• Sarah E. Brown

What is Your Biggest Fear with Jacqueline Wales


Have you found yourself doubting your capabilities? Are you often being swallowed by your fears and thoughts so much so that it affects your work? Are you ready to overcome these fears and doubts and start to finally grow?


Fear will always scare you unless you decide to face it and look at it in a different way. In simple terms, fear is just an expectation that did not go as planned. It will control you if you let it, but if you choose to take time, reflect on your actions, and deeply question what is your motivation, then you will be one step closer to your amazing growth. So, are you ready to face the uncomfortable yet rewarding change?


Jacqueline Wales has explored human behavior and asked tough questions to discover hard truths for more than 35 years. She believes in the power of fearlessness to create the career and life you want. As a motivational speaker, professional coach, author of The Fearless Factor and other books, Jacqueline has helped countless people become more empowered, confident, and resilient.


In this episode, Jacqueline shares her insights on how to overcome the fear of failure or the fear of success and be your most authentic and motivated self in order to unlock your full potential in business and in life.



What you will learn from this episode:

  • Discover how to change fear into growth by questioning

  • Find out how failure is simply an expectation that did not go as planned

  • Learn more about how to overcome the imposter syndrome and recognize your capabilities



In change, you've got to get comfortable being uncomfortable, because then you've got an opportunity to grow.
- Jacqueline Wales


Valuable Free Resource:


How to know more about you and your motivations in order to overcome self-doubt and fear: https://thefearlessfactoratwork.com/



Topics Covered:


02:03 - Challenge is the fear of not doing it in the right way and self-doubt, thus, not being able to move on and open themselves to new possibilities


05:12 - Not making room for themselves and being often busy with little to no time for personal activities: the common mistake business women leaders make when trying to change


06:11 - One free and actionable tip you can do to address your fears and welcome growth: Most of our dysfunctional behaviors, in my experience, are fear-based. So, you have to examine the fear and ask yourself, you know, exactly what is that? And do I have empirical evidence that whatever I'm fearful of, whatever I'm uncertain about, do I have real proof that this is exactly how it's going to pan out?


08:35 - One valuable resource to help you know more about you and your motivations in order to overcome self-doubt and fear: Question your motivations


10:35 - Q: What’s your biggest fear? A: I like to say that failure is simply a choice or decision or an expectation that didn't go the way that you wanted it to. Very simple. So, failures or iterations, failures are those you know, tried something didn't work, go try something else.



Key Takeaways:


“Look for the proof, look for the evidence. If it's not there, it's excuses, and then move beyond the excuses.” - Jacqueline Wales


“I understand the stresses and strains and her circumstances of our life, but nevertheless, if you don't make room for yourself in there it's very, very hard for you to make the changes that you want to make.” - Jacqueline Wales


“Too many times we go through life with a lot of assumptions, but no research to back that assumption up. And that, of course, stymies your growth and stops you from maybe taking a larger step forward, or taking a bigger risk around asking for what you want.” - Jacqueline Wales


“Think about what it is that ultimately matters to you, and I think that's a big question right there. What about what you're trying to do matters to you? And if you have a clear answer, then the next piece of that is, "Okay, so what's your strategy for moving forward?"- Jacqueline Wales



Ways to Connect with Jacqueline Wales



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:


Sarah E. Brown 0:57

For more than 35 years, Jacqueline Wales has explored human behavior and asked tough questions to discover hard truths. She believes in the power of fearlessness to create the career and life you want. As a motivational speaker, professional coach, author of The Fearless Factor, and other books, Jacqueline has helped countless people become more empowered, confident, and resilient. Her work focuses on leaders who will dig into self-discovery, take accountability for their actions, and responsibility for their decisions. She challenges herself daily to be better and challenges her clients to do the same-- pushing boundaries and breaking through excuses to achieve results. Welcome, Jacqueline.


Jacqueline Wales 1:53

Thanks, Sarah. It's a pleasure to be here.


Sarah E. Brown 1:56

What is the biggest challenge you help female leaders face in business today? And what might be some symptoms of that challenge?


Jacqueline Wales 2:03

So, the biggest challenge for a lot of female leaders, especially those who are offering in a fairly high level, are, you know, "Am I making the right moves?" I think that becomes a very critical question along the way. And then if I'm not making the right moves for me, in terms of what I see for myself, what is it that's getting in the way? And it doesn't matter where you are on the kind of ladder, if you like, there's always something that you feel you could do better at, but you may not be taking the right steps to do that. And then if we examine it, we find that there's some fear behind this, you know, fear of, "Am I good enough?", "Am I capable?", "Am I, you know, going to get the support that I need?" There's all kinds of things that kind of pop up on this. And, of course, you know, this is a piece that needs to be addressed. As you know- I think, you know, my position is always that fear is imagination-based. And it's based on, you know, the uncertainty of what the future actually looks like. So, I'm all about helping my women leaders understand, you know, what are their priorities? And where do they feel like they're standing in their own way? And we do that through a series of, you know, discovery exercises because it's really about, where's your courage to take the next step, to take the next risk, to really open yourself up to other possibilities. And I don't care, as I say, I don't care where you are on your career path, or what you're doing in life. It's the same human behavioral stuff that gets in the way. You know, avoidance, perhaps, or being dependent on other people to get the results that you need to get. There's also a piece of, you know- perfectionism is a big thing for overachievers. They tend to set very, very high standards for themselves, and they don't give themselves a whole lot of wiggle room, to, you know, kind of back down a little bit and take a breath. I've frequently heard it said from many executives that they don't have time for self-reflection. And my answer to that is if you don't have time for self-reflection, how do you expect to grow? And I know how busy these women are. Certainly, I'm one of them, and I can easily do 10-12 hours a day, and do I have anything left at the end of the day? Not much, kind of giving it all away. But my business is, of course, about reflection, and I walk the talk. So, I've spent a great many years and I know in this process of “How do you move forward? How do you become more of who you really want to be?” And that's a critical question right there. It's not about what you want to do, it's about who do you want to be? And how do you want to be walking through the world? And that's a piece that's often overlooked when I'm in conversations, you know because it's all about setting goals and achieving the next level and pushing forward and so forth. But ultimately, it comes down to who do you want to be? And what does that look like for you? Because we all know who we want to be, but we may not be there yet.


Sarah E. Brown 5:06

Mm-hmm. What is the biggest mistake your clients make before they start working with you?


Jacqueline Wales 5:12

I think the biggest mistake is not making room for themselves. They're very busy giving to everybody else. I see this over and over again. And you know, they're, "Got to take care of my team." "Got to take care of my family." "Got to take care of whatever it is." The "me" time becomes a big issue. I'm working with someone right now who's pretty high level, academic and she is very much about, you know, I'm tired of giving to other people all the time, how do I give to me, but when she's presented with ideas on how she can give to me, she doesn't have the bandwidth to consider it. Now I understand the stresses and strains and her circumstances of our life, but nevertheless, if you don't make room for yourself in there it's very, very hard for you to make the changes that you want to make.


Sarah E. Brown 6:04

Mm-hmm. What's the number one free and actionable tip you can give our audience today to address this challenge now?


Jacqueline Wales 6:11

So, if we look at, you know, most of our dysfunctional behaviors, in my experience, are fear-based. So, you have to examine the fear and ask yourself, you know, exactly what is that? And do I have empirical evidence that whatever I'm fearful of, whatever I'm uncertain about, do I have real proof that this is exactly how it's going to pan out? If you don't have that proof, then you need to check your assumptions because too many times we go through life with a lot of assumptions, but no research to back that assumption up. And that, of course, stymies your growth and stops you from maybe taking a larger step forward, or taking a bigger risk around asking for what you want. That's a big issue for a lot of women, by the way. As you well know, asking for what you want. A lot of women sit there expecting to be recognized, and, you know, look at the number of women who are CEOs. You know, so pitiful number, who are actually CEO level, considering the so-called, you know, the progress that we as women have made in the world. You know, that's debatable on a lot of levels. But the point being is that, you know, waiting to be seen, waiting to be recognized, is not a strategy, and learning how to open up your voice and open up your- ask, if you like, is a big, big, big piece of it, too in going forward. You know, it's a lot of it is around "deserving". Do I deserve whatever? And you can hear that in some of the conversations that you have with women too. And, of course, we deserve it. We worked hard for it. You know, there's been a lot of noise out there at the moment about the imposter syndrome. And I get a little bit up on my high horse about that because it's been around since the 1980s. It's been recognized since

the 1980s. And yet at the moment, everybody's talking imposter syndrome. "Yeah, get over it." You know, it's like, if you choose to believe that, that's your issue right there. So how do you step beyond that piece of believing in yourself? Because that's really what the imposter syndrome is-- you don't believe in yourself. But again, I think that self-doubt creeps in, the fears creep in. And so, you know, look for the proof, look for the evidence. If it's not there, it's excuses, and then move beyond the excuses.


Sarah E. Brown 8:28

Hmm. What's the valuable free resource you can share with the women who are listening today to help them understand this challenge better?


Jacqueline Wales 8:35

Well, I think, you know, you have to question your motivations. I mean, that's number one for me. You know, what is it that is driving you? What is it that is putting you in a place right now where you're uncomfortable? You know, and I like to say, "In change, you've got to get comfortable being uncomfortable", because then you've got an opportunity to grow. But I think that the main thing is to question your motivation. Think about what it is that ultimately matters to you, and I think that's a big question right there. What about what you're trying to do matters to you? And if you have a clear answer, then the next piece of that is, "Okay, so what's your strategy for moving forward?" What's your strategy for building your alliances? What are your strategies for, you know, gaining the knowledge or whatever it is that you need in order for you to be and become more of who you want to be in the world? And I think that's something to think about, and I mean, it's a lot to think about. But anyone who's listening to this call right now, if you're starting to think about it's time for a change, and maybe you've been thinking about it for several months, or even some years, then what is it that stopping you from taking that next step? What is it that stopping you from believing that you're definitely capable of getting whatever it is you're going after? And what is it that really, again, comes back to what about this really matters to you? And if you can answer that big question, you'll find some answers.


Sarah E. Brown 10:06

What I loved about what you just said is what is it that matters to you, so it's kind of unique to the individual. But the other thing that I love is what is stopping you from taking that next step? It's not like you have to bite off the whole thing right now, it's just that next step. That's a great tip. So, Jacqueline, what is one question that I should have asked you that will help our audience today take action to address this challenge? And then would you please answer the question?


Jacqueline Wales 10:35

I think one of the questions that come up for me regularly is, what's your biggest fear? And I hear over and over again, people are afraid of failure. Now, I like to say that failure is simply a choice or decision or an expectation that didn't go the way that you wanted it to. Very simple. So, failures or iterations, failures are those you know, tried something didn't work, go try something else. I'd like to say there's one word that you use after you've had some kind of failure in life where that whether it's just a mistake, or whatever it is, the word is "next". What's next? And being willing to pivot, being willing to look around you and say, "Okay, that didn't work." But it's not a reflection on you. And that's where I think people get tied up in the failure piece. You know, "If I'm showing up and I failed at something, well, that's all about me." Well, the answer is, it's not about you. At core, it is not about you. It's simply a decision, a choice, an expectation, that did not go the way that you had planned for. And so, if it impacts other people, so be it. They have to take responsibility for their end of it, whatever that might be. But too many times as women, we feel like we have to take care of the world. We have to be the caretakers of the world. And the answer is no, you don't. You know, so things go wrong, it's not necessarily your fault. And even if it is your fault, it's a very kind of pat thing to say, but get over it, because that is the only way that you keep moving forward. How many people are defined by their failures? And then, of course, the other side of the coin of the failure fear is the fear of success. What if I am hugely successful? What if I really can take this idea that I have, and, you know, make something in the world that really has a massive impact. That's kind of scary. So yeah, it is. But again, if you believe in it enough, and it matters to you enough, then you'll take the next step, and then the next step, and then the next step because that's how we become who we are. And I can, you know, haven't gone into any of my own personal history here, but I'm very much about walking the talk. I have taken the next step thousands of times in my lifetime, and I've had a few decades on me now. So, I tell you, it works. And it's like they say in the AA program, it works if you work it, but it's definitely about that piece of, you know, question it. Question, question, question everything! All my books are filled with questions because I want you to really think hard about what's behind all this.


Sarah E. Brown 13:21

What terrific advice. Jacqueline, thank you so much for being with me today.


Jacqueline Wales 13:25

My pleasure, Sarah. Thank you so much for having me.


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