Today's Episode


Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode. Thanks for being here. I'm looking forward to having a really nice chat with you. Um, wherever you are. If you're sitting somewhere lovely, I hope you can grab yourself a cup of tea and a bit of a relax as I feel like it's you and me, just you and me chatting for the next half an hour or however long this episode is going to be, I'm never quite sure if you're out walking, which I know so many of you listen to my podcast when you're out walking, which I love or you're driving in the car. I hope you're really well. I hope you are.

Well, I hope you're good. And thanks for being here and if you don't feel well or good, know that that is completely normal. What we see on Instagram as we all know is everybody's highlight real. We forget that sometimes I think and life is a lot of life is struggle. A lot of life is going through tough times and not giving up and hanging on by a fingernail until you go through what it is you're going through. A lot of life is about struggling and the toughness of life. Um So I hope you're doing ok today and it's lovely to be here with you and be honest and share with you the difficulties of life and the honest, authentic parts of life, which is, which is the tough stuff.

So I was playing Gaelic football. No, hang on a second. I wasn't playing Gaelic football. Emily started Gaelic football last year and she started playing blitzes. She's only eight and I've noticed that she is really struggling to pick it up to, to, to, to understand Gaelic football. So I decided yesterday that I was going to help coach her a little bit for 10 minutes every day in the back garden. Um So that she feels supported, supported and that she can get better so she can enjoy herself more. And when she's out playing Gaelic football, so I was, we went outside into the garden yesterday. Beautiful in Ireland at the minute. Bit of a heat wave. And, uh, I said, ok, Emily, we're going to play Gaelic football together.

I'm going to be your coach and we're going to do 10 minutes every day, every weekday, um, for 30 days and we're going to make loads of mistakes and it might feel really bad and we're not going to feel good at it. It's gonna feel probably like we're gonna suck and it's not going to feel nice and we're going to make loads of mistakes and we're going to find, we might find soloing really difficult and it's going to feel like that and sometimes it's gonna feel like there's no progress.

However, all we're gonna do is we're going to go out for 10 minutes and practice and at the end of 30 days, we're going to have improved. And I just sat there and I was like, wow, I've just given myself a revelation and it was in that moment that I realized how much I have changed, but also how much up to that point, I didn't understand that concept of practice imperfect action. I, I really hadn't and it's only something that I've really, on a fundamental core level, really embraced and understood over the past 12 months. And it was in my explaining that to Emily, did I really have an epiphany about fear and fear of fear of failure and feeling like a failure. I've, I have approached things, most of us approach things.

We start something new. We say we want to get fit, we say we want to lose weight. And in those moments it's when we think we're going to start and be perfect and describing what it was going to feel like for Emily yesterday to Emily was terrific and it made me really motivated and excited that we were going to be probably really bad together. I didn't use that word bad with her and we were, um, we were attempting soloing and the ball was flying off in every direction and I was watching her and I was going, this is really cool. We are going to fail our way to success. Us being out here in the garden together with the ball flying everywhere. But into our hands was true, embracement of practice and imperfect action.

And I loved that we had said we'll do it for 30 days and at the end of 30 days, we'll see an improvement because I'm sure you can all relate or resonate when we start a fitness program or we try and get fit or lose weight that we expect to see results immediately. But it was really simple seeing it with Emily yesterday. It was like, well, obviously, she's not going to improve after 10 minutes. Obviously, of course not. Let's give ourselves 30 days. So the pressure is off and we're going to see a lot more results when we don't look at the results, but look at them in 30 days time.

So the whole thing just got me thinking about how much I have changed around the the failure, fear of failure, feeling like a failure mindset and also how much it has affected me. And on my reflection, I realized that fear of failure and feeling like a failure have shown up in three big ways, which I'm going to go through with you now. And I'm going to go through the three ways, feeling like a failure and fear of failure showed up for me and that I'm going to share with you at the end of each one, practical strategies for you.

First of all, to recognize that it's actually failure and fearing failure that may be holding you back and how to recognize it and how to move forth. Um because we can really walk around with this and not know that it's that that's holding us back. We can really think it's something else. Um something more easy and like, oh, I have no time. I'm too busy. Um I can't sit still, I can't do this. I can't do that when actually it's, it's fear of failure and feeling like a failure that holds us back. So here are three ways it showed up for me. And since I've worked on these three things, I want to say to you that my quality of life has improved.

And I know, I chat to you guys a lot about this on this podcast. But the quality of my life from now back 12 months ago, I've never known this quality of life before and it's all in my head. It's all from mindset changes. You know, it's, uh, it's not a materialistic thing. It's not something outside of myself that's improved, it's inside between my two ears that's improved. And my whole quality of life has leveled up and gone up another notch. And I am experiencing more joy and peace and calm than I have ever experienced in my whole life. So that's the reason that I'm sharing this with you.

First of all, for you to uncover and figure out does it hold you back even though you listening right now you might think. Nope, that does not hold me back. I go for things. Um And just on that note, I didn't use to think fear of failure held me back because I used to go for things all the time. I remember a really cringy moment about five years ago when I was um advertising for the gym.

I got this like green backdrop and shot a video of me standing in front of like the green screen. It's a green screen and I had Salt Hill in the background on the green screen and oh my God, I looked so stressed out and there was a couple of stone overweight and oh I look back on that now and I cringe so much. But the reason I'm sharing this with you is because I used to think that because I had shown up like that and like I look back at it now, I'm like, how did I show up like that? How did I show up? But because I was showing up in those ways, I used to think to myself that I didn't have a fear of failure or I wasn't afraid of failure. Um But I was, it's just I wasn't aware of it and I was, I thought I had evidence to prove that. So, number one, how it showed up in my life. Number one is perfectionist tendencies.

And I used to be really afraid of taking action and it came about from II, I had a lot of perfectionist tendencies because I had a lack of self acceptance, a lack of love for myself, a lack of kindness to myself. I never used to listen to myself. I never observed my thoughts or my feelings and I was never able to sit still and observe that I had perfectionist tendencies. But I did, I would be so worried about doing things wrong that I would procrastinate or be very all or nothing. For example, when I was trying to lose weight, I used to binge eat if I went off track. So I, I had thought that when you were working towards eating healthy that you had to eat healthy and until the day you broke it, you were still eating healthy and you were all good. But when you broke it, that was it. You were failing.

So I used to then say, well, fuck this, I've had three packets of crisps and you know, I, I'll just, I, I've ruined it now. I feel like a failure. So it would set me off on this really unhealthy eating way for maybe a week or less. And that kept me stuck in the cycle of weight gain and weight loss. And that was me having perfectionist tendencies because I wasn't listening to myself. I didn't understand that I was afraid of failing. I didn't understand that feeling like a failure was stopping me from being healthy. Or for example, I would get back on track with the workouts and I would do a workout and I would be super, super tired and I wouldn't be in the mood and I would question everything I would be saying to myself.

You're so unfit, you're not in the mood, you're so tired, you're not doing a great workout, you're failing, you're failing. And I'd be so afraid that I was failing that I would skip my workout the next time and not want to work out. And I realize now that I didn't feel comfortable with feeling like I was failing those uncomfortable feelings. Like right now, shooting this podcast episode, I had to get comfortable with, maybe not delivering my best episode with maybe not delivering the message the way I want.

However, moving forward, imperfect action doing my best. I used to feel fat and overwhelmed when I felt overweight when I felt like I was failing after a weekend of being away on a trip or going away with the family going on a holiday. And I felt ok on Friday and then because I would be drinking and eating because I was on a holiday when I got back on the Monday and my jeans were tight. That would trigger me to feel like a failure. My clothes would start feeling tighter. I would feel like a failure. And it was those feelings of failing that made me obsessed all week. Everything that week would be about restriction, dieting, hating on myself, calling myself fat, calling myself disgusting because of the feeling that I was failing, which was triggered by my jeans feeling tight.

And can you see how if you just go a little bit deeper, you start to uncover the real root of the problem. Like the problem wasn't that my genes were tight that that wasn't affecting my everyday life. The problem was the feeling that was attached to it that I was feeling like a failure and I was feeling like a failure because I had no compassion for myself. There was no acceptance of myself. I didn't show myself any kindness. I wasn't listening and tuning into how I was feeling.

I wasn't observing how I was feeling or sitting in the emotion. I would just land in on Monday, really stressed out, really angry, really pissed off that I, my clothes were tight and that's just so fucked up. It's just so messed up and it kept me going around and around in circles and it wasn't until I accepted just to use this small example that if you head away on a Friday and you have lots of drinks and food and you come back on a Monday and your clothes are tight. That's because you've been away and you've eaten and drank and drank loads and that's OK. Accept love your body, be kind to it, be gentle to it, be compassionate. Don't be grabbing your stomach and go and look at this. Look at this or don't be looking, looking in the mirror from the side, pulling your jumper up.

Do you do that? Pull your jumper up when you're at the mirror, turn to the side and either you're OK or oh my God, you're so fat and disgusting. You've got work to do so, the quality of my life has improved as I've gotten rid of those feelings of failure and just to use that kind of going away for the weekend, coming back on a Monday model since I've worked on myself, I was able to get rid of those feelings of failure by showing myself compassion in those moments and accepting how things are as opposed to being in denial and being really frustrated and annoyed with myself. So feeling like a failure, fear of failure can show up for you or may be showing up for you. If you have perfectionist tendencies, if you lean towards everything, needing to be great, you're afraid of taking imperfect action, you don't like feeling like a failure.

So in a sense, inaction is often better for you procrastination, not working on the thing you really need to be working on, but deflecting or distracting yourself with other things that you need to work on. So if you are like that, if you're very all or nothing, if you would describe yourself as all or nothing, maybe it's time to observe and listen to yourself around that and maybe it the all or nothing is actually you not liking, feeling like a failure, you being afraid of failing. Now, the second thing that a fear of failure and failing has shown up for me has been through fear of struggle, really disliking struggle, really disliking the feeling of struggling and being really afraid of struggling. I really used to hate feeling like I was failing.

However, I've noticed I've changed when I recently signed up to a course and I got really excited and I was thinking to myself, oh my God, I'm so excited. I'm going to be so shit, I'm going to be. That sounds kind of odd. But I was thinking to myself, it was a positive thing. I was like, oh my God, I'm gonna so suck at this at the start. I'm going to be really struggling with this at the start. However, I'm excited to see the journey and I'm going to improve over time that this was a big revelation to me that I signed up to a course and that my first feeling was I'm so excited to be really bad at it and then improve over time.

And that's a big mindset shift from starting a program. And that familiar feeling for me of being so stressed out and so overwhelmed because I wanted to hit the ground running and be perfect from the start, you know, which doesn't work, which just doesn't work and pushing through out of stubbornness, letting it affect your mental health that all or nothing feeling coming back into play, being so afraid of failure, being so afraid of any form of struggle. Like, what way does that show up for you in your life? Are you afraid to sit still because you're afraid of the struggle that might happen?

Are you afraid to stop scrolling because you're afraid of the struggle that might happen? Are you afraid to get fit because you don't want to feel that feeling of the struggle. And I must say lifting weights really shows that up for me. I, I really disliked initially when I first got into lifting weights. I'm just talking five kg. Um, the struggle of lifting, it really bothers me. I didn't like feeling that struggle in my muscles of something, feeling too heavy or heavy. It felt similar to me. Um, from a mental health mindset point of view of failing. I just didn't like the feeling. However, when you lift weights, when you get fit and you go through that struggle physically, you kind of recognize it and embrace it a little bit more than mentally.

Like it helps you with the mental stuff, it helps you embrace the mental stuff. So when you start to embrace the struggle with everything, you can start to get a lot more relaxed with how things are going to go. Like when I'm on camera or I'm doing a workout with my clients, I'm ok now to do my best and, and let that play out, I'm ok now to show up on social media just as me and whatever that is, let that be. And there's a lovely sense of peace when you decide to get over yourself and truly focus on doing a good job and taking your ego or your emotion out of it. And I used to be very afraid like if I would show up to do an Instagram live or something like this about how I would be, how I would come across on these podcast episodes, how I would come across and now I realize I'm over myself. It's not about me.

It's about you listening in. It's about how I can help you. The things that I've been through knowing I can help you overcome, the things that I've overcome and doing that imperfectly, knowing that some podcast episodes you're going to really enjoy and get loads out of and knowing that there's other ones that maybe I haven't put my point across too well and being ok with that because there's a higher purpose to that, to how I'm feeling. And when you can approach your life with that in mind, everything becomes a lot more easy. If you are focusing on growing your business or you're focusing on getting fit or losing weight or putting more mindfulness into your life.

If you decide to embrace all the struggles that you're going to encounter, nothing can get at you because you're embracing the struggle. There's no, oh my God. I can't believe I didn't because you're ok with this showing up authentically as yourself and truly serving other people or serving yourself to get to that point, you have to embrace the struggle and when you start to embrace the struggle and, and, and live alongside of it, you start to see that success happens when you fail your way and you don't quit everything that I've done grown. The, the gone from a personal trainer to owning a gym, gone from owning a gym to moving completely online, to growing my podcast, to parenting to losing weight, to giving up alcohol to getting fit, to being able to give up comfort eating and to actually enjoy treats in moderation. It's only ever been a struggle to get to the point where I'm at now. Every single thing has been a struggle.

However, there has been many tears and many setbacks and many frustrations and life could have been a lot easier for me. Had I had known back then that the struggle wasn't that I was failing, which I thought it was at the time. And I wasn't a failure. I was merely on the path to success. And you know, it really affected my mental health for many years thinking like I was a failure because the negative self talk comes with that when you feel like a failure, you know, it's very difficult to lose weight and get fit. If you're walking around calling yourself fat and ugly and a failure, it's very difficult to grow your business.

If you're putting content out there and you're afraid that it's going to be shit. Who cares? You've got a message. You know, you can help people, you can put your stuff out there and you can do it in an imperfect way because that's, that's authenticity. That's you, that's your story and that's who you are. And when you really start to embrace that and hold it and, and work alongside it, you are going to become really successful and people that might sneer at you or or don't face as much struggle as you are. The people that aren't trying. And it's really easy to tear somebody down from the comfort of your own couch.

It is really easy to sit on your couch and eat crisps and look at your phone and slate. Somebody just like a poem. I shared recently um with my clients, you know, the man in the arena, the Theodore Roosevelt's speech that he gave um that it is not the critic that counts. It's the person in the ring taking the knocks, the setbacks and standing up again and again, it's the person that has been metaphorically punched in the face at eight times and they're getting up again and again and again, it's that person that is so inspiring, so inspiring and I see it all around me now, you know, with, with my clients struggling to be consistent, struggling to get to their workouts, new people struggling to find a good routine that works for them.

And now I just go, wow, look at that. How cool they're in the struggle ie they're in that beautiful growth phase of getting where they want to be. It is the most amazing thing in the world. I see people on social media growing their business or starting out and I think, wow, how deadly is that? How deadly is that? Not afraid to show up, not afraid to be themselves, taking the imperfect action. You know, it's just the coolest thing. So, on a side note, if you have people in your life that are sneary and you're afraid of potentially what people think. Um or people kind of put you down with a little s sneary comments.

Remember that? That's easy. That's easy to do that. What's really difficult is to, is to do it is to take action. You're the cool person, you're the person on your journey, you're the person growing, have courage and practice faith and be patient. Be patient. Because those that laugh, you know, the laughter will die down and you'll feel a silence and you'll really know that those people never had your back anyway because you won't hear from them. They'll fade away because those people, they may have been in contact with you and laughed at you when you were struggling. However, when they start to perceive that you're successful or that you're achieving your goal, they will drop away. And I know, you know, already that they're the wrong type of people in your circle. But you'll really know then you know who I'm talking about your people in those, those people in your life, you know, as well. Arthur. We have a keyboard that um, one of them got, I think it was Emily a couple of years ago from Santa and um, Arthur has gotten into that song.

I'm still standing by Elton John and I just set off the cuff to him there a while ago. Oh, my God. If you, if you learn that on the piano, you can go to the ipad, you know, the go on a free youtube thing and start to learn from it. If you do 10 minutes of that every day, um, you'll end up being able to do the, do that song. And he, he, he has done that and he's halfway through knowing how to do. I'm still standing um by Elton John and sometimes I hear him practicing and he might be in the living room and I'm in the bedroom or whatever and I stop and I go whoa practice, practice is so cool. Practice, imperfect practice.

And now I'm kind of excited when I feel like shit at something because I'm like, whoa I'm on a journey here. I'm going to get better. Ok. So, and you know, God, I look back on some of the social media things that I did like even a year ago and I'm so glad I took action. I roaring into the camera like saying, are you tired? Do you have no energy? Well, let me give you three tips. You know, I've changed so much. I've definitely grown up on camera. Um and it's cringy but funny for me to see the way I was a year ago and I'm so glad that I did it because I wouldn't be here where I am now without all that massively imperfect action that I took to get me here. So the third way in which fear of failure and feeling like a failure has shown up for me has been through my denial and avoidance habits is the best way to describe it.

Up until a year ago. I would be very much the type of person that if I had a problem I would avoid it, not want to talk about it. And that has just led to bigger problems and a lack of ability I suppose to be authentic and say, you know what, this isn't working out for me or this isn't working out for me. I need to change my routine. A lack of authenticity or an inability to say I'm not happy here or I'm doing too much work or I don't have the right boundaries up or I'm making myself too available for everybody. This is what I don't like. This is what I do like or in an argument like Joe, this is how I feel and it was an inability to do that.

And the reason I was like that I have realized is because I was so afraid of failure, afraid of admitting that things weren't going well, afraid of feeling like a failure. So rather than confront a letter that I knew was bad news that had arrived in the post, I knew that letter was going to make me feel like a failure. I knew how bad I was going to feel in those moments. Uh We had a very tough time with our neighbors when we were on the Tomb Road, when we owned the gym, you know, we were sued by them, um, for a lot of money when we were there, it was a really, really tough time and, uh, I don't want to talk too much about it.

It was just a very, very tough time and we used to get letters in the post and I went through a phase of just not opening them because those letters used to make me feel like I was failing and feel like such a failure that avoidance was just what I used to do. And I used to kind of block it out and continue to try to search for ways that made me feel better. Like drinking too much rose in the garden. I go, oh, this is great. I having a glass of wine all is good or, or comfort eating on the couch, getting the this the the feeling of the food hitting my stomach and thinking, oh, this is living room.

So being warm but not feeling good, anything but open the letters and feel the feelings. And it was more how that one example of what was going on in my life. Then I just didn't want to feel like a failure. I've, I've been hiding from feeling like a failure my whole life when actually just to use those letters as an example. If I had sat in a room opened the letters accepted. What was there, felt the negative feelings and come up with a solution. Then that would have been terrific, taking action, not being afraid to fail, not being afraid to feel like a failure. So it's kind of that authenticity versus denial, which is the third way that it showed up for me. And recently all over the past year, I have started to feel a lot lighter in myself because for the very first time in my life, I am being honest with myself about how I feel.

And I've noticed I'm, I'm going through my day thinking with some things like, oh, this, this routine isn't working out for me anymore and that might sound simple, but it's, it's a big thing for me. You know, Wednesdays are normally a hectic day and I, I would collect the kids and bring them home, do the school work, bring them out for their tin whistling out in a, she's absolutely terrific and it was just really frustrating day. And then Thursday after 2 30 same Friday after 2 30 the same. So I said to Joe last week, you know what Wednesdays aren't working for me anymore. How would you feel if you collected the kids on Wednesday? And I stayed in the studio, got a bit of work done and that means I get two full days in the studio doing the things I need to do so I can work from home a little bit less and just have one more day. He was like, yeah, absolutely deadly. That sounds like a really good plan.

The relief that came off me from questioning the routine, from owning the fact that it wasn't working for me. It was working for everybody else and then coming out and telling the people that needed to be told that a change needs to be made is truly terrific, truly terrific. But my fear of feeling like a failure, my fear of failing has held me back so much with getting where I want to be. And that's where people pleasing comes in. And that's where trying to fix atmospheres in rooms come in.

You know, if you meet up with a group of people, whether they are extended family or, or a group and the, the conversation seems tense or maybe just, it just, the atmosphere doesn't feel great and you, you feel like you're a bit of a sponge, you can feel people's feelings and you just want to fix it and you don't care if it's at the expense of yourself, you'll crack a joke or when you let all that go and when you just stay in your authentic self and you don't worry about feeling like you're failing as a host or feeling like you're failing as a friend or a family member that you're not making the people around. You laugh or feel good when you realize that that's not your job, you feel a whole lot better.

You sit in your authenticity and there's a lovely, peaceful and calm feeling and you get those feelings when you stop running away from the fear of failure and feeling like a failure. So I ask you today to notice when you feel like a failure and do you take action to the detriment of yourself to not feel feeling like a failure? And if that's you, what would it be like to sit with those feelings and get used to them and comfortable with fear and feeling like a failure and understanding that it's part of life, part of life to not put the band aid on things and to just let things be, would you feel like you would find more peace and calm in your life?

And do you feel maybe that you would quit on things less and that you would stop the stop start cycle? You wouldn't be going around in circles so much you'd get into this lovely place where you were able to feel those negative feelings and be ok with it and then maybe other things would show up for you like you would start doing things in moderation. You would allow yourself to have a workout that didn't go so well. You would let yourself off the hook. If the alarm clock went off, you didn't hear it and you missed your workout or if you wanted to come home from work one day and eat a pizza or if you were walking the prom and you had an ice cream and you didn't have feelings of failure after those moments or you wanted to show up online as yourself and maybe feelings of failure or fear of failing would have stopped you. How many times has the fear of feeling?

Those feelings stopped you from getting where you want to be? And how can you embrace imperfect action and feel ok with whatever way you show up, how can you release the weight of feeling like a failure? These are the things that work for me sitting in silence first thing in the morning for 10 minutes, just sitting there with my eyes closed and training myself to sit with myself is really bloody hard. But you know what? I have had a revelation the other day, I didn't do it and I didn't feel great all day, which means sitting in silence works. I do thrive time. I do that in my thrive coaching program with my clients. We're fully booked. You can always get on the waitlist. Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash coaching, which is a combination of silence, affirmations, meditation and thinking time I exercise, putting weights over your head, doing a squat, struggling with a plank, struggling to do a bicep curl, gets you familiar with the feelings of failing and you start to recognize that getting fit is very similar in feeling to embracing failure.

The two things are very connected. So when you grow physically, you grow mentally, when you get used to feeling like putting a weight over your head is tough, however, you'll stick at it, you start to transfer that feeling over to your life as well and you become ok with, with feeling like things are a struggle. Sleep and rest. I prefer to call it rest. I think as women over 40 when we're going into peri menopause, menopause, maybe your post menopause, you're going to know that sleep isn't always going to come easy. So, rather than the pressure of eight hours, eight hours, eight hours just rest, just rest, whatever about the sleep.

I know it's so important and I know it's so horrific when we don't sleep well, but there's nothing worse than somebody feeling pressurized to get sleep. So I think of it just as rest. Now, I'm going to go to bed and I'm going to rest and if I don't sleep great, how can I get more rest in the day? Good hydration, two liters of water every day and good food, good nutrition. I actually break that down really simply in my free guide, you can actually go to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash unleash and I share with you there my five step framework PMS, five steps to unleashing your fitness and calm.

That's PMS and that goes through the five steps, um, physical fitness, accountability and support hydration, mental health self care, these steps that will help you improve your health and help you become physically fit and mentally fit and help you grow your mindset. So I hope I was articulate with you today. I'm II, I found it a difficult episode in the sense that I really had something that I wanted to get across to you. But I realize this epiphany I've only had very recently and sometimes when I have a revelation, very close to a podcast episode, I'm not able to fully articulate it in the way I want to.

So I hope today, you, you got something out of this episode and I hope I made sense. I hope I made sense today. Um I really do. And if I didn't make sense today, it's, it's just because um I did this so soon to me having that epiphany and I hope you enjoyed it. You must let me know if you did get, get in touch. If you, if you got anything from it, have a wonderful, wonderful afternoon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. All my love. I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and you must let me know by getting in touch. 

  • Well by God Jessica Cooke YOU MADE PERFECT SENSE!!!!!! I an on my journey on that topic and instead of struggle I call it “DISCOVERY” now, as for me the energy of struggle is a bit of a downer…and I have done plenty of it! FAIL = First Attempt In Learning! Love your material, the honesty is so uplifting for me, it lifts my “seal of guilt/shame” about my own stuff! Such beautiful DISCOVERY! Authenticity at its best with your teachings. Love it, love it, love it! Thank you xx I’ll be listening to this again!

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