Episode #30 What emotions are you willing to feel?

What’s holding you back isn’t the not knowing what to do. In most cases, you already know this.

It’s the resistance you have to doing it because of the emotions you’re afraid you are going to feel. Emotions like:

Fear. Awkwardness. Vulnerability. Exposure. Embarrassment.

Which emotions are you willing to feel in order to achieve your goal?

In this episode:

  • why making progress towards your goal depends on your feelings as well as your actions
  • how imagining the worst case scenario for your feelings can help you achieve your goal
  • the no.1 question you need to consider when planning your next step
  • The negative emotions you’ve been avoiding and why you need to feel them

Happy listening!

P.S. If you’re a black lawyer and you’re not progressing as quickly or in the way you want to I can help you change that. Book a free consult call with me here to find out more 👉🏾 https://carolineflanagan.com/be-the-first-coaching/waiting-list/


Caroline (00:00:00) – Welcome to the Legal Imposters podcast. I’m Caroline Flanagan, career progression coach and imposter syndrome expert, here to help you break down the barriers and break through the bias that is keeping you stuck and stopping you from fulfilling your potential. If you’ve had enough of feeling like a fraud, if you’re tired of feeling like the only one, if you’re sick of waiting for the things outside of you to change and are ready to take back your power, you’re in the right place.

Caroline (00:00:35) – Let’s dive in.

Caroline (00:00:39) – So I have a question for you. What emotions are you willing to feel in order to achieve your goal? Whatever goal it is, whether it’s a progression, goal, or any other goal? What emotion or emotions are you willing to feel? So this came up in a coaching session earlier today with a client, and asking her that question was just created a really powerful shift for her. And I just had to share this with you. So this particular client, I’m coaching her on building her client business so she gets trickles of work coming in.

Caroline (00:01:15) – She’s a relatively junior partner and wants to be able to stand on her own two feet. Wants to build her confidence as a partner who can bring in enough work, right, and bring in enough work to make a big, a decent,, impact on her, on her billings, rather than, as has been the case previously when she was a senior associate, very much relying on the more senior partner to bring in work and her services. So she’s doing really well. It’s going brilliantly. She’s making so much progress. And if anything, what that means is she is really ready to lean in to doing more, to,, to solidify that progress, right, and build momentum. And one of the things that came up today was how she felt hesitant and a little bit resistant and actually quite nervous about reaching out to potential clients and having coffees with them, talking with them because I thought she has in her mind, and a belief she has is that she doesn’t know enough about the latest industry trends and or market trends, or what’s going on, latest updates, legal updates with case law.

Caroline (00:02:28) – And, in her particular,, line of work, those things are very relevant, very, very important. It’s very useful. And a thing that’s valued by her clients to have that knowledge. So in her mind right now, she can’t really go out and speak to more clients and speak to more,, extend her network beyond people who already know and trust her because she doesn’t have this confidence that she’s going to know the answer to everything and she has this fear. What if I say something and it’s wrong? What if I say something and the response is, oh, but haven’t you seen the latest, like,, case law on this? Or don’t you know that the latest market trend is this so you has this fear of not knowing or getting the answer wrong. So we coached on a number of different elements that were going on there. But the one I want to share with you was about like when I took her to the place of, okay, let’s say you’re having this conversation with a potential client and you say something and that client actually does correct you.

Caroline (00:03:30) – The client does say those words which you dread, which is, oh,, didn’t you know that this has changed? And now,, the situation is different, which for my client was just like the worst nightmare. So when I took her to that place, I asked her how she would feel, and she said to me she would feel shy and really embarrassed, really embarrassed. And I could see her feeling it and like getting small as she was talking about it. She feels so embarrassed in front of a client if that turned out to be the case. So then I asked her, okay, well, what would happen if you felt shy and really embarrassed?, she then got stuck. Well, I would just feel terrible. It would just feel terrible. And I’m like, would you be okay? To which she said, yes. I’m like, okay. And so then what would you do? Right. So that then led to discussion about her then probably like looking into the thing that she wasn’t aware of, right? Following up, maybe asking more questions, maybe having a conversation about the potential client in front of her on that matter.

Caroline (00:04:38) – Right. So two things that came out initially, because there’s more. Two things came out initially from that role play, right. Imagining that scenario. One is that she wouldn’t die, okay. She would feel shy and embarrassed, but she wouldn’t die. And the second one was that she would then, of course, be motivated to go and look that up and fill in any gaps in her knowledge. Okay, so then I asked her, all right, so are you prepared to just feel shy and embarrassed in order to achieve your goal of bringing in more work, attracting more interesting,, projects, and attracting bringing in more clients to the firm? Like if building your business as a partner, if the cost or the price that you had to pay was to feel shy and embarrassed. Because remember, that’s what my client was really afraid of, would you be prepared to feel it? Are you prepared to feel shy and embarrassed to build your client base? And for her, the answer was, well, yes, yes I would.

Caroline (00:05:49) – And I thought this was just such a great, I was going to say teaching lesson, but like, the thing to share with you as a, as a strategy for achieving your goals, right? Because if you think about it, whatever the goal is, let’s say you have that progression goal of being promoted this year, okay, to take the most obvious one, and you have been told that you need to be more visible. You need to be more vocal, more active, more present on client deals and in meetings and speaking up. And you’re terrified of doing that. You don’t like doing that. And the reason you don’t like doing that is because it makes you feel exposed. You’re afraid of not of getting something wrong, makes you feel exposed. You’re worried right. If you get something wrong, you’re going to feel embarrassed, right? Or you’re going to feel stupid. So the question is, are you willing to risk feeling embarrassed and stupid in order to achieve your promotion goal, right? Your goal of being promoted? This came up with another client, actually, where the, actually, no, this is a better example.

Caroline (00:06:56) – I did a posted a video on Friday, which was an introduction to me to all my new followers and connections, and I did a video that just sort of talks a little bit about my background and how I’ve got to where I am and what you won’t see in that video. Or maybe you’ll see in my eyes,, was how like incredibly vulnerable and exposed I felt doing this video and sharing it with you on LinkedIn. If you haven’t seen it, by the way, you can go,, to my profile and watch it. I’ve,, featured it at the top of my post so everyone is able to see that when they,, first find me and see my profile. But what you may not know is how incredibly vulnerable and exposing it was for me to do a post like that. Like I really felt it, and I had to really process a lot of uncomfortable feelings before I could press, like, post on LinkedIn when I uploaded it. And the reason why I was able to do that was because I know that sharing a bit more about me being more visible online, so helping you get to know me is going to help you connect with me and see the ways in which and the reason why I’m such a great person to help you.

Caroline (00:08:10) – If you’re a black lawyer and you’re on this journey, you want to progress your career. And of course, you’re facing the challenges of doing that in an environment that’s, say, overwhelmingly white, for example, where you’re the minority. So I know that sharing more of me and that post would serve like take me towards that goal. However, the fear right, and the fear of being exposed and the feeling vulnerable was in danger of stopping me from doing that. But I decided I was willing to feel vulnerable and exposed in order to achieve my goal, and that’s how I was able to do it. So what is it for you? What are the feelings, those uncomfortable emotions? What’s the discomfort that right now you are avoiding? And by avoiding it, you are not progressing to your goal? Okay, so it might be you’re afraid of feeling awkward., you might be afraid of feeling stupid like one of my clients you might be afraid of. Like me feeling exposed and vulnerable. You might just be afraid of just the discomfort, right? Knowing you’re doing something different.

Caroline (00:09:23) – We talk a lot about stepping outside your comfort zone. And of course, what stops us doing that is our fear of like, how discomfort feels like. The discomfort of that doesn’t feel very nice in our body. And honestly, there is, especially with an emotion like when you’re feeling vulnerable or exposed. I can speak to that a lot. Like I know my body. I know I literally physically want to run as far away in the opposite direction as possible. That’s a real imposter syndrome trait, right? Where you’re just like, get me out of here. I’ve gotta get out of here right now. I’m going to be exposed. It’s all going to go wrong. Everything’s going to come crashing down, right? That’s the feeling that like a powerful emotion, like vulnerability and exposure and fear,, those types of emotions can produce in you, right? So they can be really strong, really potent. But what I want to say to you is they are just emotions. They’re just vibrations in your body.

Caroline (00:10:22) – And you can give yourself permission. You can allow yourself to feel them and know that you will be okay. And know that by being willing to feel them, you’re going to get closer to your goal. So I hope that’s giving you food for thought. I’m going to leave you again. Then with that lasting question. What emotions? What negative emotions? We’re fine with the positive ones, the happy ones. But what negative or uncomfortable emotions are you willing to feel in order to achieve your goal? I enjoyed this, I have this giving you something to reflect on. It’s a different way of looking at your goal, different way of looking at what’s getting in your way. All right, I will see you next time. Thanks for listening. You’ve been listening to the Legal Imposters podcast. If you’re a black lawyer and you’re ready to take charge of progressing your career, I want to invite you to join. Be the First Coaching for Black Lawyers, where I teach you a proven process for progressing your career.

Caroline (00:11:24) – When you’re the only one in the room and I coach you every step of the way. The next enrollment is coming soon. Be the first to know by joining the waitlist. Just head on over to Caroline Flanagan. Com forward slash. Be the first coaching forward slash waiting list. Or just click on the link.

Caroline (00:11:47) – In the show notes.


Sign up to our Newsletter