Rayne Martin of ‘It’s the Impact’ On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
12 min readAug 24, 2022


Change Your Thinking about Failure — Remember that failure is an emotion, and your thinking controls emotions. So, if you do something that does not work out the way you planned, challenge yourself to move from thinking of yourself as a failure to giving yourself significant props for putting forward a brave effort.

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 Rayne Martin.

Rayne is a leadership coach and founder of It’s the Impact, a leadership support firm specializing in supporting mission-driven leaders to make a positive and lasting impact in the world by being intentional, self-aware, and bold. A former executive director, chief of innovation, managing director, and chief of staff in the social sector, Rayne spent 25 years in leadership roles in the social sector before starting her own company. After 35 years managing hundreds of employees, stewarding millions of dollars of services, and coaching hundreds of leaders, she is even more committed to the idea that the actions of mission-driven leaders have the power to create communities full of joy and opportunity for everyone.

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’?

At a very young age, I was interested in making the world a better place for everyone. At 12, I staged a boycott against worksheets because they were not teaching my friends. In high school, I demanded school officials provide my classmates with the college entrance exam, and I stood with my black friends when they spoke out against the fact that our school had a ‘black’ and ‘white’ beauty pageant. I had a vision for an equitable and diverse world and have never been afraid to fight for it.

During my 25 years of executive experience, I held many titles and directly led organizations with hundreds of employees and millions of dollars of services. I led an award-winning coalition to reshape statewide education legislation to ensure that all children, regardless of race, received a high-quality education. I created and scaled an innovative effort to end inhuman housing relocation processes. I brought vital services back to a neighborhood that had been neglected for 20 years, and I rebuilt the first-of-its-kind school district after a natural disaster.

Now, I am the founder, and chief leadership coach of It’s the Impact, a leadership firm supporting leaders and changemakers looking to build up the world with lasting Impact.

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 have many, but one resulted in a lesson that has stayed with me for a long time.

I was 26 years old and had decided that I wanted to work at the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). I was living in California then, and after moving to Chicago and doing 20 informational interviews, I was hired. It was an incredible but challenging opportunity. The role was to build a department that would effectively and humanly relocate about 10,000 families out of the CHA public housing units so that the units could be demolished and rebuilt. I was so excited to start. My boss instructed me to attend a community meeting on my first day. So, there I was — a white, out-of-towner, naive leader, introducing myself publicly as the person who would change everyone’s lives and effectively move them from their homes.

Before I returned to the office, the CHA CEO had been called and scolded by the resident presidents, a group of women the other residents had elected to represent their interests. They were agitated as they should have been. They did not know me, I had not gone and introduced myself to them first, and they had no reason to believe that I would understand them enough to serve them in ways they thought were best and most important. The CEO and I spent the rest of the day with Ms. Dennis, one of the most respected representatives, and I listened for hours as she bashed me and the process that had gotten me to that table.

One of the things I heard her tell our CEO was that she was having a Halloween party for the kids in the public housing development that weekend. I asked her if I could come to help, and she ignored me; however, that Saturday, without knowing the city and with no car, I took three buses and a train to the public housing community she was hosting her in and volunteered for hours. Again, Ms. Dennis ignored me, but after multiple efforts to show how much I planned to be there for her in ways that she needed, she opened up to building a relationship with me. By the time I left CHA 6 years later, she and I had effectively worked together to relocate 1000 families. She had also become one of my best friends.

By establishing meaningful relationships on her terms, I learned how important it is to form authentic and respectful partnerships with those whose assistance you are there to provide.

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?

Bravery — I have always been willing to face risks and uncertain situations. This does not mean that I don’t feel “fear,” it means that my willingness to act is stronger than my fears. I have called on this trait to leave successful roles to start a government, non-profit, and business focused on changing the world.

Perspective — I have a solid capacity to step back, see the big picture, and avoid getting wrapped up in small details when more significant issues are to consider. While listening to others, perspective helps me make big picture associations, think through ideal action, and what’s best for the situation being discussed. This skill allows me to help my coaching clients develop the critical insights they need to implement the right set of actions for any goals.

Forgiveness -I deeply empathize with others and recognize that everyone is human and makes mistakes. By seeing the strengths and weaknesses of others, I can make room for the whole person. This trait makes it possible for me to work with just about anyone, mainly because it allows me to focus more on what we are working toward and less on their behavior.

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?

Thoughts of failure or potential failure triggers feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, regret, embarrassment, and sadness. As humans our brain thinks its job is to protect us from many things, including negative emotions like the ones that can survive when we feel like we have failed. In some ways, it is not the full us that is afraid of failure, is it the muscle between our ears.

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

Fearing failure can make us not try at all, keeping us stagnant in our careers and life. It can keep us in unhappy situations, including jobs. It can prevent us from going for that promotion that we want. It hinders innovations. It can prevent us from leading and driving a level of unpopular social change that our world needs. Finally, it can make us worry obsessively about what others may think.

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

This might be controversial, but I don’t believe in failure.

There are two ways you can also understand that failure is not actually a thing.

First, challenge your thoughts about failure. Our feelings come from our thoughts, and we have up to 60,000 a day, so you can’t eliminate thoughts of failure, but you can challenge them. What if, instead of thinking, “That was a failure,” which promotes a feeling of embarrassment or disappointment, you thought, “I am so proud of myself for trying,” which promotes a feeling of pride? Humans are unique in our ability to be metacognitive, which means we can think about our thoughts. By changing our thoughts about things not going the way we have planned or expected, we can go from feeling like we have failed to being proud of ourselves for putting ourselves out there.

Second, adopt a radically strategic mindset. What do I mean by this? Strategy is simply mapping a set of short actions to a longer team goal. By focusing in this way, you can objectively take the failed attempt’s results as data that illuminates another pathway, a new set of steps, a preceding decision, etc. Additionally, this helps you not personalize the failed attempt as something being wrong with you.

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?

Reflecting, I would say that I missed opportunities to be a better leader to the people who reported to me. While leading, I sometimes focused more on our work’s outcome than on building solid and trusting relationships with the people on my team. I also spent more time pointing out what they were doing wrong versus building them up based on their strengths.

I had convinced myself this was ok because I was working to improve the lives of the people we served.

Looking back, I am sure this came from a fear that I would fail. I allowed my thoughts to convince me that if I spent too much time building relationships or celebrating our success, we would stop pushing and that everything would come crashing down. That I would not reach my goals and I would fail.

This behavior resulted in me losing vital team members, creating a spirit of distrust and neglecting a level of innovation that could come from open and trusting brainstorming.

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 company, It’s the Impact is my attempt to rebound. I started this company to support other leaders believe in themselves and celebrate their success — something I never made time to do when I led teams directly.

My previous missed opportunities turned into a lifelong pursuit of helping others see themselves as capable and brave enough to drive a better world for everyone.

Ironically, I realize now this is what drives results.

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.

Video link below:

5 Steps to Become Free from the Fear of Failure, Rayne Martin, It’s the Impact

Change Your Thinking about Failure — Remember that failure is an emotion, and your thinking controls emotions. So, if you do something that does not work out the way you planned, challenge yourself to move from thinking of yourself as a failure to giving yourself significant props for putting forward a brave effort.

Do it Anyway -Your brain is prone to think you’ll fail whenever you try something new. Because your brain can’t access proof that you won’t, because you haven’t done it yet, it will default to the notion that you will fail. So, do it anyway. The idea that you will fail will dissipate as you act and are successful.

Treat Failure as an Experiment — Consider the results of any effort as data supporting your effort to improve, pivot, reflect, etc. Nothing is an action in and of itself. Everything is connected, and if something does not work out as you intended, assess, and regroup as you pursue your goals.

Create a Badass Folder — Pull together a digital or physical Badass File. This file can remind you of your amazingness and give you that extra boost you need to take the action you are afraid to because you think you might fail. Populate it with thank you letters, acknowledgments, news clippings, performance reviews, etc. Then, pull it out and use it to boost your confidence regularly.

Don’t Make it Personal -Just because you might have failed doesn’t mean you are a failure. Yet, your brain will attempt to blur these lines making you believe that if your efforts don’t work out, you yourself have failed. Conflating these two can erode your confidence and self-esteem, making you want to give up entirely.

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?

This quote conveys a simple and true idea. Most attempts in life will not turn out as planned, which is considered a failure by many but attempting, learning, and trying again is the only way to succeed at reaching your goals. In order words, keep going!

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 envision a world that is anti-racist.

For that reason, I would love a movement that makes connecting and building deep, caring relationships easy, expected, and fun for people who would otherwise never know one another. I have worked for decades in policy, advocacy, and implementation on housing, education, and economic equity. I have come to believe that while these things are necessary, we also need ways for people to bond and build relationships in our increasingly polarized world. We can and must change laws but changing people’s hearts is also necessary to end inequities.

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 meet Serena Williams. There is so much I admire about her. Not only is she a fantastic athlete, but she is an amazing mom and a cutting-edge fashionista. How she handled herself as a black woman in a primarily white male-dominated sport is a model for young girls (and women) everywhere. She is also incredibly generous and gives so much money and time to many mission-driven organizations.

I would love to learn how she defines leadership and what advice she would give to leaders. Now that she has retired, I would also love to help her strategize what impact looks like next for her and how she can use her strengths and resources to materialize it.

Finally, I would die to live in her closet for a day and for our daughters to hang out.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best way to follow me is to connect with me on LinkedIn, access my resources and tools on our It’s the Impact website. Additionally I love to meet new leaders so feel free to schedule a time to connect.

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.



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor