Give yourself permission to fail. Not one of us is perfect — it’s not possible. So, if we’re not perfect, that means there’s going to be some sort of failure in our lives. Knowing this, we should give ourselves permission to try something, learn from it, and try again. The reason I didn’t get overly twisted in my marketing failures is because I went in with the attitude of “let’s see how this goes” — I gave myself permission to be ok if that effort failed. It did, I was bummed, but I got back to the drawing board.

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 Christy Summers, founder of Daytime Hero.

Christy is a 15-year corporate veteran who decided to ditch the role of “cog-in-a wheel” to live a more authentic and creative life. She paired her extensive business experience with her education in Psychology (BA) and Business (MBA), to start Daytime Hero, a company that teaches business basics to Creatives and helps them pursue the life they dream of living. She is incredibly passionate about business and people and intimately connects with her customers as she is a Creative too, working as a voiceover actor and a pole and aerial instructor.

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’ve always been a strait-laced, rule following kid. I loved boundaries and ALWAYS colored inside the lines. I was the kid who would outline the picture lines and then color in the picture to ensure that it was perfect. And there’s no way I’d use wacky colors or get creative. I made the picture how it “should” look. I also loved predictability and routine. I started writing my schedule in a planner in middle school and never looked back. If I was 5 minutes late, something must have gone wrong. I must say… I was a bit high strung; don’t you think?

Or did I really love all those things? I mean, that was certainly my personality growing up: looking to others for rules and striving to meet someone else’s expectations. But even as I worked to perfect my perfectionism, I longed to be that kid who could scribble with all sorts of colors and not panic about it. I wanted the confidence to wear whatever wacky thing I wanted, instead of being the one who preferred blending into the wall.

And then, when I started high school, I made a monster decision. I decided to take a small step forward into the light of chaos and creativity. Looking back, that step was probably the smallest step I ever could’ve made while still holding tight to doing everything “right” — I was inherently a control freak, after all. But that step for me felt GIANT. I opened up my mind to exploring dance and various forms of art. I felt myself coming alive. And honestly, it scared me. But I needed more.

It was that initial step, that one brave teeny tiny step forward at such a vulnerable age, that kept me fighting for my individuality as I matured. I’ve stepped in and out of the light of chaos and creativity throughout the years. Sometimes, I was strictly black and white (literally… those were the only colors I wore) but as I gained confidence in and love for myself, I’m all color. I like to challenge how things are “supposed to be done” and find new ways to make magic happen. I like to ask questions and push back on why something is a rule. And if you have an expectation of me… well, that’s on you, not me.

Within that journey of self-discovery, I always had a passion for teaching and for people. I used to play school at friends’ houses after school because I loved it so much. Who does that?? And with my passion for teaching and people and my pursuit of individuality, I now get to teach others and encourage them to find out who they are and help them pursue their passions in unique and interesting ways.

But the planner? Yeah, that’s never going away. I am who I am on that one.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

My transition from the corporate world into small business is by far the most interesting, challenging, and life altering adjustment I’ve ever had to make. Everything in my career has revolved around business and people, two of my passions. In the corporate world, I was a single cog in a massive machine, but in the small business world, I am every role, every title, and hold every responsibility to keep the business running. I went from being a sales executive in the tech industry to teaching business basics to Creatives (with a specific focus on voiceover). Changing from corporate to small business in the same industry is a large enough adjustment, but I changed industries too! “What was I thinking?!!?” has crossed my mind more than once!

I’ve learned SO MANY lessons along the way. The biggest ‘take away’ I have from the change is to be patient and forgiving of myself as I pursue this new path. The learning curve is gigantic and I am only human. Mistakes will be made, things won’t always go right, and I will learn something new every single day. All I can give is my best for my company and my customers, and that is enough.

I’ve also learned to be incredibly flexible. I have to balance a lot — marketing, client management, sales, operations, finance — and sometimes I can’t juggle everything at the same time. As much as I might try to be predictable and well planned, small business throws unexpected curve balls all the time. I’ve learned to roll with it, finding humor where I can, and I do my best to embrace the journey.

The pressure is intense, but I get to do something I love every day, which is a reward all on its own. I continue to learn new lessons every day, whether it’s figuring out a new software, hiring employees, or revamping my marketing strategies. I’m always kept on my toes and I’m loving (almost) every second of it.

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?

The character trait that has brought me the most success is my discipline. I am committed to treating my business, as well… A business. When building a business, we all want to jump in and immediately start selling our product or service (that’s the fun and challenging part!), but we first need to build a solid foundation on which the business can grow. If there’s no vision or if proper processes and procedures aren’t set up, it will be nearly impossible for the business to survive. I am one that is disciplined (and patient) enough to take the time to set up a business properly. I’m in it for the long game. I will endure through the tedium and less “romantic” aspects of business to do what many others are not willing to do in order to secure a healthy future for my business. One example of that is the amount of market research I had to do when I wanted to create my first course. I needed to not only determine my target market, but to find out what they needed, how they needed it, and communicate it such a way that resonated with them. Not gonna lie, that type of work can make your eyes cross. But it’s critical that I understand my market, so I took the time to dive in and wade through the ridiculous amounts of information out there.

Another character trait that has brought me success is my resilience. Hate to be the one dropping a truth bomb, but not every idea we have is the revolutionary golden nugget folks are searching for. In fact, I have far more ideas landing in the “bust” category than have made it to the creation side of things. And even if my idea does make it to creation, that doesn’t mean it will sell well (despite my market research). But brainstorming and creation is what business success is all about. And just because an idea I was convinced would work flopped doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. I look at it as a game of numbers. The more I create, the more likely I am to land on something that will resonate with my customer base and provide value to them. And I refuse to let my self-worth and my value as a person and business owner be tied up in whether an idea of mine took off. If I fall (which I do pretty consistently), I stand up, dust off, and try again. I tell myself to just keep trying — one step at a time is all it takes to get where I need to go.

A third character trait in my success is my ability to communicate well. The top focus of my business is to provide an outstanding customer experience and communication is key in making that happen. I really try to provide clarity and consistency in my branding, messaging, and in my interactions with my team and customers. My personal opinion is that communication should be frank, but kind. I encourage open and honest communication lines with my team, as I want them to be invested in the work they are doing and the value they are providing to people’s lives.

I like to limit confusion regarding the values, mission, or service offerings of my company, and clear, consistent communication is the best way to do that.

Bonus trait: My sense of humor. Business can be bonkers and sometimes you just gotta roll with it. A good sense of humor brings levity to almost all situations.

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?

I think most people are afraid of failure because they don’t want to experience the feelings that come with falling short of whatever expectation is out there that defines success. When we fail at something, feelings of shame, embarrassment, and worthlessness arise and are brought out into the light. It’s a total slam against our ego! Who wants that?? We always want to appear like we’ve got it together, that we know what we’re doing. We want to be admired for our efforts and applauded for our successes. When we fail, not only do we not receive admiration from others, we face judgement and criticism, which compounds the effects to our already bruised ego. With that kind of potential result, many are afraid of trying anything at all.

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

A huge downside of being afraid of failure is missing out on an opportunity or experience that could be really great — whether we “succeed” or not. If we meet that definition of success, then the risk we took really pays off. If we don’t meet the definition of success, then the lesson learned from the experience carries on into our lives and can positively impact us in other ways. But if we give into our fear and don’t try at all, we’re guaranteed to not succeed.

We grow as people when we take chances and learn from our experiences. If we’re not learning, we’re not growing. The fear of failure can limit us from growth. No one starts out great at anything — we all start as beginners! If we see someone that we would consider a master at their skill, it is because of their failures in the learning process that they came to be a master at whatever they are doing. It’s the constant failing, learning, and trying again that makes us great at something. I have failed too many times to count (I’m practically a professional at it), but I ALWAYS learn some important lesson in my failure, which makes me ponder, “Did I really fail? Or did I just learn something incredibly valuable that will positively impact my life?”

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

I’m not convinced that we can ever be “free” of the fear of failure. In my experience, the fear is always there. I fear failing in my business every single day. The question is will I give into the fear of failure?? Instead of become “free” of the fear, I believe we can work with and work through that fear. I think we can use our fear to help us stay sharp and take calculated risks.

If we can push through our fear and look into the face of potential failure, we grow as a person. Worst case scenario, our ego gets a bit bruised, but if we’re open to it, we can learn something from the experience. Best case scenario, the risk we took pays off and we’re floating on Cloud 9 for a while.

Feeling fear and not running away — actually facing the fear — is a HUGE accomplishment in itself. It’s so much easier to just not try at all vs giving it our all and failing. But giving into the fear does us no favors. It is facing the fear head on that we start improving our lives. Nothing worth having comes free or easy. So, if we’re going after something we deem is worth having, we’ll have to face some fear. I believe that facing the fear of failure, pushing through and coming out the other side of it is what leads us into living our best lives.

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?

Several years ago, I was absolutely convinced I wanted to be in small business, blending my passions and helping people. I was desperate to get away from the corporate world and my mistake was forcing an opportunity to happen versus patiently waiting and preparing for the right opportunity to strike. As I would learn, forced opportunities don’t usually go so well. At the time, I wasn’t at the point where I was confident enough to jump into business alone and create something that was reflective of me and my core beliefs/values — I was too scared to jump out there because I was terrified that I would fail! So, I decided to buy into a business in the fitness industry. That seemed like a safe bet and a good fit, and my main role in the business would be to set up a growth strategy.

Unfortunately, I quickly learned that I had done myself a great disservice by not doing more research and looking deeper into the backend of the business finances and operations. As it turned out, the other partners in the business were not actually great at running a business. They were making their way, but making decisions for day to day versus planning for growth and providing an excellent customer experience. It was an extremely chaotic way to run a business (constantly on the back foot) and it left no room for us to implement a growth strategy. A year of battling uphill passed, and I made no significant progress growing the business, which honestly wasn’t all that surprising. Frustrations grew and revenue did not. My partners then decided that they no longer wanted to grow the business and it became clear that the partnership was not in line with our original agreement. So, what I thought would be a safe bet actually turned into a complete and total bust.

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?

I’m going to be completely candid about that failure of an experience. For several months, I was hiding at home and licking my wounds like an injured animal. I was devastated, hurt, angry, frustrated, heartbroken, and ashamed. I felt totally and completely worthless as a human and I believed that what I had to offer any business was complete and total swill.

I knew I couldn’t be like that forever though. There was too much life to live and too many experiences for me to have to behave like that. I started writing a lot, getting my emotions out and onto paper. It helped me heal in tremendous ways. I really tried to focus on what I wanted to do next. I felt so lost! But as time passed and my mind and emotions healed, other opportunities came to the surface. I was absolutely TERRIFIED to try anything. I just knew I was bound to fail all over again. But I knew in my gut, that if I pushed through and faced my fear of failure, I would expedite the recovery process.

The upside to this traumatic event is that I learned a LOT about listening to my intuition and about running a small business. If I am bluntly honest, I knew I shouldn’t have invested in that business. Looking back, there were enough warning signs, but in my desperation to leave the corporate world, I decided to overlook the signs and hope for the best. I learned so much about the numerous differences between the corporate world and the small business world. From dealing with governments, taxes, and paperwork to customer service, operations, inventory, bookkeeping, etc. the learning experience was vast. I knew I had a lot to learn when I first jumped in, so I was keen to take notes and be extra observant to the differences. I had no idea at the time, but I needed to learn those lessons, and they would stick with me in a stronger way if I failed the first time I tried.

Finally, an opportunity presented itself and I had so much fear, I knew I had to conquer it. I steeled myself, took a giant leap, and started my own business — something I was too scared to do years before. I took every lesson I’d learned from my previous experience and applied them to my new business. Those lessons kept me from making some significant mistakes as I launched out on my own. I am thriving in my business. It was because of that failure that I can have success now. I have great gratitude for the hard lessons learned as they made me a much stronger person. My company focuses on helping others turn their creative passions into their livelihoods, and because I learned so much through my failed experience, I can teach others how not to make my same mistakes.

There are so many lessons I could share with others. Here are just a few:

  • Experience really is the best teacher.
  • Everything you want is on the other side of your fear
  • Trust your instincts and intuition
  • You’re stronger than you think you are
  • Failure leads to lessons learned and a better path forward.
  • Failure is not the end of the world. It’s the start of something great.

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.

  • Redefine what failure means. Instead of failure equaling worthlessness or shame, relabel failing as a lesson learned or a hiccup along the path to where you want to go. In my small business, I have to market myself quite a bit, otherwise no one will know that I exist. When I first started marketing, the campaigns were falling flat. No impact whatsoever! But instead of thinking that I’d made a giant mistake by starting a business and I that I should shut my doors, I looked at it as learning what not to do. I decided to deepen my market research and revamped the strategy, finding a better way to communicate with customers. Once I figured out what my customer base needed (and how to say it in a way that resonated), I made appropriate adjustments and started to see growth.
  • Be clear and realistic about your fear. Define what you are afraid of and how failing may impact your life. When we do this, we’ll often find that “failing” isn’t so bad after all. Our fear of it is far more crippling than the actual event of failing. When I was struggling with my marketing efforts, I stated out loud to myself what my fear actually was: That I was a total fraud and everyone knew I shouldn’t be in business. I stopped myself, thinking, “Well, that was a bit dramatic. It’s only marketing. Surely, I can do this.” And the worst thing that could happen to me is actually having to close down my business. If I did that, I would have to find another corporate job. And with 15+ years in corporate business and an extensive network, my options would be good. When I stated my fear and the result out loud, the prospect of failing was still scary, but it wasn’t a debilitating, let-me-crawl-in-bed-for-days scary.
  • Give yourself permission to fail. Not one of us is perfect — it’s not possible. So, if we’re not perfect, that means there’s going to be some sort of failure in our lives. Knowing this, we should give ourselves permission to try something, learn from it, and try again. The reason I didn’t get overly twisted in my marketing failures is because I went in with the attitude of “let’s see how this goes” — I gave myself permission to be ok if that effort failed. It did, I was bummed, but I got back to the drawing board.
  • Accept that failure is part of the process and include failure as part of your plan for success. We all start out as beginners — and as beginners, we tend to suck at whatever we’re doing. It is RIDICULOUS to think we would be an immediate success, with no knowledge and no hard work. Take a baby, for example, learning to walk. How many times does that kid fall down? About a million a day. And as parents, are we telling the baby that they’re a failure at life for falling? NO. Because falling and getting back up to try again is part of the process! And the same goes for any skill we are trying to hone. If we accept that failure is part of the process of learning, then we can make room for it in our minds and in our schedules.
  • Limit the negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is the worst. If anything could hinder us from success, it’s that. So, let’s choose to focus on how we can learn and grow versus beating ourselves up over something that’s probably pretty insignificant in the giant scheme of things. I’m one who struggles a great deal with negative self-talk. Those inner demons can get loud! I do my best to think about what I would say to my best friend if they were feeling defeated. Would I beat them up verbally, telling them how worthless they are? No way! So then why am I doing that to myself? I now aim to speak to myself as I would speak to my best friend — with love, support, and candor.

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?

I have failed in so many ways, I’ve lost count. But my success comes in the form not as a measured result, but in learning and keeping a growth mindset. I have to ask: have we really failed if we don’t give up?

Aristotle’s quote goes on to say, “…for which reason also one is easy and the other difficult — to miss the mark easy, to hit it difficult”. I take that to mean it is incredibly easy to fail, time and time again. But to hit the mark, to be successful, is extremely difficult. And the only way we can hit the mark is to repeat our failures to such an extent that we succeed.

By training and practicing (which is basically failing on repeat), we make progress, honing our skill to the point of success.

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 inspire a movement, it would be “seek to understand” — meaning, we should (more often that not) keep our ears open and our mouths shut so that we may try to understand another’s perspective. There are so many differentiating factors in humans, from race, religion, upbringing, cultural attributes, gender, and on and on it goes. Not one person’s path matches another’s path, which means we have something to learn from one another. Whether we agree with the other party or not is irrelevant, but to do our best to see from their eyes and in their perspective, I believe would bring a sense of sympathy and understanding this world has yet to grasp.

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 🙂

Brene Brown — The first book I ever read from Brene Brown was Gifts of Imperfection, and as someone who’s spent my life striving to live up to other people’s expectations, this book was revolutionary for me. Just the simple idea of accepting who I am for what I am, was mind blowing. Ever since reading that book, I have been on a mission to pursue “wholehearted living”. Brene’s research and writing really challenged what I thought I knew about myself and because of her insights, I am not only able to accept myself for who I am, I encourage others along the same path of self acceptance.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can check out my website.

Please join the mailing list! I provide all sorts of business tips/tricks and special incentives to those on my mailing list.

Social media:

IG: @daytime.hero

LinkedIn — Daytime Hero

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


  • 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.