The #WeGotGoals Podcast Anniversary Episode

March 07, 2018

This episode is presented by Chicago Sport and Social Club, reminding you that summer is just around the corner. Get into a summer volleyball league now and use code “GOALS” to get 5 percent off until March 15.

We've evolved into a team that's obsessed with goals - how people think of them, how they set them and then how they ferociously pursue them. When we set out to ask people about those things, we thought we'd given our #WeGotGoals podcast guests the perfect platform to talk about their life story.

What we actually found was that we'd created a master class in goal-setting with high achievers across the country and the team that produces the podcast each week learned a whole lot along the way.

As we cross into our second year with the #WeGotGoals podcast, all four hosts look back on the two big questions we ask all of our guests and we threw in one extra question.

And so, hosts Cindy Kuzma, Maggie Umberger, Kristen Geil and I all took a dose of our own medicine and put each other on the spot to say our big goals aloud.

In this episode, you'll hear us discuss three big questions:

  1. What's a big goal that you've accomplished over the past year?

  2. What's a big goal you're striving to accomplish in the future?

  3. What's one big takeaway from any of our guests on the #WeGotGoals podcast?

Which episodes did we really learn from?

The episodes that really changed our views on goals span the year and come from incredible people.

Kuzma recalled her interview with sports interviewer and reporter Taylor Rooks who was excited by the distance between herself and her big goals, rather than dismayed by it.

"Instead of thinking, oh gosh, I have all these things I want to accomplish, I'm so far from my goals. I don't know how I'll ever get there. This is really overwhelming and disillusioning," Kuzma recalled of her interview with Rooks. "She looks at that and thinks, wow, how exciting that I get to work toward that big goal."

Umberger brought up an early episode with Dawn Jackson Blatner and a quote that is often referenced at HQ.

"If you're enthusiastically doing the work, the opportunities will come," She quoted."If I'm doing the best I can and if I'm doing that authentically, there's nothing more than I can do than that."

Geil referenced a recent episode with Jessica Zweig who touched on the art of trusting your gut.

Geil astutely took away, "I feel like with goal setting, a lot of people are so driven by achievements and watching the numbers grow and hitting certain milestones that it can be really easy to ignore your gut or your intuition along the way in favor of going after what you think you should be doing.

For me, there were two major takeaways, one on the art of visualizing and dreaming big from Matt Matros - founder of Protein Bar and Founder/CEO of Limitless Coffee and Tea - and the art of dedication I learned from Jen Ator, Director of Fitness at Women's Health, who set out to accomplish something absolutely ridiculous at the IRONMAN World Championship at Kona.

Of Matros' interview, I remembered:

"Visualization, as we know and as science has shown us is a powerful tool to help you prepare yourself for coming up against an obstacle, a goal, a situation. Athletes use it. CEOs use it because it prepares your brain to actually encounter that thing. It prepares your brain to encounter success. It prepares your brain to encounter failure. So if you're thinking about success every single day, you're more prepared to succeed."

And when it came to Ator, I marveled at the joy she experienced during something so grueling as crossing the finish line at the IRONMAN world championship.

"She loved that experience, but it was also the hardest experience she'd ever been through and I think that if you talk to anyone who's accomplished anything great, that is something that they have in common."


Thank you for joining us for a year of #WeGotGoals - we can't wait to see what we'll learn from goal-getters next.




JAC: Welcome to #WeGotGoals, a podcast by aSweatLife.com on which we talk to high achievers about their goals. With me, I have Kristen Geil, Cindy Kuzma, Maggie Umberger, and myself, Jeana Anderson Cohen on this very special podaversary episode. It's our first anniversary of hosting the #WeGotGoals podcast and in celebration we are going guestless, hostful. So around the table you will hear us answer the big questions that we ask our  very impressive guests, but today it's all about us.

KG: Yay.

CK: Love it.

KG: Finally.

JAC: We've been waiting for an opportunity to talk about our goals. So our first question that we want to talk about today is a big goal that you've accomplished over the past year. Kristen, would you like to start?

KG: Sure, I would. So over the past year I have gone through a couple of major career transitions. For a long time now. I've been dabbling in the thought of going full time freelance writing and also getting my personal training certification so that I could start to teach group fitness classes in gyms, which I actually started doing back in like 2014--and then I just stopped going to the classes that I was taking at DePaul and decided, no, I don't think I want to do this right now. But luckily I had a nice little nudge when my full time job back in June decided that they wanted to send all of our copywriters to Hoboken. And I said, no, thank you please. So it was the perfect--Noboken, yes, it was a hard pass. But luckily that gave me the little push that I needed to actually start being more aggressive about looking for freelance clients, which included ramping up my work with aSweatLife and starting to work on the podcast. And I was also lucky enough to be a part of the sweat life group that got their personal training certification through NASM. So for about eight months I really was doing the full time freelance writing and working in the gym and it was a really exciting time in my life and I learned that I loved working for myself and making all my own decisions and you know, not really having to answer to authority that was six levels above me in the company hierarchy. So yeah, it was really exciting. Although health insurance sucks always, always.

JAC: What about you, Cindy?

CK: Sure. So one goal that I achieved in the past year was requalifying for the Boston Marathon, which I've done for a few years in a row now. I've been fortunate enough to accomplish that, but this year it was a little bit different. I had a little bit of a wrench thrown in my plans when I had to have emergency surgery in February. And my best opportunity to re qualify for Boston was in Boston, which was in April two months later. So I've written and talked a little bit about this before, but in the context of goals, the way that I was able to accomplish that--to go to Boston to run fast enough to, to go back there--was really something that Yael Shy talked about when when Maggie interviewed her a couple months ago was kind of holding that goal with a loose hand and recognizing that just because things might not work out exactly the way I planned, they might still work out.

CK: Being OK with the fact that I wasn't going to be able to do exactly the training I thought I needed to do or wanted to do to make that race my best ever. But just approaching it day by day, doing what I could every day to speed my healing and get back to training and running. And that really just allowed me to do it. You know, like when, when I needed to rest, when my doctor said to rest, I rested. When my doctor said it was OK to run, even though I was scared to run, I ran. And just day by day, step by step, I got there. And what's great about approaching goals in that way is that you have the big target, but if, if then after you set that big target, you think about what you have to do every day to make it happen and you trust that you do that, even if you don't achieve that goal--like if I hadn't made it, I would've been disappointed, but I wouldn't have been disappointed in myself. I would've known that I had done all I could. So it was made the victory extra sweet.

JAC: I love that. OK, sorry to interject there.

CK: Jeana, what goal did you accomplish this past year?

JAC: So I, whenever I'm asked about my goals, I struggled to think of a goal that lives outside of the walls of aSweatLife. And this year is the first time I really actually did something in, in quite a few years, in the past five years that wasn't related to aSweatLife that I was extremely proud of and that was running a marathon for charity and actually unplugging to do it. And the reason why it was so prideful and just wonderful was because I actually unplugged for a day and it took a marathon for me to unplug, which is crazy and I've been saying it ever since. But it was such a wonderful experience. I mean, I'm getting emotional just thinking about it because for the first time in maybe two, two and a half years, I spent the day just thinking about what was ahead of me, what was to my right and my left and where I was at that moment, and I'm not going to cry. You are.

JAC: But the magic was in the fact that when you really stop and think about a marathon, you can be at any point in that race. You can be first or you can be last and someone is still cheering for you. And that's such a powerful metaphor for life and such a powerful metaphor ... oh my gosh! (Crying) This is like when I talk about my parents. That's such a powerful metaphor for life and such a powerful metaphor for what we're doing at aSweatLife, which is building a community that is cheering for you. Whoever you are, no matter where you are in the race, and I just spent the entire day in love with that fact and this city--it was the Chicago Marathon, by the way. And and the sounds of it, the sights of it, the friends that I got to hug along the way. I wasn't married to my time, I wasn't married to where I placed. I just wanted to finish, be happy about it and give people hugs as I did it. So that was my favorite achievement this year.

KG: Maggie, how about you?

MU: So this is an exercise in practicing what we preach because when I had to think about a goal that I accomplished this year, I was like, I don't, I don't know. It's not something in my blood to do. I, I do. I'm a doer. I work hard, but I really don't celebrate my own accomplishments that often. And so I salute all of our guests for getting on this podcast and doing that because it's hard. It's really hard. And if I really think about it, I would probably take a small step back from just the past actual 12 months, like from March 2017 to right now. And I look at the leap that I made from advertising to the world of aSweatLife and jumping in headfirst. I think so many people that have congratulated me on that, I have just passed it off as like, oh, it was no big deal.

MU: I just did it. But it was hard and I am proud that I did it and I'm so proud that I followed my gut and that it, it was never a choice of like, should I do this or should I not do this? It was like my gut was screaming to do it and so I just made it happen no matter what. And then over the last year, getting to experience all of the things that, that we have as aSweatLife, as part of that team has been unreal. And I'm only 25. So to be able to say that I've done the things I've done in the last year, which had been so full and getting to start the ambassadorship alongside Jeana has been unreal cool. To first see 26 people over the last year, go on a journey to live their best lives and then bring on another 30 plus, so now we have more than 60 ambassadors and 10 across the country on this journey with us. It speaks volumes of what aSweatLife stands for and I'm so grateful to be in the place where I am that I said yes back in 2016 to all of these new opportunities and then just kind of jumping in headfirst saying yes, making it happen. I'm very proud of it. I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I'm, I'm proud of myself for making the leap.

JAC: I'm proud of you too!

MU: OK enough about me.

JAC: I knew that was going to happen. I get to see Maggie every single day and she is a workhorse and she does big things. Then she always moves right along and she just did a crazy thing and then it's time to go.

MU: But now we look ahead at the goals that we're setting in the future.  So Kristen, a big goal in the future, what is it for you?

KG: So this is more of a a fun goal for me. I say fun now. I might say not say the same thing later, but back when I first started writing for aSweatLife, I was known as the runner person, I think. I went through a year where I did three marathons and I really poured every part of my spare time and my being and my personality into like running with friends and setting these goals and putting the work in and making a schedule and sticking to it and for various reasons I've gotten far far away from that over the past two years I guess. But this year I want to get back to running for fun. I've signed up for a half marathon in September to help motivate me a little bit, but this time I want to make it a very different experience, which is maybe not quite in line with the goal setting that we talk about here. I just want to have fun. I just want to enjoy it and not worry about time and not get competitive with myself because that's when I start to lose the joy in it. I just want to enjoy going out for the lakefront path, being out there for a couple of hours and then enjoy race day. Maybe bring my dad and my sister along, explore a new city, see a beautiful course. Just get back to the fun of it and start reclaiming that part of my personality that I've kind of let go for the past couple of years. Cindy, what about you?

CK: Well, first of all, I think that's a fantastic goal and I mean, I think if we've learned nothing from from #WeGotGoals, it's that goals come in all shapes and sizes, right? And faster is just one goal when it comes to running. So that sounds awesome. One of my goals for the year ahead is to write another book. I have collaborated in the past with the fabulous Dawn Jackson Blattner, who we've had on the podcast before on her book and I'm just about to sign a contract to start a new collaboration and I can't talk too much about it yet, but you know, I'm really excited about making it happen in the next, gosh, six months or so before we turn it in. And I think the way I'm going to accomplish that is just the same way I talked about training for Boston. We've broken it down into what needs to happen month by month, week by week, day by day.

CK: So while writing a whole book seems like kind of an overwhelming proposition, you just focus on what you can do that day and that week and then you hope that you end up with the, the end product that you're going to be proud of. And I trust that we will. And, uh, I know that when we get to the point where we're publishing the book and we have to launch it and market it, I'll have to rely on another piece of advice from #WeGotGoals about asking for help from friends and other people, but that's a, that'll happen in 2019. So maybe that'll be what I talk about on the podaversary round table next year.

JAC: That's a very big goal, Cindy. And we cannot wait to read your work on this mysterious future book.

MU: Yeah. OK, Jeana, big goal.

JAC: OK. So I'm going to go back to aSweatLife because I can't be too personal, right?  So my big goal for the year ahead is growing aSweatLife--I am very growth-minded right now. When I think about the company and the way that I want it to grow, my biggest concern and my biggest focus is on growing it in a way that is consistent with our values. So making sure that everyone who comes on board is sort of enlightened in the ways of everything is better with friends and is excited about creating content that helps people live their best lives and then from there, my key challenge is empowering people to do big things that they have only dreamed of doing before and getting out of their way. That is the one thing I've worked on the most professionally over the past year and a half when I went from doing it alone to having Maggie and now to having Kristen by my side. When other people are basing their personal happiness and a lot of their time on the job that you give them.

JAC: It is so important. I have learned, I do not know this implicitly, but it is so important to ensure that they are actually satisfied by the work that they're doing. So if I am the roadblock, if I am the person standing in the way of the actual job they want to be doing, then it's me. I'm the problem. So my key objective is making sure that I'm not the block, I'm not the problem and that people are empowered to do the work that they love while still growing in places, in readers, and in people we empower.

CK: Hey, it's Cindy.  And we'll get back to our special podaversary round table episode in just a minute, but first a word from our sponsor this week, Chicago Sport and Social Club. With them it's more than a game, it's a social sports experience. So you're listening to us talk about our goals, but you certainly have goals of your own big or small and whatever they are, Chicago Sport and Social Club has a lot of reasons why you should play. You might love the feel of the sand between your toes. You might want to meet people or you know it's been a long winter in Chicago, as always. You just might want to move your social life outside for a season. So whatever your goals or your reasons for playing Chicago Sports and Social Club has a beach volleyball league for you. You can create a team of all women. You can grab a group of men and women or you can sign up on your own and get set up with a team as an individual. Whatever your situation, if bump set and spike are the words that punctuate your summer, it is time to register for the league built around you. To do that go to www.chicagosocial.com, and you can use code goals--that's G-O-A-L-S when you register to get five percent off from now through the 15th. Thanks to Chicago Sport and Social Club and now back to our episode.

CK: Maggie, how about you? What's up next for you? I

MU: I'll go back to more of a personal goal, since Jeana covered a career goal, I'll kind of bounce it back to a personal one, which I think is totally related to just how you live your life as a whole, is if you don't feel good, like how can you produce good work and I feel like I've had injuries over the past year where I'm just like, so over having the injuries and so I would, I would love to get back into a routine for myself. I feel like I have had the great privilege to experience all kinds of different workouts with aSweatLife and I love that. But I think having a couple of different injuries has made me need to go to physical therapy and that's been a smart thing for me to do. So I want to keep those things I've learned in physical therapy and implement them into my new routine and kind of carve out time for myself.

MU: Not every day of the week, but you know, three to four days of the week where the workouts that I do are the best ones for my body. Because I think another thing that we see at aSweatLife is the fitness trends. We get to cover them and talk about them and they're exciting. But if you don't listen to your body then you'll end up getting injured. And so one of the biggest takeaways that I've taken from the podcast was with Shane Emmett, the CEO of Health Warrior, and he kind of takes inventory of his calendar where he blocks out all of his time and he sees where he's spending his time and if and if I've spent all of my time during the week just teaching versus taking classes or doing my own workouts, I want to take note of that and make a couple changes for the next week and so constantly improving and optimizing my schedule so that I feel the best on just a personal note than I'll be able to produce the best work possible. But I think it's that constant balance that we're all striving for of how do you fit it, fit it all in the week, everything that you want to. It's just going to be kind of a week by week reassessing, reoptimizing so that so that I do feel the most rested and best every single every single week. When I start out.

KG: Maggie, you kind of touched on this just now, but over the past year we've been fortunate enough to interview dozens of goal-setters and go-getters and we've gotten to hear the tricks of the trade straight from their mouths. So one of the final things we wanted to talk about in this podaversary was our biggest takeaways from one certain episode or trends that you saw over all of the ones that we've done so far. So Cindy, you've heard every single episode several times over with your editing. What's one big takeaway that you took from any of our guests?

CK: Oh my gosh. I feel like it's been kind of a master class in goal setting and I feel so fortunate to have been able to help launch this and work on this and get the chance to learn from these guests  and from you all every week. So thank you. There are actually two things that Taylor Rooks, who I interviewed not too long ago. She's a young sports anchor and journalist. Two things that she said really stuck with me in terms of kind of mindset shifts that have helped me think about my goals a little bit differently. And the first one is to remind yourself that you are where you are for a reason. That it's easy to doubt yourself. We touch so many times in so many ways on impostor syndrome. But you know, she really has this, this confidence that that's not ego. It's not off putting, but it's like the sheer, like confidence that just like inspires you and attracts you to her. And she said, one of the practical ways that she works on that is reminding herself that she wouldn't be where she was if she didn't have the skills and the talents and the ability to get there.

CK: And I think we all kind of look for these data points that, that enforce to us that we are worthwhile and we actually have them. And we just need to step back and look at them and pay as much attention to those as we do to the negative voices in our heads and in the comments and wherever else we encounter them. The other thing that she said, and I am sure she wasn't the first person to say this, but she talked about being inspired by the distance between where she was and where she wanted to be. That instead of thinking, oh gosh, I have all these things I want to accomplish, I'm so far from my goals. I don't know how I'll ever get there. This is really overwhelming and disillusioning. She looks at that and thinks, wow, how exciting that I get to work toward that big goal. I'm here where I am now and I can see the path forward and I just get to do the work. And how exciting is that? So those, both of those things have been really helpful in helping me kind of refocus on the positive and view my journey as one that has already lots of things to celebrate and a lot more to look forward to. So that is something I've learned. Kristen, what have you learned?

KG: I think I can take two viewpoints here. The first and the simpler one is what we heard from Jessica during the live podcast recently during SweatWorkingWeek and she talked for a couple of minutes about the importance of trusting her gut and her intuition and I think that is something that all of our goal-getters have in common but maybe didn't explicitly say. I feel like with goal setting, a lot of people are so driven by achievements and watching the numbers grow and hitting certain milestones that it can be really easy to ignore your gut or your intuition along the way in favor of going after what you think you should be doing. And I think just hearing that explicitly said from someone who is so in tune with herself, but admits to still making mistakes. You're, I mean you can misinterpret your gut intuition.

KG: It was just a nice reminder to maybe look inward instead of looking for outward proof of hitting your goals or setting your goals. So that's something that I'm going to try and keep in mind more as I go through my 2018. The other, and I think it was just a recurring theme across so many of our episodes. Even the ones where we didn't talk to co-founders or partners is that everyone goes further together and you know, we heard that with several people mentioning that you have to be willing to ask for help from others, especially during the early stages of a startup or you have to have a support system who's going to understand that when you're really working towards the goal, maybe you have to be really focused on that for awhile and you can't go out for dinners spur of the moment. But at the end of the day, you know, like we say, everything is better with friends. And I think that was something that all of our goal setters, even though they've got such amazing individual achievements, they never forget the people who helped them get there. Maggie, you look like you want to say something right now.

MU: Yeah. I'm just like nodding my head in agreement. And I, I really think I have to say that this statement, I think actually once a week and it's from Dawn Jackson Blatner's episode, like number three, a long time ago, when we started the podcast. When she says, if you're enthusiastically doing the work, the opportunities will come and that statement means so much to me and it, it just rings so true to me because I know I don't have all the answers and I'm, I'm one  to look outward for affirmation and to wonder if the work I'm doing is worthwhile. But really it comes down to if I'm doing the best I can and if I'm doing that authentically, there's nothing more than I can do than that. And that's what people will ultimately notice and see. And we've, we've heard a lot of other guests talk about not really being sure and jumping into a world that they weren't completely sure if they should be in or if that, that whole word should, could be like a death sentence, but they just choose something else.

MU: They choose to be authentic, to go forward as best they can to enthusiastically do the work is like the biggest motivation I have on days when I'm not sure how to move forward or if I've made the right choice or you know, whatever that might be. I think it's like a little mantra for me. So I, I so appreciate her saying it for putting it into words that I can just quickly think of. Even if it's like in a workout, like if I'm here enthusiastically doing these bicep curls and then then I'm sure the muscles will come, you know.

CK: Oh my gosh, I have this awesome image of Maggie enthusiastically doing bicep curls.

MU: I smile when I work out. I do. So, so that, that's by far the biggest takeaway I have just because I think of it every single week. And Jeana, what about you?

JAC: I personally learned something from every single episode of the #WeGotGoals podcast, but I think  two points in particular have stood out to me recently as I listen and re-listen to episodes. One of those being Matt Matros and the way that he talked about visualizing goals. Visualization, as we know and as science has shown us is a powerful tool to help you prepare yourself for coming up against an obstacle, a goal, a situation. Athletes use it. CEOs use it because it prepares your brain to actually encounter that thing. It prepares your brain to encounter success. It prepares your brain to encounter failure. So if you're thinking about success every single day, you're more prepared to succeed, which is insane, but hearing the detail at which he visualizes his day and encourages other entrepreneurs digitalized. There's inspired me to start using that exercise in my own life and it is also a case for not worrying. Worrying is wishing for a failure, but that's the last time. I'll preach that at Justin Cohen. But the other major takeaway that I had over the course of the year was the way that Jen Ator talked about her time with Ironman and the Ironman world championships at Kona because it became this, this great big thing that she--it became a journey that she went through and overcame and it became the thing that really punctuated her life.

JAC: Whether it was her goals at work or whether it was her goals out on the field, she loved that experience, but it was also the hardest experience she'd ever been through and I think that if you talk to anyone who's accomplished anything great, that is something that they have in common. They loved that experience. They came out on the other side, but it was incredibly challenging and difficult, so it's just a testament to the fact that doing the work, there's just no substitute for it and the emotional and physical and professional rewards that come with doing the work will be equal to the work that you put in. And here's to another great year of the #WeGotGoals podcast. Anything you want to say before you go?

CK: Thank you all for, for your amazing work. It's been awesome to see you guys on a monthly basis and to hear you in my ears every week. It's been incredible.

JAC: Thanks to the listeners and thanks to the hard work of Cindy Kuzma who produces this podcast this week and every week for the past year. We'll see you on the other side.

CK: This podcast was produced by me and it's another thing that's better with friends for, so please share it with yours. The best way to do that is subscribing wherever you get your podcasts and then leaving us a rating or a review while you're there. Special thanks to J. Mano for our theme music and to our guests this week, the #WeGotGoals aSweatLife team. That is Jeana Anderson Cohen, the CEO and founder; Maggie Umberger, who is the director of community and content innovation; and Kristen Geil, the editor in chief, and of course thanks to you our listeners, we wouldn't have been doing this for the past year without you and we hope you'll stick around while we keep doing it for the next year.