At the end of June, thanks to gyrosponsorship, I represented GB Women at the European Championships of Beach Ultimate in Calafell, Spain.
As a GB team, we trained for six months with one goal in mind: to bring home the gold medal and win the tournament, beating all other European teams.
We trained to win and wholeheartedly believed it was possible. Believing brings the confidence required to dominate. If the competitor smells fear, they will exploit it. Having confidence in yourself and your team is everything.
But we didn’t win.
We instead had two sudden-death losses to Russia and Switzerland, and we came out slow against Germany—meaning that we didn’t even medal. We came in fourthplace. It was devastating.
After our final game, we sat down in a tight circle and took a moment to reflect. As I looked into the eyes of my teammates, I could see the deep disappointment. We had arrived at the tournament assuming we would win, or at the very least secure a medal. We didn’t manage either.
As I sat there, exhausted and on the verge of tears, I realised that we will have learned so much more, as players and as people, from losing than we ever would have from winning.
If you lose, you go back and you replay what happened. You analyse, and you look at how you could have been better, and then you improve because of it.
My feeling is that the European Championships of Beach Ultimate are similar to that of the marketing agency’s pitch process. The agency brings together the best minds for the brief, to explore the possible strategies, insights and creative ideas, just like coming up with plays and combinations of players. Then the agency goes and shows what it is made of, just like my team did.
But the question that always plays on everyone’s mind is “Have we done enough? Can we win the game or the work based on the preparation we have put in?”
There have been many successful people who were once told they wouldn’t amount to much or that they would fail at something:
Walt Disney – Fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas.”
Albert Einstein – Wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old, and his teachers said he would “never amount to much.”
The Beatles – Rejected by Decca Recording Studios, who said, “We don’t like their sound … They have no future in show business.”
And here’s my favourite, Michael Jordan – “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career; I’ve lost almost 300 games; 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
It takes greater strength of character to believe in yourself, even after people judge you, or say you can’t, and then show them that you can.
Being prepared to fail means you are ready to take the risk to succeed.
Chrissy Birtwistle is an account manager at gyro London.