Baker Schena Communications

Unleashing Your Potential through the Power of Words

Navigating Your Life: You WILL Hit Some Wicked Waves

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” - African Proverb

I used to believe that many of us don’t pursue our career passions because we are afraid of failure. Yet a closer analysis reveals an intriguing concept: that this “fear” is more associated with the fear of the unknown. In the era of “helicopter parents,” children don’t have a clue what it feels like to fail. They are never given the opportunity to do so.

I discovered this years ago when my son played soccer and everyone received a trophy – win or lose. And when I witnessed parents arguing with their child’s elementary school teachers because their son/daughter “unfairly” received a B rather than an A. And when I saw how many parents filled out their children’s college entrance essays.

This parental fear of failure prevents children from achieving authentic success. And in the process, parents deny their children the coping skills they need to truly pursue their passions and take strategic risks with their careers.

Does this sound like you? Are you afraid of the unknown? Are you hesitant to try something new because you won’t be successful?

We are hit by wicked waves on a regular basis throughout our lives. My first big wave hit at age 12 when my mother died of ovarian cancer, leaving my father to raise my two disabled older siblings and me. Learning to navigate that loss prepared me for the different types of waves that hit throughout my 20s, as I moved from job to job experiencing successes and failures until I finally found my twin passions: public relations and teaching.

How we learn to handle these waves directly correlates to our ability to live each day to the fullest, good or bad. Only by navigating through false starts, failure and loss can we experience a life filled with joy, courage and passion.

To become unstuck and pursue a passionate life, seek out those rough waters and start learning the lessons they hold. Avoid the temptation to stay in “safer,” calmer waters. Release your fear of the unknown, and the fear of failure, and bravely navigate those wicked waves.

It is time to set sail.

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at