Episode Notes

On this week’s episode, Stephanie chats with Dr. Wendy Suzuki, author of Good Anxiety and Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University. Listen and learn about the root causes of anxiety, negativity bias, joy conditioning, and how to channel anxiety into actionable steps to fuel productivity.

Links from the Episode:

Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion

  • 8:29. How can anxiety be good?
  • 11:13. Defining anxiety
  • 15:35. Overcoming negativity bias
  • 23:01. Tools to harness anxiety

Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts

 

Zack Glaser (00:35):

Hi, I’m Zack Glaser

 

Jennifer Whigham (00:36):

And I’m Jennifer Whigham. And this is episode 406 of the Lawyerist Podcast. Part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Stephanie is talking to Dr. Wendy Suzuki about her book Good Anxiety: harnessing the power of the most misunderstood emotion

 

Zack Glaser (00:51):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Albatross Legal Workspaces, Postali, and Posh Virtual Receptionists.

We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support. So stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on

Jennifer Whigham (01:03):

Zack. Hi. Hi. Sorry. I always have to bring up the meta right before we go in. We were talking about how late-night talk show hosts, you know, queue up a story by saying, “I heard you have a story about this” and then you were gonna gear me up that way. And that’s just a little peek behind the curtain of a podcast

 

Zack Glaser (01:21):

Just behind the veil here. Yeah,

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:22):

Yeah. Behind the veil. So Zack, do I have a story?

 

Zack Glaser (01:26):

Jennifer I heard that you have something to say about this book

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:30):

Thank you. Yes, I do. So I read this book a while back and I’ve thought about it ever since. And I’ve been thinking about it this week, because I knew we were recording with Dr. Suzuki and I had an interesting thing with my husband who had been thinking about it separately because of something else he had read. And he brought to my attention that in the mornings he is not his best self. He is perhaps I don’t wanna say grumpy. He’s just the most anxious. Okay. As he puts it, you know, mornings are not his time and mornings typically are my time. And so sometimes we clash in the morning. And I have been known to say, first thing upon him waking, well, what’s wrong. Which if you are anxious and you’ve just woken up, you probably do not wanna hear, well, what’s wrong with you.

 

Jennifer Whigham (02:20):

As a good morning, but we’ve been married for 20 years and sometimes it happens. Sure. Anyway, he brought up in the vein of good anxiety that when I ask that he has this free floating anxiety and he hasn’t attached it to an emotion. He hasn’t attached it to a thought it’s just there. But when I say “what’s wrong”, it becomes negative in his mind. Mm. And so he starts to think, what is wrong? What’s wrong. Something is wrong. And kind of talking to Dr. Suzuki’s book where you can have those, those stressful feelings. And until you attach a thought to them or an intention, they can go either way because you know, anxiety can also be excitement, anticipation. And so my husband, Chris has now asked me, I mean, sort of jokingly, we have turned this into a joke, but it’s true.

 

Jennifer Whigham (03:05):

Instead of saying, what’s wrong. What have I asked him? What’s right this morning, which makes us laugh. However, after we laugh at the cheesiness of it, he has started to turn that morning tumults and anxiety into anticipation for the day. Instead of thinking of all the negative things and all these things that I have considered negatively, anxious, he starts to take him in maybe positively anxious and not to say that it’s cheesy, you know, positive psychology, because I’m, I am not that person, but there is something interesting about not attaching anything to the feeling yet, and then turning in anticipation. So we’ve done that experiment this week. I’m not sure if it’s the joke of me saying good morning. What’s right today or if it actually helps them go through that anxious feeling in the morning, but it reminds me a little of this book

 

Zack Glaser (04:03):

You could have just said, no, you don’t have a story.

 

Jennifer Whigham (04:06):

<Laugh>.

 

Zack Glaser (04:07):

I mean,

 

Jennifer Whigham (04:08):

Wow. Didn’t know that was a choice.

 

Zack Glaser (04:10):

How was that connected to anyway? No, but really I have not read this now I will. Yeah, but I have that kind of unattached anxiety a lot and I’ve never thought about flipping it the other way. I just say, okay, well I’ll sit in this anxiety and it is not attached to anything. And my mind is trying to connect it to something

 

Jennifer Whigham (04:32):

Right.

 

Zack Glaser (04:32):

It wants to, because it has that feeling. And I, I get that feeling well, know where, where it manifests for other people, but I get it in the center top of my back and just gets real tight right there. And when I get that feeling, I try to find something, however, ridiculous it is that I can be anxious about. Yeah. Then you sit on that thing instead of letting that feeling exist because it can’t exist unattached.

 

Jennifer Whigham (05:00):

Yeah. I think that’s natural. We want to, we are human beings who want to attach meaning to everything just so we can get through life. And I, I wanna say, I think it is good to just sit in the anxiety and not attach it to anything I think there is a place for that, but it’s also fun to experiment, attaching it to anticipation, which in your body does feel the same. When you’re anticipating something fun or good, it just gets flipped in how you think about it when you’ve attached it to something that you’re not looking forward to, but the bodily feelings, the processes, from what I understand from this book, are the same.

 

Zack Glaser (05:37):

Well, I anticipate a very good conversation between Stephanie and Dr. Suzuki.

 

Jennifer Whigham (05:43):

Me too. Let’s listen.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (05:45):

Hi, I’m Dr. Wendy Suzuki. I’m a professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University. I’m the incoming Dean of the college of arts and science. And I am a proud author of the book Good Anxiety: understanding the most misunderstood emotion.

 

Stephanie Everett (06:02):

Yes. Well, welcome to the show. We are very excited to have you because I think anxiety is something probably everyone in our audience relates to in some way.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (06:12):

Right. Absolutely. me too.

 

Stephanie Everett (06:14):

Exactly. Well, maybe to kick us off, I’m super, just curious because your work, I mean, you study, as I understand it, the effects of physical activity and meditation on the brain, and maybe you could just kind of tell us what got you started on this path and what led you to this work?

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (06:30):

Sure. So this book was really inspired by my students at NYU. Not that they are over-anxious or more anxious than the average university student, but I saw a real increase in the levels of anxiety. And this was even before the pandemic started compared to when I started at NYU almost 24 years ago. And so that’s what really kind of got me to focus on this topic. And then when I realized, oh lot of my students are, are, are anxious. They they’re more and more anxious about exams. Then I realized, actually it’s not just the students, it’s my colleagues, it’s my friends. And if I’m being really honest, it’s myself, my own level of anxiety had been going up. And I thought what an interesting topic to dive into because I already had such powerful evidence from my studies on the effects of physical activity on the brain, on how really transformative moving your body is on your overall emotions. It decreases negative emotions like anxiety and depression and it boosts positive emotions like energy levels and optimism. And so that was really the entree. Let me try and kind of use my toolbox of what can I bring to the general public that we know so deeply in neuroscience that could help them live their lives better and help them optimize the function of their brains.

 

Stephanie Everett (08:05):

Yeah, that’s great. This work is needed. One thing you say in the book, good anxiety is that the brain is like an enormously adaptive organ, which relies on stress to keep it alive. Yeah. And you say like a sailboat needs wind in order to move the brain, body needs an outside force to urge it to grow, adapt and not die.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (08:26):

Yes.

 

Stephanie Everett (08:26):

I’d love for you to tell us a little bit more about that.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (08:29):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the way that I think about it is really, you know, from my own perspective and I give a lot of talks to students, of course, you know, I started out in academia, but now to general audiences and to give the best talk, I cannot be in that lounging on my couch, watching Netflix frame of mind, which I, I love that I’m relaxed. I’m choosing my shows. I, you know, as everybody can understand what that feels like, and that’s a positive state to be in. But to give the best talk really, to be at for me, peak performance. And I always think about giving my best talk is my peak performance. I need to be a little bit scared. I need to be a little bit uncertain about what this group is gonna wanna hear. I need a little bit of those butterflies in my stomach, cuz I know from extensive experience, that is the moment when I give the best talk.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (09:31):

Now on the other hand, I don’t give the best talk when I’m terrified. Or, you know, when, when everything is going wrong around me, but that little bit of stress is that activation energy. And that is part of the secret to understanding why I would ever say that anxiety could be good. Actually it’s because of that, it is that Razor’s edge that you wanna find where your anxiety can propel. You can motivate you and can kind of bring out the best in your performance. Is it exactly the same for you as it is for me? No. But does it work for everybody? Absolutely. So it is that challenge of, can I find that for myself, but that’s where it, it came from and more generally the idea that, you know, anxiety and fear is protective for us. It’s keeping us away from those really dangerous situations and kind of keeping us alert to the world around us. Is that bad or good? Well, generally it is good. And in fact, evolution has used that over the last 2.5 million years to keep us safe and growing.

 

Stephanie Everett (10:42):

Yeah, that makes sense. And I’m sure the lawyers listening, like anytime I had a court appearance, I was always a little sick to my stomach just before. Exactly. And that’s okay. I used it. So that makes sense. Maybe it would be helpful at this point to kind of pause because it occurs to me, you know, you started talking about anxiety, the book is called good anxiety. Yeah. It might be helpful if we like put a definition or some framework around like what is anxiety? Cause it is something that, that gets used a lot in today’s world. I feel

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (11:13):

Right. So that’s a great place to start. So the first thing I wanna emphasize is that anxiety is a normal human emotion. It is not pathological in any way, shape or form. Everybody has it. And I like to start with that because my promise is not to remove anxiety from your life and anybody that promises that they’re gonna fail because it’s part of our normal human emotions. What I want to try and do is help you channel your normal anxiety to do productive, useful things in your life. And so going back to the definition of anxiety, so first it’s a normal human emotion. Everybody has it. You cannot kind of surgically remove it from your brain or from your mind state number two. What is the definition? Anxiety in my simple definition is that feeling of fear or worry that typically comes in situations of uncertainty. You’re about to step out and address the jury for the very first time you are going to back to work for the very first time after a very, very different kind of work-life balance. When you kind of think about that uncertainty, one can better understand why global levels of anxiety are going up because we as a whole world, as a species have really dealt with unprecedented levels of uncertainty over the last almost three years now.

 

Stephanie Everett (12:45):

Yeah. At the beginning of your book, you also make a distinction between everyday anxiety and clinical disorders. Yes. So I feel like I should give you that opportunity to do that here as well, since there is a difference. Yeah.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (12:58):

There is a difference. It’s a difference of scale. There are real brain changes, neurobiologic changes that get one to the level of clinical anxiety where you cannot go on and you have to go see a medical professional. That is not who I wrote this book for. There are many other books that deal with that. However, I wrote the book for the rest of us that have what I call everyday anxiety. Just that everyday anxiety, that kind of sucks your energy that you, you do wanna surgically remove if you could. And that has been going up for so many different reasons. Over the last three years, the approaches that I describe are not psychiatric approaches. They are biologically based approaches that anybody can use. Even those with clinical anxiety. It’s not like they have completely different things. Of course these approaches work because they’re about stress management. They’re about using tools that we know can naturally decrease your stress and anxiety levels as well as some tools and mindset shifts to help you take away that the really negative connotations around anxiety that it is debilitating. It is only debilitating. And can’t help me one little bit when in fact it evolved to protect us, to help us. And I’m trying to get that population that’s suffering from everyday anxiety back to that protective element and elements of anxiety and how that can work for you.

 

Stephanie Everett (14:33):

Yeah, something that struck me, I was, I was reading your book and then I just happened to be in a car, listening to a podcast. Interesting enough about they were examining the media’s coverage of COVID in the us versus the rest of the world and whether it was more negative. And it was interesting because the person that they were interviewing talked about that the English language has, it was something crazy, like more than double, the amount of words to describe negative emotions, then we do positive and they even gave, like, I just remembered that some of the examples were like, and you could also describe negative feelings and emotions in one word are negative things. Like some of the examples they gave were like, lying are speeding. But if you wanted to tell the positive side of that, you have to use a lot of words, like to tell the truth. Right. and I was like, huh. And so I happened to be reading your book while I was listening to this. And I was like, there’s something here, there, because you also talk about how we often hone in on those negative feelings or emotions.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (15:35):

Right. And the reason we do that goes back again to this evolutionary kind of idea, that scary things are to be avoided because they could, you know, do us great harm. And so we evolve to focus our whole perceptual systems on novelty because those novel things can be scary and on negative emotional things, because that could also be detrimental and scary. And I think as lawyers out there, you will know better than most that in a conversation, sometimes one negative word about a client, about a suspect. It weighs so much more than 10 positive words. Oh, they were nice. They were friendly. Oh, well, you know, they cheated or something. I see that all the time in my committee work that I do in academia, you have to be very careful in fairness to try and get a truthful picture out there. So that is part of the negativity bias that this podcast that you’re listening was pointed out. And I think if we think about it, we can all come up with examples of, yeah. That one negative word I said had this great effect, whereas more positive words, I had to work much harder to get that message out.

 

Stephanie Everett (16:50):

Yeah. And so it sounds like it’s important for us to kind of just remember that negativity bias exists, because I do think it’s easy for us to sort of maybe the right word is harp on or you’d probably have a better word for it. Yes. You know, the negative things that are happening, the worry, the what ifs. Yes. And what you’re gonna teach us is that we have to pull ourselves out of that state and get into a positive one so we can use these feelings for good.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (17:17):

Yes, exactly. I think just that awareness that we as humans have this negativity bias is really, really helpful to keep in mind. And in fact, it took me a while to kind of get really aware of this in my own kind of committee needing work. And to kind of, especially if you’re chairing these meetings, if you are the leader, that is your role, you wanna make it fair. And you need to keep this in, in mind that there is a negativity bias. So you can’t let the group go down into just negative complaining, complaining, complaining, which is much more common than I would like it to be in the society in general. So that is part of the reason why it’s important to be aware of this and how it affects your own mental state and your feeling of anxiety, because the more negative things that you are appreciating and you think that, oh, everybody’s only saying negative things, does that help or that hurt your anxiety. It really makes the anxiety significantly worse.

 

Stephanie Everett (18:18):

That makes sense. And I know a lot of our listeners who lead small teams, we see that in real life and oftentimes leaders are worried about bringing new ideas to the group because they’re worried that that effect’s gonna happen and that everyone’s gonna spiral into that negativity. So it’s helpful to think about that and know that going in, which I know wasn’t maybe the point you were intending to make, but that was my one of my takeaways,

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (18:41):

Right? No, it’s a, it’s a really important one because a lot of your listeners are leaders and how do we internalize that kind of psychological concept? And I mean, for me, one of the ways that I do that is make introductions of, of new ideas, more common, kind of introduce it as not something to attack, but to consider from all sides and be really cognizant because there are committee members out there that will, they feel their job is to cut everything down and to really show the negative aspects, just to be real about it, which can be helpful, but needs to be balanced because of this negativity bias or else you’re gonna tank all your best ideas because of that. So, yes, I think it’s, it has really practical implications for all of us in these kinds of fields, you know, academia and, and law.

 

Stephanie Everett (19:35):

Yeah, for sure. Well, we need to take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. When we come back, I wanna dig into your good anxiety toolbox because I think that would be super helpful.

 

Zack Glaser (19:45):

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Stephanie Everett (23:02):

All right. I’m back with Dr. Suzuki and we are talking about anxiety. It’s a normal everyday thing, guys. We don’t have to run from it. We don’t have to worry about it. And in fact, we can harness its power for good. And I love this part of the book where you really talk about this idea of a good anxiety toolbox yeah. That you give real examples and tools of how people can take things that happen in your life and then use them. So, yeah, maybe you could start by just giving us some examples of what’s in the toolbox or what do you think would be most helpful for people as they’re kind of starting to think about this journey?

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (23:37):

Sure, sure. So I just wanna highlight two. Yeah. I guess they’re they’re tools. I can’t remember exactly how I characterize them in the book, but one of the most important first steps, if everyday anxiety is something that you’re concerned about, you, you think it’s stopping your energy. The first thing you wanna think about is how to turn the volume down on that anxiety. And again, not get rid of it, but just turn the volume down. And the two tools, my number one, number two, go to, to turn that volume down is breath meditation, just deep breathing, because you’ve heard this before, but I’m telling you as a neuroscientist, this is activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is your natural de-stressing part of your nervous system. Deep breathing is the oldest form of meditation. So while monks, hundreds and hundreds of years ago didn’t know the term parasympathetic, they knew that deep breathing could get their fellow monks into this calm collected state very, very quickly.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (24:39):

And that’s why it was doing it. That’s number one, tool. Number two movement. I’ve studied the effects of physical activity on the brain for many, many years. And one of its most powerful effects and immediate effects I should say is to decrease your anxiety levels. And the next question everybody asks is just tell me how little movement I really have to do to get that. And the answer to that question is 10 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of walking has been shown to significantly decrease anxiety levels. I love this because you don’t even have to change your clothes. Just walk around your dining room table. If that’s where the space you have to walk. Yeah. So you’re turning the anxiety down. What are some other tools that you could use to turn your anxiety down? And I’m going to share two of my favorite one is a science neuroscience nerd tool.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (25:31):

My favorite one, and there’s lots of tools in there. So I wanna highlight this because you might miss it. If you get the book, my tool is called joy conditioning and it was really developed because of my 25 years plus of studying how memory works. So this is a tool that was developed specifically to counter something that’s happening all the time in us, which is fear conditioning, which is something really, really bad happens. If I get mugged on the corner of 52nd and second avenue in New York city, where I live for years and years and years, maybe for the rest of my life. If I walk past that corner, I will get scared. I will have this visual feeling of fear that is fear conditioning, and it is protective. And so I’m thinking about this and, and all of us have this. We could all think of moments or situations that cause fear conditioning.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (26:21):

It lasts for a very, very long time, which is great. I’m being protected, but I’m kind of gathering automatically all these fears. Well, joy conditioning is the opposite. Fear conditioning works because of a brain structure called the amygdala. It is protective. It automatically kind of encodes these fearful memories. The joy conditioning does not work via the amygdala. It works via brain structure called the hippocampus, which is critical for our ability to form and retain new long term memories for both facts and events. Lawyers have huge hippocampi because they have to learn and retain so much information from all the cases that they’re always dealing with. And so we know how memory works. The more you retrieve those memories, the stronger the feelings, the stronger the memories are, including all the emotions that come with those memories, the who, what, where when those kind of memories are dependent on the hippocampus.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (27:20):

So here’s how joy conditioning works. All you have to do is sit back and think about the most beautiful, the funniest, the most joyful experiences of your life and relive those experiences. Because every time you are bringing those memories up that joy, I, I did this, I, I did a little experiment and I said, okay, well, let me give you an example. There’s this one conversation I had with my cousin. I laughed hysterically then. And I always laugh when I tell it. So I’m trying to tell them, I’m starting to laugh hysterically, and it’s just reinforcing this, you know, joyous memory that I have and how did it make me feel? It made me feel so great. It made everybody laugh because just, they were laughing at me not being able to tell my story, cuz I was laughing so hard. So it’s so simple.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (28:12):

But let me ask everybody out there once the last time you consciously sat back and remembered a joyful memory, like one of the best, one of your top three in your life, that’s joy conditioning. That’s something that everybody can do to kind of counter all that fear conditioning that has happened all the time. So that’s one tool. The second quick tool that I’ll tell is a tool that was inspired by a book that I came across when I was writing my book, Good Anxiety. It was a book written by Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton brain. Yeah. So it was a little book of all the tweets that Lin Manuel sends to himself in the morning. And you know, I don’t know him, but he seems like a really positive, great, you know, friendly guy. And you could just see him tweeting to himself. You know, “you’re gonna rhyme so well today” or, you know, “you’re gonna come up with the next Hamilton” and the next time you sit down to write your next musical. And so the tool that came from that is simply called tweet like Miranda. So if you were Lin Manuel Miranda, what would you tweet your for yourself in the morning? What thing would you say to yourself to motivate you to have great motivation that there’s no anxiety there. It’s just like, yeah, I’m gonna do this. And so I just loved reading these tweets and, and because everybody has seen him interviewed, it’s like, people can understand that. So that’s another tool in, in the toolbox Tweet like Miranda.

 

Stephanie Everett (29:47):

I love it. I love the you. And in the book you give it another example of where it’s around giving yourself that pep talk, right? Yes. And what really resonated for me is the idea that you can practice. I think you were talking about it in terms of performance anxiety, and that a good tool. If you know, you’re gonna have something that’s causing you some stress, some anxiety for me, I was thinking about like those hard employee feedback reviews. Yes. Right? Like as a owner, we know we have to have this conversation with a team member and for days sometimes I’ll find myself worried about it thinking about yes. And, and I also coach lawyers. So I know that this is on their mind. Yeah. And you know, and one of the real practical tools is you were like, you know, you can practice it, rehearse it, but then you give yourself that pep talk of like, I’m gonna rock this.

 

Stephanie Everett (30:35):

I’m gonna make this person feel grateful that we had this conversation. I’m gonna deliver this news in such a way that they’re gonna walk away as a better person. And I’m gonna walk away as a better person. And I was like, how great to just reframe that. And I’ve done that in my life, you know, where I’ve noticed a difference when I go into a situation and I can bring that intentionality to it as well. So I loved in the book, and all the examples you’ve given today, it feels like you gave me like scientific reasons for things that I’ve kind of naturally done to be like, oh yeah, this is this really works’, that’s why it works. Yeah. Like there’s real things happening in my brain here right now. And that’s, what’s making this work. So that was really helpful.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (31:19):

Great. Yes. I love that.

 

Stephanie Everett (31:21):

Well, you’ve given us some really great practical tools today. We’re gonna tweet like Miranda. I like that. That’s easy. Sounds like a dance move almost.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (31:29):

<Laugh> it does. It does <laugh>

 

Stephanie Everett (31:32):

And enjoy conditioning is another one. I love that. I have heard of something similar, but not in this context. And so that also resonates with me. That makes a lot of sense. I just wanna tell everyone in the audience though, your book is filled with a whole bunch of more, really practical tools and explanations. Like I said, like why meditation works. We’ve always heard meditation is good for us, but you are sometimes for the people who need the why behind the science, behind why what’s actually happening. Yeah. Your book gives really the non-scientific person like myself could read it and understand it. Yeah. There’s even some diagrams in there it’s good. <Laugh> but yeah, I just recommend the book to anyone. Good Anxiety harnessing the power of the most misunderstood emotion because it is here. People it’s not going anywhere. So we might as well use it for a good turn it into a weapon, something of power that we can use.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (32:24):

So Stephanie, before we end, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell on this podcast, my really, really important lawyer story from Good Anxiety. Okay. This is a true story. So as I was writing the book, I went to a birthday party and I met a lawyer and I said, oh, I’m writing a book on anxiety. And she said, anxiety, oh my God, I am the high paid New York city lawyer that I am because of my anxiety. And I said, oh, tell me your secret. And she said, well, I’ve had anxiety all of my life. But what I do is for all those things that I’m worried about in my case, I simply do something about them. So if I’m worried about the other lawyer going to make this argument, well, I go and I find a counter argument for them worried about the judge gonna do this.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (33:17):

Well, I, I make sure I have this in my back pocket. And I said, thank you so much. That is so valuable. And I realized that I did it. I didn’t do it as well articulated as she did. But you will see in the book that that strategy turned into the superpower of productivity that comes from anxiety. The way I describe it in the book, it is turning your, what if list? What if the lawyer from the other side does this? What if the judge does that? What if the, what if the witness says this and putting an action on it, I have this, this, and this strategy to address and why does that help? It helps because our anxiety originally developed to have an action put on it. We either fight the lion or we run away from the lion. So we’re not fighting anything, but we are taking an action by all of the intellectual things that all the backups and all the arguments that we create. So that is satisfying to that anxiety. And it really turns very common form of anxiety. The what if list into a tool of productivity? And I think lawyers are some of the best practitioners of this, whether you’re realize you’re doing this or not. And so this is using your anxiety and reducing it and making you productive at the same time. So I wanted to share that and thank the whole community of lawyers for bringing me this tool that I was able to write about in book.

 

Stephanie Everett (34:48):

Yeah. I love that. And you add that with some joy conditioning and remember all the times that you’ve been successful in fighting all those what ifs. And it’s like, yes. Cause I think that’s part of it too. And we’re like, you know what? I’ve got this, I’ve done this before. I’ve handled these types of cases and I rocked it. So I’ll rock it again.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (35:05):

Exactly.

 

Stephanie Everett (35:05):

Awesome. Thank you so much for being with me today. We’ll put a link to the book and the show notes and I just can’t thank you enough for giving us these really awesome tools to use.

 

Dr. Wendy Suzuki (35:16):

Thanks so much, Stephanie really enjoyed the conversation.

 

Speaker 1 (35:21):

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.

Your Hosts

Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the President of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is a regular guest and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

Featured Guests

Wendy Suzuki Headshot

Dr. Wendy Suzuki

Dr. Wendy Suzuki is an award-winning Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University where she studies the effects of physical activity and meditation on the brain.  She is also a TED speaker and best-selling author of the book Healthy Brain Happy Life which was recently made into a PBS special. Her second book Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion was published in September of 2021.  Suzuki is a passionate thought leader, spreading the understanding of how we can use the principles of brain plasticity to maximize our brain’s performance and transform our lives for the better. 

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Last updated September 14th, 2022