Business, Motivational Talks

How do you respond to setbacks & failure?

In 2012, I experienced my first major setback en route to fulfilling my Olympic dream. I always say – in the moment where I received the call from Peter Stanley, my heart broke in two pieces. I know that’s dramatic, but I’d jumped the Olympic standard. I was one of only two British women to do so that year. And I’d trained so hard and smashed my personal best by such a huge chunk, I just couldn’t imagine missing out on the HOME Olympic Games. It broke me.

Every time I share my Olympic story, whether telling this first heart-break in vivid detail or the many others to come, I always ask the audience to put themselves in my shoes. ‘How would you respond?’, I ask. Reader, friend – how would you respond? But, never mind my dream! What about yours? When you encounter setbacks, what’s your response? And… could it be better?

Because, here’s the thing. I (thankfully) persisted, worked hard and ultimately achieved my Olympic dream. But, I wonder, how’s your Olympic journey? Are you being resilient? Or have you given up?

Because, if you’ve laid your dream down, you’re not alone. I did that, too.

One respondent said they’d ‘curl up in a ball’ if they faced such a setback. And… that’s okay! But I implore you, if you’ve been knocked down and you’re still down, it’s time to get up again.

As my audience shared, resilience is…

“Getting up again!”

“Keeping focused on the end result.”

“Being relentless.”

“If I’m not dead, I can’t stop.”

“Adapting to change.”

Which response above most resonates with you?

Become a Gamechanger

Above are some of the fun and interesting responses I specifically received during an online seminar I delivered as part of a ‘Gamechanger‘ event for entrepreneurs.

Being a ‘Gamechanger‘ requires dreaming big.

And on the road to fulfilling your big, ‘Olympic’ dreams, there will be challenges.

But you can overcome.


Curl up in a ball? Yes – if you need to! It’s okay to feel the hard feelings, cry, shout or take the day off.

But, the next step is the gamechanger.

Get up again. Keep focused on the end result. Be relentless.

[1] Get Up Again

In 2016, I retired from sport. And two years later, I returned to the sand pit. But I didn’t do this alone. Though I was officially ‘self-coached’, I knew that the path of success could not be achieved alone. My high performance team was extensive. What does yours look like? If you’re trying to get up again, consider looking at your team. Who is missing? Who can you bring along the journey as your coach, mentor, advisor, administrator, or whoever you need! Don’t get up alone!

[2] Keep Focused on the End Result

Have you ever heard of ‘Olympic blues’? It’s the feeling of immense sadness, heaviness and even depression many athletes experience following an Olympic Games. The purpose, the thing that drove them for the last four years (and probably much longer) is gone. And, retiring athletes often suffer with them same feelings of loss and grief. I share this to say – having an end result is invigorating. Being without one is deflating. Do you wake up each morning invigorated or deflated? Perhaps what’s missing is an Olympic vision. Define it. And focus on it. That will help you to keep going even when the going gets tough.

[3] Be Relentless

Run through walls! I don’t know why that analogy just came to mind, but that’s honestly the picture I associate with relentlessness. What are you willing to do to achieve your Olympic dream? Running through walls may look like 6am wake-up calls, which for a late-riser and detester of mornings like myself, was a tough tough ask in 2011. So was running numerous 300 metre reps around a freezing cold track in Willesden Green. But this attitude paid dividends. That season, I jumped a massive 43 centimetre personal best! What tough things will you do on your road to success? How can you be relentless?

Need support?

If you’d like: 1-2-1 mindset coaching on how to overcome, would like to hire me to speak at an event, or to facilitate a workshop on resilience, performance and wellness, please get in touch. I can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂


Abs x

Let’s stay connected!




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