Do you torture yourself on the way to a goal, holding out hope that you will feel different when you “get there?”

Do you think of goals as shiny gold coins that you collect in order to feel better about yourself?

Do you tend to undermine or discount your accomplishments?

Earlier this year, I hosted Clutch College Live, a three day coaching intensive for members of the Clutch community, and some of our most powerful takeaways focused on the questions above.

Today, I’m going to walk through each of the above questions and share some mind-blowing wisdom from the event:

1. In order to accomplish your goals, you have to learn to love the journey.

This isn’t some “positive thinking/you have to feel happy all the time” BS. 

In fact, it came to me when I felt out of breath while carrying a heavy box to my apartment.

My brain said, “Oh, I hate feeling out of breath. I have to start doing cardio so I won’t feel this way anymore.”

But let’s think about this:

If I want to increase my cardio endurance, what has to happen?

I have to make myself feel out of breath A LOT.

Even people who are super fit get out of breath when they do cardio. The entire point of cardio is to push yourself until you’re out of breath.

So telling myself “I hate this feeling so I should do more of it in order to never feel it again” is not going to incentivize me doing more cardio.

If I actually want to increase my cardio endurance, I have to learn to love feeling out of breath. I have to become a person who finds it amazing, who believes feeling out of breath means things are going right.

I have to do the exact opposite of what my brain wants to do.

This is true for any goal – you have to learn to love the process of getting to your “destination.”

Let’s say you currently feel insecure and rejected every time you post online for your business, and you want to do a 100 day social media challenge so you can feel confident about showing up more. If you keep your story that feeling rejected and insecure is bad, you are going to give up at the first sign of failure, because the entire journey will involve rejection and insecurity.

Instead, you have to normalize – and maybe even fall in love with – feeling insecure and rejected when you post.

Sounds crazy, right?

But it’s just like learning to love feeling out of breath.

Loving the journey, accepting the discomfort as a part of the POINT of goal-setting, is how you get to your destination.

Which ties in perfectly to takeaway number two:

2. The point of a goal isn’t to make you feel better by accomplishing as much as you can. A goal simply exists to make you feel like shit so you can learn about yourself.

Most of us set goals as a way to feel good about ourselves.

We think “I’m going to get so much validation and feel so confident when I achieve this thing!”

But the opposite is true.

It feels TERRIBLE to go after something new.

Going after a goal will bring up all your negative emotions and discomfort.

And this is a great thing – because it means you can learn about yourself, and you can get better at moving forward even when you are feeling negative emotion.

This is why most people quit going after their dreams when they hit their first roadblock.

They set the goal because they want to feel good about themselves, and then they start the process and feel terrible, and assume that they’re doing it wrong. That it’s not working.

The only way to accomplish your goal is to go in with full willingness to feel terrible about yourself. THAT’S when you set yourself up for success.

Going after a goal will always bring up negative emotions. You can either react like those negative emotions are a problem – that they mean something has gone wrong, you’ve set the wrong goal, you’re doing it wrong, you should give up – or you can decide ahead of time that you are someone who loves to feel uncomfortable when you go for a big goal. Someone who wants to bring up all your fears of rejection, failure, imposter syndrome, fear.

This will help you keep going (which is the only real difference between a person who succeeds and a person who fails) and it will also make it easier to make decisions. If you know that the whole point of any goal or decision is just for you to get to experience a bunch of stuff and learn, then you don’t have to deliberate so much over choosing the “right” goal and the “right” decision. ANY goal is “right,” because the destination is not the point. The point is who you’re going to become and what you’re going to learn along the way.

3. If you beat yourself up for not knowing thought work tools sooner, if you spin out on thinking of how different your life would be now had you known all this before, I want to offer you this perspective shift:

Take a look at everything you have accomplished in your life up to this point. Look at your relationships, your friendships, everything you have created in your life. If you could do all that when you didn’t know how to manage your mind, imagine what you can do now that you DO know how to manage your mind?

This invites you to take credit for and ownership of everything you have accomplished in the past, rather than rebuke yourself for everything you HAVEN’T created. Just look at everything you’ve done – the relationships you’ve built, the money you’ve made, the life you’ve created – without the coaching skillset you have now.

If you’ve created all that without coaching, there’s no limit to what you can create with it!

This mindset shift is exactly how I took my business from $26,000 in my first year of full time coaching to $200,000 in my second year.

My first year as a coach, I showed up a little bit. I posted on social media, sent an email to everyone I knew, put myself out there some but didn’t go all in – and I fell short of my financial goal.

How many of you would jump to self-recrimination in this situation?

How many of you would beat yourself up for half-assing it, and use this as evidence for why you’ll never reach six-figures?

I know this reaction well, because I’ve been there.

But what if, instead of criticizing yourself, you acknowledged that maybe you haven’t been going all-in on your goal, and used that to lift yourself up instead?

For me, this looked like thinking “Wow, look at everything I created without going all in and without really managing my mind about this. I wonder what would happen if I tried giving at least three quarters of my effort, even if not my all, and seeing what that does? I’m sure I can do even more amazing things when I start coaching myself about this.”

By doing that, I was able to create 10x the revenue of my first year. And I enjoyed the process a lot more, too.

Which leads me to my next takeaway:

4. The way to create even better results in your life is to present your current results to yourself in the most amazing way you can.

You don’t uplevel your results in life by criticizing what you have created.

This is important to realize, because most women are socialized to undermine and diminish our accomplishments. We are taught that it’s arrogant and unfeminine to celebrate and think well of ourselves.

But if you want to create new results in any aspect of your life, you have to learn to do the opposite.

Take my student Kori as an example (some of you know her as a former Clutch Coach!). A couple of years ago, she was busy beating herself up for making $12,000 in her business in a year. She presented her revenue to me as a “problem” and had a very robust story about why this amount wasn’t “enough.”

Even the way she presented her earnings to me diminished them: Rather than sharing the $12,000 figure and owning that, she had calculated her hourly rate and was upset at how low her hourly rate seemed to her.

She was, essentially, hating on the money she’d already made, and expecting that criticism to fuel her to create MORE money.

But that’s not how it works.

I invited her to do the exact opposite. Instead of diminishing her accomplishments, I worked with her to make them sound as impressive as possible. We imagined that every quarter she earned that year was a gumball. That’s 48,000 gumballs in one year alone. That is an insane amount of gumballs! Imagine that number of gumballs in your living room! Would they even fit?

It sounds silly, but celebrating our accomplishments and loving what we have already created is how we create more of it.

Loving the money she had already created was how Kori managed to 10x her income the following year.

This is true for ANYTHING you are working on – business, dating, cooking, training for the Olympics.

You don’t create more of anything in your life by thinking that you don’t have enough now. You only create more by believing you are already doing an amazing job and presenting your results in the most amazing way you can think of.

Which brings me to our final takeaway from Clutch College Live, and the one that underscores ANY goals you are working toward:

5. You always get to decide whether you are going to fight for your potential, or whether you are going to fight for your limitations.

When you are getting coached, when you are coaching yourself, when you are setting a seemingly outrageous money goal for your business, you always get to ask yourself:

Do I want to be on the side of my potential, on the side of arguing for my future self? Am I going to use my brain to gather all the evidence it can that I am becoming my future self, everyday? Am I going to use all that brainpower and creativity to create more belief about my potential and who I can become? Am I going to count every penny of my earnings and generate awe at the number of gumballs that these earnings represent?

Or am I on the side of my limitations? Am I going to use all that creative mental energy to justify why I am stuck and why I won’t ever evolve into my future self? Am I going to calculate my hourly rate and criticize myself for not making enough?

My friend and fellow life coach Corinne Crabtree recently said that one of the things she admires most about me is that she has never seen me fight for my limitations. She’s always seen me fight for the person I want to be, instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a self-critical brain just like anybody else. I get stuck. My brain is a mess. I falter.

But the secret to my success is that I always commit to fighting on behalf of my potential. I am always, always believing in the person that I can become and striving for that.

What would your life look like if you channeled your energy into fighting for who you want to become? If you were always on the side of your future self? If you were always on the side of believing that you can have a different life if you want one?

You can always choose to fight for your own possibility. Always.