Stuck in a job that doesn’t bring you joy? Are you desperate for a change but excuses are always at the forefront of your mind because you are so afraid to get out of your comfort zone? How can making an active choice to lean into your insecurities and challenging your fears, be exactly the thing you need to do to move forward?
In this podcast episode, I speak with Tracy Timm about gaining clarity in your career and why it’s necessary that you step outside of your comfort zone.
Meet Tracy Timm
Tracyy Timm is the founder of The Nth Degree® Career Academy, the proven career clarity system that helps high-potential professionals discover, define, and drive careers they love. She has a degree in behavioral psychology from Yale University and studied design thinking with the founder of the d.school at Stanford University.
Timm left a successful but unsatisfying career in finance, traveled once around the world on Semester at Sea, and discovered her ideal career. Timm, now living her dream as a sought-after career clarity expert, organizational advisor, speaker, and author, leads you through The Nth Degree® process: a proven, step-by-step strategy to achieve total career clarity.
Timm is a lively, enthusiastic, and encouraging coach, whose guidance will help you go from stuck in your job to unstoppable in your career and life. For more than five years, she has applied these lessons in her career advisory work with hundreds of individuals and over one hundred fast-growing companies. Timm lives in Dallas, Texas
In This Podcast
- What keeps you from taking the leap into change?
- The pivot is necessary to live the life you want to live
- A flipped cart is an opportunity
What keeps you from taking the leap into change?
People are hardwired for fear biologically because in human history things that we feared could cause physical harm or a fatal threat to our person.
Now in the current moment, that same hardwired fear mechanism comes up when you do something new and out of your comfort zone, like writing a book, but that life-threatening fear is out of place and not as useful as it used to be.
The other thing we are hardwired for too is things that keep us away from fear situations, and for most people that means [staying in] complacency and routine. (Tracy Timm)
For most people, this displaced fear is persuasive enough that they choose to remain in their comfort zone, even if their comfort zone is a job that they hate because it is predictable and safe.
The pivot is necessary to live the life you want to live
Some people when stuck in their fear, feel that they cannot peel back their layers to see who they are without their comfort zone, because they think they may not like what they see.
However, becoming attached to the version of yourself that exists only in fear is not the whole of you. To make the impactful change, to shed the load of the fear, complacency and self-limitation will allow you to unleash all the potential you know you have.
That pivot is 100% necessary for us to live the life we want to live and we will stay trapped [and] imprisoned until we choose. And that’s all this really is, it’s making an active choice to lean into our insecurities and challenge our fears. (Veronica Cisneros)
Life will go on with our without us, and therefore it is an active choice to change it so that you can experience it the way you want to.
A flipped cart is an opportunity
If you have been complacent in your life, that apple cart has been flipped due to the pandemic. Everyone had their lives disrupted and if you choose to make the best of it, this flipped cart is a potent opportunity for you to make meaningful change in your life.
Ask yourself, are you happy with what you have done with the time that you have been given? If that answer is no, then you should flip your own cart and make some intentional change.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.
Thanks for listening!
[TRACY TIMM]: So you just take step one and you fall down and then you get back up and you’re like, “Okay, well, I’ll try to take step two when I’ve healed from step one.” And then you take step two when you fall down again. It’s like, without a plan and without a process, it’d be like trying to bake a cake without a recipe. You know what I mean? You’re just throwing crap —
[VERONICA CISNEROS]: Everything.
[TRACY]: And trying to figure it out. So, and even then it’s like baking a cake without a recipe and not even knowing the ingredients.
[VERONICA]: Have you ever thought, “How did I manage to lose myself?” Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play.
Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three, and a licensed marriage and family therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you, how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
Hey ladies, welcome to empowered and unapologetic. I’m your host, Veronica Cisneros. Today, we have Tracy Timm who is the founder of the Nth Degree Career Academy, the proven career clarity system that helps high potential professionals discover, define, and drive careers they love. She has a degree in behavioral psychology from Yale University and has studied design thinking with the founder of the D school at Stanford University. Tim left a successful, but unsatisfying career in finance, traveled once around the world on a Semester at Sea and discovered her ideal career. She is now living her dream as a sought-after career clarity expert, organizational advisor, speaker, and author.
[VERONICA]: She leads you through the nth degree process, a proven step-by-step strategy to achieve total career clarity. She is a lively, enthusiastic and encouraging coach whose guidance will help you go from stuck in your job to unstoppable in your career in life. For more than five years, she has applied these lessons in her career advisory work with hundreds of individuals and over 100 fast growing companies. So please help me by welcoming Tracy Timm. Hey girl.
[TRACY]: Hey, what’s up? We got to shorten that intro lady. That thing is just too long.
[VERONICA]: It’s crazy. Well, the other thing is, okay, wait a minute. We just talked and it’s like, do you still have that podcast or are we not doing the podcast?
[TRACY]: No. Yes, that podcast happened in 2017. It was fun. I find that if you’re out there and you’re a business owner and you’re trying to figure out like, “What’s my lane or where do I want to market or whatever,” pick the thing that is sustainable for you because a weekly show or a bi-weekly show just frankly, was not sustainable for me. I hit like one roadblock in my life. We actually, it’s really sad, we actually lost my dad that yea, and so I just was like, I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the cadence. I don’t care about the sort of the, you know you have to keep it really consistent and all those things. I just stopped caring. So if that’s you maybe don’t pick something that you have to be super consistent with every single week. So yes, it’s not a podcast, I mean, it’s still out there in the world. It’s called The Nth Degree Podcast with Tracy Timm and there’s some great episodes. There’s some really incredible people that I got to speak to who are just like out there killing it, living their career to the nth degree. So, we haven’t pulled it. It’s still exists, which is fantastic, but certainly not live and not being updated.
[VERONICA]: All right. Well, I have to say Tracy, I’m so impressed that your mission runs deeper than helping women get unstuck and help them get clarity. A lot of us don’t even realize that this is happening. So bringing people back to life at work is huge, especially right now. There are so many people that are doing it just because versus them being passionate about it. So can you share with us some of your story?
[TRACY]: Yes, absolutely. It’s a fun story. I mean, I feel like I have everybody else’s story in a lot of ways, which is why I wanted to solve this problem for other people. So I’m just about to turn 23. My birthday is in about a week, oh sorry, 33.
[VERONICA]: I know, I was like, “Girl, 23?” Hey, I’m going to turn 21 soon.
[TRACY]: What a brilliant flip that was for. So in my twenties, every year I had my next annual 21st birthday. So when I turned 22, I had my second annual 21st birthday all the way until I turned 30. So I’m about to turn 33. So I was that classic millennial kid or like the elder millennial who was like, just getting into the over-scheduled over committed, always busy. I was an only child too. So a lot of like myopic focus on me as an individual, and from the first day I can remember I was a performer. If someone said jump, I said, how high? And when they said how high I was like, that’s the bar. That’s winning. That’s success.
So in school that was getting A’s. In band, that was first chair, in sports that was being on the best team or winning the most often or getting the most trophies or having most championships. And that was my childhood. I was a huge performer. So I graduated fourth in my class. I was varsity softball all four years. Everything I did, I did to that like fullest extent, but I secretly only like kept doing things that I was already really good at. Does that make sense? Like I had a little thing in the back of my head where I was like, “Why work harder if I’m already good at this other stuff? I’m not going to doing the things.”
[VERONICA]: That’s taking a risk.
[TRACY]: Exactly. So, that worked well when the scale is really linear. So if the goal is going to a great college and you perform really well in high school and all of your extracurricular activities, guess what? You get to go to a place like Yale. Like that’s how that works. So I got recruited to play softball, played at Yale for two years, studied psychology, which I fell in love with because I’m a big nerd. So Yale was like the place I could go where I finally found like, “Oh my gosh, there’s all these cool things you can study and books to read and history.” And I just loved it. But what I loved the most was that I discovered that you can study people. Like that’s a thing.
[VERONICA]: Yes. Totally.
[TRACY]: The field of psychology is like, “Oh, we figure out why we do the things we do and what our motivations are and what drives us,” and all these, if you know what are emotions for. Like all of the things that we take for granted that I just found absolutely fascinating. And yet when I looked at my future, which I did rarely because it was very scary, because college is the end of your linear measure, your linear yardstick for success.
[VERONICA]: Absolutely. That’s what we were told.
[TRACY]: After college, there’s no A’s in life.
[TRACY]: So I was terrified thinking about what would happen after school. So I didn’t, I until senior year when I was forced to in September look at like career fairs and think about what I was going to do next. That’s when I realized that I was never a researcher. I didn’t enjoy the data and the analytics and actually doing experiments and things like that. I really liked applying information out in the world, but when you look at the linear things you could do next, that means counselor, psychologist, maybe sports psychologist, maybe psychiatry, like it was all very counseling based. And I was like, “I’m 22. I don’t want to, I have enough problems as it is. I can’t help other people with their problems yet.” So I was actually 22 then, whereas now I am no longer in my twenties. In the absence of a very clear and linear plan of what to do next, I did what a lot of people do. I think you get swept up in what’s happening around you and you start to really take maybe more into consideration than you naturally or normally would the opportunities that just arise without really trying that hard. So Yale is a great place to get recruited from, as you can imagine.
[VERONICA]: Of course.
[TRACY]: They’re Ivy leaguers, right? I mean, I get it. That’s part of the reason for going there. It’s that there’s a good chance you’re going to get a job after you graduate. So Yale’s big in a couple areas. Finance is one, consulting, the government, a lot of people go to nonprofits and NGOs, a lot of people go on to get their master’s degrees. And so I got swept up in the finance piece, which frankly, any, and all my friends would tell you like that is the last place they would have pegged me for. I took like maybe two math-ish classes in college.
[VERONICA]: Yes, girl, you totally went from psychology to finances. So, I’m like, “Okay.”
[TRACY]: It, and honestly looking back, it makes no clear sense other than what my value set was at the time. It was very, fear-based very, I’m an only child. Like I said, my parents and I are really close and so I felt beholden to them. Like I needed to pay them back and I needed to get something that paid well. There was no way I was going home. There’s zero chance that I was going to move home. That was like my bar for maybe my young adulthood success of being able to take care of myself. So, all of that sort of wrapped up into, “Wow, this job’s going to pay me a signing bonus. What the heck is that?” They are like, “Sign this and we’ll give you $10,000.”
[TRACY]: I was like, “Okay.” And I mean, I was making stupid money for that age and so it was nearly impossible to say, no. And it alleviated all this anxiety that I had for the next calendar year. I got to do my senior year, all fun and whatever. So this is a long way of saying my very first job out of college is the reason that I do what I do now, because I spent two and a half years working at this Wall Street job. I was on a trading floor in the markets, like global banking and markets side of the business. So we were the broker dealer. We were brokering trades for institutional investors or hedge funds or whatever. And I remember day one signing the piece of paper and being like, “Maybe I’ll like it. Maybe it will all work out.” Like it’s got all the sort of bells and whistles of a great job. I have no idea if I’m going to enjoy being there or like the work or be good at it or any of that but —
[VERONICA]: But $10,000 sounds awesome. So let’s go. Let’s just go. At 22, if I’m asking if I could sign that form five times.
[TRACY]: I know. It was pretty bad. So I spent two and a half years really going through kind of an emotional roller coaster of like, I probably knew six weeks in something was wrong. And then that feeling just kept coming back multiple times for whatever reason; something bad would happen, or we had a round of layoffs or this distress would get so high. You know, I was basically by the end of it, drinking NyQuil at night, like it was my warm milk before I went to sleep.
[VERONICA]: Dipping in a little bit of your cookies in it? Okay. I see you.
[TRACY]: I mean, yes. If it’s grape flavored, it’s kind of deserved. Anyway, I just was miserable. And the reason that I do what I do today is that I called up everybody I knew who knew more than me, parents and mentors and friends, and even Yale and said the only reason I feel stuck here is because I don’t have clarity into what I want to do instead. That’s it. Like I would run out of the front door tomorrow if I knew where I was going, but I didn’t even have a semblance of what I would do if I wasn’t doing this. And so I feel stuck. And then any time I would spend 30 minutes, an hour thinking about it, looking at job boards, brainstorming. It was like the blind leading the blind. It’s literally like, your goal is, you and I are in a dark room where the floor is littered with crap.
You could trip over and the goal is to get to the other side of the room and you don’t have a flashlight. So you just take step one and you fall down and then you get back up and you’re like, “Okay, well, I’ll try to take step two when I’ve healed from step one.” And then you take step two and you fall down again. It’s like, without a plan, without a process, it’d be like trying to bake a cake without a recipe. You know what I mean? You’re just throwing crap —
[TRACY]: And trying to figure it out. So, and even then it’s like baking a cake without a recipe and not even knowing the ingredients. Like that’s how much it was. It was a struggle. And I hear that every day from people who are like, “I just don’t even, not only do I not know the clarity piece, I don’t even know how to get the clarity piece.” And that’s the frustrating part. So I remember I called all these people and they were all like, “Yes, I don’t really know how to do that.” Whether it was like, “Oh, I’ve known what I wanted to be since I was six or, Oh, I stumbled into this job and ended up loving it, or, oh yes. I took this one class in college and hosel, like, this was my dream job.”
Like every single person either didn’t know like me or didn’t know but the way that they figured it out was 100% accident or trial and error. And I was like, “Come on. It’s 2000…” At that point, it was 2011, 2012 and I was like, there is literally everything you could want to learn on the internet. Like if you and I want to jump a car, we could figure out how to do that. Like, you’d go to YouTube, you watch a video, you’d do steps one through five. You could jump a car. I’ve been doing this a lot, my car, I need a new car.
[VERONICA]: The minute you said that I’m like, “I’ve done it before.”
[TRACY]: You’ve done it, right? Have I been trained in how to jump? No, but there’s a recipe for it online. Like if I had never baked anything in my life before I could look up how to bake a cake and you’d get the list of ingredients and you’d get the exact steps, everything from how hot the oven should be to what size pan to get, all of it. But there’s no recipe for clarity. There’s no, like, “Hey, you don’t know what you want to do? Here’s step one. This is step one.” And that was shocking to me. And I looked hard and you know what, now that I’m in the industry and I see that there are a lot of people out there who have now tried to come up with recipes, or at least they have their own secret sauce or like maybe they’re the best coach in the world or whatever, it exists, but dang, it’s hard to find.
So that’s when I was like, “Hmm, seed planted.” Like if I could somehow figure this out for myself, I have to teach other people how to do this. I have to get it out there in a bigger way. And that is literally the next like five years after I ended up quitting that Wall Street job was committed to; building the recipe, testing out different recipes, testing out different ingredients, testing out different methods for implementation. And the more I think about it, the more, I’ve just recently come up with this whole cake recipe analogy.
[VERONICA]: I love it. It makes sense.
[TRACY]: It makes a sense, right? You get the right ingredients, you need the right process, you need to do the things in the right order. You need the right sort of combination of all the things and the percolating, and then you get your cake. That’s exactly what we’ve built for career clarity; is we know all the steps, we know the order the steps should go in, we know how long this step should take. And if you do them all, I can’t promise that you’re going to be —
[VERONICA]: Be a bazillionaire.
[TRACY]: Exactly. Well, maybe, I mean, maybe that’s your niche. I don’t know. But what I can’t promise is that it’s going to be easy, but I can promise that it’s very simple when it comes down to it. It’s just step by step by step. And it’s sort of like the first time you bake a cake, it’s a little messy. Maybe you get the measurements wrong, but the second and the third time, and the fourth time that you use this process, that you re-bake the cake, when you’re evolving and growing in your career, you get so much better at it. And you get more clarity every single time and you almost make the recipe your own. Does that make sense?
[VERONICA]: It makes, it makes perfect sense. One thing that you’re saying, that’s what we’re covering is career clarity. A couple thoughts and questions come up for me, which is, as a young adult, we get that sign in bonus and it’s like, okay, check. You know, I graduated from college, check. I’m making so much money, check. And those are really, for the most part, those are really the indicators that we’re on the right path. You know, I graduated college, I got a job, I’m getting paid a certain amount or I’m getting paid a bajillion dollars or whatever it is. So yes, this covers it. And you know, so wait a minute, you want me to step outside of it just because I’m not happy? No, there’s so many things to risk.
Let me give you a personal example. I was in, you’re going to totally laugh at me. So I was working at a hospital and I was a therapist there. I was working there for a good amount of time. I was there for five years and I had my private practice which I love and adore. Now it’s, I built it to a group practice but I remember having a discussion with somebody and he told me, it was Jason, one of my colleagues. He’s like, “Veronica, your private practice is full. Girl, when are you going to pull the plug here?” Because I would hand in my letter of resignation all of the time. I must have handed it in no lie, Tracy, five times.
[VERONICA]: Every single time the director denied me, it was like, “Oh, okay.” And she would deny me because we just had a great relationship. But every single time she denied me, it was like, “Oh, okay. Well maybe she knows more. Maybe she knows better.” Because a good majority of my clients would come from there. And so here I am not wanting to let go of this job that I grew up, I’m going to tell you right now, I wasn’t making anything. I was not, I loved it, but I wasn’t making anything and it was just too much time. My private practice, I loved. It was just awesome and it was like, there’s this big smile the minute I seen my clients. But it was like, the way he phrased it, Jason phrased it to me was, “Veronica, you are the founder and president of this big company, but you’re still working at, McDonald’s saying one day, I’m going to make it to cashier. One day.” He’s like, “You have two jobs.” He goes, “You have these two jobs and it just doesn’t make sense.” And so can you tell me more about like, what is it really, and I understand you have these five steps and maybe it’s a part of what I’m asking, but what is it really that keeps us from essentially taking that leap towards something better and greater?
[TRACY]: Well, I don’t even know if we have enough time to truly talk about this, but it’s, as Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, it is always and only fear.
[VERONICA]: Yes. Amen.
[TRACY]: Masking itself as something else. Like maybe, you’ve dug into enough layers of yourself to realize it really is fear —
[VERONICA]: It was a hundred percent fear. I’m not working there anymore.
[TRACY]: Exactly. Like if you haven’t though, I 100% challenge you to ask yourself like the fifth why? And if the fifth why isn’t fear, you’ve got deeper to go. So what I found that is really interesting, and this is like a bit of psychology and it’s going to be way over simplified, so if you’re out there and you are a psychologist, or if you’re a researcher don’t —
[VERONICA]: No, most of my listeners are not therapists.
[TRACY]: Cool. Okay. So nobody’s going to fact check me.
[TRACY]: What I’ve found and what the research kind of shows is that we are hard wired for fear biologically. So what we’re afraid of used to be biologically things that would potentially harm our person and lead to death and dismemberment and horrible things. So like back in the day, it’d be like, “Ooh, those bees in that bush are buzzing. I’m going to run away from that bush because I don’t want to get stung and like whatever.” Or it’d be like, “Oh, the saber tooth tiger, those teeth are shiny. That is scary. I’m going to run away or fight or whatever.” Nowadays, and again, this is all from Big Magic from Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s like, “You sit down to write a poem and the same fear mechanism comes up, but it’s just not as useful as it used to be.” So the other thing that we’re hardwired for too, is things that keep us away from fear situations. And so if let’s say, for most people that means complacency and routine.
So, if even if you’re in a job that you hate, and even if you’ve got opportunities to leave or whatever, anything that’s going to disrupt, the status quo, anything that’s going to change your day to day or potentially have an impact on your life, change in general, is something that could lead to something that could harm you. Because the brain knows if we will, if we’ve been doing this for a while now, and we’ve been very safe, so why change it? Why change it? I think about this all the time. It’s like, when you think about professionals whose jobs are not incentivized to change, like for instance, a pilot, like he’s expected to land the plane in the way that it’s done every single time. Do we clap? Sometimes if we’re going international, but like, no, you expect them to land the plane. They’re not incentivized to like do a loop de loop or like change it up at the last minute.
[VERONICA]: Please don’t.
[TRACY]: So, we really, and I bring that up because we really underestimate how sedentary we get in our own routines and in our own complacency, in our own comfort zone with whatever we have, even if what we have is not ideal. Even if what we have is miserable. Even if what we have is so below the potential we know we could give the world, it’s comfortable. It’s what we have. So it’s sort of like, what’s that phrase like the enemy that you know is better than the enemy that you don’t or whatever? Like the fear is, frankly, I think of the unknown. It’s looking out of the world and going, “Well, this is the thing I have. And I know I don’t like it, but what if I leave and it’s worse out there or what if I leave and it’s no better, and I’m no better off for having left?” I hear that all the time. Like, oh, these poor people. I mean, you’re the depths of despair when you’re like, “I’m really worried that I’m going to discover what my dream job is and then I’m going to get there and I’m going to hate it.” Like, those are two conflicting thoughts. It can’t be a dream job and you hate it. You know what I mean?
[VERONICA]: I hear that all the time, especially with relationships. “What if I change and I want to leave my husband?” And it’s like, “Girl, did you just hear you say that? You just heard yourself say that. “What if I change for the better? What if I live a healthier life and I want to leave my husband or I don’t like myself?” It’s a dialectic essentially, and you’re doing it for the betterment of your future.
[TRACY]: Exactly. And, you get to see this all day long too. What I love is that we’re not just impacting the one life If we can get somebody into a job where they’re two things, this is our mission or our sort of purpose. Our business mission is to unleash human potential and unlock life purpose for people. So if we do both of those things for one person, if we unleash your potential and we unlock your life’s purpose, the ripple effects that that person will have on their relationships, their community, their churches, their business, their places of business, random strangers they meet at the grocery store, it’s beyond our ability to even track or know the impact that those people are going to go on and have not just in their job, but as an example to their communities. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Like, if you want to better yourself, it’s probably going to improve your marriage. Like not, well, I mean, listen, I’m not a marriage expert —
[VERONICA]: No, it’s truly.
[TRACY]: I’m already [crosstalk] to that.
[VERONICA]: No, no, no, no, no, no. You’re on right path though. It is a hundred percent, shouldn’t say a hundred percent because it has to be a hundred percent. But no, it’s, from what I’ve seen, working with individuals to improve their marriage, to improve their life, it has literally improved everything, their work relationship, their connection with their kids, their connection with their husbands, their connection with themselves, their family, all because they took a step back and self-reflected and worked on it.
[VERONICA]: It benefits everybody.
[TRACY]: You know what I think we’re all afraid of? It’s like peeling back all those layers and not liking what we see.
[VERONICA]: Oh girl, all day. All day. And I’m sure you’ve had to do it. I’ve had to do it in order for us to be here. I hated every minute of it [inaudible 00:24:52] I hated every minute.
[TRACY]: Well, doing it, so this is something that my business coach and I came up with, which I think is f-ing brilliant. She was like, “Listen, it’s only painful when you do it by yourself.” Introspection is only painful when you do it alone, because that is, this was her analogy. And I think it’s perfect I co-opt it because she gave me permission. it’s literally like asking a gifted cardiothoracic surgeon to do her own open-heart surgery. So imagine like she’s a subject matter expert. She’s done it a million times. She’s like got the process down. But because she’s doing it on herself, the perspective is off, the objectivity is off, and it’s highly likely that she’s not going to get the results that you would hope for. It’s messy. It gets really messy. And so doing that level of introspection on yourself is really messy.
And you don’t have the perspective and the objectivity that you need to do it well and do it fruitfully, which is why people like Veronica and people like me and people like my coaches exist because we can do that with you objectively and get you through it and not get you stuck in it which is something I learned early on in my business. Some of my clients would get stuck in their own introspection and something I had to learn as a coach was to get them through the icky part. Because frankly, if you’ve been at a job for however long and let’s say, maybe it’s your, for me, it was my only job. My very first job. I had worked since I was 15, but I’d never had, worked and went to school. So I never had this sort of phenomenon where every Monday I had to go back to the office and that was startling. I’ll tell you what, But I am hardwired. You and I seems like we have a pretty cool, similar hard wiring.
[TRACY]: Can you imagine me at a bank?
[TRACY]: It was literally like Einstein. I found this quote recently and I love it. Einstein said “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life feeling stupid.” And I was a fish and Wall Street was a tree and I was that fish who was like, “I can perform. I’m a performer. I get all A’s. I was first chair. I was varsity. I do stuff. I do stuff well.”
[VERONICA]: Yes, watch me. Watch me.
[TRACY]: Watch me. I’ll just work harder. I’ll just try harder. I’ll care more. I’ll you know, whatever it is. And it just wasn’t clicking. It just wasn’t my zone of genius. And so guess what I thought. I went all the way to the like all or nothing thinking the black or white thinking. It was like, “If I’m not successful here, I’m not going to be successful anywhere.”
[VERONICA]: Oh girl. You’re right.
[TRACY]: And I think that’s everyone’s ultimate fears. It’s like, if I peel back all the layers and I figure out who I really am, I’m going to figure out that that’s not valuable anywhere. And nothing could be further from the truth because the person that I am now is why my business is successful. The person that I was this whole time is why our message resonates with people. Does that make sense?
[VERONICA]: It makes, girl, I just had a light bulb moment. I love that you said.
[TRACY]: I’m not climbing a tree anymore.
[VERONICA]: I love that you said that.
[TRACY]: What was your light bulb?
[VERONICA]: Well, it was that. It was, so many women, so many moms, especially, it’s like, “I have to stay here. You don’t understand Veronica. I have to stay here.” And it’s like, “Okay, tell me more. Tell me why you have to stay here and tell me why you called me. Tell me why you called me.”
[TRACY]: Great question.
[VERONICA]: You know I will call your eyes out.
[TRACY]: Why are we talking?
[VERONICA]: Why are we here, because I know we’re not kicking back. I know we’re not just doing a girl to girl talk. I mean, we could totally do that.
[TRACY]: We don’t have wine on this call. If we did, then I could understand why there was another reason for this though.
[VERONICA]: Bingo. No, why are we on the phone? And that pivot is a hundred percent necessary for us to live the life we want to live. And we will stay trapped, imprisoned, and literally imprisoned by it until we choose. And that’s all this really is. It’s making an active choice to lean into our insecurities and challenge our fears. And I love that you’re focusing on that because it’s true. You know, we’re so afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zones.
[TRACY]: Yes. What I really latched on to that you just said was to live the life that we want to live. I think that’s the part that not enough of us take the time to actually realize that your life is going to continue on. Oh, okay. You’re going to love this. So, my mom and I watch, I’m Catholic, so, but I haven’t gone back to mass since the pandemic, which is very odd, but so I watch it. I watch it on TV every Sunday with my mom, because our tradition was to go to church and then go to brunch. Now we watch the church and go to brunch. And so we discovered this guy, father Mike Schmitz, who is an astoundingly, well trained and then probably very gifted and talented speaker. He just works hard. He’s so good. His Homilies are just like, they wash over you with truth. What he did this past Sunday that you’ll love, he was like, there’s this guy, I think it was Tim Urban, which he’s fairly well known in sort of the lifestyle, whatever space, he had printed out this piece of paper that was like a rectangle of squares that were different colors. Each square on the piece of paper represented a week of your life. So from birth until 90 years old were all these squares, and you could literally count out like based on your age and then however many months past that age you’ve lived, what week you were on in your life. You could see it, like visually. You could see like how far down this [crosstalk] Oh my gosh.
So he’s like, “So here’s my square.” And so if you think about the page, and we’re doing videos, so if you guys just play along with me and your minds, like if you think about the page being like an eight by 11 piece of paper, his square was more than halfway down the page. And so he’s like, the question is, “What have you done with your squares? What have you done with what you’ve been given and what do you plan on doing with the rest of presumably what you have?” And he was like, “This is if I live till 90. Like, who knows?” So, well, it was so powerful to just get that visual —
[VERONICA]: Girl, I’m like getting your pills right now because it’s like, “Oh, hell no.” After this call, like you go —
[TRACY]: You’re like, “I’m going to go on a run and then —
[VERONICA]: Yeah, I’m going on a fricking run. I’m jumping off something. I’m fricking grabbing my kids out of school and I’m going to go ahead and we’re going to take a road trip, but we don’t think like that though. Like we are so caught up in caught up in thinking that we’re going to live forever and that eventually it’s going to happen. Eventually me and my husband will connect. Eventually I will get that job. Eventually, you know, I’ll take that leap and go on that vacation eventually. But when you put it into that perspective, I don’t want to waste my, like right now, I’m like, “Oh my God, Tracy, let’s make this interview on basic because I ain’t trying to waste no more squares.”
[TRACY]: That’s what I’m talking about. It was like, what have you done with what you’ve been given? And to many of us, like, the reason that I have the business that I have at the end of the day, and this is me being like totally honest, I remember, so can I tell like a quick little story?
[VERONICA]: Yes, girl, go for it.
[TRACY]: So when I was on Semester at Sea, so after I quit Wall Street, I enrolled myself back into school, technically speaking and I went on a Semester at Sea, which is undergraduate study abroad program. But I was 25. So I went as like a quote post-grad or whatever. So, that was a life-changing experience for me because I got to be, re-inspired like, there’s nothing more innocent than a college student who’s like, “Oh, we can change the world.” And you know and then I was with mentors and entrepreneurs who were traveling on the ship as well, and just got some incredible insight into just the ways that we could impact the world.
Anyway, so I met this guy, who’s the founder of the D school at Stanford. I’m not going to share his name, but basically what he told me was the reason that he loves design thinking is because it’s inherently a creative process where you’re pulling the creativity out of another person. You’re nurturing their creativity. He was like, “Listen, if we’re made, let’s say in the image of God or whatever you guys think out there,” do your bet, like this is what I think, we’re made in the image and likeness of God and so that means we’re all inherently creative. He is the creator. We are imbued with that and His creativity. It’s like, if I can help somebody nurture their inner creativity. I’ve done something divine. I brought divineness into the world.
Like it’s a spiritual thing. And I remember thinking, “Oh my God, if I could base a business around something like that, I’ll never quit. I’ll have something that will push me through all the crap and all the hard times and all the money issues and all the whatever.” So that’s what my business is now. It’s like, I really believe we’re here for a reason. I really do. Like we have purpose. You’re made with purpose, purpose driven, purpose filled, the whole bit. And then also conveniently, we got to work. The majority of us have to go out and do stuff with like eight to 10 hours in a day. Even if you’re not “working,” you’re going to go do something. You’re not just going to sit around and sort of like veg all the time because you’d get really tired of that. And honestly, if that’s you, you’re probably listening to the wrong podcast.
[VERONICA]: Yes, wasted squares.
[TRACY]: So you’ve got all these squares and you’ve got to do stuff with them. So I think if I can help somebody really discover and then unlock more of their purpose and we can do it via career clarity, then I’ve brought more divine purpose into the world. And that person is going to go on and have these incredible ripple effects. Again, we can never know, but are undoubtedly adding value in the world. So that’s what I want to do with my squares. It’s like how many people have I turned on? How many people have I woken up? How many people have we imbued with purpose or helped them tap into their purpose, because we got squares and we got shit to do.
[VERONICA]: So, Tracy, that’s the thing. That is why someone needs to hire someone like you, because you are passionate about what you do and this is one thing I’m going to say over and over and over again, you’ve done the work. So you’re not just relying on a friend like, “Hey girl, okay. So I’m not happy with my job. Tell me what to do.” Because more than likely, home girl is not happy with her job either. And you’re asking the wrong person.
[TRACY]: The wrong questions too.
[VERONICA]: A hundred percent because you don’t know what to ask. And that’s where someone like you can come in, challenge them, ask questions and help them make connections and see unhealthy patterns that they never realized were there, right?
[TRACY]: Yes. It’s so powerful. But again, you have to want to do this life on purpose. And I don’t know, that can be really daunting if you’ve been on a conveyor belt for any given period of time, or you’ve gotten really used to your routine, but you know what, ain’t nothing like a global pandemic to get everybody off their conveyor belt and out of routine. So like we got to do something. And at the very least what’s great is that we’ve all been woken up to a certain degree. If you’ve been zombied through life, up till now, you could not do that the last six months. You can not just keep things the same, not upset the applecart, like your cart was flipped for you. And I find that, honestly, what that’s created for a lot of people is finally the willingness or even just the opportunity to look and just observe. Is this it? Is this what I want? Am I happy? So it’s about happiness.
Well, I mean, I think it’s about happiness. That’s part of the equation; is I think we’re made for joy and abundance, but all that aside, it’s like, is this what I’m going to do with my squares? Is this, and God, that image, my mom and I just looked at each other. We were on opposite couches and we were both like, “Whoa, I really [crosstalk], go download, find out where my square is. I don’t want to see it.”.
[VERONICA]: No, I don’t want to see it.
[TRACY]: And you guys, for two of us who are like on the vanguard of this like move, we even were scared to look at our squares.
[VERONICA]: I’m scared. I’m going to tell you right now how people all day and the minute, I’m like, “Oh my God, that’d be a great idea.” And it was quickly met with, “Well, how many squares would you provide yourself?” And then are you all of a sudden giving you an end date? What if you end up dying on the date and you then [crosstalk]. It’s like too many things.
[TRACY]: You went too far. I think it’s much more of a useful tool. Well, aim to look forward, but be to just look back and ask yourself really objectively, am I happy with what I’ve done with what I’ve been given? And plenty of us at this point, whenever I’m sort of pontificating, I always like to think of that one naysayer, this is a great skill you learn at Yale’s. Like there, what is the counter to what I’m saying, which kind of sucks because then you, frankly, they teach you how to question everything and then never had to choose, which is really annoying. Because I think indecision is probably at the crux of most people’s.
[TRACY]: Is content and anxiety. Living in limbo is why you’re unhappy. Choose and put in your whole, as my counselor would say your whole 80%, because like you could never give it a whole hundred. You’ve got other things to do. Give it your whole 80. I was like, “Oh, okay. Yes. I can just hear somebody out there going, “But I don’t have any choices. I don’t have any options. This isn’t going to work for me. Woe is me. You get it right.” Oh, I got to say, frankly, if you’re in any sort of place where you can be listening to a podcast —
[VERONICA]: Right now, right now.
[TRACY]: You have choices. You have more than probably half of the population of the world as far as choices. And I find that the challenge then becomes, if you’re going to sit and be a victim and say that you don’t have any choices, how are you making the people who actually don’t have any choices feel? If you don’t take ownership of the agency that you actually have and take ownership and responsibility for your life, how crappy does that look to all those people who literally can’t maybe? They’re incarcerated, or maybe they’re trafficked, maybe they’re subject to like really horrible regimes where they they’re, maybe they’re refugees. Maybe they’re, you know what I mean? Like there’s so many people who don’t have choices and we are so —
[VERONICA]: We’re literally imprisoned, literally physically imprisoned.
[TRACY]: We are so fortunate to have any choices that frankly like, come on. Like I get, [crosstalk.
[VERONICA]: No, no, no. So, this leads me to my two final questions. What are you doing right now, Tracy? Personally, what are you doing right now to live the life you want to live? Yes, girl, you know me. I’m going to go deep.
[TRACY]: What am I doing right now to live the life that I want to live? Okay. I actually think I have something. So from day one in my business, and if you’re out there and you’re thinking about maybe starting one, yada, yada, you’ll probably hear all these stories from the Gary V’s of the world that like, “It’s a slog, it’s a hustle. You put your head down for 10 years. You don’t have any friends. You work from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. You like, suck it up, you do the hard work, and you work the entrepreneurs hours, which is like 12, whatever, 15 hours a day, every single day.”
[VERONICA]: Eight hours a day. Yes. That’s nuts.
[TRACY]: I was like, I don’t think I want to do that. Like, I don’t want to be miserable walking over the bridge to get to a place where I’m happy, because that is a recipe for disaster. What the science, what the psychology tells us is that we are horrible at predicting our own happiness, the length and breadth of our happiness, meaning I know the difference between what’s going to be painful and what’s going to be pleasurable. But what I don’t know and what the brain is really horrible at is estimating how long you’re going to feel happy and how deeply happy you’re going to feel based on any particular accomplishment or achievement or ascension level, if that makes sense. So like, “Once I’m here, I’ll be X times happier.” We’re always wrong. Like almost always wrong.
So the last thing that I wanted to do is put my head down and be miserable for three, five, 10 years only to look up and be like, “Well, this isn’t what I thought it would be.” So from day one, I made the commitment to live a life that I enjoy while working towards a life that I aspire to. So, I like to be making more money in my business, yes. Will I make more money next year than I did this year? Hopefully. Would I like to buy a new car? Mh-mh. It’s probably five years too late, but there are things that I want and that I aspire to and that I know will make me happy and I’m working toward those things. But in the meantime, I’m not sacrificing my relationship with my mom, my relationship with my friends, dating, sleep, eating well, exercise, traveling, building a team. Like I am trying actively day to day, if not, week to week to live a life I enjoy while building and pursuing a life that I aspire to. And I think that’s the best way I’ve ever put it.
[VERONICA]: I love that answer.
[TRACY]: Is that, because you get to choose what you sacrifice, I think. And what most of us don’t do is thoughtfully choose what we sacrifice. We let our situation or our circumstances or our job or whatever, choose for us. So this is like the person who’s like a family man who never gets to their kids’ recitals, because like work is calling him. He’s letting his job or his circumstances choose what he’s sacrificing. Well, I put myself in a situation where I get to choose. So, you know what I choose? I sacrifice speed. So could my business be where it is now two years ago, three years ago, five years ago? Maybe, but I would so much rather build it slowly and intentionally and profitably and enjoy my life and build great relationships and have fun and travel and spend time with my dad as he’s getting sick and passing away and being with my mom afterwards and having this relationship that’s failing and this next relationship and not working out and like right now I’m dating somebody.
[TRACY]: Oh, this is exciting. Like I would rather make time for those things and put my head down for X number of years and then look up and hope that this is a life that I was worth it. Does that make sense? So, that’s my answers. I’m actively choosing every day. Like, “I’m going to sleep a little later or not. I’m going to take a week off because I need it. I’m going to…” My mom’s birthday is tomorrow —
[VERONICA]: Happy birthday mom.
[TRACY]: Have my out-of-office on. Like it is a Thursday. Is that maybe the best business decision in the world? Who gives a flying F? I think it’s my decision. You know what I mean? So anyway, yes, that is my answer.
[VERONICA]: All right. All right.
[TRACY]: As it is.
[VERONICA]: Last one. What advice in one sentence, what advice would you give to the mom who feels stressed and disconnected?
[TRACY]: What advice would I give to the mom who feels stressed and disconnected in one sentence?
[VERONICA]: Yes, girl. Yes.
[TRACY]: I’m such a verbose. Pontificators horrible. What advice would I give to the mom who’s stressed and disconnected? I would say do everything in your power to learn the circumstances that make you the best mom possible, regardless of what other people think about those circumstances so that you can reconnect with your energy and your true, authentic self and show up as a better role model for your family.
[VERONICA]: Damn. I clap, but I don’t want to go —
[TRACY]: There are a lot of commas and semi-colons in that sentence, but I think it’s true.
[VERONICA]: That is beautiful.
[TRACY]: I’m constantly thinking of the first person I ever hired. She’s a mom of two. She has a five-year-old and a three-year-old and she thought that she wanted to be a full-time mom ever. I mean, she like left a career in theater. She was a trained Shakespearian actress, a stage actress and very successful at it and was playing lady Macbeth in her twenties, like very gifted actor. And she’s like, “I want a family. I got to do something that’s a little more not crazy.” And so she had her first kid, was a full-time stay-at-home mom, and the way she tells the story, she’s like, “I had to fire myself from being a full-time mom, because I’m a better mom when I’m working.”
[VERONICA]: Bingo. I’m there with her, I’m there with her.
[TRACY]: I’m a better mom when I’m working.
[VERONICA]: A hundred percent. So where can we find you? And I know you’re giving our audience a free giveaway.
[TRACY]: Well, obviously. So what I would love to do for you guys is if this is really resonating with you and like Veronica said if you need an objective third party, we have two incredible clarity coaches and two awesome enrollment coaches who would love to get to know you better and find out if working together makes sense. So we have a free 50-minute clarity call that we offer to any, and everybody to just find out if this is a good fit for you. And frankly, even if it’s not, you get 50 minutes of coaching and that’s pretty valuable in today’s world.
[TRACY]: So if you just go to tracytimm.com/clarity, tracytimm.com/clarity, you’ll be able to book your call there.
[VERONICA]: I love it.
[TRACY]: Yes. I’m more than happy to do that. And you know what, maybe if we get enough calls, you get me, because I’ll pop in there and take over when everybody’s at their capacity. I would love to, I love talking to our clients. I really do. It’s fun. I spent the first, like two or three years in the business. I did 350 or 400 clarity calls before I taught somebody else how to do it. So yes. And then if you really want to connect directly with me, I live and play on LinkedIn almost exclusively. So you can just come find me. It’s Tracy Timm [T R A C Y T I M M] on LinkedIn. That’s my platform. I don’t hang out anywhere else, so if you’re like talking to me on Instagram, you’re not talking to me. But yes, LinkedIn is where you can come find me. And then tracytimm.com is also just where all of our other resources live. So, if you want to download something, we’ve got a bazillion guides, wonderful masterclasses four-part video series. All that stuff lives at tracytimm.com.
[VERONICA]: Tracy, you are such a bad-ass. I love I’m, so happy that we were able to do this. Thank you. Thank you so much for jumping on.
[TRACY]: Thank you. You know how good this feels like? I just, I want people to like realize how full circle this is like. Me, literally October 1st of 2012 was the day that I quit my Wall Street job. Today is October 21st in 2020. So it’s been exactly eight years and I was a miserable shell of myself. And now, because I finally get to show authentically, like, this is who I am. You guys, I’m not wearing makeup.
[VERONICA]: No girl.
[TRACY]: You guys missed it but I had to comb my hair before we hopped on here. Like this is dry shampoo. Like I get to be who I am and I get to have wonderful people like Veronica say like, “You’re awesome. You’re a rock star. You’re doing your thing.” Like that, oh, it makes my soul just happy. So I can’t encourage people enough to try to find and work hard at finding that authentic place where you can show up as yourself. It makes being successful that much easier, frankly. And it’s more fun. So thanks for having me. I thank you so much for this platform and this time together, and I love, meeting of the minds lady. We need to do more of those more collabs. Sure.
[VERONICA]: Oh, God. We definitely, we’re going to talk offline about that.
[VERONICA]: All right. Thank you again.
What’s up ladies? Just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated. If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you guys.
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