7 lessons you can learn from some of my biggest failures


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I have been giving some more thought about failure and how struggle and getting things wrong is such an important part of the whole learning process. I have been reflecting on how some of my best learning experiences have been such massive failures.

I failed my A level exams when I was 18.

I remember being crestfallen when I saw the letters D, E and U on the slip of paper that came in the envelope. All of my friends were celebrating and talking about where they were going to university and I was the chump that had to say that I had messed up.

If I was honest with myself, I should have known what was coming...I had been able to get by on my wits for a while, I was cruising and had gotten involved with some people that were not all that good for me.

The writing was on the wall as they say.

I took stock and after a few days I decided that I would retake the whole year. It was tough, all of my friends went off to their respective universities and I was left behind, questioning whether I had made the right decision or not.

It turned out to be the best decision I could have made, I knuckled down and worked hard and got way better grades than the 1st time that got me into my first choice university. My mantra throughout the whole year was 'fail to prepare...prepare to fail'. It was a big learning moment that as stayed with me throughout my career.

My first foray into the world of entrepreneurship wasn’t exactly a raging success…

I tried to start a business with a friend of mine. We both had other jobs at the time and were trying to build it up enough so that it could be our main thing.

It was a new golf tournament format, it was a brilliant idea and it got a lot of media coverage, we were invited to do an event for TV with a number of top professional golfers but ultimately we couldn’t make it work and we had to mothball it.

My first losing season, my first relegation…

From a coaching point of view my biggest failure came ironically after my most successful period as a coach. I had had been working with a club team for a number of years and we had won back to back league championships and had been successful in securing a strong top 5 finish in the national league.