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#224: How to Take Massive Action Towards Your Goals

Learning how to take massive action is essential to achieving big goals in your life and practice.

There's a difference between taking any action and taking massive action.

Not just any action will do.

But when we're poised to take massive action, our body rebels.

It goes into a fear response that stops most people in their tracks.

Not you though because you'll have this episode to fuel your desires.

If you've ever wanted to make more money in your practice, start a solo practice, or leave the law altogether, it takes managing your mind and nervous system to take the massive action required.

You'll learn how to do that in this episode.

Here's what else you'll learn.

  • How to know when you're in action versus massive action
  • The unexpected actions you're right now that result from a fear response
  • The signals your body is in a fear response
  • How to manage your nervous system to take massive action despite fear

We'll talk specific examples around invoicing, networking and more where you might not think the fear response is impacting your practice.

Learning how to take massive action towards your goals will change your life. This knowledge will make it easier for you to take the massive action you need to achieve exactly what you want.

Buckle in, and let's go.


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

Be a Better Lawyer, Apple Podcasts, Dina Cataldo
spotify, be a better lawyer podcast, Dina Cataldo

How to Take Massive Action Towards Your Goals

Hello, my friend. How are you today? Today I am coming to you from a lovely hotel room in Florida, where I have been spending time with my friend and I am gonna be seeing soccer games. I've already seen one of them. And then I am seeing the final between Orlando and Sacramento coming up in Orlando tomorrow night. Well, when you, when you're gonna be listening to this, it's going to be the night before. So I will be on a plane when you are hearing this.

You might think you're taking massive action, but…

I wanna talk to you today, though, about the difference between taking action and taking massive action. Because I see this so often with lawyers who have goals, that they think they are taking the action that they need to be taking, but what's happening is they're not taking the most impactful actions. They're doing a lot of busy work and they're not taking massive action towards their goals because it frightens them.

And it makes sense that it would frighten them.

Goals and Nervous System Activation

Anytime we do something new, it's gonna activate our nervous system. Anytime that we are going to be putting ourself in harm's way, so to speak, we are activating our nervous system. And so whenever you have a big goal, you've gotta take a look at what are the actions, your hypothesis for how you are going to make that goal happen. And that hypothesis might be wrong.

You do not know the actual how, until you have accomplished your goal, you just won't know. You've gotta make the best hypothesis that you can and start taking action. And you've gotta be failing the whole time. You've gotta be willing to put yourself in harm's way. That is the willingness to fail. And to have that willingness to fail, you need to know how to manage all of the big feelings that are gonna come up.

Fear and Big Goals

All of the fears that are gonna come up, all the doubts, all the worries, all the anxiety, everything that's gonna come up, you're going to need to have the tools to manage those. You're gonna need to bring yourself perspective on these. Otherwise they are going to drive your actions and you will not be taking the most impactful actions. You'll be taking the busy work actions that are not gonna get you the results that you want.

And how do I know this? Because I have done this and I see my clients do it. And I help them understand how to gain the perspective that they need. I give them that perspective and then they start learning the tools in our sessions to manage those big emotions. And so what I wanna share with you in this episode are the feelings that are gonna come up whenever you have a big goal and how to manage them, how to manage the nervous system.

I don't know if you can hear that, but there is like a vacuum outside of this hotel room. So I am so sorry if you are hearing a vacuum…

To manage those emotions, you're going to want to get the perspective and I'll be able to give you some of that in this episode.

What is Massive Action?

Massive action is being willing to fail, taking lots of actions and being willing to fail. And one of the things that I love about the, that description of this concept is when you have a big goal, you can then start looking at the actions that scare you. And those are likely the ones that are gonna get you the biggest result, but you're not doing them most likely because you are scared. You have beliefs that they are putting you in harm's way and therefore you don't wanna do them.

Building Your Book of Business and Massive Action

So the perfect example of this is building your book of business. A lot of attorneys don't build their book of business because they are scared of putting themselves out there because they are scared of, of being judged of feeling bad, because they don't wanna feel like they're being salesy. And as long as you believe you have no control over that, that you cannot manage your mind around that, that you cannot calm your nervous system. You won't take those actions.

If you wanna hit your goal though, chances are that's on your list of scary things to do. That will be the most impactful actions. If you've got a goal, write down 25 actions that you think will make it, make you get closer to that goal in a three month period, right?

Compress the time and make your brain go to work and do the work for you.

And you'll start seeing actions on that list that you don't wanna do because they scare you. Things like investing big in your business, things like investing in a trade show, things like investing in coaching, building your book of business and going to events, asking your boss for a raise. I mean, those are the kinds of things.

If you really think about how to compress the timeline on your goal, they are going to be scary. And in this episode, I'm gonna explain how you are likely acting or reacting to the fears that you feel so that you can be aware of them. So you can understand when it's coming up for you, and then you can start managing your mind and gaining some perspective on them. And of course, if you are ready to go big on your goals, go big on yourself.

Book a call with me because I will help you gain the perspective that you need. I will give you the tools that you need to start managing your mind around this, around starting to calm your nervous system down so that you can go after your big goal and do all the things that scare you.

The Difference Between Lawyers Who Achieve Their Big Goals and Those Who Don't

The biggest thing I see between, you know, my clients, when they come to me and then as they start achieving their goals, is that their ability to manage their big emotions, their ability to manage the fear, the fear of failure, the shame, the disappointment, and as they start to manage those emotions, they become more successful because they just start skyrocketing, skyrocketing their most impactful actions. They begin to take action faster because now they know it's okay. I can feel this fear. It is not going to kill me. I can process it.

I can, you know, really manage the way that I feel and then take those big actions that are scary to me. And even just thinking about failure can feel scary because we make up all of these stories in our head and we psych ourselves out. And then we don't take any of the actions that we know are gonna be the most impactful. This is all part of being human. You are not bad or wrong. If you are feeling these emotions, we're hardwired with these emotions. And it's our job. If we have big goals, if we wanna make a big impact in the world to start managing those emotions and start looking at how we can better ourselves. So we can do the work that we're meant to do. Okay. So if you wanna achieve big goals in your life, you've gotta learn how to manage this.

What Fear Does to Our Nervous Systems

And this is what the fear response does to our bodies. It generates stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, and it releases them into our blood, our blood pressure and our heart rate increases. We start breathing faster. I notice that my breathing actually it shrinks. I can notice that it, I can't breathe very deeply at all. And I feel my shoulders hunch forward.

That's how I know I'm in a, a fear response personally, and our blood is flowing away from our heart. It's flowing away from our brain, right? Our problem solving tool. And it's going into our limbs so that we can run or we can fight. And I don't know about you, but when we are achieving goals in our life or in our law practice, unless we're doing something like wrestling or boxing, we're not gonna be using our limbs much, right? We're not gonna be hitting anyone or physically running away.

So really we're just experiencing this huge loss of blood to our brain that is in an area where we would be problem solving. So we've gotta calm down. What's going on in our nervous system. We've gotta gain awareness of what's going on in our nervous system so we can calm it so that we can then problem solve to do the work that we are meant to do.

This is how fear can show up day-to-day in our life

First of all, we've got fight flight, freeze and fawn. Those are four fear responses fight. You might notice yourself snapping at a judge, right, or a coworker or your spouse or a client. And there's just anger there, right? Anger, maybe some defensiveness and that anger and defensiveness. That's a surface emotion. When I dig deeper with clients, I almost always find lots of judgment of themselves and shame underneath all of it.


And so that is something to be aware of is that in the fight response, you're gonna notice that you're acting out in some way, and it's from an anger or a defensiveness or a resentment, but there's something underneath there. And each one of us is a little bit different. Maybe we're resentful because you know, we needed to stay at the office later than we, we wanted to, or we're doing something that we didn't want to be doing. But notice that feeling rise up in you and know that that is part of a fear response.

Or if you're looking at, um, a big goal that you have, and you're not achieving it, and you are very angry because you think that it should have been done by now that you have the ability and if you were gonna do it, it would've happened by now. And you notice yourself being really short with someone just because you're thinking about your practice, your business in a way where you're in a fight response with it and just know that that's all that, that is, is a fear response. And it's, it's totally normal.


Let's look at the flight response sometimes, you know, I'll talk to lawyers recently. I talked to one who was ignoring sending invoices instead of sending out her invoices, she was doing just about anything else in her practice instead, or maybe you wanna start a new branch of your practice, but you just keep finding any excuse not to do it.

There's always more client work to do. Maybe you'll do it. You know, when, uh, everything else is wrapped up and you just keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, that is a flight response. And these quote, unquote reasons are going to feel very true to you, but they are unexamined fears that can be worked through if you're managing your mind and your nervous system, or this is, this is one of my favorite is when I hear a client, you know, give the silent treatment to a spouse.

It is pulling away from a difficult conversation. It is a fear of the response that you're gonna get in that difficult conversation. And when we're in those responses, those fear responses, we are taking our least powerful actions. We are doing the least impactful actions towards our ultimate goals.


Let's take a look at the freeze response. I love this one, right? You're sitting at your desk on Monday morning, you're looking around at everything and you are seeing just stacks of papers and you are in total overwhelm mode, absolutely frozen at your desk. Don't even know where to start, or you don't know what to do. So what you end up doing is scrolling social or spending way too much time in your email, or finding some way to numb out like going and talking to a coworker or doing work. That really isn't the primary work that's gonna get you closer to your goal.

Or you find yourself that when maybe an attorney says something to you or a judge says something to you that you disagree with, you don't respond because you're afraid of the fallout, even if it has a negative impact on you. And when we don't speak up, when we don't take those actions that are going to have a large impact on our day, our week, our year, then we are just reacting to the fear response. And we're not managing our mind and our nervous system.


And then the last one I wanna talk to you about is the fawn fear response. This is people-pleasing.

Maybe you accept more work from people, even if you know, it's gonna be to your detriment. Maybe you're gonna have a lack of sleep, or you're not going to be able to finish the work that you already have.

I'm definitely a recovering people-pleaser. I had an authoritarian parent, so it was second nature to me to walk on eggshell, so I wouldn't upset them. And I took that pattern of behavior, that fear response, that something was going to happen that was gonna be bad, and I was gonna get in trouble, and I took that into my relationships.

I took that into my job, I took that everywhere. Because a lot of times, the way we do one thing in one area of our life is the way we do it in every single area of our life. I wasn't speaking up for myself in the way that I wanted to. And I wasn't saying no in the way that I wanted to. I wasn't creating the boundaries that I needed in order to, you know, keep myself sane and to really show myself the respect that I deserved.

The Awareness Factor

And this is something that when I coach my clients on, in every single area, every single fear response, they start to get awareness of what's happening in their life. Most of the time we walk around pretty much blind. We think that the world is just happening to us, but we are the ones who impact our world the way we think about it, the way we choose or choose to gain knowledge, to impact us. So if this is the first time you've ever heard about managing your nervous system and understanding how to, uh, see the reactions that we have, when we're in a fear response, this is such a wonderful opportunity for you to take this work deeper.

Now that you have this awareness, you can be on the lookout during your day and say, “oh, okay. I see that. I snapped at my partner today. Why did I do that?”

Just coming from curiosity, no judgment at all. Right?

You can only do better when you know, better.

Now something Maya Angelou said, once we know better than we can, can do better. So there's no judgment here. If this is the first time you've ever heard about this concept now is such a wonderful opportunity for you to just bring this into your day and start to notice those places where you may be reacting from fear. And then you can start saying to yourself, oh, now I understand why I behave the way that I do.

There's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the way that we react or behave, because everything that we are doing up to this point in our lives, they're all learned behaviors. If you're judging yourself for a learned behavior, it's not going to help you learn the new behavior that you want to learn to be more successful in your life.

Big Goals and the Fear Response

And I had this come up in my life too, as I started to achieve bigger and bigger goals, as I made decisions like leaving my legal practice or, uh, starting my coaching practice on top of my legal practice, making those big decisions, I really had to manage my nervous system. I really needed help with that. It was not something I could do on my own. I could do all the self coaching in the world, right? And I teach my clients how to do that for themselves, but I needed somebody that I could talk to every week and get their perspective because my brain was in fear response when I was leaving the legal profession, I will tell you that right now.

It was not something that I recommend anyone do alone because it is a shock to the nervous system. When you have been in the same habit, your entire life, everything that you've learned up to this point in your life, you have brought it with you and you are experiencing those emotions based on old thought patterns, old behavioral patterns that feel really normal just like the one that I talked to you about.

I was in people pleasing mode.

I was in the fawn fear response because of things that happened a long time ago. And it was something that I just needed to learn differently. I didn't learn the skills I needed when I was younger to calm my nervous system and think clearly and problem solve for what I wanted in my life. If you were experiencing any of these fear response modes, you can change.

I did it, my clients do it, so you can change too. And we think that we are just observing our world, but what's happening is, is that we're observing it through the lens of the person. Who's had all of the experiences that we've had in the past. And so we have a slant on everything that happens in front of us. And what we need is a new perspective in order to take massive action in a way where we can manage our nervous system, manage our mind and take the big actions that are necessary to hit our goal.

Get Separation from Your Mind and Body

Cause when we get separation from what's happening in our body and in our mind, then we can start seeing reality. We can see that we have more power than our brain and our body initially believes is true. We don't have to people please or numb out to feel better. Clients get the tools that they need depending on their particular situation, their particular fear response. So they can calm their nervous system responses. And then problem solve from a more neutral place.

Procrastination and Sending Invoices

Recently, I spoke to a lawyer who was procrastinating on sending out her invoices to certain clients. Only some, there were easier than others. And one of her fears was that there was a segment of her clients that just could not afford her legal services. And she was afraid that one, they couldn't afford it, but two, then they wouldn't like her. Uh, once she sent out that bill and those beliefs caused her to ignore sending out the invoices and doing just about anything else in her practice, instead, client work, whatever you had in front of her.

So her brain told her everything else was more important. Of course, she was putting off the inevitable and making the invoice larger and larger as the months went by. And she continued to do work for the clients. And she was just in a fear response. I mean, that is why she wasn't sending out the invoices. And these invoices of course contribute to her generating the income that she wanted for her big goals. During the year, she was a solo practitioner and she wasn't going to be able to hit her income goals if she wasn't invoicing her clients.

Taking a Step Back

Those four fear responses happen within our nervous system. And until we learn to manage them and calm them, we cannot take the massive action that we need to achieve our goals. We're gonna be blocked from taking that action. If you are not taking the action that you want to see, you're not going to get the result that you want.

We really need to step back, see what's happening and give ourselves what we need to manage our nervous system. And I say it like that on purpose. We need to learn how to give ourselves what we need.

Look Inside Instead of Outside for the Answers

A lot of times we look outside of ourselves and think that our client should be behaving better, or our boss should be behaving better. Or if only the networking events, we're more pleasant to go to, that would make it easier. Or if only I had more time, then it would be easier for me to hit my goal versus looking at ourselves, taking back that power that we have to change our lives to make goals happen.

We tell ourselves that it's always someone else that needs to change and not ourselves. And I am going to flip that for you. It is always ourselves that must change. And not to say this in a judgmental way or a way for you to use it against yourself and beat yourself up with it.

That is not my intent.

What I want all of us to do is to start looking at how amazing we are and all of the things that we have already accomplished and recognize how powerful we are, what we can do.

And when we're not looking at all of the amazing things that we can do, I guarantee you, you're looking at all of the things that you haven't done or you wish you could do, and that's fine. But when you know better, you can do better.

And that's what I'm offering here for you today is if you want to achieve your big goals. Look at whether or not you're taking just action. Or if you're taking massive action.

Action is great, right? Like if you are not in belief that you can do what you wanna do, any action is great, right? Like if you were just, uh, at your desk on a Monday morning and you feel frozen and you don't know what to do, if you just wanna organize your piles in a way or write down everything that you wanna get done today, that is a great action to take, right?

That is going to help you get in motion. And an object that stays in motion will keep going in motion. Just keep going.

If you have a big goal and you notice yourself procrastinating on taking the big actions that are going to get you there — some I mentioned, we're investing in your business, investing in your networking time, putting the time in to go to events, to network on LinkedIn, to just update your LinkedIn — if you are not taking the actions that are going to create the biggest impact, you are not going to be able to hit your result, the result that you want, whatever it is, whether it's a financial goal, a billing goal, uh, you you're building your book of business and you have certain goals there. You will not be able to hit it, take your time and think about whether or not you are just taking any action versus taking massive action.

Massive Action Requires Failure. So Does Success.

And remember, massive action is gonna involve a lot of failure. You are going to fall on your face. You are going to schedule things and you're not gonna go. And you're going to feel really bad about yourself. <laugh> you are gonna say things to yourself like, “this is never gonna work.” That's when you know, you're taking massive action is because like, you're starting to come up against that resistance.

There's gonna be like this wall of judgment. And then it's your opportunity to release that judgment and say, wait a minute, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be feeling this resistance. That means I'm getting closer to taking the massive action that I want. So this is a good thing. Like how great is it that I put it on my calendar? “Yeah. Okay. It didn't work this week, but you know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna put something else on next week and I'm gonna do it. I'm making a commitment to myself that I'm gonna do this.”

How to Start Managing Your Nervous System

That positive talk that I just modeled for you right there. That is how to start managing your nervous system, because you're gonna have fear of failure. You're gonna think about going to a networking event and you're going to have fear. You'll be afraid of what people think of you afraid that other people are gonna think that you're just trying to sell them on your services versus you just walking in I'll and I'll link to the episode that I did specifically on networking to in the show notes, versus just going in and having a conversation with people and not trying to sell. You're just having a conversation and getting to know them and giving them an opportunity to get to know you.

Another part of this, I wanna model for you here is the managing your mind part of combining your nervous system. I wanna use the same example of networking.

Networking and the Fear Response

Let's say you have a networking event on your calendar and anything else that you're afraid of, you notice a fear response coming around. You can think of that while you're listening to this example, let's say you're about to go. And part of your brain is saying, you know, you don't have to go. It's really not that big a deal. That's a voice in your head. It's a thought, okay. But you also have the opportunity to have a conversation with that part of your brain that's saying, “no, don't do it.” That's a reaction of that fear response. And you can say, “okay, I hear you, fear. Like I know you don't wanna go. You're afraid of what people are gonna say about you. You're afraid that people are gonna think that you just want something from them.”

And instead of giving into that voice, you're just having a conversation with it. You, this is one of the skills I, I talk to my clients about and teach them is how to recognize when that voice is popping up and then how to have that conversation with it.

How to Talk to Yourself

And you can start saying like, “but this is the deal. I have a really big goal. My goal is to create X amount of business in my practice, and this could help. And I really believe that this is a piece of the puzzle that I'm missing from creating the result that I want. And I know that you want it to, and I promise you that we're not gonna go in there and we're not gonna be all salesy. We're just gonna go in and we're just gonna be kind to people. And we're just gonna get to know them. And we're just gonna make some friends,”

Versus not doing that, and either giving into that voice that says, “Hey, you know, we don't really need to go,” or hearing that voice of, “oh, you're bad because you're not going to the event.”

Start to listen to the way that you talk to yourself. Because the fear response, the way to manage that, one way to manage that in your body is having a conversation with yourself after you've recognized what's going on and calming it down, talking to yourself, literally talking to yourself, <laugh> okay.

And you can do this all in your head. You don't have to do this in front of anybody else.

They don't have to know that you're having this conversation, but this conversation is going to help you achieve big goals.

And if you're not having conversations with yourself, start, I highly recommend it. It has made my life so much easier. I am so much happier because I recognize that there's always gonna be part of me. That's scared. There's always gonna be part of me that doesn't wanna go to a networking event that doesn't want to put myself out there on social media that doesn't wanna do another video that doesn't wanna do another podcast or an email.

Making an Impact

It's just gonna be there sometimes. And my job to achieve my goals to make the impact I wanna make in the world is to hear the voice, recognize it and say, Hey, it's okay, but we're gonna do this anyway, because this is how I wanna make my impact. This is how we are going to make the impact we wanna make. If this is a skill that you wanna learn to manage your nervous system, to make the impact that you want in the world.

The Impact of this Work

Book a call with me, because if I haven't sold you on the value of managing your nervous system on understanding what's going on in your mind and why our bodies react the way that they do, then I haven't done my job. I have not made the impact that I wanna make today. And I know that this work is so valuable to bettering the whole world, not just in our practices and our businesses, but the whole world to teach them, teach our kids what they need to learn in order to do big things that are scary to create things in the world that have never existed before.

Those are the things that drive me, being able to create something that's never been created before to impact people's lives in a positive way. So they can do the same. How amazing would it be if we were all taught how to manage our nervous systems and have these conversations with ourselves so that we can do those big things.

Even when they're scary.

You can book a call with me at

What Happen During a Call with Me

During our call — and our call is complimentary — we are going to look at where you are right now and what fears you might have. And then we're gonna look at what you want, what are the results you wanna create in your life right now? And then what we're gonna do is we're gonna draw out a plan. We're gonna go from A to Z how you and I are going to work together so that you can create the results that you want in your life.

And this is going to be something that we're gonna discuss.

We're going to make it doable, something that is going to work within your life.

And the only way you can get started is by booking a call with me. So book a call, go to D session, and we're gonna get started. All right, my friend, I hope you have a wonderful day. I really hope that, um, SAC Republic wins on Wednesday night. I know this is Thursday [when you're hearing this], but we're gonna cheer our hearts out and go Sac Republic. All right. Have a great day. Bye!

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