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Sometimes You Have To Start With a Mistake

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When I left corporate life, I bought a franchise.

I have often described this as my biggest mistake.

Financially, it was a disaster and I can now see that it was so completely wrong for me.  

Temperamentally it drove me to despair, exhaustion and deep self-doubt.

I became ill and, when the business collapsed, while a blessed relief, it left me battered and bruised, lost and confused.

Looking back, it would be hard to think of anything else I could have chosen to do that would have been so utterly wrong for me.  

While  it was my biggest mistake, it was also the first step on a journey to where I am today.

Without the franchise I would not have been exposed to coaching and gone on to become a certified DISC practitioner.


Before buying the franchise, I had very little idea of what coaching was about and was completely unaware of my natural aptitude for it.   

It was only during my training that I realised that the way I managed people had been, essentially, coaching.

Training as a coach was also the beginning of my journey of self-discovery.  

I learnt about who I am about my strengths and natural abilities , things I had never given much to thought previously.

In corporate life I had become a generalist and (mistakenly) assumed I could do pretty much anything if I put my mind to it.

The franchise taught me that there were some things I was definitely not very good at (cold calling and ‘closing’, for starters) and other areas where I had great strengths (like listening, empathising and encouraging growth).

As a result of the franchise, I started reading books about business, psychology and wide range of other subjects that I had never studied before.

This habit persists today and I am grateful that I have learnt so much and found so many great and inspiring thinkers. Through the franchise I re-awoke my natural curiosity and my love of learning.

There is one thing I could have done that would have been even more wrong for me than buying the franchise.

I could have done nothing.

I could have refused to take that step, to take the risk. I could have stayed safe, possibly returned to a normal job.

Buying the franchise was a statement. It was a commitment to ‘doing my own thing’, to taking a different path and taking responsibility for my future.

The one thing I have learnt as a result of my biggest mistake,  is that it is far more important to take the  first step, than the right step.

Colin Newlyn

Colin Newlyn

Coach | Heart-Centred Leader


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