Episode #42: Discussing Boundaries with Olivia Vizachero

Jan 17, 2023

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This week, I’m sitting down with my good friend and fellow coach, Olivia Vizachero. Olivia is a lawyer-turned-coach. She now focuses on coaching lawyers to feel less stressed and more fulfilled. I love how direct she is and how deeply passionate she is about the impact of coaching.

Boundaries are one of those areas so many of us have unconscious habits around, and as you’ll hear Olivia describe, these habits can wreak havoc on your life. She says that we (unfortunately) can’t control other people. However, we can control ourselves, how we show up, how we think and feel, and what our lived experiences are in every relationship.

Tune in this week because Olivia Vizachero and I are talking all about relationships, people pleasing, making requests, and most importantly, setting boundaries. We’re sharing our own journeys to feeling better, filled with beautiful insights and hilarious stories, and you’ll be able to apply the lessons in today’s podcast to your relationships at work, with your friends, your kids, and your significant other.


If you want to take this work deeper and implement it in your life, you need to learn all about The Unstoppable Group. This is my six-month, intimate, small group coaching experience for high-achieving working moms who want to live lighter and lose weight at the same time. I take my clients through a science-backed, simple strategy that seriously blows their minds, and you can learn all about how to sign up for the next group by clicking here!

If you’re loving the podcast, you have to sign up for my email list. I share some of my absolute best tips, strategies, and skills exclusively on my email list, so click here to make sure you’re on there!


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Olivia’s story of being a people pleaser, bending over backward to accommodate everyone else.
  • Why so many high-achieving working women struggle to put themselves first.
  • How not having boundaries becomes a habit and starts wreaking havoc in every area of your life.
  • Some of the specific thoughts people struggle with that stop them from confidently implementing proper boundaries.
  • Why proper boundaries are all about you, not anybody else or their behavior.
  • Olivia’s advice for communicating your honest feelings with other people while understanding that you can’t control their behavior.
  • How to start implementing clean boundaries that focus on all the things you can control.

Listen to the Full Episode:



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Full Episode Transcript:

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  • Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to The Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast, Episode 42, Boundaries with Olivia Vizachero. Today's episode is another podcast conversation with my good friend and coach, Olivia Vizachero. We talk all about relationships, people pleasing, making requests, and most importantly, setting boundaries.

    There are some beautiful insights and hilarious stories that we share in our own journey to feel better, and I cannot wait for you to enjoy this episode. Olivia is a lawyer turned coach. She now coaches lawyers to feel less stressed and more fulfillment. She's the host of the podcast, the Less Stressed Lawyer, and she has such a great presence on Instagram and LinkedIn.

    Make sure you go and follow her. All of her information is going to be linked in the show notes page today. I love Olivia and how direct she is and how deeply passionate she is about the impact of coaching. And in her words, coaching is literally the keys to the universe. Today you're gonna hear about exactly why [00:01:00] I love bringing this series of podcast conversations with my friends, peers, and colleagues.

    These are real conversations that we sometimes have together, and I think it's so fun to bring you all along where you get to enjoy the conversation as though you are there. I wanted to bring Olivia on the podcast where we could discuss boundaries really, because I think it's one of those areas that so many of us have subconscious habits around, and as you'll hear Olivia describe, it can wreak havoc on your life.

    I love how she describes that we are in parenthesis, unfortunately not able to control other people, so then what? We don't have to control other people to control ourselves, to control how we show up or how we choose to think and feel, and really what our lived experiences are in every relationship. This conversation today is going to apply to your work life with your boss and your colleagues, with your family, your kids, your significant other.

    This is such a fun one, and I hope that you enjoy it. If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weightless coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans.

    Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. Ready? Let's get to it.

    Hello. Hello everybody. I am so thrilled to welcome my beautiful friend. Olivia, welcome to the podcast. I am so happy to have you here and have this conversation that we are having today. Tell us about you and how you got to doing what you're doing. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, so excited to be here. Thanks for having me on the podcast.

    So for those of you who don't know me, my name's Olivia Vizachero and I am a life coach for lawyers. I help attorneys who are over the overwhelm, live lives with less stress and far more fulfillment. I'm a former attorney myself and found coaching when I was practicing in big law and was struggling with so many things that my clients struggle with.

    People pleasing, perfectionism, procrastination. I call 'em the three Ps, and I really didn't have the tools or the skill set to navigate those struggles and I found coaching was able to resolve that stuff myself. And then I felt like I had the secret to the universe. So I decided to leave the practice of law, become a coach, and now I help people just like the old version of me, overcome the same struggles and I'm having the time of my life.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's so good and I love that you called it the secret of the universe because it really does sometimes feel right, like coaching is, it kind of unlocks that secret that I kind of feel like so many times. I think especially for high achieving women, it's like we know better. We know that there is something better, and yet we're kind of not able to implement it.

    So I'm just curious when you think about that moment where you discovered that secret to the universe. What was it for you in that moment that helped you be like, okay, this is going to be changing my life specifically enough to leave being in the law and pursuing coaching full-time? 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, so I think the biggest thing for me was it's this two-step process and I can so clearly see when I learned the model that you know, thoughts cause your feelings and that's like your brain breaks immediately because you're like, wait, what other people don't cause how I feel, the world doesn't cause how I feel, other people's actions is what they say or what they do, or what they don't say and what they don't do. None of that's actually causing my feelings.

    My mind was blown. And to really understand that you can control how you feel by controlling what you think and that our thoughts aren't true. That was the first step and everything started to shift from there. And then it wasn't instantaneous, but a little while after it clicked for me that if that was true for me, I'm not a unicorn.

    So that's also true for other people that their thoughts cause their feelings. I don't cause their feelings. And I was a horrific people pleaser at the time. I mean, next level turned myself backwards, you know, into a pretzel to accommodate everyone else and make sure that like they didn't experience a negative emotion and it was ruining my life, being a people pleaser. 

    Like I picked jobs for the wrong reasons based on what other people thought of my decisions. I was an extreme workaholic because I wanted to be like the superhero, and I didn't want anyone to be upset with me, and I just wanted to constantly go above and beyond.

    So when I learned that I wasn't responsible for how other people feel, that is the moment for me where it's like someone wrote me a permission slip to be like, you get to go live your life exactly how you wanna live it now. And like other people might have opinions about it and like they might not love it. They might feel negative emotions, and that's not your business. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I mean, there's so much there and I think this kind of is a great segue way into the conversation that I wanted to have with you. And so for those of you that are listening, I met Olivia. It's been now a couple of years, and I think just in the time that we have gotten to know each other as peers, as coaches, and of course as friends. There's something about, I think the energy that you put out into your content and into every room you're in, including, you know, any coaching with me, and that's why I wanted to kind of have this conversation with you because I think that people pleasing and really creating boundaries and having expectations of ourself and others can be such a huge, huge barrier for high-achieving women.

    And I think that, you know, the women that are listening to this podcast are predominantly high-achieving working moms. But I think that for women specifically, there is some thread around, of course, being a people pleaser, which we've talked about a little bit, but, then like learning that we can actually set boundaries and start to solve some of the, like the wreaking of the havoc.

    Right? Because you were saying being a people pleaser, probably not having any boundaries was wreaking havoc. So like if we just take a minute before coaching, how were you with boundaries? Like why did it wreak havoc in your life to be the people pleaser that you were. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, I had no boundaries and was completely incapable of saying no, and it's really what I learned growing up.

    Right. I think behavior, especially when it comes to boundaries, it's modeled for us and it was modeled for me by a lot of different people. I would definitely say my mom, who did everything to accommodate other people. So I think a lot of women especially learn it from the women that they look up to. So I saw my mom do that constantly accommodate other people or put herself last and not speak up and just do things to make other people's lives easier.

    And that's really like our currency as women. We're kind of taught that, that that's your value in the world is like being that caretaker and accommodating and taking care of other people and making sure everyone else is okay. But then you also get a lot of that rhetoric in the legal industry. That you have to be all things to all people and that you always have to meet your clients' needs.

    And I was actually in the service industry before I went to law school, so I waitressed and bartended for a really long time. And like the same thing's true there, it's like the customer's always right, so it's just you are always doing things for other people. I think we get that messaging over and over and over again.

    And there's a flip side to this that I think is really important to highlight. Being a people pleaser momentarily feels amazing, and I, if anyone has listened to this, they'll understand what I'm talking about. If they haven't, it's a great TED talk, but Tony Robbins has a TED Talk on the six basic human needs.

    And we all have all six, and we all prefer two of the six. And it's how we make all of the decisions in our lives. And the six needs are the need for certainty, the need for variety, the need for significance, or to feel needed, the need for love, the need for growth, and the need for contribution. And I, one of my top two choices was the need to feel needed or the need to feel significant.

    So when you're saying yes to people and you're putting yourself last, like there's for sure a detriment that comes from it, but it also feels really good in the moment. And you have to learn how to like take that badge of honor off and to be okay not getting that significance and not feeling needed in that way when you're setting boundaries and saying No. And that was hard for me. Let go of and release. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. That's so good. And I, so like on the podcast I've shared before, you know, whenever we think about any habit we have, whether it's people pleasing or overeating or over drinking or overworking or over worrying and overthinking, any habit was always born out of some reason because our brain perceived that this is working well.

    Right. Some needs are being met. I'm feeling really good in the moment and something is working. And so, we turned things into habits and I think what you and I have probably done. Because of coaching and in our work for the last few years as we've been challenging certain habits, I'm like looking at this habit of people pleasing.

    I'm like, this is not really serving me anymore. I wonder how I might want to change that. And I think that that's where it gets hard because as again, as, as women, we know, especially the brilliant women that are listening to this, I know this is not serving me anymore, but they feel too uncomfortable to make a change.

    Like what you're talking of, setting a boundary. It feels uncomfortable. So before we even get into the discomfort, how do you define boundaries? Like you're, you're a people pleaser, you know that this is like creating havoc. How are you defining a boundary at that moment? 

    Olivia Vizachero: The way I think of boundaries, it's always about what I'm doing and I think that's one of the secrets to the universe, to use that term again, is like your happiness ratio is directly related to your ability to discern between what you can control and what you can't and to only focus on what you can control, right. So when it comes to people pleasing, and it comes to boundaries, people are normally people pleasing to avoid guilt or worry or fear. And that's the same reason that they don't set boundaries to avoid guilt or worry or fear.

    But on the flip side of that, when you're not setting boundaries and you're people pleasing, you're normally full of resentment. And the resentment comes from thinking or expecting other people to be very different than they are. So the way you can catch this is all that should thinking, right? Like, they shouldn't do this, they should do this.

    They need to be this way. They can't say this, they can't do that. They must, all of that verbiage and rhetoric that goes through our heads, it dials up that resentment, and I think it creates an obstacle to actually setting a boundary because you never get to the boundary part because you're so busy arguing with what everyone else is doing and how they're behaving and you're trying to change them and control that. Right. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And almost thinking that your sense of satisfaction, happiness, joy, and delight is riding on that. It's like it really ups the ante, right? Like not only should they be different than they are or not only should they say something different, my feelings of happiness, satisfaction, joy, delight, are riding on that.

    And so that's, I think, really, really creates so much angst and frustration because we don't get to control the other people. Okay. Yeah. So keep going with what you were saying. 

    Olivia Vizachero: So the first step is really understanding that like the, a boundary is never about what someone else is gonna do. It's a really simple question, right?

    Like you just have to make sure if you're setting a boundary, does it take into account the reality? And we can put, unfortunately in parentheses, I always tell my clients that I'm like...

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: The unfortunate parentheses. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, the unfortunate reality that other people have free will. And if it's arguing with the unfortunate reality that other people have free will, it's not a proper boundary.

    So you have to accept that people literally and I know people hate the overuse of that word, but people literally get to do whatever they want to do, and then you get to set boundaries in response to it. So a proper boundary is always, I like to just use this simple, if they do blank, I will do blank. And it's always about the action that you'll take when a particular set of circumstances arises.

    It's uncomfortable to follow through, and I think that's the other really important thing to talk about here. If you are not willing to do the second clause of the sentence, then you don't care enough about the offensive behavior, let it go. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right? I think. And tell me whether this feels true for you.

    Because I wonder, and I know this is because I feel like I'm raising my own hand in me being kind of guilty of this, but sometimes I find that I won't do that. Like, I won't want to set the boundary because I'm in righteousness. I'm unwilling to believe that they shouldn't be changing. It's almost like the, the, the should thoughts, like they should be different.

    I'm like, so like I'm holding onto that thought with so much grip and, and the way that I feel usually is before resentment is entitled. It's like this entitled Righteous. I'm right, they're wrong. I'm curious what you think about the ability to let that thought go because there's something very powerful and feeling righteous.

    You mean like I know I'm right and like they're just being the jerk, or the boss is, you know, laying down too many, too many rules or my partners being annoying. Like all of those things, I feel like how does somebody let go of the should thoughts before they can implement the boundary? Because that's where I think so many women feel like they, their power is holding onto the thought.

    Olivia Vizachero: Correct. So the righteousness ties in with that need to feel significant because you feel important, like you said, when you feel righteous, that is a powerful, I think it, it's like dark chocolate covered caramel is how I describe it to people. Like it's so delicious to feel righteous. It leads to nothing good if you look at the action that you take from righteousness.

    But it does feel very powerful. When that happens I think two things are really important. One, you wanna find the thought. So if you catch yourself feeling righteous, feeling entitled, feeling justified or outraged, outrage is like a big red flag for me in my own life. I want to find the thought. And they don't always present as should thoughts.

    It's a variant of a should thought, of course. But what it presents as is like, they can't do it this way. That is always my phrase that like, I know I worked for a man who loved him to death. He was a great trial attorney, terrible business owner, and didn't pay us on time. And I remember being in this state of outrage and my thought was, you can't run a business like this.

    And when I finally saw it, I don't know if I wrote it down or I just got really clear that that was my main thought driving me. I just asked is that true. And it wasn't true. You literally can run a business like that because he was. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: He was exactly like they can't do it, but no, but they just did so... 

    Olivia Vizachero: Exactly.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: They clearly can. Right? 

    Olivia Vizachero: They clearly can't. So finding the false part of the thought really helps me start to release it. Now when it's a should, I think it's a little bit harder than like a can't, cuz a can't is more absolute right. Where a should is just really your opinion. When that happens, I always like to go to, well, what do you want them to do?

    Because you've got a manual for them that you want them to follow. You have specific policies and procedures that you want them to implement. And I always just like to ask myself, do they wanna do that? Because what's so fascinating to me, like I really am a huge practicer of like being an integrity in my own life.

    Right? And typically when we find ourselves in these righteous moments, thinking someone should be doing it differently or be different than they are. We want them to be different. We want them to be different in a way that they don't wanna be different so we can feel better. So we're asking them to feel worse so we can feel better.

    And I'm like, every time I realize that it grosses me out. I'm like, Ew, can you just manage your own mind, Olivia, on like their behavior instead of needing them? I'll use this example, it's a food example. I was on a diet at the time and I was also abstaining from alcohol, so I was just like lain with deprivation.


    So much deprivation, and it was during the pandemic, so the only people I was really seeing were my parents and I would go out to their house on the weekend and my parents' house is Carb Central. Like in excess. It's kind of unbelievable to me. It's like scones in the morning and then like sandwiches for lunch and then like pasta for dinner.

    I'm like, how is everyone not a million pounds? Right? So I was working on losing weight, [00:18:00] so I was not eating stuff like that, and I was also working on my over drinking. So I was abstaining from alcohol and just white knuckling my way through this experience. Every weekend, my mom and I would have conflict about the menu, and I recognize that it's her house.

    I can't control what she cooks, but I could cook for myself or I could cook for everyone and just bring the food that I wanted to prepare. So I was doing that for a while. But then one night she insisted, she's like, I want pasta. We're eating pasta. You're not cooking. I'm cooking. And it was like pasta with a cream sauce.

    It was just over the top. And I wasn't gonna eat it because it didn't align with my goals. And she had gone to the store to go buy bread for the pasta. And I was like, Maar, like more carbs, did I have to say no to? And then I went to take a zoom call after dinner in the basement and I came up right before my call started to grab a water.

    And unbeknownst to me, she had also bought a cherry pie, which is my favorite type of pie. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Course it is. Yes. Yeah, of course, of course. That's what's, of course, that's what's sitting there for you to look at. Yeah. 

    Olivia Vizachero: And my, her and my uncle are just reveling in the joy of eating pieces, slices of this cherry pie.

    And I create this narrative in my head that like she did it knowing I would be upset and that she was hiding it from me. That's why they waited till I went downstairs. It was a very dramatic story, but my first thought was, I can't believe she did that. Like she doesn't care about my weight loss goal. She's not being supportive.

    All this negativity. And I stayed pissed for a week. Like I just sat in my righteousness and outraged. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So did you not eat it at all? Like how did you get through? Oh, so you didn't eat it? 

    Olivia Vizachero: Oh, I left. I... 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh, you left. Oh... 

    Olivia Vizachero: Oh, I like stormed out. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: This is a boundary. If they order, if they buy the cherry pie, I am leaving the party. So you left the party and then you stayed pissed for a week. 

    Olivia Vizachero: For a week, yes. And then, I was driving home and I was like, I know I'm causing this. It's not the cherry pie causing this or the fact that my mom bought the cherry pie. It is my thoughts about the cherry pie that's making me feel outraged.

    But I didn't wanna change any of them at the moment. And then I'm an only child and I'm really close with my parents. So like a week later I'm like, enough already. Like I don't wanna be mad anymore. I love my mom. So I had to coach myself on you have to get to a different thought. What else could you get to cuz I wasn't gonna get to, I think it's amazing that she bought the pie, but what I could get myself to was I used to be a smoker, so did my mom.

    We both have quit and my mom replaced her smoking habit with sugar and she craves sugar. The way I crave a cocktail. And I'm very familiar with feeling deprived and having to work through that and not wanting to feel deprived and struggling with it and thinking about it like I think my mom thinks about food, the way that I would think about wine and what I was asking her to do. I wanted her to feel deprived so I didn't have to. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. Oh, this is such a good example. Yeah. 

    Olivia Vizachero: It just grossed me out. Like for myself, I was like, Ew, like you're poor mom. Don't make her feel deprived. If she wants to eat the damn cherry pie, like let her eat the damn cherry pie. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And does she also love cherry pie the way you do? I'm just curious. It's like a separate side question. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, for sure. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. You know, I think, and tell me whether this feels true, and even in this example, but like in any example that's similar to this, I feel like we have these thoughts. Like, she bought the cherry pie, she wants the pasta, she's buying the bread.

    There's like a how dare she, like how dare that person, right? Like how dare they? And it's coming from the lens of like, they must not care about what matters to me. And if they cared about me, then they would care about like doing what I want them [00:22:00] to do. And I think that this is, this is true of like, you know, parent-child relationships, but like partnerships and spouses, and even with your bosses and colleagues, like if they really cared about the team, they wouldn't overwork us.

    Or if they really cared about the business, then they would pay us on time. Like things like we have a lot of thoughts like that. And I think that the trouble with that is that, and I think we, we all humans do this because we have a negative bias. We start with the worst case scenario, and then we start making decisions from the worst case scenario, which my friends, if you're doing this, like, let's pause doing that.

    Because the worst case scenario, having the lens of the worst case scenario just keeps producing worse and worse results. So I wonder for you, like even with your mom as you shared this example, How it is, first of all, it's possible for everybody to really decide that you can flip that around when you're thinking about the manual.

    How dare she, she must not care about me. That's where everything is coming from, right? That's kinda like the trickle effect to like, wait a second. She's a human that simply loves these foods. And she also loves me, and maybe she's not on board with my weight loss plan because maybe she thinks I'm perfect the way I am and maybe she just wants me to just enjoy some cherry pie because she loves me so damn much.

    Like maybe that's also possible. I wonder like for you how you have gone from the former, which is like, how dare she, she must not care about me. And having that negative lens versus this human clearly made this decision from a place that's not so negative. I think that is so huge. 

    Olivia Vizachero: I agree with you. The first thing that helped me get there was getting rid of my all or nothing thinking and being able to hold space for the and, right?

    That two things can be true at once. And I watched this happen. I just coached a client of mine recently where he didn't get the bonus he wanted, and he was making it mean that he wasn't valued at work. I know. I was like, oh, no, no, no, no, no. Both things can be true. They can absolutely value you and not pay you what you want.

    Like one thing doesn't necessarily mean the other. And I have a math brain, so I love the logic of all of that. And the same thing's true here. It's like she can absolutely love me and support my goals, and she can want a cherry pie and eat it in her house. Like all of those things are true. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. Yeah, I think that's so good.

    And I just wanna share, I think that what just came to me as you were sharing that example is I think our human brains are always trying to make sense of things, right? So when we're like, how dare she buy the cherry pie, our brain, because it wants to make sense of the buying of the cherry pie. When I had this weight loss goal, it's like she must not.

    So we've come up with a theory. It's not real. It's just a theory because our brain is trying to make sense of it. And I think what's so important for all of us too and I, this is me too, like to remember, it's like, wait a second. My initial theory might be laced in a negative bias. And I don't know that I want my initial theory to be my best theory.

    My initial theory is often not my best theory. It's just my first of many attempts, and I think I spent many years letting my initial theory be the truth of the universe. Like, oh, that's, that's just the truth. No, that was just a first guess. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Simply asking like, okay, if it's not that worst case scenario, motive and reasoning, what else might it be?

    And so quickly, it's wild to watch on a coaching call. I'm sure you see this with your clients where you're like, what if it's not that? What if it might be something else? And they're like, it couldn't be. And you're like, well, just guess at something. And they're like, well, This person actually, you know, is going through this and feels this way and is pretty insecure.

    So they make comments, you know, to react. Or the same client we were talking about a colleague of hers who doesn't respond to emails, and I was, she's like, he's lazy. I'm like, okay, if it's not that. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Let's just pretend like it's not that. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah. What else might it be? It's so funny how quickly once you like just put a pin in that first negative bias theory, how quickly your brain will offer you something else.

    And she was like, well, the emails are in English, and English is not his first language, and he really struggles with it. And he, his emails are terrible. I'm like, well, no wonder he doesn't wanna write them. Then it must take so much effort and it probably triggers his insecurity. It just made so much sense, and we got there in like two seconds and then she felt so much better.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh, this is everything. And I think there are two examples that are coming to mind. I recently was talking to a client and she was sharing kind of her history with why she's at the weight that she's at, and how she has all these, I mean, like, we know what to do. This is so common, especially with my clients, like they're brilliant and smart and they're high-achieving working moms.

    They, they, they can follow through on things left and right and do amazing things when it comes to their weight. They struggle and they're like, I know what to do, but I'm just not doing it, so I must suck. Like literally, these are some of the words that I will hear. Like, oh, I just like, like I just have no discipline.

    I just have no will power. I just, I, it's just me. And I'm like, let's just pretend that that's not what it was. And the idea of taking that first theory off the table has blown people's minds because it's like, wait, they never considered that that wasn't the right reason. They'd never even considered it.

    I remember my husband, this is like when I was at the, like the 200 pound mark. I remember my husband who's naturally just like a thin person, he eats three dinners and he just does not gain a pound. He would come with cheese and crackers and we have our favorite Four Fat Fowl, if you know Four Fat Fowl, it is like the best cheese.

    It's so good. He's bringing the Four Fat Fowl, these awesome crackers with the rosemary and sea salt on top. And he's like, oh. So like, want a snack? I'm wanna start up the Netflix cuz we know night routine, we're doing the Netflix and he's bringing all the snacks. And I remember, I'm like, he knows that I want to lose weight.

    Like how dare he? There's a little bit of like, doesn't he even care? Like doesn't he even care? It's kinda like your cherry pie example. I don't think I was as explicit with him. Like if I had said to him, do not offer me cheese or crackers ever, I'm sure he would've followed through, so I never communicated that very clearly.

    But he'd bring up like, doesn't he know? First of all, can't he read my mind? We've been married for many, many years by now. He should know. Number one, can't he read my mind? How dare he? And number two, he must not care . 

    Olivia Vizachero: I was not explicit with my mom either, by the way. Yeah. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Like this is, we're gonna get to this. When you said boundaries, you have to be clear, because I was like, he should know me by now. He should know me better than anyone. He should know me better by now. And I was very righteous in that he should be able to read my brain. I was very righteous with that. And then I remember there came a moment, this is again after coaching.

    Then I was like, let's just pretend he did care. I mean, I mean, if we look at the evidence, like the actual facts, the evidence goes to show that this guy does actually care and maybe even love you. And so what if we pretended like that wasn't really the thing that he does actually care. I'm telling you,  I forget the cheese and cracker situation, but I felt so much more love for him.

    He's sitting here bringing me my favorite Four Fat Fowl and he's sitting here bringing my favorite crackers and like, look at him being so sweet to offer me the cheese and crackers. Like what? And I was so mad at him for it for so long, rather than being in such appreciation that like he's bringing an extra plate for me.

    Olivia Vizachero: For sure. It could be like, oh, you're gonna eat the cheese and crackers, Priyanka, and you're like, excuse me. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: How dare he right. I cuz I would've been pissed. I would've been more pissed at that if he was like, you're gonna really eat that? I would've been even more pissed. So he loses in both ways. He would've also lost if he brought out the Four Fat Fowl crackers and didn't offer it.

    So, you know, it would've been lose, lose, lose in every scenario. But I just think that so many times we, and, and this is I think another trigger, I think another way to know that you're doing this is if you're very quick to blame the other party for your feeling, for your feelings of annoyance, frustration, anger, defeat what you name, the negative flavor that you're feeling.

    If you're quick to blame your time, your husband, your wife, your partner, your boss, your kids. I've done all of it. If you're quick to blame them, it's because of this reason, like you're with the first theory and you're, you haven't allowed your brain to move on to the next. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah. I also think you're outsourcing your work, right?

    Whenever you're in a state of blame, like that's the escape route, detour around the actual hard, uncomfortable work of setting a boundary or having an uncomfortable conversation and having your own back and following through. It's like, oh, if you could just be different, I wouldn't have to do any of this hard stuff.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Exactly, and I think I used to think that it's like if, if only all these things were different, then I wouldn't have to do the work. It's like kind of what you're speaking to. I also, I wonder, especially for high achieving working moms, it's like I'm already doing so much. I'm already doing so much, I shouldn't have to do anymore. 

    And I think it's a one added layer of resistance to the already righteous feelings, which is why, guys, this, this is work. And I think, I love that you said at the beginning, this is not instantaneous. It's like we peel back layer by layer by layer, and we kind of get to the nugget, which when you find it, it is a secret to the universe.

    Seriously. Okay. Can we just go back to how you and I both did not clearly communicate? You did not tell your mom. I did not tell my husband. Clearly, like, this is what's important to me, this is why it's important to me. Can you please X, Y, Z? Can we just talk about like, why are we not clear and how did, how do you start changing that?

    Olivia Vizachero: So I think you have to decide first, and I think a lot of people don't communicate because they think they sound ridiculous. And if you think you sound ridiculous, like question what you're wanting someone to do. So I would communicate about what I would want the food menu to be, right. And like my mom gets to cook whatever she wants cuz she has free will, but I can cook at her house.

    That's always an option. Or I can choose to not go a certain weekend. Like that's also like if you're gonna serve this, I'm not gonna come for dinner. That's a proper boundary. Or if you serve this, I won't eat it. Or if you keep serving stuff like this, I'll stop coming. These are all things that are within in my control.

    Right. But with the Cherry Pie specifically, my request would've needed to be it's not a proper boundary cuz it's just about making requests of their behavior, right? And you're allowed to make requests, but people absolutely get to say no to you. And my request would've been, Hey, can you not have dessert?

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And she might say yes, she might say no. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Correct. So I'm totally allowed to ask, but like even I have judgments of whether or not it's appropriate for me and like I'll use appropriate in air quotes here, but like whether it's appropriate for me to at someone else's house be like, Hey, could you forego dessert and like not serve dessert to your other guests and all just to make my life a little easier.

    And we have a saying in my house that I had learned this lesson in a hard way when I was in high school, but my mom's saying is don't inconvenience my life to make your life easier as like a standard rule. And I kind of live by that too. Where you do your hard work. Right. Don't inconvenience me to make things easier for yourself, which is exactly what I was doing, right?

    I was wanting her to inconvenience herself cuz she wanted something. She wanted dessert. So my life would be easier. And when I catch myself there, it's always like, no, I don't actually want to communicate that. I really just need to manage my mind on the cherry pie or the thing that I am not thrilled about.

    Separate And apart from that though, there are. I think it is totally fine to communicate where you really do wanna have a boundary and people don't communicate that because they feel or think that they can't or that it's rude and they want to be agreeable or accommodating, all of that. And I just think that's a lot of conditions, social conditions.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Or like even hurt somebody else's feelings or what will they think of me?

    I think that's a huge one. It's like, for women, the idea setting, like being really clear with the other party, whether it's your kid or your partner or your boss or your colleague. It's like there, there's some feeling around like, what will they think of me? For setting this boundary, and I don't think we answer the question, what will they think of you?

    You set the boundary and then what. 

    Olivia Vizachero: So I think that's so important because I'm always, like you said, looking at the very specific flavors of feelings that we have to be willing to feel, right? Because using the general umbrella of like, oh, it's uncomfortable, I have to be willing to feel uncomfortable. It's like, no, no, no.

    You wanna get really micro specific about the flavor of discomfort and with boundary setting and people pleasing, a lot of times it's guilt or worry or fear, right? But I think when you're worried, I mean, it is a worry that someone's going to think something of you. But what I find in those instances, it's an unwillingness to feel misunderstood.

    Because you are perceiving that they're going to think something about you that's incorrect or wrong or untrue. Right.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right, right. But like with the cherry pie example, if you were like, Hey, can you not have this cherry pie? Like to actually be able to say that clearly, your mom might be like, what do you like, why would you ever ask for me to not have a cherry pie?

    Like, what about my other guests? Like what would she think of you for even suggesting such a thing.

    Olivia Vizachero: That was rude? 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That you're being rude and you're like, oh, but what if she never thought I was rude? It's kind of actually the reverse of her first opinion of you. Her first theory is also not the right theory. It's just like the reverse, like in the flip. 

    Olivia Vizachero: I was just talking to another person about this. I've reached this point in my life. I don't have the energy to like lie anymore and I find that there's just such an  ease that comes from being like completely honest and candid about something where it's like I could just be honest and be like, Hey, I'm having a really hard time sticking to this diet and it just like, it's so much deprivation for me to be around sweets right now.

    Like, and I, it'd mean a lot to me if you didn't serve it. Like it's a very vulnerable, honest conversation. I used to be someone who's chronically late. I have done a ton of work on time management and being someone who's punctual, and very recently I met a friend for dinner and I was 15 minutes late, which for me is outside the realm of what you should be and, or like the standard I have for myself now.

    I was very apologetic and I was also very honest. I thought about coming up with something. And I was like, this sounds exhausting. And the truth was, I was screwing around with an email to send in my email list, and I had all these links and the hyperlinks took a longer time. And then I ran over to that and then I was scrambling to get dressed and I didn't have enough clean outfits that I wanted to wear.

    So I changed, and I normally never do this. It was like the perfect storm. I changed a million times and I knew I was taking too long. And I just was like, I don't know, hyper focusing or I just got stuck doing these things. Obviously it's a choice I'm making, but I made a choice that I wasn't proud of when I met my friend at dinner.

    I was just really honest, so I was like, I got caught up with this email and then like I couldn't figure out what to wear and I'm just late and it just felt so simple and like loving and true. I think when you have a really sincere reason for a boundary request, like maybe just try communicating it.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, and I love what you said about the vulnerability because I think that it works on both sides. One is we have to be able to [00:38:00] honestly look at and be vulnerable with ourselves. Like, where have I been off-putting the responsibility to the other person to avoid the work that I need to be doing. And I think that sometimes we're so quick, especially women to go to shame, blame judgment.

    But if you could be vulnerable and honest without the shame, blame and judgment, like so much opens up kind of like what you're talking about, you could have bl like shamed and blamed yourself. Like, I can't believe that I was so late to this meeting and I did all the, like, I knew better. I should have known better.

    I saw myself being late. Like...

    Olivia Vizachero: I didn't have that. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Exactly. And this is why it's a secret to the universe because that's the optional part. Instead of just being honest and vulnerable being like, yeah, okay. Like this is what I did. Sorry, I'm late. Like here I am. Right. And like really being able to step into owning that.

    Olivia Vizachero: And I think it creates such a deeper connection with people because we know when someone's BSing us, right? Like we just know. And [to trust another person enough with the truth and to let them form an opinion about it and be willing to submit yourself to that. I think it's so authentic and it creates this level of intimacy that's really rare and kind of beautiful.

    And my friend was just like, it's totally not a problem. I was just, I got to be on my phone for a little bit. I was like, it's how I would feel if it were me on the receiving end of it as well, which I think is really important. I'm glad that, you know, through a happenstance the way we kind of got there. If you struggle to set boundaries, it is almost guaranteed that you struggle to accept other people's.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: A hundred percent. So true. 

    Olivia Vizachero: So that's part of your work too. If you wanna get better at setting boundaries, you have to get better at accepting other people's boundaries. I call these mirror judgements, where if you are so critical of yourself when you make mistakes, You are critical of other people when they make mistakes and you assume people think the same thoughts you think about them, about you, right?

    Same thing with boundaries. Same thing with saying no. Same thing with any quote unquote flaw. You have to, if you want to get in a better place with you doing something, you have to be more tolerant of other people doing it. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And that's hard work. I think that this is why coaching, it's like, you know, we're saying a lot of things, right?

    And I think a lot of people that are listening, they're like, oh yeah, that sounds true. And I, I can see that that's true and to actually implement this, what we're talking about in real life. I think it really takes coaching for both of us to be able to implement some of this, like one thing like a, like a mind exercise and the other one to put it into real life practice.

    Olivia Vizachero: The thing that I learned, I struggled with time management horrifically when I practiced law. And people kept just saying to me, they're like, we just have to do better. You just have to do better. You just have to do better. And I was like, but how? Like I don't get it. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Like I know I have to do better. I know I have to do better, but like clearly that's that knowing that is not enough.

    Olivia Vizachero: Correct. And just like my exasperation with that of like, well, how do you actually do better? And being able to see all the choices you're making and to get out of your story. And I explain to people that time management is so complex. It's not just like putting stuff on your calendar, it's learning how to set boundaries, learning how to say no, learning how to take uncomfortable action when you don't feel like it.

    Learning how to do the math properly, learning how to not people please, learning how to care less about what other people think of you. Being confident and establishing self-trust that you're gonna stick to your word. That's also true with weight loss, right? It's this masterclass and like letting other people judge you, letting other people be disappointed.

    Making a request and feeling awkward or exposed or judged or misunderstood or guilty or worried because you ask your husband like, can you please not order the fries cuz I'm gonna want some. Or can we go here instead of here? Because they don't have great options here. Like it's a masterclass in thought and emotional management, right?

    It's not simple, it's very complex. So it takes time and like you just, I always tell people you're struggling cuz you've never learned this skillset. That's it. Nothing wrong with you, you just haven't learned a skill set yet, and you're gonna learn it through coaching. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, and I think just kind of pivoting back also to the boundary piece of it, there's one other thing that you had said that I think is super important, which is go, I think the cherry pie example is so good.

    I just love it. So we're gonna come back to that for a second. You left the cherry pie, left the house. So your boundary was like, you know, in your mind, you first, number one, didn't communicate it, but the second one was cherry pies is there, I'm going to leave, but the piece of it that I think is important is that you were pissed for a week.

    With boundary setting, and I'd love to get your thoughts on this, but with boundary setting, when somebody does something and then you take an action, I'm going to leave or I'm not going to eat it, or whatever your response is going to be. It's not done with anger or pissed. You're not pissed off. You're totally neutral in that second half.

    So can you, what? What are your thoughts on that? 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, so. I don't feel like this was a clean boundary, like me storming out and leaving. I'll give you a different example with my mom. That is a clean boundary. My mom used to make comments about my makeup all the time, and I am really meticulous about my makeup for those who are listening but can't see my face right now, like I have a full face of makeup on.

    My eyebrows are meticulous. I wear eyelashes like perfect winged eyeliner. I'm very thoughtful about this process, right? I watch all the TikTok videos on how to do it perfectly, like I take time and she used to make comments about my makeup and not her comments, but my thoughts about her comments would send me straight to the moon every time she said it. 

    And she was doing it, like my first natural instinct is like she's doing it cuz she's being rude. Once I get past that initial theory, she's doing it cuz she thought it looked bad and she cares about me. So she wanted to help me and I learned how to speak up for myself and I was like, oh, it's wholly unhelpful because normally she makes a comment when we're out.

    So I don't have makeup with me, so I can't really fix it. So now I just have to feel self-conscious about my appearance and I'm obsessive enough to like if it passed my litmus test of being able to leave the house in the morning, it's good enough. And I know she was doing it out of actual genuine concern and care for me.

    I just hated it, and I finally got to a point where I communicated a boundary, and it is a pretty draconian boundary. I said, if you ever make a negative comment about my makeup, I'll leave immediately. And it's pretty drastic. And she never comments on my makeup anymore. And I had to follow through on it a couple times.

    Like she'd be like, your eyebrows are way too dark. I was like, love you, bye. And I just leave her house. Like, I'm not gonna stick around. I'm not gonna fight with you either. Cuz I used to fight and get very upset and we'd argue and I'd scream and like very emotional childhood, which I don't wanna be operating from.

    But I really think that you obviously can't control what people say. Right? But if you leave and you follow through with that, often enough, I believe, like people don't like to waste their own time. And if people wanna spend time with you and you follow through on it, they'll get the picture. So for me, like I made that boundary, not from an angry place, I made it from a really calm place.

    I thought about it and I was like, she keeps doing this, what do I want to do? And really when it's someone who's saying something, one of the only things you can do is either stop talking or leave. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: How did you come up with that boundary though? Like, how do you decide I'm gonna, that's my boundaries I'm going to, yeah... 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah. Because not responding to her in that moment, like, doesn't actually solve the issue. Like another example would be my ex-boyfriend loved to talk to me about politics and we're on completely opposite sides of the aisle. And it always led to an argument. And for the longest time I was like, state of outrage, state of righteousness, you know, so upset, saying, you can't talk about this.

    Don't bring this up. I don't want to talk about this. Like you shouldn't be talking about this. It always leads to an argument and he would just keep talking about it and then we'd fight. Not even about politics. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: He fights about it too. Yeah, cause...

    Olivia Vizachero: Now we are fighting about the conversation. Yes. So it's like we're either fighting about politics or we're fighting about the fact that we're talking about politics, which either way we're arguing and I finally decided he can talk about politics as much as he wants, and I'm never gonna respond.

    And if what you want is to have a conversation with me, you have to change the subject. So that worked in you are, I'm always thinking about what's the result you wanna create with a boundary, right? So if what I don't wanna do is, I don't wanna talk about politics. I can just not talk about politics. Like with the makeup comments, they're just one-off comments.

    So it's not like I'm trying to avoid the conversation. I'm trying to avoid the comments altogether. So I came up with the idea of like, it's a draconian solution. It's pretty dramatic to lead, but it works. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. And you know what I just wanna also add, I feel like, I think it's also important when you are deciding whether or not you want to set a boundary with someone.

    The goal is not to manipulate the other person to do what you want them to do. That's not the point. The point of a boundary is to create a sense of safety for you. A sense of calm and peace for you. Right. So the goal, I think that that's important because sometimes I can imagine people just start setting boundaries left and right, but the goal is not to change the other person or to manipulate them to be different.

    It's just to tell them what's important to you and if they want to engage with you, and if that's important to them, then here's how. Here's how to do that. And I just kinda wanna, cuz like this is gonna get, we need to keep having more conversations on the podcast together. But I'm just curious, as we wrap things up, like that moment where you say, okay, I'm gonna be walking out to your mom or to your ex-boyfriend, I'm not gonna respond.

    What is the emotional state that you are going to be in when you take that action? Do you, have you thought about that before? Like what you want to... 

    Olivia Vizachero: For sure.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: ...choose on purpose. 

    Olivia Vizachero: I wanna be grounded. I wanna feel in control. I'd love to say I wanna be calm, but I don't know that I actually get to calm. I think grounded is calm, has this like lack of care to me a little bit.

    Were like grounded as an intentional calm, but I do care about the situation. That's why I'm leaving. So grounded feels really accurate to me and then in control of myself, of my emotions and of this situation. I'm not trying to control her, but I am controlling what is within my control, which is me and my behavior.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, and I just kind of like to add to that for me, cuz boundary setting is kind of new for me, to be honest. Like it's something that I'm still working on. I'm still thinking about where and how I want to set boundaries. But the one thought that has really helped me decide that this is an appropriate boundary is I love myself too much. 

    It's about me, right? So I'm not setting the boundary because of them. It's like, oh, but I love myself too much to not set this boundary. And I think that that has allowed me to almost feel love. So even if I'm having to leave or to walk out of a room or to not talk, it's like, oh, because I love myself and I can feel love because I'm loving myself right in that moment.

    And I think it feels so different than being pissed afterwards or annoyed or righteous. So we get to leave with, What do you think? 

    Olivia Vizachero: I totally agree with you. Setting boundaries is loving. It's loving to yourself. It's also loving to the other person, which I think is a little bit of a stretch for people to wrap their brains around, but otherwise, you're just resenting them.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And you're not being your authentic self. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Correct. So if what you really want is a meaningful relationship with people, and you know, I know it's the time of the year when we're recording this, like new year, everyone picks their word of the year or you know, their goals or whatever. And one of my huge goals last year, it wasn't my word of the year, my word was free.

    My word of the year this year is also free. It's just gonna be a cornerstone thing for me, probably for the rest of my life. But I normally have like a sub word now that I keep picking the same word every year. And one of my main goals in 2022 was to let myself be known and seen by the people in my life.

    And rather than putting on an act, putting on a show, wearing a hat, being some version of me, like just to really show people the authentic me and like my mom thinks it's ridiculous when I leave her house, when she makes a comment about my eyebrows. You're allowed to think that. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. Yeah. 

    Olivia Vizachero: By all means, right?

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. Even what you were just saying about like loving to you, but also loving to them. Like it can be a stretch, but also like with practice, with kind of implementing this day after day, week after week into who you are. I think it just creates more authentic relationships and more honesty, which is loving for the relationship.

    Right. Which is so good. Okay. I mean, we could keep on going on and on on this topic. 

    Olivia Vizachero: And we'll do part two. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Probably we do, I always say that it's like whenever I have a podcast conversation with one of my friends, I'm like, we're gonna need to part 2, 3, 4, because this is a big topic. I think it probably does deserve more time and like, you know, we, we should talk again, but for everybody listening, tell us more about how they can find you.

    You have a podcast, you have a group. Like, tell us how we can find you. 

    Olivia Vizachero: Yeah, absolutely. So I am on two main platforms. I'm on LinkedIn at my name Olivia Vizachero, and I'm on Instagram. My handle is @TheLessStressLawyer. That's also my website, thelessstresslawyer.com. I work with people one-on-one, and I also run an incredible mastermind called The Less Stress Lawyer Mastermind.

    You can find that on my website and learn all the amazing details there. And then I have a podcast called the Less Stress Lawyer podcast. I also do a free monthly webinar every month on a different topic. So one month I'll cover boundaries like we talked about today. I'll do a masterclass on that, or time management or all that stuff.

    If you go to my Instagram, you can sign up to learn and stay up to speed every time I do a new one. So you get all those goodies for free. 

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So good. Olivia, thank you so much for coming on having this conversation. We're gonna do it again guys. 

    Olivia Vizachero: My pleasure. It was so good talking to you.

    Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So good. Bye. If you want to take this work deeper and into real life implementation, you have to learn all about the Unstoppable Group. This is my six month intimate small group coaching experience for high achieving working moms who want to live lighter and lose weight at the same time. I take my clients through a science-backed simple strategy that seriously blows their minds. You can learn all about exactly how to work with me and when my next group is starting over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/group.

    And seriously, if you are enjoying the podcast, you have to be on my email list. I share some of my absolute best tips, strategies, and skills to only my email list, so make sure you're on there. I really think of it almost as a little love letter and a magic into your email inbox because it is some of my best stuff.

    You can join my email list over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/magic. I'll see you next week. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more resources or information from the show, head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com.


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