that. If you can start to place into the mind whatever energy is that you're choosing, it will actually look for it in the experiences that you have in the day. I think that is a very powerful practice, and I call it my power word. What's my power for the day? What's the word that describes that?
Dina Cataldo: I'm going to throw out the word “manifestation” on that because I have … There's varying discussions about manifestation, and I've done a pop quiz on my Instagram stories about whether or not people believe manifestation was science or woo-woo, but really, there is a lot of science backing what you visualize, what you want to create in your world will be created, and when you're talking about this and you're talking about that visualization, that intent, your brain really is trying to help you like it wants to help you.
That's why there's stress in our lives. It's to help because it thinks it's helping us, but when we start to take back control of brain, when we start to train it to work for us in different ways, in healthier ways and deal with it in the way that we want, that's when we can start manifesting and creating the days that we want, the feelings that we want because our brain is looking for that. Is that something that you have had experience with yourself?
Lexlee Overton: Oh, yeah. Everything that you're talking about is exactly not only how I've changed what I'm doing in my life and like stepping into creating and knowing that this is the path that I want to be on, so switching from being a trial lawyer for so long that now working with lawyers and helping them to be more powerful in and out of the courtroom, this is really what I want to do now, and people around me were like, “Are you crazy? You're good at what you do. You've grown this …” I'm like, “Yeah.” My parents who are retired lawyers are like, “What are you doing?” But I knew that I was visualizing and creating, and if I believed in it, then it would happen, so yes, I believe in manifesting.
It doesn't matter if you think of it as woo-woo or not, and we can make it more not woo-woo by saying it really comes down to mindset, so if you believe that you can create something, you will. I think of it as the energy of my beliefs and thoughts are at a certain vibration and that I will be looking for the things that match that, but if I wake up … Think about a day when you woke up and you tripped getting out of bed, and then you … brushing your teeth, and you spilled toothpaste on your shift, and then you get in the car, and you're already late, and you get in the car, and it's the worst traffic ever, and you're like, “Oh my god, could this day get any worse?” The whole day goes in the energy of that.
I really think that that has a lot to do with what your mindset about that is. Maybe you tripped when you got out of bed and you laugh still at yourself like it was a great way to start with a big laugh, and then you shift the perception of it, so we can say that shifting our beliefs on the way we view things, but I know that there has been study and research that says if you do a gratitude practice in the morning or an intention-setting practice in the morning that your mind will actually look for that, that it will start to be trained to look for the positive.
I had this happen with a client recently, and I said, “You've got to do something in the morning where you're setting an intention and that you do something to be in gratitude for where you are and even the learning experience that you're in.” The first couple of weeks that she did it, she said, “I just want you to know. The one thing it made me aware of is how negative I am in the morning.”
Dina Cataldo: Oh.
Lexlee Overton: She's like, “I am really set in this, and that made me aware of it,” but the more she did it, the easier it got. In the first trial that she had, she'd probably been only about a month in to trying and doing these practices. She wasn't doing them every day. It's not something you say, “If I don't do it every day, I'm going to fail.” It's just about … Once you start doing the breathing, and the awareness, and a little bit of listening, and starting to have an awareness on what your own thoughts are, it starts to feed into everything that you're reviewing.
She had a one-day trial, and she came out of it, and she said, “I don't know how to tell you what happened.” She said, “One, there was a witness, and he was really, really just snarky in his response, and he was trying to get a response out of me.” She said, “[Inaudible 00:49:28] just late in today.” She's like, “But then, I was like really aware of what was happening, and then I didn't need to do that.”
I said, “That's great thinking. It's like that response that you and I just talked about,” and she said, “Well, I don't know if I described that right. Let me try to see if I can get you to understand. Somehow, Lexlee, I knew what was going on in the room like I was aware of everybody. I knew what the judge was thinking. I knew what my opponent was thinking.” I said, “Yeah, that's the power of it. It's like coming back into complete awareness of the energy.” When you start to set an intention, you can create because you have awareness of where you want to go, and you'll start taking action based upon that, so that's a non-woo-woo way of saying that you'd manifest.
Dina Cataldo: Yeah. I think that's powerful. I think that the more … Anyone hears this, but lawyers too because we're specifically talking about a very intense job that requires a lot of energy and can often pull us away from things like our families, and like our friends, and ourselves, and taking care of ourselves, but when we start to implement some of these practices, we really do get into a flow. We really do see everything around us in a new light and one that's really going to help us succeed in any area of life. I think that's amazingly powerful.
Lexlee Overton: Oh, I do too. I think knowing what you want, this questions that we talked about, “Who am I, and where am I going?” and starting to give your mind the energy of that, whether it's the thoughts, and the beliefs, and visualizations of the possibilities of what you can create, is the most powerful thing that you can do. I call that a mindset practice. I can tell you that when I started doing it on a consistent basis, and started keeping track of different areas in my life of what I wanted to create, and started doing a practice every morning that was focused on that, within three months, I looked at that list, and 90% of what was on the list was already done.
Dina Cataldo: Ooh.
Lexlee Overton: It already happened. Within six months, I had completed a new list. It was just me before it, so I know how powerful it can be, and this is I think true for when you look at anything that has to do with what you're going to succeed at. It is about your focus. It's about your intention. What do you want to create? If you're clear on that, you start to get really clear about where your energy is. It helps you to answer the questions about, “What should I be saying yes to, and what should I be saying no to because it's not in alignment with what I want to create?”
Dina Cataldo: Right. It's really holding ourselves accountable for what we want to create in this world. Do we want to create more Facebook posts, or do we want to create something else? Do we want to create a life where we're really interacting with the human beings in our lives that we want to interact with? It can be challenging, but it's something that is doable when we have awareness around it and when we start creating that awareness around it.
Lexlee Overton: Yeah, and it's like once you start and you start stepping into or tapping into that energy as I say, it is like what you just mentioned. It's almost like a snowball effect. You start to see things happening and even synchronicities happen that you're like, “Oh, look at that,” and it's really just that you're training your mind to focus and be aware of the direction you want to be. That's why I call it mind mapping. It's like you have a new mind, and all of these practices are ways to empower your mind to get where you want to be.
Then, there's no in destiny. There's no in … It's like that list I told you. “Oh, [inaudible 00:53:19].” Then, you just create another one. You keep moving forward. Then, life becomes such a great adventure. I get really excited about talking about this because I think it's really powerful if we just know these simple things that can start to make huge changes in how you feel about who you are and where you're going.
Dina Cataldo: Mm, yeah, and it is. It's a snowball effect because your brain is starting to look for the things that you want, that you want to feel. I love that.
Lexlee Overton: Yes.
Dina Cataldo: Well, I want to respect your time. Is there anything else that you want to share with listeners before I ask you where they can learn more about you?
Lexlee Overton: No. I think this has been such a great conversation. I'm all excited, all worked up, and ready to go. [Inaudible 00:54:02] run a marathon. I get so excited about this, Dina. I know you do too in the work that you're doing with people. It's really exciting to see people be empowered by simple practices and to know that you really are a co-creator in what's happening in your life.
Dina Cataldo: Oh, yeah, so tell us where we can learn more about you.
Lexlee Overton: My website is mindoverlaw.com, and on there, there are things for non-lawyers too. There's a seven-day meditation challenge that you can try that leads you through a recording for seven days that leads you into different practices, these practices that we're talking about where I'm teaching you some different reading techniques to gratitude, to using a power word actually in a meditation practice. I think each recording, each day is like 10 minutes, so it's a really great starting point. You don't have to be a lawyer to do that. That's for anyone.
Dina Cataldo: That's fantastic, and I'll be sure to link to those in the show notes so that everyone has access to that. I think that's a wonderful thing that you offer, and really, what could it hurt, right?
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: I mean, maybe you've tried meditation before, and it didn't work for you. That's okay. Try this out.
Lexlee Overton: Right.
Dina Cataldo: See what happens.
Lexlee Overton: Yeah.
Dina Cataldo: It's an experiment.
Lexlee Overton: Yes.
Dina Cataldo: Well, thank you so much for being here with me, Lexlee. This has been so much fun. There's so much we could talk about. There's just a whole world of things that we could talk about, but go to her website, find out more about it, and I will be sure to link to that in the show notes. Thanks so much.
Lexlee Overton: Thank you so much.
Dina Cataldo: I really enjoyed my conversation with Lexlee. I feel like we scratched the surface of this topic of actively creating a life we desire and bringing more awareness and intention into our lives. I'll definitely bring you more on this in the future. To learn more about Lexlee, head on over to dinacataldo.com/episode7. There, you'll find the links to everything we talked about in this episode including her meditation videos, her website as well as the Morning Roadmap I mentioned earlier. You can also join the Soul Roadmap Facebook group where you can get involved in the conversation about what we've talked about here on the podcast. Talk to you soon.
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