Do it now — People who procrastinate are afraid. They will find any and everything to do other than the thing that will move them forward. When you do it ‘now’ — you nip procrastination in the bud and move one step closer to your goal.
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 Leticia DeSuze.
Leticia DeSuze is a holistic mindset coach and business strategist who helps established minority women entrepreneur scale from 6 to 7 figures. Leticia has developed a ‘laser like’ ability to pierce the facades and identify the deeply engrained thought patterns that have limited her clients’ potential and identify opportunities for accelerated growth. She helps them clearly define what they want and designs the roadmap to get there — while holding them accountable.
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 someone who is naturally curious about people and human behavior. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m fascinated to learn the ‘why’ behind people’s actions. I’m also someone who people have always looked to for my perspective. I’ve been coaching for the past 13 years and have had my own coaching business for the past 4. There’s no greater feeling than to wake up every day with intention knowing you’re going to transform someone’s life and/or business. I get the privilege of being behind the scenes with entrepreneurs and help them transform their lives and businesses. It’s as much of a privilege as taking care of someone’s baby because they entrust me with something incredibly and deeply personal. Maybe I should call myself a life and business nanny ☺
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?
There have been so many but once when I was working in Orange County, CA I went to my favorite sushi bar. Some people befriended me and asked me to join them. They were an elite group and before I knew it, they closed my tab and told me to order anything I wanted on the menu. They told the manager whenever I came back to charge it to them. One by one they each started to tell me their problems which ranged from marriage and relationship challenges to parenting to business. Oddly enough, I hadn’t told them anything about my work. In fact, I hadn’t said much of anything — I mostly listened. When I finally told them what I did — they started to ask if they could pay to coach with me. I found it to be the oddest thing ever that people would pour out their hearts to a stranger. I then realized that people are powerful and ‘successful’ need coaches even more than most. They’re responsible for a lot and to a lot of others. But who’s there to help them and create a safe space for them to be supported? This is also when I realized this is what I was meant to do.
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?
Curiosity — I am a naturally curious person. I ask lots of questions because I like to connect the dots. While I work with some of the most brilliant minds imaginable — I don’t pretend to have all the answers. However, I do have the questions which cause them to look inside of themselves for the answers. Not surface level questions but deeper questions which require reflection. This often leads to some of the most phenomenal breakthroughs because they are tapping into their most powerful resource — themselves! I get to be a facilitator of that process.
Most recently I had a client who was sharing that she had a fear of poverty or lack/scarcity. I just asked a series of questions because there’s always ‘TTBTT’ or ‘the thing behind the thing’ — which simply means there’s more than meets the eye. Well after asking these questions she concluded herself that it wasn’t scarcity she was afraid of but abundance — because she’s never had it consistently. It was a powerful reframe that we arrived to through her own discovery. She felt empowered to take different actions as a result.
Everyone I work with is unique and has unique needs. I am flexible enough to understand their needs and orient my services to meet them while remaining within my scope of expertise.
Very recently I had a client ask if instead of speaking weekly we could speak bi-weekly. She didn’t want to stop coaching but felt she needed a slower pace. I suggested that she allow some of her team to receive coaching as it was as important for them to be developed to work cohesively toward her business goals. Anyway, this is what we did for a few months and she just recently said she’s ready to go all in! It just took flexibility to understand her needs and not try to force her to be in a place where she wasn’t — but I knew she’d get to.
Authenticity — Rather than trying to fit into the boxes of other peoples’ expectations I think it’s incredibly important to be yourself because it allows you to form the highest levels of connection. With my clients, I laugh, cry, cuss, fuss, and everything in between. I allow the full scope of my personality and temperament to be seen and they in return feel safe enough to do the same.
I have a client who was going through some really rough things in her family. She asked if she could take a break for a month or so because of the emotional and financial impact. I told her absolutely and that I was ready for her whenever she was ready to return. I continued to check in with her to see how things were going because I genuinely care about her well-being — beyond the coaching relationship. After the month, she came right back. The situation wasn’t over but she’d gotten a better handle on it — and we’ve been moving and shaking ever since. This authenticity in my relationships is what makes our work so amazing — — because we fully integrate real life and our humanity.
What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?
Usually when we are afraid of failure we rehearse the worst possible scenarios — — things that almost never happen. We are usually not taking action, however, when we’re doing this. So we never prove ourselves wrong. And I find that people never dive much deeper into what ‘failing’ would look like and what it would really mean.
Failure or ‘missing the mark’ gives you feedback and data you need to make new decisions going forward. If you never take action and have a willingness to fail — — you’ll never know which can be torturous. Not knowing, for me, is worse than trying and failing.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?
I personally don’t believe you have to become free from the fear of failure. You can develop the courage in spite of being afraid and it comes from taking action. Your subconscious mind is designed to protect you and keep you safe. So when you start to move in the direction of what you fear — — your mind will wreak havoc to get you to stop. Consistent action is the only antidote to provide your mind with new information. When I think I about the worst that could happen in any situation, I’ve shifted that to start asking myself, “What’s the best that could happen?” But if the thing that I thought was so bad actually happened — could I recover from it? The answer to that has never not been, “yes.”
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?
Sure. I was working with a coaching company and prior to accepting the role I prayed and asked God to give me just one year — because I knew I was supposed to start my own coaching business. Things started off great. I grew by leaps and bounds and made so many incredible relationships. About 9 months in, things started to go in a different direction. The culture wasn’t a good fit for me and I started to feel a level of stress that was affecting my body. The company put me on a performance improvement plan for 3 months. This was about 1 year and 2 months in.
I decided to resign. Once I resigned, within a few weeks I started getting requests and referrals for coaching help from entrepreneurs who heard I left. They started to come so fast that I decided to start the business I knew I should’ve started anyway.
It was the fear of failure that had me believing I wasn’t ready or that I didn’t know enough. I thought I needed to learn one more thing. It wasn’t until the pressure was great enough, I did it — and never looked back.
Did it have to be that way no? But my mind led me to believe that I would fail which is what stops so many other people before they start.
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 recovered by moving full speed ahead in my coaching business — while still afraid. What I learned is every time you make a new decision or take a new risk — fear will present itself. When you take action and follow through you build resilience and self-trust and eventually you come to know and understand that no matter what happens you can handle it.
There’s a saying that the top of one mountain is the bottom of another. If you settle within yourself that the fear of failure or whatever your fear is will always be present — it just comes along on the journey but it’s not in the driver’s seat. You are.
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.
- Do it now — People who procrastinate are afraid. They will find any and everything to do other than the thing that will move them forward. When you do it ‘now’ — you nip procrastination in the bud and move one step closer to your goal.
- Do it afraid — There’s a magical place people think they’ll get to where they’re not afraid. If you’re afraid, you won’t think your way into less fear. You won’t pray or meditate your fear way. Taking action is the only antidote to prove to you that most of your fears are invalid.
- Do it imperfectly — Perfectionism is another way that fear runs the show. You want to give things your best effort — but ‘perfectionism’ is usually a mask for the fear of judgment. Do your best. Tweak your efforts. It’s much better than perfecting something that you never get around to doing.
- Do it again — Fear tends to lessen in the face of mastery. The more you do something the better you get at it and usually the less afraid you feel.
- Hire a coach — If I didn’t have a coach who’d mastered the mindset necessary to help me move forward it would’ve taken me so much longer. My coach had his own fears but he mastered taking action in spite of them and was able to help me do the same.
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?
You could see it as there being many opportunities to quit something and ultimately fail. But persistence/determination will help you succeed no matter what. You keep at it until to achieve the goal. I don’t know if that’s what he really meant but it’s my take. In terms of it being true, I think there are many factors that go into people being successful or not so I wouldn’t hang my hat on this always being the case.
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’m going to do more than inspire a movement. I’m going to start one. In 2023, I’m going to help 100 coaches create six figure businesses. As of Sep 21, 2022, the average annual pay for a Self Employed LIFE Coach in the United States is $69,106 a year — or about $33.22 an hour. I know so many amazing coaches who are great at what they do. However, they’ve not figured out the business part of things and don’t see the financial fruit of their labor. I’m almost done with an e-book on this and will soon start coaching coaches or those who’d like to be.
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 🙂
Sure. Tony Robbins. He’s an incredible influencer in so many spheres. Quite frankly, not enough African American women coaches rise to that level of prominence and influence. I’m going to change that. We’ll be in the same rooms soon.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I am @leticiadesuze across all platforms. My website is www.mindsetstrategypartner.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.