Jack Petchey Foundation
If you think you can, you can!

Stories we are proud of

An Interview with Jack Petchey CBE


My name is Joanne Langthorne. I was nominated for the Jack Petchey Achievers Award in 2013, and then last year I was accepted on the Jack Petchey Achievers Network. Recently I got the opportunity to come into the Jack Petchey offices and talk to Jack Petchey CBE himself about how he got where he is today, and how the Jack Petchey Foundation was created.  I read about his achievements and struggles in his book, 50/50 Man, and from his booklet, Notes from Jack Petchey, and I find his story such an inspirational one. For him to start from very little, to being the entrepreneur he is today is such an amazing story, and well worth the read.

When I spoke to Jack about his time while training for the war, he spoke about how he was initially turned down as an Officer after his training. Although he was disappointed he didn’t give up and so eventually he became a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm. I think this shows us that when we are knocked down, we simply need to get back up and try again. As the saying goes: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”. Although we may have heard this lots in our lives it is something we really should take on board. No matter how many times you try, and how many times you do not succeed, it is not failure, because each time you will be one step closer to achieving the goal, and if we gave up we would never get there.

From this experience of rejection Jack says he learned that education is key, as it can give you a boost when trying to complete your goals. It is a step in our lives, which if we choice to take can make our goals seem that little bit more manageable.

Although we may not be able to picture it now, we can all go on to achieve amazing things just like Jack has done. He shows throughout his book that he started with very little, yet he managed to achieve what we may see as impossible for ourselves. Jack said that he never imagined when he was younger he would be where he is today, but yet he didn’t restrict himself from being able to achieve this. This shows just how important it can be to believe in ourselves, and as Jack said to me: “Success is in the mind”. If you believe you can do something, then the battle is half won.

Although Jack may not have planned to be where he is today when he started, it had to start somewhere. He talked about the importance of goals, in which he stated: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there”. In the Achievers Network we learnt about setting goals, and about how although it is good to have a long term goal, we also need to have shorter goals that are going to help us achieve our main goal. This helps us to break down our goal into manageable steps, making the end product seem a lot easier to achieve, and although we may not stick exactly to these goals, the end product seem to be a lot easier to reach.  If we didn’t set these mini-goals, then our main goal can turn into a dream, making the whole thing seem a lot further away than it actually is.

Jack also talked about how he feels his time as a Scout led to him helping so many young people today, and how his time in the Scouts was sometimes spent helping those who were diabled. I feel this shows how the traditions and ideals we are taught and shown at a young age reflect later in our lives, and although at the time we may not feel it means much, it can lead to being the centre of what we do and think.

I think it is amazing how Jack went from being inspired to inspiring so many, and I think this shows just how real the Jack Petchey Foundation’s slogan is. “If you think you can, you can!”


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Jack said that he never imagined when he was younger he would be where he is today, but yet he didn’t restrict himself from being able to achieve this.