Say yes to something that terrifies you. For me it was saying yes to a 30-day Reels challenge on Instagram with a group of peers I looked up to at the time. I didn’t know how to post a reel and the thought of it terrified me but something in me said GO FOR IT! And so I did it. Guess what? My life and relationships are forever changed because of that one decision. I’ve made more connections and have found my “tribe” on social media by putting myself out there. Who would have thought?!

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 Smith.

Katie Smith followed much of the same path that we’re groomed to follow. She worked hard in school and went to a good university on a sports scholarship. After graduation, she set her sights on becoming a c-level executive and achieving that dream of climbing the corporate ladder to success.

However, once she made it to the top, she found herself not as fulfilled as she had hoped. Now married with a little boy and another on the way, she realized that entrepreneurship could give her what she dreamed. She found a network marketing company and realized she had the potential to create an income that would free her from her corporate job and retire her husband. It was going to take work, and becoming free from the fear of failure, but she was ready. Katie is a huge personal development junkie, a recovering people pleaser and has worked hard on her mindset and her processes to overcome her fear of failure.

Because of network marketing and the impact it’s had on her life, her mission is to help as many women break free from the fear of failure and find more fulfillment in their lives, just as she did.

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’m a California native and was born & raised in Orange County. I’m a new mama to a very active baby boy, with another baby boy on the way, and have been married to my better half for over 6 years. I attended Chico State on a soccer scholarship where I decided I wanted to be a C-Level executive someday and work my way up the corporate ladder. It wasn’t until after finally becoming a C-Level executive where I found myself not as fulfilled as I had hoped and thats what started my entrepreneurship journey. I found Network Marketing and fell in love. I’ve not been in the industry now going on 3 years and it’s been the best decision for me and my family.

I’m a huge personal development junkie, a recovering people pleaser, and a big animal lover.

In my free time, you can find hmeer either riding my horse, spending time with my sweet little family or walking one of the 3 dogs to get my movement in for the day.

Because of network marketing and the impact it’s had on my life, my mission is to help as many women break free from fear and find more fulfillment in their lives just as I did.

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?

I learned that life doesn’t always end up being what you envisioned. I thought I had “made it” when I became a C-level executive only to find I wasn’t fulfilled at all. I remember thinking “this is it?”. Not much seemed to have changed for me other than getting a bigger salary and more of my time was needed to run an entire department. I remember having a hard time trying to think of where I could pivot next. I wanted more time freedom, but I didn’t know how to get it with my current career so I went looking at other options to get what I wanted without needing to trade more of my time for money.

That is when I found social selling and decided to learn more. There is no hurt in learning more if you’re that hungry for change. I learned that this industry was the average person’s best bet to make money that could be generational, C-level executive type of money. The thought of joining a brand new industry and possibly failing was terrifying but at the same time, staying in the same place a year from now was even scarier so I went for it and started my own e-commerce 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?

Gratitude, grit, resilience are the three that come to mind. One should always remember to be grateful for what they have. Life is just more fun living with gratitude than not. I am grateful for what I have today and what will come in the future. Gratitude also helps us live in the moment and time is precious. We never know when our time is up.

Grit. I learned this about myself on this journey of starting my own e-commerce business within the social selling space. You need grit to stay in the game. You need to have the courage to keep going even when you don’t want to. That is what sets you apart from others.

Resilience. With what I want in life, I am resilient to anything that tries to get in my way. Nothing will set me back and let me tell you there have been big attempts to make me quit but I remember why I started in the first place and why I am doing this and I get back into the “game”.

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?

Failure is scary because it leads to feelings of worthlessness, shame or embarrassment. I think people are paralyzed by what others think of them to the point that they won’t even try because the thought of trying and failing just isn’t worth the pain. The sad part is people will then let go of any dreams they once had of what their life could look like and accept that they will never live the life they dreamt because they aren’t worthy.

It’s terrifying to start something new and have those doubts. It’s a feeling that no one ever wants, so why even try and go through the pain? The kicker is when you realize you let other people determine how your life should look when they aren’t the ones living it. If you want change, make change. If you want to change your altitude and go higher than those around you, change your attitude and the people you spend more of your time with. When I learned that, so many doors opened up for me.

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

When one chooses to be afraid of failure, they are accepting the fact that they are ok being in the same place a year from now or worse a decade from now. They are choosing to be ok giving up on their dreams of what they saw for them and their family, instead of going after it. And that is all because of fear…when really fear is nothing more than uncertainty or a situation we’ve never been in before. When we find a way to change our fear into a new experience we become less afraid of it.

Fear also makes us stay in our comfort zone, which holds us back from our full potential. Not only that, it will lead to many other unwelcoming feelings such as unworthiness and undeserving.

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

When you get out of your comfort zone and survive the experience, you are training your brain that “hey, that wasn’t so bad and I survived!”. When you survive that scary experience and break through that fear of failure, you naturally gain more confidence in yourself — which is the best part. When we gain more confidence, we feel better and we continue to grow and slowly doors open with new people you meet and the people around you change to encourage you further. Pretty soon you are a whole new person you didn’t ever realize was in you and it all came from saying yes to one scary decision.

Becoming free from failure can lead you to meet people you never would have met before. It can lead you to making an impact on others and helping others — and it is very fulfilling.

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?

Being in the social selling space I feel like I come across moments of failure but, as cliche as it sounds, I’ve also allowed my failures to be new learning opportunities that help me move forward.

When I first started out in this industry, I had no idea what to look for in a company. I just saw a lot of friends who I trusted join and were also new to the industry so I figured “hey if they are doing it then it can’t be so bad, right?!”. Well I bet you’re all thinking it was a scam or something but it wasn’t at all. It just wasn’t set up for a true social selling professional to make the kind of money you hear others in the industry making. I did have a lot of success but still it wasn’t panning out like I thought it was and things began to feel incongruent. I felt stuck.

I had a choice. I could either quit the industry and give up on my dreams of replacing my corporate income or I could find another company that is better suited for what I was trying to do — to help me achieve my goals.

I chose the latter. I could have easily quit and been another statistic in the industry of those who started but quit. And I didn’t want to be that. Instead, I knew this was the path for me to get what I want out of life so, I went researching and found that all companies are not created equal and decided to join a company that was more aligned with my values and also would truly set me up for success. I’ve never been happier since that switch and what I like to call “failing forward”.

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 learned that if you want something bad enough you will have the resilience to keep going until you get it. I could have quit and been another statistic, but I wouldn’t let myself because of how badly I wanted a life where I had time freedom.

I share this story because a lot of time failing can come from lack of information which is not truly failing, but instead a lack of experience. The reality is, we are not going to hit it out of the park every time. Unfortunately, life wasn’t designed that way, and if it was I would bet we’d all get pretty bored after a while. We are meant to evolve and grow to experience new things in life because that is what living life is. We are not supposed to stay in the same spot year after year. We are meant to expand and gain new experiences, to take us into the next chapter of our life which is getting one step closer to where you want to end up.

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. Say yes to something that terrifies you. For me it was saying yes to a 30-day Reels challenge on Instagram with a group of peers I looked up to at the time. I didn’t know how to post a reel and the thought of it terrified me but something in me said GO FOR IT! And so I did it. Guess what? My life and relationships are forever changed because of that one decision. I’ve made more connections and have found my “tribe” on social media by putting myself out there. Who would have thought?!
  2. Accept that failure is a part of life. If you’re a dreamer and you have the slightest push to chase those dreams, you need to be prepared that you will have mini failures along the way. You might even have big ones. But, when you fail is when you can take it as a learning opportunity and grow from it. In my career as a business owner, I’ve found that there are mini failures everywhere when you are trying to achieve something most never will. It just comes with the territory, but it’s learning that those failures are just lack of experience. Also, I had to have a hard look in the mirror and remind myself that no one is thinking or judging me nearly as much as I thought they were. Don’t let other people’s thoughts and opinions keep you from doing something you want to do to get you closer to making your dreams a reality.
  3. Let go of perfectionism. You’re talking to a recovering perfectionist so this one was hard for me to grasp, but once I did things got a lot easier. I used to try to be perfect at everything and if it wasn’t perfect, then I would go into a tailspin of shame, and it was all self-induced. It wasn’t until I listened to enough podcasts to where I learned that perfectionism should never be the goal. In fact, perfectionism is not only unattainable, it’s intimidating for people. It makes people put you on this pedestal that you never will live up to — and that is unsustainable. Trust me, it’s much better to be you, unapologetically you, with quirks and all and you’ll find people prefer that over perfectionism any day.
  4. Plan to fail. This helps with the fear of failing because you will almost be prepared for it. Does that mean go looking for failure? No, it doesn’t. It just means if you are sick of living life under the same time or financial constraints currently and you take the bold leap of faith to do something new then do yourself a favor and plan to have bumps in the road because no one creates a brand new life staying the same.
  5. Protect your mind and time. When working toward a goal you need to protect what you feed your mind and where you spend your time. If you’re going after something like financial freedom or time freedom you want to educate yourself on how to get there faster by reading books from those who have done what you’re trying to do. You’ll have to avoid those who aren’t supportive of this “new you”. This can be hard at first but you’ll learn that you need to stay focused to reach your goals. Don’t get distracted by those who want you to fail so they can feel more comfortable with you. That isn’t support and you’ll want to re-evaluate those relationships in your life.

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 do think this quote is true. I think what Aristotle means is you can fail in many ways and over and over again until you get it right and I believe that as well. Just because you failed once doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Most of the world’s most successful leaders have failed on average 7 times before they had success. And guess what the best part is? Once you have success you know how to get it again and again, so don’t let one failure make you never want to try again. If anything, have that one failure propel you forward because you are that much closer to 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. 🙂

Honestly, I have to say it’s the movement I’m trying to make right now and that is to remind people that we are all here to serve and help one another, and not look out for ourselves. We are not supposed to be “every man for themselves” and be selfish, but rather help others get to where they want to go. Be kind and supportive to people who just want more out of life. It’s ok to have dreams and want to chase them. We should support each other like that…like parents and teachers support that in kids. Why when we become adults that isn’t supported anymore? Why are we supposed to fall in line to what the majority of society thinks we should be doing with our lives? I want to support and help the dreamers, because they are capable and worthy of having it.i If I can help in just a little way, that is what life is all about for me. That is what “fills my cup”.

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 am a huge Ed Mylett fan and to be able to have lunch with him would be absolutely incredible. I love his podcast and his way of thinking. His podcast, social media and books have been a big resource for me. I love his content.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They are welcome to follow me on Instagram at @kdkay. In my bio, they can learn more about what I do and find my website there as well.

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.