Rewire your subconscious mind and nervous system to make failing feel safer and more normal. As stated above, your nervous system will be triggered when something unfamiliar comes into your space. Rewiring your nervous system can be hugely effective for calming this trigger and allowing yourself to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You can rewire your nervous system with subconscious work, Emotional Freedom Technique, hypnosis and more! All of these have proven to be massively helpful for myself, as well as all my clients. Making failure feel safe is key.
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 Katie Benford.
Katie Benford is a certified Subconscious Breakthrough & Manifestation Coach for women creating their dream life. She uses a combination of subconscious reprogramming & spirituality to help women ditch the mediocrity & build the finances, careers and relationships they desire and deserve. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiemariebenford
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’?
Of course! My name is Katie Benford and I am from Peoria, Arizona. To be frank, I’m not different from anyone else. I don’t come from a wealthy family and I don’t have some epic backstory. I am just a girl who decided to create her dream life and I now help others do the same. Upon losing many loved ones during my teenage years, including my older sister to ovarian cancer, and going through a tumultuous breakup in 2018, I started to feel a yearning for more. I was broke, depressed and struggling with generalized anxiety disorder. I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing. This is when I decided to dedicate my life to subconscious rewiring and helping women (as well as myself) create a better life for themselves. One thing after another happened that forced me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to drop my fear of failure. I am a clinical hypnotherapist, subconscious expert and neuro-linguistic practitioner and I’ve helped more than 75 women create a better life for themselves in the last year.
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?
The most interesting story from my career thus far is the story of how my business actually was created in the first place. After a traumatic breakup in 2018, I had just moved into my dream apartment. I was doing well, happier than ever before and finally doing things I’ve always wanted to do. I was about to graduate from college and overall was starting to feel like my life was officially in order. I read the book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and my life shifted even more. I got the intuitive urge to start writing online about mindset, positivity and perspective with no idea which direction or magnitude it would take.
From there, after setting up my WordPress account, I published my first blog post on “4 Mindset Shifts to Make for a Better Life.” Shortly after, I started an Instagram account called @blissingoutblog and just one year later, the account had grown to more than 30,000 followers. One thing led to another, and people started reaching out to me for coaching and help. I initially had no intentions of becoming a coach, but once I began coaching people for free through direct messages, I was hooked. The Universe ended up putting things into my path (such as my certification), and now I have created a successful business that has generated $50K in its first year; a milestone many businesses never reach. I am incredibly grateful that my little blog has turned into a developed business that is growing every single day from that gut decision to start writing about mindset. I have consistently looked fear in the eyes and pushed past it to create this business.
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 three characteristics must be persistence, optimism and a little bit of delusion (HA!). For persistence, you MUST be willing to keep going even if, at first, you “fail.” I put fail into quotes very intentionally because I believe there is no failure, only feedback about what needs to change in order to succeed. An example of this is the time I launched my very first online coaching program and had zero enrollments. And I mean zero sign ups, after months of building a program that I felt in my soul was so important. At that moment, I had two choices: Give up and settle for a mediocre job/life or learn from it and keep going. I chose the latter and I am forever grateful that I did. You have to be persistent and have a I-am-not-taking-no-for-an-answer type of mentality if you want to create your dream life.
Optimism, and I say this because optimism is a rarity nowadays. Our society is hardwired for the negative. We are immersed in negativity through the news, conversations and perspectives, so optimism is key if you’re pursuing your ideal reality. You cannot create your dream life from a place of pessimism; you must create from optimism. The most recent experience of optimism I’ve experienced is the most recent launch of my signature group coaching program. While I was going through the launch, I felt a bout of pessimism come through. “No one is going to enroll, no one cares, why am I even trying?” While I like to believe the part of myself that felt this had her reasons, I decided to shift to optimism and began focusing on thoughts that sounded like “everyone cares, people are signing up every single day, I’ll keep going.” The moment you shift from negative to positive thoughts, regardless of what it is you’re creating is the moment everything will shift. What you focus on expands, so focus on the positive and remain optimistic of a better life.
This leads me to the last quality: delusion. I laugh as I say this because most people think you’re delusional when you’re pursuing something more in life, so you may as well use it to your advantage! Whenever I have created something and been successful at it, I have played in the energy of delusion. I’m not speaking of delusions of grandeur or anything like that, but I like to believe it before I see it. What I mean by this is I believe my desires are here before they are. I play in the energy of delusion by believing these things are already in existence for me. Again, what you focus on expands. Anytime I am focusing on creating something new in my life, whether that’s something related to my business or personal life, I live as if it’s already here, or I often use the perspective that “it happened yesterday.” This is what I mean by delusion. It’s the thing that helps me remain in the energy of faith and trust in the process.
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 believe people are afraid of failure for a few reasons, but I’ll start with the most obvious. Our society condemns failure instead of seeing it as a learning opportunity. Every single successful person fails on a daily basis, large or small. However, if you set out to do something big and “fail,” our society says, “yeah well, we knew it wouldn’t work.” Again, we are hardwired for the negative. Our society is operating on centralized belief systems that have been conditioned for years, so it’s no surprise that most people are terrified of failure. Societal judgment, fear of disappointing our families, the plaguing truth that we “aren’t good enough” being actualized because we’ve “failed” are all valid reasons for being afraid of failure, but it doesn’t mean they are the ultimate truth. Feedback over failure, is the only view to have when something doesn’t go as planned or something doesn’t work out the way you believe it’s supposed to.
Another aspect to consider is that our comfort zones haven’t developed past ancient times. Whenever we step outside of our comfort zone, meaning whenever we go after something unfamiliar, our flight or fight response can be activated. This can look like negative thought spirals, anxiety, nervousness, etc. This can also be a reason why some are afraid of failure because it actually feels like a physical threat to our nervous system. Our nervous systems can actually believe that we are in physical danger when we go after something that is unfamiliar to us, so naturally we can feel as though failing is the end of the world if it happens. The key here is that our nervous system can be shifted and rewired, which I’m sure I’ll get to later.
What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?
The major downside of fearing failure is how detrimental it can be to creating your dream life. It’s impossible to create your ideal life without failing, so it’s important to get used to it. Every successful person has failed and actually comes to accept this truth. Fear of failure can limit people from going after their very possible dreams. It can keep people stuck in jobs, relationships, or other situations they feel unfulfilled in. It can create more bitterness and anger in the world because less people are actually enjoying their lives. Fear of failure creates regret, unfulfillment and purposelessness. It is the quickest way to create a “just okay” life.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?
If everyone recognized that failure HAS to take place in order to succeed, and that failure is just feedback, every single person would have the chance to go after what they TRULY desire. It would make the world a better, happier place. When we become free from the fear of failure, it is the ultimate liberation from our ego and of our highest level of self. We become limitless. We begin to recognize why we are here; to learn the lessons we were meant to learn, which include failing. You can create a better career, finances, relationships, level of self-worth and so much more when you become free from the fear of failure. When you view failure as simply feedback, you begin to recognize that without failure, you won’t be able to grow or expand. This perspective alone can massively improve your quality of life and overall level of emotional wellbeing.
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 deal with failure on a daily basis. It could look like failing to deal with my emotions in the way I wanted to, or failing in my business. It can look like failing in articulating something in a different way than intended. I have a hard time placing a specific story of failure because it’s so present in my everyday life. However, as I’ve said, I view failure as feedback. Each day, I receive pieces of feedback that I can either learn from or allow to repeat as a pattern. And I believe each person on this earth is presented with the same two options. Whenever I am being challenged with failure, I weigh on these two options: am I going to let it destroy me or am I going to learn from it? I choose the learning. This is the only way I am able to grow and expand on a daily basis.
For a specific story, I am called back to the memories of launching my first coaching program and how I failed in that sense. I failed in that sense because I was meant to learn how to market my business in my own way. Without that failure, I wouldn’t have invested in help to learn how to run my business, which has ultimately led to me create a successful business today.
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 rebounded because I made the decision that I would succeed in my business no matter what. Whenever you make the decision to succeed, failure no longer bothers you, because you know that with each failure, you are getting that much closer to succeeding. I used many tools to recover from this episode. It triggered me to dive deep into my own psyche to see where I was holding myself back and how I could rewire my mind to lead me to success. Without that “failure,” my business wouldn’t be where it is today.
My advice to others based on that story would be this: You cannot be successful without failure, so you may as well get used to it. You have to try if you want to succeed, which most likely will involve failure. But you cannot fail if you don’t try and if you don’t try, you will DEFINITELY not succeed. Begin looking at failure through the lens of just pieces of feedback as to what needs to shift. Recognize that failure is going to happen when you pursue your greatest ideas. Use them as learning opportunities and keep moving forward.
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.
Step 1: Become aware of WHY you’re afraid of failing. Is it because you don’t want to disappoint yourself or your family? Are you afraid of what others will think if you fail? Are you afraid of losing everything and everyone? We must gain awareness as to WHY we feel afraid before we can work on releasing it.
For example, I always had the fear of being judged for failing when I started my business. It wasn’t until I realized that my success wasn’t dependent on how many times I failed, but instead, it was dependent on how many times I kept going after I failed. Then, I realized it didn’t matter what people thought if I failed, because that’s not what my success is dependent on. My success is dependent on how I view failure and how I navigate through it.
Step 2: Release the need of others approval. From hundreds of client sessions, I’ve seen one main theme surrounding the fear of failure: People needing to be accepted by others and thinking if they fail, they will be rejected. You do not truly need anyone to validate you to be successful; that comes from within first. Inevitably once you accept and validate yourself, you will release the fear of failure because you no longer need validation or acceptance from others. When you learn self-validation and radical self-acceptance, you will watch your dream life unfold. Failure no longer means anything except what it truly is; a portal for growth and expansion.
Step 3: Allow yourself to feel the fear. One of my main competencies in my business is to honor each emotion as it comes up. If you’re moving through something scary and new, allow your fear in and let it be seen. The part of you that feels scared is valid, but again, it doesn’t mean what you’re afraid of is even real yet. When we resist the fear, it will only grow in strength, so allow it to be seen, acknowledged and felt. This will allow it to go on its merry way so you can get back to creating your greatest ideas with ease and flow.
Step 4: Live from the place that failure=feedback. When you live from this perspective, failure no longer exists, therefore it no longer has a hold on your ideas. Fear sucks, but when you reframe it into being feedback From there, after setting up my WordPress account, I published my first blog post on “4 Mindset Shifts to Make for a Better Life.” Shortly after, I started an Instagram account called @blissingoutblog and just one year later, the account had grown to more than 30,000 followers. One thing led to another, and people started reaching out to me for coaching and help. I initially had no intentions of becoming a coach, but once I began coaching people for free through direct messages, I was hooked. The Universe ended up putting things into my path (such as my certification), and now I have created a successful business that has generated $50K in its first year; a milestone many businesses never reach. I am incredibly grateful that my little blog has turned into a developed business that is growing every single day from that gut decision to start writing about mindset. I have consistently looked fear in the eyes and pushed past it to create this business. On what needs to shift, you allow yourself to open up to more resources and inner workings so you can succeed next time. An example of this could be not getting the job and learning what needs to shift on your resume to get the next one, or failing in a conversation with your partner so you can communicate more effectively next time. Find the learning, feel the fear, then let it go.
Step 5: Rewire your subconscious mind and nervous system to make failing feel safer and more normal. As stated above, your nervous system will be triggered when something unfamiliar comes into your space. Rewiring your nervous system can be hugely effective for calming this trigger and allowing yourself to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You can rewire your nervous system with subconscious work, Emotional Freedom Technique, hypnosis and more! All of these have proven to be massively helpful for myself, as well as all my clients. Making failure feel safe is key.
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 found it to be true in a way. I do think being inventive and malleable is key as well, though. Ultimately, you can continue to fail over and over again until you find the way that works best for you and your idea. But I do believe that there are multiple avenues that you can take to succeed, as well. I think what Aristotle really meant is that you can fail a 100 times until you find the one way that works, meaning, you have to fail in order to succeed.
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. 🙂
I would inspire the worthiness movement. I believe that everything in our life (what we create or what we don’t create) is based on our level of how worthy we feel. I believe every person is equally as worthy as the next, however, we somehow become conditioned to believing we are unworthy of what we truly desire. Part of this is because of societal conditioning, generational trauma, or past life regression. However, if every person on this earth KNEW they were worthy, we would be much more whole as a community and society. More people would be living their dream lives and creating what calls in our true happiness.
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 🙂
I would have a private breakfast or lunch with Kathrin Zenkina AKA Manifestation Babe (@manifestationbabe on Instagram). Her course Manifestation Babe Academy singlehandedly changed my life and was the catalyst for the beginning of my business. She is abundance, trust, worthiness and surrender personified and I continue to learn from her every single day.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
The best way to follow my work online is by following my Instagram account @katiemariebenford
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.