Deborah Frances-White, host of The Guilty Feminist podcast and book, shares her ultimate advice on how to tackle a fear of failure.
Deborah Frances-White has had a stellar few years. The comedian’s podcast, The Guilty Feminist, was turned into a bestselling book in 2018, and her screenwriting debut, Say My Name, sold out the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year. She was also the host of Stylist’s very own Remarkable Women Awards, and has presented a TEDx talk on confidence. After all that, she’s set to head off on a world tour in 2020.
Before she goes, however, we were lucky enough to have her speak at Stylist Live LUXE, where she discussed how to tackle our fear of failure.
The podcast host was referencing Elizabeth Day’s talk earlier in the show, where she had said a lot of people are craving an outlet for failure.
Agreeing with the statement, Frances-White said that every time we do something, we put ourselves into two categories: worthy or unworthy, and competent and incompetent. She went on to share her advice for how to tackle feelings of being unworthy or incompetent.
“Rather than going into something thinking ‘if I don’t get this, I’ve failed’, go into it saying that you’re going to give it a try,” she said.
She went on to share an anecdote that will help people to face up to the concept of failure, and tackle it head-on rather than shying away from taking an opportunity in case it doesn’t go up to plan.
“People come up to me at parties and say ‘I want to be a stand-up comedian’,” she said. “I tell them that in a year’s time, they can be someone with a year’s worth of gig experience. Or they can be someone who wants to be a stand-up comedian.”
She rounded off the anecdote with one of our favourite pieces of advice to takeaway from the weekend: “The only way to get good is by having lots and lots of goes at something”.
Images: Bronac McNeill, Getty
Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter