As women, often we are afraid of stepping out of the shadows and letting ourselves shine. Sometimes we are not confident or strong enough to ask for what we deserve and instead continue to let those around us under-appreciated us or hold us back. We know that we are destined for more but are not exactly sure of how to reach that higher purpose. As a result, we procrastinate, we get frustrated and feel sorry for ourselves. But in reality, we are the masters of our own fate and deserve to achieve our highest potential. We will never know what we are capable of until we step out of the shadows and seize the opportunity. Stop letting fear and the opinion of others dictate your life and prevent you from discovering your fullest potential.

Stop Listening to the Opinions of Others
When you were a baby and first learned how to walk you would take a few steps, fall, get right back up, and continue walking without a care in the world. But now that we’re older, when we fall and experience moments of failure, we can’t seem to get back up as easily. Now we let the opinions of others and fear of being embarrassed stop us from continuing our journey. As you grow up, your family and society teach you how to behave and what is expected of us. We are taught to believe that success is defined by getting good grades, finding a well-paying job, and then finally starting a family. So, when we do not perfectly meet society’s expectations we get punished or are made to feel different. As a result, we fear the judgment or disapproval of others and even let their voices stick in our brain. But if you continue to let the opinions of others dictate your life choices, you will never feel like you are reaching your highest potential or doing what makes you truly happy. When choosing a less common path we are often bombarded with questions like, “How will that support you and your family?”, “How are you going to pay rent?”, “Where are you going to live?” and most commonly, “What if you fail?” But if I had allowed myself to listen to other people’s opinions, I would have never quit my job at Burberry and ModaBox would have never been born. When we allow ourselves to dwell on the negative opinions of others, we never take risks or learn everything we are capable of accomplishing. Focus on the big picture of what your future could be and leave the doubt of others behind you.

Afraid of Failure
Being afraid of failure is one of the most common reasons people do not pursue their dreams. On a recent trip, I discovered that in Australia, failure is heavily highlighted and viewed very negatively. Women are shaken to their cores from the fear of failure and are a left too scared to start their business ventures. But I am thankful that in America that failure is accepted and embraced by many. However, we are still terrified of the unknown and of things that haven’t even happened yet. For example, “what if I don’t get the job?” or “what if no one believes in my company”? We should not be spending time worrying about the what-ifs or about things that may never even happen. Instead, we should focus on what is right in front of us and strive to enhance the life we are living. We need to look at uncertainty as a learning experience and as a time of growth. It is through times of uncertainty that we learn new things about ourselves and how strong we really are. In a few years from now, no one will remember that one time you didn’t get the job, or that your company struggled for the first few months. People will only remember your greatest accomplishments and how you dealt with life’s obstacles. Stop thinking about the possibility of failure before even taking your first step. How do you expect to reach the finish line if you never have the courage to even start the race?

Learn from Your Failure
I know all too well that feeling when your stomach is crawling, and your back hurts from all the stress. Not only is your body is suffering, but your soul is too. You’re left feeling like a loser to the point where you want to do yourself a favor, jump off the building, and just end your existence right there before you really become a failure. But despite this awful feeling, there is much to learn from all this stress. Remember, where there is no pain, there is no gain. The thought of failure can be an extremely daunting. But instead of looking at the results of failure as consequences we should look at failure as a learning opportunity. With each new venture, whether it fails or succeeds, is new knowledge that we did not possess before. Through failure, we can acquire more skills that will better prepare us to succeed in the future. In my personal experience, fail sooner than later because failure can become expensive. From the wise words of Mark Twain, “good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions”. It is not about how many times we fail but about how we handle those failures. We can either choose to let failure scare us back into the shadows and never reach our fullest potential, or we can decide to move forward and work even harder to accomplish our goals.

Many people never find the confidence or voice to follow their dreams. They allow themselves to make safe decisions and never take the risk they need to reach their highest potential. If you are reading this and feel that way, it is time to find the courage to take risks and learn from the mistakes that we make along the way. Do not let the opinions of others cloud your judgment of what is best for you. Only you can decide what makes you happy and where your next journey will take you.