Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty
Fear is one of the worst, and most limiting, emotions in life. It's also a fact. We're all unsettled by something—after Katrina and all the hurricanes I grew up with in New Orleans, my greatest concern is rising water. But I think life is a process of moving items from the "scared of" to the "not scared of" list. So, you know what I'm not worried about anymore?
Failure. It doesn't exist. "Failure" is just what happens when we lose perspective. I thought I'd failed when I got fired as deputy field director for the Dukakis campaign. If I'd known then that I needed to go through that in order to be ready to manage the Gore campaign, I would've seen it for what it was: an unavoidable low point, no more or less important than the experiences I call successes.
Being taller than others. I used to slouch, but I never fooled anyone. Now I take up all the room I fill, instead of apologizing for it with my body language.
Accepting compliments. I thought acknowledging praise meant you were arrogant, but I've learned that knowing your strengths enables you to make use of them. Golda Meir was right: "Don't be so humble; you're not that great."
The "bitch" label. If everyone likes you, it probably means you aren't saying much.
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From the July 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!