be a better lawyer podcast, feeling horrible, how to stop feeling horrible, why do i feel horrible

#214: Feeling Horrible

Big goals require big feelings.

It's normal to feel stretched beyond capacity when you're going after a big goal.

It doesn't feel possible in the moment.

I'm here to tell you it's 100% possible, but be prepared.

You must feel horrible along the way.

Life is 50/50.

50% sunshine and daisies.

50% feeling horrible.

You can't have one without the other.

Today's Be a Better Lawyer Podcast episode is all about feeling horrible, and how you can make it to the other side.

Buckle up.


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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

Hello, how are you doing today? Okay. So you're not imagining things. This episode is not coming out on Thursday morning. It's coming out on Tuesday because I felt like I needed to share this with you.

Feeling horrible is normal. And I think sometimes we believe that it's not. And I wanna share an experience that I have had with you so that you can recognize like, Hey, sometimes we feel horrible.

It's just one of the human emotions. Nothing has gone wrong. And we have the ability to shift out of it easier when we allow ourselves to feel it and feeling feelings is the most difficult thing in the world. Take it from me. I have been spending a decade feeling my feelings, trying to feel my feelings, trying to recognize if I was having a feeling. And so when I work with my clients, this can be one of the most challenging things because we have not been trained to do this. Most of us have not been told that the feelings are the secret to the universe, which they a hundred percent are.

Because if you have big goals, you are intentionally putting yourself in harm's way. You are intentionally putting yourself in front of negative emotion, emotion, like disappointment and despair and frustration and worry. All of those big things that we wanna create for ourselves.

There is negative emotion attached to it. I mean, there's no way around it. And so to discount these emotions as bad is not going to help us move forward with a goal. And if we don't learn how to have resilience around these emotions, we are going to make it as hard on ourselves as possible to hit that goal. We are going to procrastinate. We are going to complain. We are going to blame. We are gonna be like digging a hole for ourselves with all of this energy, rather than using the energy that is wrapped up in all of this, the negative emotions to further what we wanna create in the world. And this is something that I have been learning over the years, and it just came into sharp focus for me, as I was thinking about purchasing a duplex. Okay. So this is what was happening for me.

And I, and I want you to think about something that you long for something that you want, but maybe you think you can't have it could be having that calendar, that organization, that partner position, whatever it is. I want you to imagine something that you want, but you don't think you can have. Right. That is where I was. I was thinking about this duplex. Okay. And it was $625,000 and my brain, oh my God. I wanted it. Right. Like I had this longing for it.

And sometimes I hear people describe longing as a desirable feeling, right? Like it feels like desirable, longing does not feel like desire for me. And this is something that's important to know because everybody feels emotion differently in our body. We have different associations with those words. So you might experience longing as like this amazing open feeling me, I experience longing in a way that does not feel like desire.

Desire for me feels open. It feels like amazing longing. There's this attachment that I have to it that it's like, I want it. And I can't have it. That's what longing feels like for me. So my thoughts about this duplex were I want it, which created longing. Okay. I also was thinking I can't have it. And it, there was disappointment in there. And then I said $625,000. Well, it might as well be a billion dollars. And then I noticed that I had this feeling of despair right now. The only reason I was feeling any of these emotions is because what I was making the ownership of this duplex mean about me and what not owning the duplex meant about me. Right? Same thing. Like if you're thinking about your calendar and you're not getting it done, you're not following through on it. I want you to think about this, right?

So if you are not following through on your calendar and you feel disappointed, you feel, you know, kind of frustrated with yourself. It's only because what not following through on your calendar, what you're making it mean about you. So think about this. If you had the calendar, the perfect calendar, whatever that looks like, it does not exist. Let me fill you in on that. But let's say you had the perfect calendar and you followed through on it. What would you make that mean about you? Would you make it mean that you were a good attorney, that you were good with your time, that you were responsible? All of those feelings that you think maybe are the good feelings that you're supposed to have, right. Also, same thing, partner, role, not having partnership. Would you make that mean about you if you weren't partner, would that mean that you were less successful, that you weren't capable, that you couldn't have what you wanted?

Like, what would you make it mean? If you couldn't have the partnership, couldn't have the relationship, couldn't have whatever it is. What would you make that mean about you? Here's the thing, when we start looking outside of ourselves to make meaning of who we are as human beings, we're gonna make ourselves feel horrible. And that's what I was doing with this duplex. Cuz when I was really looking at it, I was thinking, okay, well, if I owned this duplex, that meant that I could create real wealth. However you wanna define wealth, right? For me, you know, you could put a number on it, whatever it is. Right. But I was thinking like, okay, I make buying the duplex mean that I can create wealth. Well I can create wealth without the duplex. In fact I have before. In fact I have some wealth, right? If I, the way I define wealth, I have some <laugh>.

So I just want to offer to you that the duplex itself, the calendar itself, the making partner itself does not actually mean anything about you or what you're capable of or what you currently have in your life. Your current amount of capability, your current amount of organization or responsibility. You have all of those things. It doesn't mean anything. If you have an outside representation of what your brain thinks makes it so that you are successful so that you are organized. No, you just are those things you just decide. All right. So the next thing that I made it mean was if I owned this duplex, then I would be wealthy. Like how many of us have done that? If I follow through on this calendar, then I know I'll be able to do it next week. If I make partner, then I'll know I'm successful.

If I leave my position right now, then that means I'm going to feel better. Notice that this is all looking at the external to make meaning of our lives. And it's really normal. Our brains do this automatically. Our brains are meaning making machines. They wanna look, they wanna find the meaning. They wanna define and categorize. That's why we have every single flower has a category. Every single animal has a species, right? Like everything that is categorized in our world because our brains work that way. We like to have nice categories, nice little packages of information so that we can feel comfortable in our world that we know all the things, right. If I own that duplex, then I'll be able to create wealth. It proves to me that I can create wealth. That's a total lie. Especially when I start asking myself, well, where am I already creating wealth in my life, through my business, through my home, through, you know, what other activities like, where is wealth coming to me naturally?

Right? Like every single day. Same thing. If you're thinking about your ability to follow through on your calendar, where are you already following through on the most important things, you're getting things done. You may not get everything on your calendar done. You may not tick off everything on your to-do list, but you make sure that you hit the most important things and those other things. Well, they'll just have to wait till tomorrow, recognize what is happening right now. Your brain wants to make meaning of everything that you're doing, everything that you're not doing. And then you've gotta go in and you've gotta take control. And the way you do this is by feeling the feelings. Because if you don't recognize that you're feeling horrible and you recognize like, oh, I have a thought that's creating that feeling. You are not going to be able to problem solve out of it.

So this is what I mean by that. So once I started recognizing, okay, I'm feeling disappointment, I'm feeling longing. I'm feeling despair. These all feel horrible. I just sat there and I felt them and I felt horrible for like 30 minutes. Like this is the work. Like if you're putting yourself into harm's way, if you're doing big things, if you're building a business, if you're going after partner, whatever it is you wanna create, you're gonna feel horrible sometimes. And so I just take it it's part and parcel of it. Okay. I've decided that it's okay. If I feel horrible and I'm offering to you that that is the magic because you're willingly putting yourself in harm's way. You're willingly feeling these horrible feelings in your body so that you can understand what's happening within you and start to problem solve. This is how I did that.

So I thought, okay, I'm making all of this meaning out of this duplex, owning this duplex. What does it really mean? Well, it doesn't really mean anything about me once I can parse out everything. I just talked to you about. I can say, okay. It means nothing about me. And then I can start saying, okay, well I can create wealth. I may not believe that right now. I may not believe that I can create big wealth, put whatever number on there that you wanna put for yourself. If that's where your mind is going. Right. I may not believe that I can, let's say, make partner or have the great relationship or manage my time. You know, whatever it is that you want to create, you may not believe that you can have it right now. And that's okay. But what I could recognize after feeling my feelings was is like, okay, well it doesn't really mean anything.

Like it just created a feeling in my body that I, I wanted something. I had the thought I wanted something that I couldn't have it. And that you know, I couldn't, I couldn't afford it was the other thought, right? Like it's too much. But really what I want is I wanna create wealth and I'm allowed to want things. You are allowed to want things too. Right? We talked about this on the dark side of gratitude. In that episode, I highly suggest you go back and listen to that one. I know I've had feedback from it and it has opened people's eyes to how they approach their life. You are allowed to want things, but when we make it mean something about us, whether we have it or we don't have it, we're at the whim of things outside of us. And they are affecting us versus us affecting our life, us affecting externally what we have.

So I was thinking, okay, if I really want wealth, then I need to believe that I can have it. Right. I need to believe that I can create it. Now. I may not believe that yet, but I can start bridging the gap between my thoughts that I want it and can't have it. And the belief that I can have it, that I can create it. And so in the middle, there's a gap, okay. Between what I believe now and what I want to believe. And right in that middle, I can start asking myself, well, what can I believe right now? That's maybe like a baby step away from those horrible feelings. <Laugh> that will feel just a smidge better. I may not feel amazing, but I'll feel a little bit lighter cuz the negative emotions, right? Those feelings are heavier in our body. Our bodies kind of fold in our shoulders hunch in.

Maybe we clench our draws. We don't breathe in as deeply. Our body closes down. It feels tight for me longing. I felt it up and down my back. Like I could just feel it almost like a weight. Like somebody had put a giant tortoise shell on my back and was sitting on me. <Laugh> it was really interesting. Like you start to notice these feelings when you start connecting with them and you'll want to resist them. You won't want to feel them. And that's why this is the hardest work for any of us to do is because it's so easy to numb out with television, a glass of wine, some, you know scrolling on the internet, checking email, overworking, staying late at the office. All of these things are real easy ways for us to numb out and disconnect from our emotions. But they're preventing us from doing this kind of deep work that gets us to the next level.

So once I recognized like my middle thoughts and the ones I came up with were these, I just started writing a list. I didn't necessarily believe any of these. I, I was just kind of guessing for myself. So these were the thoughts I came up with. I'm learning how to create wealth. It's possible to create wealth. I have ways I can create wealth. I already have some wealth. I can make more wealth, right? Like just kind of brainstorm. Same thing with partner. Like I can learn what it means to be a partner. I can learn how what they wanna see me do as an associate, to make partner. I can learn what makes a really good partner. I have the ability to be partner, like just kind of brainstorm these thoughts and then go through them and check in with yourself. Each of these thoughts.

So the thoughts that resonated with me were okay, well I have some wealth and I can create more wealth, right? Like I have some, I have evidence that I have some and I can create more. And the other one was it's possible to create wealth. I have examples of that in front of me. I can remind myself like, yes, I see other people doing it. I see other people finding creative ways to create wealth in their life. I offer that you can do the same thing, whether it's your calendar and managing that, whether it's partner, relationship, whatever it is that you want, that you have your eyes set on, you can create those things, but be prepared to feel horrible in the process. And it's okay. Like we can have everything. We want everything we want. As one of my coaches likes to say is on the other side of discomfort and it's really, I'm noticing it more and more.

It's a hundred percent true. Like I'm, I'm just seeing more and more evidence that this is accurate <laugh> and like, I wish it wasn't. I wish I could tell you that. Yes. You're supposed to feel sunshine and daisies as you're building your business, as you are trying to make partner, as you are learning how to follow through on your calendar, but that's not how it is. What we've gotta do is we've gotta learn how to be resilient. We have to learn how to feel our emotions and not be at the mercy of our emotions. Not take action from the fuel that those emotions take. Cuz that's what creates burnout. When we try to push through white knuckle ourselves through the negative emotion, we're burning ourselves out. We're exhausting ourselves versus recognizing the emotions, sitting down, feeling the emotions and then saying, okay, I have a choice.

I feel the emotions. And instead of acting from them, instead of taking the actions that are not gonna be in my best interest, that maybe a result in me not getting the re the result that I want or making it harder for myself to get the result that I want, that I am gonna make a decision. And I am gonna feel these. And I'm gonna recognize the thoughts that are gonna generate what I want. And I'm going to start working on my belief. I'm gonna chip away at it every day. I'm gonna say, no, I can create wealth. Yes, I, I can be partner. I can follow through on my calendar. And if I don't believe that thought I'm gonna create a bridge thought, that's gonna chip away at that. Right? It's gonna be, I can learn how I know people who can do it.

I can ask people who can help me with this, like chip away at it all. And you will come out the other side and you will create what you want. And if you don't create what you want, you have created this amazing foundation for yourself to discover what you are capable of, what you are made of. All right. So if you wanna do this deep work book, a call with me, you can go to This is the work I do with my clients. We feel the feelings. I know it sounds horrible, but yeah, I ask my clients to feel horrible feelings and work through it and get to the other side. All right, my friend, I will talk to you soon.

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