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Melissa Shanahan

#161: Strategies for Getting Your Brain Onboard with Your Goals

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Welcome to the first episode of The Law Firm Owner Podcast! As Melissa mentioned last week, we’ve discovered that the Velocity Work podcast wasn’t crystal clear from the get-go in terms what we do or who we serve. So, we’ve decided to give it a facelift so all law firm owners know they’re in the right place, and that this is the space for you to up-level your practice.

This week, Melissa is giving you strategies to deal with your brain when it inevitably serves up skepticism, fear, and doubt about your ability to achieve the goals you’ve set. For any of you who haven’t yet set specific, measurable, realistic, and timely goals, this is your invitation to do so because, as you’ll find out, it’s essential for a healthy, thriving, and successful business.

Join Melissa on the podcast today to discover how to get your brain onboard with seeing your goals all the way through. She’s offering her favorite tools and strategies for overriding the part of your brain that wants to stay safe and small, and instead, how to cultivate the confidence and commitment you need to experience ease on your way to new levels of success.

If you’re a law firm owner, Mastery Group is the way for you to work with me. This program consists of quarterly strategic planning facilitated with guidance and community every step of the way. The enrollment window for Mastery Group is open right now, so click here to join us!

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

• Why Melissa highly encourages setting specific, measurable, and realistic goals.

• What to expect when you’re going after big goals.

• Strategies you can use when your brain serves up doubt and skepticism about your goals.

• How to avoid being reactive to the barriers that come up as you work towards your goals.

• Why your default brain will always try to get you to play safe and small.

• How to override your default brain so you can move in the direction you want with purpose and intention.

Featured on the Show:

Create space, mindset, and concrete plans for growth. Start here: Velocity Work Monday Map.

Join Mastery Group

Loving What Is by Byron Katie

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Full Episode Transcript:

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I'm Melissa Shanahan and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast Episode number 161.

Welcome to The Law Firm Owner Podcast powered by Velocity Work for owners who want to grow a firm that gives them the life they want. Get crystal clear on where you're going. Take planning seriously and honor your plan like a pro. This is the work that creates velocity.

Hey, everyone. Welcome to this week's episode.

The first episode with our new podcast name, and a bit of a face-lift to the cover art etc. Yeah, feels good to have these changes out. It's clearer than Velocity Work podcast was. I mean, if you knew us, then you knew that what this podcast was, and who was for, and all that. But if you don't know us, and you stumble upon us, unless you dig a little bit, you don't really know who we serve or what we do.

So, this is one step to get clearer for the world of law firm owners. As I record this, it is a Sunday morning. It's very early, and I am in my office recording these podcasts, some podcast episodes that I've created outlines for. I'm sharing this with you, because many of you likely want to carve out time on your calendar, way in advance, for yourself to be able to take a trip, or just have some space away from work, just time off. Real chunks of time off.

And, you're working towards that, but I’ve got to tell you, you have to calendar it in advance. I mean, you don't have to, but it makes it easier to plan. Last year, I sat down in October and marked off all the time I wanted off in 2022. That was a really good move, a really smart move. And, an important step in actually making sure I get time away from the business.

But I have learned things along the way. I will be doing a podcast, later this year, on some things that I've learned to set yourself up for success with that, because it's not just as simple as that. I have learned that there are things to prepare for with your time off, prepare for how you come back. And, I don't have this mastered perfectly, but man, we are getting there. We're getting really close. I'll definitely break down what I'm learning on a future episode.

But for now, I'm being transparent with you that this is how this looks behind the scenes. This is when I'm recording these episodes. And this is not ideal. This will not be happening in the future, because I am learning as I go, with planning as thoroughly as I need to before vacation, before time off. But I'm still really grateful; I get time off in July because I did the work of deciding that last October.

Here we are. I'm not sauntering into the vacation, that's for sure. But I will, mark my words, and you guys should too. I'm going to share with you what I know so that you can saunter into your time off instead of slamming into it full speed. That's kind of what it feels like right now. But I get time off, which I'm really excited about.

I hope you guys are doing something fun this summer, as well. Let's dig into today's content. Here is what we're talking about today; I'm going to give you some strategies to deal with your brain, when your brain serves up skepticism and doubt about your ability to achieve the success that you have named. The success that you're going after. The goals that you have set.

I think it's important to share with all of you, as listeners, that I wrote this episode and I created this outline, really to apply to those of you who have set goals. You have numbers that you are shooting for; revenue goals, maybe it's a matters or cases-open goal, maybe it's a Google reviews goal.

I don't know what your goals are, but there should be numbers, that you are tracking and measuring progress towards, that you are trying to hit by a certain deadline. If you do not have those, I think this will still be valuable for you, but why don't you have those?

You should have those. If you listen to this podcast and you don't have goals, specific goals, the S.M.A.R.T goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely... If you don't have those, then set them for yourself. Really, just take 15 minutes and decide what you're shooting for. For the end of the year, for example, and then figure out what that means for the quarters that are remaining.

What do you need to do every quarter? Then, for the closest quarter to you, you can decide what that means per month, you need to do, to be on track for hitting the longer-term goals. So, starting there is important. So, if you don't have goals, I highly encourage you to set them. If you do have goals, yay. Good for you. Then, this will easily apply.

But for those of you who don't, your brain is too… There's too much vagueness going on for what you're shooting for, because essentially, that means that what you're saying is, “I am shooting for success. I am shooting for more time off. I am shooting for better systems and processes. I am shooting for better client experience. I am shooting for having an associate attorney.” All of that, is not clear enough.

You need metrics. You need to know what numbers the business needs to hit in order to be healthy, and thriving, and successful, and what your next level is. If you don't have that, everything is too vague. When you say, “I want more success. I want more time off. I want to be the premier firm in my geographical area,” what is that?

You don't know what to do to line yourself up with that. There are so many things that you can do to line yourself up with that, and you'll meander. You'll do a little something over here that improves the business, and a little something over here. I have done podcasts on this, but I'm just going to harp on it again; there isn't a reason not to have a goal.

Truly, there isn't a reason. And if you feel like you need help with setting goals, you should absolutely join Mastery Group because that's what I do. I facilitate all of this, with planning. I know that there are so many listeners that just listen and consume this podcast, and they don't actually implement. I'm guilty of it. I listen to podcasts, a lot. I don't always implement everything I listen to.

But do yourself a favor and set a goal. It could just be one goal; it could just be a revenue goal, and that's it. But do yourself a favor and do that. I'm just repeating this because I hear, when I get to meet listeners out in the wild so to speak, I'll ask them what their goals are, and they'll say things to me that aren't numbers. That's not a goal. That's a wish. That's a general direction you'd like to hit. That's not a goal. So, for everybody listening, set a goal.

Now, once you have goals set, then you will probably deal with some version of your brain serving up skepticism and doubt, about your ability to be able to hit the goal. There are many things that you can do to work with your brain, to try to get it on board, in terms of competence and commitment. Commitment is the most important thing. Commitment to seeing it all the way through, no matter what.

We're going to talk a little bit about that today. I'm going to give you some tools that will actually be useful for you, when you experience that doubt and skepticism that your brain will naturally serve up. When you are going towards big things, expect that your brain is going to serve up doubt, and fear, and skepticism.

When you don't expect it, then it can take hold in a much greater way because it blindsides you. But it's always going to happen. Literally, always. When you're shooting for big things. your brain is like, “Wait, wait, no. I mean, come on. You're… Really? That's a little big. Do you know all the things you're going to have to do? Do you know all the things you're going to have to sacrifice? This isn't going to work.”

That's the kind of stuff that your brain… “What if you fail?” There's a bunch of what if questions that will be served up by your brain. And, it's all in an effort to help you stay small. To help you stay exactly where you are, because it's safe; it's safe right here. Your brain will always, always move you towards what is perceiving as the safest route, in the moment.

There is a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex that can plan, and think, and have strategy, etc. It's a part of your brain. You have other parts of your brain that are going to they're going to try to override that, and you have to be the one to decide what wins.

If you let the default brain just serve up the fear and the doubt, you will play small. You will not play at your edge, which is where humans are happiest. And you will stay in this zone where you aren't prioritizing correctly. You don't name goals specifically. And then, when you do name goals specifically, you flake out on those goals and the commitment to them because you allow the busyness to take over, because that's the easiest route. It's the path of least resistance for your brain, in any given moment.

Your job is to learn how to override the default part of your brain that will serve up this skepticism, and fear, and doubt. So that you can actually move in the direction purposefully, with intention, towards the goals and that you remain committed.

Your brain will try to derail commitment to very hard things or foreign things. Things you've never done before, a level of success you've never achieved before, because that is what it's been wired to do since the beginning.

If you're familiar with the motivational triad, you understand that our brain, by default, is wired to be motivated by three things: seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and conserving energy. And though that model, that triad, served us, as a species, for survival for so long, now, in today's world, it really is just… You can survive that way.

You cannot live to your fullest. You cannot reach goals. You cannot get out of your four walls and see more about the world, because that, to your brain, because it's new, is scary. And so, it'll throw a signal at you, “Nope, nope, nope. Just retreat back. Stay in your cave. Stay small. We're good here. We're good.”

That's the kind of narrative that can happen when you go outside into the world, and you explore new territory, and you play at your edge. Yet it is the thing that really makes us, as humans, come alive.

So, the law firm owners I work with, that is exactly what they're doing; whether they want to recognize that or not. But setting a goal is playing to their edge. Because it's forcing you to become a version of yourself that you are not yet. All the things that go with that, and putting into place and putting into motion all the things that need to happen, in order for you to hit goals.

When you do that, it doesn't matter who you are, your next level will always mean that your brain serves up to you some form of doubt, or fear, or skepticism. And if you can learn how to deal with that, then you will be able to achieve your goals. It's inevitable.

Maybe you don't know exactly when. It's good to put, “By the end of the quarter, I'm going to achieve these things,” and you really go for it. You stay wholly committed to that. You believe hard in your goal. You believe that you are aligning yourself up, and you are going for it, in all the right ways.

At the end of the quarter, if you didn't hit it perfectly, is that a fail? No, you're still going to hit it, you're just wrong about the timeframe. Okay, so maybe it's going to take two months longer than you thought, in order to hit those numbers, etc.

I want to share that with you before I dig into the tactics, because you have to realize, first and foremost, that there is no such thing as failure unless you quit. I have done podcasts on quitting before. There are versions of quitting and understanding your relationship to quitting is important. Because it could look like you’re just kind of flaking out, and forgetting, and letting things fall out of focus. Or, it could be you actively saying, “Nope, I don't see a way to do this, so I'm done.”

Whether it's passive or whether it's active, with quitting, you have a relationship to quitting; all of us do. And knowing what that is, you can use that understanding, with the tools I'm giving you today, to apply it in a customized way to your own world, to your own life.

Okay. Well, so let's say you set a specific goal; you're going for it. The first thing that you want to do is sit down with a clean sheet of paper, and get out of your head and onto paper, all of the thoughts that you have about what it means to hit these goals, and about the goals themselves.

So, it's like a brain download. Listen to your brain. This is your brain’s chance to just have it out and to yell about the impossibility of this, and the doubt, and the fear, and the skepticism, all of it. And, there's probably parts of your brain that's excited. It probably feels like a hot mess, and your brain will get all of that out of your head and onto paper. Because then, you can work with the stuff that you want to work with, that you need to work with, in order to have more ease on your path towards the goals.

Get everything out of your head, all of your thoughts. Look in the corners of your mind for the small voices that are there, that have something to say that isn't useful to your path. Get it all out of your head. When I do this, I ask myself questions like; Okay, so what am I afraid of here? Where am I skeptical? Where do I doubt things? Why do I doubt things?

And so, getting out of your head, the what and the why behind all of the negative and the positive stuff that you're believing, and that are running through your mind, that gives you something to work with. That is step one.

Step two, is to now look more objectively at what you wrote, and find the questions in the statements, that contribute to the fear and the doubt, or perpetuate the fear, doubt, skepticism, all of that.

When I do this, I look at the whole brain download and I circle or highlight the thoughts that I wrote down, that are contributing to the fear, doubt, skepticism. And then, I go to a clean sheet of paper where I'm going to work with those. Sometimes there will be questions that my brain has served up, and I'll have written those down. Things like: What if I don't know how to do it? What if I don't make it? What if they get mad? What if this fails? What if I'm wrong? What if I end up in a van down by the river?

The number one thing that you can do, is to answer those questions. These questions are really low-quality questions, but that is what is spinning and taking up space in your head. So, playing it all the way out to the end, forces you to think it all the way through and realize that it's really not that bad.

Or, it's so unlikely, you just can wrap your head around the unimportance of the question how low-quality it is, and that it isn't contributing to your success, at all. It isn't for a good reason. It isn't for a good point; there's no good points being made. And if your brain thinks you're going to fail, it's really important to be as explicit as possible. Like, what does failure mean? That's very vague; what does failure mean?

You are shooting to hit it by the end of the quarter, let's say, but it actually takes you two months longer than that. Okay. So, what? Right? So, play it all the way out till the end. What if I don't make it? What if they get mad? Or, what if they think I'm stupid? Or, what if they…

Like, it's you, up in other people's brains, worried about what they're going to be thinking about you. Anytime you go into other people's brains and you're worried about what other people's brains will think, you have to play that out to the end. What if…? I mean, you have no control over what other people think. So, what if you're right? What if they get mad? What if they're pissed? Then what? What does that mean?

Really play it out, because then your brain will serve up things like, “Well, then my business will implode, because people will be mad at me.” No. No. That's what happens, so you have to write it all out.

Really, if they're mad, what does that journey look like? Do you have to do anything in response? And if you do, what is that? What does it really mean for the business? Answering these questions, cuts out the drama that your brain just throws; it's dramatic thinking.

If you can actually play it all the way out to the end, it may not be ideal, it may not be what you wanted, but it's not what your brain is telling you it is. It's not the end of the world. It's just a point in your journey.

So, answer the questions that your brain serves up. What if this fails? What if it does fail? And what does failure really mean? Is that a word that we should use in this context? Really question everything that your brain is throwing at you, that creates the emotion of fear, or doubt, or skepticism. Okay, so those are questions. What to do with the questions, that your brain will throw at you, that aren't helpful, that are low-quality questions.

Then, the second thing is, your brain will likely serve statements that are stalling or shutdown statements, as what I call them. Things like; I don't know, I don't know how to do it, I'm not enough, this isn't going to work. It's like your brain is throwing reasons why you shouldn't commit to this. It's throwing reasons that stall your progress. They’re statements instead of questions.

When those statements happen, there's a couple of things that you can do with them. One, is to ask, “So what, what's the big deal?” Another thing I ask myself, that’s sort of getting at the same thing, is I'll say, “And? It's not a reason to not go after something.” With the sentence like, “I don't know how to do this.” “Okay, well, of course, you don't. You haven't done this before, but you will figure it out. You can figure anything out. So, let's go.”

Getting the stuff out of your brain, and playing with it and messing with it, and being your own coach… What would you say if someone you really cared about was saying this to you about their business? There's no way you'd be like, “You're right. You shouldn't go for this. You should just… Yeah. No, you should not go for this.”

No! You'd be like, “Oh, my gosh. But you can figure it out. Oh, my gosh. If you fail? What does fail mean? Go for it!” How would you coach someone else around this? What kinds of things would you say to them? And say them to yourself. Write it out to yourself, so that you can start to create some wiggle room and see that it's worth taking the next steps and moving forward on this path.

Another reason I love; the “And?” Or. I say, “And…,” because it's like the sentence, or the thought, that your brain is thinking, it's like it's the end game, “Well, I don't know how, period.” “Okay. And?”

That's not the end of the story here. It doesn't have to be. But oftentimes, we let ourselves just let there be crickets, after we ask the question. “I just don't know how,” and then it's just crickets. You have an option to fill that space with something. So, I love that question; “And?” Or, “So what?”

After you've asked those questions around the statement, so that it gets you to finish that thought all the way through, or have a rebuttal to the thought. The other thing I like to do with those statements is flip them. I love this exercise, partially because it feels playful. So, it brings a bit of lightness to the exercise. But I flip the words in as many ways as possible to be opposite-ish.

If I think, “I don't know how,” as an example, the direct opposite is, “I do know how.” Okay, so I'll write that down; I do know how. I'm willing to learn how. I don't know how, yet. I don't need to know how.

So, you can see that I'm playing around with that, just the words, and I'm not worried, so much in this exercise, about coming up with different thoughts or beliefs. It's more just coming up with different ways to rearrange the words in the sentence. Maybe adding one or two, here and there. But it flips things on its head.

Then, I look at each one, that I came up with, as a new thought I could think, or as a new belief that I could have or I could adopt. And so, I go through them one by one. The first one I came up with was the direct opposite, which is, “I do know how.”

I make myself, for each of the flipped statements, come up with three reasons why that thing is true, right now. It may not flip me into it… It usually doesn't flip me into a mode. Or, my clients; I do this with my clients. It doesn't flip them into mode where it's like, “Oh, yeah. No, I totally got this. I don't have any doubt left in my brain.” That's not what we're shooting for here.

We're shooting for creating wiggle room and playing with that space, as an individual, playing with the space inside that really allows you to take action and create progress, without such hard in stone barriers. So, you're creating wiggle room.

If I were to come up with three reasons, why it actually could be true that ‘I do know how,’ then, I could think through. “Well, I did take us from X to Y. So, I do know how to get us into a space that we hadn't actually been in prior. So, this is just going to be repeating that, in a different way.” And so on, and so on.

I try to come up with three reasons why ‘this’ may actually be true; the new sentence may actually be true. And, sometimes it's really hard to come up with one. But I really make my brain… It's an exercise to make my brain come up with the reasons, because it doesn't do it on default. You have to push your brain to do this stuff.

Once I go through and think of reasons for each of the new flipped sentences; the new sentences that have similar words, just a play on words, but it's the opposite effect. Go through, think of three reasons for each one, why ‘that’ may be true, and then I go back to those original, low-quality statements and I ask ‘what if’ for the opposite, direct opposite.

So, for instance, “I don't know how. What if I did know how?” “I'm not enough. What if I am enough?” “This is going to fail. What if this doesn't fail?” I ask the question, but then I also answer. It's really important. It's a skill to answer every question that your brain will come up with. Whether it's a curated question… You pushed to create a high-quality question of your brain. Or, whether it's a low-quality question.

Answering the questions is worth doing, because it stops the spinning of them in your mind. And it allows you to create more evidence and to find more evidence, and to come up with reasons for what you really want, instead of letting them just spin.

So, every time I ask myself, the ‘what if’ of the opposite of my crappy beliefs; I'm not enough, what if I am enough? I just think through that, and I jot down my thoughts, I journal my thoughts about; what would that mean to me? What would that show myself, and the world? What would that do for the people I employ or can employ? What would that do for the clients I serve? Can I see where I am enough? Allows me to live more fully into who I am and serve my clients better and serve those around me better.

I journal on each of those, like ‘what if.’ Most of the time, this work that I'm sharing with you, doesn't flip a switch; where I'm, all of a sudden, so confident, and I can hold that level of confidence throughout the entirety of the journey of going towards these goals. I may feel really confident at the end of this exercise, but then there will be points where the old stuff creeps back in. And that's normal and that's okay.

One thing that I do, and I coach my clients to do, is you have to have reminders of this new truth that you're stepping into. You have to remind yourself of that all the time, because the old default stuff will creep back in, and it will take over, and it will override. That can cause a lot of pain along the way, and frustration, and falling short where you really could have, if you’d just remember the truth, you could have stayed on track and you could have had more ease towards those things.

It's never a cakewalk; but more ease... This unnecessary setback, because of what's happening inside of your head. I'm going to do a whole podcast on reminders; I call them personal declarations. It is who I am stepping into, it is who I'm becoming, it is the beliefs that I need to believe, in order to get myself to this place that I want to achieve. And that is what this is really about.

Again, that quote, that the smartest people on the planet are always reaching for the next rung in the ladder. And they know it's not about that rung, it's about the stretch. This work is the stretch. This work is you, becoming the kind of person you need to be, who can just naturally achieve that next level. And then, you achieve those goals and you become the kind of person that you need to become, in the stretch of the next set of goals.

That puts you at a new place, a new normal. So, it's the stretch where all the magic happens. This is the stretch. And reminding yourself along the way of the truth of who you are stepping into. The truth of who you are becoming. The truth of the kinds of things you need to think, and feel, and do; the action you need to take. The truth of what results you're capable of.

Those reminders really help combat the old way of thinking, as you're embarking on creating this new thing, this new chapter, achieving this new goal. So, can you jot down, type them up, and read them every morning, before you start your day? That will help you along the path.

The last thing that I'm going to offer here, is about barriers that you can anticipate. Anytime we're going for something, that we've never done before, stretching ourselves, there's going to be barriers, and anticipating those ahead of time is so smart. Because you know you're going to probably hit some; what are they? What are they going to be?

So, sitting down and writing a list of barriers that you anticipate encountering along the way to achieving your goals, is very important. Because once you have a list of barriers, then you can go through and for each barrier, you can ask: How can I prevent or lighten the load of this barrier?

Asking that question will allow your brain to come up with answers that are ideas and strategies to helping deliver you to your goals, without the level of friction that you otherwise would have had, had you not thought this through.

These are my best strategies, that I've got to give you, and I use them. I have my clients use them. I facilitate it in different ways, and their workbooks that they get, and then on coaching calls. I just want to offer that if this sounds like a lot, it's not, really.

I took a lot of time here to explain some of this stuff. But if you sit down to do this work, you could probably do it 45 minutes, maybe less, honestly. But 45 minutes to an hour, you can have this totally done. And it is work worth doing.

And even though I realize how valuable this exercise is, sometimes it's hard to get myself on board, to sit down and actually do this. But it is crazy how much of a difference it makes, as you embark on setting out to go achieve those goals. So, it's work worth doing.

I think all of us know what it's like to beat ourselves up and be really hard on ourselves for what we do, how we do it, the amount of time that we do it in. This will help a lot of that narrative go away as you move towards your goals. And I don't know if you can identify or if you can remember a time where you weren't really striving for something. And you didn't have this negative narrative happening in your mind. But it is crazy how much faster you can move when that is gone.

A lot of us think. “Well, that's what actually keeps me in line.” No, you think that. But when you experience going after something and striving for something, having done the work to drop a lot of that negative narrative that's happening in the talk, and the voice, and the doubt, and the fear in your mind, it is the very thing that provides the accelerant.

It's like greasing the wheels of the progress that you're making, the action that you're taking. So, I really want to encourage each of you to sit down and do this work. Like carve out the time, and you don't have to do it all the time. Really, truly it's like the beginning of each quarter is when I spend the time to dig into this, and when I facilitate the hardest for clients to do this work, as well.

After that I just have my reminders every day. I have my reminders, and I have my priorities that I've set. And I know the goals I'm going for. So, I just put my head down, and I stay at work. But the reminders are key. I will say that the work of going through all the motions, that I've shared with you today, really at the turn of the quarter, that's it.

And that the year, thinking ahead, the goals that you set for the next year, I'll do it then as well, and usually spend a little more time at the turn of the year.

But to recap, here's what to do: The first thing, is to do a brain download, a thought download of what your brain thinks about the goals. All of it; about the goals themselves, about what it takes to get there, about you on the journey and your capability. Everything. Every opinion that is happening in your brain about all of this, you get it out of your head and onto paper, and then you can work with it.

Once you have it all out of your head and onto paper, I like to answer the questions that my brain asks, before I do anything else. So, if it asked: What if I don't make it? What if they think I'm X-Y and Z? What if this fails? What if I end up in a van down by the river?

So, play those all the way out to the end, and make sure that you have an answer and you think it all the way through. Because it's usually just creating this dark space with the question, “But okay, if that happened, then what? What would that look like? What would I do? What would life be like?”

You can usually understand that those questions are just unhelpful things that your brain is throwing. The likelihood of those things is very slim. And, even if it did happen, then what? You would answer those questions. Play it all the way through to the end, and you'll realize it's not as bad as what your brain is making it.

The second thing I like to do, is to look for, on my brain download, look for all of the stalling statements or the shutdown statements: I don't know how, I'm not good enough, I'm not savvy enough, I'm not smart enough, and whatever else. But the statements that are directly opposing your progress and your achievement of the goals. When you can find those statements in your brain download; I highlight them, I circle them, I make note of them. I go to a clean sheet of paper, and one by one, I ask, for each one of those on a clean sheet of paper, “So, what if X, Y and Z?” Or, I'll have the statement and then I'll say, “And? And I answer it, “And, what?”

The next thing I do, is that play on words exercise where I flip them. And actually, for any of you who want to look more into this; this is work that I learned from Byron Katie. One of the books that she's written is called Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, and she talks about the “turnaround.” She calls this the “turnaround” in her work. But it's basically me, just extracting one piece of her work and applying it here.

And so, I flip these statements that I have, in as many ways as I possibly can, to create the opposite-ish version of that sentence. You do this without thinking of, “What belief is opposite?” No, no, no, no, because you can't. Your brain won't come up with that stuff very well. You have to just look at the words; how many ways can I say the opposite point here? Just play on words. That's it. So, you add words that produce the opposite, or you take away words that produce the opposite.

Then, once you have those sentences, you look at them. And then, you decide, in terms of belief wise. This is when I come up with three reasons why ‘that's’ actually true right now. The opposite of what my brain was thinking originally.

So, the new opposite; why is that true, right now? Come up with three reasons. Sometimes it's really hard to come up with three. But it's an important exercise to make your brain open up to answers, and possibilities, and realities, and different ways of thinking, than it would on its own.

The next thing I do with those statements, that aren't serving me, the shutdown statements, is I ask ‘what if’ of the opposites. So, that would look like; I don't know how. What if I did know how? I write about that. I just journal about that; what if I did know how? What if I I'm not enough X; I'm not smart enough? I'm not good enough? I'm not… Whatever. What if I am smart enough? What if I am good enough? Etc. I just journal thoughts about that, and try to find ways to open up to those possibilities.

Then, the reminders. So, from all of that work, I can extract and pull-out things that pinged me the hardest, that felt the most true, that felt the most shifting inside. I pull those out and I'm going to remind myself of those things, every single day. So, I just make a list of them. I just read them every morning.

I'll do a podcast on how I set this up for myself, in the future. But even if you just did that, you just pulled of all the new things that you made your brain come up with, what feels like things you need to remember. Because you know that you're going to go back to default mode. And whatever those reminders need to be, you can read those at the top of every day.

Then, the last two things are, and this is more of a strategy for getting you to plan well enough, is when you think about your goals, anticipating the barriers. Asking yourself, “Okay, on the way to this goal, what barriers do I anticipate? What am I likely going to bump up against? You make a list of those barriers, and then you ask, for each of those barriers; how can I prevent or lighten this barrier?

What you answer to those questions, for each one, that will produce the key priorities for you for that quarter. That will produce what you have to focus on or you will be held back. So, it's work worth doing. Because then you can start to see the map of what you need to do, in order to be on track. What you need to focus on, in order to deliver yourself to those goals.

Now, people that don't do this, they just set a goal and they run into their quarter, and they hit barriers that, if they would have thought about it, they would have known that was a barrier that they were likely going to hit; but they didn't think about it.

So, then they have to be reactive in the middle of hitting that barrier, instead of having some forethought, and being proactive against the barriers that we all, if we could put money on it, we know we are probably going to hit those barriers. Doing that upfront really helps your brain get sorted and get organized about what it needs to focus on, so that you can hit these goals.

Alright, everybody. Thank you for tuning in this week. I know this is a lot; this was a meaty episode. But do this work, sit down and don't worry about doing this work perfectly. Just do this work for yourself, play around, bring a light heartedness to this.

The one thing I will tell you for sure, is the clients I work with, those who bring a light heartedness to the work, always get ahead faster than the ones who bring a serious constrictedness to the work, like they have to do it perfectly. If they don't know how to do it, then they can't do it all. That doesn't produce the results that you're looking for.

So, bring a light heartedness to this, a playfulness to this exercise, and just see what comes up. You will find your own path with this. You will find these little nuggets that only your brain could have come up with. But these are some prompts that you can use in order to get there. So that you get your brain to a different level, playing a different game, so that you can actually achieve the goals you have set with more ease, less frustration, and in less time.

Alright, everybody. Have a wonderful week. I'll see you here next Tuesday.

Thank you for listening to The Law Firm Owner Podcast. If you're ready to get clearer on your vision, data, and mindset, then head over to where you can plug in to Quarterly Strategic Planning, with accountability and coaching in between. This is the work that creates velocity.

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