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NEWS > Alumnae News > Failure is Part of the Plan

Failure is Part of the Plan

It's a brave person who stands in front of an audience to admit things they've failed at in life, but that's exactly what Head Mistress Heather Hanbury did in her Remarkable Women Lecture this week.

Speaking from the heart, with her usual engaging warmth and honesty, Mrs Hanbury revealed why ‘This Wasn’t My Plan’, as she ran through the ups and downs of her school life and her career.

Some of the failures she confessed to included: her driving test, her Grade 8 clarinet exam (don’t tell Mrs Ashe!), not-so-great A level results, and her thwarted initial attempts to land a job running a school. However, as she talked, it became increasingly clear just why she has succeeded overall, with her infectious enthusiasm for life, her innate self-confidence, her adaptability, and sheer determination to overcome adversity.

Mrs Hanbury set out several rules that she has discovered along her route to the top of LEH, and all of them were deeply reassuring for anyone who has ever floundered at times. Her life lessons made it abundantly clear why her mission at LEH has been on fostering a nurturing environment with its emphasis on wellbeing and pastoral care.

They include: -

Rule One: "Always have a plan, but always be ready to change it if alternative opportunities arise.”

Rule Two: “Grab opportunities, even if others think they are a poisoned chalice. You never know where they might lead.”

Rule Three: “Never be put off by failure. Sometimes you just have to persevere to achieve something you really want.  Don’t give up too soon.  On the flip side, don’t stick at something if it makes you miserable.”

She ended by quoting Eisenhower’s famous saying about preparing for battle: “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”, amending it to: “Planning is indeed essential, but no plan is so great it can’t be altered.  It gives you a goal to aim for, but if opportunities come along, be receptive. Keep your mind open and always be prepared to think differently about your life.”

If more proof were needed, Mrs Hanbury’s experiences really do confirm that: Hope Favours the Bold.

Thank you to everyone who attended.  All proceeds go to our Bursary Fund, which as a recipient of a free education herself, is a cause close to Mrs Hanbury’s heart.  We really appreciate all your support.

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