Karen W Hertz of Holidaily Brewing Company On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Start with a small goal — so many people fail because they set unrealistic goals. Believe it or not, you have to practice succeeding. So set yourself up to do so. Rather than stating that you are going to run 100 miles, start with 3.
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 Karen W. Hertz.
Karen Hertz is the Founder and Chief Brewista of Holidaily Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado. A two-time cancer survivor, Hertz opened Holidaily in 2016. Holidaily is now the largest dedicated gluten-free brewery in the United States.
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’?
In my early 30’s, while pregnant with my twin girls, I was diagnosed with melanoma. A year later with twin babies alive and BUSY, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and an autoimmune thyroid disease. After surgery and radiation treatments for both cancers, my doctors recommended I adopt a gluten-free diet to help with inflammation and aid me in my recovery. After battling and ultimately beating cancer, I decided to focus on health, happiness and a commitment to celebrate life every single day.
At the time that doctors suggested I remove gluten from my diet, beer was a part of my social life and a huge part of the Colorado outdoor lifestyle. Unfortunately, no more gluten meant no more beer. I was nearly a decade into working for one of the largest breweries in the world, Molson Coors. Outside of work, beer was woven into the Colorado lifestyle I enjoyed living, from tailgate parties to sporting events, to skiing, and more.
I discovered for most foods and beverages, I could find a replacement or just eliminate that food without feeling like I was missing out. Beer, however, had very few options and the quality of those that did exist didn’t compare to the booming, traditional craft beer quality happening around me in Colorado. I began thinking that there had to be others out there that just wanted to have a beer but were required to follow a similar diet as me.
After research and recipe development, I opened Holidaily Brewing Company in February of 2016.
Fast forward to today, and Holidaily Brewing Company is the largest gluten-free brewery in the country (of the over 8,000 breweries in the US, there are currently 17 dedicated gluten-free breweries). Of the 17 dedicated gluten-free breweries, we are the only certified woman-owned. We have grown over 1000% since 2016. Holidaily now employs 42 people. We have received a number of accolades in both brewing and business. In recent years, we have won medals at the Great American Beerfest and US Beer Open, been named a Top 10 Woman-owned Brewery in the world, and have been featured in national publications such as Popsugar, Food & Wine Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Gluten-free Living Magazine.
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?
When I was in the early stages of looking for gluten-free ingredients, I googled “Gluten-free grains” and came across a woman named Twila Soles, owner of Grouse Malt House. At the time Grouse was the only gluten-free malting company in the U.S. This was fate — not only was it another rare woman owned business in the brewing industry but she happened to be just 50 miles down the road from my front door in Fort Collins, Colorado.
There are so many lessons along the way in an entrepreneur’s journey. What stood out most in terms of a lesson was trust in myself. So much doubt can fill your head when you are thinking of disrupting and industry. But I took what felt like “lucky” circumstances as signs. Signs that this was meant to be.
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?
Positivity — To all people I would always suggest that we look for the best in every single day. There is always something to be thankful for. Surviving cancer, in a way, eliminates fears we all have and for me it ultimately reinforced that I need to make the most of every day I am given. That’s the entire message of our brand “Holidaily” — make every day a holiday! And I attempt to exude that with my family, friends, staff and customers.
Persistence — When you truly believe in something, this comes naturally. For me, if anyone says no to us, I convince myself and our team that it only means “no for now”.
Humor — My entire family is full of fun, funny people. I try my best not to take life too serioualy. At the end of the day, we are in the beer business. This is fun to be a part of.
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?
Failure directly impacts our self confidence. In addition a lot of us worry about what others think of us. A large portion of people’s fear of failure comes from worrying about how it will impact other people’s opinion of us.
What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?
Fear of failure can ultimately paralyze people. Our minds are so complex that we can trick ourselves in to avoiding the opportunity to make progress entirely. It’s sad but many people would rather not try than fail.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?
I often tell myself and our team — “ready, fire, aim”. I think the fear of failure can play into an endless cycle of “aiming” and never “firing”. Once you are willing to take the risks, you realize you can always make adjustments but you have to take the leap in the first place. That kind of freedom eliminates a number of limitations we put on ourselves and opens up an understanding that possibilities are endless.
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?
HA. I could tell you about some sort of a failure every single day. We recently launched a specialized “Adventure Series” brand. It turned out to not only sell as we had hoped but it cannibalized some of our other brands as well. We had invested in the brand design and a full launch of the products. Between those costs and destruction of product made it an expensive failure. I would never say that failure is fun but I can say that we learned a lot from this experience. It gave us insight to our consumers, their wants and the ability for our team to pivot.
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 wear my feelings on my sleeves. If I experience failure, I do have to take some time to emotionally process it. However, I limit that timeline. Once you process those emotions, pick yourself up. Evaluate the learnings and set a gameplan. In general, once you have a plan in place you can focus on the action items that need to be executed rather than the emotion of feeling like a failure.
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.
- Start with a small goal — so many people fail because they set unrealistic goals. Believe it or not, you have to practice succeeding. So set yourself up to do so. Rather than stating that you are going to run 100 miles, start with 3.
- Break it into steps — Be realistic about the time you can get it accomplish. If you haven’t been running at all, you likely aren’t going to go right out there and run five miles. Set up a plan that has steps on the way to the five miles. For example — you will run a certain amount of days a week, for a certain amount of miles. Plan to increase the distance weekly.
- Execute steps — Do it. Write down your plan and put in the work.
- Track progress — Part of writing down your plan means you can hold yourself accountable AND you get to check off the steps you complete.
- Celebrate success — Even when we do accomplish something, we are so bad at giving ourselves any credit. Celebrate wins, practice positive self talk as often as possible.
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 interpret this quote in relation to what I mentioned earlier — I fail every day. We can fail brushing our teeth all the way through ruining a relationship, and by the way, we will. But there is only one success and that is getting back up. If you get back up and try again, you have succeeded.
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. :-)
It feels like there is so much to fix in the world these days. I could name an endless amount of causes I believe in and supporting — particularly with women, cancer patients, environment, diversity, equity and inclusion.
In relation to Holidaily, I would directly address direct to consumer shipping. It isn’t currently legal for us to ship our product directly to consumers in other states. Holidaily only distributes to eight of the fifty states, we would make a large amount of gluten-free consumers very, very happy!
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 :-)
Mark Cuban. Mark is a panelist on “Shark Tank” and a proponent of small business. He is currently invested in a number of companies in the gluten-free market, including Naked Pizza and Find Me Gluten-Free. He certainly believes in risk taking and facing the fear of failure head on.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My linked in page — https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-hertz-6a12b3/
Holidaily’s linked in page — https://www.linkedin.com/company/51677936/admin/
Additional Holidaily social media outlets:
Or come have a beer with me at one of our taprooms in Golden, CO or the Denver Tech Center!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.
Savio pens a weekly newsletter at thehumanresolve.com where he delves into secrets from living smarter to feeding your “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.
He has been featured on Fox News, and has collaborated with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Food Network, WW, and Bloomberg. His mission is to offer clients, listeners, and viewers alike tangible takeaways in living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.
Savio lives in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York and continues to follow his boundless curiosity. He hopes to one day live out a childhood fantasy and explore outer space.