A Safe Space to Fail

A couple of years ago I went to a TEDx event for the first time. It was the TEDx Whitehall Women that took place in London at the Ambassadors Theatre, which houses the production 'Stomp'. There were many great speakers, both men and women, and I learned a great deal over the course of the day.

One of the more authentic speakers, Harriet Minter, who was once editor of the Guardian Women in Leadership site which no longer exists, gave a great talk. 

Harriet talked about her experience in trying yoga for the first time as well as her journey in continued practice. With humour and casualness she captivated the entire audience in her delivery. 

But for me it was the message, the words that replaced the punchline, that made her talk so powerful.

Find a safe space to fail.

When I try to explain to people what yoga gives me that semi-professional sports never did, it is that. And I could fill this page with many more examples, but the essence has already been articulated with those six words. 

Many of the people, with whom I work, are determined and driven, but their drive for excellence is not fearless. Even with clearly defined goals, in our work together we discover that an underlying fear of failure impedes growth and progress. And in recent studies, it has been shown that such fear is even more prevalent among women. So much so that some women change their goals or re-direct their professional paths completely in order to make their goals more attainable.

Through Harriet's talk, I learned something that helps me better support such clients. And I hope that you, the readers, can find meaning in this message as well. It does not have to be in a yoga session, but there is a unique safer space for each of us, in which we can become acquainted, familiar even, with failing. Not just one time, but over and over again.


In learning to fail we lose our fear of success.