What would you do if you could not fail?

16 September 2020 by Ed Wyeth
blog author

​As a coach this is a question I often pose but rarely answer.

Understandably, 2020 is likely to live long in the memory. It is the year we looked out for our neighbours, applauded our key workers and shot smiles at one another from behind the relative safety of our cloth masks. If 2020 has taught us anything though it is the need to be agile and to adapt in order to survive. However, if the sermon at my wedding is anything to go by we were made not to dive, not to survive, but to thrive.

In March of this year, I joined the one in four workers furloughed under the government's ambitious Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It was a humbling moment to receive the call up (or be benched, as it were) and had me processing who I was and my true value in the world. One moment you are flat out in delivery mode and the next you are on the side-lines. But this isn’t the place for doom and gloom - it’s a reflection of hope, of value and of purpose.

Furlough has been the security net I needed to fly.


Since March I have had the joy of watching my son learn to crawl, climb and (any minute now) walk. I have changed countless nappies and as I have transitioned into the world of flexi-furlough, joined many a team meeting with screaming baby in hand having forgotten to mute myself. During this time I have also completed a Diploma in Executive Coaching and cycled more miles than one can imagine. I have embraced uncertainty and broken new ground in the private coaching world, glossy website, my first client and all. Without the luxury of furlough, 'business as usual' and fear of failure would have given me reason enough to push it back to the ever-increasing 3-5 year pile.

It has been a time not without challenge, negotiating working from home and childcare without the luxury of a home office. But this new way of working as a coach and as a colleague is real and authentic – you cannot help but embrace one another as fully human when met with dogs barking, babies screaming and doorbells ringing (not just me I hasten to add!)

I have saved precious hours and thousands of pounds on the daily commute and yet I have been more present than ever. And as I return to full capacity and wind up into delivery mode again I am encouraged by the way the conversation is going. Wellbeing is high on the agenda with clients swapping their usual commute for a time of meditation or a run. The work-life balance is being restored with many families truly seeing the benefit. And as we transition towards our new normal, now more than ever, we can challenge convention and instead return to what really matters. Which leads me again to the question… what would you do if you could not fail? Why let failure stop you?

“Only those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

- Robert Kennedy