Kehinde Ajose Of Visibility Solutions Media On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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Give failure a new meaning. How we interpret failure determines our eventual success. If you refuse to internalize failure and simply see it as a learning opportunity, success will be inevitable. I learnt this when I made my first public speaking presentation, It wasn’t a smooth delivery, but I saw it as an opportunity to get better. Perspective is everything. By framing a situation you’re fearing differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.

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 Kehinde Ajose.

Kehinde Ajose is the founder of Visibility Solutions Media, a media agency that help brands tell authentic stories that gets them results, amplify their message and boost their visibility.

As a visibility strategist, he helps individuals and organizations to gain visibility for their products, ideas and services in order to become highly paid and highly influential. He is the author of Donjazzyfied..a book on the lessons drawn from an African showbiz entrepreneur and also ‘5 costly mistakes entertainers make’.

Kehinde believes in customer satisfaction and excellent delivery.

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’?

For the past nine years, I have been adding value to the African media space in Nigeria through my journalism and public relations works. My interests are in public relations, media, digital media and entertainment. I have consulted for and interviewed some of the biggest celebrities and public figures in Africa. This hasn’t always been my story until I broke away from the fear of failure.

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 most interesting story from my career would be when I published my first book ‘Donjazzyfied in 2015.At that time, I wasn’t earning a salary. I earned allowances from the articles I wrote from my freelancing gig that year. Since I didn’t exactly have the exact money, my publisher demanded to print the book, I resorted to instalment payments. The instalment payment made me disciplined with my finances. I was amazed when the copies of the book got to me. My major ‘take aways’ from this experience is harnessing the power of compound interest. My paying little parts of the publishing budget in instalments, made time work in my favour.

Another lesson I also garnered from the experience is taking action. If I had waited till I had the complete money for publishing, the book would not have seen the light of the day. When you take steps, things will take shape. Taking action is one of the most important ingredients of success.

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?

The three character traits that have been instrumental to my success would be persistence, a desire to improve and optimism.

I recall that when I wanted to interview a popular African pop star, I had to send countless mails till she eventually granted that interview. If I had given up early, I wouldn’t have been able to conduct the interview. According to Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”

My commitment to improvement has opened doors of opportunities for me businesswise.I am an avid reader. In 2021, my public relations agency got a business deal that can be traced to us embracing this trait.

For optimism, I hold on to the saying:” All things are possible to them that believe”, when I am faced with the storms of life. When I wasn’t making major business profits, optimism kept me going. I just kept on focusing on the positives in my life and business.

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?

From my experience people are afraid of failing because it reveals their weaknesses. It makes them feel inadequate and embarrassed. Failure can activate feelings of insignificance, so avoiding trying in the first place can sometimes serve as a way to shield the self from disappointment and regret.

This phobia also makes people undermine their own chances of success. From my observations, people who fear failing often engage in self-limiting activities that actually impede their success.

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

Failure robs people of unleashing their potentials. Having this fear could stop one from achieving one’s goals and live a great life. Being afraid of failing at something could be a real-life challenge when that person keeps dodging certain situations for fear that they might fail, without even giving it a try.

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

Becoming free from the fear of failure will help one see life from a positive point of view. When you dwell on the fear of failure, you are indirectly embracing negative thoughts. However, breaking this fear makes one see life from a positive point of view and maximize the life changing opportunities that comes one’s way because you look forward to a favorable outcome.

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?

Success coach and author, Jack Canfield once said “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”. This statement encapsulates my experience when I decided to break away from the fear of failure.

In 2015, I wrote a book titled ‘Donjazzyfied’, focused on an African showbiz star. It took me about two years to finish selling it because I was scared of actually marketing it. The fear of failure held me back. It was a scary moment for me.

In the same vein, I experienced the same thing when I decided to pitch the book for an interview in a national magazine. It took me months to reach out to them because I thought it was going to be rejected. Again, the fear of failure stopped me from soaring. Fortunately, my pitch was accepted and I made sales through the book interview.

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 recovered from the episode when I stopped thinking of worst-case scenarios and began to see the possibilities of succeeding in my craft. I also surrounded myself with friends who made me cultivate the habit of thinking positively. People who embrace positive thinking perform better because they are more motivated and more effective.

What I learnt from this experience is that the fear of failure can rob us of opportunities to excel, if we allow it.

Based on my story, I would advise anyone battling the fear of failure to always focus on what is working in their life. Focus on your competence. Competence gives one confidence. I sought to become a better journalist and writer. I bought books and read a lot of personal development materials. Gradually the fear left and the reluctance to try new things vamoosed.

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.

Below are my top five tips for overcoming the fear of failure:

  1. Give failure a new meaning. How we interpret failure determines our eventual success. If you refuse to internalize failure and simply see it as a learning opportunity, success will be inevitable. I learnt this when I made my first public speaking presentation, It wasn’t a smooth delivery, but I saw it as an opportunity to get better. Perspective is everything. By framing a situation you’re fearing differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.
  2. Surround yourself with optimistic people. Your association plays a vital role in how you view failure. Jim Rohn once said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? By surrounding yourself with negative influences, you’ll naturally start to walk their path. This played a major role in me breaking away from the fear of failure. I intentionally associated with positive minded people. I anchored a business radio show for about two years and the opportunity came through a dear friend of mine who saw the competence in me though I didn’t see it in myself as at that time. Associating with him birthed that opportunity to showcase my expertise to entrepreneurs who listened to the show.
  3. Focus on your competence. Competence is simply that thing you do efficiently. By focusing on your area of strength, you gradually start seeing yourself in an affirmative light. For example, my ability to play the bass guitar well, shielded me from dwelling on any possible fear of failure, because I have a healthy self-image based on my area of competence. The positive feedbacks I get whenever I play the bass guitar, made me develop a healthy self-esteem. I saw myself as deserving whatever I have because I am qualified and competent to get it.
  4. Embrace positive thinking. Positive thinking helped me break away from the fear of failure. Focusing on the good in every situation paid off for me.Starting out as a business columnist years back, I experienced myriad of rejections. I sent countless emails to newspaper and magazine editors seeking to write for them. I embraced positive thinking and refused to allow the fear of failure limit my potential. I did this for a long time till I started getting positive feedbacks from these editors who published my write-ups. I maximized positive thinking and turned the adversity into my advantage. One thing I did was not to allow stinking thinking impede my success.
  5. Take control of your thoughts. Almost every one of us experiences discouraging thoughts or emotional setbacks from time to time. I used to engage in negative self-talk. This was a major setback I had to overcome on my journey to success and significance. I felt miserable recently when my business pitch was rejected by a client, and I became frustrated. My outlook towards the situation changed when I decided to take control of my thoughts by focusing on the positives. Positive thinking is about putting a positive spin on one’s negative thoughts. It’s about finding a silver-lining in the midst of the storm

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?

Based on my experience I haven’t found this quote to be true because while one can fail in many ways, once can also succeed in many other ways. It’s basically a function of one’s mindset and perspective. I think Aristotle was trying to say one has more potential to fail than to succeed.

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 could inspire a movement, it would be to show kindness to more people. It would be a movement that inspires kindness in people by connecting the less privileged with opportunities that will transform their lives. Creating a kinder world is what we owe ourselves as humans.

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 :-)

Oprah Winfrey once said: “A mentor is someone who allows you see the hope inside yourself”. I will love to have a private breakfast with Oprah because I see myself in her and her story resonates with me. Few people in history have been able to reach the same level of achievement as Oprah Winfrey.

Much of Oprah’s success can be attributed to the fact that she took risks and was willing to venture into new territory. Winfrey began her broadcasting career at a Nashville-area radio station and continued working there for several years until she was offered a newscasting job at a local television station. That was just the first of many opportunities that Oprah embraced.

She is an inspiration and my queen of reinvention. Perhaps Winfrey’s chief accomplishment is her ability to remain relevant through a process of reinvention. I would love to learn this from her and ask how she has been able to turn her lemons into lemonade.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am reachable on social media.

@IamKenniAjose-Twitter

@IamKenniAjose-Instagram

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