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April 24, 2019

My failure story - Amelia

Amelia heads our regional activities in the North and West. In preparation for 'Pizza for Losers', she is sharing something she's learnt from failure.

I've been mentoring a young person at a local youth charity for just over a year now and some of my biggest failures (and successes) have come from that special relationship. After going through an excellent training programme with lots of preparation for what to expect and how to deal with difficult situations, I felt ready to meet my young person for the first time. Things didn't work out exactly as planned. I have a tendency to overthink and over analyse and so I did what I always do - went head first into planning the living daylights out of each and every session. Where we would go, what we'd talk about and how things would pan out. And I failed miserably.

What I learned is that working with a young person isn't all about planning (although it can help). It's much more about listening and working intuitively with what that individual needs at that time. Learning to let go of preconceived ideas and ideals was hard because I like to be in control of situations. We couldn't work to my planned sessions because my young person sometimes just wanted to talk and for me to listen. At first I felt like a failure.

I realised that what my young person actually needed was my time and attention. Instead of arriving with my plans, I needed to arrive ready to listen. We had some very challenging meetings where we were both incredibly out of our comfort zones. From those initial failed attempts to engage has grown a really special relationship. I think I've learned as much as my young person about what it means to fail, let go and trust your inner voice.

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