believing in your potential, dina cataldo, be a better lawyer podcast

#270: Believing in Your Potential

Ever thought about changing up your appearance?

You think about wearing red lipstick, but you hear a voice telling you, “That’s too much.”

You want to wear a flashier suit, and you hear a voice asking, “What will people think?”

You consider changing your hairstyle or hair color, but a voice says, “Mmm, that’s probably not a great idea.”

Any of these sound familiar?

If your brain fights these seemingly small changes, imagine how hard it fights when you want to do something like:

😬 work 4 days a week instead of 6

😬 fire an employee

😬 raise your rates

😬 change jobs, or

😬 take on a new practice area.

This small voice is what we’re up against when we start making any sort of change.

We hit an Upper Limit of what our brain believes is possible for us.

In this episode, you'll:

get awareness over when that voice will pop up

why that voice in our head exists, and

what you need to do to keep believing in your potential even when that voice pops up

Don't be taken hostage by this small voice.

Listen in to strengthen your belief in your potential.


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

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Believing in Your Potential

Have you ever thought about changing things up in your appearance?

You think about wearing red lipstick, but you hear a voice that tells you, “That’s too much.”

You want to wear a flashier suit than normal, and you hear a voice that asks, “What will people think?”

You consider changing your hairstyle or hair color, but a voice says, “Mmm, that’s probably not a great idea.”

Any of these sound familiar?

If our brains fight these seemingly small changes, imagine how hard it fights when you want to do something like work 4 days a week instead of 6, fire an employee who you know is hurting your practice, raise your rates, change jobs, or take on a new practice area.

This is what we’re up against when we start making any sort of change.

We hit an Upper Limit of what our brain truly believes is possible for us.

We could be super excited about the possibility — the potential — we see. But our subconscious — that little voice — says otherwise.

We default to our old habits and our old ways of being.

Not because we don’t hav the potential to change.

But because we haven’t learned the skills to counteract that voice long enough for us to make change.

Notice how I said, we haven learned to counteract that voice LONG ENOUGH for us to change.

It doesn’t have to be long.

We just need to do it long enough to take action on what we want.

This is where believing in your potential comes in.

Believing in your potential seems like it would be easy to do.

Didn’t most of our parents tell us that we could be anything we wanted to be?

That limitless potential got smaller and smaller as we grew up.

We realized we weren’t going to be the next Kobe Bryant or Lebron James if we’re not getting taller than 5’2”

We realized that to be President, we’d have to do a lot of things and be friends with a lot of people we didn’t want to be friends with.

But somewhere along the way, we also limited our potential within the world we decided to live in.

We start to look around us and see what other people think is acceptable.

We second-guess ourselves and wonder if other people have it all figured out and we’re just weird because we have a desire for something more.

We misinterpret self-help books telling us to have more gratitude and think we should just be grateful and we should ignore that nudge from the back of our brain or from the universe that we were meant for more.

I want you to consider that you have potential, and you can achieve it no matter what that little subconscious voice tells you.

I want to being that subconscious voice to the front of your consciousness, so you hear it and know that just because it tells you things like, “Are you sure you want to do this?” That it’s not a voice you have to listen to.

I have a couple clients right now who are dealing with a similar problem: their belief in being able to create boundaries and hir good people.

One of them hired a woman she knew in her heart she shouldn’t hire because this woman was her friend. My client had hired her in the past and hoped that she had changed after getting more employment experience elsewhere. This woman hadn’t changed.

There’s a part of her brain that’s telling her that she should have known better and that because she should have known better she’s not good at running her practice.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. She’s a fabulous attorney getting results for her clients, but it’s easy to believe that voice in the moment.

We all make mistakes.

It’s when we use those mistakes against ourselves that we begin to limit our own potential.

How is this possible?

What we believe will always find a way of manifesting itself in our day-to-day life.

If we believe that it’s impossible to hire good employees, our brain becomes blind to finding people who will be the employees we need.

There’s a concept called inattention blindness that explains this.

Researchers at Berkeley ran an experiment telling students to focus on a cross and ask them which arm was longer.

Then they were asked about other images that were on the screen alongside the cross.

Because they were focused on the cross, they had zero focus on anything else on the screen.

If we’re focused on how impossible it is to find good employees, we’re not going to be able to see how we can find good employees.

If we’re focus on all the thoughts telling us that we’re not good at running our business, we’re only going to see evidence that we’re not good at running our business.

Of course, when all we see is the negative and all we feel is disappointed in ourselves, we’re going to have a difficult time believing in our potential or the potential that anything can be different.

I want to tell you about my client Nancy.

She's a partner in a small firm with about 4 or 5 other partners. They each have a separate practice with some overlapping practice areas. She practices mostly estate planning and elder law.

They share revenue numbers and assistants, so everyone knows everyone else's business.

As Nancy and I worked together, she saw the potential to work fewer hours and maintain — and even increase — her revenue.

When she started making changes, people noticed.

It was hard not to.

Nancy stopped working Saturdays.

Then she stopped working Fridays.

Her partners started saying things like:

“Oh, you're taking Fridays off again?” (Note the sarcastic tone.)

Initially, Nancy took comments like these to heart.

She doubted herself and her decisions.

But because she kept getting coached, she could hold the belief in her potential. She understood the voice of self-doubt didn’t mean she couldn’t do it. That helped her keep going even when she was doing things “against the norm.”

And her partners kept noticing.

Nancy's revenue kept increasing.

She was happier.


And part of that was because she was focusing more and more on her potential. She believed more and more in what was possible for herself and her practice.

Another part is because she was believing in her potential, she was creating evidence of her potential. That helped her believe in her potential even more.

Her practice kept growing with her best clients. The sky didn’t fall when she took time off. New clients kept saying yes even when she raised her rates.

A few months ago, her partners' comments shifted. They asked in passing:

“How are you able to take Friday's off?”

“How can you get so much done in 4 days?”

She'd just reply, “I manage my time.”

But they became curious.

Curiosity opens us up to what’s possible.

Last week, Nancy told me one of her partners sat down in her office and asked her to show him how to manage his calendar.

That curiosity he had showed him potential and it opened him up to asking for help.

You may have a taste for your own potential right now.

Maybe you listen to this podcast and feel inspired or you have a good day at work, and you think, “Things can be different.”

But your brain keeps coming back and telling you that was a one-off. It’s just too hard to change.

I want to offer to you that our brain is designed to preserve the status quo in our lives. It’s designed to keep us where we are, so it guarantees our survival.

It’s a pretty brilliant survival method.

It has worked.

But is paying attention to it instead of believing in your potential giving you the results you want in your life?

Are you living into a bigger life or does your life feel smaller?

One of the things I do at the end of a Strategy Session is prepare people for what the brain does after the call.

If they’ve decided to work with me, I tell them that their brain will have something to say afterwards.

No matter how excited they are to work with me, I know the brain.

It’ll say,

“Are you sure now is the right time?”

“Is this really a good idea?”

“Maybe I should do it later.”

“Is it bad if I put it on a credit card? My parents always told me that was bad.”

“Maybe I should ask someone if this is a good idea. They’ll know.”

Or “I should probably be spending this money on the kids. It’s selfish to spend money on myself.”

All of that is normal.

It’s also optional to listen to that voice.

You get to decide what’s best for you to help you live into your potential.

That little voice isn’t the truth.

That little voice is your brain trying to help you survive. And that means being accepted by the people around you, avoiding discomfort, and seeking the pleasure of comfortable experiences.

If Nancy had listened to that voice, she wouldn’t have started working 4 days a week instead of 6.

If I’d listened to that voice, I wouldn’t have become a coach and left my legal career.

What do you think would be different in your life if you stopped listening to that voice?

Really, sit and be with this question.

What would be different in your life, your law practice, your relationships if you stopped believing the voice telling you to stay the same?

Would you wear that red lipstick and dye your hair platinum?

Would you decide to spend money on yourself to get your nails done or to get coached?

Would you decide to raise your rates or take a vacation?

What would be different?

Only you know for sure.

One of the things that really helped me hold the belief in my potential was having a coach.

That’s why I’m a coach.

I know the power of coaching. It’s helped me build a six figure coaching business from nothing.

I know how to help you clarify the vision, believe in your ability to do it, and support you in its execution even when you doubt yourself.

If you want this support, book a Strategy Session with me.

You can do anything you desire in your heart.

I 100% believe this to be true.

It is my lived experience, and I would love to help you experience it too.

You can book a strategy session with me at

Okay, my friend.

I will talk to you next week.