Let me prepare you , my friend, your brain may explode a little while listening to this episode.

Oh, it's going to be so good!

First of all, I'm going to tell you exactly how to see your beliefs. Here's the thing, you're not going to want to do any of them.

Your brain is going to reject all of them immediately. Your brain is going to say, “I can't,” “I don't have time,” “I don't know how,” and anything else to prevent you from seeing your beliefs.

That's okay. It's normal. Nothing has gone wrong.

Our brain doesn't want us to see our beliefs.

It's not because it's the enemy. It's not because it means us harm. It's trying to protect us.

It's because our beliefs make up our current life. If we see them for what they are — just thoughts that can be changed — then we may want to do something about it. We want to change something and that challenges who we are right now.

And that's scary.

It feels uncertain.

The problem I hear from lawyers is that they want to know the step-by-step how to solve their problems, but they can't see their beliefs clearly enough to take the steps they need to to solve their problems.

Their beliefs feel like concrete facts. We actually have to tear the concrete up, so we can set a new foundation for you to build on.

Think of your beliefs as the roots to a plant. You can't see them. They're hidden by soil. We can only see the product of the beliefs. We can only see the actions we take and the results we're getting. So we assume we need to start changing ourselves by cutting the plant, but it keeps growing back.

We can't understand why the plant doesn't go away. It's because we haven't dug into the ground, loosened up the dirt and pulled the plant out by the roots.

So that's the first thing you're going to learn: the tools to see your beliefs.

Second, I'm going to give you lots of examples in this episode to make this belief work tangible to you. You're going to FEEL the difference between a thought and a belief by the end of this episode.

One of the examples I'm going to give you is my client Nancy who just went through a transformation that was flipping the scripts on lots of beliefs.

Third, I'm going to give you a breakdown of each of tools I mention in the first part of this episode. Without the context in the middle, you won't have what you need to do them.

Let's get into it.

Here are tools you CAN use to see your thoughts.

You don't need all of them. In fact I'm only going to talk to you about 3-4 of them in depth because you won't use all of them, and that's okay. And at the end of the episode I'm going to give you specific help on what to do for each of these options.

– journaling
– listening to what you say to people and how you say it
– observe you surroundings
– coaching – which is really hiring someone to help you do all three all rolled in one
– meditation or quiet time without distraction – I'm not going to talk about this one because there's a lot of resistance around these activities, and you don't need them to make the progress you want.

I promise I'll break the “how to” down at the end and how to start changing the thoughts you don't want to keep. First you need some context.

We hear all of this is important for our mental and emotional health, but it's more than that.

Not doing any of these things is allowing our brain to go off unsupervised.

Our brain is like a puppy running around and getting into everything. You wouldn't let a puppy go haywire in your house and let him chew up the furniture. But so many of us let our brain run haywire, and then we find ourselves living in a house full of chewed up shoes and torn up paper everywhere wondering what happened.

You've probably wanted to one or more of the things I listed at some point, but your brain doesn't let you.

It's addicted to patterns.

The ability to follow patterns means predictable outcomes. Predictable outcomes means safety.

For example, maybe you find yourself using the same brand of toothpaste or the same airline over and over again. It feels easy. You know what to expect. It's your go to every single time you go to the store or take a trip. You may see something that looks good, but you don't use it because you don't 100% know what to expect.

Here's the problem:

We don't upgrade our experience because we're making decisions based on our past experiences rather than basing them on what we want for our future experience.

We don't change because our brain tells us we don't know what to expect, and that not knowing what to expect is bad. Because not knowing what to expect — not knowing the pattern — could be life threatening. That's the primal programming that we're working with.

It applies to choosing a new toothpaste just as much as it applies to choosing a new job as much as it applies to having a difficult conversation with a partner.

It's true that we don't know what to expect. We can only make guesses.

We've never done it before, so of course we don't know all the details yet. You can't know the HOW until you've already achieved it.

If you asked yourself now whether you could have 100% predicted the twists and turns your life took to get you where you are, you'd say no. Only after you had your experience could you tell someone the how of it.

But here's what the brain does.

Your brain says, yes, my experience could be upgraded, but I'm safe here. It could be upgraded, but I'm not sure what will happen, so I'm going to keep with the pattern.

That's the epitome of creating your life from your PAST and not intentionally creating it from your FUTURE.

If you create from the past, nothing new will ever happen.

If you keep creating from past beliefs, you are going to repeat the results of your past beliefs.

We might be forced to change to another toothpaste when our favorite is out of stock or we may be forced to choose a new airline because that airline doesn't go to the destination we want, and that may be the only time we change anything.

If we change, it's because we have a new experience to think about. That new experience may now feel more comfortable but only because your new belief about the experience like, “I like this,” or “It's not as bad as I thought it'd be.”

Let's talk about the difference between a thought and a belief.

A thought can be a belief, but beliefs are more hardwired. Beliefs are thoughts that have been practiced so many times by the brain that they feel like facts. That's why we don't question them. In fact, we may not even see them.

They're the roots hidden under the soil.

Here's an example.

Say this to yourself: “I love my body.”

When you say it, how do you feel?

Your answer will tell you if it's a belief.

If you said to yourself, “I love my body,” and you cringed or felt like you came out of your skin a little bit, then it's just a thought you tried. You don't believe it.

What you experienced was cognitive dissonance. Your brain was trying to hold two opposing thoughts in it at the same time because you have another belief about yourself that may be something like, “I don't love my body” or “I don't like my body.”

“I love my body,” doesn't FEEL true to you.

If you said, “I love my body,” and you felt solid and grounded, like this was 100% true, then you have the belief that you love your body.

Let's try another one.

Say this to yourself, “I'm an amazing attorney.”

How do you feel when you say that?

If you're cringing or uncomfortable, that's cognitive dissonance. It doesn't feel true to you because you don't believe it.

If you feel comfortable, then you believe it to be true that you're an amazing attorney.

This is important to notice because we take action based on how we feel. Our actions gets us our results. If we don't love our body, we won't treat it with love. If we don't think we're an amazing attorney, we won't take action like an amazing attorney would.

Why do we believe some thoughts and not others?

Because we've practice some thoughts so much that we believe they're true. They've rooted into our consciousness.

We've been collecting evidence to support these thoughts along the way fortifying the beliefs and making them FEEL like facts.

The good news is, our beliefs are optional.

We can dig up the roots, examine them, and see if we want to keep them.

To change them we need to see what evidence we've collected to fortify the beliefs, knock them down one by one, and that will weaken the belief you have.

Depending on the belief, this may take no time at all or more time than you would like.

Let's use the body example. I'll use myself as an example, and not you, don't worry.

When we're between 0 and 7 our brain picks up the most from its environment. It's a little sponge. We're picking up all the subtle cues from our parents on what's okay to believe and not okay to believe. On what we should think is true and what we shouldn't think is true. We pick this up through how they behave towards us, the words they say to us and people around us.

The beliefs we absorb are beliefs we carry with us into our adulthood unless we consciously question them and purposefully change them.

Let's talk about the circumstances of what my body has gone through in the last decade or so.
– I had a scar from a surgery 12 years ago
– I gained 20-30 lbs during chemo and didn't fit my clothes for a while, (yes, I actually gained weight),
– I recently had a surgery that left a scar on my side
– I weigh 10 more pounds than I did pre-Covid

These are all circumstances, but depending on what you believe about your body, you'll think about these circumstances differently.

For me, I've always loved my body. I never really had negative thoughts about it. Other things about my appearance, yes, but not my body. That's because early on in my life and consistently throughout my life I've been told I had a nice body.

Take that for what you will. It's a totally subjective thing. So when my body started changing and going through things, I didn't make it mean my body suddenly changed and was weird or bad. It was different, but I still loved my body.

I'm also conscious about the input I allow into my brain about my body. I don't read fashion magazines intentionally, so I don't pick up societal cues that tell me my body needs to look a certain way. When I did read those magazines, they created cognitive dissonance — I noticed the thoughts they were feeding me, but I didn't believe them because I had another belief that was stronger. Same thing with social media. If I notice myself feeling icky about my appearance when I look at things, I don't follow them.

Because I believed that I loved my body, I never made the scars or weight gain mean anything about me. In fact, it was easier for me to do what needed to be done to feel fit no matter my weight and eat well because I have the belief I love my body.

If someone didn't grow up getting positive feedback on their body, then they didn't create lots of evidence that could support the belief that they love their body.

And that person went through the same circumstances I did with scars and weight gain, it may create depression because you might look at those circumstances as supporting the belief that your body isn't something you can love.

You can change that, but it takes digging up the roots, and examining what thoughts were planted in the soil that support that belief.

When I'm with my clients, I help them do that by asking them lots of questions. They start to loosen up the root and see that a lot of the thoughts they have that support their beliefs are baloney and old programming from childhood they don't want to keep, so it's easy to discard them. Then there's other thoughts that are dug in deep that need some time to loosen up and release.

At the same time, we're cleaning up the soil and planting new seeds, new thoughts that can grow deep roots with practice.

Let's go to a client example.

My client Nancy, who I've mentioned in the podcast before, was at a point in her practice that she wanted to grow it. That meant she needed more help.

When her partners in the office she shared told her they wanted to eliminate the assistant they shared, her brain immediately told her that she couldn't hire as assistant for herself to grow her practice.

Her brain gave her lots of “reasons.”

Now, I want you to imagine a restored version of the Parthenon in Greece. It has strong columns supporting what was once an ornate and beautifully decorated ceiling. Think of Nancy's belief that she couldn't hire an assistant for her practice as that beautifully decorated ceiling.

Each column was evidence that her brain collected that supported that belief – -the ceiling that she'd made for herself.

Each column was a thought like:
– I couldn't afford to have an assistant a year ago, so I probably can't afford it now
– My partners said I shouldn't have an assistant because it's not cost-effective
– I don't know if I'll make enough income to pay her
– I don't know if I have enough work to give her to make it worth it

These thoughts were easy to believe because they supported her big belief that she couldn't afford an assistant.

But when we did some coaching, knocking down the columns helped topple the ceiling she'd created for herself.

We questioned each thought to see if it was true or if her brain was just going along with it because it FELT true.

Turned out that every single thought she had was a lie her brain was telling her because it supported the belief that she couldn't afford it.

We ran the numbers, and it turned out that she made enough to pay her assistant, AND her assistant would help her bring in more cash flow because Nancy could get more billables in.

It also turned out that the partners she shared an office with weren't making nearly as much as she was, and they were stuck in scarcity mentality. They didn't know how to grow their practices and instead were shrinking them to penny pinch their way to success. They were basically trying to cut coupons to help their practice.

She discovered her belief was really just a bunch of B.S. Once she could see her thoughts objectively, she could make a decision that was in her best interest for her long-term plan.

Our brain doesn't do this work on its own, my friend.

It doesn't want to do this work because it's uncomfortable.

Here's the breakdown of the tools I promised you.

Each of these tools works on the same thing: building awareness of your thoughts. They show you where your brain spends the most time and energy.

When you see where your brain spends most of its time and energy, then you can decide to change it.

– journaling

When I work with my clients individually, I get more specific with techniques they can use to get the results they want. If this is new to you, the only thing to know is this:

Venting in your journal is fine. But after you've vented, read what you wrote. Pick out something that really bugs you. What's the thought you wrote down. Remember, a thought is an interpretation of a circumstance. A circumstance is something no one can argue about. A circumstance would be: An attorney said words. A thought would be: That attorney was rude. Once you pick out the thought, ask yourself if it's true? Maybe you say yes, it's 100% true. Then ask yourself, what if it wasn't true? What if you looked at the thought in the light most favorable to the other person? Play with it.

If you're building your practice, ask yourself what you believe about your practice, your clients, yourself as an attorney. Write all the thoughts down. Don't ignore the thoughts that have doubts in them. Our society has trained us that if we're not positive that there's something wrong with us. We have to dig up all the beliefs before we can make change. Even the ones that may not be all that pretty.

– listening to what you say and how you say it

When you talk to people, how do you talk to them? How do you feel when you talk to them? Just notice in daily conversation.

For instance, you may notice that you revert to a child when you talk to some people. You give into whatever they want. You feel lousy after you talk to them or question that you said yes when you wanted to say no.

Just notice it.

Don't judge yourself. You didn't do anything bad or wrong.

Now it's an opportunity to ask yourself why you said yes when you said no.

Ask yourself what you think would have happened if you talked to them the way that you wanted to.

Ask your brain what the worst case scenario would be if you said no.

It's probably not as bad as your brain makes it out to be.

– observe your surroundings

You can get a lot of insight into what you believe by looking at what you have and don't have in your life.

I had a client who wasn't getting the projects that she wanted at her firm. When I asked her why she believed that was, and her brain had a lot of thoughts like, “They don't like me,” or “I'm not good enough.” What it really came down to is that she believed those things about herself, so she wasn't asking for the projects she wanted. I asked her what evidence that she had that these beliefs were NOT true. That question opened her up to remembering that they chose her for high-profile projects, that they kept her on and promoted her, that she was asked to lead projects. She wouldn't have been asked to do those things if they didn't like her or that she wasn't good enough to do the work. Once she saw this she could let go of the false beliefs her brain was holding onto and then take the actions that she needed to get the projects she wanted like asking to work on projects in practice areas that interested her and with attorneys she wanted to work with.

If you see that you don't have something that you want, ask yourself why you think that is. Then ask yourself is that even true? Even if your brain says yes, ask it for any scrap of evidence that it's NOT true. You're bound to come up with something.

– coaching – which is really having someone help you do all of these techniques we just talked about

My job as a coach isn't to tell you what to believe or what to want. It's to show you what you believe now, and how it's impacting your life. Then you get to decide if you want to keep those beliefs. If you don't, then I can show you how to plant seeds for new beliefs and cultivate them, so you can create the impact you want in your life.

I show you how to observe your thoughts on your own, and give you the tools you need for what's going on specifically in your life.

I do this by asking you lots of questions. The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the questions we ask. If we're not asking ourselves questions, we're letting our brain run on autopilot, and we'll get what we've always had.

If you want to learn more about working with me, book a call with me. You can book a call at https://dinacataldo.com/strategysession