Community & Government

Daring to Compete

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Lesson time 11:31 min

It can be easy to talk yourself out of trying new or uncomfortable things, but Hillary shares why it’s important to let go of the “perfectionist gene” and work through your fears.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Daring to Compete • Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back • Trust What Others See in You •


- The primary reason I am fighting through this campaign is because I don't want us to miss this opportunity. This is a historic moment for us to reverse the course of our country. We cannot stand four more years of the same. We have got to be ready to take back America. We often talk ourselves out of opportunities because we're afraid to fail or be made uncomfortable. In this lesson, we're going to talk about ways to work past fear so that you can dare to compete. INTERVIEWER: Was there a time when you were afraid to try? - Oh, all the time I'm afraid to try, you know, because I've tried to do things that sometimes were really hard to do and I had never done them before. Running for office, for example, I had never done it for myself before, and it wasn't at all self-evident to me that it was going to work out well. I think a lot of people-- and I would say a lot of women in particular-- talk themselves out of trying things because they're afraid they'll fail. There's a concept that I've referred to often, the perfectionist gene. Well, I know I can't do it perfectly, so I'm not going to try. It's one of the major barriers for a lot of people, particularly women, to get out there and compete or try new things. And I think maybe if you hear it and you know it's not just your problem, maybe I can by saying this to you get you to focus on taking a risk, taking a chance, being willing to try. Most people don't succeed certainly the first, second, third, whatever time they try, but you will never know whether you could or not if you don't try. [MUSIC PLAYING] Everywhere I've gone people talk to me about issues like what we discussed today, and that's very exciting to me because I believe that if we work together, we really can make a difference for the children and families of New York. So the answer is, yes, I intend to run-- When people asked me back in 1998 if I would run for the Senate in New York, I immediately said no. I was absolutely sure I would not do that. It wasn't anything I'd ever thought about doing, and I just basically shut down the conversation. And then I was First Lady, I went to an event in New York City to introduce a documentary about women in sports. The name of the documentary was "Dare to Compete," and I was introduced by this tall young woman who was herself a student athlete. She bent down because she was a lot taller than I am to shake my hand, and then she leaned over and she whispered in my ear dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton. Dare to compete. It was truly like a bolt of lightning. I had to give my remarks, but I kept thinking, wow. Is the reason I've said I am not running for the Senate not because I don't want to do it but because I'm afraid to do it. That young woman started me on a journey to try to decide really whether I wanted to do something but was too afraid to do it. And I thought, you know, I have told so many women run for office, get out there, compete, take on...

About the Instructor

With a lifetime of smashing barriers and achieving at the highest levels of public service, Hillary Rodham Clinton has learned to tap deep wells of resilience to reach her goals. Now the former U.S. senator and secretary of state is teaching the values, lessons, and practical tools that help her rise above, even sharing her never-before-heard 2016 presidential victory speech. Be inspired to own your ambition and make your mark.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barrier-smashing leader Hillary Rodham Clinton teaches you how to overcome setbacks and build a life of principle and purpose.

Explore the Class
Sign Up