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#242: Making Life Easier with Big Law Attorney Kimberly Lopez

Kimberly Lopez has been an attorney in Big Law for 15 years.

During that time she's amassed a lot of wisdom that she's sharing with you today on Be a Better Lawyer Podcast.

You'll learn:

  • productivity and time management tips for lawyers
  • how she's changed since coaching with me
  • how to discover your passions
  • the one question to ask yourself while planning that makes life so much easier

Listen in to learn not only how to make your life easier, but how to make your life better.

RESOURCES

 

 

Are you a Be a Better Lawyer Podcast ride-or-die?

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

I have a treat for you today. We are talking to Kimberly Lopez. She is one of my clients, and I'm gonna let her introduce herself to you cuz she does such a beautiful job in our interview. What she shares with us in this episode is an accumulation of what she's learned in her 15 years in big law and in the time that we have worked together.

And if this episode resonates with you, I highly recommend connecting with Kimberly. After listening, you can find the links that she mentions to connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram in the show notes https://dinacataldo.com/242. All right, we're gonna just jump right on in so we can get all the wisdom that Kimberly shares.

Dina Cataldo (01:13):
Kimberly, thanks so much for coming on the show today. I'm really excited about our conversation.

Kimberly Lopez (01:18):
Thanks Dina, for having me. I'm looking forward to it too.

Dina Cataldo (01:22):
Ah, can you just introduce yourself to the listeners, let them know like what practice area you're in and where you live, all that good stuff.

Kimberly Lopez (01:31):
Sure. So my name is Kimberly Lopez and I am a commercial litigation attorney based in Orlando, Florida. And I've been at a AmLaw 100 firm for my entire career, the same firm. Uh, so part of that unicorn group, we can say they're homegrown and, uh, have been in the same place. But, uh, I'm mentoring my 15th year of practice and the entire time I have been, uh, in commercial litigation, having worked my way through the ranks from starting as a summer associate all the way now to partner.

Dina Cataldo (01:57):
That's pretty amazing. Yeah. Staying with the same firm. And what were some of the things as you were coming up in your experience that you have found to be challenging for you?

Kimberly Lopez (02:10):
Sure. So right from the beginning, I started in the, uh, great recession. So there was a lot of challenges right off the bat, um, from a lot of worries if today was gonna be the day, you know, you, you would put on the news, read the legal journals, and constant talks about layoffs and just reductions. Um, so there was a lot of challenges then in just making sure, um, that I stood my path and, uh, was able to succeed in that. And from that, you know, it's funny how a challenge becomes a success because that actually influenced my practice area, um, for some time and still to this day. Uh, you know, everyone touched foreclosures in one way, shape, or form, but it really became a specialty of mine because I was just around a good group of people who took the time to train me, uh, in that because it was a busy area.

Kimberly Lopez (03:01):
Um, and so I'm one of the ones who kind of stuck in there. So that's one of my practice areas because of that. Um, so th those were challenges. Um, finding my own way too and, and finding a voice in the type of attorney that I wanted to be. Um, being a first generation professional, um, you know, the first one in my family to go, uh, beyond an associate's degree, there were a lot of challenges in not knowing how to have your own voice. You know, sometimes you try to mimic others and that's not <laugh> good or comfortable. So kind of finding my own way, you know, yes, I learned from people here and there, but I had to kind of put that together to make my own path and have my own voice in my, uh, career.

Dina Cataldo (03:42):
Yeah. And I hear that a lot from attorneys, especially first generation attorneys, really, who didn't have that guidance and didn't always feel comfortable reaching out to other people for that guidance. It just, it just didn't seem like there was a direction for them to go to get the help that they wanted. Um, I'm curious, like how has your experience as a lawyer informed what you're passionate about today?

Kimberly Lopez (04:12):
Yeah, so, um, again, through that process of kind of finding different areas that worked for me or ways that I could help, um, I've become really enthusiastic about helping minorities, uh, business owners. Um, I serve on a, a nonprofit board, um, just that's kind of serves as a economic development arm here in our local community. Uh, focus particularly on Hispanic entrepreneurs and a lot of partnerships with other areas. Um, but that's become a passion of mine because I see that there's so much talent out there right, in the business community and in our economy. Um, but sometimes people just don't have the resources or the know-how, not having someone to talk to or having those same issues that I had, not knowing the ropes, so to speak. Um, so I like to take what I've learned in representing Fortune 500 companies and try to bring that to the community in small minority owned businesses as well, so that they can flourish in our economy.

Dina Cataldo (05:07):
Yeah, and I think this is really important for anyone who's listening right now to know that you may not know exactly what you are passionate about right now. It takes trial and error, it takes trying things that are new and seeing if there's something that really fits with your interest. It sounds like you found something that really clicked with not only how you identify yourself, but how you can take what you've learned and help other people.

Kimberly Lopez (05:34):
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it's not to say that I'm able to do that a hundred percent of my time, but you know, it lets me keep my eyes open for opportunities. Um, it's given me a pla a platform to be able to speak to and reach out to the community. Uh, and it's influenced my community service work and, and, and, and the non-billable stuff and pro bono work as well. So that's been helpful, um, to, to find that area that really, um, motivates me.

Dina Cataldo (05:58):
Yeah, I mean, you are a very together attorney. I think most attorneys think in some way, like, there are aspects of my life that I am very together in, and then there's aspects of my life that I wanna change or I want to improve or I don't feel as together in, and that came to mind just because the way you're speaking about what interests you, it's very clear that not only are you passionate, but you're a really hard worker and so you're gonna figure things out. I'm curious, what drew you to coaching and had you book a strategy session with me?

Kimberly Lopez (06:34):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well, thank you for the compliment, because that's certainly not how I always feel. And that's probably how I got to coaching is feeling that, you know, I, I have some shortfall or, you know, you, you fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Like, why can this person do it? And I can't, there must be something wrong or something I'm not seeing. And the first time I was exposed to kind of the mindset and coaching I was back in 2019 and just didn't know that that was even a possibility, um, was kind of mind boggling to be honest. I said, wait a second, this kind of makes sense, right? Because so much of it is pressure that I'm putting on myself because I'm not, um, telling my thing myself the right things. So when I heard your podcast, um, you know, and I'm an avid podcast listener and I would listen to podcasts, but I finally hit the realization that as much as I listened to podcasts, it just wasn't enough. And sometimes you just need that extra help. So I booked a strategy call and we had a great discussion and, um, I went from there because it helped me realize that it, it's not any shortfall of my, you know, talent or skillset, but really I had a lot to address in the mindset bucket.

Dina Cataldo (07:44):
And it's so funny cuz like, as I was prepping for this call, I was thinking about what we talked about during that strategy session. And I remember, um, I think it might have been like the first day we actually had the session and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you said something to me to the effect of, it's like, I almost didn't do it. Like, I almost thought, like, I almost put my felt guilty about spending money on me. Can you tell us kind of, of what was going on there?

Kimberly Lopez (08:12):
Yeah, I mean, you know, it is an investment and at first you think like, wait a second, it's just mindset. I mean, how hard can this be? Why can't I figure this out myself? Like, why do I need somebody else, um, to tell me about this? Right? It's my mind, it's my life. I know all the details. Um, but so th there was that hesitation in the beginning, but certainly as you go through it, it's just you realize how no matter how many podcasts you listen to, um, having someone be able to question your thoughts and kind of pose questions to you is really where you get the most out of it. Um, we think we could do it ourselves, but you know, our blind spots are our blind spots. And without that extra voice, um, you know, objective view, it, it really, it's, there's no comparison.

Dina Cataldo (08:57):
It's so interesting because, and this is something that I see repeated with lawyers, right? All of us have this, is we, we think that other people and the way we spend our money is a reflection of this, right? It's like, other people are more important, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and, and we can look and be like, yes, our child, of course our child's welfare, we're gonna put that welfare first, right? But then a lot of times we take our, the money that we're spending and we think about the other people and we think, well, maybe I should be spending it for something that they need. Versus like, looking at what is it that I really need and how can I support myself in a way that long term is going to further all of my goals, including goals for my kids, my family, you know, whatever it is. Like, does that, did that kind of factor in when you were thinking about where you wanted to invest your money?

Kimberly Lopez (09:51):
Oh, absolutely. You know, when you see the investment, you say, wait a second, I could use that for, you know, x, y, z or summer camps for my kid. Or, there's a a hundred different things that we can come up with, right? Where we, where at that time we may think the money should be spent or might be better spent. Um, but, you know, it was just reaching a point where I felt like this was needed in order to address where I felt I needed help in terms of my business development, my, you know, career advancement. So, you know, in the end it's an investment really to help you on all those other things, right? Um, but it's just kind of making that realization that this is something that you need and it's not, you know, floundering money or, or kind of throwing things away. It's really what you need, and that's okay to spend it on that.

Dina Cataldo (10:37):
Mm, yeah. Um, a lot of times I'll get questions from people who are like, what exactly is coaching? And I can explain it, you know, a dozen different ways, but I'd like to hear how you would explain it.

Kimberly Lopez (10:53):
<laugh>, I think it's, um, kind of working through this problem solving, but through a different lens than you've probably ever done before. So it's kind of working through what's, what your challenges are, what is stopping you from achieving what you may want, um, and then looking at it from a different perspective and addressing the mindset piece. I mean, for me, the coaching has really been about mindset and, um, giving myself the, the script or the formula, um, to address issues as they arise. Recognizing that many times, if not all the time, it's really a mindset issue that's stopping me or blocking me from doing what it is that I know I need to do, or what that things that I want to do.

Dina Cataldo (11:37):
Hmm. Yeah. Where has that shown up vividly for you?

Kimberly Lopez (11:43):
Vividly in my work? Um, you know, I think as lawyers, you know, especially women lawyers, we like to brag about multitasking. And if we're busy, then we're being productive. Um, but for me, in addressing certain mindset issues of like, why is it that I haven't gotten this one project done? Um, and before I would justify, but look at all these other things I've done though, in talking with you and working through things, I now now know how to stop myself and say, wait a second, why is it that we don't wanna touch this file or draft this motion? Um, and many times it's just kind of a thought that's stopping me or, or makes it uncomfortable for me, um, to just jump in and get it done. So that's really where it's shown up the most for me. Where I could now physically feel when I have that, um, thought and stop, pause, address it, give myself a script to make sure that I don't allow that to continue.

Dina Cataldo (12:33):
Mm. I like the way you phrase that, is physically feel that thought. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause you know, if, if anyone here, if you've been listening here for a while, you know, a thought creates a feeling. But oftentimes we don't have any access to the thought. We have no idea what's going on in our brain. We're so attached to what we believe to be true. We can't see kind of like see the forest for the trees kind of thing. So describe for me your experience in terms of what it means to, to feel a thought. Because a lot of times people come to me and they're like, I don't have access to feelings. That was me too, right? I didn't have access to my feelings. But when I did ask them, access them, learn how to do that, it changed things for me. Can you explain what you mean by feeling a thought and how it helped you make changes?

Kimberly Lopez (13:26):
Yeah. When you become aware of it and after sessions with you and you talk about these questions or things to ask yourself, I started becoming aware of the fact, like in terms of, um, tension or things that I didn't wanna do, that I felt like tension in my, my gut. Like literally like a gut reaction of like, oh no, like you just, and sometimes there's even like a verbal, um, pronunciation of it. But, um, that, that for me is a tension. When I'm able to identify something that I'm working through, it's my breathing. It's like a, ah, it's a release. Like, I literally, and I think I mentioned this during one of our calls, one of our calls, I said, oh my God, I literally just felt my shoulders drop and took a deep breath because it just felt ease. Like, when I was able to reframe something, I recognized that one, I can do it two, it's easy. Um, and I now have the tools to go forward. So when I am able to turn it on its head, it's that ease, a nice, um, easy breathing and deep breaths rather than the shallow tension, uh, of feeling it in my stomach.

Dina Cataldo (14:28):
Hmm. Yeah, that's a, that's a really great way to explain that. I hear sometimes people like lawyers, they'll talk to me and they'll say like, I'm afraid that it's gonna be a lot of work and I'm not gonna have time for it. And you just said like, you feel ease. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm curious, like your experience of the work we've done together, has it ever felt like really heavy, hard work? I maybe it has been at sometimes, but I'm just really interested in knowing what your experience has been?

Kimberly Lopez (14:58):
Uh, no. The experience has been, no, not at all. Um, certainly in the beginning, I, and I think that comes from, so often we sign up for these programs, whether it be a business development mastermind or something else where there's homework. And really, if you're gonna get the most out of it, there is definitive steps and tasks and time that you have to dedicate in between sessions or, or, uh, learning sessions. But with the coaching, what I came to realize is one, sometimes like my favorite sessions where I just showed up and, you know, said like, what's going on in my life? And we identified something to kind of work through. Um, but as you go through your day and your weeks, it's really, you, you'd be surprised how you start recognizing what's coming up, and then you can put into practice what you've talked about in coaching. So it's not a burden, it's not extra time on your plate. Um, it's really just putting into practice, which will help you with your time. <laugh>.

Dina Cataldo (15:51):
Yeah. And I have people who come to me sometimes and they're like, they want the worksheets. Like they want is, are their worksheets? Like, like they're coming to a classroom and they wanna absorb all the knowledge. What would you say to them, uh, if they're looking for the worksheets and all of the, the work <laugh> to, to change themselves?

Kimberly Lopez (16:11):
I would say, let's be honest with ourselves, we never do the worksheets, right? Like, we may do 'em once, um, you know, we may do 'em once and we print out a, a extra set, especially now we're recording this in January, right? So we all have our pretty new planners and all the setups and tracking devices that we wanna use. Um, but I think the coaching is better when you are learning the tools to address it, whether or not you have a worksheet, right? Because these are things that come up, uh, hour by hour in our day, right?

And there's not always gonna be a worksheet to address it. Or even if there were, you know, you're probably better served in terms of your, your time and efforts by just knowing how to address it in the moment rather than having to go to a worksheet. But yeah, I would just say, you know, if I'm honest with myself, I love the worksheets. They look pretty, but we, we never go back to them consistently <laugh>,

Dina Cataldo (17:01):
Right? I mean, when we really learn something, like that's, that's when it's been the biggest impact for me is when I really learn something from a coach and I'm having my brain question my thoughts, my story's questioned mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I sit with it and it clicks with me in that session, or I happen, I could be watching TV and then it clicks with me. I'm like, wait a minute, right?

And then it, it creates a shift for me that is internal. It has nothing to do with me sitting down and filling in a worksheet or, you know, I'll have sometimes great experiences journaling, right? Cause I'm like mm-hmm. <affirmative> writing my thoughts down. But the, the worksheet is really just a tool.

And if you can do that work with a coach to, to help you, you know, click, right? I'm snapping my fingers, or your <laugh> <laugh> cold noises and you're not watching the video. It's like you're going to, um, you're going to make progress faster just because we're internalizing it and it becomes part of you versus us trying to get an a, you know, like in, in school, right? Where we would fill in the blanks kind of thing.

Kimberly Lopez (18:08):
Yeah, I agree that that term internalizing is definitely spot on for me. And, you know, to your point about writing on a worksheet, I think it probably inserts like an extra block. Cause you're like thinking too much of what to write or how this should sound or how this should look. Whereas if it's internalized, again, you're just able to respond and address the issue spot on. And I, I feel in a more honest, um, manner.

Dina Cataldo (18:32):
Okay. You mentioned planners and cuz I love talking about time management and I know lawyers love hearing about time management. I'm curious if you, um, share with the people who are listening, like how is it that you manage your calendar? And maybe it's the way you talk about it, it might be part tactics and part mindset

Kimberly Lopez (18:52):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. So from a pure tactical standpoint, you know, I of course have my Outlook calendar where all appointments and everything go. Um, but then I've also developed a habit of time blocking, right? So that might not be on my outlook, but I usually have a handwritten sketch out where, you know, my appointments are built in, but then I see like a two to three hour block and I'm like, okay, here's a, a billable block, or here's a business development strategy block. Um, and that just helps me kind of dedicate time to things.

And I think the mindset comes in there because it's prioritizing and being okay with making something important, right? So, so often, you know, there's so much billable work that can be done or so much in a case that can be done. But if you're dedicating a hundred percent to that, you're saying no to a lot of other things, right? So for example, business development, right?

We all know that's an ongoing process. So the mindset pieces come in, in terms of helping me be okay with making decisions and prioritizing certain things and not having this mindset of, uh, one, it always has to be, you know, go, go go or a hundred thing a hundred balls up in the air, rather, it's okay to block time for one specific task, one specific case, whatever it may be that's needed that week. As I've determined,

Dina Cataldo (20:12):
When you sit down at your calendar, do you always feel like doing what's on it?

Kimberly Lopez (20:17):
Of course not.

Dina Cataldo (20:18):
<laugh> <laugh>.

Kimberly Lopez (20:20):
Yeah.

Dina Cataldo (20:20):
No, course not. So so how do you work through, when you look at your calendar and you don't feel like doing what's on it? How do you work through that?

Kimberly Lopez (20:31):
Um, well after coaching and what, what I've learned in working with you is sometimes I just kind of stop and think, like, why don't I wanna do this? Like, what's really at issue here? Uh, you know, sometimes it could be I'm feeling, um, I don't know how to address the issue. Maybe it's a, a you know, something I've never done before.

So there's a little bit of fear in the unknown. Um, so I try to address that and, and when I do that, part of my process at least is breaking it down to very simple tasks.

Like sometimes I can make a list, like, and it may literally say, email Don Smith about X <laugh>. Um, and while it may seem elementary to do it that way, it just makes it much more manageable for my mind to wrap myself around it and say, I can get this done in this block, or if I do these three simple steps, I can cross this off my list and it's off of my calendar. Um, so that really helps in just determining why is it that I'm having this fear? How do I simplify it? And then just running through the simplified list.

Dina Cataldo (21:28):
Yeah. I mean, that's really a lot of the work I do with lawyers, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is, and I do with myself too. Like, this is something I practice because I too look at my calendar and don't wanna do things <laugh>, right?

Kimberly Lopez (21:42):
And I'm

Dina Cataldo (21:42):
Like, why <laugh>? So that I'm like, okay, why is it that I don't want to do this? Right? Right. And not letting your brain stop at I don't feel like it, I don't wanna mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right. Really starting to recognize like, oh, there's something else there. Like, there's a fear of something, or there's, you know, confusion. Your brain might get in confusion only because we haven't addressed the confusion.

Might we not do something right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just like you were saying, is like, if you, if you stop your brain and you don't believe everything it says, and he says, I don't feel like it, I don't want to and ask why, what's happening, right? Really, I I phrase it as having a conversation with yourself, right?

So sometimes we'll be in a session and I'm gonna ask you a question like, oh, so how, how do you wanna address this? When it happens, what's the conversation you wanna have with yourself? Like there's, I really think about our brain as two separate people. One of them wants what it wants, when it wants it, and then another wants what's best for us and our long-term higher self, however you wanna phrase it. And then we've gotta do the work of allowing those two people inside of us to have a conversation and come to a place where they're going to take action for the best interest of everybody <laugh>. Yeah.

Kimberly Lopez (23:04):
Yeah. I like when you always say like, just keep your, keep asking yourself why. Right? And it's like drilling down and you feel like a child's asking for why, but why, but why. Um, and it's funny how you drill down to something if you keep asking that question and suddenly, you know, then you're like, okay, now I see what the real problem is. Let me address it and let me move forward. Um, because like you said, you can allow your mind to stay somewhere, let's say between the first and second why. But when you keep drilling down, you then know what you really need to address.

Dina Cataldo (23:33):
Yeah. And it's kind of like, you know it when you hear it, right? You're like, oh, that's the truth. That's what's really happening.

Kimberly Lopez (23:41):
Yeah,

Dina Cataldo (23:41):
Yeah. For sure. I, I love that. Um, I'm curious, like when you came to coaching, what was it that you wanted to accomplish for yourself?

Kimberly Lopez (23:59):
It's funny how I have to kind of think about going back, cuz now I think I've probably gotten something else out of it. Um, but I think I was coming with hopes of getting some clarity, uh, on kind of what I'm doing, where I wanna go with my life, career, um, whatever it may be. But, um, just, and again, addressing, giving myself the tools to be able to, um, keep working at what it is I want. Um, but certainly I think the, the mindset piece is the best that's come out of it. And that was certainly part of why I signed up. But I think that's been the biggest, um, biggest takeaway, if you will.

Dina Cataldo (24:37):
You said there was something, you got something else out of it. Can you tell us what that is?

Kimberly Lopez (24:45):
Well, I, I, again, I think when I signed up, you know, and perhaps it was part of my, my trying to justify right? The investment at that time. It's like, you know, I need this clarity. I need to figure things out. But what I got more out of, and while it was on the list, but the, I think it took up more of the takeaway is the mindset piece. Just the tools to really address mindset and give myself the, uh, ability to put myself in the right mindset to do anything, right? So even if, if it's figure something out or achieve a goal, set a goal, um, that's really what's been the biggest takeaway.

Dina Cataldo (25:20):
Hmm. Okay. So we've been working together for about five months. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, did you get what you came for? Yes.

Kimberly Lopez (25:27):
Okay.

Dina Cataldo (25:28):
Absolutely.

Kimberly Lopez (25:28):
<laugh>.

Dina Cataldo (25:28):
Yeah, because that's, you know, that's always something that, you know, when I'm thinking about it, when I'm choosing to invest in something, I ask myself, how am I going to get what I came for mm-hmm. <affirmative> instead of like just relying on the person to give me something. And that puts me in the mindset of I am just going, I am gonna show up for myself in a way that gets the results. When you came to coaching, what were your thoughts about, and maybe it was like while you were, we were working together, what have your thoughts been that have helped you get what you came for?

Kimberly Lopez (26:13):
Um, one is being honest when you show up, you know, one of the first things you asked is, you know, what did you come with today? Or what's going on in your life? Um, and I think as we've continued and progressed in the, the coaching relationship, you know, it's been easier for me to identify things that would be a good to talk about. Whereas in the beginning I think we probably have a tendency of like, oh, I don't know, that might be not appropriate, or that's not what coaching is for.

But sometimes the, again, the best sessions come when you're just talking about something that seems mundane or something that you feel you should be able to figure out. Um, or like, you know, something like calendaring. I know we've talked a lot about time management and calendaring. So, um, I think that's kind of the, the thought process that kind of works through there.

Dina Cataldo (26:57):
Yeah. It's really easy. I do this too, is I, I will judge myself before I go into a coaching session, <laugh>, and I'll be like, I should have something better than this. Yes. Right? Yes. And so when, you know, you know, you come or another client comes and they're just like, you know, honestly, I don't have anything. It's like, not a problem. Cause then I could just be like, okay, that's great and let's, let's play and then we can talk. And it's just amazing where the sessions can go and like the realizations that can happen even when you don't bring something to a session.

Kimberly Lopez (27:31):
Yeah, no, for sure. I agree with that a hundred percent because certainly in the beginning, uh, I felt like almost a pressure to like, you know, come up with this like, life changing topic. Um, but really, like I said, some of the best sessions have been when I just tell you, Hey, uh, you know, this week just here are the issues I'm having. And we just kinda drill down, drill down on that and work on it. So yeah, it's, I would definitely tell folks, don't, don't stress about having the right topics or whether you have the right things to talk about. Um, just kind of show up for yourself and, and you'd be surprised what you get.

Dina Cataldo (28:04):
Yeah. Um, you've talked about quite a few tools that have helped you. Is there anything that you haven't mentioned that you've learned in coaching or, um, that has come to you? Like it's been a tool that's been really handy for you that you have used and seen improvements in your life?

Kimberly Lopez (28:24):
Um, I don't know if it's a precisely a tool, but one of the things that certainly has been another takeaway is I think so often we we're looking at other people and things other folks are doing, you think like, oh, I can do that, uh, in my life right now where I'm at. Um, but sometimes talking through it and working through some of these sessions, you realize that you can create what it is your desiring right where you are right now, no matter the circumstances. So, you know, um, attorneys may often say, oh, I can't do that. I'm an attorney, I'm at a law firm. Right? But if you think about it and drill down to what it is you're really wanting or desiring, you'd be surprised how you open up doors, um, to create some of what you feel is missing right where you are right now.

Dina Cataldo (29:08):
Oh my gosh. I love that because that's something that I think everybody to some extent has the thought that I'm kind of stuck mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? That I can't, I can't get out of wherever I am right now, knows when I was, um, prosecuting, I thought that there's just, I can't, I can't do anything else. Like I wanted to do something else, but I kept shutting down the possibility with all kinds of reasons, right? Quote unquote reasons. All the stories I had, I don't have time. I don't know how, um, what are other people gonna think? They're gonna think that I'm not serious about my career. They're not gonna take me seriously as an attorney or, you know, promote me or whatever it is. And I could have let that totally block me from trying new things because my brain kept shutting down. Like my very first coach, my brain could not get past the idea of leaving the office.

Dina Cataldo (30:08):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, period. And even before that, like doing something on top of being a lawyer seemed hard. And so I just had to kind of feel my way in the dark and <laugh> like, like, how do I make more time? And before I found coaching and, and then I discovered how I could do it mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then later on I discovered I was using a lot of the tools, a lot of the mindset work on myself in that very small part of my life to make more time. I didn't know it actually could help me create whatever I wanted from right where I was. I didn't realize that I could plan something huge for my life mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then learn how to make, take the steps, like the small steps right now to get where I wanna go.

Kimberly Lopez (30:53):
Yeah. I think some, oftentimes we're just looking for this big ginormous change, right? That this has to like completely transform, but sometimes we can have a transformation right? Where we're at, you know, um, you know, like I think make an analogy to lawyers, right? If, if you feel, oh, I'm in a profession that's not creative, right? But maybe you learn a new practice area, or you pick up a new specialty and suddenly you see like different creative ways of bringing that creativity right into your practice right now without having to completely, you know, upend your career or change careers or do something completely different. Um, so that's, that's been helpful. Um, if there's something I feel I want or that I feel would make me feel more whole perhaps then is stopping and thinking like, okay, how do I bring this into my life right now without, you know, changing too much?

Dina Cataldo (31:42):
Yeah. I think that's really important to notice where we shut ourselves down, where we like mm-hmm. <affirmative> have a desire, and then we just immediately say no. Right? Because those desires are there for a reason. Like, I firmly believe that when we have a calling to do more, to expand that, that is, it's like instruction. We're getting instruction from our subconscious, our higher self, what, however you wanna phrase it. We're getting instruction on which direction to go, what is going to help us grow the most and feel amazing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when we shut it down right away, we don't give it any air to breathe, then we shut down that higher self. And this also comes, I was thinking this morning about how often people come to me saying like, I just don't trust myself, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't trust that voice. And when they don't trust themselves, when they haven't built that relationship with themselves, it makes it really difficult to give that voice air, you know, we don't, we don't wanna listen to it. We think it's wrong.

Kimberly Lopez (32:46):
Yeah. And, and another, another part of that too is, you know, feeling that that higher voice has to be like, completely perfect right out the gate. Right? But if we shut it down immediately, we may ne never get to what we feel is, you know, quote unquote perfect. Um, you know, I think a lot of times we feel that there has to be some, you know, higher power that like breaks these seas and suddenly there's this awakening that you have. Um, but really it's just listening to that voice little by little, right? If it's something small you want and pursuing that and playing with that, you'd be surprised. I think what opens up from there. So that's part of also what I've been working on, is just, you know, listening to that little voice and, you know, like, okay, let's see where this goes. Doesn't have to be perfect. Doesn't mean it has to be something I do for the rest of my life, or that changes anything major. Uh, it's just kind of exploring and see where it takes you.

Dina Cataldo (33:36):
Yeah. How has the work that we've been doing changed the relationship you've had with yourself?

Kimberly Lopez (33:45):
It, it's made it kinder. Um, it's just not, you know, um, beating myself up right away when I, you know, identify, uh, you know, maybe there was a goal I wanted to hit or maybe there was something that I wanted to do and didn't. It's just being kinder to myself and, and recognizing like, okay, well maybe this wasn't the right timing or maybe this wasn't really what I had in mind, uh, Andre and addressing it. And if it's something that I really do want after going through that process is identifying how I can get there for myself and what works for me and what feels right for me.

Dina Cataldo (34:17):
Yeah. And when you're thinking about like, that kinder relationship with you, you have with yourself mm-hmm. <affirmative> does, does that correlate? Like, do you have more self-trust with yourself now to follow that voice?

Kimberly Lopez (34:33):
Yeah, absolutely. You know, you don't, I don't second doubt myself as much. And it, again, breaking things down, uh, you know, it's kind of like you think of like, okay, well, like what's the worst that can happen here? Right? And it's going through that exercise of just trusting yourself. And you know what, if you don't get it right, that's okay too, because now we have the tools to address and then we can, you know, we can backtrack or what's the worst case that happens if I make, again, music kind of lawyer analogies the wrong legal argument? Well, I'll just make another one and we move on <laugh>. Um, but sometimes, you know, we get, I know I did, uh, and still do at times without doing the work, is you get stuck on this. I have to get everything right 100% of the time, and that's not, not the case.

Dina Cataldo (35:16):
Yeah. I think that's also the case when you're in this world of thought work, in this world of mindset work, we can even bring that perfectionistic mindset to the coaching and that can block us from making the changes that we want only because we're judging ourselves. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So like, part of the work that we do, like whether it's with you or anybody, whether it's with myself, is like constantly accepting and loving that voice that tells us we should be doing it better, different, whatever. And saying, and having that conversation with it, saying like, Hey, I understand that you think that things should be different, that you should be better at this, that you should, you should have it all together. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and saying, look, it's okay if you don't look, look at, look at where we are. I mean, look at you. You're very successful. I'm very successful. If you're listening to this, you're probably very successful too. Right? You've been doing okay, <laugh>, <laugh>, you know? Right. So it's this, this work that we do is a choice. Like nobody needs coaching, you know? Right. To be successful, it's a choice. You get to decide

Kimberly Lopez (36:33):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And I would, I would add to that, like, you know, like you said, you, you're, if you're listening, you're successful, right? If you're an attorney, you're successful. But we so often like, forget all of the successes we had to get to where we're at. And I think coaching helps us also remind ourselves of that. And that, you know, that inevitably gives you a confidence to go forth and, and listen to that voice and say it's okay. Um, but I think after practicing for some time, we forget all of the hurdles we've overcome to get to where we are. You know, it's, you know, I, I was talking to someone the other day and we're talking about the bar exam. It's like, remember when that was the biggest hurdle you'd ever had in your life? And you were able to do that? So just reminding yourself of the possibilities when, when you, you know, kind of go for it and have confidence in yourself that you can do it.

Dina Cataldo (37:19):
Yeah. I mean, that self-confidence is so important. It's really essential for us if we want anything bigger. Cause I, I think a lot of us come to this work and we want something, something for expansion. Could be money, it could be, uh, lifestyle change, whatever it is. When we come to this work, what can stop us or, or put the breaks on so to speak, is not having that self-confidence. And what builds that self-confidence is having that better relationship with ourself, being kinder to ourselves, um, doing the little things that help us trust ourselves. Like doing the things on the calendar and learning how to walk through exactly what you walk through. That builds confidence, reminding ourselves of our wins, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> all the things we've already accomplished in our careers and our life, and reminding ourselves we still have that. Like no matter what happens.

Dina Cataldo (38:14):
We still can go back to doing whatever it was we were doing. We were still successful. Like nothing has gone wrong. And all those little things build the confidence for us to take steps towards that bigger picture that we have for our life. And that's, I, I just, I love it. Cause I know that I feel so great in my skin, like compared to like, when I look back at myself, you know, even a couple years ago, right? Like, I can look back at myself and be like, whoa, what a, what a difference. And know that still at that point I was still successful.

Kimberly Lopez (38:48):
Right? Right. Yeah. And, and, and no one decision or actions is gonna erase all of the successes you've had. Right? So I think we put, uh, I know you've talked on previous podcasts, and I love your analogy like right away you think, if I get this wrong, I'm gonna be homeless on the street, eating a can of beans. Right? <laugh>. And I think our, my mind is quick to go there too, right? Every mistake I make is gonna end up with my family being homeless on the street. But you know, it's to remind yourself that, you know, taking these steps or making a mistake, it does not mean that every success gets washed away. Um, that you still carry those with you and they're still, um, part of your, your repertoire and armor.

Dina Cataldo (39:23):
Yeah. I love that. <laugh>, what have you learned about yourself through your coaching experience?

Kimberly Lopez (39:32):
Um, that I'm capable. Um, that, you know, really I, it's the reminder again to that I can do what I put my mind to, right? It's just having the right mind to do it. Um, that I can trust myself, that I can make decisions for me, um, that, you know, advance my professional life, my personal life the way I want, and to reach, you know, what it is, the life that I'm seeking to, to create.

Dina Cataldo (40:00):
Hmm. I love that. Okay. <laugh>, I'm just gonna check here cause I think I wanna respect your time and I think we're almost finished here. Okay.

Kimberly Lopez (40:12):
Okay.

Dina Cataldo (40:14):
Oh, this is a really good one that I hear from lawyers, and I thought this for a really long time, and I put off doing a lot of things and asking for help, even in my legal career, not even, you know, as I was growing my business, but in my legal career in college, I saw this, it was a pattern is I always thought I should be able to figure things out for myself that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I just wasn't working hard enough and I needed to, to just work harder. And that the answer was out there and it was probably something that was really simple and like, I just needed to find it on my own. It's kind of like the thought. Um, there's like this running gag. It's something like, this man is out on a, on a deserted island and you know, there's, you know, a helicopter that comes over <laugh>, and he says, no, no, I'm waiting, you know, I'm waiting for God to, you know, oh yeah, help me. And then, you know, he, like a guy with a boat comes by and all these says, no, no, I don't need your help. You know, I am fine. I'm waiting for God. And then, you know, he dies and you know, God says, what the heck? Like, I sent you a boat. I sent you a helicopter. What happened? <laugh>,

Kimberly Lopez (41:28):
Right,

Dina Cataldo (41:29):
Right. So like, what would, have you ever experienced that?

Kimberly Lopez (41:34):
Oh, all the time. I think it's because we come up with this thought, like you said, you know, I just have to work harder, right? It's obviously I'm not doing something right. Uh, I'm not putting in the effort. Or again, we get into the comparison, um, issues of like, I see this person, it, it seems like they're working, you know, 15 hours a day. So if I can just mimic that, then everything else is gonna fall in place. But that's not the case. Um, um, you know, we're lawyers, we may have billable hour requirements, but there's other things that, um, it doesn't always have to be as hard, right? You kind of have to do the smarter, not harder sometimes. And figuring what that means for you, figuring that out is really helpful. And, and sometimes, like you said, it's a lot easier than we wanna make it seem. Right? We, we think that we have to do all these really hard things, things that just push us beyond our comfort zone. And while that's good to get outside of your comfort zone, sometimes it's the things that we do best and are easy for us that could really produce results.

Dina Cataldo (42:32):
Tell me, what are some of the things that have helped you make your life easier, like in your law practice?

Kimberly Lopez (42:39):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, well we talked a a lot about the calendaring and time blocking, so that's been easier to help me reach some, some goals that I've set for myself. Um, the other thing is going to what we just said about looking at what's easy for us versus producing results. And so I know we've walked through an exercise and I kind of implement that, right? It's like, is this hard? But does it produce results? If it's hard and not immediate results, well then maybe I don't wanna prioritize that, but if it's easy and gets me results and I have evidence that it gets me results, then I wanna make sure to prioritize that, right? Because one, it's easy. Two, it's producing results and I'm achieving what it is I wanna do. Um, you know, it's not to say that we never have to do hard things, but at least it gives me building blocks to, to get to where I wanna be.

Dina Cataldo (43:27):
Yeah. And I always like to ask myself, how can I make this easier? Cause I think our brain throws up subconscious sometimes saying, oh no, this is gonna be so hard, you're not gonna wanna do this. Right? And if I ask myself, how do I make this easier? My brain starts searching for some solutions mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so then it's like, oh, well maybe I cross off doing that thing so that I can really focus on what's most important here that's gonna move the needle on my practice or my business. Right? Like, that's, that's really what so many of us, I think, neglect to do, is like, we just kind of believe everything our brain says about what we should be doing right now mm-hmm. <affirmative> and how we should be, you know, managing our time and being busy is somehow better cuz you're gonna get more done. But when we do it that way, when we're ignore, when we're listening to our brain and not questioning it, we waste more time and we waste more energy and we just don't feel as good in our day. So,

Kimberly Lopez (44:27):
Yeah. No, I agree. It's kind of like, again, going back to law school, like when you outline, you know, it's taking the time to just pinpoint things and kind of organize it. For me, it, that's my simplification list, right? I take my, the hard thing in my mind and try to just break it down like, what can help me achieve this, these simple steps. And it's taking that time to, and, and I physically write it down. I'm one who has to write it down. Um, but just taking that time to do that and simplify it really helps me see where, where can I take action right now to move me toward accomplishing that hard thing or getting it figured

Dina Cataldo (45:00):
Out. Oh yeah. I love that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. <laugh>. Okay, so we're wrapping up here and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one question that I have for you is, if there's somebody who is considering coaching, like wants to work with me, but it's kind of like hesitant, right? It's like they, they keep going to the strategy page, session page and they wanna book a call, but they, they've been putting it off. What would you say to them?

Kimberly Lopez (45:23):
Uh, I would say don't, don't allow the analysis paralysis to get, you just sign up for the call, the consultation call. Um, it'll really give you an insight into what coaching is. Um, and just go for it. If you've been listening to the podcast, then it's probably because there's something there. You've identified you deed. Um, so I would say, um, go for it. You, you won't regret it. Um, and it's certainly customizable to meet you where you are. You don't have to be at any specific time, place or, you know, pointing your career. This really can help anyone right where they're at.

Dina Cataldo (45:54):
Hmm. And then if you were to share any words of wisdom with our listeners, what would they be?

Kimberly Lopez (46:03):
Hmm. Um, trust yourself and trust that you can do hard things and trust that you, you can find a way to get, um, what you want and where you wanna be.

Dina Cataldo (46:14):
Mm. I love that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and if they wanna connect with you and maybe say hi to you, send you a dm, where can they find you?

Kimberly Lopez (46:23):
Sure. Well, I, you can easily find me on LinkedIn. I, I would love to, um, be on LinkedIn, so just by my name Kimberly Lopez. And I have my married name on their nabo. Um, and also on Instagram. My recently created, uh, an account called Latinas in Big Law. So this is just part of me trying to share my journey and build community amongst, uh, Latinas in big law because there's not many of us. Um, and so just building that community and helping others see the path, um, and career opportunities available, um, is just kind of a, a passion project that I've started there. So either way, happy to connect with anyone on either platform

Dina Cataldo (46:58):
And I'll be sure to link to those in the show notes. So anybody who's interested, we will have all of that information for you there. Thank you so much for joining me, Kimberly. This has been really fun.

Kimberly Lopez (47:11):
Yes. Thank you so much for having me. It's definitely an honor to be here and certainly, um, grateful to have found you and, and to have worked with you, uh, these past five months and continue on.

Dina Cataldo (47:20):
Thank you Kimberly, for taking the time to talk with me. If you want to connect with her, you can find the links that she mentioned in the show notes at https://dinacataldo.com/242. And if you have been wanting to work with me and this episode resonated with you, this is your sign for you to sign up for a strategy session with me. To do that, you can go to the show notes or you can go to https://dinacataldo.com/strategy session, dinacataldo.com/strategysession, and that will give us time to talk about what coaching can do for you. Thank you so much for listening. I will talk to you next week. See you then.

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