Walk Unafraid

6 Dec 2018 | by Peter Neale


Things can go wrong in your life sometimes, whether it’s your fault or not. I just wanted to let you know that it’s okay to make mistakes from time to time; I wanted to reassure you that it’s alright to get things wrong, to lose at something, to hesitate, to feel vulnerable every now and again, or to fail. Failure is an important part of life, and the trick is to learn from the experience and to move on.


As you’ve no doubt heard before, the difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people are not afraid to fail. Things go wrong; they learn from the experience, dust themselves down and start over again.

This time last year I had a difficult conversation with my boss. I liked my boss and it was clear he didn’t want to say what he was saying but he confirmed that I was about to lose my job. There was no recognition of my dedication to the role: starting early, staying late and working thirty hours or more unpaid overtime each week. No words of thanks; no arm around the shoulder, no empathy.

Imagine how that feels.

What would you do? Call him all the names under the sun and pour a drink over his head? As I said, I liked my boss. I just shook his hand and left.

In my role I didn’t make mistakes or get things wrong, as far as I know. But as I walked to the car park with my head swimming I felt like a failure. The journey home was filled with negative thoughts, remorse and worries about the future.

When I arrived home, instead of opening a beer I decided to get changed and go for a walk. It wasn’t my usual walk with the dogs but instead I put in earphones and put on loud music to help chase away the almost overwhelming negativity.

I walked up the road, over the old bridge, along the lane and through the coppice into open fields next to the disused railway line. I could feel the cold autumnal air on my face but Wolf Alice were so deliciously loud through the earphones that I couldn’t hear my footsteps on fallen leaves. Someone might have crept up behind me and shouted ‘boo!’ but I wouldn’t have known. I just needed a sensory overload.

During my walk it gradually became clear to me that all those long relentless hours at work had taken their toll and maybe I just needed a break.  I must’ve walked for miles because it was dark by the time I arrived home.  I felt reinvigorated and ready to fight back, and I needed that beer.

Over the ensuing winter months of unemployment I concentrated on restoring my mind and body to full health before once again embracing the world of work.  And now, after a sojourn in the independent sector, I am delighted to have returned to a state secondary school stronger and more confident than ever.