Episode #3: What if it fails? (Fear Mini-Series, part 3)

This is the third and final segment of our 3-part mini series on overcoming fears. We’re zeroing in on FEAR OF FAILURE. We’re talking about what a failure is and isn’t; how to know if it’s a “sign;” the opportunity to collect Lessons Learned; what to expect in business; and how to not take failure personally. Our listener question this week is how we handled fear when we started and our tip of the week will help you break down your fear and face it head-on.

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Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo:  In today’s episode, we’re back with a third and final segment of our three-part miniseries on overcoming fears. We’re zeroing in on fear of failure. We’re talking about what a failure is and isn’t; how to know if it’s a sign; the opportunity to collect lessons learned; what to expect in business; and how not to take failure personally. Our listener question this week is how we handled fear when we started. And our tip of the week will help you break down your fear and face it head on.


  1. What’s on my plate [2:40]
  2. Shop Talk: What if I fail? [13:05]
  3. Listener Question: handling fear at the start [42:03]
  4. Tip of The Week: best and worst case [57:38]

Cassy Joy: Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants by focusing on bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes a whole-food, properly prepared, and nutrient dense diet as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal.

Throughout their programs, students learn a wide-range of educational tools and techniques to identify and correct nutritional imbalances and deficiencies in their clients, and to launch a successful career in holistic nutrition. The NTA produces like-minded practitioners and consultants that we endorse and consider leaders in the health and wellness space. Registration is now open for their September class. You can learn more, and save your seat by going to www.NutritionalTherapy.com. Don’t forget to mention our name on your application.

1.  What’s on my plate [2:40]

Diane Sanfilippo:  Alright, we are going to jump in with What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. So Cassy, what’s up with you this week?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I feel like I’m about to be really dramatic. But it’s accurate, also.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Ok.

Cassy Joy: The website; the new website? It’s up. And then it’s not up. And then it’s up. And then it’s not up. And then it’s up. And then it’s not up. And I haven’t talked about it on social media because I don’t need you to be going there and seeing; is it up now? Oh, it’s not up. Is it up now? {laughs} Because it’s like this rollercoaster of painful emotions is too much for just me and my team.

So that’s what’s going on behind the scenes while I’m trying to not direct you to www.FedandFit.com. I’m going to publish a lemony kale recipe on Instagram so people who still want a recipe, they can find it without me directing them to the website. But it’s so close, Diane. It’s so close.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That’s exciting. I know how stressful that is.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh. I mean, oh. Our web developer; we’ve been working together for a very long time now. This brotherly love that I have with my web developer is one of these, like we are working on something great together and we really love each other. But also there have been some trials and some ups and downs.

Finally, last week, when I was in a room with my team working in the kitchen; I just need to get out of the vacuum when it comes to coming up with new ideas. But finally, I felt like I was really able to wrap my head around the next book in a way that makes me so excited. I can see the beginning and the end. You know; the front cover and the back cover and the in between and where this might lead in the future, and how this is really going to help solve a big, big problem for folks. Even a wider audience. So I’m just so pumped. That’s really exciting.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That is exciting.

Cassy Joy: Right?! I went to bed on cloud 9 that night. And Austin, my husband, was out of town. And I called him; he was like, how was your day? And I was like, it was great honey.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Guess what? I feel like I really understand this book, and I was so excited and I explained it to him. And there were crickets on the other end of the phone! And just some context, right? Austin also didn’t understand Cook Once, Eat All Week until he held it in his hands. Even though I made and photographed this book in our own dang home. He still didn’t understand it and didn’t really fully get behind it.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Oh yeah. People have no idea what’s happening.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. So I explained this concept to him. But even still, it’s hard for him to be like; uh-huh. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I was like; babe! I need you to just fake it! Just fake excitement, because this is it! I just know it! Anyway, there’s that. And then on a personal note, I am finally dipping my toe into the pool of intermittent fasting. And I just love it. I actually feel really, really great.

Diane Sanfilippo:  What does that look like for you?

Cassy Joy: It’s a 16-8. So 16 hour fast, and then 8-hour; it makes me sound like cattle.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Feeding window.

Cassy Joy: But feeding window. Yes. So we usually eat dinner at about 6 p.m., so I’m done by 7. So that takes me until 11 am the next day. And then between 11 and 7 p.m. is when I eat three really great, healthy meals. And the point of intermittent fasting is not to skip breakfast; just FYI. Like, you’re not going to get the benefits by skipping breakfast and eating bon bons late into the night. So just know that. It’s not about skipping breakfast. It’s just about giving your body a long time to really reset.

I’ve been kind of curious and puzzling over blood sugar things. I could just feel that my blood sugar is not quite where it usually is when I feel great. So I thought I’d dabble in it. It’s my first time really going for it. And for now, I really love it. But I’m eating really, really healthy foods during that window.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I like it. We definitely did a test with this some time last year, for about a month. And both really liked it. And I tend to naturally do that a few days a week at least, because when I train in the morning, I go fasted. So it does push what time I end up starting to eat much, much later. And it’s interesting. I think some folks who are naturally not breakfast people have always been told that that’s bad. But the reality is you might end up just kind of giving yourself this little break. This intermittent fast. And it’s not a bad thing.

Cassy Joy: Totally. Well, I think that’s the difference. Because when I think about people who skip breakfast, I’m thinking of people I personally know that struggle with wellness, they’re snacking late into the night.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Right.

Cassy Joy: So it’s not that same kind of break. And it’s not about necessarily the breakfast meal so much as how are you approaching it. But yeah, it is interesting. And also, to your point; but I’ve started working out in the mornings. It’s been so nice to get back into normalcy now that I’m home and not traveling quite as much. And on the days when I work out, it’s so much easier. It’s easy to just slide right into that 11 a.m. I’m not famished; I’m just fine. But on days when I miss that workout, for one reason or another. We’re working, or I have a meeting; it’s interesting how hungry I am. Because I forget that the endorphins and the adrenaline from the workout really help suppress your appetite. So it’s just all so interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I like it.

Cassy Joy: What about you, boo-boo?

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs} So, over here. We’re still in the hiring process. I know we talked about this the last couple of episodes, but now we’re into some interviews. We might have some additional first-round interviews, but we’re having some second-round interviews. So Nikki, on my team, did some first-round interviews. And kind of a little tip on that front; for anyone who gets to the point where you’re growing a team and you’re hiring; I have had Nikki on my team talk to all of the most qualified applicants that we had kind of put through our filter.

I had her talk to them first, because she has been fulfilling the role that they will come in to fulfill now, or whoever this person will be. So it really gives a nice; I don’t know, just an intro. Why don’t you talk to this person first, because you know what I’m looking for. You know? And that’s just been a very nice way to ease in. And then I’ll talk to a couple of people this week.

And let’s see; we are still looking for a video editor. I have a couple of people who have messaged me about it. And we are going to be pursuing that. But if you’re somebody who is a video editor, and you’re like; this is going to be perfect for me. If you’ve seen a bunch of our videos, and you think that you can really dive into that type of content; shoot me a message. Shoot me an email and let me know.

And then on the personal front; so you’re intermittent fasting; and I definitely have my mornings where I’m kind of doing that. But I am shifting from; so for those folks who came over from the Balanced Bites podcast, and for those of you who are listening to this like; what are you talking about? What’s the Balanced Bites podcast? It’s a health-oriented podcast that I co-hosted with my friend Liz Wolfe for about 8 years. So that’s kind of our original podcast platform.

But I had been working with a personal trainer, inspired by Liz. Because she jumped back into training that way. And for a lot of us, having that person to show up for, and be accountable to. Whether it’s a group class, or whether it’s a trainer. That was what really helped me after about a year of not working out regularly. Which is not good for me. But I had an injury. And I think a lot of us have been there, where the three days turns into three weeks turns into three months, turns into a year, where I just was not exercising regularly.

So, I was working with a trainer for a while. And recently picked up again this template that I used several years ago; actually, right before you and I initiated our real friendship. {laughs} Which, for those of you who don’t know; Cassy and I knew each other, but we didn’t really become friends until I was like; oh, you have a book coming out at the same time as me? Do you want to go on a book tour together? Like; who does that?

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  But several years ago, I was doing this template from RP; renaissance periodization. It’s a female hypertrophy training. Hypertrophy? Hypertrophy? I don’t know how people pronounce it. But it’s just a bodybuilding style weight lifting template. And I really like it. I like showing up at the gym with my little list of; here are the things you’re going to lift up and put back down, and here’s how many sets and here’s what you do. And I just go in, and I have my music, and I do the things, and then I pick them up and put them back down. And I love it. My body just responds super, super well to moderately heavy weight training. That’s just kind of the build that I have. And I’m really enjoying it. So it’s nice to feel independent, again, as well with my workouts.

And I think over time we’ll talk a lot more about self-care, exercise, how to prioritize that stuff. And probably at some point we’ll also talk about some of the reasons why I think a morning workout for entrepreneurs is so important. And I kind of battled that for years, and tried to; I don’t know. I tried to not be that person who did the morning workouts. But now I’m definitely on the bandwagon of morning workouts for entrepreneurs. And we’ll bring that into another episode in the future. But that’s kind of the long and short of what’s going on around here.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Today’s podcast is sponsored in part by Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics. America’s leading purveyor of premium, sustainable seafood and grass-fed meats, and a certified B corporation. Now is the time to grill some wild seafood and mouthwatering grass-fed meats. Their selection includes wild salmon, fish, and shellfish; grass-fed beef and bison; plus premium pastured chicken and pork. Vital Choice also offers great options for work or outdoor adventures. Fantastic canned salmon, tuna or sardines. I just ate a can of the sardines the other day; they’re amazing. Wild salmon or bison jerky, and more. Be sure to save 15% on one regular order with the promo code DRIVEN or get $15 off your first Vital Box with the promocode DRIVENVB from now through the end of the year. Visit vitalchoice.com.

2.  Shop Talk: What if I fail? [13:05]

Cassy Joy: Alrighty; up next we have Shop Talk. It’s our favorite thing to do, all day, every day. And if we’re being really honest, Diane and I have already shop talked for an hour today before we pressed record. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both of our minds and your minds. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Today, continuing our whole conversation in these last few episodes of this mini-series about overcoming fear. Today we’re talking about the dreaded, “What if I fail?” So let’s dive into this self-doubt and what if I fail topic. I would love to hear some of your tips for handling failure, Cassy.

Cassy Joy: Yes! Ok, so let’s set the stage. It’s important for my brain. So we have; the first one we talked about self-doubt. We overcame fear of self-doubt, and we pushed through anyways. And then we talked about other people’s thoughts and feelings, and we worked through those, and we moved on anyways. So you do the thing that you had thought about doing, and you set yourself up and you pursue it, and then all of a sudden, it doesn’t work. Right?

Or, maybe you haven’t actually launched yet. You haven’t started. But you’ve gotten through your own self-doubt, and you’ve gotten through other people’s thoughts. But now you’re thinking; what if this thing doesn’t work out? That’s really where we want to zone in. Because that’s a real thing. And what I think Diane and I really want to drive home the context and the ground work for everything we’re talking about today is there’s a very good chance that you fail. And that does not mean that you’re not supposed to do this. Right? It doesn’t necessarily mean… Right?

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Diane and I are going to sit here and nod our heads at each other; but the amount of times I have failed; the list is 10, 100 times, 200 times longer than the number of times that I’ve really succeeded.

And maybe it’s not that this project that I took on; it’s not, maybe it didn’t crash and burn. But maybe it didn’t do exactly; it wasn’t this explosive success that I had really thought it could be at the beginning. I might chalk that up in my mind as; well, that was a failure. A tally in the failure category. But I don’t really see them as failures.

Anyway; what I want to talk about first and foremost is; if you do fail something. Whether you’ve already failed it, and you’re thinking; abandon ship. {laughs} Jumping off. I’m leaving this behind. Or, you’re afraid something is going to fail in the future; I want you to know, first and foremost, this is does not mean that you failed. Ok. You are not a failure. The failure is not who you are; it just means that the thing you did did not meet your expectations.

It did what it was supposed to do. This might feel a little woo-woo. I’ve been woo-woo in all these episodes. But it might feel a little woo-woo; this is really what I believe in my core, and how I push through at 60 miles an hour through the failures, through the successes, through the middle ground. I think the project is what the project is, and I have to let it be what it’s going to be. I’m going to show up, I’m going to do my best. because that’s all anybody can ask of you, is that you do your best. And if the thing doesn’t go in the route like I predicted it would; so I start a nutrition program. And I launch it online. And I think; in one year, we’re going to have 10,000 members in this program.

If in one year, you have 67 members; it’s going to feel liked a massive failure, because it didn’t meet your expectations. And I think that that’s the important thing to understand. Right? Did it fail, or did it just not meet what you thought it was going to do? Acknowledge it for what it is. And then from there, I say; I have some tips after that. But I just say, just understand that that was the project, it’s not you. You weren’t the failure. Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo:  That does make sense. And I think one thing that you’re kind of touching on here. This idea of; do your best. I don’t know that we are always disappointed in the outcome or the number. I mean, of course sometimes we are. Right? If you’re like; well I wanted to sell this many widgets. Or I wanted this many people to show up. I think when we feel the most disappointment; and I know this is true for you and I; is when we feel like we actually did not do our best.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That feels like more of a failure than the numbers not showing a certain way. And I think that most people who can be resilient and take ownership of the effort that they’re putting in are the ones who can move through these “failures.” Because in the moment, we can actually say; you know what? I did a lot. I worked really hard. But I do think that was really my absolute best? Maybe not.

And even if it was my absolute best, knowing that; you know what? This is the outcome. And instead of feeling like; well, it didn’t do what I thought it could do. Maybe what you thought was a little unrealistic. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo:  You know what I mean? Did you filter that through reality? We’ve had that conversation before, too, right? The reality of a lot of the scenarios we might create for success of a business venture or a launch. Sometimes those realities include 50% of a terrain that we don’t control. We only control 50%. So did we do our best, and did we control what we could control, and kind of throw our hands up to the rest and say; you know what? It will be what it will be. Right?

Like when a book launches, we cannot control the hundreds or thousands of other books that launch that week. So we can’t control everything else that’s going on. We can only control what’s in front of us. And the peripheral elements that we might be able to talk to some people and say; what about this? What about this? And we anticipate. But I do think that a lot of folks somehow are unwilling to fully take responsibility for all that they can do. And just chalk it up to; well, I failed. It’s like; well, actually, you didn’t fail if you gave it your all. You did really well with this. What can we learn from that about how to either give it a little more effort? Or what can we learn about that terrain. Do you know what I’m saying by that?

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I think there’s so much to learn about; you know what? This is actually what I can control. And here’s the part that I can’t. I can’t control if it’s super hot one week, and {laughs} FedEx deliveries don’t get through. Do you know what I mean? There are just different things that we can and cannot control.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. It brings to mind the example of my second book; Cook Once, Eat All Week. Right? I think that what Diane has really well articulated is this freedom between identifying what you can control and what you cannot control. With Cook Once, Eat All Week, I had this goal; I still have this goal, that I, one day, will make the New York Times’ bestsellers list. And the list has changed a lot; that’s a whole topic in and of itself. And I know that the landscape is different, and what it takes to get on it is different. But it’s just one of those things. It’s just like; the girl scout badge one day I’m going to have it. {laughs} It’s just a thing. It’s just a goal of mine. And I thought; I’m going to give everything I’ve got to see if I can make that happen with this book.

And I gave; number one, I set this goal. I set other goals, right? Presale order goals. Which we crushed. I said we were going to sell 4,000 copies preordered.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Which you could control in some way, right? That was something that you actually could really put your energy into and have direct control over.

Cassy Joy: Exactly. I could definitely have influence over that. We had a very elaborate, strategic launch plan with all kinds of really great free downloads. A very, very generous freebie plan in those weeks and months leading up to it. And I did my best. I really; I swung, y’all. I swung for those fences like nobody has ever swung before. I talked to Diane endlessly about it.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Crushed it. You crushed it.

Cassy Joy: I did. But y’all, I didn’t make the New York Times’ bestsellers list. But the book is still sitting at spot 100 on average every single week, and it’s almost three-four months. I don’t know; I don’t know what day it is.

Diane Sanfilippo:  It’s huge. To be in that top 100 on Amazon. I don’t thing most people realize how many books are out there. How many books release every week? How many books are selling? That top 100; that is the pinnacle. That’s it.

Cassy Joy: It is. It is. But I didn’t make the list. So by that definition, it is a failure; right? You might think it is a failure. But in my heart of hearts, I do not feel like I failed. Because I did my best. I know I did. I did not leave anything on the table. I left no stone unturned, aside from sending the New York Times person cupcakes, and puppies.

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Which I did think about doing. And if they ever listen to this, or anyone in the organization, they’re going to be like; never include her, ever, ever again because she talks about bribing! Lord. Oh, no. Take it all back. But I did everything that I possibly could. And I’m so, so proud of that project. And what I realize is; I had no control over that. I had the numbers, but I have no control over the actual names in an editorial list that make it at the end. So I feel fine about it.

Anyways, not to ramble. But that’s kind of it.

Diane Sanfilippo:  No, but it’s really important for people to hear. And that was a conversation to go into this Shop Talk, and part of what we wanted to do with this show, was that’s a conversation that Cassy and I had very frankly and candidly. My first book made the New York Times list. And I never had that in my head as something; maybe I had an inkling because I remember Robb Wolf had made it. And I was like; oh, that’s cool. It wasn’t a badge the same way, I don’t think, in my mind the way that you have it on your mind now. But now I also don’t have the blank perspective of how I would feel about it now. Do you know what I mean? Given seeing peers do that or whatever the case may be.

But at the time, it wasn’t on my mind. I’ve had two books make the list, but the list was really different over time. And then I’ve had three, four books not make the list. Right? So I’ve had the experience and the perspective to be able to say; look, you might have the sales and you might not make it because it’s not a pure numbers game. And here’s what you can control, and here’s what you can’t control. So we had that conversation.

So I think that was also a little bit of what sort of helped in allowing you to anticipate that this might not happen, despite you crushing it.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo:  You know what I mean? Because there are so many elements that are out of your hands. And that’s actually one of the things that I want to talk about with some of my notes. I don’t want to run over this, if you want to wrap up anything else that you were saying.

Cassy Joy: No, that’s great. I mean, it is. That was exactly it. Diane helped me a lot through it. So to her point, she said; see if you can get a reality check. Bounce your goals off of other people. Just because you set a goal doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s achievable. I’m not saying the Times list was not achievable. But let’s say if you say you’re going to have those 10,000 subscribers in your nutrition program in 12 months; I would talk to people who have done that.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Right. Who have launched a program.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. What would it take to do it? So you’re setting realistic goals. And then do your best to achieve them, but it’s not all out if it doesn’t work out. And then the only other two things I wanted to say; the second was is I just want to reassure you that it’s not a sign. If something does not go as planned; y’all. I’m a believer.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I struggle with that sometimes.

Cassy Joy: I know; I know. A lot of people do.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I question myself when I’m doing something that’s not as successful as I thought it would or could be, as quickly as I thought. I do question, yeah.

Cassy Joy: I get it. Is this the universe telling me something? Is Jesus trying to tell me something? Whatever your belief system is, it’s like; is this a sign from above, or beyond, that I am not supposed to be doing this thing? And at the end of the day, I think if you want to free yourself, it’s not. If you want to have that conversation with yourself, then sit down and have a real conversation with yourself. But don’t interpret whether something did or didn’t meet your expectations as divine breadcrumbs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what they are. That’s almost the cheap way out. And you’re letting yourself off the hook.

Diane Sanfilippo:  100%. I think that’s not taking responsibility. So I’m not in that camp.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I know. If you had a T-shirt, it would say “take responsibility.” {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah. You are responsible.

Cassy Joy: You are responsible.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I told you, I listen to Brian Tracy a lot. For any of our older listeners who saw Stuart Smalley on SNL years ago. The Stuart Smalley character, where he’s like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!” Like, you were supposed to repeat those affirmations in the mirror. Well, Brian Tracy’s is; “I am responsible. I am responsible.” He makes you repeat those affirmations. “I am responsible.” And I listen to it so many times that, I mean, that is ingrained in me. I am responsible.

That doesn’t mean I can control everything. It just means I’m responsible. Whether that’s to my reaction, to my actions. Whatever it’s going to be. I am responsible.

Cassy Joy: Amen.

Diane Sanfilippo:  So saying it’s a sign means I’m not responsible for this.

Cassy Joy: Heck yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo:  And I’m not in that line. I’m not raising my hand for that. I don’t have an amen for that one.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I love it. I’m nodding my head so much. Because I think that makes a really big difference. Did you listen to Brian Tracy because of your Lululemon days?

Diane Sanfilippo:  Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Same. It was required reading.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I was like; this is our sales training? Ok.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Diane and I, in case you don’t know, actually both. Not at the same time, and definitely not in the same city. Worked for Lululemon as educators there. And part of their sales training is you have to listen to Brian Tracy, one of his books.

Diane Sanfilippo:  The Psychology of Achievement.

Cassy Joy: That’s it. I am responsible. That’s the Psychology. Ok, and then my last point I want to touch on with regards to what if I fail is; I am going to paint you some silver lining, because failures are actually really exciting. Because you get the opportunity to run a lessons learned. Sure, you can run a lessons learned when something blows your expectations out of the water; but what are you going to do? You’re going to pat yourself on the back and be like, “Good job!” {laughs} That’s a lessons learned after a slam dunk.

A lessons learned after something that does not meet your expectations is pure gold. This is an opportunity to sharpen your blade. And I cherish them, and use them to move forward with. So when something doesn’t work out, get excited because you get to pull out your pen and paper. If you have a team, you bring your team around the table, and you say; what are our lessons learned? And break it out by category, subcategory, write down those golden nuggets. And then use them to move forward. Because the only way you’re going to be successful; you’re not going to be successful because you avoided failure. You’re going to be successful because you used your failures to move yourself upward and onward.

Diane Sanfilippo:  So good! I was like, record that. That’s going in your book!

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  I don’t know; whatever this book is going to be one day. So, that moment that your describing in failure, when you’re sitting with it, assessing it, being analytical; that is how you build confidence. You don’t build confidence by succeeding; you actually kind of build ego. Because I’ve been there.

So my first book that I ever wrote was on the New York Times’ list for almost two years. And then my next book; my next book actually did hit the New York Times list. It hit a different list that was, admittedly, I will say, easier to hit. It was a monthly list that now does not exist anymore. But I haven’t done it again since then. So if I was only judging my own prowess on something that I really actually didn’t have that much control over. My first book released, Practical Paleo, among the paleo wave. That is what was happening at the time. It was not of my power that that happened. That was a moment in time, and it was a piece of magic.

So, if I had taken that, and I had just been like; well, I did that. And if I somehow thought that I was wholly responsible for that success. And then the next one didn’t do quite as well; and how many books I’ve released since then. I just would have stopped. I wouldn’t have released anything else, because if you just go with what is successful and then you stop once you fail, or don’t meet your own expectations, you’re just never going to have that moment of resilience, where you say; I’m still going to keep doing the work. I’m still going to keep showing up. What do you do? You just pack it up and take it home? Just because you didn’t do what you thought you would do the first time?

That is kind of the difference between someone who is an entrepreneur and will succeed with their own business and not. And if you just don’t have that in you. If you’re like; that sounds too hard. I don’t know that I can do that. Then having a business is not going to be something that you’re up for; honestly.

So a couple of things that I want to throw out there with this concept of; ‘What if I fail?” {laughs} I think you should expect to fail. And not in a negative way.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo:  So this is kind of a; what is the worst-case scenario? I remember doing this back in the day when I was quitting my full-time job. I was making 6 figures as a user interface designer for a web startup here in San Francisco. That’s the last job that I’ll ever have, where someone else; I’m on their payroll and their dictating my hours and all that stuff. But what I did was; it’s kind of the cliché pro and con list, in a sense. What’s the best-case scenario; what’s the worst-case scenario?

I think a lot of people presume that writing down worst case scenarios will manifest that, or it’s negative. And I think it’s the most practical thing you can do. Two things; one, realize that the worst-case scenario is probably not that bad, first of all. For me, at the time, it was; I’ll have to move back in with my parents. I know that’s not an option for every person. But at the time, it was like; if I can’t pay the rent, I move back home to New Jersey. At the time. And guess what? I eventually actually chose that for a variety of reasons. I moved out of San Francisco back to New Jersey for a period of time while I was writing Practical Paleo.

So expecting that you might fail, and making a plan for it. What is the contingency plan? What is the plan B? Because so much anxiety gets produced when you’re living in the future, you’re not living in the present. You’re living in the future, in a time period that you cannot 100% affect. We just talked about; you have control over X amount. You can influence X amount of what’s going to happen. And then there’s a certain amount that you can’t.

So if you anticipate; what’s the worst-case scenario. I fail at this, I lose X amount of money, whatever. OK; what will I do? What will I do if that happens? This is; we have to think about, how do you talk to a child when they fail at something? It’s like; ok you dust yourself off. So now what? I think that question of, “Now what?” A lot of people are just afraid to even get into; “What will I do after that?”

You guys; in the back of my mind, when I quit my job, and I was building my nutrition practice. And then when I decided to move back home and write Practical Paleo, or whatever; in the back of my mind, I’m like; well, if some of this doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll just go back and work at Trader Joe’s. {laughs} You can’t have an ego about it. If you want to do something that you’ve never done before. If you want to do something that you’re kind of unsure about, you truly have to remove your ego from it. Strip away what we talked about; other people’s thoughts and feelings. And not be so worried about what other people think of you.

Because guess what? I did have all those moments in my history where when I was 30, and I was starting Balanced Bites back in the day as a meal delivery business, that’s when I was working at Lululemon. I was working at Lululemon part time after I quit; I don’t remember which job I quit. {laughs} I think I had quit my graphic design job to create Balanced Bites as a meal delivery business here in San Francisco. So while I was planning Balanced Bites, I needed to pay the rent. So I had this part time job at Lululemon. And it was not beneath me. And at 30 years old, that’s what I was doing. And that’s fine. And I still sometimes daydream about not doing anything that I’m doing, and it’s like; what if I just go work at Trader Joe’s? That sounds like it would be really fun, and much easier than all this other hard work that I’m doing.

But I do think that we get caught up in this perception of what’s going on. And the reality is; when you take 6 months, a year, three months, whatever it’s going to be, and you almost; everyone is looking at their path forward, as an entrepreneur, as a person in society, in life. We’re looking at this forward trajectory. And it’s almost like this line graph that goes up, and it ticks up, and it just continues ticking up. Right? People assume that they’re just going to go from job to job, earn a little bit more money, advance along this path of life.

And the reality is, that if you want to have major success, and you want to be in control of your life, and you want to have some entrepreneurship in your life, you’re going to have times when that line graph dips down. Way down. Past a place that you’re probably not that comfortable. But you have to be confident that you will always have another plan to follow it up.

So I think that’s kind of the practical side, is just knowing. You are going to fail at certain things. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, as you said. And you need to have a plan for what you’re going to do if it doesn’t work. And that doesn’t mean you necessarily scrap it 100%. It might just mean; ok, half of what you had just done, you need to approach it differently. Because maybe you weren’t being realistic. Or maybe it wasn’t practical. Or maybe next time we do XYZ. Does that make sense? It’s just about having this different perspective on expecting some of that failure.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Exactly. Orange barrel, reroute. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  What is that?

Cassy Joy: It’s a Payton Manning commercial. We’re big Payton Manning fans. {laughs} Orange barrel; reroute!

Diane Sanfilippo:  Oh. Em. Gee.

Cassy Joy: That’s what we say {laughing} when you’re driving along, and there’s an orange barrel in front of you, and you have to reroute.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Ok. Alright. I like it.

Cassy Joy: Is it not a thing?

Diane Sanfilippo:  I mean, I have not seen this commercial. And it’s not shocking to the Balanced Bites podcast listeners who are listening to this that you’ll make some cultural reference that I won’t know. I’m the grandma emoji, so. The bun. I mean, I actually look like that right now.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  Alright. So my next thing is; on this topic of, you will fail. You will approach someone about your business. Let’s say you’re doing a network marketing business, or you’re a health coach. You will approach someone about it, and they’re going to say no. You have to know that that’s going to happen. Be psyched if the first person you approach says yes to what you have to offer. But chances are, they’re going to say no. And chances are, for every 10 nos, you’re going to get one yes. It’s going to take you a lot of nos. It’s going to take you a lot of rejection.

So, building on; expect that to happen. The way you respond to the no is analyzing the situation. I mean, I even do this after every single; I’ll do this after every book signing. I do it after every time Liz and I would teach a seminar. {laughs} I would have the whole postmortem on it. How did it go? What could we do better next time? What went well? Etc.

So if the interaction doesn’t go the way that you planned, or if you approach a chiropractor and you’re like; hey, I want to teach this nutrition class here. Maybe you realize after the fact that you’re like; well I probably should have printed this out on a paper to hand to her, or him. All the different things you can look at after the fact.

And here’s the biggest, biggest key that I want you guys to take away from these moments of; I presented something to someone and they said no and I feel like a failure. Do not take it personally. Period. Point blank. Whether your thing; Cassy’s book. She was shooting for the stars with this New York Times thing. Whether you’re just trying to sell a lip gloss to your best friend. You cannot take that moment where you did not achieve the thing that you meant to achieve. You cannot take it personally.

And I promise you guys, I’m talking to myself right now, too. Because it happens to me. Where I have moments where I am building something, and I expect to do well, and I think I’m capable of more than I’m doing. I do start to take it personally, too. Or I start to second-guess, or doubt myself. But you have to kind of pull out, zoom out, look at the situation, and realize; what if just today was not your friend’s day? What if she just bought a new lip gloss yesterday. What if she is having a hard day? You never know what’s happening. And I think people are much too quick to make something personal.

And it’s almost the opposite of this idea like; yes, I want you to take responsibility for your actions for your plans for your energy and your attitude. I want you to take responsibility. But there is also a line where; you just don’t control every situation. You don’t know what’s happening in somebody’s head. You don’t know what’s happening with their finances. You don’t know if that chiropractor that you approached about the nutrition talk; you don’t know if they’re just having a bad day. But maybe they just didn’t understand what you were saying you had to offer.

So that’s the part where you can look at it, and pull back, and say; is there a way I could do that a little bit better next time, so that if this is the reason they said no, then I’m going to get ahead of that next time. So just anticipating.

And I think a lot of this comes down to building confidence and flexing this muscle over time. Getting used to having these kind of mini-failures. Bouncing back from them, doing it better the next time. And I do think it’s also a bit about self-awareness. Which we’re going to be talking about that a lot as we move forward. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence, as well.

And not everyone is as tuned into those things. But I think there are moments when we have to realize that we have agency over a lot of things, and then there are certain things that we’re not going to control. And watching the way that people respond to us ultimately will help us to learn a little bit more, as well. So you’ll be able to figure out; did this have something to do with me or not? And I think that will really help people.

Cassy Joy: Yes. I think that’s a great well to dive into face first, is; how can I have more self-awareness, and how can I improve my emotional IQ. My EQ. {laughs} My emotional Q, is that what I just said?

Diane Sanfilippo:  EQ? I don’t know. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: My emotional intelligence. That’s some irony for you. I think that’s a great well to dive into. Because I think, when you think about personal development and trying to better ourselves, there are endless options of things that we can do. But that’s something that’s always going to serve you well, is learning yourself better. What Diane is saying; how are people responding to you. And then just becoming more emotionally aware of everybody around.

And then just to add a clean break to what you’re saying; take personal responsibility over yourself, but not responsibility over other people. You are not responsible for how they react. But like what you’re saying; you’re responsible to how you show up. And there are things that you can do, of course, that will incite certain reactions from other people. You get to a point where you have to leave things on the table.

3. Listener Question: handling fear at the start [42:03]

Cassy Joy: Ok; Listener Question. In this segment, we pull questions, comments, and topic ideas from your interactions with us over @DrivenPodcast on Instagram.

Diane Sanfilippo:  OK, so we have a question from Ash. And then her last name is a lot of letters. Kolodziej. I’m not even going to try and pronounce that. So Ash was asking, “What inspired you to start? Did you have a safety net? And how much fear did you experience?”

So I would love to actually hear Cassy; how you handle fear just as a perspective or an approach going into things. And then maybe we can have you answer some of this. And maybe keep it relevant to like one area of business.

Cassy Joy: Hmm-mm. Ok. Yes. I definitely, to touch on her question is how much fear do experience? How do I handle fear? I feel fear. Diane and I kind of very lightly spit-balled this before we jumped in. But I actually fear a significant amount of fear before I do a thing. And I identify it for what it is. And then I say; and this is how I work through it. I acknowledge my fear for what it is. And then I also tell it; ok, you sit right here, on the couch, next to me. And I’m going to sit right here, and get to work. Right? We’re side by side. I’m going to acknowledge you and let you be there. And when you’re ready, you’re going to get up and you’re going to walk away. But I have work to do.

So I think that’s how I handle my fear. I do feel; it depends on what it is. I feel a lot of it before joining; gosh. Starting a blog. Before starting Fed and Fit back in 2011, I had significant amount of fear. It’s everything we’ve already touched on. Self-doubt, right? Imposter syndrome. Who am I? What are other people going to think of me? They’re going to think; who is she? Right?

And then, oh my gosh, what if this thing crashes and burns and it’s so embarrassing? Right? I just say, you know what, those are all valid feelings. I’m not going to tell myself I should not be feeling them, because they’re already there. So like I said, I’m just going to put those feelings on the couch next to me, and I am going to get to work.

And if I’m ever having a moment where my fears want to jump back into my head, and keep me from moving forward, then I work with other people. That’s when you call up that trusted friend or that person that’s got your back or your mentor in a business or whatever it is; and they say, do it anyway. Sometimes you just need somebody to remind you to do it anyway if you can’t do it for yourself. So that’s how I work through it.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Well, for some reason, I think that when I go to tackle something. A new business, a new project. I think; to my own point from earlier how I handle fear initially, is the self-awareness of, I don’t typically dive into something that I’m whole-heartedly unsure of whether or not I can be successful at it. I kind of don’t; I’m not about to go train for a marathon. Pretty sure that’s not going to go well. I’m pretty sure my body would fall apart. I don’t think I would feel well. I’m also not going to open a restaurant. There are a lot of things that we could put on a list of things I think sound fun to do, for a lot of people. Or would be a great achievement. Or what have you. But they’re just not for me. So I do think the self-awareness filter is very helpful to breaking down some of the fear.

So here’s another example of that for some folks. If you want to work as a health coach, but you have a major fear of public speaking; group coaching is probably not for you. Teaching community seminars probably not for you. You’re probably going to work more one-on-one. So you’re kind of setting yourself up for failure in a certain way if you think that you need to do things the way everybody does them, because that’s what you’re seeing. If you’re like; that’s not what’s right for me, then you’re going to be super afraid.

So, I think I kind of nip it in the bud early by not doing that. And then what I end up doing is going into something blissfully ignorant of just how hard it will be. And I think that’s probably; I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like every woman who decides to get pregnant is slightly blissfully ignorant of how hard it’s going to be. At least the first time. Right?

Cassy Joy: It’s all just so exciting at the beginning, yeah! I mean every woman, I think, I’m assuming. I’m going to just go ahead and say this. As the baby belly starts growing, and you’re like; oh, it’s so sweet! Oh, I felt baby kick! Oh my gosh, she’s getting bigger. And then your mind eventually goes to; oh, dear god.

Diane Sanfilippo:  This thing is going to come out? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: It’s going to have to come out. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo:  So I think I go into what I’m doing with business and work in that mindset. And that’s a good thing, right? Because there are a lot of things we would never do if we were super aware of all of the potential negatives, and all the potential downsides. Right?

And I say that as a non-mom. Someone who chooses not to have kids, because I actually feel like I see very clearly how hard that is, and I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I honestly don’t. So mad respect to all the moms listening. Because if you think I’m doing anything amazing; I’m like, well I think what you’re doing looks really freaking hard, and I’ve chosen to opt out because I can’t handle it. So props to you. And props to my cohost, Cassy, for being a mom with her business.

But I think I am overly optimistic. I think I’m confident that I can do things, and then I’m like; yeah, I got this. And then, where my fear really hits is when I am kind of into it, and my own expectations of my success or what I thought I could achieve, or what I thought I could do when it’s not happening. That’s when I get kind of afraid.

It’s less about the fear ahead, or the fear that keeps me from starting. It’s more the self-doubt that creeps in while I’m in it that I’m like; is this the thing that I should be doing? I kind of have an existential crisis of like; is this the right path for me? {laughs} You know. I don’t wonder, is it a sign? I just wonder; should I be working harder at this, or should this be easier if it was right for me? So I do wonder that.

So in terms of how much fear I experience; I don’t really experience it up front. I just experience it more in the form of self-doubt in the process.

So what inspires you, Cassy, to start something new? Because the question was, what inspired you to start. And I don’t know if we can necessarily pinpoint one thing. I mean, I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life, so it’s like; maybe I could say what inspired me to start pursuing entrepreneurship.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, to your point, I think I have always been somebody who wanted to build something and create something. I had; I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this. Have I ever told you about the CJ club growing up?

Diane Sanfilippo:  You did.

Cassy Joy: Oh gosh. Why am I admitting this on a recording? It’s very embarrassing. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo:  {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I had a neighborhood club, and I named it after myself like a narcissistic little brat. And I had all the neighborhood kids, and we sold perfume; because lemonade was so last year. And we did all these other things. I’ve always had it in me to build something and create something. And I saw it as a way to help entertain my neighbors and my sisters. These young kids. Because I was the oldest one on the street, and we were all playing together anyway, and I needed to do something that entertained me and also entertained them.

So I’ve always just seen it in me as wanting to build and create something. So whenever I have a new idea, or I see a new problem, I’m like; oh. How can I solve that problem? And that’s what inspires me to start anything. Is when I see a need, and I do some soul searching. And I think; oh, I have been given the answer to that. I can do this. I can put these two pieces together. That’s what inspires me to start everything that I’ve done.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I love that.

Cassy Joy: How about you? What inspires you to start something?

Diane Sanfilippo:  I think I’m almost curious if I can do it. You know. It’s like, am I capable of that? I don’t know. We’ve talked about this a lot, where I don’t have the same huge big vision of I’m going to build this thing. I literally am just like; could I do this in the next year. Or in the next two years. And what could that become?

I think my own vision for things is more, unfortunately, I think it’s unfortunate, it’s just more short term. Because what I’ve learned in the last decade is that I can never imagine things as big for myself as sometimes they will become. So if I just paint my own picture, then it’s usually going to be much more limited. So what inspires me to start is mostly just a curiosity of what exactly is it that I’m capable of. And usually I’m inspired to start because something sounds fun. {laughs} That sounds like fun. I think I want to be in that journey, and that process. I don’t normally think about the outcome, much.

And in terms of entrepreneurship in general, what inspires me to be an entrepreneur and get started in any line of business is always sort of this quest for personal freedom and being able to make decisions about my own life that I want to make. So that’s kind of what inspires me.

The other part of this question was; do you have a safety net? So it’s like; what’s your take on that? The whole safety net thing?

Cassy Joy: Man. I mean, if my husband were in the room, he would; just to respect the sacrifices that he, as a human, has made so that our family is comfortable. I have to acknowledge that that is there; but I don’t see it as an option. Right? My husband has built this wonderful business for himself that allows him flexibility to be with our family as we raise them, and to really be there for me and all of these other great things.

So you could say on paper that I do have that as a safety net; but y’all, from my heart of hearts, I don’t recognize it as available to me. Because; I wouldn’t have to work, I guess, I could say that. I don’t have to to support our family. We would be just fine, and comfortable. So I guess there is that. My family does have a business, and I know at the end of the day I could go get a job there if I really wanted to. And I love them, and I want them to be successful. And I did work there for a spell. But again; I don’t see that as a safety net also, because it’s just not an option for me. You know? I’m doing this. I’m going to do this, by golly. By the grit of my teeth, this thing is going to happen and I’m going to stay nimble and curious and excited about moving forward. And I’m just going to do my best. And I believe it’s going to work out.

Diane Sanfilippo:  I will say when I very first started, just because I’m kind of with you on; do you have a safety net? Well, I have two things to say. When I first left my last job; I think that’s kind of the place where a lot of people might be. When I left that job, I stayed at it for 6 to 9 months longer than I wanted to solely to save money. And in that time, I was not buying coffees. I was not getting manicures. I was eating a lot of ground beef. I was doing everything I could. I wasn’t going out to dinner with friends. I lived in San Francisco, and that can get really expensive. My social life was definitely curtailed a bit. And that was kind of the beginning of me building a safety net.

And I think I ended up; I can’t remember right now, but I did save a bunch of money so that I would be able to pay the rent. Probably I had saved up money so that I had about a year of a cushion to fully replace what I was doing at my job. And I do remember that within 6 months of leaving my job, I was no longer dipping into my savings. So I was at least able to cover my expenses; which I had lowered. I moved into a cheaper apartment. I cut my rent almost in half by doing that.

So this is all part of the safety net, right? It’s not always about other people. Sometimes it is; sometimes it’s family, etc. Sometimes it’s about having that plan; that worst-case scenario, what will I do if. But sometimes it’s really about making decisions. We talked about this before, but if you have a car that costs a lot every month; lowering the overhead on that. Lowering overhead. So for me, that was the safety net in terms of saving and making sure that I wasn’t just being super risky because I wanted to leave the job. I stayed in it for a lot longer.

And, in true, my 41-year-old brain form, I did not write down the other thing I wanted to say. {laughs} And I lost it. So.

Cassy Joy: That’s ok.

Diane Sanfilippo:  That was my safety net, though, when I did first start.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s great. And just to be fair; I did do the same thing. I actually had a car that cost me more. I went to this moment of, after a year and a half, two years of Fed and Fit being live, I told my parents. I was like; I need to be on beans and rice. I need to make this thing work, and I did. I moved back into their house, in San Antonio. I gave up my really fun apartment. In my early 20s, I was like; it was that, I drove a car that I thought was really cool and I lived in this great apartment and I could afford everything. And I thought; you know what? No. I’m working on this job, saving as much as I can. Beans and rice isn’t fair, because nutrition is what I focused on.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Ground beef and romaine lettuce.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Exactly. Thank you. But it is. That was a big step that I had to take. Was just to be; if I’m going to be financially responsible and make this thing happen, then you have to take those practical steps.

Diane Sanfilippo:  Yeah. And that kind of goes back to the other people’s thoughts and feelings, right? There is judgement that comes in with that. And most of the time, again, that’s from people whose opinions you don’t even want anyway. I think I was a little insecure about the fact that my apartment wasn’t big enough to host game night. Like, I could never have people to my house. I had a studio apartment. So little things like that. Or I would have to say no to going out to the big dinner, or something like that. But yeah, I think those sacrifices are part of the safety net, for sure.

4. Tip of The Week: best and worst case [57:38]

Diane Sanfilippo:  Ok, so Tip of The Week. In this segment we give one actionable tip based on what we’ve been talking about in this whole episode. So, alright, it’s not going to be a surprise to anyone. But, our tip this week; write down your best- and worst-case scenario. Imagine it fully. Think it through. Anticipate it. Channel your anxiety and your fears into action. Know you did all you could do, because you’re writing this stuff down. And the rest is going to be out of your hands.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @DrivenPodcast. You can find me, Diane, @DianeSanfilippo. And Cassy is @FedandFit.

Tune in next week for full episode of listener Q&A. Sure to be a good time.