You need to end up in the stocks a few times before you succeed

I was thinking about A Knight’s Tale again yesterday, and how much it has to teach us about life and business and the important fusion of modern pop music with medieval tournament life. 

Medieval stocks on a village green

It’s okay to end up in the stocks as long as you don’t let it defeat you.

There’s one line in it that I love, a little exchange between William and his father, John Thatcher:

“Can a man change his stars, father?”

“Yes, William. If he believes enough, a man can do anything!”

It’s one of those empty inspirational quotes, because belief alone will do exactly naff all… but I like it anyway. Because taken in context with the rest of the story, it works perfectly well.

William, the peasant boy, does change his stars. He becomes a knight.

He makes a start by believing he can become a knight…

…and gets the job done by working damn hard for it and surrounding himself with people who want him to succeed.

Sure, he ends up in stocks along the way and gets knocked off his horse a few times – but he never gives up. He keeps trying. And in the end, he succeeds.

Bit like running your own business, really. If you don’t end up in the stocks at least once with the peasantry flinging rotten veg at you, you’re not doing it right. And a few falls are nothing. You just have to make sure you knowhow to fall – but more importantly, how to get back on the ‘oss again.

And, of course, you need to surround yourself with a support group of like-minded business owners who’ll help you pick yourself back up again. Who’ll tell you when you’re going wrong, and suggest what you can do to put it right. Who’ll listen and encourage and pester you to take action.

My point, naturally, is that if you really want something, you need to make it happen. Nobody else will make it happen for you.

I can help with all that. I’ve written a book, Business For Superheroes, which is a warts and all account of my business journey from struggling along to six figures.  You can get a copy here.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS And, because I know you want to know, a Dingle update. Yesterday, we transformed our steep grassy bank from a slippery slope that’s an older folks’ trap into a bank containing some pretty awesome stone steps we scavenged from around the garden. Take a look at the fruits of our hard work.


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