Jodie Filogomo Of ‘Jodie’s Touch of Style’ On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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Mindset is VERY powerful. Having an attitude of gratitude is something that can change failure into steps of positivity like nothing else. That’s what I would say to others. When you think that you have failed, try framing it in another way. If you ask me, it’s not easy. But the best trick is to ask a friend. Ask your friend how they view the failure and what would be any positive takeaways. Because turning the failure around into something good with nothing more than a different perspective can be the best thing ever.

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 Jodie Filogomo.

Jodie believes that it’s truly never too late to look great by showcasing herself, her mother and various friends on Jodie’s Touch of Style. While fashion may be something many people consider “fluff,” she believes that you never regret spending the time to look good for the day. The site showcases real women in real clothes with real bodies.

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 was a very serious and studious child right from the start. Heck, even for my 10-year-old birthday I asked for a roll-top-down desk so I could study better. My dream was to become a dentist and I made that happen by age 26. I ended up buying my own dental office and practicing for over 20 years. When I sold my practice, I thought I might become a personal shopper as I always loved shopping and putting together outfits. In fact, I knew all the “rules” about clothes and style and was always trying to fix everyone’s outfits.
Once I started my fashion site to provide inspiration for other women over the age of 50, I soon realized that our style should be a form of self-expression and those right and wrong rules we had been taught were pure hogwash. While many people think that our clothing doesn’t make a difference, there is a huge psychological aspect that our self-confidence comes from looking and thus feeling great. The most important mission is that our style should mirror our personality

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?

The biggest influence in my adult life is when my best friend and office manager died from melanoma at the age of 34. It was such an eye-opening life event since she had been so young and vibrant. We think so many of life’s details are important, and yet when you realize that your life can be over in a nanosecond, you learn the real meaning of life.

It was this circumstance that changed my daily outlook and gave me the impetus for selling my dental practice and deciding to have fun with my life. I may not have the funds that I used to have, but time and experiences have proven to be more important to me now.

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. Get it done. This is one trait that has gotten me far. Sure, there are always reasons to put things off and procrastinate, but it’s much easier to get them done and have it off your to-do list. Heck, just starting a website and blog can be the perfect example. There are a ton of components that go into starting a blog, and when you start, you never know all the of angles and right ways to do things. But if you continue to spend time trying to figure out how to make it perfect, you’ll never end up publishing it. When I first published my blog, it was very rough, and even now could use some updating. But the most important thing is to inspire women, not to be perfect.
  2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This has been a learning process for me. I used to be way too serious about anything and everything. But I have finally learned that life is too short for that. Many times, when I post an outfit, I have to laugh and realize that I am not a professional model and will never look like one. My hair will be a mess, and sometimes I don’t even like the outfit I put together, but I always say you get a mulligan every day to get dressed. The fashion police aren’t going to stop you on the streets because your outfit isn’t perfect.
  3. Continue to be open to new ideas and learning. Even as a leader, you don’t know everything and can always learn from those around you. I can’t tell you how many times I have readers email or comment to give me help about styling or even organizing our clothes. We all have such different perspectives, that the learning process never stops. In fact, many of my favorite style options have been from younger women. There is no age limit on style inspiration. I remember seeing one of my blogging buddies who is in her 20s style a skirt as a top. That was a light bulb moment for me to realize that our clothing is just a piece of material, and we can wear it so many ways.

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?

The term failure has been promoted with a negative connotation in most aspects of our life. You certainly don’t hear of anyone rushing out to fail at this or that, do you? Instead, we hear about everyone’s successes which didn’t happen without some failure behind them. I believe that failure is so frightening because we believe that mistakes make us a bad person. Our society places high regard to those that succeed and unfortunately even though failure is a huge part of success, it is not a broadcasted fact. If we heard about all of the missteps in the “successful” person’s making, we would realize that “failure” is really just a stepping stone.

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

When you are afraid of failure, you will not do all of the things that you want to do. If we only realized that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, then we might try more things and have even more success.
If you ask anyone about failure, it will bring up memories that can cause angst or embarrassment. These are emotions that we don’t feel good about and tend to push under the rug. Thus the fear of it (failure) and thus people will do anything to stay away from it. Which means you only do the things that have worked out and take the safe path. Nothing new, nothing unknown and nothing that could end up in failure.

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

I truly believe that when we become free from the fear of failure, we start to have an open mind to new experiences. It’s no secret that trying new things and meeting new people can lead to more success and an overall happier life.

In fact, if you analyze the “failures” you’ve had in life, you will realize that it wasn’t as bad as you imagined or that you learned an important lesson from the event.

It’s this kind of thinking that should reiterate the idea that we need to have an attitude where failure is not a negative thing in life. The best possible thing would be to reframe the word “failure” and change it to a positive word that doesn’t scare you. For me, I use the term “grace”. It’s that idea that maybe things didn’t turn out as expected, yet grace has gotten me through.

By realizing that we all fail, and it can be a good thing, we have opened up our mind to new possibilities.

In an ideal world, this would also cause us to be less judgmental. The fact of failure is a human trait and happens to us all. So we should give grace to ourselves and everyone else. Personally, this has allowed me to be a happier person without the pressures of being perfect. Or as I always say, I am Perfectly Imperfect!!

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?

This was a hard question to answer. Because sharing the low parts of our life is not something usual in today’s world. And truthfully, I have so many stories I could share about failure in my life.

So I will concentrate on a story from the second half of my life journey with my blog.

I have many other friends who blog and many in the same category as myself. And while I didn’t start my blog to be rich and famous, once you start working so hard at something, you are bound to try to make it something successful. At least if you’re a Type A personality like I am.

It was just a couple of years ago when I was talking with other bloggers at a convention. Of course, everyone begins sharing some of their numbers and successes, and I realized that I was a complete failure. I had been blogging for over 5 years (at that time), and still wasn’t creating the buzz that I had imagined.

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?

My first response after realizing that my blog wasn’t as popular or as profitable as other blogs that were even younger than mine, was to 1-think maybe I should quit. And then 2-decide I should try harder or change it up.

While I really did consider giving up, I knew in my heart that this was something that I loved to do, and that wouldn’t benefit me at all. On the other hand, the harder concept meant I should do more, more and even more. But how did I have the time for that? And trust me, I didn’t want to hire employees. I’ve been a boss before, and it’s not my strong suit.

So how did I come to terms about this failure? I’m still a work in progress, but I have tried to change my mindset to concentrate on what I do have and connect with the people that I do reach.

First I took a look at what I was doing. And tried to analyze the “whys” I wasn’t successful. One of the answers I came up with is that I am swimming upstream. Because:

A. I am NOT a fashion blogger who promotes dressing the same as everyone else.

B. I am NOT a fashion blogger who promotes buying new things all the time. In fact, I try to find ways to be creative with the clothing we already have in our closets

C. I am NOT someone who believes in spending a lot on most of my clothes.

D. I am NOT a fashionista who thinks we should follow the fashion rules and articles that say not to wear this or that.

And with these realizations, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

Mindset is VERY powerful. Having an attitude of gratitude is something that can change failure into steps of positivity like nothing else. That’s what I would say to others. When you think that you have failed, try framing it in another way. If you ask me, it’s not easy. But the best trick is to ask a friend. Ask your friend how they view the failure and what would be any positive takeaways. Because turning the failure around into something good with nothing more than a different perspective can be the best thing ever.

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.

Anytime you start or try something new, there will always be a little feeling of angst. So here are my 5 steps to counteract the fear of failiing.

  1. List your Successes — Just like I shared with my list of realizations of why I wasn’t successful above, it’s just as important to write out your successes.
    For me that included:
    A. I have learned so much about photography and how the lighting is so important.
    B. I have met many fabulous women through my online presence.
    C. My knowledge of technology has skyrocketed, and I don’t feel left behind like many of my peers.
  2. Ask what’s the worst that can happen? I like to ask myself what is worst thing that could happen if I try something, and I fail. For instance, what if I reach out to a company and send a pitch explaining how I feel like we would be a great fit to work together, and they never respond. The answer? Nothing. So, they don’t respond. I may be out some time and energy, but that’s it.
    In fact, this happens many times as I am a huge proponent that older women like myself need to see clothing items on women like themselves. So, these companies that only use young models are missing out on a huge section of the population by not showcasing older women in their clothing. So many clothing pieces are ageless, but it can be hard to realize that if you only see it on a 20-year-old.
  3. Reframe your definition of failure. Just because we had an idea of what our success (and thus failure) would be, those definitions could and should change over time. Realizing that trying new things even when it doesn’t seem to work out, is actually a success and not failure. For me, instead of concentrating on the fact that my blog isn’t as popular as many others, I have decided to pat myself on the shoulder that for over 8 years I have continued with it and learned SO much in the process.
  4. Celebrate your failures — This may sound counterintuitive, but why not celebrate what we consider a failure? If we give some positivity to the things that don’t work out as we planned instead of being embarrassed by them, then it won’t be such a negative experience. And since I think that failures are a part of a successful life, then we will be celebrating quite a bit. Which is a good thing.
  5. Have Fun!!! Sure, much of our life is serious. But many of us take everything a bit TOO seriously. At least I tend to be that way. Having fun is the best antidote to becoming free from the fear of failure. Laugh, enjoy life and have fun instead of being fearful.

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 think we can all look at this quote very differently, and in my experience I would disagree with Aristotle on this one. My belief is there are many ways to skin a cat (as my grandma used to say) and therefore there are just as many ways to succeed as there are to fail. In fact, I might even go as far to say that there’s only one way to fail, and that’s to not try! From there, everything else is a 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. :-)

I would love to start a “No Judgement” movement. If we could give others (and ourselves) more grace when we fail or do something wrong, we could experience kindness a lot more.

In fact, when it comes to clothes and style, I always say there is no right and wrong. Yet there is a ton of judgement regarding an outfit and how it looks. Yet we are unique beings that should be able to express ourselves uniquely with our daily looks.

In fact, I have a t-shirt that says “A little less judgement, a lot more kindness”

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 remember being incredibly inspired by Helen Mirren when I saw the movie Red (so many years ago). The thought that an older women could be so sexy, so powerful and so incredible made me sit up and take notice. That’s the kind of inspiration I always hope to provide to my blog readers (without the guns and bombs).

After seeing that movie, I’ve read and heard many of her interviews, and I always love that she is a no-nonsense girl!!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I blog at Jodie’s Touch of Style (www.jtouchofstyle.com) where you can see fashion and lifestyle portrayed for women over 50. The best way to get a glimpse of what my life is about is to sign up for my emails because that’s where I share my personal life. The social media site where I spend most of my time is Instagram where I am @jtouchofstyle

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor