John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C

"Failure is education." - Bruce Lee

I have been studying the lives of successful individuals since the age of seven. Every biography ever written has a few common elements. One of which is the person's ability to remain motivated and committed to their goal or vision in the face of numerous setbacks and defeats.

In my efforts to help others succeed and achieve their dreams, one of the main blocks people struggle with is the fear of making mistakes. I believe you are 'dead in the water' so to speak until you can overcome this fear. As is often the case, all roads lead to shame. Moreover, I have discovered this fear is exacerbated for many due to the increased amount of public exposure we now face.

Shame inhibits creativity

You can read countless books on strategy or study the lives of successful individuals in your efforts to identify keys to success. But until you do the hard work of overcoming your own shame, it will be very difficult for you to succeed. Nothing will inhibit your creativity and access to your subconscious intelligence like shame. Shame will not allow it. When fearing shame, your brain will be locked into a defensive response cutting of a degree of access to your higher intelligence.

Even if you attain a level of success in your efforts, you will not enjoy the process while struggling with shame. Prior to overcoming my own shame, perfectionism was one of my main defenses against it. Sitting down to do something like write this post would have been agony and taken me forever to start, let alone finish. Something I realized along my journey to defeat shame was you really don't care. 99.9% of you are not sitting here analyzing my grammar and punctuation but are assessing whether there is any value you are obtaining from reading it. The one percent who may do so are the most shame filled of all.

‚ÄčShift your focus to the value you have to give

One of the things that helped me in overcoming my speech anxiety was shifting my focus from evaluating my performance to realizing I had tremendous value to offer others in the things I was presenting. It was not about me but what I could give you. There are so many great methods, both emotionally and spiritually, to defeat shame. For starters, you could look into Brene Brown's work. She has dedicated much of her career to helping others conquer shame.

I would encourage you today to shift your focus from what you can achieve to how you can help. Getting outside yourself and having a vision for helping others transform will enable you to enjoy the process. We have to make mistakes! Period. It is the only way we can possibly learn. However, we will never accomplish what we are capable of if we are frozen in fear of others' opinions. Shift your priorities to the difference you can make in the lives of others. This will enable you to enjoy the process of discovering and creating. I have never learned as much from my successes as I have my failures. Develop the mind of a child who is fueled by awe and wonder. You will come to realize failure (learning) truly is the road to success. It will also be much more fun.


John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.

John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance. 

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