Evolution isn't inevitable; it's a choice.
Isn’t it amazing what we’re capable of? We can create incredible goals — crazy goals — and make them happen.
And on the other hand, sometimes we can let a setback hold us back from fulfilling our potential.
This episode is about how we can evolve ourselves to make the crazy impossible goals happen.
It's time for an evolution! Free Mini Training on how to use the Thought Cycle to get what you want most
Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions or said any of these sentences to yourself:
“Why is change so hard?”
“Why is reaching my goal so hard?”
“I don’t know how.”
“I’m afraid of what ________ will think?”
“What if I fail?”
“What if I look like I don’t know what I’m doing?”
“I’m too old.” “I’m too young.”
“I don’t have enough experience.”
“Who am I to…?”
If you said no, you’re lying. You know that's the truth.
We can be talking about any goal: going to the gym more, eating better, stop dating jerks, drinking less wine, building a million dollar business, writing a book, you name it!
Many times it's not about how difficult a goal seems,
it’s about the fear of the unknown and the fear of “not doing it right.”
That gets into perfectionism (the bane of evolution), and we’ll be talking about that next week.
Really successful people know that each “failure” is what brings us closer to our goals. Each action that we take towards a goal is a step towards the evolution we must make within ourselves to reach that goal.
The key is to recognize that we must not be afraid of failing. Of feeling embarrassed or afraid.
Because it’s only a feeling.
And that feeling isn’t going to hurt us.
But if we stay stuck in a feeling that doesn’t serve us, then we will not do what’s necessary to make our goals happen.
I love reading stories of how people overcame a failure to become a success in their lives.
If you think that people just wake up having the ability to reach their goals, these examples will sober you up.
Before Bill Gates was a billionaire CEO of Microsoft, he was part owner of a business called Traf-O-Data that did okay – you ever hear of it? Me neither. It didn’t work out. But he and his partners ended up using the experience in creating that business in their future projects at Microsoft.
Oprah Winfrey talked about a failure of hers from 1998 when her film “Beloved” was going to usher her into Hollywood. She invested time, money and her image to that project. It was a total flop. And we’ve watched her go up in down in her weight in public as well. Now she is at a healthy weight and is part owner of Weight Watchers not to mention the 2.6 billion dollar empire she has. And even now she has her successes and disappointments in the public eye. (Talk about an evolution…she's my idol in terms of her willingness to fail and get back up again to come back better every time.)
Warren Buffett talked about his biggest failures in investing because no matter how well he’s done, he’s also lost billions of dollars over the years. One thing he mentions in one of his failures is that in one situation he became too emotional – in that case it was a vindictive move he made to buy a company that had wronged him. He lost 2 billion dollars on that deal over time.
One thing these three people have in common is that they took a step back and inventoried what they learned from their failure then put it to use moving forward.
When you start objectively looking at your thoughts and feelings and creating some distance from them, you can treat goal setting and achieving your result in a more clinical way. It’s like a simple math problem instead of calculus.
But we must take the time to step back. And we can’t be afraid of what we see. Oftentimes we don’t take that time to deconstruct what happened in a venture that didn’t work out because we’re afraid of what we’ll see. We’re afraid of the uncomfortable feelings that will come up.
But we have to be willing to be uncomfortable to make the biggest growth in our lives.
Our brain is designed to keep us comfortable, so discomfort shows up whenever we want to do something different than we’ve done before.
It shows up whenever we may face criticism or think that others will judge us for what we want.
After we think up a goal — especially a goal worth pursuing, something that will push us past our perceived limitations — our brain wants to shut down. It says “it’s too hard, it’s not possible, I don’t know how.”
That’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us comfortable and keep us from dying. That’s literally what our brain thinks when we want to do something new. It’s releasing chemicals into our body that says it’s time to flee or fight because she’s trying something new today!
Our ancient brain thinks that we’re being chased by a bear when really we’re just thinking differently. We’re thinking about something that’s going to require us to become someone new. We’re going to have to think new thoughts and do new things. Our ancient brain doesn’t like that. It wants to keep us comfy in our home watching Hulu and scrolling through Instagram. It wants the easy dopamine hits of food and Facebook because they feel oh so good.
Just notice this is what’s going on.
That’s why I’m a meditation pusher and a a morning person evangelist. Those are two things that I believe will get you to observe your thoughts quicker. You’re not stopping your mind, you’re just watching what your mind does. But you have to be quiet to do that. You can’t be scrolling your phone or checking your email while you’re doing this kind of work. You’ve got to just BE with yourself.
And that’s UNCOMFORTABLE.
Once you notice that your brain wants to say “I don’t know how” and “maybe later” and “why don’t we just watch NCIS Los Angeles a little longer” and keep you safe, then it’s time to ask yourself how you believe you will feel when you’ve reached that goal.
We used our prefrontal cortex to come up with our dream, and we’re going to use it to overcome the crap that our reptilian brain brings up.
Because you MUST – repeat must – feel that feeling BEFORE you hit the goal.
It’s like your brain needs a guidepost to get you moving in the right direction. We always think that we’ll get a feeling WHEN we get….but the key is to have the feeling now.
If you don’t, then the actions you take won’t align with the actions you need to take to reach your goal. They’ll be the same actions you’ve always taken because you’ll be feeling the same old feelings you’ve always felt.
This is where the old “fake it til you make it” comes into play.
I’m not suggesting you buy a yacht to feel rich, so you can have money.
What I’m suggesting is that you…
…look to people who already have what you want and see how they are in the world. Not just their actions, but how they seem to you.
What do you admire about them?
What do you value about how they are in the world?
Then when you objectively look at what feeling you want to generate – whether it’s to feel healthy, to feel fabulous when you fit in a dress, to feel the pride in showing yourself that you can run that marathon, to have the freedom to do what you want — whatever the feeling is — you’ll be able to imagine that feeling and generate it with intensity.
When you continue to do that, then you will train your brain to believe your goal is possible.
Because right now your brain is telling you it’s not possible.
A few more things I want you to recognize are going on in your brain.
1. I want to caution you against beating yourself up. If you haven’t reached your goal, if you’ve been trying and failing, and you’re not quite getting there, it’s okay. In fact, you’re supposed to fail to evolve.
Only have compassion for yourself. No beating up on yourself allowed. When you see something isn’t going the way you want and you binge eat, you binge watch Netflix, you skip the gym – — ask yourself, “What’s going on, sweetie?” I call myself sweetie, you can call yourself whatever you like as long as it’s kind and loving.
Talk to yourself like your best friend would talk to you. We tend to talk to ourselves in a mean way.
We think that if we’re hard on ourselves we’ll whip ourselves into shape.
That’s not how our brain responds though. Usually we’re hard on ourself then we fall back into old habits that don’t serve us. And it just doesn’t feel good in our bodies.
“So what’s going on, sweetie? What’s keeping you from being who you want to be?”
2. Ask questions that serve you. The questions I asked at the beginning of this podcast inferred some sort of blame on yourself: “It shouldn’t be hard, so why am I not able to do this?”
We’re going to flip these around and only ask questions that serve us. No blame here. Only analysis. When we start to objectively look at our thoughts and our feelings, we make much more progress than when we go into victim mentality.
Big goals require us to evolve into a new person. We have to be a new person and do new things in order to create something new.
We’ve done this throughout our lives, but we don’t always recognize how hard it was at the time. Yet we did it anyway.
3. A big key to making it easier on ourselves is to manage our minds. You see, if you’re like me, you probably muscled your way through law school, the Bar Exam, your first years as an attorney, and maybe throughout your life.
Muscling through it doesn’t feel good to me. And I don’t like the stress I put on my body. In fact, my body told me it didn’t like what I was doing either because I got a warning in the form of cancer.
Don’t do what I did. Do it easier.
I’ll help you with that by helping you recognize how to use your brain to understand how stress is triggered in your primitive brain and overcome chronic stress. You can have big goals and reduce the stress.
SO if you’re up for imagining a goal that seems impossible to you right now, let’s play today.
If you have a goal that you think would sound CRAZY to anyone you might say it to, I’m going to be your best friend.
Because I have “CRAZY” goals too. Ones that if I were to say them to anyone around me they may think were not what I was “supposed” to want.
One goal that I have right now is to completely replace my income as a lawyer with revenue from coaching clients in the next 2 years.
So what’s your outlandish goal? The one you may even be afraid to say out loud?
If you’re on Instagram, DM me @dina.cataldo to let me know what it is. I won’t judge you. I’m here for you 100%.
And if you’re interested in learning more about the Thought Cycle, which I touched on a bit here, you can sign up for my free mini training right here.
Remember, we must be willing to be uncomfortable to evolve. What's it worth to you to have an evolution?