re-balancing your life, re-balancing, Dina Cataldo, be a better lawyer podcast, be a better lawyer

#254: Re-Balancing Your Life

If you're feeling disconnected from yourself or out of balance, you're not alone.

I've been there, and there are 5 questions that helped me see where I needed to become more balanced in my life.

Answer these questions, and you'll begin re-balancing your life whether it's personally or professionally.



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Re-Balancing Your Life

Who is this podcast for:

Anyone who feels disconnected from themselves or out of balance. It’s for you if you feel overwhelmed or powerless to change things in your life.

Why self-evaluation is important:

To check in on your life and decide whether you like it. Do you want to keep showing up this way or not. We can’t always see ourselves because we see what we want to see and not how we truly are.

I see this time and again with my clients who are accomplishing amazing things and are big-hearted but feel deeply unworthy.

There are some companion episodes that I’ll link to in the show notes at , but what I want to offer you in this episode 5 questions to ask yourself to consider where you are in your life right now and whether you want to stay on that path or whether you want to evolve yourself.

When we don’t address these questions, we give up control of our lives. We don’t always see how much control we’re given to other people, our job, what we think about money, or our attachment to what we think our life should look like.

When we don’t have awareness, we’re blind and can’t make the changes we need to break free. When we break free of that control, we can make bolder decisions in our lives. Those bolder decisions can helps up feel more freedom and fulfillment instead of trapped.

When we gives control in these 5 areas away, we avoid problems instead of facing them head on, and we ignore the value we bring to this planet not just from the work we do in the office but by connecting with ourselves and with others on a human level.

A little warning I want to give you before we dive in:

You may feel resistant to answering these questions. Some of them will challenge your self-perception.

These have been questions I’ve asked myself over the years, and I don’t stop asking. The more I ask them at different times in my life, the more nuance I can see.

The more I see, the more I can make decisions around who I want to be in this lifetime.

That means I can keep changing and evolving.

So if you feel resistant, know that’s normal. Sit with that discomfort and answer these questions for yourself. If your brain says, “This question doesn’t apply to me,” ask yourself where it DOES apply to you. When you do, you’ll see more nuance and be able to face yourself head-on.

Question #1: Are you taking emotional responsibility?

We aren’t taught to take emotional responsibility. We’re taught to blame ourselves or blame others for how we feel. When you were a kid, did your mom or dad say, “That makes me feel bad” or “Words hurt.” We don’t learn that it’s what we think is what creates our feelings. It has nothing to do with what other people do or don’t say. It’s not the circumstances we have in our life but what we think about those circumstances.

Emotional responsibility is the ability to understand that what we feel is caused by a thought and that those thoughts are optional.

This is how I knew I wasn’t taking emotional responsibility in my life:

  • I’d tell myself things like, “I can’t leave my job because I need to pay off my student loans first.” Total baloney. I was judging myself for not paying off the loans with the job I got the money for.” It had nothing to do with my ability to pay.
  • I also was fearful of what people would think of me when I left my job if I failed. If I didn’t take responsibility for my emotions and remind myself that no matter what other people thought of me, I would always be proud of myself for trying, I never would have left.

Some ways you know you’re not taking emotional responsibility that I see with some lawyers:

  • They tell themselves that they can’t do something they want to do because other people won’t like them.
  • They can’t invest in themselves because they have debt. This is what’s interesting about debt, when you’re poor it’s considered bad, but when you’re rich it’s considered good. What investing comes down to is numbers. Are you going to get a return on your investment. If I see a coach or business opportunity that may initially mean I use debt to purchase, I run the numbers and make sure I”m going to get the investment back and then some. Notice the way I think about it: I’m USING the debt to create a result. It’s an active way of thinking about it. If we simply say no to debt, we can miss out on opportunities that can reap big dividends if we do the math. If we’re not taking emotional responsibility and let fear or discomfort prevent us from looking at the numbers, then we can miss out on big opportunities.

Question #2: Are you asking for help and allowing yourself to receive help?

If you’re not doing these two things, you keep yourself struggling, and change can take a LOT longer than you need it to.

Struggling is a habit. It’s cause by how we think about the world. Those thoughts might be something like, “No one does this as good as me,” or “No one understands,” or “It’s faster if I just do it myself,” then we can keep ourself struggling. If we take emotional responsibility and see those thoughts for what they are — optional — and recognize we’re the ones keeping ourselves struggling, then we can start asking for help.

This was one I needed to learn. I realized at 29 I never asked people for help. I didn’t want to ask anyone in my office for help, and I wasn’t asking my friends for help. Struggling was a habit. I thought that’s how it was supposed to be, so I didn’t think to change my ways. It felt normal.

I started by asking people around me for help when absolutely necessary. Then when I wasn’t making the changes I wanted to see in my life, I found coaching and learned how to ask people I didn’t know for help.

The second part of this is actually receiving help. Do you receive help when someone offers it? This took practice. I started saying yes more when help was offered, and I eventually got out of my struggle habit.

Here’s how you know you have a struggle habit:

  • you think you should be able to figure things out on your own
  • You put off tasks because you know you’ll need to ask someone for something
  • when people offer help, you always say, “No, I got it,” instead of considering whether it would be nice to have some help.

Question #3: Are you accepting what is?

When we fight reality, we create suffering.

How you know you’re fighting reality:

  • you tell yourself, “Things will change eventually.” Or “Things will get better.” And you take an honest look and realize 6 months, a year late that things haven’t changed. Whether it’s your work load, a romantic partner, your stress levels.
  • You don’t look at the reality of the numbers in your business to either celebrate your successes or reexamine your approach to your business.
  • You don’t look at the reality of your calendar or the systems you have in your practice to get things done.
  • Everything feels like it’s on autopilot, and you feel like you have zero control.

Your brain tells you things like, “I don’t have time to look at them.” That thought is actually a sign of resistance. This is another reason why calendars are amazing. When you put something on your calendar, and you don’t do it, you can see immediately where the resistance is and examine it. Without a calendar, you’re blind to it.

This resistance is also a sign that you’re not taking emotional responsibility for your business, your time, etcetera. Because you’re letting the emotion prevent you from seeing reality. The motion could be discomfort, overwhelm, fear. Then you can’t look at the real problem that you’re having. We talked about the in last week’s episode, and I’ll link to that one in the show notes.

Question #4: Are you consciously deciding to trust in your abilities including the ability to figure anything out?

This question is about where you get your validation.

Are you validating yourself or are you looking outside yourself for validation?

An example of where I didn’t trust my abilities is Facebook ads. If you’re familiar with them, FB ads is quite involved, and FB changes the format of its ads platform almost monthly. I became frustrated and gave up for a long time. But then I realized I wasn’t taking emotional responsibility for my business. As long as I allowed myself to feel frustrated, I wouldn’t use ads to grow my business. So I decided I’d ask for help and receive it in the form of a FB ads expert. (If you’re interested I use Claire Pelletreau’s Absolute FB Ads. I’ll link to it in the show notes.) I trusted my ability to figure anything out. I ask for help when needed. I made the FB ads happen.

I had a similar issue come up when I was placing requesting to be on people’s podcasts or do CLE trainings on my calendar. I saw resistance show up when it was on my calendar, and I needed to take emotional responsibility, and I got help, built my confidence, and started making pitches.

By the way, if you are part of an organization or a firm and would like to have me do a presentation for you, let’s talk. You can go to my website — — and we can set up a time to talk about your event. I’d love to be a part of it.

How you know you’re not consciously deciding to trust in your abilities including the ability to figure anything out is:

  • If you think your clients don’t like you or won’t like you, you will try to make yourself feel better by lowering your prices or doing work outside the scope of your agreement
  • You have a hard time saying no
  • You don’t take any vacations because of what you think your boss will think of you
  • You feel warm and fuzzy when you think about the title you have at the office or accolades or awards AND those warm and fuzzy feelings prevent you from doing what you truly want to do to feel fulfilled

Question #5: Are you consciously deciding you are deserving of what you want and that you belong? That you are worthy to take up space on this planet?

How you know you’re not is:

  • someone compliments your outfit and you say, “Oh, it was on sale,” versus “thank you.” Saying simply, “thank you,” feels uncomfortable.”
  • You don’t take credit for ideas or accomplishments and hedge them. I used to do this a lot, and it was something I needed to practice.
  • You don’t put yourself first on your calendar
  • You don’t do nice things for yourself
  • You don’t ask for what you want

Recap of the questions to ask yourself:

Question #1: Are you taking emotional responsibility?

Question #2: Are you asking for help and allowing yourself to receive help?

Question #3: Are you accepting what is?

Question #4: Are you consciously deciding to trust in your abilities including the ability to figure anything out?

Question #5: Are you consciously deciding you are deserving and that you belong? That you are worthy?