Balance Managing Self Monday Morning Practice

Think again – A practice for shifting focus

Written by Allison Wolf

Self-doubt. Fear. Worry. It happens to all of us. Often the greatest obstacles we face are the thoughts in our heads.

Last week I awoke from a nightmare about utterly failing at a presentation I was scheduled to give to a group of associates later that morning. I was caught up in self-doubt and fear.

On my way to the presentation, the anxiety was still there, with the little negative voice in my head telling me: You are going to bomb. You know this is a tough topic and they have already heard it all before.

While riding the train I turned to my favourite fear-busting practice, neural re-mapping.

I determined to name, quietly in my head, fifteen reasons why the presentation would go well. This strategy forced my thinking into some new terrain. I had to get out of the negative rut, and start mapping some new neural connections about why I was going to succeed.

It worked. It took the entire commute to get my list fifteen reasons listed, and by the last one, I was feeling calm, maybe even positive.

There is no set number of positive things you need to list with this practice. When I am using it for fear-busting, and counteracting the voice of the inner critic, I usually go for five or more.

That morning on the train, fifteen felt right. In a really tough spot I might need fifty.

When you are presented with a fear-inducing opportunity to take on a challenge try listing five reasons why you are up for it.

If you can, writing the list strengthens the practice, but when you can’t, listing in your head works fine.

When we push ourselves to take on challenges, fear is part of the territory. Put this simple practice to work, to help you stretch out of your comfort zone into the scary territory where learning happens.

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.

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