The other day I was talking to a lawyer about what it meant to slow down her brain.
Thinking of slowing down felt scary to her.
She was working so hard and not seeing the progress she wanted.
She thought slowing down would mean she'd fall behind.
Here's what slowing down really means: Imagine you’re peddling a bicycle down the street as fast as you can.
You’re huffing and puffing trying to get to your destination.
Then you see me pull up in a Mercedes.
It’s got comfy seats, a GPS that gives directions, and it's even got a cupholder for coffee, so you can sit back and relax. I ask you if you want a ride.
But you tell me you can’t slow down to get in; you’re on a deadline.
“But this car will get you where you’re going faster, you’ll enjoy the ride more, and you won’t break a sweat.”
“Plus, it's got GPS, so you'll avoid all the traffic on the way there.”
Still you say, “No. I can't slow down.”
When we don't slow down to think clearly, we make our lives so much harder.
Listen in to get what you need to slow down while keeping your case load moving.
And if you feel like you're peddling a bike uphill in your law practice, I can help you.
Book a call with me, and you'll get the guidance and support you need to get your workload (and life) under control. When you do, your life will feel so much easier.
I've got the Mercedes.
All you need to do is hop on in.
You can book a call with me by clicking here.
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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.
Hello, How are you doing today? Welcome. I am so glad that you're here today because we're gonna talk about something that I hear quite a bit, and I want to put your mind at ease, Okay? And I wanna share with you why it's so important to slow your mind down so that you can create the life that you want.
I used to think the same thing that I'm gonna be sharing with you here today. So if you are thinking of it, two, you're in really good company. But believing this thought is something that is going to hold you back. It held me back for a really long time, and until I learned this lesson, took me multiple tries, then I really started taking off and moving my life in the direction that I wanted to take it.
And before that, I really felt stuck and I really could not get out of the grind. I had to unravel this thought. So I'm gonna share with you some things to help you see where it might be showing up in your life and how to unravel this thought. And if you are here in you're brand new, I wanna say welcome to you too. I know that there are a lot of new listeners, and I want to say thank you for showing up here.
Thank you for just giving this a listen, right? And I wanna invite you to come to meet with me in a couple different places. One is on Instagram at Dena dot Cataldo, another is on LinkedIn, and then another is on my email list. And a great way to join me on my email list is by downloading something one of my free guides or one of my free trainings.
And one of the guides that I often talk about that has had a, a huge impact on people that I've talked to, lawyers that I've talked to, it had a huge impact on me was the what I learned and what I've put into the Busy Lawyers guide. So if you go to dana cataldo.com/busy lawyer, you will get a guide that will actually share with you the mindset, the tips that helped me really get my life organized and helped me move forward.
In fact, it helped me slow my brain down. So I needed to think through my week ahead of time so that I could implement what I was learning so that I could make better decisions for myself and problem solve my week ahead of time. So go to dina cataldo.com/busy lawyer for that guide. All right, so let's talk about slowing your brain down. And the reason I'm doing this episode is because I was having a talk with a lawyer and she said she was scared to slow down. And that isn't really what slowing your brain down means.
It doesn't mean slowing down physically as if you're just at a stop. You're getting nothing done. What it means is that you are beginning to act with more intention because you're able to see your thoughts better. You're able to understand why you're making the decisions that you're making, and understanding your brain and why you are making your decisions is the single most important thing to impacting your lifestyle.
So if you feel overwhelmed, if you feel stuck, if you feel like there's something more that you want and you're not taking action towards it, you notice you have goals, but you're really procrastinating on them. I mean, all of these things that I'm mentioning, they all come down to how you make your decisions. Okay? So if you're not aware of how you're thinking, you're not going to be able to make better decisions.
Our life is a, an accumulation of decisions. And each decision that we make is a building block for the life that we have. We make decisions based on what we believe to be true, and what we believe is based on what we've been taught by parents society, quote unquote, the way that it's always been done. And if we don't see this, we can't change things. A belief is a sentence we've repeated in our brain over and over again until it feels like a fact.
So we really can't see that. We think it's just the truth. If a person can have a different belief than us, than a belief is by definition, not a fact. And it's up to us to become the detectives and really question everything that we believe to be true. Because if we're making decisions on misinformation, we can't make the most impactful decisions for ourselves.
Our decisions drive our life. So we're gonna be detectives today, and we're gonna unravel this false belief that our brain has taken on, right? So when you think about slowing down, what do you think that means? Do you think it means that you're gonna have to basically upend your life, That you're gonna have to change everything? Okay? It's not, all right. So if somebody else has a belief that is in opposition to your own, then it can't be a, like you can't, I just have a fact, right?
It's not just a fact that my life is going to be upended if I change things, if I slow things down, right? If I try something different, is my whole life gonna be turned upside down? No. Okay. You can do it that way. You can decide to up upend your life like that. I do not recommend that because it creates a lot of mind drama. I did not upend my life to leave the law and become a coach. I took steps, I made it gradual.
I shored up a foundation for myself before I left the law in a way that was methodical. I thought it through. I didn't upend my life when I started changing things, when I was a full-time lawyer and I started changing things to create time for myself to become a coach, I didn't just say, Okay, let's throw everything up in the air and start from scratch.
I started making tiny changes here and there. I made myself a morning person. That was one thing, right? And that really was based on a lot of other tiny things. It meant I needed to go to bed a little bit earlier. It meant I needed to, you know, make sure that I was setting my alarm and putting it in a kitchen, right? Like, so I could actually get up. And I wasn't just hitting snooze. I had to train myself.
And it took little tiny steps just to do that one thing. It didn't take tons of work. It just took me showing up every day doing a little something, okay? It just took me showing up and reminding myself what I wanted, okay? It did not take tons of effort. It just took me reminding myself what I wanted, right? And that is something that when you slow your brain down, you can do easier and easier.
Okay? And when you start doing this, you'll start to recognize, Oh, okay, this is something that I can do. I can take it incrementally. I don't have to upend my life. I'm not stopping everything that I'm doing so that I can so that I can implement something brand new in my life, like a new habit. What I'm doing is I'm just recognizing my thought habits.
I'm recognizing how I think, I'm recognizing how I make decisions, and do I like that way right now? So how do you know if you're thinking that if I slow down, I'm gonna be more behind, or if I slow down, I am going to be upending my life? Well, one of the ways you'll know that you're doing this is if you don't use a calendar because you think they take too long, or that you always have, you know, an emergency.
This is something that I've heard from some lawyers, is they're afraid to implement a calendar because they think, Well, you know what? It's really gonna be a waste of time because I'm gonna have to throw it out the window anyway because I have an emergency. So if that's you, take note. You probably believe that slowing down your brain is gonna make you move further behind.
Another way you'll know if you believe it is, if you notice yourself skipping things you wanna do in favor of work, right? So you skip the gym so that you work more. You know, you tell yourself, Oh, I'll, I'll go to the gym next time, right? And this is something that you notice yourself doing a lot. You're gonna wanna notice that kind of thing coming up where you're, you're giving up what you want in favor of work.
Another way you'll know, you'll believe it is if you're always feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or pressured. Like those are a lot of the feelings that I noticed when I was going through this. Cause I believed to this thought at one point too. And I also notice it coming up with some of the lawyers that I talked to. Another way you'll know you believe it, is that when people ask you how you're doing, you say things like, I'm busy.
Okay? Cause that's just kind of like the default answer. And it's like, if, if you're busy, then that's a good, right? That's the belief that your brain has. If I'm busy, it shows other people that I'm busy. And that's a good thing. Now, if you believe it, it totally makes sense. You probably think slowing down means you won't get as much work done. Makes a ton of sense that your brain would be going here.
And I wanna just kind of remind you of that turtle versus hair, right? That whole story. You've got this turtle who is super slow, and then you've got the hair who is busy, the hair is running around, He's zipping around as fast as he can, but he's like just kind of going in every which way, every direction, right? He's not really focused, doesn't really have that problem, solution mindset.
He can't really think clearly <laugh>, but you have the turtle who's just determined. He's just taking that little tiny step every day. It's like, Okay, let's do this. He's pacing himself, okay? And that's one of the things that slowing down your brain allows you to do, is to focus on the most impactful things. So that way you can start to go in a straight line towards what it is that you want versus zigzagging and not prioritizing and not creating the the race that you wanna make.
Now, you've also probably had experiences with a calendar where you did have to throw it out the window where you did have an emergency and you were like, Oh my gosh, this is just ridiculous. Like, I can't even look at this calendar. But instead of like looking at that calendar as the be all end all, the way that I look at it is, it's a tool. I do the best that I can with this tool. And a calendar is a tool is a wonderful thing because you're able to problem solve your week ahead of time.
And you're able to really look at where can I make my life simpler so that when there is an emergency and you are at, let's say it's the middle of the week and something happens, you know, I've, I've had this happen where I've had something happen with a family member where I've had something happen to me personally or with one of my pets.
And it's like, okay, well I guess Wednesday isn't happening. But it makes it so much easier for me to look at my Wednesday calendar and say, Oh, okay, I have five things on my calendar that I didn't do yesterday. And I can either decide to prioritize those things and move them to Thursday or Friday or next week, or I can just like cross them off.
And I guess they didn't really need to get done anyway. Like that is the beauty of having a calendar, is that you are clear thinking even in an emergency because you're not trying to piece together all the things you need to do. Cause you've already decided ahead of time what you were gonna do that day. And you can decide, okay, well I can delegate this, I can cross it off. I can just move it to another week. Like, that's fine.
It's not as if the calendar is there to make your life harder. It really is a tool that is there and it's going to help you be cool in a crisis. Now, you might have also had experiences where you got something done without a calendar. I do too all the time. But the calendar is there to help you think through your week. It's not there to dictate every movie you make.
I think a lot of attorneys, when they hear calendar, it's almost like they think it's a prison and they like do back to back to back to back to back to back things on their calendar without creating any space for themselves. And that is, it feels horrible, right? Like they're not creating space for them to breathe or even go to the bathroom. I've had that happen with the client too. It's like she was not even creating space for herself so that she could go to the bathroom.
Don't let that be you <laugh>, right? Like you can create something for yourself that has space. You can get other things done. It doesn't mean you just throw the whole tool out the window just because you can get something done without it. And then there's also this history of lawyers in our office, and you don't also, this happened with me as I was a child, right? Is we reward busy with accolades, right? We have bosses who, who are like, Oh, what are you up to? Oh, I'm so busy right now. Okay, that's good. Yeah, good.
Then you have other attorneys in your office if you're working within an office who are like, Yeah, me too. Right? It's very much a tribal mentality where everybody is just so busy and that they're just, they're getting lots done. But keep in mind when people are doing that, their brains are busy.
It doesn't mean that they're necessarily getting a lot of quality focused work done. Maybe it does, but from my experience, I have seen lots of lawyers who are stressed out and frazzled saying that they're busy. And if you're stressed out and frazzled saying that you're busy, then you haven't learned the skills to slow your brain down. All right? So here's the truth. A calendar is a tool to problem solve your time.
You can anticipate and solve problems ahead of time when you're using a calendar. And it really helps when there are true emergencies that come up because it's, it's gonna help you problem solve faster in the moment when your brain is not functioning at its highest levels. This tool also helps you prioritize, right? So you can actually see, well, I have 24 hours in a day, I'm gonna use eight for sleep. I'm gonna use one for working out, two for working out.
I'm gonna use one or two for eating and the rest of 'em, I'm gonna work on this project. Okay? And this is the project that's that I'm gonna choose to work on because the rest of the week are things that aren't as important. They, they're not on the same deadline. So if we're not really using the tool as it was intended, we can make it a prison, right? We can make a calendar, a prison, or we can use it in a way that's really beneficial for us and serving us.
I had a client who was resistant towards a calendar because she was actually thinking that the calendar was so that she could work more. I actually use a calendar so that I can work less. Okay? So, so she was thinking like, Well, if I do this calendar, it's for the benefit of the office.
Why do I wanna work more? Like, I'm so tired of it. It's like, no, actually what it is is to help you focus your brain on what it is you wanna create for your week. How do you wanna feel? Right? How do you really want to think about what's going on in your week?
So she could use it as, “Okay, I know when I have used a calendar in the past it felt really good cause we had had those experiences” or she had had those experiences. But when she got resistant to it, it was like, “Oh, this is why I'm resistant to it. Cause I think I'm doing more work for the office. I'm actually doing this calendar for me so that I feel better. I know I feel peace during the week. I know that I'm gonna feel really calm and really confident about what I'm getting accomplished.”
And so when she set up her her time for herself, she knew that this was not for the office, this was for me. Okay? So how do you slow down your brain when it comes to problem solving your week using something like a calendar as your tool? Okay? The very first thing that you are gonna wanna do is think about your calendar totally differently.
If you are thinking that slowing down your brain is something that is going to really put you behind that, slowing down in problem solving and really thinking through your week is gonna somehow put you behind, you're not gonna be able to catch up. You know, those are some of the thoughts that I hear. I want you to keep this in mind. You've got to evaluate your weeks. So I have a calendar, and if you're watching the video on the on the website or on YouTube, this is what it looks like.
Okay? I have a calendar and I put other things on there. I have thoughts during the week of what it is I need to do. And so I'll just kind of scribble in a little note. So I have my time blocked out Sunday through Saturday and I block it all out. And sometimes I don't do what's on my calendar because I make a decision and say, Okay, well actually that's not as important as me doing this other task.
So I'll, I'll make a note, I'll cross it out and I'll write in the other task that I'm doing so that I can kind of keep a running tab of like, okay, I actually worked on a webinar that I was doing for a group that I'm in. And so I decided to do that instead of work on something else. Or I I had a mastermind and I went to that mastermind and now I'm not gonna have that anymore.
Like I'm gonna have this empty space. So it's really great for me to like keep track of where I decided to use my time. And then at the end of the week, this is a really great tip, especially if you you tend to beat yourself up and tell yourself that you're not that productive is at the end of the week you can go back and you can kind of look through everything that you've checked off and you say,
“Oh, my week really was productive. Look, I worked on my podcast, my webinar well for you would be something else, right? I worked on that project that I was assigned. I finished up that client meeting. I created, you know, multiple consults like going through your week,” and just seeing for yourself what it is you accomplished can help you calm your brain down and actually will help you slow your brain down.
Because oftentimes our brain goes into kind of a freak out mode. You know, at the end of the week we, where we feel we beat ourselves up, we feel some shame about maybe not working as hard as we think we quote unquote should have. And so when you go to the end of the week and you evaluate, you could say,
“Oh wait, I actually accomplished more than I thought I did. Like I didn't, I didn't love this week's calendar because I saw where some meetings popped up and I had to move some things around that didn't work really well for me.” And then next week you can say, Okay, so and so really likes to set meetings on Wednesday morning. So how can I anticipate this now and start to move some things around? How can I create some space knowing that, you know, so and so is gonna be setting up a meeting at some time during the week.
I can give myself a little bit of extra time one day and then start making sure I'm finishing up assignments earlier in the week so that I am creating space for that anticipated meeting. Now, you can't evaluate your calendar unless you are using a calendar and you can't evaluate a calendar like once or twice. You've gotta go back and you've gotta do it multiple times, okay?
To do that, you've gotta be kind to yourself because you will not evaluate unless you are really kind to yourself and recognizing like this is a process, that this is something that is just gonna take some time. And me showing up and being the turtle, right? Like being the turtle in that turtle in the hair story, just taking a little bit of a step at a time, being so patient with yourself cuz there's no such thing as perfection.
There's only improvement and you are in the 1% if you are using a calendar and doing this kind of evaluation because most attorneys are not doing the self-evaluation, Most attorneys are not doing the self-improvement work that you are doing. Okay? Most attorneys are not listening to a self-improvement podcast. Okay? It is something that is still a rarity.
If you find yourself talking to other lawyers who are, that's fabulous cuz that means you're in this rarefied group of lawyers who are aware that what they want matters. That what it is that they are doing in their practice matters. How they live matters. So be very proud of yourself if you are doing this because this is not the easy work, this is the, the work on ourselves that we're taking on. But calendars aren't the only thing that help you slow your brain down, okay?
And help you do it in a way that makes you more productive. Cuz what I work with my clients on too is how they think and feel about how they're showing up every day, whether it is goal setting, building their book of business whether it is how they manage their time or how they're managing their client loads, how they are showing up in their practice as a leader. Like all of these things are impacted by how we think, what are the decisions that we make?
Remember, the decisions that we make are the building blocks for how we create the life that we have. So if we're not conscious of how we think of what we believe and we just believe everything that has been fed to us, if we just believe everything that every other lawyer has told us, who's not in the 1%, who's not into, you know, really designing their life intentionally, we can fall into the trap of believing what it is they say.
And we take what our brain is telling us as a fact versus questioning it. And so one of the things I really work on with my clients is questioning the beliefs that they have about themselves, about what they're capable of, and really about how they're evaluating where they are going in their life, Okay? Whether it is the direction that they want to be going, because when we start to question, we start to get clarity.
It is an amazing thing to see a client have some pointed questions, questioning their beliefs and seeing how their brain unravels the falsities to find the truth, right? For themselves. Like they dis they learn how to slow their brain down by learning how to question what's going on in their brain. What are the beliefs that they have that aren't serving them? Okay? So if you're thinking that if I slow down that I am going to fall further behind that, I am not gonna be able to catch up, recognize that that is a false belief, okay?
Because when we actually look at the truth of what that means, it really means, let me slow down how I'm thinking. So I'm not making haphazard decisions because when I make haphazard decisions, I make mistakes about what I want to choose in my life. And when I make mistakes about what I want to choose in my life, cuz that's not actually what I wanted to do, it takes longer.
That can apply to your life, it can apply to how you approach your week at the office. Because if you are not planning, you're not problem solving your week ahead of time and getting that clarity even a, a day ahead of time, you could be spending a lot of time doing things that don't matter. And that's why when I work with my clients, I work with them to help them slow their brain down so that they can see what it is they're thinking and how it's impacting the choices that they're making.
And are they making them haphazardly or are they making them intentionally where they can actually say, these are the options and this is the option I'm choosing because it feels really good because it feels like the one that will get me to the place where I know I ultimately want to go.
I hope that this unraveled some of that thought for you. If you were believing that slowing down or slowing your brain down meant that you would have to just like chuck everything out the window and everything was going to take a lot longer, okay? That it was somehow going to be a stretch for you to, to do something like this. Because slowing down, right? There's this phrase, it's like slowing down to speed up. That's what it means, right? But it's not necessarily slowing down your practice, slowing down your work, it's slowing down, making the decisions that you make about work.
It's slowing down to think about what are the most impactful actions that you can be taking in work towards your goal, whatever it is that you're working on. And when we don't slow down to take a look and get clarity and question the thoughts, the beliefs that we have, we can find ourselves going in the wrong direction.
When I say wrong direction, I just mean the direction that's gonna take longer. So it's literally going to take us longer to figure out how to get out of whatever it is. And I'm gonna give you one example before we go. So before I started my coaching practice several years ago, I had a loose leaf tea company. And it was something that when I was, you know, practicing lawful time, I knew just I needed to start a business. There was something calling me to start a business.
I, it was just something I knew needed to be done, but I needed to figure out how to do it online. I needed to figure out something that could be done without me having to be physically present somewhere else, okay? I needed to do it from home. Those are, that's all I knew, right? I didn't know any other options.
All I knew is okay, I like loose leaf tea, I can blend loose leaf tea, I've done that for fun, people seem to like it and I could figure out how to sell it. And so all my eggs were in that basket trying to build a business was just figuring out how to build that business. What I wasn't thinking through was, okay, this is a physical product, <laugh>, where am I gonna store all of this? Do I want a physical product business? What are the, like the benefits of having a product business?
What are the the, the cons of having a pro physical product business? I didn't go through all of that because all my brain said was like, Okay, well you need to figure it out, let's just go, which is fine. Like everything turned out fine. So whatever you're doing, however you're doing it, everything is always gonna be fine.
But if I had known how to slow my brain down to methodically think through, okay, these are the components of this business, Do I like this? Is this something I want to do? I didn't even give myself the opportunity to think that. And if I had, I may not have chosen it, maybe I would have, but I may not have. Especially because later on down the line I realized, oh, this isn't what I want. I do not want to have these things. I don't wanna have products I don't wanna have any storage involved.
So if you are, you know, thinking through anything in your life, you're thinking through what kind of practice you want and you are stuck in perfectionism mode, maybe you just go, right? Maybe you just do it <laugh>, you know, don't wanna get in stuck in perfectionist mode, you know, done as better than perfect.
But if you are not in a perfectionist mode, okay, and you are just gonna take action and jump in like a lot of people do in their weeks, right? They just jump in without a calendar and want you to take a step back and ask yourself like, what is going to serve me? How do, what do I want this week? How, how is this going to serve me approaching it this way? And is there a better way? Okay, do I wanna try a different way? And if you do, I highly suggest you download the busy lawyers [email protected] slash busy lawyer.
Okay? If you're working on your calendar, if you're working on your goal setting, same thing. Start thinking about, okay, is this, what is it that I want? What do I hope to achieve with this goal? And how do I think this goal is going to help me achieve that? Like really start slowing your brain down and thinking about it.
What will I need to give up to achieve this goal? What will I need to learn about myself, about this practice, about this skill, whatever it is for me to be successful in this goal? Who will I need to ask for help? What will I need to do to make sure I'm successful in this? Like, what are the different components? So that way you're really slowing your brain down and you're really thinking about and problem solving ahead of time. So you're avoiding problems in the future that are going to point you in a direction that is off the track you wanna go and will take more time correcting course.
Okay? I hope that that was helpful, that that gave you some some insight into how our brains work and what we need to do if we want to achieve things. And it really does take slowing our brain down and recognizing what we're doing in our brain, whether it is like beating ourselves up for not accomplishing things during the week and not questioning that, right?
Cuz we've gotta question our beliefs or whether it is not deciding not to do a calendar because we think a calendar is gonna take too long. Remember to question your belief on that. Test it, okay? Test the work. And if you download the guide and you do the work for several weeks and you don't see a difference, okay, fine, no harm, no foul. But if you do and you see a difference and then you decide you don't want it, then I want you to ask yourself why, why aren't you doing it?
Just like my client who was like, this is great, this is the most and fantastic thing ever. And then her brain just like got kind of scared because it was thinking all of the old thoughts, and it was believing the old thoughts that this is gonna take too long, but she felt so much better when she actually implemented it. So you've gotta question your brain's beliefs.
There's an they're on autopilot, like our brains are gonna think it's up to us to challenge the beliefs and it's up to us to fight for the beliefs that we know to be true. So if you know for a fact that something is true, right? Like for me, it's when I do a calendar, I feel so much calmer. I feel so much better, right? So I just do it. Even if I don't wanna do it. When my brain tells me I don't wanna do it, I'm like, Girl, you need to sit down right now and we're gonna do this because otherwise next week is not going to feel good.
And you know that, okay? You know that. So I give myself a pep talk and I say, let's sit down and do it. And so that way I do my calendar every week and every week I end the week and I'm like, Yes, I'm so glad I did my calendar, but you've gotta fight for those beliefs because our brain is gonna go on autopilot and tell us it's gonna take too long.
Or, you know, I'm not gonna be able to, you know, keep up with this and emergency's gonna come up. You've gotta be the one to fight for that belief. All right? If you are somebody who is going after a goal, if you are somebody who is overwhelmed or feel like you're procrastinating towards a goal, I want you to book a call with me because during our call, we're actually gonna uncover some of the beliefs that you have about what you're capable of, about where you want to go and why you're gonna get so much clarity.
And then after we talk, I'm gonna ask you if you are interested in working with me, and I will share with you what my belief is on the path that would be the most beneficial to you, taking your practice, taking your life to the very next level. Okay? We're gonna look at how you can advance towards your goals in a way that is so much smoother, so much easier.
Then you're not gonna make your life so hard along the way. There won't be so much course correcting. Sometimes there will be course correcting, okay? It happens. But you're gonna do it in such an easier way with so little drama because you're gonna have the tools available to you to help you think through when you want to course correct to help you problem solve when that's something you wanna do. And this is not something that we're just taught out of law school.
That's why I became a coach because this is magical. I love it. All right, So book a call with me, go to dina cataldo.com/strategy session. All right my friend, I hope you have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.