Two role models in ‘Failure Week’ and beyond

Inevitably we all face things that don’t quite work out or go to plan.

Sometimes fate can twist things to your advantage. Often however, it can seem a road to failure, to a cul de sac of ‘You have failed’.

How you manage your response to failure is crucial to your future success in life.

And this is where the little voice in your head comes into play.

The voice is not a sign of delusional behaviour: we all have it.

But what that voice says to you, the words and crucially its tone, can build anger, resentment, and depression – none of which are necessarily helpful in enabling you to bounce back, pick yourself up and get on with your mission.

The mark of a true champion is how they both pick themselves up when knocked down, and also being prepared, where necessary to stay out in the cold.

I want to share with you two role models which I have found to be really useful in helping you to manage the voice in your head.

They are two role models from the world of football – but please, even if you have no interest in football these can still work for you.

If you want to achieve anything in life, every so often you need to give yourself a ‘Chris Waddle’ or a ‘Peter Beardsley’.

Let me explain.

A friend of mine let himself down badly. He had an important sales presentation to make, and frankly, he did not do himself justice.

Instead of getting top marks, he got embarrassingly low ones. Instead of winning, he lost badly.

He toyed with blaming the other people, emphasising how my failure was down to them.

I pointed how he was guilty of shifting accountability of his future to others, rather than making himself 100% responsible for his response to the situation.

I will share with you a great strategy for coping with setbacks, and crucially bouncing back again.

Using this strategy will re-energise you, get you too focus, and not just bounce back, but be even better for your next future challenge

Even if you do not like football, this is a great analogy to harness.

The late, great football manager Sir Bobby Robson reckoned there were two types of players: there was a Chris Waddle, gifted, talented, but sometimes lazy or wasteful, leading to a failure to fulfil his potential.

To motivate a Waddle, according to Sir Bobby, every so often you need to provide a good kick up the backside!

In contrast there is a Peter Beardsley; the worst thing you can do to this type of character is to lambaste them – or place your foot anywhere near their bottom. Instead, they need a supportive arm around the shoulder, a quite word of affirmative support, to restore and get them up and going again.

So, if you have a bad day or experience, dovetail any negative anger about the other people into a resource to give yourself a ‘Chris Waddle’; it is an almighty kick-start to get yourself sorted, stop moping, and go and attack your future with added relish and zeal.

Learn from your situation, listen to what the others said, and what you really said, to identify the shortcomings and real lessons. Have a feast on humble pie and I-must-learn-from-this gravy. Use this feedback to do things different for the future.

Giving yourself a ‘Chris Waddle’ is not to wantonly beat yourself up. Rather you should identify any hubris on your part – a sense of inflated arrogance which can often helpful to big yourself up – and identify where you strayed from your core qualities where you failed to address any fundamentals.

Giving yourself a ‘Chris Waddle’ is not just about reframing a negative into a positive. It is also about making use of the latent energy within you, the anger, the desire for revenge, and potential bitterness, to transform it into a positive energy to go forward.

Giving yourself a ‘Chris Waddle’ is about rekindling your efforts to ‘get back to basics’ and work even harder but focussing your determination to rebuild a better you post your negative experience.

Equally, most of the time, we ought to be giving ourselves a ‘Peter Beardsley’.

Analyse your self-talk, the voice in your head. More often than not, it is likely to be critical, negative or demeaning. Instead, be kind to yourself. Identify the inherently good about you, the positives you have achieved rather than dwell on any notional failures or shortcomings.

I would suggest 95% of  the time we need to give ourselves ‘Peter Beardsley’s’ and maybe, no more than 5%, probably less, the occasional ‘Chris Waddle’.

Sure, my friend’s sales meeting went bad. So, it is one bit of business that he lost out, and sadly, the other people have lost out too, where he could have made a genuine difference to their future.

Unlike, Chris Waddle – who actually missed a penalty kick in a World Cup semi-final against Germany – my friend’s problems and setbacks are, in comparison, probably infinitesimal.

I wonder if, after the penalty miss, Chris Waddle gave himself a ‘Chris Waddle’?

I hope you find these role models helpful both in Failure Week (Feb 6th -11th) and for the rest of the year.




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