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How you can learn from failure

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

“I wasn’t expecting that, I wanted the wine!!” Is what was going through my head as my name was called out to give a 60 second pitch to 100 people.

An hour earlier I’d arrived at my first ever networking event and willingly dropped my business card into a glass vase with a bottle of wine at the side of it. In my head I was thinking, please let me win!

It was 2009, I’d recently started a new job and been told I needed to start networking. Not having a clue what to expect I booked a place on a local event and turned up at the venue, eventually plucking up the courage to get out of my car.

The evening started well, I met some lovely people and enjoyed getting to know them. I was surprised when halfway through they asked everyone to be quiet, started drawing the raffle – gave away the 2 bottles of wine (not to me) and then called my name out….

“Please welcome Liz Pollard to give the 60 second pitch”

The WHAT?! I wasn’t prepared for this.

I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. All 200 eyes were on me and as I opened my mouth my voice began to wobble; my heart was pounding and what followed was about 30 seconds of waffle. I could not get away quick enough afterwards.

As soon as I’d finished, I headed for the door, got in my car, and drove home. I walked through the door, Howard asked how it had gone and I burst into tears!

I was so ashamed. I’d failed in front of all those people. I might as well just give up now.

Of course, I didn’t.

After a talking to from Howard and a night spent tossing and turning, I woke up the following morning with a positive attitude. I was NOT going to let that happen again so what could I do about it?

This was really the start of my whole personal development journey and for me public speaking has been the skill I’ve continued to develop that’s helped me to advance in my career and now help to grow my business.

Professional Speaking

Fast forward over a decade, I’ve presented at several conferences, seminars, and hosted business award events to hundreds of people. Several of my long-term clients are with me now because they saw me speaking at an event or online seminar.

But the most rewarding thing I’ve learnt from that spectacular failure is how it’s helped me to help others overcome their fear of speaking in public.

As a coach I love to share my experiences, when relevant, and my clients are always shocked when I tell them this story and how being bold and grasping speaking opportunities has helped me to grow from fearful fledgling to highflyer in business.

Learning from failure

Like the vast majority of people, public speaking was something that made me nervous, especially in this case as I had no time to prepare. When this sort of thing happens in life, we have two choices:

To give in to our fears and insecurities and live with the regret of missed opportunity,


We can ignore all of that and take decisive action.

Choosing the second option has become a staple of my career and the foundation behind Bold Moves Coaching Ltd.

I will always be thankful to my younger, courageous self for taking that irrevocable first step and I continue to move forward in my career in the same vein.

So, next time you’re unexpectedly offered an opportunity that you feel could change everything, but you feel that pit of nerves in the bottom of your stomach: know that you need to go ahead and take your chance. You never know when the next one will come along.

If it excites and scares you, it means you need to do it!


Good luck in your quest to fulfil your ambitions. If you’d like to raise your profile and advance your business come and join the Bold Voices Speaking Academy

If you are looking for business coaching in other areas, please take a look at my services section or contact me.

Tel: 07896 950017


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