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Dec 20, 2022 | Podcast, Your Business

The Anatomy of Goal Setting for the Prosperous Empath

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About the episode:

Hello, hello, and welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am looking forward today to sharing with you about goal setting, and before you disconnect and let your eyes glaze over, I want you to know that I have a very unique relationship to project planning and goal setting. I’ve come to realize that it’s something that I do a bit different from other folks, and I’m also highly practiced in fulfilling on the goals that I set, and staying in relationship with the goals that I set and being empowered by the goals that I set –  which are all very unique statements to make, and statements that I often find many struggle with. So we’re going to talk about the anatomy of goal setting, why they’re important, how they are really the heart and soul of what coaching is all about, and I’m going to share with you a structure that has supported me in setting my goals over the years.


Topics discussed:

  • What Catherine believes the real reason of goal setting is and how she helps her clients set goals that are more realistic and paralleled with their desires 
  • Why you should start with thinking of the experience you want to create in your life when it comes to creating goals 
  • How creating goals from a holistic mindset will create holistic success in all broader areas of life – career, relationship, well being, and self-expression
  • Creating a time frame that will work for you and your goals and make them easier to accomplish 
  • Why setting intention and knowing your future vision is one of the most important steps of the goal making progress 
  • The importance of tracking your goals and creating a measure that you’ll actually enjoy tracking your progress of 
  • What a livable structure is in relation to your goals and how to create them to support you in your goal setting 
  • Catherine’s word of the year and the project that she created with it 




Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood 00:01
Hello, hello, and welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am looking forward today to sharing with you about goal setting. And before you disconnect and let your eyes glaze over, I want you to know that I have a very unique relationship to project planning and goal setting. And I’ve come to realize that it’s something that I do a bit different than other folks. And I’m also highly practiced in fulfilling on the goals that I set, and staying in relationship with the goals that I set and being empowered by the goals that I set, which are all very unique statements to make, and statements that I often find many struggle with. So before we jump in, I want you to know what you’re going to expect from today’s podcast. So we’re going to talk about the anatomy of goal setting. We’re going to talk about why they’re important. We’re going to talk about how they are really the heart and soul of what coaching is all about. And I’m going to share with you a structure that has supported me in setting my goals over the years. Now, this is the second, the second podcast in this series about how I personally intentionally complete the end of each year, and set myself up for the next year in business. So at this point of the year, I am looking at how I want to intentionally focus on the holidays, and complete the business year, which I shared about in last week’s episode. And I’m also thinking about the learnings from this last year in business and the goals that I want to set for this next year. Now, spoiler alert, I have not yet completed my goals for 2023. So I won’t be sharing them on the podcast, but I may in future episodes. But I will share about one of the projects that I set for myself this year, just to provide some context. This is something that is really foundational to all the work that I do with my clients. And I’m going to share an example. My own example, right, because my clients work is all confidential. Okay, so without further ado, why the heck do we set goals? So I think that many of us think that we set a goal because we want to reach, achieve and have the outcome. Now, I know that sounds like really basic, right? And you if you think that I want to accuse you of being short sighted. In my experience, we don’t set goals for the things that we want to have for the money we want to earn. For the things that we want to do. We set goals for the experience we want to create from reaching that goal. So what do I mean by that? So most business owners come to me and we talk about goal setting. And they start by sharing, oh, I want to, you know, I want to net 500,000 and my business is here. Or I want to reclaim 10 hours of time, from the day to day operations of my business. So I have more space and mental clarity to focus on the business rather than being in it. And I hear them right. And those sound like very reasonable goals earning more income, saving more time. Those are you know, very standard. We all want more money and time for some purpose. But we don’t want more money and time for money in times sake. We want more money and more time for the distinct experiences of our life, in our relationships and our business that are available from having that additional resources and that additional time. So when I start looking at goal setting with clients, I start for myself always and with clients on really helping them get altitude, getting clarity, getting discernment around what are the new, distinct experience senses have their business, their relationships, their life that they are committed to bringing to life in the new year. And I find that when we can create that reframe, first of all, it creates all a much more exciting, a much more embodied, much more possibility based perspective to project planning. So, your projects, your goals, they are, they’re foundational to coaching, right? Like this is essentially why you hire a coach, to help you bring your projects to fulfillment, to help you bring your goals to life. And at the core of it, your your projects are a reflection of what you’re up to in the world, they are a reflection of who you are, they’re a reflection of who you’re committed to becoming. And I think that that’s just such a more empowering question to start with, when you think about your projects, who are you committed to becoming in the area of fill in the blank, your business, your marriage, your relationship with yourself, your self expression, your leadership, who are you committed to becoming in these areas, and when you can create some distance, some separation from the nuts and the bolts of business and gain some altitude, I assure you, you’ll gain a lot more excitement about goal setting, you’ll become a lot more enrolled in the process, and you’ll see a lot more possibility. And here’s what I mean by possibility. When we believe something is possible, we will be and do what it takes to achieve that goal to have that outcome. And when we start our goal setting by focusing on what we want, it’s often an egoic based metric, it’s fear driven. A going centered, it’s not an embodied expression of our goals, and what we yearn for. But when you can, when you can connect with the experience of what having that object would create, or would make accessible in your life, you gain more access to possibility you you start to gain more self enrollment in your belief in you having it. And it’s really that it’s really that mindset shift when we start to believe that what we want is possible for ourselves, that we that we create breakthroughs, that we see opportunities for doing things differently, that we see opportunities to get supported, that we see, we see we see possibilities outside of the mind’s eye, we see things more clearly, and with a bit more perspective. So that’s why we start with the experience you want to create in your life. And, you know, this is often a place that I really like to start with my prospecting because I know that if someone’s not interested in that conversation, if they are just set on the money goal, or the time metric, or the you know, the materialistic side of things, well, for me that that’s those typically aren’t my people, you know, like empaths like to have much deeper conversations. And those are certainly the people that I want to help achieve more income and reclaim more time and scale their business more fully, because those are typically the more conscious creators, and those are my people. So it’s often it’s also just a really great way for me to self assess who my ideal clients are, and bless and release those who are not. Okay, so that’s the first step is to envision the experience that you want to have in the area of each of your goals. And I want to speak to that for a second. Because, you know, sometimes we don’t know where to look when we think about goal setting or we might be myopically focused in business. And the reality of things is that how we show up in one area of our life who we be in one area of our life affects how we show up And who we’d be in every other area of life. So if I am working with an entrepreneur, and we’re simply looking at their business, then I’m, I’m doing them an injustice, because how they’re showing up in their marriage, how they are taking care of their well being, how they are finding fulfillment and satisfaction outside of their business could be impacting, either directly or indirectly how they’re showing up in their business. And they might not see those opportunities to, to mutually support one another. So when I work on goal setting with clients, I’m a stand for my clients creating holistic success, because when we create holistic success, that success in one area of our life, creates a domino effect and impacts who we are in all other areas. So I, I noticed that there’s typically four broad areas of life, where all my clients have opportunities to upgrade, or and potentially even to overhaul. So here are those four areas. So the first area is clearly career or vocation, whether you’re an entrepreneur, or a nine to FiVER, or you have a side hustle, there is, you know, there’s always a next level that we are creating and bringing to life in our career. So we start there. And then the second area is relationships. And I think relationship is so fundamental to our fulfillment in life, whether it’s our relationships with ourselves, our spouses, or children, our family, our friends, our community. You know, we have a relationship to everyone, and everything in our life. And we get to choose who we want to be in those relationships, I would assert, regardless of how the other individuals and organizations choose to be in relationship with us, and when we bring more intentionality to, to who we want to be in those relationships. It’s just such an opportunity for joy, for contentment, and for fulfillment. So I always like to see, you know, what’s the relationship that you would like to deepen over the next year or create in your life. And if you think that you can’t create a relationship project around manifesting love, or we’re calling in your life partner, I am here to tell you that this was one of my personal first successes in coaching. And it was pretty uncomfortable at the time, I created a project in my first year of coaching back in 2014, of, of manifesting love. And you know, I mean, I got married earlier this year, and it’s that same person from year one. And, you know, our journey has been a long and winding one. And coaching isn’t necessarily about how about the timeframe as it is about calling in the experiences that we want, and the relationships that we are committed to, and then surrendering the timeline, because in reality, we can’t necessarily always be attached to the timeline of things. And so it works. I guess that’s the base, the bottom bottom line, it works. Okay, so, so far, we’ve talked about career, we’ve talked about relationships. The third area is wellbeing. Now, this is more of a, an inward project. So you know, there’s so many different levels of well being there’s emotional well being spiritual well being financial well being mental well being physical well being my emotional well being I’m not sure if I said that one. There are so many different dimensions of well being. And there’s always a new expression of our well being to deepen, to nurture to commit to, and that’s just this is just an area of project area that I’m a huge champion for with exploring with clients because there’s just countless opportunities in deepening and growing our well being when you work with ambitious empaths and then the fourth project area that I look at self expression and some self expression looks different for different folks. But what I notice working with highly driven entrepreneurs and leaders, is that our own self expression is oftentimes the first area of life to be dropped to be let go of, to be not committed to, in the pursuit of our goals, and being driven by our ambitions. I like to say that we’re living in an achievement epidemic, where we are just constantly driven by our external pursuits, our goals, the next title, or award to be added to the resume. And we can really disconnect from who we are, from what matters most to us from what we love most in life. And when we can look at our own self expression, and really create that balance of focus, and energy and time around our commitments, and how we allocate our most prized resource, which is our time and energy, we can really create that experience of holistic success. I’ve worked with, with leaders and entrepreneurs, who, when we talk about this, they, they tell me stories about how how music, and their instruments were their life’s passion, and they haven’t sung in a decade, or they used to be just more passionate about their piano playing than anything else in life. And they haven’t, you know, touch the keys and years. And it brings up so much sadness for me, because I know if you think about it, we don’t, we don’t just work to work, we work to be able to have the experiences of our relationships and our time, and our and our money that we want. And it’s often the first thing to go. So by really committing to a self expression project, and again, whether it’s a personal hobby, or a creative project, whether you’re writing a book, whether you’re a blogger, whether you’re an artist, or a musician, having that self expression project is such a nourishing project, it’s such a nourishing part of our work together. And then if it’s not a self expression project that you are needing to balance out in life, it could be a leadership project, or a service project, whether you’re committed to deepening your leadership skills, practicing your public speaking skills joining a Toastmasters group, or, you know, I am a former Peace Corps volunteer community service has been such a huge part of my upbringing and my value system. And for for some time, it’s been a part of life that has gone by the wayside. So, you know, a community service project is something that I, I imagine I’ll be prioritizing in the next year, because it’s something that I have found to be really missing for me, and has been a deep source of joy and fulfillment for me in the past. So what is that aspect of your self expression that needs to be cultivated or nourished in this next year? Okay, so those are the four project areas. So we’ve talked about career, relationship, self expression, and well being, okay. So the first step is really envisioning the distinct experience that you want to have for yourself in each of those areas. And then from there, you need a way to measure it, right? You need a what by when what you want to achieve by when. So this is where you get to allow your, your more masculine energy to be expressed. Your more kind of objective thinking and smart measures to come in and declare, you know, what do you want to have in place, and by when in the next year, and I think that there’s a sweet spot with the timeframe. You don’t want to declare a project that’s in the one to three month timeframe, because that’s not a lot of time to create breakthroughs, to have a transformation to find new ways of being are new new ways of doing in relationship to that project. So I find that really the sweet spot is that six to 12 month timeframe. It allows enough time to declare outside of your comfort zone to declare outside of the realm of what you know what’s familiar what’s known to you really like declare, in that realm of, of possibility. That’s predictably unlikely outside of your car. your comfort zone. But it’s also not too long, where you always have the opportunity to say, Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow, or oh, I don’t need to work on it today, I can always do it next week, right. So you want to create pressure on purpose, but also allow for enough possibility of resources and time and energy and perspective and support, to allow to allow new opportunities and possibilities to emerge for yourself. Okay, so so far, we’ve talked about starting with the experience you want to have, then getting clear on the measure of success, what you will have in place by when. And then the next piece is you need a future vision, you need a way to visualize your future created or realized or actualized. And I honestly think that this is probably the most important and the most, Miss misstepped miss. I think the future vision is the single most important and most likely to be forgotten step of any embodied goal setting process. And here’s why. If we don’t believe something is possible, we will sabotage our efforts towards having it. So when you declare goals for yourself, right, like you want to declare a goal that is outside of the realm of what you know, you want to declare something that is possible, rather than predictable, right, you need to get inside of that realm of discomfort. But it has to feel possible rather than impossible. So when we create a future vision for our goal, realized, we, we can start to connect with to embody to deepen our relationship with our experience of having that goal fulfilled. So there are many ways to create a future vision for yourself. I mean, technology has made this like so great for ourselves. And if you’re like me, you might actually just want to go back to basics to get your magazines to go to the store, and to pick the magazines that really speak to you that inspire you and create a vision board. We’ll talk about vision boarding and how I vision board in a future podcast episode when I share more about my word of the year, but I create a new vision board for myself every year. And it’s really like just a structure that really works for me because I can constantly see my vision board and connect with it. And it just you know, it’s it’s an embodied future vision of what I want, and what I’m building towards what the experience that I’m building to cultivate and have in my life. So a future vision could be one structure to create your future vision, you could journal a future vision for yourself, you could imagine yourself a year from now, having fulfilled in my envision having fulfilled in my vision, what is life like for me from this place, and you could create just a detailed journal entry, speaking to all of the senses of what life is like for you from this distinct place, having fulfilled on your vision, journal a day in the life of and really just get as detail oriented, and connected with your future vision fulfilled as you possibly can. That could be another expression of your future vision, you could create a mind map, you could create a future vision or a vision board on Pinterest, or Canva. There’s so many cool ways to do it. But you need some structure that really connects you with your future possibility that that allows you to connect more deeply with the experience of what you’re looking to cultivate in that project area. Okay, so so far we’ve talked about getting clear on the future experience getting Let’s review so far we’ve talked about starting with the experience that you’re looking to cultivate and each of your project areas around career vocation, your business, relationships, self expression, and well being. Molly Lie down, lie down, Cohen. Girl let’s review. So far we’ve talked about starting with the new experiences of life that you’re looking to cultivate, and each of your project areas, being your career vocation over your business, your relationships, your well being and your self expression. From there, creating a measure of success of very clear declaration of what you’re going to have in place. And by when. From there, creating have an expression of your future vision. Okay, so the last tip. So the next step is, you need an opportunity to create ways to track your progress. One of my favorite sayings is that what you track you manage. And if you don’t track your progress, if you don’t manage your goals, you will be managed by them. So I really want to encourage you to stand for you to create a measure that is something you want to that you will enjoy tracking your progress of. So I have several clients over the years who have not been motivated by money, which is totally fine, I can absolutely understand not being motivated by money. And particularly if you haven’t met your financial goals for a couple of years. Consistently, creating a measure to track that is financially based might be an inherently disempowering and bad idea. So choose a measure that you will enjoy tracking your progress of over time I, over the years have tracked, let’s say, I’ve tracked money, I’ve tracked time, I’ve tracked experiences, I’ve tracked dates, I’ve tracked hours, I’ve tracked occasions. But whatever it is, choose a measure that you will actually enjoy, enjoy practicing, excuse me, choose a measure that you will enjoy tracking your progress of this is now this is an opportunity that will allow you to generate feedback for yourself to generate consistent feedback over time about how you’re doing. And this is a this is how we can set milestones for yourself. You can declare monthly milestones, quarterly milestones, bi weekly milestones, it’s just a way to objectively track your progress and self assess where you are versus where you said you’ll be, and then recreate and redesign as needed along the way. And then the final, the final. The final step of this embodied goal setting practice is really to find structures to find living structures. And I want to reiterate, I want to iterate and reiterate here that a living structure is a structure that you can live with a structure that is integrated into the fabric of your life, your lifestyle, your schedule, and how you operate. So y’all know I’m an econ girl. And you may know that I love spreadsheets. I am a Google spreadsheets for attic. And being using a spreadsheet to as a structure is something that totally works for me. It’s something that I offer as a potential structure for clients, and they can take it or not. But I love tracking my progress in spreadsheets, and I’ve been doing it for years. And spreadsheets may not be your jam, I have a client, I have multiple clients who hate spreadsheets. And they much prefer project management systems like Asana or Monday or clickup. Or I have another client who is a visual learner and she’s created all of her projects in, I think it’s called Miro. So whatever the the app, or the software or the technology or, you know, could even be easily pen and paper, whatever the structure is for you, that allows your projects to be integrated into the fabric of your life and your lifestyle, then that is the structure to create. Similarly, you, in addition to having internal structures that you use with you, you may want opportunities to create external structures to support your progress over time. So whether that’s a coach, a mastermind, a group coaching program, a peer group, an accountability buddy, colleagues, who you get on the call with every week to check in, towards your progress of your goals and, and CO work on calls, like, whatever those structures are, I really encourage you to throw out the rulebook and to redesign them in a way that is supportive and aligned with you, and structures that you can live with. I remember, several years ago, I had consistently Gosh, this must have been like five years ago, I I hadn’t been reaching my financial metrics for a while. And I think I was tracking money at the time as my measure. And my, my coach accused me of being disempowered by my projects, and disempowered by my spreadsheet. And she challenged me to throw this spreadsheet out the window, and create my projects on post it notes with simple future experiences that I was cultivating for myself, and metrics of success that could allow my projects to be to be present for me, but also to be really simple. And that, that practice and being willing to throw out what wasn’t working and create something totally different and more simple is what I needed at the time to get re inspired by my projects and what I was up to, to reconnect with what was possible. And to create an entirely distinct and empowered relationship with projects. So I said I would share with you one of my projects from this year and what it looked like. And I want to I want to offer that quickly before we jump off for today. So one of my end of year practices is to create a word of the year and I’ll be sharing about this in a couple episodes what my word of the year was for this past year and how it went and what the new word is for 2023. But I typically create a project around that word. So for this year, prosperity was my word of the year for 2022. And very apt, I must say, but the experience that I really wanted to create around prosperity for me was to be fully supported. So I named my project prosperity is my birthright. And I created my objective my, the experience I wanted to have as being fully supported to grow exponentially. And then from there, I created a vision board for what look looking like being supported exponentially and allowing prosperity to be my birthright would create in my life. And I let’s see, I created a vision board. I drafted a future vision in my journal. And then from there I chose a metric around income. And let’s see, and then I created monthly milestones for myself around different metrics that I would have in place. A lot of these actually revolved around support structures. I knew this year going into it, that I was really committed to up leveling the support structures, I had to support me in my business. And on my team, and looking back, it’s pretty, it’s pretty wild what I created. I will say, I did not meet my income goal this year. But I, I created a lot of what I declared, I brought on a team of six coaches. In my project, I had set milestones to have five coaches on my team. I set a milestone for launching a podcast, which, tada, we’re here. I even set milestones for myself of support structures to kind of support the business. So I, I wanted a podcast manager, a Podcast Producer, and I wanted to deepen my VA support. And I fulfilled on all of that this year. And so let’s see. So those were some of the the feedback that I created some of the opportunities to assess my progress and track it. And then in terms of structures, I also upgraded my external support structures to support me so you all y’all know I have a coach and I work with a coach and I’ve worked with my current coach for the past five years. She’s amazing. But in addition to her, I also joined a group coaching program this year, designed on the art of masterminds and building a mastermind, because I thought it would be really useful to gain some perspective on what makes a mastermind successful versus what doesn’t. And I just I just loved it. So I hope this was helpful. And I hope that you give yourself some time and space and conscious planning to design your goals and projects for the next year. See you next week.


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