As Kyle Edmund goes on to face Marin Cilic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Thursday, Brits on Twitter have shown enthusiastic, if fatalistic, support:

  • “It’s great that a Brit has got so far, but we all know he won’t win.”
  • “He’s done well, but it’s a surprise.”
  • “Britain just doesn’t play good tennis, so he’s lucky to be there.”

What is it about the Great British defeatist attitude that means we can’t celebrate or even acknowledge success? Why can’t we admit that sometimes, we are just good at what we do?

We recently met with a potential client who was very disparaging about themselves, describing their work as “dull”, “boring” and “enough to make an insomniac fall asleep”. They just couldn’t understand why anyone would be interested in what they had to offer, and although they had bought in to the idea of public relations, they definitely had to be convinced as to what a comms agency could do for them, particularly as they felt they had “nothing interesting to talk about”.

At this point, the Redwood team asked them about their current workload and projects, and had to pick our jaws off the floor when we heard just how fun, interesting, and completely pitchable to the press their company and projects were. If you scratched beneath the surface, they had a fascinating story to tell, and are sitting on a mountain of fascinating projects that wouldn’t look out of place in any property trade magazine, and yet, they just didn’t see the saleable value in what they do.

Just like the typical British sports fan, they didn’t consider themselves good enough, considered themselves lucky to be where they were, and assumed that they’d always be knocked out in the semis.

Luckily, with a few of the right questions, asked by the right people, we were able to help them see that they had some very important things to say, and that they should have faith in the strength of their story.

And like Kyle Edmund, there’s no reason to think they won’t make the final: they just need to believe in themselves.