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I'm going to make an admission that it's not perceived to be cool to make at the best of times, especially if you're promoting your business but here I go...


I've failed. I have had clients come to me who I've been able to do nothing for. I've had others I've been able to do less than I hoped for. Some have had results and then suddenly regressed.

I've also had some great successes. Just the other week, I had a client shave 65 minutes off her marathon best time. My recent work in the States led to a full-time job offer. My latest trip to Holland was my busiest yet and interest there continues to grow.

All you ever hear about from businesses and in sports are their successes. People hide their failures and mediocre performances and even exaggerate their better ones.


I'm writing this to offer a tiny piece of balance amongst all of the bragging and self-promotion but more importantly to help you in your athletic development. I'm probably going to write a few more pieces on failure and related topics over the comings days.


In Chicago, I was working with a team of U15 'soccer' players, some of whom hope to head for the pro game.

On two separate occasions within the same game, guys were substituted having missed good goalscoring opportunities (let me be clear, subs there are rolling and happen throughout games - these guys weren't taken off for missing but to freshen the team up).

These guys, like lots of others, don't like missing. They feel like they've failed themselves and their team.


I'd seen some statistics on the goalscoring antics of some of the best attacking players in the world just a few weeks before. The head-shaking of the guys inspired me to share these stats (outdated now) with them.

Cristiano Ronaldo - current World Player of the Year - 38 appearances, 42 goals from 125 shots on target and 160 shots off target

Lionel Messi - former World Player of the Year - 29 appearances, 34 goals from 66 shots on target and 79 shots off target

These two are widely considered the best attacking players in the world. Some believe of all time.

0.5 goals per game is considered a great goal record for a top striker. These guys had ratios at this point in the season of 1.105 and 1.172 respectively. Incredible.

Look closer now. Ronaldo scores 14.7% of his shots. That's just better than one of every seven shots going in.

Messi scores 23.4% of his shots. That's around one in four or five.

The best guys in the world fail to score much more than they score.

Wanting to score every shot is fine. It probably makes you a better scorer than if you have no desire to score when you shoot. But scoring every shot is an unrealistic expectation and more importantly an unuseful expectation if you beat yourself up about it if you fail to meet it.

Sharing these little facts with the guys seemed to help their state in the moment. One went back on and scored the next chance that fell to him (the other didn't get another chance in that game).


We all fail. Even those of us who are the very best at things. The only people who don't fail are the ones who don't put themselves in the game.

Not putting yourself in the game that you want to be in is the only real failure.


Arton "Hits and misses" Baleci


P.S. if you would like to learn how to capitalise on your failures, check out my upcoming workshop with Prof Richard Bailey (expert in failure) and I. It'll be a blast!