Katherine Donnelly | 06.28.2018

Here at Outdoor Project, we're big fans of goal setting and keeping things fresh - especially when it comes to our adventures in the great outdoors. So when none other than goal-setting-guru Steph Jagger reached out about sharing some of her wisdom with us during our Women In The Wild series, we jumped at the chance! 

Below you will find a modified version of The Great Big Journey, Steph's granddaddy master mix of over a thousand hours of coaching (aka a 12-week life manual/curated coaching experience that's designed to have you screamin' "HECK YES!" to the daring adventure that is life). 

I’m known to a fair number of people as a Goal Smacker, a hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park-and-then-some type of gal, a person who lobs pretty much anything I want up into the air before Serena Williams-ing it. I developed this reputation after a decade plus of solid goal crushing. By the time I was twenty five I:

  • graduated from high-school and university;
  • worked my way up the corporate ladder like a well-trained fire marshall;
  • was making close to six figures (see above);
  • purchased my first apartment in a city well known for unaffordability;
  • ran in multiple half-marathons, full-marathons and triathlons;
  • and traveled extensively through Europe and Africa, north, west and south.

Much like many of you who are reading this, I treated life and the goals I create within it like a game of whack-a-mole, and I was a motherfrickin champion at it.

But (and this but is big), I had no idea why I was doing any of it.

If you had asked me at the time, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and said, “'Cuz it’s fun.”

If you had asked my ego, it probably would have said, “Because, um, how else will I prove I’m worthy of love and attention? How else will I know I’m enough in a world that defines success on money and the ticking of  ‘masculine’ boxes?”

As soon as the ribbons (literal and metaphorical) were tied around my neck, I decided they weren’t enough, and more so, that I wasn’t enough. And off I went in search of my enoughness through the next grand slam of goals.

I never found my enoughness that way. Even after crushing the world record for skiing the most vertical feet in one year. Instead, after close to 15 years in hot pursuit, I found other things, things like adrenal burnout, depression, and no real knowledge of myself outside of being the type of person who headlocks goals and wrestles things to the ground. So I decided, at 30, to re-think this whole goal setting thing, to put a new frame on life as I knew it.

This project took about two years to figure out, but I’m hoping, with this handy dandy cheat-sheet, you’ll get the gist in about five minutes.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

Most of our society (as well as the head-locker/goal-crusher version of myself) is set up around the following line of reasoning:


"If I can climb like a motha every weekend straight, then maybe I’ll surely nail my first 5.11 by September, and when and only when I have that under my belt (or in this case, harness), can I call myself a climber."

Sound familiar? If not, perhaps this will ring a bell:

"If I do the workouts religiously, I will have a smaller (or bigger, depending on your preference) rear end, and when and only when my buttocks are at what I deem to be the most attractive size, will I call my self sexy, desirable or worthy of love and attention."

In essence, the belief system means we have to wait until we’ve completed something, or acquired something, before we can actually be something. It puts all of who we want to be and how we want to feel somewhere in the future. It means that being successful, happy, beautiful and smart depends entirely on what we’ve accomplished or what we’ve acquired. And by the way, that accomplishing and acquiring is very often based on arbitrary and/or egotrary things.

I call B.S. on all that. The order of things really should be more aligned with this:


Start by selecting how you want to feel and who you want to be, and then ask yourself this: “If I was that person, what would I do?” My guess...strike that, what I know to be true is that being that person, standing in the truth of who you already are even just a little more often, will lead you to dramatically different results, results that are, quite possibly, beyond your wildest dreams.


If I own my happiness on the daily, I will do different things (like smile, make more eye contact, and maybe laugh out loud instead of just in passive aggressive emoji-ing), and when I do those things . . .who knows what I’ll have, but I won’t even care 'cuz I’ll be happy.


If I stand in an ounce (or fifteen) of confidence at work, I will do different things (like raise my hand for that project, take credit for my success, and maybe ask the for raise I know I deserve), and when I do those things . . . who knows what I’ll have, but I won’t care because I’ll be confident in my ability to go anywhere and be anything I want.

In essence, be what you want to be now. Today. In this moment.

Don’t wait to experience joy until after you finish the race. Run it with motherf*cking joy.

Don’t wait to feel as though you are worthy until after he proposes. Feel worthy when you’re dressing for your first freaking date.

Don’t wait until after you’ve done 5.11 to feel proud or call yourself a climber. Feel proud and call yourself a climber every time your gecko-ey hands and feet hit the rock.

Don’t wait to be something or feel something, because my sweet friend, you’re a be-er and a feeler already. Own that shit.

If you're digging this wisdom, we highly recommend checking out the full version of Steph's The Great Big Journey.

Steph is making the whole thing available to the Outdoor Project community for 15% off (can be used on top of Earlybird pricing). Use code OUTDOORPROJECT at check-out to grab your spot in the September 23, 2018, intake or email [email protected] to get information on payment plans.


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