Managing Self Monday Morning Practice

Monday Morning Practice – Don’t believe everything you think

Written by Allison Wolf

Don’t believe everything you think.

I don’t believe everything I think.

I have learned that our monkey brains have all kinds of voices and many opinions.  Some come from the fear centre of our brain – the amygdala – and its job is to protect us, at all costs. This is when you will hear all the what if’s and oh no’s!  These catastrophic thoughts will get our hearts racing in fear but aren’t real.

Then there is our inner critic, which also wants us to be safe at all costs. Take no risks. Be polite. Fit in. Perform at your best – in fact be perfect. It says things like: Don’t ask that, you could sound stupid!

You are a lousy public speaker, don’t take on that presentation, you might really fail and embarrass yourself and the firm.

When we believe these thoughts we stop taking on challenges. We hide and stagnate.

And then there is the judge, which is the inner critic’s take on everyone else.

She looks fat in that dress.

He is clueless.

These thoughts just make us feel superior or guilty for thinking them.

It is a very good thing that we cannot read each others minds!

Yes, it is noisy up there in our noggins and much of it is just that – noise.

The better we can get at observing the action in our head, the more distance we get, and the more room for choice.

Mindfulness is often advocated in a secular context as a practice for reducing stress and getting calm. I like mindfulness as a practice for strengthening my ability to step out of the action and simply notice what I am thinking so I can choose to think again.

This week engage in a simple observation practice: Three times a day, pause, and notice: What is going on in my head right now? What am I experiencing physically? What emotion am I experiencing?




About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.