how to talk to yourself, be a better lawyer podcast, how to be a better lawyer, lawyer coaching, Dina Cataldo, lawyer life coach

#226: How to Talk to Yourself

How we talk to ourselves makes the difference between hitting our goals and missing them.

It also makes the difference between loving our life and making it as difficult as possible to love it.

In this episode, you'll learn how to talk to yourself when your brain tells you nothing is going the way it should.


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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

Hello, how are you doing? I hope that this podcast finds you well, that you are enjoying the new fall weather that's happening. I've been going on these walks here in Sacramento, and I've been enjoying how it's a little bit darker in the morning. How it's been a little drizzly. It's been really refreshing. So I hope you are enjoying that wherever you are.

And before we jump into today's episode on how to talk to yourself to achieve your goals, I want to share with you a lot that's going on right now that you might wanna take part in.

So, first thing I wanna remind you of is that if you haven't heard, I am doing a calendar masterclass for lawyers next Thursday, and it is the calendar masterclass for lawyers who wanna have a life it's called Bye-Bye Burnout: How to Create Boundaries, End Procrastination and Release Perfectionism to make your life easier. And you can sign up on the website at And if you can't show up live that's okay. I will be making a replay available for those who sign up. The next thing I wanna make sure you know about is that I have created a brand new resource page and what's really brand new on it.

Are these playlists there's Spotify playlists that I created for be a better lawyer podcast that talk about time management, building a book of business, relationships, money, mindset, stress management, confidence building. So go to Dina, and you will find the resources tab up top. And there you will find all of the playlists I've laid out as well as links to other resources, other master classes, the busy lawyers guide everything that you need to make your life easier.

And if you have more questions, you can always find me on Instagram. I'm @Dina.Cataldo. You can DM me. I've been doing some of those. Ask me anything days where I just answer questions. So feel free to ask me questions and I won't answer your questions anonymously. So no, one's gonna know that you're asking me these questions. Don't worry about it. So you can go to @Dina.Cataldo and DM me there.

And finally, right, one last thing I wanna make sure you know about I'm gonna be at Cleo conference in October in Nashville. So if you are going there, I'm gonna have a kiosk. It's gonna be promoting, be a better lawyer podcast, come over. I'm gonna have some cool free things I'm gonna be giving away. And I want to just invite as many people as possible to learn about this podcast, to make their lives better. And if you have friends that are gonna be there, bring 'em on over, I'm gonna make you at home. Maybe you'll even end up on a podcast episode who knows, like, we'll just see where the conversation goes. I just wanna get to know you. So if you are going to ClioCon come on over and we will have a chat. All right. Okay.

So let's talk about how to talk to yourself.

And it's so funny, cuz when I originally decided to do this episode, there's just so many connotations that come with talking to ourselves. So many people think it's crazy, right? But it is the absolute best way to help us redirect our mind over and over again to our goals. It just is. I have learned this over the years, I've practiced it over and over again. And it is really, really helpful. But most of us talk to ourselves like crap <laugh> and we do not talk to ourselves in a way that's very helpful. That is why achieving our goals feels so hard is we are hard on ourselves. We are always more judgmental of ourselves than we are of anyone else. And we make our lives difficult when we talk to ourselves horribly. And I know this firsthand because I too have talked to myself horribly and the more I've practiced talking to myself in a way that I would talk to my best friend, the easier hitting my goals has become the easier my life has felt.

And I wanna offer to you this practice because chances are, if you're listening to this podcast, you wanna better yourselves. Hence the name be a better lawyer podcast, right? But when we are in that desire of wanting to better ourselves, we often forget that we're a human being who has feelings. And every thought that we have generates a feeling. And if we're generating lots of thoughts that are judgemental and harsh, we are gonna be feeling pressure and shame and those feelings then go on to generate our actions. And we can take a lot of action pushing through shame, but we will never be able to take clean action, like massive action. Like I talked a couple episodes ago, we will not be able to take that kind of action if we are in shame or disappointment or we feel pressured. And that's why I wanna offer to you this practice, learning how to talk to yourself, to hit goals.

And also, you know, I, I think of like hitting goals as how much money you wanna make in your practice. But I also think of goals as creating a new practice area, building a business, managing your time, having relationships that you enjoy coming home to those are also goals. So keep those in mind. If you come to these, these episodes with the idea of just building your practice, you can also use the technique I'm sharing with you to better every single area of your life. And if you notice what I'm gonna share with you today, if you notice your thoughts and you recognize your feelings, then you're going to be able to start making some shifts in the way that you talk to yourself and you'll be able to make those areas of your life even better. They're gonna feel so much easier. So let me start with just noticing how you talk to yourself. Okay? We talk to ourselves all the time. We have about 60,000 thoughts every single day. Most of them are on repeat.

And if you notice throughout your day, the feelings, which is what I would notice most is how I felt. If I felt anxiety, if I felt impatient, frustrated, anger, those kinds of feelings. If you're noticing those, that is a sign that how you're speaking to yourself is not helpful. Let me give you an example. One great tool is having a relationship with another human being so that you can see your brain. So if you're at the office and you notice yourself becoming impatient with somebody else, notice what's happening in your body, right? You're probably feeling tense. You want them to hurry up. You want them to like get out of your office, right? Think about this or you wish you would, they would just get it right. They would understand what you're trying to tell them faster. So you, they weren't wasting your time. Those are a bunch of thoughts that you might be having.

But also notice that those thoughts are judging them. You're thinking that they should be doing something differently than they are should is the big keyword to tell you that you're judging something. Now, if you are feeling impatient, this is a great opportunity for you to reflect on how you are impatient with yourself. Where do you think you should be behaving differently? These relationships we have with other people on the planet are so amazing because we get an opportunity to notice when we are impatient. When we are frustrated, when we are judgmental and we start to see that reflected back to us in ways where we are impatient with ourselves, where we are judgmental of ourselves. When we get frustrated with ourselves, where in your life is that happening? I guarantee you, if you are feeling any of those feelings towards somebody else, you are definitely feeling them towards yourself in one or more areas of your life.

What are they do? You get frustrated when you don't get as much work done during the day as you wanted to do you become angry with yourself when you are taking too long on a project. So you say to yourself, do you become impatient with yourself? When you aren't doing things on your calendar that you said you were gonna do? There's so many ways that this shows up. It can even show up at home, right? Do you get frustrated with yourself? Because you snapped at your partner again, do you become upset with yourself? Do you shame yourself? You judge yourself because you snapped at your partner, you yelled at them. You said something that you didn't really mean, like ask yourself where these things may be showing up for yourself. And then when those things show up for yourself, how are you talking to yourself?

And that's where the thoughts and the awareness of the thoughts comes in. Because when we are impatient with ourselves, we're not gonna be very nice to ourselves. We're usually going. The very first reaction is going to be, you should have done that better. You should have behaved differently. You should have fill in the blank, whatever behavior it is that you wish you had done differently. You're going to tell yourself that you are somehow defective for having not done it that way. That's how most of us talk to ourselves. That's the default. But when you start to learn how to talk to yourself so that you can achieve the results that you want, you're going to recognize that you're judging yourself, recognize that there's a sentence in your head that is saying you should have behaved differently. And then say, wait a minute, hold on. Let's press pause on that thought because all of our thoughts are optional. They may feel a hundred percent true in the moment you may think to yourself, I should have talked to my partner differently. I should have done everything on my calendar today. I should have billed more hours. Those thoughts may seem and feel very true. And you might even look at your bill billing hours and you might be like, yeah, I needed to get those eight hours done today in order to hit my goal a hundred percent. That was a fact.

But even if the sentence in our head is a fact how we talk to ourselves about that sentence in our head is going to determine how we show up for ourselves in the future. I want you to picture a river. Okay. It flows in one direction. You have your point a wherever you are right now, right? Let's say you got two hours of billables today and your goal was eight. Okay. And then there's point B point B are more days where you're hitting your hours consistently. The river is what flows between point a and point B. The direction of the flow is always gonna be towards point B, but you're in a boat. Okay? That's your brain. And your brain is in this boat. And sometimes it goes towards point B, you think, oh yeah, I, today I'm focused. I'm gonna get those eight hours today.

And sometimes your boat turns around and it says, Nope, there's no way I'm gonna do this. I'm horrible at this. I don't know what I'm doing. And the boat's gonna turn around and it's gonna go back towards point a and it's gonna go against the flow. So everything's gonna feel really hard. Like, oh, I only got two hours today. That wasn't enough. It goes towards point a. You're not making it more likely that you're gonna get to your point B where you're consistently billing the hours that you want, because you're not thinking thoughts, like, okay, I didn't hit them today, but how can I make sure that I hit them tomorrow? Like what, what happened today? Where I didn't hit them? What was going on and getting really curious with ourselves and being very kind to ourselves versus judging ourselves and telling ourselves that we're bad, cuz we didn't hit those two hours and how we're never gonna do it.

Because when you start questioning those thoughts, the ones that keep pointing you back to point a, keep spinning the boat around, moving against the current, you start questioning those thoughts. The boat starts to turn towards point B. It starts to flow with the current. And the great news is here is you don't have to flow with the current a hundred percent of the time. You could do it 60% of the time, 50% of the time. And you're gonna get closer to point B. But what most of us do is we never question the thoughts. And 95% of the time we're flowing, we're not flowing. We're moving against current and staying stuck point a. But what we've gotta do is we've gotta recognize the thoughts that we're having that are keeping us stuck in point a and then start turning the boat around to let the current take us closer to where we wanna go.

And that this is what it would look like in that particular situation. You notice you're having thoughts. I only got two hours done today. Never gonna do this. This is just so hard. It's just, everything feels heavy. I just don't know what I'm doing. And I hear, I hear this. So I know that some of you are talking to yourselves like this, notice the thoughts. They even feel heavy in your body. Like an anchor, sinking you to the bottom of that river. They feel like shame and disappointment and those feelings are, what's gonna weigh you down and they're not gonna help you move the boat. So rather than judging yourself and telling yourself you're bad and something's gone horribly wrong and everything is bad. Just ask yourself, Hey, like it's okay. Like just know it's okay where I am right now. But I know I wanna be at point B.

So what was happening for me today that I, I got two hours. First of all, what worked well that I got the two hours that I got, like, how did I even get those? Let me ask myself. Okay. I, I had some focus time. All right. That worked really well. What didn't work? Oh, well I left my door open and people kept coming in or I kept picking up the phone or I, what decisions did I make today that impacted my ability to get the hours or what were some decisions that I made that actually really liked. And I'm glad I made and that makes it okay that I had these two hours, the two hours that I had to bill and everything else needed to be admin. I did some work on marketing, whatever it is, what happened and then start to say, okay, what do I want to happen tomorrow?

What thoughts are gonna help me move in that direction? Okay. I can do this. Like I can figure this out. I may not know a hundred percent what I'm doing, but I can get help. Or like I can just sit down and just think about how I want to plan my day tomorrow. So that things go more smoothly, but you've gotta start somewhere. You've gotta start turning the boat around and to do that. It takes curiosity and being kind to yourself and, and recognizing when you are judging yourself, that that judgment is not gonna be helpful. You've gotta just be like, okay, let's chalk that day up. It's over. It doesn't mean anything about me. I am gonna make what I want to happen happen tomorrow. Okay. That'll turn the boat around. Okay. Let me give you another example here. Let's say you are building another part of your practice out and you can also use this.

If you're building a brand new business, whether it's a legal practice or something else entirely cause a lot of the same thoughts apply your point a is where you are now in your practice, what practice areas you're doing, how much money you're making in your practice. Your point B is the practice area that you want to create. How much money you wanna create there, what your practice looks like. A lot of times, what I see with lawyers is they're telling themselves when they're building out their practice, that nobody wants to hire them. They don't have enough experience people. Aren't gonna take them seriously. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know where to start. And they stay with their boat, turned against current and they stay stuck, right? Like they're grinding towards point a, right? They're not even letting themselves even get themselves a bit closer to point B cuz the flow just it's they're working against the flow.

But if they notice those thoughts, right? Like that's what I do with my clients is I help them notice the thoughts. I help them question the thoughts and I help them build evidence and take action towards point B. When they start to see the thoughts, they can start to understand that they are moving against the current. And that's why it's so hard to get to point B. It's not because point B is impossible to get to it's because they're moving against the current and they're moving as hard as possible against getting to point B, this is what it looks like. Right? They have all these thoughts. They're they're not good enough. They can't do it. Nobody's gonna hire them. And I had a client who was doing this and I, I talked to her and what she didn't recognize is that once she questioned those thoughts, she started to turn the boat around.

Right. We started to work on that and turn the boat around and then she could start to see, oh wait a minute. I do know what I'm doing. I have done this before. Like she was building a mediation practice. That's what she wanted to do. Like, wait a minute. I do know how to do this. I do have the training. I already actually do some mediating. Right? So as she was turning the boat around to get her to turn the boat around and start going with the flow towards point B, she had to start recognizing the evidence in her world that things were already working. This is incredibly tough to do. So if you notice that this is difficult, you're not alone. Like this is not work that they did on their own. They had help. Right? My first client, I was actually thinking of a client who I was talking to.

And the very first time I talked to her, I asked her on a scale from one to 10, how do you feel about your relationship with time? One being horrible and 10 being fabulous. And she answered a five or a six and about three months into working with her. I asked her the same question and she said a nine or a 10. And the difference between that time period is that she learned to see her thoughts, question the thoughts, get curious about the thoughts instead of judging them and then start turning the boat around and seeing where she had control, where she was already steering the boat in the direction that she wanted. And then she worked to create more evidence, right? Like we worked on the massive action on how to take time off for a vacation. Like what actions did she need to take?

You know, where did that belief need to be in order for her to take those actions? And that got her closer to that nine or a 10. Okay. It doesn't just happen on its own. You've gotta actively work at it and you've gotta do it consistently because the brain's gonna automatically turn that boat around and go back to it's like a magnet, right? Like it's magnet magnetizes two point a, all the thoughts that we have they're magnetic. And they're gonna just pop us back into point a, unless we release it. And we say, okay, let me release the thoughts that I'm having. That I can't do it. That I don't have time that I'm not experienced release. Those recognize that they are thoughts. And then just let the boat turn around and ask myself, how can I make this easier for myself? Where do I already, where am I already doing a good job?

What is already working? What can I see the progress that I'm making right now? What can I see right now? That's working really well. And that's one thing I work with my clients on is like showing them like, what is working right now? What processes are already working for you? What can we improve? What evidence can we show your brain that you do know what you're doing? We recreate all of that. We have to do it with our head. We have to do it consciously. And if we don't do it consciously, we're not gonna get that boat getting closer to point B. And remember you don't have to be perfect at this. You could be like at 50% with your thoughts, you could have really crummy thoughts half the time, but great thoughts the other half of the time. And you're gonna get closer to point B guaranteed.

It's when we never question our thoughts. And we just think that they're a hundred percent true and we have zero control over our life that we stay stuck at point a. So that's something that I really wanted to show you here today. I, I really hope that what you take away from this episode is how you talk to yourself. Like not believing everything that you're thinking. Even if the sentence, when you say it out loud is true. So for instance, I only made two hours billable today. Like first of all, I would never say a sentence like that ever. I'd say I made two hours billable. I, I did two hours today. What got done during those two hours. Okay. What did I do the rest of my time? And it may have been, you did fritter your time away, right? But don't tell yourself I frittered my time away because that's judging yourself, ask yourself how you feel when you think that thought.

And it's probably something like judgment, shame, disappointment. And then when you start recognizing that, you could be like, oh, that is a thought that keeps spinning my boat towards point a. I wanna go towards point B and just be like, okay, let me get really specific about what I did with my time. The rest of the day I did some marketing. Yes, I was on the internet. Some maybe I was frozen a little bit. I was like frozen at my computer. Didn't know where to start recognized that those were thoughts that you had during the day, because when you're frozen in front of your computer, that's coming from a thought, right? Cause that's a fear response. So you're having a thought, something like, I don't know where to start. I'm gonna screw this up. There's some thought that's happening there. And that thought is keeping your bolt pointed towards point a going against the current.

You've gotta find that thought, recognize it. And then be like, oh wait a minute. This is a thought. That's keeping me at point a. Let me question it. Why was I freezing today? Oh, I was scared. Oh, fear is not a problem. That's okay to be scared. What was I scared of? Oh, I was scared that my bosses were gonna think that I was a failure or I was afraid I was going to be a failure. Okay. I was thinking thoughts. All right, what do you need right now? I need to know, right? This is you talking to yourself. I need to know that I'm not gonna fail. Okay. And this is me talking to myself again. Like you're not gonna fail no matter what, you're gonna be fine. Right. Even if you don't get things perfect. That's okay. Nobody's gonna hurt you. Worst case scenario.

And maybe somebody doesn't like your work. This is, this is okay. We're gonna learn, but we just have to get started. So what's like the very, like, what's one thing you do know how to do. What's one step we can take towards finishing the task. We just do the tiniest thing. And just that little conversation with yourself is going to help you turn the boat around and get you moving towards point B, be so gentle and kind with yourself when you're having these conversations. Cuz when we're yelling at ourselves, this is not going to be helpful. Gonna keep us stuck, like grinding towards point B, going against the current versus turning our boat around and making it so much easier to get towards point B. And I've seen this in my business. I've seen this in my client's practices. I've seen this on time management skills, like how they manage their time and their calendars.

Every single client has the same thing as the boat is initially turned towards point a 99% of the time. And the reason they're not getting to point B is cuz they just haven't learned how to talk to themselves. How to notice their thoughts, recognize that they're just thoughts and start turning the boat around and letting the current and their thoughts start taking them closer to point B. And when you can do that, you can do more massive action towards your goals. It's gonna feel easier. You're gonna have more time towards what you want. You're gonna snap at people less. You're gonna feel less frustrated with yourself. You're gonna be more patient and kind with yourself as you turn the boat around. That's like what it takes is being kind and patient and nonjudgmental and start moving towards point B. If you want help with this, if you notice you're spending 99% of your time in point a and you're not seeing any traction towards point B, you need a coach.

You need somebody who is going to talk to your brain every week and recognize what's happening. I'd be like, okay, what thoughts are you having? What feelings are happening? Are you being anchored down into the river? Or can we release some things so that you can make it easier to flow towards point B? You gonna make it easier to get towards your goal. If you wanna book a call with me, go to Dina, session. And there we'll talk about how we will do these sessions. What specifically we're gonna be working on to help you move from point a to point B. What are all the tools that you'll need to help you turn that boat around and make your life easier? All right, my friend, I hope you have a wonderful week and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

1 thoughts on “#226: How to Talk to Yourself

  1. Pingback: #259: Result Atrophy and Overcoming Resistance | Be a Better Lawyer Podcast

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