In order to succeed, leaders need to be prepared to fail. But in our society, we are so scared to fail, that only a few courageous ones even try.

In fact, if you ask the average person why they have not accomplished their goals yet, the fear of failure is the number one roadblock in their path to success most of the time.

Surprisingly, most people are not afraid to fail because they lack self-confidence. In fact, most “don’t generally fear to fail to do something well after years of practice, hard work, and repetition.”

What we really fear is failing to do something right the first time. This fear keeps us from attempting to accomplish our goals in the first place.

However, is it reasonable to expect anyone (including ourselves) to do anything right the first time around?  Most of us require a lot of practice and several attempts to get things right.

But, why is it that we expect ourselves to ‘do it right’ the first time out of the gate? That’s because we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly the first time.

But, what if I told you failing well was a skill?   What if you could fail perfectly? Would you try – with the chance you could fail?

Ashley Good, the founder of Fail Forward, defines failing well. “Failing well, or ‘intelligent failure,’ means acknowledging that failure happens to the best of us, and building the skills needed to learn and grow stronger from one’s mistakes.”

I think if we all started to not fear failure, to use our failures as learning opportunities to become better versions of ourselves, we would all have much more courage to try to accomplish our goals, thus achieving more.

The whole premise around my show, Carolyn Talks was to act as a weekly reminder to myself to focus on my own personal development, to get unstuck, maximize my potential and achieve more. The show forces me to keep accountable to take action and try, not to be afraid to fail and moves me closer to achieving the impressive results I want.

I created the show in hopes it would motivate my viewers to do the same. We all need a little kick in the pants to push ourselves forward…but the fear of failure can paralyze us.

Therefore, by taking a more productive approach to failure, and by adopting some principles and tools to deal with failure, leaders can increase their resilience and become more adaptable and better equipped to succeed in today’s ever-changing world.

So, in today’s Carolyn Talks, I had the opportunity to interview, my past student, Jessica Luxe. She was bullied in high school and used that horrible experience as a learning opportunity to take her uniqueness – the things that made her special – and made it work for her.

Here, she discusses how she deals with failure, provides tips on how to fail, discusses the importance of emotional intelligence and how it helped her create a successful business. 

If you’re feeling inspired after hearing Jessica’s story, check out our blog post, The Importance of Resilience in Uncertain Times for more tips on how to practice building your resilience!  

Video Transcription


Jessica: Hi. Welcome to Jessica Talks. Today I’m here with Carolyn Stern. You know she used to be a teacher of mine.

Carolyn: Hi, there. It’s Carolyn Stern and you’re watching Carolyn Talks. The channel to watch if you want to get unstuck, maximize your potential, and achieve more.

I’m here today with Jessica Luxe. Jessica was a student of mine at university. She took leadership with me. What I loved about Jessica is she was different. You know as educators, I feel like we teach to the average and Jessica was unique. So, today, Jessica owns a business. She’s a digital content creator and she has a website called

Jessica, thank you so much for being here today.

Jessica: Thank you so much for having me, Carolyn.

Carolyn: So, Jessica, in high school, I know you were bullied for three years for being different. What my first question is how have you used that uniqueness and differences in fashion or otherwise to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Jessica: Honestly, the biggest realization for me was realizing that it’s not what I have in common with the rest of the world that’s going to make me successful, but it’s the things that I don’t have in common with the rest of the world that you know…

Carolyn: Makes you special?

Jessica: Yeah. The things that would later become my biggest selling points or the reason that someone chooses to take my advice is that it’s taken from a different perspective or done in a different way that people hadn’t previously thought about.

Carolyn: This whole show is all about using your emotional intelligence. How do you think you’ve used your emotional intelligence to create the successful business you have?

Jessica: The biggest thing has just been the self-awareness. It’s not easy to look at yourself and realized what your weaknesses are, but being able to subjectively look at what you bring to the table, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what you can offer someone in terms of value has been a huge stepping stone in creating meaningful relationships with clients and then building on that.

Carolyn: It’s interesting you talk about emotional self-awareness because emotional self-awareness is actually one of the competencies of emotional intelligence. My question to you is how did you become self-aware because as an educator, I know as a professor, I didn’t teach you to become self-aware? How did you learn that?

Jessica: It was something that I didn’t even realize I had taken on until way later in life. When you’re getting bullied, you’re thinking, “Why me? Why is this person, you know, choosing to act this way towards me?” It sort of forces you to put a magnifying glass on yourself and really think about what it is that you could be doing to cause this? Taking that, fast forwarding to today, it’s really helped me in realizing my behaviours and my emotions and how like maybe even the words I use, or the emotional cues that I give, could be influencing someone to how they’re reacting to whatever scenario is going on.

Carolyn: I really liked the fact that you took a negative experience and use that to achieve more. That’s when you show your true character. Right? I mean, anybody can be great when things are great. It’s when things are difficult that that’s when things show.

Jessica: Yeah.

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Jessica: Totally agree.

Carolyn: What didn’t you learn in school that you’ve learned throughout your career?

Jessica: You know what I wish they taught us in school was how to fail. Because when you’ve been working on a project or a product and you pour your heart and soul into it, and you think it’s phenomenal, you’ve done everything you can to make sure this is a perfect something. It’s a perfect product that you can deliver to the world, and then if one person comes along and they decide that they don’t like it, you’re crushed.

If I had learned how to fail, I definitely wouldn’t have taken it so hard the first time and then would have been able to get back up quicker. Also, realizing how to assess the scenario and how to even move forward.

After you failed on something that you’ve worked so hard on, what are you supposed to do from there?

Carolyn: Right. So that’s all really what emotional intelligence is all about, right? Emotional intelligence is using the information our emotions provide to act appropriately. When you fail and it can be hurtful, how were you able to sort of take yourself out of the situation and not take it so personally because it’s business, it’s not personal.

Jessica: That’s what I have to remind myself, that it’s not personal. They’re not saying no to me, they’re saying no to whatever I’m offering and that’s fine because sometimes it isn’t just fit for them at the moment or sometimes, a little negotiating needs to happen to make it a good fit.

Even now, I still take it a little personally, but you just have to remember that it’s not personal, it’s just business and it doesn’t mean that there is a potential in the future for our relationship to happen.

Carolyn: You’re a young entrepreneur, what advice would you give other entrepreneurs wanting to get into the digital content creation world? What advice would you give them?

Jessica: Find your niche. Number one, find something no one else is doing and do it and even if you’re doing it badly, just keep working on it.

The biggest advice I can give to people who come to me and they’re worried that they’re not good enough, or their photography is not good enough, or that whatever that they’re telling themselves that isn’t good enough, it doesn’t matter. Just start because the sooner you start, the sooner you can start getting better. The sooner you can start making changes, the sooner you can realize what’s going right, what’s going wrong, what your strengths are, and where you’re failing. From there, you can build on that and work towards making a fantastic product.

Carolyn: I ask all of my guests to share a golden nugget. What’s a golden nugget? It’s a daily tidbit of inspiration. Jessica, what’s your golden nugget for today?

Jessica: I always tell myself, “You didn’t come this far just to come this far and that no is just an opportunity to reinvent your end goal.”

Carolyn: Awesome. Thank you so much for being here today.

Jessica: Thank you for having me.

Carolyn: Now I have a question for you, how do you use your uniqueness to set yourself apart from the competition?

Leave a comment below and if you’d like the show, we’d love it if you share it with your friends and subscribe to our channel. I look forward to seeing you on the next Carolyn Talks.

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