Change your perception of failure. — When I first started learning Jiujitsu, I would get destroyed when sparring with others who had been doing the sport for much longer. Many times we would spar against ten different people. Circularly rotating to each other every 5 minutes. Each opponent would submit me repeatedly throughout the five-minute matches. At the end of the almost hour of being tossed around like a rag doll, I felt like maybe this was just not for me. I made a choice, however, to keep training and keep trying to get a little better while sparring. Soon, I began not only to win but desired to face those who were better. I realized that I was learning how to be a better fighter each time I lost. I soon understood that you either win or learn; you only fail when you refuse to learn the lesson.

The Fear of Failure is one of the most common restraints that holds people back from pursuing great ideas. Imagine if we could become totally free from the fear of failure. Imagine what we could then manifest and create. In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who can share stories and insights from their experience about “Becoming Free From the Fear of Failure.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chad Osinga.

Chad Osinga is a return retired Army Sniper and combat instructor. He has trained thousands of men/women in self-defense and combat applications. Chad can relate to almost any scenario from war, special needs children, marital problems, and physical setbacks. After surviving two life-threatening motorcycle wrecks, he now uses his time to speak, write, and as a lifestyle coach. His main initiative is to help empower people by revamping their mindset. He believes the fight for success, failure, mediocrity, or greatness is won or lost within our minds.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I have had quite the journey, so I will do my best to give a summarized version. Growing up, I had little guidance, which fueled many bad decisions. I joined the Army in a last-ditch effort to create something out of the life given to me. While in the military, I became a sniper and eventually a combat applications instructor. The Army and I became the perfect storm. Due to my rough upbringing, I was conditioned better than most to be uncomfortable. The military taught me to navigate those rough waters while leading others through them. Once becoming an instructor, it was my job to teach soldiers how to fight effectively and communicate with each other to achieve a higher purpose; the mission. What started as strictly a military curriculum became opened to civilian agencies such as the F.B.I., D.E.A., U.S. Marshals, and SWAT teams.

While my career was on par for great things, my five-year-old daughter had a stroke that left her paraplegic on her left side. The doctor told my wife and me that she would never walk, talk, or even be able to eat on her own ever again. Heartbroken, we left that meeting lost, unsure of the next course of action. My beautiful wife gave birth to our third child while my daughter was in I.C.U. and fighting for her life to make things more complicated.

The following year of our lives was challenging to say the least; however, not only did my daughter walk again, but she also began to run and talk, and she eats enough food for the entire family. I also continued my military career and became an instructor known for getting results and creating a warrior class.

Once I retired, I began riding motorcycles to help combat PTSD and was hit by a car on two separate occasions. The last accident caused me to flatline twice and required several surgeries. Despite the new injuries, I learned how to walk and fought my fear of riding again by doing just that, riding a motorcycle. I now continue to speak, coach, appear on podcasts and write to inspire and lead others to greatness.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

1.) Committed to learning is crucial as a leader. I have yet to be in a position where I have not needed to learn something new or brush up on things I already knew but forgot. Additionally, leaders must stay ahead of the curve in their respective fields to stay relevant. That can only take place if you pursue knowledge and information.

2.) Resiliency, as it is directly connected to success. My ability to get hit, get back up, and then reengage the situation has rewarded me in multiple ways.Not only am I able to attack life more intelligently, but it has positioned me for opportunities others lost because they decided to quit.

3.) Hardworking is last but not least. Someone can have all the talent in the world, but if they are not willing to work hard day in and day out, they will not taste success. I have never been the smartest, most talented, nor very connected. The one thing I have had over my competitors is my willingness to outwork everyone in the room. Due to my work ethic, doors have been opened that I did not even expect to be opened.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the concept of becoming free from failure. Let’s zoom in a bit. From your experience, why exactly are people so afraid of failure? Why is failure so frightening to us?

There can be several different reasons why an individual is frightened to fail. Feelings of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness are often linked to people’s mistakes. Usually, those feelings are connected to past experiences with parents/guardians as these moments continually happen; those negative experiences and the feeling they create become a belief system. People will not try new things or go after opportunities because they believe they are unworthy and not good enough. All due to past experiences they have allowed to define their current situation.

What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?

Fear of failing causes people to lose out on experiences, opportunities, and learning new things. Most importantly, though, it stunts our personal growth and keeps us from building confidence as we create wins in our life by stepping into new situations.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?

We can experience life at our full potential when we are free from this fear. Confidence in ourselves is created, and an understanding that you either win or learn. We only fail when we do not try.

We would love to hear your story about your experience dealing with failure. Would you be able to share a story about that with us?

I have quite a few stories of mistakes that I perceived as failures. One that really sticks out is when I first started as an entrepreneur. One of my biggest goals was to own homes that I rented out. Desperately wanting a form of passive income, I found some properties that would be great to purchase and do just that. However, there was one big problem, I did not have the money to buy them and so I began to look for someone to help me purchase at least one of them. I had no luck as most private lenders wanted more upfront money than I had to give. Out of no where I was approached through an email by an individual saying they would be able to do just what I was looking for and for a price I was willing to pay. I assumed this person was given my information by one of the other lenders I had courted previously. Not sure this was not a scam, I asked for verifying documents of their legitimacy, which they gladly provided. All of the papers sent looked authentic, and I entered into what I thought would be a lucrative deal. I did not account for a scam artist good enough to have fake documents and a business account with Chase Bank. Needless to say, I was scammed out of quite a bit of money and became very discouraged as, at this time in my life, it seemed many things were going wrong as an entrepreneur.

How did you rebound and recover after that? What did you learn from this whole episode? What advice would you give to others based on that story?

Though this was a hard pill to swallow and put my family and me in a challenging situation, I had to take it as a lesson. A tough lesson that I have been able to keep as a tool in my toolbelt. I allowed this situation to make me tougher, sharper, and wiser moving forward as an entrepreneur and a person. As I moved on past this situation and met other business owners, I realized that none of them got where they were without mistakes, some much larger than mine.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that everyone can take to become free from the fear of failure”? Please share a story or an example for each.

1.) Change your perception of failure.

When I first started learning Jiujitsu, I would get destroyed when sparring with others who had been doing the sport for much longer. Many times we would spar against ten different people. Circularly rotating to each other every 5 minutes. Each opponent would submit me repeatedly throughout the five-minute matches. At the end of the almost hour of being tossed around like a rag doll, I felt like maybe this was just not for me. I made a choice, however, to keep training and keep trying to get a little better while sparring. Soon, I began not only to win but desired to face those who were better. I realized that I was learning how to be a better fighter each time I lost. I soon understood that you either win or learn; you only fail when you refuse to learn the lesson.

2.) Don’t hesitate.

As we hesitate and drag our feet, our fears become significantly magnified. Small things become unscalable mountains in our mind’s eye. We begin to tell ourselves all the reasons we can’t, which results in us never taking action. The one thing that has rung true throughout my life is that everything I had built up in my head as too great to accomplish. It was not as complex, scary, or as crazy as I had perceived it to be before just doing the thing. Small steps will compound over time, turning into a big win after the next. There will never be a better time than right now; remove the excuses and go for it.

3.) Visualization.

An old Green Beret once told me that the key to success was to see yourself at the end state, dressed the way you want to be, and having the success you desire. Envision every last detail of the victory you are after. Every time you’re tired, unsure, angry, and want to quit, envision yourself winning and achieving that thing.

4.) Change your network.

Your network is your net worth. I have had to learn this the hard way. I can tell you who you are by those you place around yourself. When you surround yourself with go-getters and action takers, that same tenacity rubs off on you.

5.) Journaling.

After my second motorcycle wreck, I was bound to a recliner. I could not even get to the portable toilet without massive assistance. I knew I had a purpose, but I was also facing tremendous depression, doubt, and anxiety as I tried to figure out how I would change my circumstance. I stumbled on journaling, more specifically, being intentional with the writing. Each day, I would write three things I was grateful for, one win I had, and one thing I learned. Doing this forced me to focus on the positive, what was good in my life, and a growth mindset. Journaling truly changed my life and brought me through to the other side of a very dark time in my life. I encourage everyone reading this to write daily and be intentional with what you are putting on that paper, as it will change your world forever.

The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” Based on your experience, have you found this quote to be true? What do you think Aristotle really meant?

In my experience, there is only one way to success, and that is not to give up. Thomas Edison made one thousand unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail one-thousand times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail one-thousand times. The light bulb was an invention with one thousand steps.” He never quit; he kept trying and learning from each attempt that was not successful.

There is only one way to fail and one way to succeed to answer the question. To err is to quit trying, and to find success is to keep working, allowing each mistake to become feedback and helping you form a sharper product. Furthermore, I believe Aristotle is saying that if you are willing to fail multiple times, you will eventually find the one way that works for that current situation.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could spur on a movement, I believe it would be one of self investment. I grew up not knowing what investing in oneself meant nor how powerful it was in creating the life I had always dreamed of having. When we invest in ourselves, we are more likely to become action takers and place ourselves in a position to help the world around us.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

If I could sit down and spend time with Cody Sperber that would be amazing. Cody is who I followed as I started in Real Estate Investing, and he is the one who spurred me to start down the path of personal development. If it were not for his guidance I would not be where I am today.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

[email protected]

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Thank you for having me; it was an honor and pleasure.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.