Failure Tolerance

Barely a day goes by when I don’t encounter some form of failure.

  • Yesterday my tech failed on an important call with a client.
  • The day before I missed the deadline for applying for after school activities for my sons.
  • Last week I pitched to a potential client. They said no.

These are just some of the failures I had in November. If I were to list all my fails for the year, this would be pages long.

  • Getting rejected for a high level business mastermind.
  • Muddling my messaging in a presentation.
  • Typos on social media.
  • Missing deadlines.
  • Getting it wrong…

The list goes on.


Don’t be fooled by my numbers, my active social media presence and the impressive clients I have the pleasure of working with. I am failing all the time.

In my work life.

In my home life.

I fall short of so many of the goals I set. I fall foul of so many expectations.

Years ago failure used to devastate me. I’d be tormented by every mistake I made, every target I missed. A well intentioned piece of negative feedback would trigger a full blown identity crisis. And because failure came at such a high cost, I did everything in my power to avoid it:

Keeping quiet in meetings.
Letting opportunities pass me by.
Avoiding trying something new because if I couldn’t do it perfectly, I couldn’t bare to do it at all.

I had no idea at the time, how much avoiding failure was costing me in terms of growth, experience and my ability to progress.

These days my relationship with failure could not be more different. Failure may still be a potent trigger for my Imposter Syndrome, but I never make it mean anything about me. Failure doesn’t define me. It elevates me. With every failure I am either one step closer to my goal, or I am one step more advanced in my learning.

This is failure tolerance, and I have buckets of it.

Thanks to failure tolerance, the year of my greatest fails has been the year of my biggest wins. I’ve smashed the targets I set for my career this year. I’ve blown my own mind with how well I’ve steered my personal life this year. And I’ve developed expertise in so many areas where, as little as a year ago, I had no skill at all.

If playing safe hasn’t created the results you wanted this year, put failure tolerance on your to do list for 2022. Instead of avoiding failure, build your tolerance to it and then go out in search of the failures that will help you grow. The more you do this, the faster you will succeed.

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