Seek support and surround yourself with likeminded souls! Share your goals and fears with trusted individuals, perhaps a mastermind group, who can provide reassurance, perspective, growth, encouragement, and practical advice. Remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Always do what you are afraid to do”.

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 Maria Kutrubis.

Maria Kutrubis, a dedicated Human Empowerment Specialist with a passion in Parental Coaching, brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to the field. Certified in transformational, inspirational, and parental coaching, her devotion to personal development has touched the lives of many! As a divorced mother of four, including a special needs young adult diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome, she has transformed her life challenges into a source of inspiration and empowerment for others.

In her coaching practice, Maria focuses on empowering people to reach their full potential in all paths of life, guiding parents through the intricacies of parenthood, creating work life balance and the unique dynamics of raising children with special needs. Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of persistence, visualization, self-awareness, and continuous growth. Her approach is marked by empathy, resilience, and a deep commitment to fostering positive transformations. Her mission is to empower parents with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to raise emotionally intelligent, resilient, and self-aware children who will grow into confident and capable adults.

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’?

Thank you for having me! My journey is one marked by resilience and a deep commitment to family. As a divorced mother of four, including a child with Prader Willi Syndrome, I’ve learned the art of smiling at challenges with grace and determination.

Raising a family in the face of adversity is what inspired me to become a parental coach. My goal is to share the lessons learned and empower others to find strength and growth within their unique family dynamics.

Life has its shares of ups and downs, but it’s how we navigate them that defines us. I’m honored to share my experiences and insights to inspire others on their journey of transformation.

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?

One of the most satisfying moments in my career involved working with a parent who had just received a diagnosis for Prader Willi Syndrome. The parent was overwhelmed, feeling isolated and grappling with the unique challenges associated with their child’s condition.

We embarked on a journey of “connecting” based on common experience. We then focused on building a family support network and fostering an attitude of acceptance. What unfolded was truly inspiring. This parent not only found strength within themselves but also became a catalyst for positive change within their community.

The lesson here is the incredible resilience that exists within every individual. Even in the face of adversity, there is an untapped well of strength waiting to be discovered. This experience reinforced my commitment to guiding others in unlocking their potential and reshaping their narrative, proving that adversity can be a powerful catalyst for personal growth.

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. Resilience: Resilience has been a pillar in my success story. As a divorced mother of four, there was a constant wrestle with time and projects. I faced an immense struggle between prioritizing my most important role (motherhood), and empowering people through coaching, which was my passion. My grandmother had once told me “If you fail as a mother, even your greatest accomplishment will not matter.” That haunted me a bit. What she was really trying to say was that we have a moral and ethical obligation to our children. This means prioritizing them, understanding their needs and autonomizing them so they can spread their wings! My “see the glass half full and just keep going with a smile” attitude helped me add small pebbles to my journey of resilience!
  2. Empathy: Empathy comes with the role of being a mother and it has played a pivotal role in connecting with clients and understanding their unique challenges. I vividly recall working with a parent struggling to communicate with their teenager during a particularly turbulent phase. By actively listening and empathizing with their concerns as a coach and as a mother, we uncovered the root of the communication breakdown and developed strategies to bridge the gap and rebuild trust. Empathy, in this instance, served as the foundation for creating meaningful connections and fostering positive transformations within the family.
  3. Self-Awareness: My favorite quote of all times is by Socrates an Ancient Greek philosopher. He stated “Gnothi Seauton”, which is translated to “know thyself”. Life’s turbulence often led me to self-reflection and increased self-awareness, plenty of reading and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Understanding my own strengths, weaknesses, and triggers allowed me to approach coaching with humility and authenticity therefore connecting with people on a personal level and understanding their struggles.

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 society often places a significant emphasis on success and perfectionism, leading individuals to fear failure due to potential judgment or stigmatization, or the feeling of just not being enough. My personal experience as a coach and as a woman with many roles is that failure is scary! I suffered from fear of failure and harsh criticism for many years only to discover that I was the root cause of my suffering. My beliefs were: “ Who loves someone who is a failure?” “Who admires someone who is a failure?” “Who wants someone who is a failure?” No one right? Wrong. But unfortunately, that’s what we believe. And since humans are born with the desire to connect, feel safe, important, and loved, failure does not help with any of these. We are hardwired for love and connection, anything that keeps us away from that creates fear inside us.

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

The toll it takes is on our self-esteem, sense of identity and self-worth. It paralyzes us from taking risks and feeling competent enough to navigate our lives. Individuals may avoid stepping out of their comfort zones, trying new things, or pursuing opportunities that could lead to personal or professional advancement. By being scared to fail we stay on a bench that’s labeled “stagnation, underachievement and limited learning” for too long, not to mention the stress, pressure, and anxiety horizon which we stare at every day. That’s not a fun way to live!

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

Accept it! Failure is an inevitable part of life! Liberation from the shackles of the fear of failure opens the door to a life filled with boundless possibilities and transformative growth. Embracing failure as an invaluable companion on the journey of self-discovery, grants us the power to cultivate resilience, unlock creativity, and propel ourselves towards unparalleled personal development. The absence of fear liberates our minds to dream without constraints, encouraging us to take bold leaps, innovate fearlessly, and view setbacks not as roadblocks but as steppingstones on the path to greatness. With this newfound freedom, we emerge as confident architects of our destinies, forming deeper connections, embracing challenges, and crafting a life rich in purpose, authenticity, and unwavering determination. In this space of liberation, every failure becomes a beacon of opportunity, lighting our way towards a brighter, more fulfilling existence.

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?

It was the summer of 2000, I was 24, and I had just given birth to a twin boy and girl. Days later, I received the diagnosis of Prader Willi Syndrome for my son. I was living in a perfect dream bubble and “BAM”, it felt like the ground beneath me shifted. The news that he had a syndrome shocked me. I felt so small and inadequate. I felt like I had failed to bring a healthy child to the world. Questions like “Will I be able to raise him well?”, “Will my life be more difficult?” “Will I be able to cope with my sadness?” and other “poor little me” questions surrounded me. I felt initially overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty and the weight of responsibility seemed insurmountable. I felt inadequate.

In those challenging moments, I grappled with feelings of grief, confusion, and the fear of not being equipped to provide the best possible support for my child. However, as time progressed, and with my “glass half full” mindset, I discovered an inner strength I never knew I possessed. Instead of succumbing to despair, I sought knowledge, connected with support networks, and became an advocate for my son’s well-being.

The journey was not without its difficulties, but with time, I learned to view the diagnosis not as a limitation but as a unique aspect of my son’s identity. I focused on his positive traits and how I could maximize what he COULD do instead of focus on what he can’t. Ultimately, the experience of receiving my son’s diagnosis early transformed my approach to parenting a special needs child, teaching me resilience, empathy, and the importance of cherishing every moment. It became a powerful chapter in our family’s narrative, emphasizing that adversity can be a catalyst for strength, understanding, and a deeper connection with the ones we love.

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?

The key lesson learned from this challenging episode was the importance of resilience and adaptability. Instead of dwelling on what could not be changed, I focused on empowering my son and our family to thrive within the new normal. Celebrating small victories, fostering a positive environment, and prioritizing self-care emerged as essential components of my recovery.

My advice to others facing similar challenges is to embrace the journey with an open heart, a big smile, and a willingness to learn. Surround yourself with a support network of professionals, friends, and family who can provide guidance, hugs and understanding. Recognize that each step forward, no matter how small, is a triumph worth celebrating.

Above all, remember that resilience is not the absence of struggle but the strength to confront and overcome it. Your journey may be unique, but you are not alone, there is always someone out there who can offer you advice, a kind word, or even a hug! Embrace the opportunity for growth, foster a mindset of acceptance, and cherish the beauty in every moment, no matter how challenging it may seem.

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.

That’s a good question! The first would be to set realistic expectations and understand that nothing is flawless. Know yourself, know your timing, know your stress limits, and always set the bar a tiny bit higher. This will allow you to have a more relaxed approach to challenges and reduce the fear associated with setbacks. Number two is embrace “lessons learned”. Instead of viewing failure as a final verdict on capabilities, reframe it as a valuable learning opportunity and a steppingstone toward future success. This shift in perspective will transform failure into a catalyst for growth. Third, and my personal favorite is celebrating small victories. Enjoy life’s little wins and keep on going with a radiant smile! This will help you build confidence and appreciate the continuous journey of improvement while having fun along the way. Fourth would be act despite of fear. Envision yourself overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals. A powerful tool is to break tasks into manageable steps instead of tackling the whole scary goal at once. Lastly, seek support and surround yourself with likeminded souls! Share your goals and fears with trusted individuals, perhaps a mastermind group, who can provide reassurance, perspective, growth, encouragement, and practical advice. Remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Always do what you are afraid to do”.

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 agree with Aristotle! I’ve had several fail scenarios in my life, but deep inside I always knew what I had to do to succeed, but I chose shortcuts. There is one true path to success and that is the way of relentless pursuit — a journey fueled by passion, fueled by purpose, and fueled by the unwavering belief in our ability to overcome any obstacle in our path. It is the way of resilience — a path marked by resilience in the face of adversity, resilience in the face of failure, and resilience in the face of fear.

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 were to inspire a movement, I would name it “Gnothi Seauton”, based on Socrates’ “know yourself”. It would revolve around the transformative power of self-awareness and personal growth. It would invite individuals to embark on a journey of introspection, self-reflection, and self-discovery to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world. This “Self-Discovery Revolution” would inspire people to explore their inner depths, embrace authenticity, discover their “burning desires”, cultivate a growth mindset, foster connection, lead with compassion, and most importantly ignite purposeful action. Individuals would align their newfound self-awareness with meaningful action in the world. Whether through pursuing passions, advocating for causes, or contributing to their communities, participants can leverage their strengths and values to make a positive global impact.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you!

Kind Regards,

Maria Kutrubis

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • 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.