Victoria DeHart Vesce On Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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Be kind to everyone — This is a HUGE point. Be kind to everyone even if they present you with failure or rejection. Believe me I am still learning this =myself. Lose the anger, the sadness or the rejection. Be kind to those who do that to you, because your kindness could be the thing that turns that failure into a future success. I have had plenty of times where I reacted grateful for an opportunity after I failed, and they let me know my non-bitter and kind attitude was inspiring, in which in opened a door for another even bigger opportunity. Don’t let rejection ruin your heart.

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 Victoria DeHart Vesce

Victoria is a Brain Tumor Survivor, Grief Support Advocate, Former NBA dancer, and just graduated from law school. She has dealt with tremendous ups and downs, but she continues to turn her pain into positivity. She hopes to inspire others through her journey that you can do it all if you want to and to choose to not let the world harden your heart.

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’?

Thank you so much for having me! Well I grew up on a Buffalo Farm in Rural North Carolina. I grew up extremely shy and a tomboy, but I had blessed beginnings. I was always one to dream bigger and better than my small town, so when I turned 18 started this path to self discovery, in which my parents were extremely supportive of my dreams. I started into modeling, and I heard a multitude of “no’s”, but I kept pursuing my dreams to be someone for people to remember my name. With barely any dance experience, I became an NBA dancer and it jump started my pursuits thereafter. When my life was all going well in 2017, I unfortunately discovered I had multiple paraganglioma- brain and carotid tumor. It was a crippling discovery that changed my life forever. I went through intense surgery and recovery at Duke University Hospital and subsequent radiation treatments at Duke Cancer Institute. During recovery, I still pushed to achieve my dreams. I went to law school and continued to model, which some call me crazy…I just call it being Victoria. Now, I am 5 years clear and still actively pursuing my dreams.

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?

Becoming an NBA dancer with no prior experience was an interesting feat for myself. I diligently trained for months before making the team. I learned to achieve my dreams you got to think outside the box and not question your ability to do things you may have not thought you could do.

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 ‘P’s- Perseverance, Persistence, and Positivity.

  • Perseverance — overcoming the obstacles of the trials that life hit me with from the Brain Tumor to now overcoming grief.
  • Persistence- the willingness to not take no to stop my dreams. The amount of times I kept knocking to be seen or heard especially in the modeling industry really struck when Sports Illustrated Swim noticed me.
  • Positivity- My mom engrained positivity into my soul. She made me listen to The Secret every morning before school. I apply affirmations and manifestations to my life daily.

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?

For me, it seems people and even myself are afraid of failure, because we can correlate it to meaning that we aren’t good enough or measure up. For me, I saw myself defeated or lacking when I did not get the job or get chosen to the lineup. I saw failure as something that reflected upon myself, and I would lose the value of myself which is the exact opposite mindset we need.

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

The biggest downside is that we will never start something new or push ourselves if we are continually afraid to fail. Failure is bound to happen, but if we are scared of it, then we will never reach our full potential if we just do things we know we can succeed at.

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

We have probably heard a lot about how we all have limitless potential, and you have probably rolled your eyes when you heard it, yet it is completely true. We all have a huge purpose and mission in life to achieve massive success. We have to first redefine success as not free from failure, but success is free from restraint that the world boxes us in. When we start something or want to try something new, we have to first get failure out of our heads and out of our vocabulary. It’s hard to take the first step, leap, or jump when you are consumed by the fear of failure from the start.

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?

The amount of failure I’ve had has been more than I can count. I used to be a very Type A perfectionist personality, which there is nothing wrong with, but myself being such a perfectionist stressed me out to my core so heavily my body became sick and fatigued. The extreme fear of failure can not only do damage to our potential, but also to our bodies when we overtly stress it out. There was one time when I first started out modeling that I was told I was not good enough and didn’t “have the look” and my thighs were too big. It was such an extreme failure for me, because I’m like how do I change who I am? I decided to embrace what those in the industry thought as unsuccessful, and I touted it as my quality that I loved, which has made me extremely more successful. Rather than using that critique or that setback as something that would hinder me from my dreams, I embraced it and made it my own.

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 learned other people’s expectations don’t define my success. I’m already successful and I am enough. I just need to believe it myself. It all started with my journey to self love and self acceptance. Once I become totally comfortable in who I was and am, that is when people started gravitating. Don’t let one rejection ruin your dreams. If you look at every great actor, philosopher, politician, entertainer, etc you will hear how they kept going after numerous rejections and finally had that breakthrough. My advice is to let those “failures” fuel your fire to do more.

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.

  1. Self love and acceptance — This is my number one tip until you truly find acceptance with yourself , your body, and your soul the fear of failure will always be lurking. This past year was when I truly found acceptance with myself and really have stood my ground. Before, in modeling and even in other careers, when I did not realize my self worth the fear of failure was a hindrance to my progress. Now it doesn’t even cross my mind.
  2. Just do it don’t think — Overthinking is my biggest weakness and I still deal with it. When we think of everything that can go wrong, we forget about everything that can go right. I used to overthink what people thought about me in my professional career. One instance working in the legal realm I overthought almost so much, because I was scared to fail my client that I almost blew the whole case. Overthinking is linked to fear of failure.
  3. Don’t box yourself in — This has been my biggest pet peeve/setback contributing to fear of failure. It’s not my desire to be boxed in or fit some mold that’s the world and other people’s expectations. I’ve gotten a lot of criticism for pursuing modeling and law and other flashy events and careers. The fear of failure correlates to boxing yourself in. You get too scared to expand to grow to not fit in, because that fear of failure creeps in.
  4. Make your presence known — This is something I struggle with is making my presence known when I walk into the room. This doesn’t mean be cocky, arrogant, or pushy. This means walk into an event and talk to everyone genuinely. Get to know people and let people have the chance to get to know you. If you cower and hide yourself from the world for fear of failure or rejection, no one will ever get the chance to experience your light.
  5. Be kind to everyone — This is a HUGE point. Be kind to everyone even if they present you with failure or rejection. Believe me I am still learning this =myself. Lose the anger, the sadness or the rejection. Be kind to those who do that to you, because your kindness could be the thing that turns that failure into a future success. I have had plenty of times where I reacted grateful for an opportunity after I failed, and they let me know my non-bitter and kind attitude was inspiring, in which in opened a door for another even bigger opportunity. Don’t let rejection ruin your heart.

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?

Yes, this quote deems true, because it doesn’t mean, in my interpretation, quite what it seems. This quote is also interesting, because it is an excerpt from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. “Nicomachus” in Greek origin is the God of victory of champions. Aristotle talks a lot about courage. The ultimate courage to show up while you are still fearful is the ultimate courage. We can fail in numerous ways, and failure can consume our mind. The path to success is one way, and only our courage to face our fears will take us there.

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 mean we’ve all heard of YOLO right? You Only Live Once. Seems like a funny phrase, but in all actuality it should be our motto to do all that we ever achieved, since as far as we know….we only have this one life to live. As someone who has faced death numerous times, we need to set our goal high and to not be boxed in by the world. If you want to pursue a law degree and model, do it. YOLO. If you want to work for NASA and walk in NYFW or be on the cover of Vogue…do it. YOLO. Life is so brief that we should go for everything we ever wanted even if it seems far-fetched or doesn’t make sense to others. Happiness and fulfillment is the real success not what other people expect.

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 :-)

Dr. Brene Brown. Her Ted Talks on vulnerability ultimately changed my life and perspective. Channeling my vulnerability into a superpower really helped overcome the fear of failure and opened my life up to incredible new experiences.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find me on instagram @victoriavesce and tik tok @victoriavesce or my youtube channel @victoriavescevlogs . In addition, my website is www.VictoriaVesce.com

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