Everyone wants to achieve success, but how to get there and what to get from it differs from one person to another. One thing’s for sure: nothing can go wrong with aiming for sustainable success. However, the road towards it will not be that smooth. Rodney Flowers sits down with Tracy Timmthe author and Founder of Nth Degree® Career Academy, to discuss why challenges are still bound to happen even if you have your core values aligned with your mindset, as well as the right way to navigate these landmines of life. She also discusses why failures must not be seen as the end of the line, why taking risks is always better than drowning in the feeling of regret, and how to stay authentic no matter what. 

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Defining The Parameters Of Sustainable Success With Tracy Timm 

I have a three-time national champion in the studio. I am on fleekI am so excited to talk to Ms. Tracy Timm. She’s here with me. She has a new book coming out called Unstoppable, which we’re going to get into that because all of us want to be unstoppable. That adversity and challenge that shows up that seemingly tries to stop us from getting where we want to go. We’re going to show you how you can get over that with this book, Unstoppable, and the knowledge that Tracy is going to bring to the table. A little bit about her, she 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. Without further ado, let’s welcome Tracy Timm to the show. 

I wish I had my walkup song. I am ready to take on the day, Rodney. Let’s do this.   

I’m happy that you’re here. I’ve been reading up about you and I see a three-time national champion. I’m all about being a champion. This is all part of the gamechanging mentality process. We want to learn how you were able to do this. I think you’ve done it in two different sports.   

I grew up in Texas. It’s great to play outdoor sports here because it’s sunny most of the time and hot all the time. I played softball growing up. That was my number one sport. By the time I was 12, 13 years old, I was good. I was on some of the very elite local teams. My softball team, when I was playing 12 and under one year, and then 14 and under the next year, we won back-to-back national championships. I’m pretty sure that team went on to win another one the next year. I just didn’t play with them. We were good. I didn’t have that amount of athletic success again until my senior year in college. This was super random. I went to Yale. I got recruited to play softball. I played there for two years but then quit to explore and do other things. Frankly, I wasn’t having fun anymore. It was my first dabbling and quitting in my entire life. We can talk about when it’s right to quit strategically. I decided I’d pick up volleyball, which I used to play in high school but had to give up to focus on softball. I started playing on the Yale’s Club team, not varsity, but the next level down, and we won a national championship in my senior year. It was random and unexpected. I’m pretty sure nobody saw Yale coming. I have the medal to prove it. It was fun.  

I love what you said about knowing when to quit because that’s a problem for meI struggle with it. If I put my mind on something, I’m going all-in until I get what I want. Tell us, what do you mean by knowing when to quit?   

We get stuck in comfortable places that are no longer in alignment because we stop appreciating that we evolve. Share on X

I probably am a lot like everyone reading in that I consider myself to be a high and overachiever, and high potential. I’ve had a lot of success in my life. Meaning when I was young, I got a lot of kudos like, “You’re good at this,” and it was school, sports, an instrument or whatever. Softball became a huge part of my identity as a person. I’m Tracy, the softball player. This is what I do on the weekends. This is my identifier. This is my route to success. This is probably my route to college. It becomes inextricably a part of you, whatever your thing is 

Let’s say it’s your job title or the fact that you’re a parent. There are all these things that we grow into our identity. While you can’t quit being a parent, you can quit being a softball player if it’s no longer serving you. I got to the point when I was eighteen, but finally when I was twenty in college where I had zero fun playing anymore. More so than that, I had no drive and desire to work hard at it and get better. I have gone hard for so long that I burned myself out more or less. That’s much longer. We could go a whole episode on burnout because it happened to me again in my first career. Quitting softball was like cutting off an arm. It was like removing a part of my sense of self and my identity. I didn’t know what to do with myself for a while. I remember my first free Saturday, I woke up and I was like, “What do people do on Saturdays?” 

They do podcasts. That’s what they do. 

looked around and I’m like, “Do I go to brunch? What do I do?” I didn’t know what to do with myself without a schedule, a routine, be here and being crazy over-scheduled. To get back to the quitting portion of it, you have to know and give yourself permission if something is not serving you, or it’s not allowing you to be the best version of yourself. It’s not only that, but if it’s also seeping into other areas of your life and causing tension, problems, anxieties and issues. This comes up in work all the time. If you hate your job or you’re just tolerating it, over time that impacts your health. Maybe you’re gaining weight. It impacts your mentality. Maybe you’re struggling with anxiety or a little bit of depression. It impacts your relationships.  

Softball became this big cloud that hung over me. I had to quit for my own mental health and wellbeing. I was such a happier person not playing. I got to explore all these other things. Yale is a cool place. If all I did there was softball, that would have been fine. Instead, I got to join the volleyball team and I started writing for the Yale Daily News. I ended up going on some cool trips with classmates and getting to know people that I’d never met before because my social circle was pretty athletic-driven. None of that was bad, but I got to expand my experience. I learned from that while it might be scary to quit something that is part of your identity and you’re comfortable with, there’s this whole world out there to be explored. The opportunity cost of staying in something for too long that’s not serving you is it’s too high. It’s too much to pay. 

Let’s dive into that even a little bit more. For me, I don’t know if it was this for you, it’s taking a look at alignment. I start thinking about this isn’t part of my identity anymore because we grow. We evolve over time. One thing that was maybe a part of your identity that you had a whole lot of passion for, that can shift, especially when you’ve done it at a young age. You grow into something else and getting interestedSometimes that alignment shifts for you. If it’s not a part of that alignment, then you should cut it off. That’s an indicator of being on the right path or not. It’s alignment with who you are, your core values, identity. Did that play a part at all? What are your thoughts on that?   

I love that you brought up the word alignment. It resonates with me. Our number one company’s core value is authentic alignment. We live that both internally as members of the team of the business and then externally as what we teach our clients, and who we represent ourselves to the world. Authentic alignment to me means at any given time, am I authentic and true to who I am, core values, what I believe, etc.? Am I aligning that with which I am doing? In this case, it’s your profession because we’re a career clarity business. All my teammates, we’re consistently every 90 days, every 6 months, every year, Are you authentically aligned with the role that you’re doing? If not, where’s the misalignment? What’s missing? What’s an obstruction of you being in alignment? We then course correct. This is not like, “I’m just going to tell Tracy that my authentic alignment is sleeping until noon.”  

It’s about adding maximum value, doing whatever you’re doing. If you’re authentic, being true to you and aligned, meaning in congruence and integrity, then you get to add value by being yourself. You get to exponentiate that value because you’re doing something that comes naturally to you, and you’re interested and you want to go deeper into. You work harder, faster and better. It creates this exponential value component, which is awesome. That’s what we try to teach our clients to do. It’s interesting. You talked about evolution as well, which is important. We get stuck in comfortable places that are no longer in alignment because we stop appreciating that we evolve. We think, “This worked and so I have to do this forever.”  

One of my business coaches, I love her and I love this visual. She’s like, “Anytime you set out to do anything in life, let’s say it’s a goal. You start out as version number one of you. Your goal is goal version number one.” As you’re pursuing this goal, you grow, evolve, change, learn, adapt, and you ascend to you version two. You version two is looking at goal one and going, “That’s not it anymore. Now, it’s goal number two.” You’re starting on that little journey of pursuing goal number two, and what happens? You grow, evolve, change and adapt. Hopefully, iyou’re growing and evolving, you become you version three. 

If you’re doing this well, it’s not that you’re never hitting your goals and you’re constantly disappointed in yourself, it’s an upward spiral of evolution. You’re ascending to an even higher, more aligned, and more aware version of yourself. In order to do that, you have to be willing to let go of what you version one and you version two thought you wanted. You wanted it and that’s great. That wasn’t wrong, but now that you’ve changed and change can happen to us. It can also happen from within. Everybody is going through the Coronavirus pandemic, freaking out in uncertainty, so change is being forced on a lot of people. At the same time, a lot of people are seeing internally, “This is the first time I’ve ever noticed that I’m not authentically aligned. This is the first time that I’ve taken a look back at my life and been like, I’ve grown a lot. I don’t know if I value this lifestyle anymore, this thing that I was so wrapped up in.” Both of them are important to remember, appreciate, and honor with our choices, to live your life aware and awake to the person that you are, what matters to you, and to the impact you can have if you’re living in that alignment.   

It’s almost expecting the evolution to occur. 

You have to, otherwise it will hit you over the head. You’re like, “I didn’t see this coming.” It’s scary, it’s new, and it’s a change you didn’t want.  

We look at goals. We look at the thing and the thing is out there. It’s like a carrot, but what’s changing is you. You’re the person that’s evolved. You’re the person that’s changing. You are becoming, and that’s necessary in order to get the carrot. As that happens, your desires, your values, there are things about you that shift. I love the fact that you said you and your team revisit these values. You take a step back and say, “Who’s traveled along the journey? We’re not quite there yet, but let’s take a look and see. The paths that are in front of us, the opportunities, the crossroads, which one of those is going to be most aligned with where we are? Do we have those things? Do we have the same core value that we had at version one and version two? Is that the same carrot based on what we want and on the evolution?” 

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable Success

Unstoppable: Discover Your True Value, Define Your Genius Zone, and Drive Your Dream Career

If we’re too focused on the carrot, we lose sight of why we started that journey in the first place. It’s easy to do that. I know that sounds like a platitude, and maybe we’re like, “You guys are talking in cliches.” It’s not. It’s that we get so focused on the outcome, It has to be X and I have to achieve Y. If I don’t, then I’m a failure. We stop honoring that maybe X and Y don’t matter to us anymore.  

I think the universe is very smart. You didn’t give yourself the desires that you have. However, everyone has this inner desire for something. I don’t care what it is. It could be money, fame, love, affection, adventure or whatever, you name it, but everyone has that. That’s a commonality against across all people. That can cause you to become, to grow, to overcome adversity, to push through adversity. If you look at all the amenities and things that we enjoy to the smallest thing like a cup holder, these were people’s desires. They took the initiative to say, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to bring this forward, to serve in some capacity to put this on the market.” Whether it was money, fame, or ego, whatever reason it was, it was something that drove them to do that. We all have that power in us, that desire to move and to go. In doing so, we have to grow. You can’t go after your desires. You can’t bring those things forward without some level of growth. Another thing is adversity that shows up in our lives, it’s just as purposeful as well.  

To me, it’s the other side of the coin. You’ve got your heads, you’ve got your tails. You’ve got your good and then this is what we would consider bad. This is gummy gum-infested side of the coin. You don’t show this side. That’s adversity. You’ve seen many times where adversity has showed up in folks’ lives. It caused them to push. It caused them to do something and it turned into something great. Had that adversity not showed up, we may not have experienced the greatness that came out on the other side of that. There’s growth in that. They always say, “I’m a better person as a result of X. I would not have grown if it wasn’t for X.” I feel that the universe is very smart where it allows these ebbs and flows in our lives, even the desires to do something great, to be something great, or the fact that we’re hit with some type of adversity that pushes us over the edge, but yet something good comes out of it. It’s the growth that is caused. You take the desire and the adversity away, you don’t get that goal.   

One of the big things I hear is, “We all have desires and I want these things,” or “I have these things, the career-wise. I know I can have an impact. I know it can be appreciated more. I know I can add more value.” I hear these things all the time, but there’s some mechanism in the way that’s keeping them from pursuing that.  

Based on the clients that I serve, it is the journey. It’s the process that most people do not want to go through. It’s the falling in then getting that book. If you want to get to step B, you’ve got to travel the space between A and B. That’s how it works.   

As you said, it’s the ugly side. It’s this overnight success that took nine years that we don’t talk about and nobody shows. We get this false sense that things do just happen. Twitter took 30 years to develop and Pinterest took nine. I’ve been in business for many years. The first three years, I spent 80% of my time doing something else and 20% of my time going, “What the hell do I teach? What do I call myself? What do my clients do?” I was trying to figure out our value proposition in the world. It took three years to develop The Nth Degree, which is our proven process for clarity. If you wanted to bake a cake, this would be your recipe for career clarity and it works consistently. We’ve been perfecting it over the years. What most people don’t see, they think I just came up with this. No, there were many days, weeks, and months where I was in the trenches. I was wondering, “Is this going to work? Am I going to be able to create something that’s different than what color is your parachute or better than going back to X, Y, and Z career services department? Could I do this?”  

To your point, the only consistent thing that I’ve seen that helps people overcome the temptation to quit or never get started in the first place is having a deep and authentic alignment with their pursuit, the people that it impacts, and the change that it could affect positively in the world. If I didn’t care as much as I care about the ripple effects of somebody like you or me going out in the world, finally doing the job we love, showing up as our full selves at work, feeling like we’re adding maximum value, feeling like we’re approaching our potential and feeling unstoppable. Those people are beacons of hope to the hundreds of people that they experience in a given day. That’s why I slogged through three years of eating Trader Joe’s salads in my car and bringing my own coffee to coffee shops. Those are the things that people don’t talk about. You’re right, it’s ugly, messy, and it’s not the fun part. It’s not the, “Look at my brandnew book.” It’s the, “I feel unshiny right now.” You don’t need to do anything, as one of my coaches says.  

We get so focused on the outcome that we stop honoring the things that truly matter. Share on X

We all have the opportunity to figure out what that is and ask yourself, what are the conditions necessary for you to pursue that impact, pursue that potential? What needs to change? What do you need to accept about yourself? What do you need to accept about the world? What do you need to advocate for? What amount of clarity are you missing? Otherwise, we just continue to go with the flow and let life happen, and do things very reactionary. We wind up at the end of our lives, looking back and wondering how things would have been different, and that’s sad.   

The thing that I want people to take away from this is that it’s not always easy. There are going to be some challenges, even when you are completely aligned, there are still challenges.   

I felt so guilty. Here I was starting a career clarity business, talking about alignment, and there were days I hated my job. I was in alignment with what I wanted to do and the impact I wanted to have but when you start a business, you do everything. Inevitably there were days where I’m like, “I’m not a developer. I don’t know how to build websites,” but I was slogging awayI learned how to write a little bit of code. My mom who has been in IT for 35 years was like, “You did what? There’s no way.” It’s either I do it or it doesn’t get done, or I have to pay for it but I’ve got to find that money somewhere. You just suck it up and do it. I felt so guilty and like such a fraud for so long because of what we were selling. I was the cobbler and not wearing shoes. It felt shameful. I love that you’re making it available to people that you can be in alignment and have hard days. You can be in alignment and sometimes feel like you’re spinning and you have no idea or feel guilty because you’re like, “I’m slinging this thing, but I’m not buying my own medicine. I’m not taking it.” There were days like that for me and there still are. That’s us being honest and authentic about our experience.   

I feel like that is part of the purchase. The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately. You’ve heard that before.   

No, I haven’t heard that before. 

To me, what you were going through was the cost to get the dream. You had that picture to get the dream and that’s free. Anyone can dream, but that hustle part, that’s what costs. That’s the price to pay, but the return on that is exponential. That’s the point I’m trying to drive home here. I probably can create an entirely new show on, What did you learn when you were in the trenches? Who did you become when you were in the trenches? How much did you grow when you were in the trenches?   

How much did you not want to be in trenches? It’s a funny catch-22 what you’re talking about. I feel like in one breath, what we do for people is I’m trying to help them avoid some of the trenches that they don’t need to go through. There are some things that are avoidable that you don’t need to experience to have a certain level of success, but then they’re good. Helping people avoid landmines is one thing, but selling somebody the idea that they can get exactly what they want to your point without ever going through adversity, challenge and hardship, that’s the difference.  

Let me bring some clarity to it. We’re on the field of adversity. Here’s what I can’t do. You can’t win if you don’t play. We can play because I’m a player. I can show you how to play the game. Does that mean you won’t ever get hit? No, but I can tell you what side of the field you don’t need to run to. I can tell you which players are fast. I can tell you they were lined up this way, you better not go that way. You have to play the game yourself. I can’t play it for you. The only way to win it is to play. You can’t expect to win if you’re not on the field. As a coach, I’m not even selling that because that is not authentic.  

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable Success

Sustainable Success: You have to give yourself permission to set aside something that’s not serving you.


I don’t care what coach you have, if you still get on that court, you may face a team that is very competitive. You don’t want to be able to dominate everybody that you play throughout your entire lifetime because there is no growth in that. What I’m saying is you want to be able to rise to the level of play when it’s necessary for you. That to me is what the coaches are for. That’s why I’m giving these skills for me to say, “If you go through life this way, you’ve got your core values set. If you’re examining those every 3, 6 months, you had never faced that adversity. When that adversity shows up, you know what page you need to go into your playbook. You know how to examine the defense. 

We call that the easy button in our business. Your decisions don’t have to be that hard if you’ve got the playbook ahead of time. Most of us don’t do that. We put ourselves behind when things come up. I’m resonating with you. I totally agree.   

That’s where I’m at. You talked about life happening for you and that so resonates with me. By being on the field, even during those games where it’s like, “This sucks. We’re not playing well. I’m fumbling. I can’t get a shot to drop,” all of that’s going on, there’s growth in that. It’s a privilege, even though it’s uncomfortable to experience that because now you know, “What did I do now to get me off my game?” You start examining and evaluating where you are, what you did, what was your mindset in order for you to experience that level of play? Now you know how to course correct. You start understanding yourself better because you went on this field and expecting a high level of performance, but this is what you got.  

Now you come off the field, you’re looking with your head down like, “I didn’t play well,” but you have another game coming up. What are you going to do? This is how we play the game of life, whether it’s relationships, career, business or it’s just the day, “I didn’t dominate today. Meetings kicked my behind. I wasn’t prepared to give that presentation. I didn’t do this. I came in late with something I was supposed to deliver on.” These are all performance issues. Even if things are happening in the environment that’s having an effect on you, we still have to take responsibility to be able to handle those things, overcome them, and still perform at a higher level because that’s the expectation. At a minimum, we placed that on ourselves.   

The word you said that is maybe the ultimate game-changer is responsibility. If you don’t deeply have ownership and responsibility for your own experience in life, none of what we’re talking about matters. You’re always going to feel like a victim. You’re always going to feel like you don’t have agency and out of control. One of the big jobs that we have for our clients is helping them finally take the reins, get back in the driver’s seat, and feel like they can affect change in their own lives. They don’t have to do things a certain way or live by somebody else’s expectations, or drive their career by somebody else’s definition of success, or live somebody else’s ideal job because it looks good on paper. All of what we’re talking about requires ownership, responsibility and permission.   

When adversity shows up, we say, “I feel like I don’t have control.” The first thing you hear people say especially with COVID-19, “I can’t go into the office. I can’t do this. My life is out of control. How do I control it? Can you do this?” We refuse to take responsibility even when there’s no adversity or things. Things would just happen and you’re going with the flow. If it’s not your responsibility, whose responsibility is it?   

It's normal to be in alignment but still go through hard days. Share on X

How many people we work with? Actually, no we don’t. We work with the people who’ve taken the other mindset. I remember a time in my life where I was like, “Where is the success I was promised. I did all the right things. I checked all the boxes in middle school, high school, and college. I did all the classes. I did all the AP tests. I went to the right school. I played a sport and did an instrument. I volunteered. At some point, we think, and we wait around for the proof of this promise like, “I did all the things, where’s my happy ending?”   

Where’s my trophy? 

It’s that but it’s also like, “This was the system that was taught to me. This is what they told me to do to be successful. I danced, I played the game, where’s my banana? Where’s the finish line? Why didn’t this work out? What we have to do instead is if you want to experience success and you want to experience sustainable success, that’s going to work for you as much as you work for it, then you have to shift your paradigm. You can’t wait around for proof of the promise that’s coming. You have to make progress towards your purpose. I’m so with you on this. We like to work with those people and frankly, try to help people who could be amazing potential clients get there mentally because that’s what’s required. As you said, there’s another game coming up. You don’t get to quit. You’re 32 and you’re burned out from your job. You’ve never had something that you loved and you feel like your life is over and you’re going to have to start from scratchGiven the science, there’s a good chance youve got another 70 years of games to play. Let’s get going.   

If you’re 30, You’re in the second quarter. You’ve got a whole other half. 

I felt at 25 like my life was over. Everything was devastating. Maybe that’s part of being a sub 27-year-old and your brain is developing still, but how many times have you heard people, “My life is over. I have to start from scratch. This is all I’ve ever done?” The only way to get over and through that is to start taking responsibility for making progress.   

I hear someone say, “What am I going to do? This is all I’ve ever done. I’ve got to start over it.” To me, that’s a privilege. You get to learn something new. You’ve done this all your life. Listen to what you’re saying, “I’ve done this all my life. Now I’ve got to do something different. Don’t you want to? Why not? The only reason I feel that someone would feel that way is because I had to go through a process to get where I am. Now I’ve got to start that process. 

It’s daunting. It’s a lot of work. It’s hard work, especially once you’ve gone through the gauntlet once or twice.   

I feel like that’s the beauty of it.  

At the same time, if you’re not growing, you’re not living.   

What’s your definition of sustainable success? Define that for me.   

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable Success

Sustainable Success: If you’re authentic and true to yourself, you get to add value just by being yourself.


Sustainable success is not success at any causeIt’s the success that you can maintain authentically for a longer period of time. Let me give you an example, unsustainable success is Tracy on Wall Street. I was making six figures. I was doing the damn thing. I had everybody’s thing on paper to a tee. You get your car service, you have expensive meals, and you get to travel. That was a success at any cost because the costs were high. I was mentally miserable. I developed anxiety. I had physical symptoms of anxiety like tingles in my back. I had nearly, and this is a joke but it’s not funny, an addiction to NyQuil because I couldn’t fall asleep at night. I had horrible relationships. It looked amazing on paper and yet my experience showed me that it was not a sustainable way for me to pursue “success.” A success that is sustainable is a success that doesn’t require you to be somebody else to achieve it. It doesn’t require you to ignore your core values and what matters to you most in life to achieve it or to maintain it. It doesn’t require you to feel completely out of your wheelhouse all the time. Meaning you don’t have the knowledge, the skills, the expertise to be any good at what you do.  

The Japanese has this great concept called ikigai. The idea of ikigai is that you have these four things at any given time, and if you have all four of them in what you pursue, then you have ikigai. You have a reason for being. You have ascended. It’s something you’re good at, something you love, something the world needs, which I’ll also say could be something you find meaningful and fulfilling, and then something you can get paid for. If we have those four things, to me, that’s a good route to sustainable success. You love it so you care about it. You’re good at it so you feel capable of doing it. The world needs it so you feel like you have impact, purpose, and then you can get paid. It’s sustainable. It’s something that can sustain your lifestyle, livelihood or whatever. That is sustainable success.  

If you’re settling for anything else, the cost is too high. Honestly, it took me getting with a woman. She’s a gifted speechwriter. She and I were working, teasing these ideas out and she’s like, “You don’t want to help people be successful.” That’s what we all think we want. Everybody wants success. I get that. What we don’t realize until we’re in it is that we do have some parameters around success. Meaning, if you love your family and maybe that’s your number 1, 2 core value in your life, and your job is consistently keeping you from quality time with your spouse, with your children, you’re missing the recitals, and you’re dancing around family obligations, that is unsustainable. You will lose your career or you will lose your family. You cannot sustain that for a long period of time and continue to hold that value close to your heart. That’s just fact and it’s okay. There’s a job where you can feel as capable, make as much money, love what you do just as much, but it aligns with that value. Maybe it allows you to have every other Tuesday off so you get time with your kids or whatever it is. That exists out in the world. Most of us don’t think that’s true. We don’t believe that we can have everything we want. Does this sustainable thing make sense?  

It does, but I have different ideas. For me, the definition of sustainable success is the ability to learn, unlearn, and then relearn. The reason why I say that is because success is always a process. What stops people from reaching success is the inability or the unwillingness to either learn something new or do something different than what we’re currently doing. A lot of times that is focused on, “I’ve got to learn something new. I’ve got to be uncomfortable. I’ve got to develop into something else.” Success is something that you are. It’s not something that you obtain. Success is recognized at every level. We limit ourselves when we say, “Barack Obama is successful, Jay Z is successful, Tracy Timm is successful, Rodney Flowers is successful. I’m not successful.”  

That’s the stuff. You’re lying to yourself right then and there because at some level, you have been successful and you are successful. Where you are now, you’ve gone through a process of development and growth in order to get to that point. At some point in your life, you were able to do and be who you are now. At this level, you are successful. What does it take to be successful at another level? That’s learning something new and becoming version 4, version 5, version 6 of yourself. There are levels to success. That’s it. In order to get to the other level is a process like playing a video game. You’ve got to go through this whole criteria and graduate that criteria. You’ve got to beat the challenge. In the end, I’m at the next level.  

We can't control outcomes, but we can control effort. Share on X

That’s life. It’s something that you identified that if I can get over this, meet these criteria, be this kind of person, achieve this income, or achieve this level of love and affection, make it twenty years on my marriagewhatever it is, you’ve defined that, “That’s a success for me.” It‘s a process in order for you to do that. We learned and sometimes we have to unlearn what we’ve learned because the programming, the techniques, and the beliefs that we have learned are not going to serve us at getting to that next level. Sometimes you’ve got to let go of what you’ve learned, what you thought, and what you believe. You’ve got to develop new beliefs, new ideas, and believe those, learn those, put those in play in order to get to the next level.  

If you have the ability to sustain that mindset and work that process, that to me is sustainable success. You are always experiencing new levels of success just by the very nature of being able to have that capacity of mentality to approach new levels in life and growth in life. It’s all about learning, unlearning and relearning. You take a coach that has a twenty-year-old business. The way they do business now is not the same as when he started. He has to unlearn certain things that made him successful 10, 15 years ago in order for him to be successful now 

It goes back to what we talked about evolution. The world has evolved. Society has evolved. If we are not in tune with how to navigate that, we will consider that opposition. Whereas, some of the things that have evolved could be useful tools to help us advance in our business, help us advance in our relationships. You have to be willing to learn how to utilize those things. You think resistance is stopping you. It’s hindering you. It’s not. It’s that you haven’t learned how to use them. You’re used to things being easy. You pick it up and you know how to use it because that’s the tool that you’re familiar with. In this case now, you’ve got to do the tutorial. You’ve got to go back and start at module one. You’ve got to let go of what you’ve learned and learn something new.   

It’s good. We’re inspiring some people. I could feel it.  

To me, that’s the definition of sustainable success. When you’re willing to do that, you will always experience a level of success. Growth in itself is a success. If you’re growing, you’re successful. If you don’t have a million, but you started at zero and you’re making $100,000, you can’t say you’re not successful. That’s negative self-talk. You are, in the very fact that you went from 0 to $100,000. What do we do? How can we duplicate those efforts? What do I need to learn? You’re on the right track. Keep learning, keep growing. You’re successful. You’re not making $1 million, but you still deserve a trophy.  

I’m with you. I have to remind myself of that constantly because it’s easy to get beat down with your own goals and definition of success because it’s good to have. Goals are great to have. We need them because we show up differently when we have significant well-thought-out goals. We’re like, “That is what I want to achieve. This is what I need to do to get there.” If you don’t set that in advance, then you’re putting effort out in the world and you have no idea if you’re getting any traction. 

It’s like being in a boat with no destination, you’re just loading up.   

In my experience, I have to let go and not be overly attached with what that outcome looks like. It goes back to surrender, which I used to think was so stupid. I’m like, “Surrender? Really? I don’t care what the outcome is. No, you care. We need to or have the opportunity to embrace the fact that we can’t control outcomes. We can control effort. In my business, what I try to do is, “This is our goal as a team and as a company. We’re all going to give our maximum effort to get there. We’re going to release what they end up looking like because it could be way better than what we expected. It could be way more than the goal that we set, or it could be less. If you’re less attached with what the outcome specifically looks like, as long as it’s good, it’s serving, and it’s impactful, then you feel less disappointed and less like a failure just because you didn’t hit that goal at A, B, C.  

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable Success

Sustainable Success: People overcome the temptation to quit or never get started in the first place by having a deep and authentic alignment with their pursuit.


I used to think the people who touted surrender were saying, “Don’t care. Don’t set goals. Do what you can do and then just hope for the best. By the way, don’t hope because then you’re going to be disappointed, just let it all go. That’s not it at all. It’s being less attached to what the successful outcome looks like and more focused on the purposefulness of your effort. At the end of the day, we can’t control outcomes ever at all, but we can hope for the best. We can do everything we can to get there. I’ve experienced a lot less disappointment in my own life and business by releasing like, “I’m super type A. It’s got to look like this.” If I release some of that, it makes my life better.   

We need mental agility. I think that’s what you’re describing here. It’s like, “Here’s the game plan. We’re going to execute these plays and this is what we’re going to do.” It’s okay to have expectations. Expectations are very necessary. You need expectations in everything that you do, relationships, money, career, business. This is what we expect to do based on the efforts that we were going to put out. Those are targets. You’ve got to have something to target, to drive for, to focus your efforts. However, you’ve got to have the mental agility that when you step out 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 steps from your starting point, you may clearly see that where you thought you wanted to go. You’ve got to evolve from 0 to 8 and 9, and you’re going to learn something. You made a decision to set a goal without having that information. You didn’t have the experience of 8 steps, 9 steps out down the field when you made that decision. Now, you have to assess and recognize the new information that you’ve obtained, the new experiences that you’ve learned, and how that affects your previous decision.  

You have the flexibility like no one is saying, “You made that go. You’ve got to stick to that.” You can change and say, “Based on what I’ve learned, I want to go here now.” It could be further or you may want to pull it back. That’s your decision. To me, that’s the part of being a player in the game. Your IQ, your basketball IQ, your football IQ, your life IQ, how you play life, you’ve learned something and that’s valuable information. Take that data and make a different decision. That’s okay. Have the flexibility. Don’t hold yourself. That’s rigidity when you say, “I can’t let go.” Have the flexibility to adjust. 

I’m with you. Preaching to the choir here. I love it.   

Tracy, how can people connect with you if they want to see or work with you?    

I am not a crazy social media girl. It’s not my game. I don’t love it. I run a career-focused business. If you want to find me out in the interwebs, LinkedIn is the best place to speak directly to me on a consistent basis. I post articles and things there, LinkedIn.com/in/tracytimm. On our websites, you can go to TracyTimm.com. Our program’s website is NthDegree.TracyTimm.com. You can learn more about how we help with career clarity. I had my team go ahead and do it for the readers of this lovely show and people who love Rodney’s amazing voice because I did from the minute he hopped on here, we set up a landing page for your readers. It’s TracyTimm.com/gamechangermentality. You can find a bunch of freebies. I’ve got a bunch of cool downloads on basic career clarity guides. If you want to go deeper, we’ve got a great 25-minute training that you can get there. It’s all free, just sign up with your email.  

If you already know that this is something that’s top of mind and you like the way that we’re approaching it, the research and joining me here, you can book free 50-minute strategy calls with my team. That’s how we can find out what your goals are or if working together makes sense. That’s the mechanism that we bring new clients into our business. They’re fun. I love them. I have two teammates that help me do them and they’re phenomenal. We get to meet some incredible people. If you want to chat, 50 minutes is all yours, just book a call.  

Thank you for doing that by the way.  

I feel like I’m having the fun of my job. I love being on podcasts. I can wax philosophical about anything and I love giving advice, but then we meet incredible people. Honestly, back in college, one of my girlfriends, she was that person who was always like, “If money didn’t matter, what would you do?” In my head, I was like, “This is a horrible question.” I finally was like, “Honestly, I would have water, coffee or wine depending on my mood or the time of day. I would sit and listen to people’s stories. They’d tell me their life story. I’d ask questions. They’d tell me their goals, and I’d ask more questions. I’m fascinated by people, our motivations, our behaviors, and our life stories.  

Fear is natural and biological. It's not going away, but logic can combat fear. Share on X

I woke up a couple of years ago and I realized like, “That’s what I do.” I get to go deep into people’s life stories. That’s cool. If you can find something that you love doing that much, you feel purposeful doing that much, build a business, a life, a career around it, we’re lucky. We’re fortunate in that. That never before in history have you been able to do something like this, and make a sustainable living and do great work for people. I go back to that all the time when people are like, “I can’t, this and that.” The people who don’t have any choices of which there are many still in this world are looking at you like, “Lady, do it. You’re pissing me off because you have all these options and opportunities. That’s not fair. Just go and do it.  

What’s the story behind the Nth Degree? 

It’s part of my story and part clients stories. The Nth Degree is a step-by-step methodology. As I said, a cake recipe for career clarity. I discovered it by going through my own major career transition, finally finding and accepting work that I enjoyed, was good at, the world needed, and could get paid doing. I started helping other people do the same thing. My first job out of college, despite having a Psychology degree from Yale was on Wall Street. I was there for two and a half years, and left a shell of myself with just the belief that I could figure out what I wanted to do, and that was worth looking for. It was worth trying, even if I didn’t know what it was. I went through about a two-year journey of my personal ebbs and flows, successes and total failures. Until I finally decided that starting the business was my God-given drive, desire, and need to do in the world. I spent the first three years in business doing everything I could to keep a life together, food on the table, coaching people on the side, and developing this process in real-time.  

Three years in, I realized that every one of these people is going through steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the results are consistent. It was at that point that I started codifying the process. I’m a big nerd and I like words. I love wordplay. I think things are memorable when there are alliterations. Every step in the process at that point was starting with the letter N. We have Now, Nature, Nurture, Niche, Network, Navigate, Nourish. Those are the seven steps that we now break down into three phases. I was sitting there in my old office with my mom. I’m looking at these steps and I’m like, “What am I going to call this thing?” I have a fairly nice-sized ego, but I didn’t want to call it like The Tracy Timm Process. She’s looking at it like, “They all start with N. It’s all about potential. Why don’t you call it The Nth Degree?” I was like, “Are you kidding me?” My mom named it of all people. She’s amazing. She’ll ride that meal ticket her entire life. It’s been trademarked and codified. That’s the book that’s coming out Unstoppable, which you can get at UnstoppableCareerBook.com. My PR person will kill me if I don’t tell people that. 

The book Unstoppable is the coming-out party of this methodology. If you can’t or don’t have the time or the bandwidth to enroll in the course in the last 30 days, then pick up the book for $16 and get started. Get started on the process because it’s everything we teach in our proven programs, it’s just written out in book form. That was the genesis story. I’m so proud of it. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, our clients are graduating with absolute clarity. They feel insanely more confident. They have so much more certainty moving forward and they’re getting significant raises in very short periods of time. Our last two clients who graduated got $14,000 and $30,000 raises in brandnew jobs in 2 and 4 weeks. It’s not like this takes months or years. It’s 2 and 4 weeks and we’re in the middle of craziness in the world. I’m so proud of them. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of what I’ve built and I’m proud of this book. I know it’s going to have a huge impact on many people. I’m grateful.  

We’re proud of you too. This has been a very rich conversation. I appreciate you coming on the show.  

Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.  

No worries. As we wrap it up, we always ask the guests that come on the show this one game-changer mentality question and that is, how can people bounce back from adversity, dominate their game, and consistently win at the game of life? 

This is my favorite piece of advice when it comes to mindset and mentality. I learned this from a professor of social psychologyI was at a crossroads in my own life of like, “Should I go back to finance? because that’s all I’ve ever done. That’s the safe thing to do, even though I have this PTSD for lack of a better term, after working on Wall Street, or should I keep searching? Should I keep looking for the thing that lights me up that allows me to have a purpose? I know it exists. I don’t know what it is. I don’t have that clarity yet. He said unequivocally, “Tracy, it is always worth taking your meaningful shot for the stars because in life, there are only two things you can regret. You can regret something you did wrong and you can regret something you never did or didn’t do.” Those are the only two types of regrets in the science of psychology.  

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable Success

Sustainable Success: You can’t wait around for proof of the promise that’s coming. You have to actually make progress towards your purpose.


What happens is the way that our brains are hardwired, we regret both, but we regret things we didn’t do exponentially more. When you did something wrong, that story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A brain likes a closed loop. It likes knowing the answer. It doesn’t like uncertainty, which is why there are many people who feel anxiety now. When you don’t do something, you leave that loop open for your brain to try to close, which means you don’t have an answer. What you have are an infinite number of possible answers, which is why the things we didn’t do are the things that haunt us for life. On your death bed, you’re not going to look back and be like, “I wish I hadn’t made that investment that failed.” You’re probably going to look back and go, “I wonder what would have happened had I made that investment?” That’s the thing that’s going to eat you up. He made this logical case for me. It scared the crap out of me because I was like, “What you’re saying is I’ll never regret more doing something and having it blow up in my face than I will regret not doing something, and then my whole life wondering what might’ve happened.” He said, “Absolutely, yes. That is what the science tells us.” 

Knowing that, I immediately became the person who was like if that guy is hot at the bar, I’ll say hi. If this email has five typos, I’ll send it anyway. I stopped wondering what might’ve happened. You liked that example. I have done that. I think about that all the time and there are many people I talked to who I know are made for more, who can be happier, have more fulfillment, have more sustainability in their livesand make a greater impact with what they do and they’re afraid. They’re afraid of getting it wrong. They’re afraid of failing. They’re afraid of the uncertainty of it. They’re afraid of escaping their comfort zone. I just want you guys out there that if that’s you, that’s okay. Fear is natural. It’s biological. It’s not going away, but logic can combat fear. The logic tells us that regrets of omission, regrets for things we never did are lifelong and haunting, and are never going to be better than failing or the potential of failing. My game changer mentality is if you want to bounce back, if you’ve been beat down, if you want to play consistently, if you want to win more than anybody else, win by taking the chance and by appreciating the fact that it’s your most regret-free way of living.   

It’s so beautiful. Tracy Timm, thank you for coming on the show.   

Thanks for having me. Anytime.  

There you have it, folks, another successful episode of the show. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you want to win in life, you’ve got to take the shot. Now, even in the middle of a pandemic, even in the face of adversity, this could be your opportunity to make it big. Take your shot. Until next time, peace and love. 

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About Tracy Timm

GCM 177 Tracy Timm | Sustainable SuccessTracy 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.


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