The Word

if you have no tolerance for failure, you will not create anything - quote by brene brown

You know Brené Brown, yes? Author of Daring GreatlyThe Gifts of ImperfectionRising Strong? She gave a TED Talk on vulnerability in 2010, that’s currently the fourth most watched TED Talk of all time?

Yes, that Brené Brown.

Anyway, she’s one of my faves, and she was a keynote speaker at SXSW a few days ago. I was reading coverage about her talk, and this quote — one of many gems she’s dropped throughout her books and talks and interviews — really stuck out to me. I think no matter your work or your interests, we’re hard-wired to respond to the fear of failure (and to prevent it at all costs, if not view it as a very negative thing). But I’ve found that recognizing the fear and leaning into it (and hopefully pushing past it) has brought about some of the most satisfying turns in the road for me — whether they’re small, like a project taking on an exciting new direction, or big, like starting my own business. And of course, when you do find yourself in the midst of a shitstorm, train yourself to remember Brené’s advice: when you learn from a “failure,” it’s no longer a failure at all.

How do you respond to the fear of failure? Can you think of any “failures” you’ve experienced, but more importantly, what you learned from them?


Background graphic by Bella Love Letters via Creative Market; all other graphics by Victoria McGinley


  1. 3.16.16

    This post is so timely – I just finished a piece for tomorrow on going big, or going home – and how I’ve never really done that before.

    I think one of my biggest failures (and largest blessings) was my marriage/divorce. It was terrible in the midst of it all, but it completely changed the course of my life for the better. I’m still shocked at how much my life has changed in a mere 2 years… and my current boyfriend. I can’t even believe my relationship is what it is… and more than that… it would have never happened if I didn’t go through what I had to go through.

  2. 3.17.16
    Kathleen said:

    So true. I love this brilliant quote! Thanks for sharing the inspo!

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