William Liao

October 21, 2021

Permission to fail

The fear of failure can sometimes function like a paralytic that stops you from taking action.

A possibly effective way to subdue your fear of failure is to give yourself permission to fail at the outset. 

Permission to fail shouldn’t be confused with the expectation of failure or a reduction of effort — it simply acknowledges that sometimes things don’t work out the way we expect. 

This acknowledgment isn’t about weakness; it’s merely pragmatic.  

It’s one semantic swap: from I can’t fail to I could fail (and that’s okay). 

When you give yourself permission to fail, you also give yourself permission to reap the benefits of failure. 

Yes, benefits in the form of new knowledge — lessons learned — that can support your future work. 

So have at it: try things, give yourself permission to fail, and trust that you will figure things out. 

You owe yourself that much.