Natalia Pardalis On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin. I think these words are more true today than when he said them. I see it happen all the time to talented artists who fail to plan their career, fail to find their niche and then end up leaving the arts.
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 Natalia Pardalis.
Natalia Pardalis is an award winning artist who built her career from her cell phone. Not only has she released quite a few popular singles as a musician, she is an ambassador for several different companies in the beauty industry. Natalia is also a music educator and the artistic director of the boutique record label Maria’s Records.
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’?
When I entered the music industry in my late 20s, I received a lot of backlash from the “powers that be” as I didn’t fit their “box” of what they believed a singer/pianist should be. I quickly learnt that I would have to take control of my own career and not being able to fit in a box was my super power. I was very blessed to have amazing mentors such as Canadian Pianist Ron Moir, Canadian organist/conductor Al Lang Wang (RIP) and International Opera Singer Joseph Shore (RIP) to encourage me to find my own voice in the industry. I’m incredibly thankful for their lessons and their faith in me. They really helped me realize I didn’t have to fit in a “box” or do just one thing to become successful. I could define my own success.
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?
I was afraid. When I was in my 20s, I waited for the “powers that be” in the industry to help me. Some claimed they would, often even creating obstacles for me. I remember one “mentor” spent hours listening to my concerns & ideas. Then not even a few weeks later, he took those ideas and gave them to a young artist that was similar to me. But when you steal ideas, the ideas can’t be fully executed so it didn’t turn out quite as well as they hoped (though to this day, I don’t think that artist had any idea of what had happened.) He very quickly turned on the other artist as well. So my greatest advice is work on yourself so you can believe in yourself so you don’t have to be afraid or constantly rely on others.
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?
Inspiring others, empathy, and Humility
Inspiring — it is about recognizing others’ skills and encouraging/inspiring them to develop them. It is not about being afraid that others will take your place. Be proud that you were part of their process.
Empathy versus compassion. I recently read an interesting article that really stuck with me (of course like many things we read online, unless you save it you can’t find it.) In the article, the writer said compassion is to sympathize with the other person & help them but empathy walks a mile with the one suffering. I would add that a good leader would then use empathy to help the person gain skills to help themselves. At the end of the day, I really believe we can only help ourselves and only encourage others to help themselves.
Humility is very important. If we don’t admit our weakness or mistakes, how can we expect those around us to admit their mistakes to grow? C.S.Lewis said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
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?
We live in an ego driven society. We are told from a young age that we are incredibly and extremely special. We are special, but we are creatures with bad habits. We are driven by our insecurities and lack of self-awareness and sometimes even lack of compassion. So if we fail, then it is contrary to what the participation trophy told us as kids. Suddenly …. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t incredible. We are human. “To ere is human” Shakespeare said.
So to avoid failure, we have become afraid of both failure and success (because remember if the first step is successful then we will have to keep creating and that’s where we will sooner or later fail.) So our ego stops us from creating. We make excuses. We are too busy. Our family “stops” us etc etc etc. but the truth is we just have to go out and do it until we become successful.
What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?
We all have the opportunity to become the best versions of ourselves (not just with our art but in our lives as well) but it is our choice if we do or don’t — the amazing part of having free will. If we allow ourselves to be driven by fear then we most likely will increase our anxiety, our depression and more. I’m not a medical expert & would never dream to say I am, but I can tell you working on my fear of life (because it wasn’t only in my career that I was afraid) through therapy and my faith as a Christian, has helped me eliminate a lot of fear in my life that was in turn creating anxiety and depression for me.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the fear of failure can help improve our lives?
Self Awareness — the more we are aware of ourselves … of our strengths and weaknesses … the more we can become less afraid of failure.
Understanding that failure will happen. I’ve had a million ideas and I failed many times. My mom’s best friend always told us: “today we stand, tomorrow we fall.” Although she meant it as a spiritual reference it works in this context as well. Not all ideas will work but we won’t know till we try.
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?
I was signed to a record label. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong and I was stuck with a lot of cds in my house that didn’t sell because I didn’t have the platform at the time to sell hard copies of my album. Mind you, even mega stars are having issues selling hard copies now but what I really needed was artist development not an album so it was far from successful.
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 realized I could use a few tracks off the album to make connections and build a fan base. It took time but I did it. I also went back to school to learn how to understand contracts and what I did wrong in that working relationship. I realized that the signs were there from the beginning but I was too excited to see it. It was my “big break” in my mind. I think that’s something to remember, there is no “big break” but rather a bunch of consistent small steps that lead to success.
We also need to remember that mistakes will happen, it’s ok … it’s all a journey … learning and growing.
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.
- Think your art like art and your business like a business. Don’t be afraid to think that business has a role in the arts. This misconception holds so many artists back.
- Consistency is your friend. The more you do something the better you will become and the less afraid you will be.
- Don’t focus on selling your art, instead make friends who you are helping out. How can your art help people? How can you create a change?
- “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin. I think these words are more true today than when he said them. I see it happen all the time to talented artists who fail to plan their career, fail to find their niche and then end up leaving the arts.
- Remember you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but who cares? — focus on having tea with those who you are their cup of tea.
I did a whole series on tips like this on Maria’s Records Instagram @mariarecordsent where I go into more details. Hope everyone can check them out.
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 fail all the time because I’m dealing with my ego which makes me untruthful in my approach so then I cannot succeed. I’m constantly trying things that fail but I reflect and make changes and sometimes things do succeed. I believe though he was right — when things succeed it means that they are truthful. He also said: “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” so if we are creating from a place of truth then things will succeed, one way or another.
I think it is very important to always come from a place of transparency, honesty & without ego so we can head closer to success. When something doesn’t succeed, we can reflect and make changes where needed so success can be found.
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 don’t know how much influence I have, but I’ve watched for the past two years many people become very cruel on social media. There is nothing wrong with questioning society’s trends or government’s decisions or people’s decisions on how to live their lives but when it becomes petty and cruel then we have a problem.
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 would love to have a cup of tea with Candace Owens.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
And as artistic director of Maria’s Records
@mariarecordsent on all major platforms
We are about to launch our artist development program so be sure to follow us.
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.