Tiffiny Frances Hogg of The Personal Consultancy On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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My advice to anyone is to trust the process that you are going through.There is always the potential for growth and learning. Be patient and kind to yourself. ‘Failure’ can feel so personal and yet it is a gift to look at how you relate to yourself and the world around you. It is an invitation to do the inner work. I always recommend working with a coach, therapist, or someone to help you navigate this. We don’t have to do it alone. I didn’t. Accepting that I couldn’t do everything on my own was and is a big part of my journey.

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 Tiffiny Frances Hogg.

Tiffiny Frances Hogg is an ICF accredited transformational life and business coach, NLP practitioner and founder of The Personal Consultancy. Over her 18-year career, she has worked with founders, leaders and entrepreneurs in Music, PR, TV, retail, tech and customer experience to start and grow their businesses. Tiffiny now works with burnt out and unfulfilled professionals who are ready to align with their purpose and become the leader of their work and life.

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 am Tiffiny Frances Hogg, founder of The Personal Consultancy, ICF accredited business and life coach and NLP Practitioner. My mission is to help people create a life that they don’t want to escape or need a holiday from.

My story is rooted in my childhood trauma. I never had a fear of failure, but I had this deep desire to be needed, to be ‘good enough’ and to be loved. It wasn’t that I wasn’t loved as a child, but a series of events in my early childhood; my mum and dad divorcing when I was two, my mum subsequently working all hours to keep us afloat and my dad meeting someone else — led me to create a story that I wasn’t loved or needed.

Up until I was thirty-five, I had spent my whole life exhausting myself by putting everyone and everything before my own needs. I looked for validation from my friends, my romantic relationships and work. This manifested in multiple severe burnouts, eventually leading to me ending up in hospital with a total mental breakdown. But losing myself, my abilities and my identity (which was very wrapped up in my achievements and work), was the best thing that ever happened to me. I now know who I am, have found peace and a deep sense of self-worth — none of which is based on anything I do or achieve.

Achievement was how I proved my self-worth and that I was enough. Nothing would get in my way of achieving what I wanted in life. I have always pushed myself out of my comfort zone and done everything I have ever set out to do. Sadly for most of my life, it was never enough. The breakthrough came and now I know I am enough and my life is enough. I have everything I ever wanted; my own business doing what I love, a beautiful home in Ibiza, healthy relationships and, most importantly — happiness.

Have I ever messed up and ‘failed’? Yes, many times. Do I have any regrets? No! It was all part of my journey to becoming who I am today.

Do I believe in failure? No, there is no such thing as failure, only learning. Every time you think you fail, you fail forwards. I will expand on this later.

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 think my whole career has been interesting. My need and desire to always have more made me very driven. This made me look successful in other people’s eyes but left me continually unfulfilled. As they say, happiness is an inside job.

From when I first entered the corporate world, I was always upskilling; looking for my next role, more money, more status and more impact. My self-drive meant I progressed quickly from admin to PA to Senior Business Assistant and then to the Head of Operations of multiple businesses — restructuring businesses, selling businesses and starting new businesses from scratch. I achieved a lot in my 17 years in the rat race, but I never stopped and had no self-care.

I even studied a BSc in Psychology for 4 years whilst working a taxing full-on job and got a First-Class degree — despite previously being told I wasn’t academic. This is when my burnout started and I developed a repetitive pattern from 2018 onwards — not knowing when or how to stop, working too hard and crashing hard. I know now that ultimately I was searching for more and for that answer — am I good enough? What I learnt is that yes, you can do anything you set your mind to. However, if it comes from an unhealthy and unhealed place and you are not putting yourself, your health and your peace of mind first — it is going to come at a huge cost.

I have always believed that you can do anything and achieve anything, so I had no fear of moving forwards. My fear was a fear of not being needed, so I always made sure that I was needed. This need was most satisfied in my work life, so I threw myself and everything into my career and personal development. In hindsight it was a very unhealthy pattern of behaviour, but I also gained a ton of experience to do what I do today.

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?

I think the old me would have said — ‘drive, discipline, and always do what you said you would do’. But now, whilst these values are still important to me, I believe that being a leader requires self-awareness, self-leadership and setting an example to others by acting with integrity and in line with your own values. Leadership is not just being a leader of your work and career, but your life too. One without the other creates an imbalance and this is one of the main things I now help people with.

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?

First of all, I think it’s important to define what failure is. By definition, failure is a lack of success or the inability to meet an expectation. The thing is that the expectation is usually one we put on ourselves.

I think that fear of failure is so frightening because of the value we attach to the outcomes of whatever we are trying to achieve. So often, our sense of self-worth is dependent on external factors such as achievement and other people’s validation. If we feel that we are only ‘good enough’ and of value when we achieve what we want, or are validated by others, then the fear of failure stems from our own limited self beliefs of not being enough or of value.

Our fears are often rooted in worrying about what other people think of us or how we will be perceived. Many of us struggle with imposter syndrome, perfectionism and a world view which leads us to be our own worst critic. We form a lot of beliefs about ourselves around the age of 8 years old and many of these are rooted in our perception of our experiences, rather than the experiences themselves. Often the one key component is do we feel safe? If you have a sense of safety in yourself and are grounded, then you can often be resilient to external factors and perceived failures will not disrupt this feeling.

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

The downside of living with a fear of failure is that it keeps us stuck, stops us from taking action and can lead to not fulfilling our potential. I always say that the risk of staying where I am is scarier than taking the risk itself. This has always led me to take action.

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

Being free from the fear of failure is life-changing. Usually, what we want is on the other side of fear. When we feel resistance to something, it is where the biggest growth opportunities lie. I always say follow that resistance. Work out what you are afraid of doing and do it anyway. Life is ours for the taking. We are programmed to live with fear through the media, social media and a culture of comparing ourselves to others. Our consumerist world is constantly showing us what we don’t have. In reality, we have it all inside of us; all the answers, all the power and all the capability to do whatever we want. We just think we don’t and can’t.

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?

My experience of failure is different, as I strongly hold the belief that ‘there is no such thing as failure, only learning.’ When things don’t go as planned, my thought processes now are — ‘this is not because I have done something wrong, or that I am not good enough, or messed up’. I choose to focus on what I can take from the situation, that I can now apply going forward to not make the same mistakes again. I ask myself ‘what have I learnt from this’?

Having had several previous attempts at running businesses that didn’t work out, I don’t perceive myself to be a failure. Those experiences are lessons. We are constantly on a journey of working out what we do and don’t want. We hold a vision of how and what we want our life to be, but often when we get there, it isn’t what we want anymore. That is the magic — constant evolution. Think of our life and everything as a draft, not a finished product. We are never ‘finished’, we constantly grow through new experiences. Things not working out or going to plan is part of the journey. For me, it is about trusting in the process and knowing that whatever happens, it will be alright, and in most cases, things not going to plan or ‘failing’ are blessings in disguise to help us on the right path.

At the time, I guess I perceived my ‘biggest failure’ was when I had a total breakdown. I could not work, I lost all of my cognitive function, but rather than caring about my health, I was more concerned that I couldn’t work. Without my work, I didn’t know who I was or what my identity was.

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?

Now I perceive that period to be my biggest success; having to ‘break down’, and lose my mind so that I could rebuild my sense of self and identity — a new identity that was not based on my past experiences or programming. It has been so liberating to rewrite my story and to know myself truly. This has resulted in me becoming far more centred and clear about who I am. All that I want from life now is happiness and peace of mind and — from this place, I can create and have created the life of my dreams, without limits.

My advice to anyone is to trust the process that you are going through.There is always the potential for growth and learning. Be patient and kind to yourself. ‘Failure’ can feel so personal and yet it is a gift to look at how you relate to yourself and the world around you. It is an invitation to do the inner work. I always recommend working with a coach, therapist, or someone to help you navigate this. We don’t have to do it alone. I didn’t. Accepting that I couldn’t do everything on my own was and is a big part of my journey.

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.

These steps can be used as a self-discovery, so grab a pen and work through these in your own time.

  1. What is your fear? What are you afraid of?

The first step is to unpack and examine what is happening here. What is the fear? Can you name any other emotions? Take a pause, take some deep breaths and get out of your head and into your body. Can you feel fear in a particular place? Are you experiencing tension in your body? What’s that like? Journal it, explore it, sit with it. What is it trying to tell you?

Can you identify a belief around this? When was the first time you felt like this?

Giving time to examine what is happening brings awareness to see what is behind the fear. For example if the belief is that I am not good enough to do X or Y. How does that make you feel? Who said that you aren’t good enough?

Explore these emotions and beliefs and where they may stem from. How can you rewrite this belief? Can you nurture the belief that no matter what happens, I am always good enough. Nothing external determines my worth.

2 . What are you attaching to the outcome?

It is often what we are attaching to the outcome of doing something that keeps us stuck. Usually it’s our self-worth and if we fail, it becomes personal to us. We need to look at how we can build resilience around this. How have you failed before? What happened? Are you still ok? How did it turn out? Was it as bad as you thought?

On the flip side, what evidence do you have of previous successes? When have you stepped out of your comfort zone and it turned out well?

By having evidence of things going right and you being ok can build confidence and resilience. In my case, having gone through the darkness of having a breakdown and losing my mind and my identity, I realised that no matter how hard something feels at the time, it often works our for the best in the end. You just have to trust in the process. The only way to get over it is to go through it.

We could go a lot deeper here and there isn’t time in this article, but a simple perspective shift can help you move forward.

3. If you believed that ‘there is no such thing as failure, only learning’, what would you do differently?

Explore this belief. Do you believe it is true? What are your thoughts?

Can you apply this belief to your past failures? What did you learn from them?

And most importantly, if you now hold this belief to be true, what will you do differently going forwards?

I now know that whatever happens I will get a result, either it will work or I will learn something. It’s a game changer as it means I have nothing to loose. Remember, every time you think you have failed, you fail forwards.

4. What story are you telling yourself? How can you unpack and rewrite your narrative?

This is a combination of all of the above. Unpacking the topics above will have helped you get a greater awareness of what is behind your fears and perceived failures. But now I want you to look at how this creates a story of how you view yourself and the world around you?

How can you reframe this reality to serve you better?

A good thing to keep a check on is how you are talking about the topic at hand. Are you using words like should struggle, hard, can’t? Let’s start by shifting these to ‘I want to, it’s easy, and I can have a huge impact’. We create our own reality through the words we speak and how we talk to ourselves in our heads. How can you control that chitter chatter a little more? Speak the words of a leader and of positivity, not of a victim or from a place of lack.

For example, I no longer use the words busy or stressed in my vocabulary, I find they have negative connotations for me. I say that I have a lot on or am at capacity. I often find this is received a lot better by other people too.

Have a go at rewriting the narrative you are telling yourself and create a new story that will serve you better based on what you have learned above.

5. JFDI and KISS

To finish, here are my favourite acronyms. KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid. and JFDI: just f***ing do it.

Let’s break these down.

KISS is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple, rather than being overly complicated. Therefore simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

So often we overcomplicate things. When I feel that things are becoming challenging or it is taking too long to work out a solution I ask myselfif it was easy, what would it look like? You can apply this to everything in life. Write it on a mirror as a reminder.

JFDI does exactly what it says on the tin. Just f*cking do it. Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear. If someone else can do it, then so can you. So JFDI.

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?

My interpretation is that he is talking about the many ways there are to fail. Not trying is in itself failing. The only way to succeed is to try. The more times you try, the more likely you will hit the mark and find the success you are looking for.

Success is subjective. When I work with my clients, I always recommend they get clarity on what success means to them, based on their values. I have a downloadable workbook on my website that helps with that. Otherwise, how do you know what you are striving for or what you want? It also helps to create anchors to make decisions and prioritise and motivate you.

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 have already started it, it’s called Entify and Empower. These are the two pillars of my business and the work I do. The word Entify comes from the word entification; which means to bring objective existence to something. Empower, in this context means providing the strategy and mindset to create it. These values are at the core of my work in helping people find purpose, clarity, strategy, structure and the right mindset to become the leaders of their work and life.

Like I said, it is about creating a life you don’t want to escape from and one which you don’t need a holiday from. I plan to launch a podcast early 2023 with the goal of inspiring and helping people to challenge the status quo and create the life of their dreams.

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 :-)

For me, it would be Dr Joe Dispensa. I believe his work has helped me greatly in rewiring my brain and getting out of the programme. I found his progressive 3-day workshop and took it in 2019. It was life changing and the best birthday present I ever gave myself.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can check out my website and services at www.thepersonalconsultancy.com, download my Reconnect workbook here and follow me on Instagram @tiffinyfrances and my business @thepersonalconsultancy.

If you are interested in working with me to overcome your fear of failure and to become the leader of your work and life, you can book a free clarity call here.

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.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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