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2015 the year of FEAR

2015 the year of Fear. A review of incredible growth and abysmal failure
2015 was a strange year, one marked by incredible growth and abysmal failure, …which I guess is technically grounds for further growth. Right?

When I decided to launch Life in Focus Coaching in 2014 all I thought I was doing was creating a new business. I assumed it would be like every other time I grew bored at a job – find a new challenge, push yourself, conquer, move on. It just didn’t seem like a big deal. Clearly, like Jon Snow, I knew nothing!

Face your fears

Whereas 2014 was all about admitting to myself and the world that I didn’t want to be just a psychologist, 2015 has been the year of FEAR.

I have faced and overcome more fears than ever before. Interestingly, every time I thought I reached some new place of enlightenment and strength, I came to discover another way in which fear still influenced my life. The fears I speak of are the subtle and deep kind that take a hold of us everyday. They manifest as caution and a reluctance to pursue new or uncertain opportunities, a tendency to stick with what we know (even though it leaves us unsatisfied), or the subtle shifts we make between our public and private persona.

This process of self-definition, challenge and [at times] failure has allowed me to discover, or rediscover who I am today, in this place and time.

face your fearsI have tried very hard to confront every single fear as I identify it; I loath to submit to anything. At times I came out victorious; like a mythological heroine, I slew my dragons and conquered them all.  Other times I found myself cowering in a corner of my mind, unwilling to do what needed to be done. I was worried, paralyzed by doubt, and uncertain. I have taken risks, and fallen flat on my face (painfully so and publicly at times), yet I survived, maybe even thrived because of it. I have learned more about the person I am and want to be than I would have ever expected, and all because I grew dissatisfied with my career and wanted to make a change that was meaningful. Can you imagine what you could unlock, simply by working towards building a life that is right for you?


Articulating, sharing, and living the principles of Life in Focus has fundamentally changed me. In trying to define values and truths that could help others, I ended up defining myself. In many ways (to my husband’s great sadness) I am more selfish. I pursue my needs and defend my choices with a fierceness that borders on unreasonableness at times. Interests and hopes I had once given up, have now resurfaced, and demand to be met. I went from believing I was a relatively self-assured woman, to realizing that I still held many beliefs that hampered my progress and drive. But, make no mistake, I would have it no other way! This process of self-definition, challenge, and [at times] failure has allowed me to discover, or rediscover who I am today, in this place and time.

I have no idea what is in store for 2016. I know that I have set my intentions on continuing to challenge my fears, to build a life that is right for me, and to living by choice rather than avoidance. I can express those intentions in so many ways, it’s actually exciting to consider the possibilities. As 2015 comes to an end I’m having fun looking back on this interesting year.  I have failed in countless ways, but I have also made great strides. Since this is the season of count downs and lists here are my personal tops (top failures, top successes, top quotes, and top lessons learned) from 2015.

[bctt tweet=”Thriving isn’t something you DO everyday, it is the sum total of how you live your life.”]

Top Failures of 2015:

(this is a mixed bag of professional and personal failures)

  • Using my passion as an excuse to avoid my fears –  As many great entrepreneurs and business leaders have told me this year, I have to stop telling myself and others that is doesn’t matter if Life in Focus succeeds in the ways I want it to, because I love what I do here. In the end, I recognize that I am creating excuses and avoiding stepping up to the plate for fear of failure.
  • Yelling at my kids on Mother’s Day and vowing that we will not be celebrating Mother’s Day again until they get what it means – While in my head I was panicking about being trapped for another 14.5 years until my youngest turns 18. It took me another couple of months before I didn’t feel trapped by parenthood.
  • Every time I censored myself for fear of disappointing someone else – Argh, that is the worst feeling, and it completely goes against my primary principle as set forth in my personal manifesto.

Greatest Success of 2015:

  • Getting to speak at Paleo f(x) and every other speaking gig I got– I love public speaking. I realize it is supposed to be one of people’s greatest fears, but I LOVE TO BE UP THERE. Speaking more and specifically getting to present at Paleo f(x) was a goal I had set for myself in 2014 and reaching it was a massive victory.
  • Taking chances knowing I might fail. Failure is a big deal for me. In the past I have been known to quote Homer Simpson and use it as a justification for avoiding anything I wasn’t sure I was good at. Starting the podcast, asking for support in my network, continuing to pursue Life in Focus when therapy is so easy and lucrative… those things and more have been huge wins for me.

  • Parkour – need I say more? First of all, it goes with my second point. Starting parkour at 38 as a woman was intimidating to say the least. I love it! It was worth it to face my fear of failing and of being ridiculous. It’s amazing to feel so strong and capable and to see the progress one can make. You should give it try!
  •  Self-awareness -This is probably the thing I am most proud of, because it is scary to be self aware. It forces you to confront all the ways in which you hold yourself back. Being self aware means that you run the risk of feeling disappointed, angry or frustrated with yourself. It means that at some point you actually have to make changes, or risk being miserable (ignorance is bliss, trust me). In my case, it means I came face to face with some fears I had buried and managed to hold those fears without running from them, panicking too much, or trying to fix them right away. It makes all those failures stepping stones, rather than events to be forgotten.

Best quotes:

  • “Fear is uncertainty in search of security.”
    Jiddu Krishnamurti Commentaries on Living – First Series
  • “Celebrate the good things you have, it’s much more fun than freaking the fuck out over the bad that happens.”
    Nik Hawks Paleo Treats
  • “You can do anything as long as you are willing to pay the price.”
    Kirk Parsely, M.D. Life in Focus Ep. 16
  • “In the end, the person with the most stories wins!”
    – Brock Armstrong Life in Focus Ep. 15
  • “How can anyone really fail at anything if you’ve tried? Failure is like you’re dead.”
    Lee Selman Life in Focus Ep. 13
  • “We are creatures of habit, so we expect and want to do the same thing again and again and again, but we can adapt to almost anything.”
    Hillary Bromberg, Life in Focus Ep. 12
  • “Whatever result happens you’re going to be a better person [for having lived through the experience…] You have to fail to get to move forward. Nobody succeeds without failing!”
    – Zach Horvath Life in Focus Ep. 11
  • “Stay agile, plans oftentimes hold us to things that aren’t worth pursuing, or that we are not passionate about!”
    – Steph Gaudreau Life in Focus Ep. 7
  • “If you enjoy the process of what you do, and it is right for you, it will lead you exactly where you need to be.”
    – Dan Edwardes Life in Focus Ep. 10

Greatest lessons learned and shared in 2015

  • Dr_Alessandra_Walll_Don't_AskThe question shouldn’t be, “is this right?”, but “is it right for me?” When you start doing what’s right for you, you thrive!
  • Learn to live with distress. Distress is part of live, avoiding it, is avoiding life.
  • Never give in to the impulse to getting a hair cut if your stylist isn’t available.
  • There is more to gain by being 100% yourself, than there is to lose. Try it some time: try being 100% open, honest and forward with your thoughts and feelings. It is terrifying and incredibly liberating at the same time.
  • If you need help: ask. Most people are glad to assist you and get you where you need to be.
  • Making mistakes is unavoidable, so make new mistakes instead of repeating the same ones because they feel safer.
  • Thriving isn’t something you DO everyday, it is the sum total of how you live your life.
  • Sing always, dance often, smile when possible. From my personal manifesto.

So here is to 2016!

May your year be great. May you be challenged in all the right ways, face your fears head on, be self-aware, pursue your dreams without shame and have the honesty and strength to BE WHO YOU ARE.

I for one have great things in store, and I continue to challenge those fears everyday as I set sight on creating a life and a business that isn’t just right, but is right for me. Thanks for coming along on this journey.

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Hi! I'm Dr. Alessandra Wall

I help smart driven women and forward-thinking companies bridge the gap & build real conversations.

Here on the ‘Dr. Wall Says’, I share tools, tips, and insights about speaking up, getting heard and how women can take up space and thrive in the 21st century.



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