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.