WYC 111 – Championship Culture Part 7 – Jim Harshaw Jr talks Wrestling & Developing Leaders Who Aren’t Afraid to Fail

Jim Harshaw Jr is a speaker, consultant and former Division I All American wrestler. Here is a quick story by him:

I grew up in a blue-collar home so learned the value of hard work early on.

I have spent my life surrounded by Olympians, CEO’s and millionaires. They’ve all struggled and failed on their way to success. Just like you.


On March 20, 1998, my sixteenth year of wrestling ended in a locker room with blood on my face and tears in my eyes. I’d just lost the match to become an NCAA Division I All American.

But I had one more season at the University of Virginia. One more chance. And exactly one year later, in front of over 14,000 fans at the NCAA Championships, I did it. I earned a place on the podium as one of just eight wrestlers in the country with the status of Division I All American.

I followed a blueprint for success to get there. The same blueprint got me invited to the Olympic Training Center and took me overseas to compete on a US National Team.

Website, TEDx talk, & Podcast: jimharshawjr.com

Twitter: @jimharshaw

Facebook: /jimharshawjr

Listen Now:

Listen on iTunes: iTunes link

Listen on Stitcher: Stitcher link

Listen on Google Play Music: Google Play link


‘There are 2 pains in life: the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret’

‘We all need an unreasonable person in our life that holds us to a standard higher than we believe we can attain.’

Outwork everyone

  • Jim’s goal from day one was to outwork all of his competition

Coaching your own kids

  • Each kid is unique and has different needs and ways to communicate

Success through Failure podcast

  • Most of what we do starts with a failure.
  • The failure along the way is only because we set our goals high. The more successful the person, the more failures they have in their past. You don’t see the grind and struggles and times they wanted to quit after they succeed, but it’s there. ‘Failure is an option. In fact, it’s quite likely.’

Goal setting

  • Set audaciously high goals. Then reverse engineer the process it will take to get there. And then forget about the goal. All you can control is your actions. Set action goals.
  • ‘We all need an unreasonable person in our life that holds us to a standard higher than we believe we can attain.’

Caz McCaslin’s 2 minute Coaching tips

  • Kids today are digitally connected, but struggle to connect socially face-to-face – Sports is a great place to make this happen.
  • Best-practice – At end of practice once per week – have one player on team share a story about themself for 3 minutes while all the other players squat against the wall – then ask the players questions about the story afterwards – if they can’t answer they have to keep squatting – great combination of teaching listening skills while under physical exertion

Championship Culture

  • ‘The coach cares more about me as a person than he cares about me as an athlete’

Connecting with kids

  • A young man Jim coached who was hearing impaired wanted to quit, but Jim had a great conversation with the young man and he has stuck with it and his confidence has gone up and he’s doing great with it. Someone believed in him.

Best Stolen Idea

  • Variety


  • ‘There are 2 pains in life: the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret’

Leadership and life coaching

  • Website, TEDx talk, & Podcast: jimharshawjr.com
  • Coaches people and former athletes on goal setting, success, and leadership

Parting Advice

  • Focus on the life lessons. Translate the actions they are doing into life lessons.


Today’s Sponsors

Established in 1995, Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian youth sports provider. Approximately 100,000 leaders and coaches deliver Upward Sports programming to half a million young athletes around the country.

Upward Sports promotes the discovery of Jesus through sports, by providing a fun, encouraging environment in which young athletes can learn technical skills and a love of the game. We use sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer and flag football to help young athletes develop mentally, athletically, spiritually, and socially. We are about the whole athlete—that’s our 360 Progression.

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