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I’ve talked about thinking big on a few previous episodes. One of the reasons why I like talking about this topic a lot is because of the profound emotional management skill it requires.

Thinking big and thinking beyond our current circumstance is one of the most important things we can do as human beings. It is the only way that we evolve and create greatness in our lives and the lives of others.

Thinking big is the way we enact change… It’s the way we change our identity.

This week, we take a deeper dive into the topic of thinking big and what it really means to think strategically to produce incredible results in the world. I go over the immense benefits (and what some may consider drawbacks) of this type of thinking and show you how to actually do it in your life and business.

What you will discover

  • What it really means to think big.
  • Why so many people don’t want to have big goals.
  • The benefits of thinking big.
  • How to think big to produce incredible results in the world.
  • Planning short-term vs. long-term.
  • Improving on something that already exists vs. creating something new.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 244.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Well, hello there, my friends. How are you today? I'm awesome. It's funny. I just got on a call with one of my employees, Lauren, and she's like, "How are you today?" I'm like, "Awesome. Amazing." She's like, "Well, which is it?" I was like, "Oh, let me think. Am I awesome or am I amazing? I have to really decide." What's the difference between the two and can you be both at once? I think so. I think you can be both at once. I'm going with both at once today. I have like a really frilly jacket on today, which I think uplevels everything to amazing and I feel awesome, so that's what we're going with.

Today we're going to talk about thinking big. This is something I've talked a lot about on the podcast before, I keep wanting to reiterate, I keep coming at it from different angles. One of the reasons why I like to talk about it a lot is because of the profound skill it requires in terms of your own emotional management to think big for yourself and to have big dreams. I think it's one of the most important things that we can do as a human species, is to think beyond our current circumstances, because I think that's the only way we evolve and that's the only way that we create greatness. If you think about all of our ancestors, aren't you glad that many of them thought big, created big things in the world? I like to look at what's in the world now and think about that being the result, that being the effect of people who came before us thinking big. What will our own personal lives create? What will be the results in our personal lives that will come from us thinking big?

A lot of people will come and tell me that they don't want to have big goals and they don't want to think big because it makes them feel inadequate when they don't meet their dreams and when they don't achieve their goals. I've tried to approach this from different angles in the whole concept of the impossible goal, which we do in scholars, which is one of the most profound exercises I've ever done with a group of people, is helping them set impossible goals for themselves and then stay dedicated to those goals despite the fact and because of the fact that they are impossible and how we can override our own brain's resistance to wanting to achieve something because it's "impossible."

What's impossible right now is possible later often times, and so believing in something that's currently impossible is what makes us change the world, change our own personal world, change our lives. I'm going to talk about some of the benefits of thinking big. Then, I'm going to talk about how to do it. The first thing that thinking big does is it generates power and strength when you do it right. Here's what I mean by that. When you think big for yourself and when you believe in that dream big for yourself, that requires the skill of believing in yourself. It requires the skill in believing in possibility, and believing in things beyond our current socialization and beyond our current programming requires effort and requires skill. The better we get at believing things that are not yet true, the better we get at believing things that are not yet true. That's how we're able to create extraordinary results in our lives, because we have learned the skill.

I learned this when I lost weight, and then I learned it when I quit drinking, and now I've learned it as I've created money with my business. I've learned with lots of different things where people will tell me something's impossible and I believe in the possibility of it despite the current evidence against it. I feel like a lot of things are impossible because there's a lot of evidence against things changing, and I think that's why some people never change, is because they look too much at the evidence instead of at the possibility and the belief and practicing believing in it. The second thing that thinking big does is it threatens our current identity, which sounds like a horrible thing, and it is experienced as a horrible thing. I watch my clients go through this all the time.

I actually have one client right now who is trying to take her business from 300k to a million. What I've told her is that what got her here is not going to get her there. She has to give up all of her amazing skills that got her to 300k. She can't just make that better. She has to completely change her identity from a solopreneur into a business owner, into a business that is well beyond just her. I have to say it's one of the most excruciating things because when we have created an identity around what we've done and we have to let go of what we've done in order to create an identity from the future, it takes us into uncertainty. When we can rely on repeating something from the past, we get to believe in certainty. We get to believe in our own confidence and our own ability because it doesn't require anything additional to us. This allows the brain to be very happy.

The brain loves to just lie in certainty. It loves to just know that everything's the same because then it feels safe, but when we set a goal that's way beyond the expectation that our brain has of what our capacity is, it makes our brain very nervous. It creates a lot of stress because it threatens our current identity, which is currently safe. I always want to encourage you to threaten your identity as often as possible, especially if you want to grow. Be willing to give up who you are now for who you want to be in the future. I have people say to me a lot, "Why don't you just settle in with where you are and to your level of success?" For me, at this point, that's not even tolerable. I am much more comfortable growing myself, much more comfortable in asking more of myself in ways that keep me uncomfortable and uncertain but in the most caring and compassionate way as well. I take very good care of myself and my time off, and I don't rush to some future land that's better than here, but I also am always asking of myself to take my life to the edges of what's possible because that's what I think keeps my life super fun.

Thinking big requires more time. One of the things that I always recommend that people do with their goals is require more time to achieve them. Here's what I mean by that. If we're going to think super big, we can't think into next week. I didn't make my $100 million goal for next week or next month or next year. Could I have? Yes, but it's not something that would serve me. It would put a lot of pressure, and I would be caught up in the how, and I would be freaking out about it. There's no reason to do that. Thinking $100 million is super big and I can start enjoying the benefits of it, enjoying the growth towards it, the learning from it, all of that now even though it's 10 years away. I will be able to enjoy the anticipation of it for 10 years, which currently threatens my current identity, which asks more of me, asks me to think at a higher level, which is the whole point of it, which makes it more intriguing and more exciting for me to be alive.

Chasing the quick winds is very stressful. If you're in a hurry to achieve your goals, it's because you think it's better there than it is here. I promise you it's not. It's always 50/50, so better in some areas, but you're still going to have to face the worst in the other areas. That's okay. That's part of it. It's different. What is thinking big? One thing that I want to be really clear about is that thinking big is not just thinking in increments. It's not just thinking in better. It's thinking in so much better that it's different. When you think about your current business and you think about 10 times-ing that business, that's thinking big. When you think about your weight loss, it's not just thinking about losing 10 pounds. It's thinking about getting to your goal weight, which, for some of us, seems so extraordinarily far away like we can't even wrap our minds around it.

I often want to tell my students when you're setting weight loss goals, "Why not set your goal weight as low as you want it and give yourself three years to lose weight?" People most often are not willing to wait that long because they don't want to be in a place where it's not as good now as it would be then. That's always the kiss of death for weight loss. It's always the kiss of death for all goals when you're in such a hurry to get there that you're willing to claw your way and struggle your way there, hoping that it will be better once you arrive, only to find out that it's not. I think that lifetime dreams versus one-year dreams are really important to distinguish between. You must understand that your lifelong dream, your 25-year dream, your 10-year dream is what requires you to think on a much more creative level. A one-year dream immediately gets you into tactics versus strategies.

If you have a dream that you need to accomplish in a year, you have so many hows that are going to be going on in your head. How am I going to do this? What am I going to do? How am I going to do it? When you have a goal that's 10 years from now, you can think on a much higher level and you can think more in terms of your identity, of who you will be when you achieve that dream, and how to act from that place now versus when you think about your one-year goal, it's all about, "Okay. How many clients do I need? How much money do I need to charge? How many pounds do I need to lose a week?" All that sort of thing kind of shifts you out of changing your identity and more into the daily behaviors. Both are important, but a lot of people just do the short-term goals and miss out on the long-term goals, which are really the identity shaking goals.

Now, when you shake your identity, when you change your identity, it makes the day to day tactics, it makes the everyday so much easier because you're already thinking on such a higher caliber level that being able to execute on the "lower level" things become so much more easy. It also becomes easier to stay motivated when you have short failure, shortcoming failures, when you have temporary failures when you're thinking from your big future. You recognize that those short-term failures aren't really an issue. You're going to look back on those and kind of like wink at them. They're not going to be so big. Right now, they may feel big because compared to your smaller goal, they are big, but compared to your bigger goal, they mean very little. That's been one of my secrets to continually moving forward, is to always be thinking big, to always be thinking about my life in a way that expands my brain and expands the level of my thinking and my strategic thinking.

I always want to encourage you to enjoy your big thinking now. It's different than fantasizing about it. There's this "wouldn't it be nice" kind of daydreaming, which is kind of fun, but it usually is accompanied by this low-grade disappointment that it will never happen when you're in fantasy land. What I want to encourage you to practice and do is think big and then practice believing it, practice feeling it, practice acting on it now. How would you feel and how would you act from that future place of accomplish it? If you believed in it no matter what, how would you behave now? Notice you wouldn't be in such a hurry. You wouldn't be so nervous. You wouldn't be so stressed out about all the little things that are going on because you could always just hang your confidence on that future place that you have practiced believing you will someday arrive at and you recognize these little day to day things aren't worth getting so upset over.

This isn't trading this moment for some future moment. That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about enjoying this moment more because we have the thinking big, because we have the big goal in the future, because we're acting and feeling from it now. Remember, your future only exists in your mind right now. That's the only place it ever can exist. When people say to me, "But what about the present moment?" I am in the present moment thinking about a future moment and enjoying the possibility of that future moment in this present moment. The way that you know that you're doing it right is because it feels amazing. When you believe in the possibility of something in your future, you get to enjoy it now. Example I often use is when you think about a vacation that you know you're going to take, the anticipation and the enjoyment of it now is as good in many cases as the actual vacation. The anticipation of it is part of the experience, is part of the journey.

Being present now with conscious thinking of a deliberate future is the skill. That is the thing that we want to practice and that we want to do, so we are using the highest part of our brain, our prefrontal, to manage our future from our present, enjoy our future from our present, create a deliberate and conscious life. I want to often tell many of my students that I'm working with really closely on their business to eliminate the reality of now, to step back from what you think is evidence that you can't have your future life, and just look at the current state of your life and the current evidence of your life as the effect of your prior thinking. If you look back to how you were thinking five years ago about your life now, you will find evidence of it, good and bad, in your current life.

When you expand your mind and your goals, you also expand the way you see yourself. The way you see and think about yourself is what ultimately determines your self-esteem, which ultimately determines your confidence. Of course, the higher your self-esteem, the higher your confidence, the easier it will be to produce at the higher level. How you see yourself and your life will change what you feel and do now. I want to encourage you to think in new different ways. Don't think the same old thing and try to improve that incrementally. Expand your brain to think about 10 years from now, bigger. Thinking big requires creativity. Thinking small only requires us to follow what has already been done and ask for directions. Thinking big is the creative force that drives new pathways that other people can follow. It's you being the leader, not only in your own life, but also in your human experience. To be able to chart new ways comes from thinking bigger and living from that bigger part of yourself. You want to stretch your mind. You want to reach out and find new sources of information instead of always following what's already been done.

You can follow what's already been done in someone else's life and make it better. That's fine, but thinking big is a different skillset. It's a different way of looking at your own life, your own self. That's where confidence comes from. If you copy what someone else did exactly and you're successful, you will gain some confidence based on that formula. When you create a new pathway and follow that, you create new confidence based on your skillset of creating confidence. You'll no longer be dependent on anything outside of yourself. You will be dependent only on your ability to create new ideas, create new dreams, and believe in them. The reason why thinking big is a skill you should develop is because it's important. You're important. It matters. You matter. Don't just flow along with what's already there. Make your mark. Carve out your space. Do it deliberately.

Finally, thinking big drives massive action. Massive action is taking action until you get the result you want. It doesn't mean being frantic. It doesn't mean working more than 40 hours. It doesn't mean stressing yourself out. It just means that you keep acting, you keep behaving until you get the result you want. It may take longer than you anticipated. That's okay. You just keep taking action. The only way you'll keep taking action is if you keep believing. We quit when we stop believing in the possibility of the dream. Can you keep believing in your 10-year goal when the all the evidence today is to the contrary? When the answer is yes, you will have so many more strategic byproducts from that belief than you ever thought you could have from just having small goals.

You want to approach your goal with the belief in it first. You thought big, you believed big, and you have to keep thinking big as you take the smaller actions in the everyday-ness of your life. You will have to experiment and you will have to guess at how to get something done. You'll have to try it. Many, many, many times along the way to that very big goal, you will fail, and you will have to make another guess. You will learn as you go. It's the scientific method. It's like you make a hypothesis, you make an educated guess, and you try it. If it doesn't work, you at least learned something. Then, you try something different. Then, you try something different.

As you do the scientific process and try new things and take massive action, you will not only get closer to that goal, closer to achieving it, you will learn the skill of believing in yourself. You will also develop strength and power and confidence. At the end of the day, it won't matter as much whether you've achieved the goal. It won't matter as much as you can check it off of your to-do list.

What matters is: Did you believe when you had no reason to believe? Did you gain confidence when the world didn't provide you with evidence that you should? That is true freedom, is when you can manage yourself and your emotional life and your desires and your dreams and your beliefs despite what's going on in the world. That's the way we enact change. That's the way we change our identity. Have a gorgeous, beautiful week, everybody. Think big. I'll talk to you next week. Bye bye.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

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