Celebrating the process vs. the outcome
Hey friends, happy Sunday
I’m hitting send on this email with my toes buried in sand. Back home from my trip, I'm juggling jet lag, catching up on work, and playing with my kiddos.
And yet, my mind keeps drifting to what I learned on my coaching trip last week.
Various individuals asked me how my new coaching venture is going. I gave them a philosophical (and true) answer:
Everything I’ve been through led me here, to exactly where I need to be. I'm exploring the space, and everything is still a big question mark. Part of me enjoys this exploration phase, as freedom is big for me.
But the hard facts are still absent. Admittedly, I have no idea how things will play out. I currently drown out the doubts and anxieties by holding fast to the mission I feel I’m on — but I know I can’t do that forever.
So, what keeps me going?
The process itself.
Which brings me to the topic of this week’s newsie:
How can I stay pumped to go after big goals when clear results are nowhere in sight?
But first, a warm welcome to the new folks who joined this week. 👋 It means the world you've let me into your inbox. If you know someone who's into doing their self-work, forward them your favorite email from me.
May we have a blast doing our self-work together. ❤️🔥
Now, let's get to it.
Let’s settle the process vs. outcome debate once and for all.
You've heard it before — it's the journey that matters, not the destination. I get it, I'm a believer. I mean, I even hosted a podcast called "Process" where I spoke to people like James Clear and the founders of the SELF journal on managing the ups and downs of the creative journey.
But prioritizing the process over outcomes is hard to do in the day-to-day.
After all, we're wired to focus on results, to strive for success, and to measure our worth by how much we achieve. But what if we shifted our focus to the small steps we take every day, rather than fixating on the end goal?
The solution? Celebrating.
By acknowledging and appreciating the effort we put in, we can build momentum, stay motivated, and enjoy ourselves along the way.
We often worry about the outcome without realizing that the journey is what really matters.
And when we worry about things further down the line, we're putting our brains and bodies through the actual thing itself. If you spend time fretting about failure, your body is going through the failure already, as if it's real.
Why put ourselves through negative outcomes that aren't actually happening? Why suffer for things that will likely never happen?
Okay, you're convinced. You'd like to celebrate the process, not the outcome. But, how does it actually work?
Walking the walk
Well, in theory, it's simple. Instead of waiting for the final outcome, acknowledge the small wins along the way. But what does it look like?
Here's how I'm doing it:
When I’m scared to send the email, I celebrate hitting that send button.
When I’m nervous to record the video for LinkedIn, I celebrate once I’ve finished the last take.
When I’m doubtful my crazy idea will land, I celebrate pitching it anyway.
I don’t wait to hear back from someone or until the likes start rolling in.
I celebrate getting the thing done.
The beauty of celebrating progress is that it takes the pressure off the outcome. We don't need external validation to feel good about ourselves; we can appreciate our own effort and hard work. And when we do receive positive feedback or achieve the desired outcome, it's like the cherry on top — a nice bonus, but not the main event.
Getting a “YES” or a bunch of positive comments is great, but even when I get the “NO” — and it happens often — I’ve celebrated building muscle around shooting my shot.
For context, I had no idea what Cogsy would say when I pitched joining them on their retreat as a coach. They ended up saying yes 🥳 but I’d already celebrated sending the message.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
It takes courage to pursue lofty goals without knowing what will end up happening.
You know this, but a refresher can’t hurt: courage isn't the absence of fear — it's feeling the fear and acting anyway. And when we celebrate progress, we're acknowledging that courage and giving ourselves a pat on the back for taking the leap.
A few ideas you can swipe
Every one of my coaching sessions ends with this question: "How will you celebrate?"
Every human is marvelously different, and the topics of my sessions are so varied (which is so effing enjoyable for me personally). In sessions, I hear things like:
I want to leave work early enough to get home to play with my kids before bed, but I always feel I have more things to do before packing up.
I want to have a difficult conversation with a friend, but it makes me anxious to just think about it.
I want to pitch a new idea to my manager, but I’m afraid she’ll shut me down and humiliate me.
I have no way to control the outcome of those scenarios, but I can help steer the conversation toward the incremental gain, through self-appreciation and acknowledgement.
To some, the work itself is a celebration.
If a person sets the goal of leaving work on time so they can get home to their children, the time they spend together that night is a celebration in and of itself.
If a person sets the goal of having a difficult conversation with a friend, knowing they got it done and built muscle around doing hard things is celebration in and of itself.
To others, external celebrations are a better fit.
If a person sets the goal of pitching a wild idea to their manager, they celebrate getting it done by treating themselves to their favorite (pricey) exercise class.
When I set the goal of staying at the toxic job one extra month, I celebrated getting it done by booking my family a trip to Disney.
There's no one right answer — it's about finding what works for you and what makes you feel most validated and ready for the next step in the process.
I enjoyed this quote from the book "Essentialism":
By focusing on the small wins, we can build momentum and create a positive cycle of progress and motivation.
Take some time to think through these questions:
What do you want to make progress toward this week?
What small steps could you celebrate?
How will you shine a light on the small wins?
Celebrating progress is all about acknowledging the effort we put in and finding joy in the journey.
Whatever you're working toward, take the time to celebrate your wins, even when they're not the final outcome.
Your ideal life is waiting.
You got this. ✌️
That's it for today, folksies.
I hope you have a great week, full of celebration and making solid progress toward that ideal life.
I know I'll be working on videos for social media all week. It's not easy for me! Look out for them and help me celebrate when I get them published.
What will you work on this week?
Hit reply and let me know. Hearing from you always makes my day.
All the best vibes ✨
— Marcella ✌️
A penny for your thoughts
Finally, my favorite part of the newsie, where you tell me if it was valuable to you.
How much did you enjoy this email?
Your feedback helps makes each week's send better. I appreciate you being here. ❤️🔥