When did you last score?

My heart breaks for Laura Bassett. Just days ago the 31 year old England defender scored an own goal in the Women’s World Cup semi-final ‘for’ Japan. At the peak of her career to date with the eyes of the world upon her she suffered a momentary lack of judgement resulting in what many believe to be England’s premature exit from the tournament.

I was uncontrollable, I couldn’t breathe, my heart was out of my chest and I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me …I wish nobody knew my name.

Sound familiar? Well, we’ve all been there. It’s true, we all score ‘own goals’ at some point in our lives whether it’s in our careers, relationships, families or finances. It’s a stark reminder that we are all human which is probably why we feel such genuine empathy for Laura. Being ‘your own worst enemy’ is a feeling no one envies and when the ground doesn’t actually open up and everyone does know your name it’s a very startling and lonely place to be.

There’s no doubt Laura’s intention was to defend not score but somewhere along the line caught up in the energy of the moment, the big picture fell out of focus and was replaced by disorientation and short-sightedness. Own goals don’t always happen in an instant, in fact they can build up over time but they don’t care about intentions and they pack a hell of a punch for you and those around you. It should not be surprising then that in today’s super charged high performing competitive workplace own goals are scored every single day but sadly, unlike Laura’s they are not always so obvious and many employees and boards genuinely fail to recognise when it happens.

In the relentless pursuit for the-back-of-the-net employees and firms can become blinkered at times and fail to see how their own behaviours are in fact completely counter productive.

How often do we honestly step back and calibrate the whole scene? What does YOUR ‘big picture’ look like? YOUR team’s? YOUR firm’s? Do you know? Do you feel as though you are striving hard to do the right thing but it’s not paying off? Could you need help? A coach, a mentor, a metric, a wake up call? Is it possible that you’ve scored an own goal somewhere along the line and just don’t realise it? On the other hand maybe you recognise an own goal in yourself or others and can’t see past it?

Everyone was on this journey, everyone believed for the first time in a long time …that we could do it and to go out in the way we did …it’s hard

Whatever your circumstances you do not walk alone. We are all human and that’s what makes us great. It’s through our vulnerabilities that we strengthen inside and out and every champion will tell you that with time and healing it becomes much less about the ‘own goal’ and much more about the comeback. It’s how you ultimately own it that helps you to move on. Resilience in life and business is key whatever your forte and the manner in which you recover is always where the real gold lies.

I suspect all eyes will remain on Laura for a while for this very reason but I’ve no doubt that underneath she has the heart of a lion and with the support of her close friends, family and professional networks she’ll come back stronger than ever before with a great story to tell.

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