Success Podcast Post

Finding a Way with Jim Harshaw Jr.

George Grombacher October 12, 2023

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Finding a Way with Jim Harshaw Jr.

LifeBlood: We talked about finding a way to success through failure, the danger of rationalization, how to create your success infrastructure, and how to position yourself for greatness, with Jim Harshaw Jr., executive coach, speaker, and podcaster.       

Listen to learn what a productive pause is and the value of taking one!

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jim Harshaw Jr

Jim Harshaw Jr.

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Jim Harshaw Jr. is an executive coach speaker, the host of the success through failure podcast. He is helping high impact people lead meaningful lives of purpose. Welcome, Jim.

Jim Harshaw Jr. 0:16
Thanks. Thanks for having me, George. excited to have you on

george grombacher 0:18
the show. Tell us a bit about your personal life more about your work and why you do what you do.

Speaker 2 0:24
Sure. I like to think of myself as a multi faceted individual, fueled by my faith and my family and adventure growth. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, currently live in Charlottesville, Virginia, married 20 years, four kids, two boys, two girls, so the kids have taught me more about life than any any textbook or coaching seminar probably ever could. Background I’ve worn a lot of hats. Over the years I was an NCAA division one head wrestling coach, and entrepreneur, nonprofit executive director, just a lot of different roles. Over the years, I was a three time ACC champion wrestler at the University of Virginia and NCAA division one all American, which I think a lot of people hear that and they think instant success, but really, it’s, it’s just a curated highlight reel of, you know, from a long list of failures. And so that is, that’s the topic I gave a TEDx talk on, which is called Why I teach my children to fail. That’s the name of my podcast, which is success through failure. I run the coaching firm called the heart shot group, I’m blessed to work alongside five other incredible coaches, we offer an eight week, personal performance coaching program, and then ongoing support after that it’s called reveal your path. We really help our clients find find purpose and clarity in their lives, help them set clear goals and follow through on those objectives. We also provide leadership development services as well for corporations. Yeah, the podcast, like I said, success through failure we’ve interviewed published over 400 episodes now, you know, interviewed Olympic gold medalists and navy seals, and CEOs and astronauts, world class performers from every walk of life. And we talk about not only their their successes, but also their failures. And really explore how failures is part of that journey to the success most of most people, myself included, it often just creates self doubt and uncertainty and it’s easy to lower your goals and settle for less but but that’s the podcasts and you know, so why do I do what I do, I really it’s a it’s a core, it’s about unleashing potential and helping helping people grow and watching them flourish. And you know, that aligns with my core values of adventure, which you know, whether it’s doing a Spartan Race, or running a marathon or rock climbing, or whitewater kayaking, or leading somebody down through their own journey, an adventure of their own lives, I just, you know, it’s big one big adventure for me. So, but at the end of the day, the biggest adventure is my family, you know, wife and four kids. And that’s my biggest adventure yet.

george grombacher 3:13
Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. For Kids. I’ve got three, like I told you a minute ago. So yeah. Everybody told me, when we went from one to two to a person, it’s twice as hard. And I didn’t find that to be true at all it really at all. And now two to three hasn’t been three times as hard is having four four times as hard, Jim.

Speaker 2 3:33
Now, now, I mean, the jump is zero to one, right? You know, you know, that’s like, zero to one. It’s a complete lifestyle shift. You know, the whole paradigm of the world just changes in an instant, then one to two is a big jump. And then after that, it’s just big their jumps, as you know, but like they’re incremental. Yeah.

george grombacher 3:57
So when I hear Conference champion wrestler, all American athlete wrestler, the last thing I think about is overnight instant success, because I am aware of how hard that is. Do people really

Speaker 2 4:12
you are college athlete, you know, do people really think Oh,

george grombacher 4:16
really must have come easy. It’s wrestling. It’s gotta be the hardest sport out there, man. Yeah,

Speaker 2 4:21
well, tennis, it’s another individual sport. Like you’re you’re familiar with, you know, it’s, it’s you against an opponent, but really, at the end of the day, it’s you against you. And yeah, you know, I do think that there’s this sense that it was easier for other people. When we look at successful people. We tend to think, yeah, you know, it’s hard. They worked hard. They probably had some hurdles to overcome. But boy, me it will be way harder for me to get from here to there. Right. You know, we always sort of look at other people and we think success must have just come easy for them. Yeah, I gave a speech recently and actually was a sermon at my church. And, and, and several people said, Paul, you’re just a natural speaker, you’re just you just gifted your natural speaker. And I just smile and Okay, thank you. But like, but really the truth of it is, I became a professional speaker, because of failure because I was so bad at speaking. I worked at it like, I joined Toastmasters. And most people are looking at someone who who’s the speaker like me, oh, yeah, that’s just easy for you to just get it down. You know, it’s like, no, I actually was really bad at it. And I invested in it. I put time into it. I heard speak, speech, speaking coach. And I invested time and money into this and then led to one thing led to another I got better. I’ve given talks where I’ve totally failed totally flubbed. And yeah, so So when they say people hear division one, all American, you know, there’s a degree of like, yeah, they probably work at it probably practice and did all that stuff. But it came easier for him than it might have for others. But boy, that’s the crux of my podcast is saying, okay, you know, world class performer. Tell me about your success tactics. But let’s get into failure. Like, where did you fail? Tell me about Tell me about your deepest, darkest failure. And, boy, you hear that stuff, Georgia, and it just, it blows you away? Right? Why? When you when you hear that these these individuals who have found, you know, just the highest level of success, like they’ve actually failed more than the rest of us, like, most people fail, and then kind of lower their goals settle for unconsciously, like just not even not even aware of this. They just sort of go okay with that, you know, that that level is not for me, let me just kind of notch it, ratchet it back a little bit.

george grombacher 6:48
And we have this superpower of rationalization or justification.

Speaker 2 6:54
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, well, you know, I’ve got this other thing I need to focus on. I’ve got these other, you know, obstacles in my way. And I had those two, right. We all, but I also believe this, I believe we all have our unfair advantage, and advantages, maybe and, you know, and that could be, hey, I, you know, in the business world, for example, it could be, hey, I grew up poor. And so I’m hungrier, or it could be like, I grew up rich. And so I know what it’s like to be in that world of just having a lot of money, like, whatever it is, we can choose to frame our experiences as unfair advantages or unfair disadvantages. It’s up to us and how we choose to talk about those.

george grombacher 7:41
Does age play a role? Or? I mean, if I just start doing that, when I’m little, it’s just not for me? And I’m not going to try? Or doesn’t matter. I’m sure that I could do that. When I was 60, I could probably just quit.

Speaker 2 7:56
Yeah, well, those formative experiences that we have, especially when we’re young, you know, you’re different numbers, you know, you’re you’re a lot of things in your life and mindset are in place by the age of six or seven or eight years old, very young, you know, I do believe and there’s, there’s evidence that, that, you know, we have these formative experiences throughout life. And, and so no, it’s not, it’s not sad. It’s not you know, it does age, play it pay a play role. Absolutely. You know, but when you, you know, when you look at the life, like you lived as a college athlete that I learned as a college athlete, you look at, you look at world class performers, there’s a framework and an infrastructure there, that allows them to, to perform and do really hard things, including failure. And, and continue to move forward where others without that infrastructure would quit. And what do I mean by infrastructure. There’s, there’s, there’s this framework, and this is kind of the basis of the coaching program, where I coach is, the first part of is, you know, people who have a clear vision for their lives, and understand really what they value, they tend to be more resilient, they tend to be they are more resilient. They tend to find a way where there’s not a way. And so that’s the first part, you have to have a clear vision for what success looks like, you know, when when I was wrestling, I knew what it looked like it was standing on the top of the podium, period, like that was very clear. In the real world. It can look like 1000 Different things like and if you don’t do the work of clarifying that vision, you’re going to drift you’re going to be inconsistent, you’re going to have a hard time staying focused all these challenges. So that’s the first part. And then the second part is you have to have goals that align with those values, not goals that will you know, most people create goals based on what’s parked in their neighbor’s driveway. But what they see on social media not wanting what they really truly want that vision and those values. So that’s the second piece. In, in our coaching program, we set the goals in relationships and health and wealth in all the areas of our lives. And then the third piece is this environment called the environment of excellence. Like you had it when you were competing, I had it like, it’s, it’s, we have coaches in our lives, right, who help us see our blind spots, kick us in the rear, when you need a kick, lift us up and help us course correct. We have, you know, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, we have these people around us. And we’re also on a team of like minded individuals, like, if you think of an Olympic gold medalist athlete, they’re not practicing at the local high school. They’re around other world class performers, right. And we have to do the same thing in our lives, right. So for the listener, think about who, who you’re spending your time with, you know, we’ve all heard, you know, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, well, you also have to if you can’t get around those people read their books, listen to the podcasts, you know, watch the YouTube videos, because that’s the environment of excellence. The third piece and the fourth and final piece is while all of that is a great plan to have in place, you still have to have a plan for following through. When things get hard, not if things get hard, not if you fail, not if there are setbacks, but when, you know, if I was right, when I was wrestling, if I lost the match on Friday night, and I’m sitting in the corner feeling sorry for myself, coaches, like, Hey, Jim, I’ll see you tomorrow morning at 8pm in the weight room, be there, you know, like it or not, you got to be there. And you’d have to have that same infrastructure and plan for following through when the kids get sick, the car breaks down a global pandemic happens, whatever it is, it’s gonna throw you off the path, you still have to have a plan to perform and move forward despite those things.

george grombacher 11:57
Yeah, make sure your plan survives collision with reality, right? Whether I’m getting punched by somebody else, or it’s a it’s an unforced error that I make myself am I going to give up? Is that going to slow me down? And too often? It probably does.

Speaker 2 12:18
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. And that’s why that’s why you know, everyone needs a coach, right? Everybody needs that person outside of them outside of their head, who holds them to a higher standard than they believe that they can attain?

george grombacher 12:36
What percentage of people work with coaches? Probably very small.

Speaker 2 12:40
Boy, George, that’s a great question. I don’t know. There’s very small. And interestingly, it’s, it’s the people who are performing at the highest level. Alright, Henry, think back to your college competing days. What if coach said, Hey, guys, we’re going to have a an optional practice on on Saturday morning, you don’t have to be there. Just be there. You know, it’s optional. Well, guess who shows up? The highest performers? Guess who doesn’t show up? The the ones who who really the most? Right. And, and so it’s the same in the railroads. It’s, it’s who signs up for this. My clients are, you know, neurosurgeons and General Counsel for major hospital systems and, you know, professional athletes, Olympians, these are the people who want to get ahead, and they know that they got to have the team around them, they want to have that that person outside of them. That’s that’s coaching them.

george grombacher 13:39
So it’s, it’s having an understanding of the value of coaching, because I’ve done that in the past. It’s just what I do. It’s having the confidence to be able to take critique and criticism or whatever it might be. So it’s, it’s not that there’s not ego, because certainly high performers have ego, but those are some of the things that would stop somebody not currently receiving coaching from saying, Yeah, you know, this makes sense. I should do that also.

Speaker 2 14:07
Yeah, that’s right. You know, there’s a, there are two CEOs that I’m working with right now, number, the first one is all in on, we’re doing coaching throughout his whole company, leadership coaching and performance coaching, multiple levels of leadership down from him. So there are 700 employees and you know, several 100 million I think $750 million company now. And, you know, he’s all bought in, he bought in he knows that he needs to invest in himself and invest in his people. People are their number one asset. And there’s another company there’s other CEO who I, everybody here would know, this company, and the name of the CEO and just not bought in we do just work with him. He in it’s like really pulling teeth to get him to even show up for these calls. And he’s not really bought into the process. And he’s struggling because of it, he’s really this company is really, really struggling. And it’s just unfortunate, right? You, you say, gosh, we can help you. You can’t just it’s not just grit alone that is going to help you succeed. Yeah, you have to have the work ethic and the grid and all of that, put your head down and get your hands dirty. But you also have to do it effectively and efficiently and work smarter, not harder. And if you’re not working with a coach, whether it’s as an athlete or a, you know, entertainer or in business, you’re just not going to work as efficiently and effectively as you could, you can get there faster with a coach.

george grombacher 15:51
What a powerful reality that is, because grit is rare, and so valuable. But it will only get you so far. And that is the truth. You can white knuckle it and clench your teeth and run through walls and win. But it’s going to be way more painful and way less good, because there’s so much out there so much more for you. Sure. Yeah.

Speaker 2 16:19
I mean, we know that’s a great ingredient that you need the grit, and work ethic. Get somebody outside of your own head, they can help you see your you have blind spots, I have blind so we all have blind spots. We need those people outside of us who force us to pause and in the real crux of my philosophy on coaching and really in life is is this so I’ve this podcast, like I said for hundreds of episodes and hundreds and hundreds of of world class performers. And I used to always ask this question, I don’t ask it anymore, because they get the same answers repeatedly. And but I would say what, what what’s one habit you most credit for your success? And they will never for the New York Times bestselling author, do you think it would be some kind of writing habit for the Olympic gold medalist? Do you think it’d be some kind of training habit, but it never was, it was never the thing that they were known for. There was always some version of, of working with a coach working with a mentor, doing an annual retreat, or planning their day in advance, taking five minutes in the morning and planning their day in advance or taking, you know, 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the week and reviewing the week prior and say what went well, what did not go well, etc. And you know, in the military, it’s an after action review. It’s always this version of stopping getting off of the treadmill of life, stepping out of the chaos for a moment, asking the right questions, finding clarity before you step back in. That’s what a coach does. And so I’ve coined the term, productive pause, productive pause. And the productive pause is defined as this. It’s a short period of focused reflection around specific questions that leads to clarity of action, and peace of mind. Clarity of action and peace of mind. That is what we all want. And it doesn’t come from waking up today and doing the same thing today for no better reason than NASA what I did yesterday, and waking up tomorrow for in doing the same thing tomorrow for no better reason. And that’s just what I did yesterday, know that like that will put you in a repeating cycle of operating at your default. And what you want to do is step back, find the clarity of action, find the peace of mind, and then advance and whenever you do that, you operate at a much higher level. Like when I when I think about the most valuable time that I ever spent during my wrestling career During a wrestling season. It wasn’t in the weight room wasn’t in the wrestling training room practice room. It wasn’t running, it wasn’t watching film. It was the one hour that I sat down and spent with my coaches during the preseason. And we laid out the plan for my season, what weight class and you know, what are your goals for the year where you need to work on what areas do you need to improve all of that, like that productive pause, made everything else that I did more effective? So all the hundreds of practices that I would do throughout the year, were more effective because of that pause. Not despite it. Everybody says Wow, I’m too busy. I can’t pause No, despite that, but not despite that pause. But because of that pause you will be more effective. That’s the productive positive. That’s really the crux, you know, if there’s such a thing as the secret to the success that that’s it.

george grombacher 19:39
I love it that makes total sense. Productive pause. How often are we doing that? How often am I doing that? How often are you who are listening, taking that productive pause and making sure you’re not just constantly operating at your default level. So valuable. But Jim, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? Tell us where they can find the podcast. Tell us how we can learn about your eight week training program. Give it to us.

Speaker 2 20:10
Sure, yeah. If you just Google my name, you’ll find it Jim Harshaw H AR SHA WD you’ll find me on Instagram on Twitter on LinkedIn etc. The podcast success through failure it’s on you know, we’re all good podcasts are found, you know, whether it’s Spotify, Apple, you name it. It’s on that platform. A lot of great interviews and a lot of solo episodes with just me sharing sharing what I’ve learned as well. Jim Harsha. ca ll just if you want to sign up for a free one time coaching call with me. You can do that, too. Those are the best ways to find me. So my website Jim Marcia And then the podcasts and anyone on social media looking forward to engaging with any listeners hear.

george grombacher 20:54
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Jimmy appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Jim Harshaw duck, Jim hotshot JMHARSHAW and then go to Jim Harshaw Take advantage of that free coaching call. Check out the success through failure podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts. And make sure you are taking that productive pause as consistently as you possibly can. Thanks again, Jim. Thank you, George. Till next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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