How I’m learning to get over my fear of failure

holly miller athlete.jpg

Let me give you steps of a completely different kind because there is no checklist to getting over your fears; there are no shortcuts here. For what it’s worth, I’m learning it has more to do with leveraging a balance of mental and physical strength. Getting into a routine that helps you build physical strength and mobility is undoubtedly going to do wonders for your confidence, body, health etc. But in addition to that, there’s the “health” and strength of your mind – specifically your thoughts.

The mental work will be largely based on personal preference, but here are some good places, I’ve found, to start:
1.  “Practice Focus” Episode 5 – Living with Courage podcast.
2. “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David, PhD.

It’s normal (evolutionary, even) for us to feel fear. But what holds us back is the fact that we can cling to fear and accept it as reality. For weightlifting, it can be a thought like, “the weight that’s on the bar is heavy. I can’t do it.”

Now, I’m not going to step up to attempt a lift on a loaded bar of weight I’ve never lifted before because that’s not a good idea; you need to be training and building up to the weight (listen to the podcast). But, there is a way to create a new mental pathway that can help in your practice. It comes from “distancing [yourself] from both the physical effects of [your] fear–the cortisol surge, the accelerated heart rate, and the hyperventilation–and from any self-doubting narratives that might have already hooked [you]…” Learning to acknowledge yet distance yourself from your emotions and connecting with why you actually want to do something is how you learn to go forward in spite of the fears that are holding you back.

It may not be okay right then and there. But it will be okay.

You can lift the weights. You can engage in the difficult conversations with your significant other. You can speak up in a company meeting. You can do these things with your fear and the internal self doubt and still go forward.

It’s not about being fearless but having the courage to go forward with both your fears and your values on board because it’s intrinsically important to you.


Year-end Reflection on Rapid Fire

I love Christmas time but not for the reasons you might expect. To me, this time of year is a reflection point. In particular, it’s a day where we collectively consider what’s really important in life and make an effort to be surrounded by people who contribute to it most.

I think we should have more of these types of days throughout our year because far too often we get caught up in life, in jobs, in relationships, in things that don’t serve us. If you don’t have marked reflection points, it’s hard to evaluate whether or not the things around you still serve you.

My goal for 2017 is to continue to put energy into things that actually contribute to my growth. I came across a great, quick approach shared by Marie Forelo to evaluate how to get more of what you want. It’s so simple, I love it!

Here’s how it works. Try it on rapid fire (because want to get back to family time), go through your pictures on your cell phone and through your calendar for all the travel, meetings or appointments you had over the year and answer these questions:

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn’t work?
  3. What were the highlights?

From there, riddle me this: what does 2017 look like if it’s full of ‘what worked’?

Ready? Go.


Holly’s Reading List

I typically over prepare for questions I might get asked on webinars or talks I’m giving. But I was recently part of a panel at an event hosted by the San Diego American Marketing Association where I was asked a question about what books I’ve read that have had the most influence on my professional career.

Holly Miller speaker

Top-Of-The-Funnel: Awareness Strategies & Technologies

For a split second, I blanked.

But, I’ve actually read quite a bit! I’m the type of person that’s reading 2-3 books at a time. So, for personal and professional development, productivity, and all-around inspiration here is the batch of books I highly recommend checking out:

“Emotional Agility” – Susan David, PhD
“Settle for More” – Megyn Kelly (hand’s down the book is amazing)
“And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side” – Dana Perino
“Let Me Tell You about Jasper . . .: How My Best Friend Became America’s Dog” – Dana Perino
“The 48 Laws of Power” – Robert Greene
“The Art of Seduction” – Robert Greene
“Mastery” – Robert Greene
“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” – Brene Brown
“The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that fuel Success and Performance at Work” – Shawn Achor
“Being in Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires” – Wayne Dyer
“Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships” – Daniel Goleman
“First you have to row a little boat” – Richard Bode
“Marketing Genius” – Peter Fisk
“Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” – Brian Tracy
“The Power of Myth” – Joseph Campbell
“On The Shortness of Life” – Seneca


Now, the next time I get asked this question, I’ll be able to say “oh, on my blog, you can find a list of the books I recommend.” 🙂


Having a laugh along with Alan Bush

About the event: Top-Of-The-Funnel: Awareness Strategies & Technologies

Our first-ever event collaboration with SoCal Marketing Club was an unqualified success! An SRO crowd heard about the latest trends in awareness strategies and technologies from our all-star panel: Alan Bush of Ignite Visibility, Holly Miller of Searchmetrics, Donovan Moore of Goodway Group, Adam Wagner of Raindrop Marketing and moderator John Bertino of The Agency Guy. Many thanks to our lead event sponsor Searchmetrics, to Downtown Works for the fantastic space, to Stella Artois and California Fruit Wine Co. for the tasty adult beverages, and to Lenóce photo for capturing the spirit of the evening. @sandiegoama

The impact of extending an invitation

Sometimes we take things for granted. We can make assumptions. But you may not realize the impact a simple, direct invitation can have.

I remember when I was competing with my dance partner, the signal to come together was an “invitation” from the man to take up our frame together. I always appreciated that because then I knew where to go and what was expected.  If anything happened at any point during the routine, all we had to do was reset with this invitation and we’d be off again, flying across the dance floor in lock step.


With my (amazing, handsome, kind, humble…) dance partner, Florian, backstage warming up at the City Lights Ball – 2016

The takeaway here is, wherever you can, take the initiative to make the invitation. It quells assumptions and the other person will appreciate you and your leadership for doing so.

Don’t fear failure – use it

Saturday evening reflections on the day.

People who are successful use failures as a way to learn and a way to practice. Failure is a lesson learned.

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.”
– Ellen DeGeneres

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”
– Johnny Cash

“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.”
– Chris Hardwick

Remember your ‘why’ and you’ll be able to keep going.

Protect Your Own Well

Today, looking through Feedly, my eyes flashed across these words from Seth Godin’s blog:

“The single most important part of any project is the battery, the source of energy, the optimism and effort that turns the long shot into the sure thing, one day at a time.”

And, especially if you’re that battery, taking this idea a step further, it’s so important to protect your own source of energy. Your internal well of optimism, playfulness, lightheartedness, curiosity and overall zest for life.

reebok spartan race sacramento hot chick

At the Sacramento Super – that Spartan bucket life 😉

It’s crazy; I’m slogging through mud carrying a heavy bucket of rocks. People that built the pyramids probably dealt with something similar to this and I don’t think they looked nearly as happy.

But while the Spartan Super was genuinely challenging, it’s also inherently fun for someone like me.

There have been times in my life when I’ve realized I haven’t been being good to myself.  When I haven’t been protecting what fuels me. All I can say is, it’s important to develop an understanding of what makes you happy on a daily basis and what contributes to your own personal energy source. Even more important, is when you find yourself out of alignment, reconnecting to what gives you energy is how you can course correct to get yourself back to that place of balance.

Ready to tackle the next challenge and the next.

It’s going to be OK. But first, you have to Spartan up!

If it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it. – Erada

Nothing but 8.5 miles of incredibly uneven terrain, hills that silently wear away your calve muscles, and pools of shockingly cold mud and your own faith in your abilities. The Spartan Sacramento Super this weekend tested everyone’s endurance.

I ended up walking most of the course because I’m currently working through an injury on my IT band. So you could say I had plenty of time to take it all in 😉

Here’s what I took away from this experience:

Getting perspective is key. When you’re in an obstacle, getting though it is your entire world. But then you put some distance between you and that obstacle. You look back and the thing that was all consuming appears much smaller now. I looked back on nearly every obstacle and thought about that.

The buddy system rocks…especially when you’re stuck carrying buckets of rocks really, really far 😉 This entire experience was about placing yourself in what is otherwise an unnatural and uncomfortable situation and just getting through it. Your only choice is to rely on yourself and your abilities. But I will say, it’s incredibly more rewarding going through it with a team and even better when you have a friend alongside you.

Have courage and be kind.Yes, it’s technically a race. But it’s really only against yourself. Everyone out there is just trying to get by in the best way they can. Acknowledgement of this in another human being is sometimes the encouragement they need to keep moving.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

If you’re wondering why I would pay to put myself through something like this, it’s simple; personal growth. An experience like the Spartan race gives you reference points to be able to mentally tell yourself later, “no, it’s actually OK, you can do this because you’ve had to jump over fire!” or “remember that one time, at the Spartan race, when you thought you couldn’t do that obstacle but then, you fond a rhythm and your body started adapting and you did it…see…it’s going to be OK.”

It’s going to be OK. But first, you have to Spartan up!

Courage Performance, Spartan race

The crew ready to attack the Spartan Sacramento Super!