Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending ‘An Evening with Stuart Pearce’, one of the events that makeup Marlborough College’s Memorial Hall Festival. Without doubt, Stuart Pearce is one of the best speakers I have listened to. The former England international is reflective, insightful and incredibly honest. Nothing like you might imagine an ex-professional footballer to be. During the event these points particularly resonated:
- Treat both adversity and success as learning opportunities.
- Do not fear failure. Using an example from his England career Pearce declared not putting yourself forward or taking a chance to be a bigger failing (this referenced his successful kick from the penalty mark against Spain in Euro 96 following the miss in the semi final of Italia 90 against Germany): “failure is staying on the halfway line and not taking a penalty when you know you are one of the top five penalty takers in the team.”
- Success breeds success. Until you have broken the glass ceiling and achieved real success you do not know what it takes to get there or how it feels to achieve it.
- Success is also about hard work. Pearce stated talent was somewhere between 5-20% responsible for success.
- While executing a game plan, playing well and winning is good it pales into comparison against long-term progress. Pearce gave the example of seeing Jordan Henderson’s development from England U21 captain to established senior international as something much more important than any quick win.