This past Sunday I had the great pleasure of hearing Alison Levine speak at Champlain College.  Check out her website to read her story- and it’s a GOOD one, and I am not going to tell it here. 

Something Alison said while working with a smaller group of student leaders really stood out to me and that’s the part I want to tell here.  She said that she believes that as a country we need to become more failure tolerant.  She went on to say that because people are so afraid to fail, they play small, or don’t even try at all.

According to Alison, more failure tolerance would build better, stronger, more responsible leaders.  What does this mean to us?  We must embrace failure as a way to really get what we want.  I join Alison in her belief that it is all about asking the right questions.  How do you know how to ask the “right” question?  You most likely ask a lot of wrong ones first.

I was working with a client the other day who is faced with three directions to chose from and all three can be good.  He was stuck in the choosing,  afraid to make a mistake.  We’ve heard this before- the only mistake is not choosing, doing nothing.  Every action we take moves us forward and we learn from it.  Not every move is the right one, but it leads to the right one, if you are willing to learn in the process and change directions when necessary.

We know from history that some of the most spectacular successes were first the most spectacular failures.  So why do we beat ourselves up so much over making a mistake?  I still love the saying (not sure who first said it)- Your past does not have to equal your future.  It is all about what is going on in your head, and the quality of the questions you are asking. 

Part of my job is to ask the right questions of my clients.  This helps them to move forward. 

If you aren’t  failing some everyday, then you probably aren’t living life to the absolute fullest!  You are probably playing it a little safe- think about what things you have been putting off out of fear of failing and ask yourself some great questions.

What do you think?