Ep165: How to Overcome Doubting Yourself When You Know You’re Meant For More | with Sandy Zimmerman, ANW


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"I've literally failed in front of a million people, and something magical happens when you're willing to do that." - Sandy Zimmerman

Have you ever had a nagging feeling that you were meant to be doing something different with your life? Maybe you feel as though you're capable of doing more and you're not living up to your full potential, or maybe even if you’re successful, the thought of being “comfortable“ is beginning to feel like you're locked in a prison of your own creation? But as much as you want to break out, do you find yourself trapped by the limiting beliefs and voices in your head telling you that you’re just not good enough, you don’t deserve it, or simply that you just can’t?

In today’s conversation I have the pleasure and privilege of introducing you to an amazing and unique individual - Sandy Zimmerman - who is a Physical Education teacher, speaker, mother of three, a five-time American Ninja Warrior competitor, and the 1st mom in 11 seasons to hit an ANW buzzer. Given her chaotic upbringing going from one foster home to the next (often on welfare), on paper Sandy is one of the least likely to succeed at the level she has, but when you hear about the struggles she’s endured and the limiting beliefs she’s overcome, you’ll realize every challenge she's faced has perfectly led her to where she is today.

As Ryan Holiday would say...the obstacles for Sandy are the way.

Sandy is no stranger to trauma, adversity, and loss, and in our very deep and honest conversation you will hear that even today Sandy still battles the voices (which she gave a name, btw), and I even put her on the ‘Hot Seat’ to help her not only identify what’s holding her back right now but also what comes next for her (and potentially even how to accomplish it).

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Here's What You'll Learn:
  • The trauma and difficulties Sandy endured in her childhood was immense.
  • The saving grace that benefited Sandy throughout her life.
  • American Ninja Warrior became therapy for Sandy to work through her traumatic past.
  • Why she continued to do something that she kept failing at and getting hurt doing.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: There is always a purpose to the voices in our head...even the negative ones.
  • How she came to have the courage to share her story and listen to her inner voice.
  • How gratitude has helped her stay positive through incredible adversity.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Failing is a necessary step in any story of success and growth.
  • Why so many athletes cry when they finally hit the buzzer in American Ninja Warrior.
  • What Sandy did after her first failure on the ANW course to get herself back on track.
  • Why Sandy doesn't set timelines for accomplishing her goals.
  • The story of my friend who became the first quadriplegic scuba diver.
  • What motivated Sandy to keep trying when life seemed to be against her.
  • What Sandy was like as a child and how she struggled in school.
  • The impact of the teacher Sandy had who didn't feel sorry for her.
  • Why Sandy believes the bar should be kept high regardless of how hard you have it in life.
  • How Sandy knows that she is being called to leave the comfort of the teaching job she loves and share her story.
  • What Sandy does to calm her nerves before speeches.
  • Sandy gains clarity about what she is meant to do beyond teaching.
  • Sandy’s advice to her younger self and where she sees herself 10 years from now.
Useful Resources Mentioned:

American Ninja Warrior Obstacles | Sandy Zimmerman | United States

Film - The Happy Movie | The Happy Movie

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Ep114: Breaking Into (and Making It) In the Industry as People of Color | with Mirra Watkins, Ariel Brown, and Isaiah Cary

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Ep64: [CASE STUDY] Overcoming Burnout and Imposter Syndrome | with Chryss Terry

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Guest Bio:

Sandy Zimmerman is a Physical Education teacher, speaker, mother of 3, five-time American Ninja Warrior competitor and 1st mom in 11 seasons to complete the ANW course. She is a former national judo champion and played basketball at Gonzaga University. When she's not teaching, she runs ninja classes in her own backyard where they have over 40 obstacles. She was also involved in several different speaking events, local fundraisers, charities and events offering private ninja lessons.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

248 episodes