006: Jim Harshaw, Conversation 1: Public transportation, full transcript

December 19, 2017 by Joshua
in Podcast

Jim Harshaw


If you’re thinking about taking on a personal challenge and you’re thinking twice about doing it because you might fail or you might not be able to live up to it, listen to Jim’s story. His whole story of his life is about failing and responding by developing resilience and being able to figure out ways to keep going. Everyone can learn from him. I certainly can. I certainly have. Jim has become a friend since [making] his podcast a couple of times after my book came out. He talks about how wrestling shifted, as a physical activity of wrestling, shifted his mental perspective on what he could do. Then he talked about how just taking one first step, even not thinking who’d be able to do it, led to this TEDx talk which has been a big boost in his career. So he talks about the mental processes he is choosing to succeed not necessarily easy but if you start choosing and knowing how to choose, then you can succeed. So it’s a very motivational story. He sets a very high standard for himself in this part of the podcast. I’m recording this knowing what comes later. So it’s great to hear the standards he sets from himself because he lives up to it, but not at first. He had some pretty big snags and then later you’ll hear how he resolves them. So here it is.


Joshua: This is the Leadership and the Environment podcast. This is Joshua Spodek. I’m talking to Jim Harshaw. I’ll introduce him in a second but I just want to say, Jim, we’re having a really good conversation. You pointed out how you have a podcast and a lot of times you missed this good stuff at the beginning right? And what I’ve done lately is I’m starting podcasts at the call, like it starts with the call, like I start recording immediately because I think a lot of times does it happen with you that you have this really good conversation and then you say, “Okay, now I’ll hit recording” and it gets kind of stiff?

Jim: Yeah, because you know people think they have to be like sort of a certain person after you hit the record button and it’s like, “No I want to say you that we were having a conversation about before you hit record.” And that same thing happened like after the recording, I’ll hit, we stop it and then we have this like five or ten-minute conversation that is just like, “Wow, why don’t you share that on the recording?”

Joshua: Yeah, and so that’s why with you we started right away… not right away. We talked for… How many minutes? Like three minutes?

Jim: Yeah, about that.

Joshua: And already it was getting really interesting because actually, Jim, you live near Charlottesville, Virginia and we started talking about how you put me in touch with someone who… I’m going to go talk at her firm, which is in Charlottesville and talk about leadership. That I would call a leadership vacuum going on in the Charlottesville area what’s going on. I mean we’re recording this in mid-August. I’m going to record a few more before during the launch. So people aren’t going to hear this until October, November, maybe even December depending on how the launch goes. But yeah. So I had to start recording right away.

So, well, let me introduce you a little bit because people might not know you. So I know Jim. I’ve done Jim’s podcast twice and in the time since I met you originally was I was promoting my book but the guest [4:44], you know, podcast keep getting more and more incredible. And it was originally about wrestling and how wrestling could contribute to life because you were a division one wrestler. If I remember right… Here’s what I remember of you that you were towards the end of your college career you were pretty good, like top 10 maybe and there was one time when you were going up against a top-five wrestler and you didn’t think that you’d be able to beat the guy and you had a mindset shift and then you did beat the guy and it was just at the end of your career and had you made that mind shift earlier but you didn’t… Like physically you didn’t change but mentally you made yourself able to take this on.

So then your podcast has shifted into, leadership through Success Through Failure. So you went from being specific about wrestling to about sports I think more in general but now it’s much more about something more general that I think you get from sports. No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose a game. Michael Jordan put up a lot of shots that didn’t go in and they lost the game. So do I get that right about the evolution of your podcast and also about that experience with you towards the end of your college career?

Jim: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So you know is really the focus of my….I did a TEDx talk about it at the Charlottesville TEDx event. And the focus of that talk was on that experience and it’s called success…My talk was called “Why I teach my children to fail?’’ And it really came back to this experience as a wrestler where I had you know my goal had been to be a division 1 All-America which in the wrestling way it’s actually statistically harder to do numbers wise than become… It’s harder for a high school wrestler to become a Division 1 All-America than it is for a high school football player to make it to the pros. So it’s a hard thing. It’s a big benchmark. And my senior year I finally had gotten to the point where I was one match away from being in Division 1 All-America, which was top eight and…

Joshua: This is high school?

Jim: This is college, sorry, this is college and there’s 15000 people in the arena. It’s a big, big event you know and I finally I beat this guy right and I had overcome my own self-doubt and all the failures that I had in the past to beat this guy. But it was this mindset shift. And I really didn’t talk too much about the mindset shift that happened, the same that we talk about it in the TEDx talk, but the mindset shift was letting go of the outcome and focusing just on the process, enjoying the process and I really did that my whole senior year in college and I had more fun than I’d ever had wrestling. And after 17 years, my 17th year in the sport and I had the most success that I ever had. So it was an interesting mindset shift that I very much keep in mind today.

Joshua: But you just stopped. You keep in mind today also.

Jim: Well. So I keep it in mind today at things that I’m trying to accomplish and sometimes there’s a, you know, this self-doubt or this imposter syndrome which has been kind of talked about a lot around these days. And with Sheryl Sandberg had a TED talk about imposter syndrome. And so we all had this sort of self-doubt. And maybe I’m just not good enough. You know maybe you know why would anybody listen to me or to my podcast or sign up to be my coaching client etc.? And then you go, “Just let go of that and focus on the process.” And when you do that and when I do that it’s amazing the growth that happens if…You know, I just heard a quote yesterday where the guy said: ,,Confidence is not walking into a room believing you’re better than everybody else but it’s walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anybody else’’. And when you do that, that level of confidence, it just allows you to be the best version of yourself. It allows you to… Self-doubt is no more an issue, it’s not even about that. It’s just about – I am enough. I mean I keep reflecting on these people.

There is this woman wrestler. Her name is Helen Maroulis. She’s the first ever Olympic gold medalist wrestler for the United States. She just won the gold at the most recent Olympics. And she had to beat the best wrestler of all time. This other woman who is a four time Olympic gold medalist and just unbelievable and Helen beat this woman. And when she talked about how she had that mindset shift to win she said, “I just decided that I am enough.”

And whenever we decide that I am enough because we look around and there’s other people who have accomplished the things that we want to accomplish and we just go, “OK, listen, I’m going to focus on the process, not the outcome, I’m going to have the belief that I am enough.” And then you just start taking action, and it’s like you and I started talking about it before we hit the record button, is when you start taking action amazing things happen and you don’t even know what those things are going to be like, you were just telling me that one thing that had happened, that you couldn’t have possibly predicted that, but you just had a self-confidence and started stepping forward and opportunities arise.

Joshua: Have you ever read you that Goethe quote that I’ve come across? It’s not actually by Goethe and let me see… I just happened to have. It’s not actually by Goethe the German philosopher-writer, it’s attributed to Goethe but it’s not Goethe but it goes like this “Until one is committed there’s hesitancy, the chance to draw back concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. At the moment when definitely commits oneself then Providence moves to all sorts of things happen to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision raising one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

It happens over and over again. If you plan and plan and plan you can plan forever and nothing ever happens. But if you act, stuff happens. My theory is that people all have dreams and they want their dreams to happen but most people don’t want to risk failure or that they have their emotional, their fears, their inhibitions and so they don’t try. And so when you try they’d rather help you achieve your dreams than have no dreams happen in their lifetime. And so when you take initiative people are like, “Oh wow, this guy’s taking an initiative. I want to help him.” And they feel, “Good, I’m making someone’s dreams come true. At least someone is having their dreams come true. It’s actually helping others.”

Jim: You know it was similar to that one time when I applied for the TEDx talk in Charlottesville. It was one of those days where I was just driving to work I heard on the radio that the Charlottesville TEDx event was happening it’s actually one of the 7000 TEDx events in the world and Charlottesville’s is the top 1 percent. It’s big, it’s a big one. And I heard it they said that, you know, we have a whole line-up of speakers, we’re opening the doors to an audition for one community speaker. Oh my God, you know the first thought is: that’s not for me, I’m not good enough, they’re not looking for somebody like me and I get that, you know, I focus on the process.

And so they said the application was due by the end of that afternoon. So, you know, throughout the day I’m like, I don’t have time to do this, I don’t have time to send in my application, the application is basically a two minute video so, about an hour before it was due I ran out to my car and got my phone in front of my face and I hit record and recorded my video. And then about a week later they said that sixty-five people applied. Twenty five people got chosen to speak at an open mic night. Twenty-five of us. There were 500 people in the audience and the audience picked one winner, one speaker that would speak at the main event a month later. And I got chosen, right?

And then I go on to do this TEDx talk at the main event. And it was just incredible. You know it came off very well but all I could’ve never, Josh, I could’ve never predicted that. I was just driving to work one day, and actually even back further, I knew that I needed to be a better public speaker, so I sign up for Toastmasters and I never could have predicted this would lead to a TEDx talk but I just signed up for Toastmasters. I stepped into a meeting, started going to the meetings, you know, heard about this TEDx thing, decided to take another action and submit my video. And it just created this chain reaction of events so you can’t predict like taking the first step. Whatever the first step is it doesn’t matter, just one step.

OK if you’re listening you’re thinking like OK there’s five different steps I could take I could call this person, I could sign up for that, I could take this course, I could spend some time researching that, I could read this book, and it’s like it doesn’t matter, do one, do one of them.

Joshua: Yeah, I think a lot of people are afraid if I do that, if there’s A, B and C, but what if B is the one I should do? The best way to find out, which is the best one. Right. First do some analysis, some but once you’ve ruled out, like, it’s one of these things, pick one. Either that one is going to be so amazing that you never regret it, or if another one is more valuable to you, it will not leave your mind. And the one that you like, C is really the most awesome one, and A could be but really isn’t. And you actually pick A, that’s not a tragedy. What will happen is B will stick in your mind. It will still stay there and A will eventually run out and then you’ll switch to B. But no analysis will get you that, would tell you that. You have to do it.

Jim: Yeah, and I would offer this too is if one of your options involves meeting with another person or calling another person, I would do that one because usually more information isn’t what you need. It’s another person who can give you information or connect you with the right person. It’s usually people that really help move things forward. It’s not reading another book or listening to another podcasts or doing more research. You have to do that fundamentally to have that sort of foundation, but after that it’s like talk to people, meet with people, reach out to people.

Joshua: Yeah. And then another part about other people being involved is there’s an element of public accountability that when you have an element of public accountability, it gets things done. If you have little goals for yourself, not bad. I mean I think it’s better to have little goals than not have any goals, but when someone else is going to see the results of what you do, you get it done. It’s in a way, that, at least in my experience, that you know, if you say, “I’m going to get up, get out of bed and be ready to go in a certain amount of time,” you know, a lot of times I feel like, if you say that before you fall asleep sometimes you wake up and you are like, “I’ll stay in bed a bit longer, I’ll snooze a bit.” But if you have to get up, if you have to perform in front of someone, you will get out of bed quick.

Jim: Yeah. Bingo. I mean that is such a key to, I believe, high achievement peak performance in getting what you want out of life. It just that. It’s having that accountability, whether it’s self-accountability, whether it’s, you know, sometimes it’s self-accountability of writing it down. I do the five-minute journal. I just did my five-minute journal entry before I got the call. And like I noticed now that I’m doing this five-minute journal, like, there’s even a bit of self-accountability, I just wrote it. I write things down about, like, what would make today great is one of the questions, you know, and there’s three spots. And you write them down and you go OK, OK, I guess I have to do that. You know, if it means, like if it’s using your example, like, you know, for maybe the next day like getting out of bed early and getting dressed and out the door by such and such time, if I’ve even, if I don’t have to be out somewhere. If you write it down, you’re pretty much holding yourself accountable to it. But then you have the other level of actually being part of a group or telling somebody else or, you know, having some sort of outside accountability that takes it to the next level.

Joshua: Yeah actually it’s funny that you were just writing your questions and before I got on with you I was writing… Yesterday I had an interview… Have you met Dave Baron yet?

Jim: No. You’ve mentioned his name to me before though.

Joshua: Oh, so I’ll see if I can connect you guys. I interviewed him yesterday and I asked him what…He was really inspiring. He was like, I don’t know. He gives out his phone number in our conversations, like, if anyone’s call me and so I give him my phone number to which I never plan to do. And I was like, because I was talking about my food and how much I love having people over and so, if you listen to this and you are in New York or nearby, give me a call, I’ll make you a lunch. And at the end I was like, I was asking him for advice for what I could do next. And he said, answer these three questions. One is answer why five times and then the next one was…He gave me these questions and so just before talking to you I started three blog posts with the questions that he gave me so that I will have these blog posts go up and the world will see my answers of and people who listen to the podcast whatever will hear why I’m doing it now. I’m trying to make it more out there because I’m increasingly comfortable calling myself the Martin Luther King of the environment, the Nelson Mandela of the environment, which has been hard for me to get to. But public accountability, I’m going to go out there and, you know, if I call myself the Nelson Mandela of the environment and I sit at home twiddling my thumbs all the time, that’s not a very consistent between what I’m calling myself and behaving. I got to really deliver…

I want to go back a bit to something you’re saying about this mindset shift. You coach people, you coach, I think wrestling and you coach professional people to be more effective professionally.

Jim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I spend most of my time in the coaching side of, I don’t really even coach wrestling that much anymore. I do a little bit but it’s more just for recreation. But yeah I coach, I’m a professional coach, life coach, personal coach, executive coach, whatever you want to call it, you know, performance coach and I help people get clear on their goals, figure out what’s the next right next step for them and help them, sort of live the life that they want to lead and feel more in balance. Like so many people feel unfocused and out of balance in their life and I help them get clear and get focused and get back in balance.

Joshua: Have you coached people through that mindset shift?

Jim: I have, you know, interestingly, I’m working with a guy right now who when we got to that point in my coaching program, it was really profound for him because we go through these four steps of this program, it’s identifying your core values as step one and then tethering your core values to your goals and we have written goals and sort of action plans and then that’s the second part, and then the third step is the environment of excellence which I can talk more about, but that’s sort of getting surrounded yourself with the right people, in the right podcast, in the right media, coming into your world. And then we have, the fourth step is a follow through, how you’re going to follow through on this long term because that’s where most people kind of fall off on setting goals.

But when we talk about mindset and it was really profound for me when I was explaining to them, that when you have this mindset shift it’s not that, I’ll use the wrestling example and this is sort of what I talked about sports and you know a lot of sort of sports analogies. But, when you make that mindset shift, when I made that mindset shift in wrestling my whole senior year really, it wasn’t, there weren’t new techniques that I learned. Although I continued to work on my technique there were new techniques that I learned. I didn’t do new and innovative things that I learned, in terms of techniques, but I took different actions, like, I did different things that were based on the mindset. As opposed to what I actually learned technically, so, you know, my reaction times were different. I was more in a flow state. I was more comfortable with just who I am and who I was as a wrestler. And I just let those things flow as opposed to trying to think about them and force them to happen.

And what that looks like in the real world is for somebody trying to figure out what’s the next step for them or trying to maybe start a business or get to the next level, it’s like, what that looks like, is you may have to make phone calls every day in your job. But when you have the mindset shift you’re still making phone calls but they are just different phone calls or either maybe you’re calling different people or maybe if you’re calling the same people, your tone of voice is different, not because you’re trying to have a different tone of voice but because your mindset has shifted in that tone of voice shift may come across as confidence to this person on the other end of the line, they might buy more from you or buy more into your, whatever it is that you’re selling. So it’s just that when you have that mindset shift, different things happen and not because you’re physically trying to make those different things happen but because that mindset shift is just creating those new things in front of you.

Joshua: The reason I’m asking about that mindset shift is that, well, first it sounds like, for you when you’re coaching, you set up, you want your clients to succeed. And so you create a context, in which that mindset shift will take root. If I heard you right.

Jim: Sure, yeah.

Joshua: Of the people around them in the podcast they listen to and so you want them to succeed, so that’s going to work. I’m working with a situation where I’m interviewing a lot of people for this podcast and I ask them to take on a personal challenge and some of them do, and it’s a tremendous experience. And some of them aren’t able to, they give up and I haven’t done many second interviews yet, I’ve done the first interviews, where people take on a challenge and they sound enthusiastic when they do it. And a couple of them are friends of mine, so I keep in touch with them, what you know in between, you know I interact with them in between the first interview and the second interview and ask how it’s going. And a couple of them have said like, it’s too hard, I can’t do it. There’s too much stuff going on in my life. It’s no different than the other people who are doing it, and making it work. And I’m wondering if there’s a mindset shift that can help them through. Or you know, because a lot of times you’re saying people have this feeling of, like, I’m not good enough and a lot of people have this feeling, it is like all these reasons that are not, If they want they can let those reasons be enough not to do it like they’ll say stuff like what difference do I make or if no one else changes what different, you know, then it doesn’t matter what I do or the plane was going to fly anyway or things like that. And a lot of what you’re saying, you were saying that you didn’t care about what the other people were doing, it was just what you did what you thought was right.

Jim: Yeah. A good sort of another good example of this is like Elon Musk, right? We all know Elon Musk like this huge thinker makes huge things happen. Like you can’t just go OK I’m going to do what Elon Musk does. You can’t become the next, or you sort of your version of Elon Musk, by trying to be him or by doing the things that he does. You have to work on the mindset shift because when you have the mindset shift, then huge things begin to happen. Does that make sense, like, when the mindset shift happens you just approach the same problems from a different perspective?

Joshua: Yeah, for some reason in my mind I always think of, if you want to go on a date with someone…I date girls, if i want to date a girl and I really want to go on a date with her, then if it rains, I’m like I’ll figure it out. If other stuff comes up I’m like I’ll figure it out and then make it happen. But if I don’t I’d go on a date with her if it rains random, like, ah, you know what, let’s postpone it. Yeah. And if little things come up you’re like, oh let’s not do it and it’s the same brain, but if you really want to do something, you figure it out. You get through it.

Jim: Yeah, that’s exactly it. So replicate that example into anything else in the world, it’s like, OK, yes there are going to be obstacles but what’s your mindset around it? I’m still going to make this happen whether I have to go over, under or around through, whatever.

Joshua: Yeah actually, I know you’ve interviewed Akshay, so he’s going to go through, I think it was a week with no packaging for any food. And he’s all set to do it. Now this is a guy… How many ultramarathons has this guy done? He served in the Marines in Afghanistan and then I get emails from him and he’s like, “You know, I forgot I have to go to this thing. And they’re only going to serve, like, I don’t know what they’re going to serve me and so I’m going to be able to make it. Should we restart it?” No, we’re not going to restart it. Find a way.

First of all I’m, my goal in this podcast is not propaganda. I’m not trying to give people like some idealized version of how easy it is to do these changes. I recognize that, even if for me, it turned out, that, you know, not eating packaged food was, first of all it was zero for two and half weeks, but since then it’s a lot less. Like it’s very little but not zero, but it’s still like for me, it has ended up being a tremendous benefit. That doesn’t mean it’s going be easy for another person. Everyone has their own situation But this guy does all this, like you’re marine, the whole thing is about taking on incredible challenges and you’re running ultra-marathons.

Jim: Yeah, yeah. He’s runs cross-countries.

Joshua: And then he’s like, “Oh I’m not going to do that.” I’m like, just tell them you’re not going to eat that food and have some water and you can, you know, you’re not going to die. I didn’t say that because that would be very intense. And that lead to my way of looking at things, it’s not what will lead him, it’s his way have to be where he is. But I think it would have been more useful, maybe there’s something from the beginning than I can tell him. Keep in mind that this is something that may come up or like, maybe say to him, you know, you’re going to face challenges that you didn’t expect that you would face, because two big ones are coming up with a few people are, when you interface with another person, a spouse perhaps or boss, things that you would do on your own, suddenly, it becomes harder in a way that people can’t predict. So that’s one thing that trips people up. Another one is travel. When you get away from where you aren’t in control of your environment as much as you are in your own home. People seem to trip up with that one too and maybe if I got them saying, you are going to like, yes, now you say you feel like oh I can do it and you feel strong and you feel like whatever comes your way, you’ll handle it. But things are going to come your way that you didn’t think of and put yourself in the mindset now that you will do it no matter what. I’m not sure. I mean…

Jim: Yeah, sure, yeah. My sort of question that I help people whenever they run into “Yeah I’d like to do that but I can’t’’, the question I always ask is, OK I know you can’t, you know you, say that you can’t but hypothetically what if there was a way that you could? What would that look like? If you had to come up with a solution hypothetically this is going to happen. How would you deal with that obstacle or that problem? And make, well I guess I would have to do this rather than…

Also they’re coming up with solutions that are real. There are actual solutions that they could implement and then they go implement them. You know so and again it’s just that, it’s that mindset shift of “I can, I just need to find a way’’, right? Or just saying I don’t have time… Then the mind shift is “Ok, I just don’t, I’m not making that a priority, I don’t have time to work out’’ is a silly excuse and the right way to frame it is ,,I’m just not making it a priority’’ or an example, you know, “I have to go to this event and they may serve packaged foods so I can’t do what I want to do” go week without packaged foods. It’s OK. I’m going to go to this event. If there was hypothetically a way for me to get through this event, what would that be? Now you said OK [27:10] He would come up with solutions, right? And that’s the mind shift you have to have. You know, like from my podcast I was like, “Man I’d love to get Tim Ferris on” you know, and I’m like, he would never come on my podcast and I had that, the switch flipped and I am like, screw that, like and I invited Tim Ferris on my podcast and he committed to come on podcast and my God, it’s like… But it was a mindset shift, right? It’s like, stop limiting yourself and figure out if there was a way, what would be the way and I had to be a little creative about it and it worked.

Joshua: You know this is the whole promise of, you know, I got to the science curator from TED, I just interviewed him yesterday. And you know I’m not in TED yet but you know one of the reasons he is working with me is, he believes in what I’m doing but also when we talk he’s like, “You’re not there yet but you know you could do a TED talk like TED, full TED, right?” He said you have to have one clear message. And what I’m coming up with is that people see changing the behavior for reducing their emissions and pollution as deprivation sacrifice. And what you just said is what I want it to be, which is you can’t do this and when you do it all sorts of things open up and it becomes this incredible thing and that’s what I want people to see, not polluting is not you don’t get to go to Machu Picchu, it’s you do get to and then you figure out your values.

In my case knowing my neighbors, taking advantage of what’s around me and for me a lot of it is in food but also, it’s been like my relationship with friends since Heseltine for example and it’s something that I’ve put effort into because she’s here. And I don’t know if you know who she is but she was born during World War One. And I’m thinking someone who lived through World War One, through prohibition, through the Great Depression, through World War Two. She comes from as different culture as anyone in the world. I mean, that’s a totally different world and that, what would have happened if I had not been here to take advantage of that relationship and other people have their things. And if you don’t do X, but you value, say clean air and water more, this is your chance to develop all those things. And so you’re looking at it maybe another piece to add into it is not just what you’re not doing but think of what you can do if you overcome this thing. What else can you overcome if you do this? What will, like, how will a solution happen? Maybe I should start putting people more into a problem-solving mode as opposed to just a commitment mode.

Jim: Yeah, I mean when you phrased it that way I think I don’t get to go to Machu Picchu. What’s the positive side of that equation, right? What’s the other way to look at it? What’s the optimists way to look at it it’s like, OK well I get to build stronger, better relationships with my neighbors.

Like pretty awesome, I mean the most important thing in people’s lives really is relationships. So it’s like how can that not be better? And it’s just a different way to look at the same problem. You know, it’s again going back to Elon Musk kind of mindset, it’s like there’s huge insurmountable problems that he looks at, everybody sees them as insurmountable problems. He goes, “Oh there’s no, there’s way around it. And here it is, this is the way we’re going to do it.” You know, it’s just it’s just a mindset shift and same thing about the date. We’re looking at it’s different ends of the spectrum but like, “I can’t go on this date because it’s raining’’ or “I can, I just have to do it this way’’.


Joshua: I’m starting to think that this podcast. I hope you don’t mind me just kind of letting my thoughts run out loud. At the beginning I thought I was going to lead a lot of people trhough these changes and the rest of the world would get to hear the changes and that would inspire them to change themselves and then I realized like when they hear me talk to Leonardo DiCaprio which I haven’t put him yet but they’ll hear him and they’ll think, “Oh if he can do it I can do it too” And I did listen to people going to these challenges and what started it first sounding like deprivation sacrifice. They’d hear how much it opened things up and so forth.

I think also I hope that there is going to be over time an evolution of Josh because I’ve got to tell you there’s so many times I’ve wanted to give up and so many times I felt like there’s no point. And then the guests get me through things and I mean, I’ll walk and do something and they’ll say, “Well you know I woke up the next morning and feel like doing it’’ I’m like, oh man this is…If people who I talked to one on one don’t do it and give up, they’re not giving up, they’re choosing other things, then what hope do I have for, to influence, if I can’t influence a friend, how am I going influence 7.6 billion. But then each time you hit failure you’ve got to adjust and figure out a different way of doing it. I mean, I can give up, I can certainly afford to go to Machu Picchu and have a good time and, you know, future generations, they can deal with my pollution, that’s just not how I look at things.

Jim: Right. Yeah and I think failure is something that I talk about obviously a lot and it’s hard, everybody says, yeah, failure or failures, you know, the whole movement out there and I think, I guess part of it is that failure is OK and we need to understand failure is the path to success which is something I say a lot of failure is the path to success. But it’s one thing to say it, it’s one thing to actually believe it and live it and do it and move forward, despite failure or even sometimes because of failure. And so your mission, Josh, is huge. Are you going to encounter failures and setbacks? Like of course, absolutely!

Like you talk to any, any high achiever and that’s sort of the foundation of my show Success through Failure is I take one of these, I interview these over-successful people – astronauts and billionaires and professional athletes and etc. etc.. And I say okay well. You sound like this amazing person, you’re on a pedestal guys. You know someone like you Josh with multiple I believe degrees and everything you’ve done and you go OK well, let’s get real here. Tell me about how you fail. And I just get these amazing stories of failure and most of them are said well, I’ll give you one because I have many. And some of them, you’re just like blown away by these stories of failure.

Really? Like that happened to you? And then when people can kind of understand that and internalize they go, OK, well maybe my failures aren’t so bad, because really inside we don’t seek failure, we don’t want to fail, right? We actually, when we do something we want it to work, but when we fail it creates this sense of I’m not good enough for, I’m not smart enough for, I’m not capable enough. I just can’t do this or the universe isn’t ready for this kind of change yet. Like the change you’re talking about, but it’s like, no, I’ve done this and I’ve discovered a way that doesn’t work and I’m now more prepared than ever to make this happen. I may have to go down a different route. I have to take three steps back and go up a different path but failure is absolutely the path to success. And the more you look into this, the more you think about it, the more you read about it, the more you do like I do and interview people and talk to over-successful people, the more you go, ,,OK failure is normal’’ and that’s my whole goal is to normalize failure.

Joshua: Yeah. I guess you started by saying that you were part of this movement. But I think you were some of the movement, I think some people talk about failure and haven’t failed. And they’re kind of jumping on the bandwagon and some people have like fails and the things I felt like, I’ve had, I’ve cried at work. I’ve, oh my God. Did I tell you about, I think maybe with you, I talked about the time when I was like not picked to play in sports and it was like a major life shift where. And everyone go to Jim’s podcast. Listen my interview with him and you can hear that story. Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, episode 85 I think is the most recent one. I did two with you, there’s one in the 40 I think and then 85 was the most recent one.

Joshua: I’m very proud that you mentioned me in your hundredth episode, I was in there with the big ones and things like, when it happens I coach people through this and then it happens to me and I’m like, I forgot. And like, the emotion that you feel. Actually I think psychologists call it an empathy gap, there’s like a term for it. You become a different person almost and you forget logically, that it’s going to happen. But when you feel it you like, deck goes out the window. I mean I guess with practice it gets there, but when I hit the failures that I’ve hit on this Leadership and the Environment podcast it’s different than the failures before and so I feel like, oh this is like, yes I made it through those things but this one is really too hard and when I say to you now, it sounds like obvious but when I’m in it, it just, it’s hard to get to. I guess it takes a while to train yourself to get through those things.

Jim: Yeah and that’s the thing about failure, it’s painful and it sucks and it’s not like you go through failure because you have a mindset shift and you go, “Oh this is great, this is is really enjoyable’’. It’s like, oh it’s like no matter what it’s going to suck, because you didn’t try to fail. You actually tried to win or succeed or achieve a goal you failed. But it’s like, it’s having the presence of mind to go on, OK, things are going to be OK.

Joshua: Yeah which I think comes through experience like nothing else is that presence of mind. And I think that was…

Jim: Let me share a quick story maybe or maybe it’ll pop back in your mind. So I interviewed a guy recently who his podcasts episodes can be for anyone who wants to listen can be around 110 or so give or take a couple. His name is Justin Wren and he’s a big guy. He’s a UFC fighter, one of the best in the world, he’s like 16 and 2 he’s really, really good with a…

Joshua: Wait, is that the guy with the bloody face on the picture?

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Joshua: This guy looks serious.

Jim: There’s two guys there. Actually there might be two guys with bloody face and I interviewed two different guys [37:36] in the recent months here. So this guy Justin, he’s a big powerful force of nature, right? And you look at this guy, he’s just an unstoppable machine. Not only is he big and intimidating looking, there’s other big intimidating looking guys in his weight class that he has to fight in the UFC, but he beats them, right? He’s like, one of the best.

And when I interviewed him, Josh, oh my goodness. The vulnerability that he shared, the failures, the struggle that he shared, they were life changing. Honestly like, it impacted me in such a deep and profound way, but when he shared these failures Josh, it gave him, this is what I’ve understood and I sort of come to realize that the deeper the failure that someone’s willing to share with me and my podcast, the more credibility that they earned with my listeners. And he shares some deep and powerful stuff and you did too, and Akshay too, we were talking about Akshay, whenever that happens, it just opens the door to people wanting to help. So I encourage people to be as real as they can, share your failures because it boosts credibility, whether you’re a person who says, you know, who comes on my podcast or goes through life kind of hiding their failures.

People don’t connect with you as well or I should say the other is more about the flipside it’s when you share your failures and you’re more vulnerable, people are more connected with you, they can empathize with you, and they want to side with you and for some reason I don’t understand it psychologically but it gives you more credibility. It’s amazing. I’ve said it over and over.

Joshua: Yeah. And listeners have heard me talk about this time when Marshall Goldsmith was just pointing out this, how it was not opening up and not being…He was talking for a couple hours. He was just like, “Josh, in this whole conversation you said one thing, one thing that made you sound human and approachable and everything else was like, how great you are’’. And that’s one of the great things about Marshall, you hang out with him and like you walk away like, it’s not that you feel bad, it’s not that you feel like dirt, you feel like, raw, you feel like, yeah, like, you just exposed a nerve and…

Jim: It’s great and those kind of people are good to have in your life.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s like not pleasant but it makes the rest of life more pleasant. And yeah I guess some of us to let go of the thing that was trying to think of before maybe I’ll like as I listen through this, maybe I’ll put it in the beginning or in the end of the prerecording, the post-recording thing. I want to switch over to the environment though, and is it something you care about? You put me in touch with Tesch, and it tells me you’re in touch with the world of… What’s the environment to you?

Jim: Yeah. So what does the environment mean to me? I was an environmental science major at the University of Virginia. So it’s something that’s very close to my heart. I was actually at dinner last night with a group of friends, my wife and I with a group of friends from out of town and we were talking about eating fish. And the one guy his daughter is a pescatarian and he talked about how her mercury levels have gone through the roof in her body and we can’t even live off, you know, a fish, of something that is in our environment because it can poison us and this one guy saying, “Wow!” He’s like, “That’s crazy. Like, how did people back in the days do it?” You know they must have been really poisoned.” I’m like, no like, hundreds of years ago they didn’t have to deal, this wasn’t a thing. He’s like, “Oh what do you mean?” It’s pollution, this is what we’re doing to our environment.

And a lot of people just don’t understand it. That means that was out for him. That was a huge shift like, so he’s not an environmental guy, he’s just not in that world. He’s actually the head wrestling coach at the University of Virginia who I interviewed on my podcast. Amazing, amazing individual talk about sharing vulnerability and failures. He’s an amazing guy. That’s just not his world. I’m an outdoors guy. You know, I love being outside and do a lot of outdoor activities. For him that was one conversation, I think that’s a total, total game changer and mindset shift for him, you know to understand that we are damaging our planet, we are damaging our environment and it’s affecting us. It’s not just affecting the people who are tree huggers, right? It’s affecting like everybody like, his children are being affected by this. So it’s something that sits near and dear to my heart.

Joshua: I’ve been saying a lot. Like even if you don’t care, even if you don’t believe in global warming you don’t want mercury in your fish. You don’t eat poison and that you know pollution and global warming are totally separate issues. So have you thought of the other personal challenge to take on?

Jim: No, I haven’t.

Joshua: So the idea here is a personal challenge, that is not something trivial but it also doesn’t have to be, don’t feel encumbered like you have to solve global warming by yourself tomorrow, but something that will make a difference so lower your greenhouse emissions or will reduce your pollution or will cause you to draw down on non-renewable resources. It’s something that makes a difference and yeah.

Jim: I got an idea.

Joshua: You got an idea?

Jim: Yeah. I think you might have mentioned this to me in an email about this you’re going to ask and I love this. I love this, so this is something that we can all do, right? We can all do something small. And so a few months ago I learned that there, I live about eight miles from downtown Charlottesville and my office is in town and I learned that there is, I live in a development, you know, kind of outside of town. I learned that there is public transportation that comes up here. It’s a sort of a small bus, more or less that that comes up here and can shut your rate down into town, and I can do that. So my schedule, a lot of time I’m out, driving around town so I have to meet with people, so I can’t do it every day, but I’m going to commit to taking that four times in the next 30 days at least at least, that’s, I would say once a week. I’m traveling around and meeting people but I’m going to commit to doing that four times the next 30 days.

Joshua: OK so you’re taking that gratuitously to replace car trips.

Jim: To replace car trips. Yep.

Joshua: So between now, August 19th, so between now and September 19th, at least four car trips would be replaced by taking this public transportation.

Jim: Yeah that’s about, you know, every day, a round trip is about 30 miles or not 30 miles, every roundtrip is about 20 miles. So 80 miles of travel, 80 miles of car travel will be replaced by me, just jumping in on the bus that’s already making that trip anyway. And you know so you look at the other side, like, OK, am I depriving myself? Well I’m not sure, but I can also look at the other side and go I have to walk about half a mile to get to where the bus leaves from. So I will get a little bit of extra exercise, get a few more steps in and when I’m sitting on the bus as opposed to when I’m driving, I will be able to maybe bang out a few things on my phone. You know, get through a couple of the e-mails that I always have to check whenever I get to my office and actually maybe be more productive, so there are some real positives to this.

Joshua: I bet there are unknowns that are going to be greater than the things you just predicted.

Jim: And then we started talking about the being in the show, when you take action, right? When you do something, take one action, that’s going to be my action. There are going to be other like you just said, there are going to be other things that happen that are positive, that I can’t even imagine what they are, and you know maybe another one of those is like, one or two guys on my street are going to see me walk in and I am going to tell them about it and they might join me. Who knows? I mean there’s going to be things that I cannot predict.

Joshua: And I think a bigger thing is going to be something not external, but internal that maybe it’s going to happen that with four days left to go, you haven’t done it once and you’re going to say I don’t have any excuses and I have, how am I going make this happen? Like what if I could make this happen? Even though I don’t have time to do this and I have to take a car. How am I going to do this? And you’re going to figure something out and that, what you figure out is going to be something so valuable to you, it’s going to be some internal shift.

Jim: I’m excited. I mean, I couldn’t agree more. You know, there’s going to be an internal shift, because I’m actually doing something, I’m not just thinking about it, I’m not just talking about it. And whenever I actually take action and do it I would imagine you know it’s going to be certainly come, it’s going to come up a conversation with other people, right? It’s going to maybe make me think, oh maybe I can do this, You know maybe I’ll start looking at a counter gone, maybe there’s some other times I can do this, you know, and plus I’m saving a gallon of gas, I’m saving a few bucks. It’s like there’s just so many positives and so many mindset shifts that can happen. So I’m excited to do it. I’m so glad you challenged me to do this, Josh.

Joshua: This is what I want to change with you. The discovery is like what I want to spread throughout the world. You know that’s my goal. All right so now we’re going to schedule the second one. So I propose a month from now would be September 19th. We could do that, then if that works for you?

Jim: Yeah. Another conversation?

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. Cool.

Joshua: Anything else? Now I feel like it’s set, it’s going to be minimum four replaced car trips with public transportation. Yeah. And also so people hear, you said this but, like in New York City public transportation is like trivial to take, it’s like…

Jim: That’s what you do when you’re there. Right. In Charlottesville it’s not.

Joshua: And for sure it’s not so it’s easy, right?

Jim: And there’s public transportation but it doesn’t come out this far. I mean, I used to live closer to the city or in a city and, you know, I could actually get it radically and sometimes I rode my bike to work to the office. But even now it’s just not even, it’s really not an option out here until I discovered this sort of one service that does this public transportation out here.

Joshua: So people listening home can’t just say, “Oh well it’s easy for him but not for me?”

Jim: Oh absolutely, no this is public transportation. There’s no, I don’t know anybody on my development area that does this. Obviously there are people who apparently do it. I don’t know any of them.

Joshua: All right. Anything else that I didn’t think to bring up before wrapping up?

Jim: I don’t think so. I mean if people, you know, talking about a lot about sort of helping people get clarity on what’s the next step for them, helping them get focused and figure out what the right goals are for them helping in finding balance in their life. So if anybody is interested in having a conversation with me about that, you can jump on free, just sort of a 30 minute call, it’s not a sales call. So people are, they think that this a sales call. It’s not, it’s just, I love having these conversations. That’s what I am meant to do. That’s what I’m good at. And so if anybody just wants to have that kind of conversation with me just go to jimharshawjr.com/apply/ and just like, apply for a call with me and I would love to talk to some of your listeners, Josh.

Joshua: Great. And I’m getting results just in this call and I wasn’t calling for results.

Jim: That’s what happens when you have great conversations like this though. Me too I’m obviously getting results too. So I love it. It’s a win-win.

Joshua: Thanks. So that went great. So then I will talk to you in about a month. If you have questions or there’s something, if I can help you with them in the meantime let me know. And otherwise, I will talk to you in a month and I really look forward to hearing how this goes.

Jim: Yeah likewise. I’m looking forward to doing it.

Joshua: I’ll talk to you then.

Jim: Thanks, Josh.


I know how Jim’s challenge goes. I’m recording my voice right now after having recorded my conversations with him to follow that unforeseen issues come up and how he handled them. In fact how, he handles these challenges shows how to use one of the biggest problems other guests have hit to help him. So the spoiler alert is that it’s other people you’ll hear in the next episode of how he handles them and what the problems are. Most people don’t anticipate how other people complicate your personal change or your personal challenge. Jim shows how he can hit those things but then also how to transform that hurtle into a solution. So I look forward to seeing you on the next episode with Jim.

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