VCDX Fear Of Failure – Fuggedaboutit


I’m a student of personal growth, and specifically of John C Maxwell.  If you’ve not read any of his stuff….well frankly, you should.  I have so many of his quotes in my head, on my laptop, and all around me.  One of the books I enjoyed by him very much was called Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.  The premise of the book is about understanding many things about failure and how to turn it into success.  I think some of the initial parts of the book are very insightful and may drive you to read it yourself.

If You Failed Any Aspect of Your VCDX, Are You a Failure?

Of course not!  We fail at many things in life but that does not mean we are a failure.  These seven things are from Chapter 3 and I think might give you some great things to think about.  This is my attempt to be a mentor to all of you and help you see there are other things out there you can learn from besides just growing your technical chops.  Below are seven things from the chapter and the notes I took on them.

  1. Achievers reject rejection – They have an internally based self-image.  Instead of saying I am a failure they say “I missed that one” don’t take it personally
  2. Achievers see failure as temporary – It won’t last forever
  3. See failures as isolated incidents – It’s a momentary event.  It’s not personal
  4. Keep expectations realistic – All goals need to be realistic
  5. Focus on strengths – focus on your strength.  concentrate on what you CAN do not what you can’t do
  6. Vary approaches to achievement – find the one thing that takes you to the stop.  vary your approach to problems
  7. Bounce back – figure out what you did right.  Figure out what you did wrong so you don’t do it again

I think any VCDX candidate that is afraid of failure needs to read and internalize these.  You’re fear will ultimately be your own undoing.  The fact of the matter is in a VCDX defense you are your own worst enemy, not the panelists.  If your mind is set to be afraid of failing, instead of understanding that failure may in fact happen, and you just may have to learn from it.  You should not let it prevent you from trying to get your VCDX.

These things also apply to the application stage of the process as well.  You may not even make it to the defense, and this as well does not make you a failure.  That is just a temporary set back to your final goal.  I truly believe in these concepts and try to live them in my life.  I myself have failed at a great many things, but I do not consider myself a failure.  I encourage you to read or listen to this book if you are struggling with any fear of failure in life especially as it comes to the VCDX process.  I think you will like what you learn from the book if these seven things make sense to you.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.


  1. +1. Fear of failure should be the driving force to get through anything. I failed my first defence and in hind sight it probably helped me. The feedback that you get after failure is the stepping stone for success. Its about learning to getup n fight harder when you’re down.

  2. Dunno if you’ll like the comparison but… 😉

    When going for your CCIE, there’s zero shame in the network community in failing your CCIE lab the first time….it’s expected frankly.

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