Since I have been on this journey to self-belief and positivity there is one thing that has become apparent and an inherent part of the ongoing process. It also does not stop, it is a continuous thing that you absolutely positively must keep doing…what is it though…?
As a young girl I absolutely hated and I mean passionately hated maths. I remember being in single figures and my mum attempting to help me with my maths homework. I sobbed into my paper exclaiming the words “Mum, I just can’t do it!” It didn’t matter how encouraging my mum was. I had already made up my mind that maths was just something I could not do. Period! I was good at most subjects, however for some reason, Maths scared me. I have no idea why! Maybe it was subconsciously drilled into me, the whole thing of “girls can’t do maths” It’s like I completely shut down when I was faced with a maths problem. This followed me into secondary school….
I knew I needed this subject and that it would be beneficial for me in later life, but it’s like an automatic shutdown button was pushed when I entered this lesson. It also didn’t help that the maths teacher at the time, had a similar temperament to myself (I was an angry teenager) and I kind of would make it a sport to provoke her into argument…aaahh the good old days. Sorry Mrs Marlow! Anyways, I did try hard, I even attended the after-school classes on offer. It did not help! What also did not help, in my opinion, is that the school’s policy was to split the year groups up into abilities and the maximum grade I was able to achieve was a B. Other groups could only achieve a C and others D and so on. So, limitations were put on all of us, apart from the golden children, who the sky was the limit and they could achieve an A or A*. Setting you up to fail no matter how hard you tried. I’m sure the government etc… would argue that: we are grouping students according to their own abilities, this way they will be more able to achieve the pass grade…blah blah blah….
So, I left school with a D and I thought that would be that….
Fast forward some ten years later and I needed a maths grade C to pursue a certain career. I tried the good old-fashioned way and enrolled onto a night class. I failed again. But I needed a C grade! Failure was not an option! How was I going to achieve this?! I sucked at maths! So, I did my research to see if there was another way that I could possibly obtain what I needed. I couldn’t afford to pay for a GCSE class again and fail. I needed a cheaper option.
I researched and found that I could choose which exam I wanted to take and find a school that would host my exam. I would just sit the exam there! I just needed to pay for the exam and turn up! Genius! I just needed to teach myself maths… Easy right! But how was I possibly going to do this, when I had failed two attempts already???
I bought all the books I needed, used the resources of the internet and got hold of the previous year’s exam papers and studied every evening after work for 3 weeks solid before the exam. I told no-one. This was just something I needed to do in complete isolation. I taught myself algebra, long division, ratio’s, probability, trigonometry, you name it! I studied it! It was a hard slog. At times I thought, what the hell am I doing? If qualified teachers couldn’t help me, how was I going to possibly pull this off? I persevered through the doubt, through my tiredness and studied! Studied! Studied!
The day of the exam came… I sat down… nervous, excited, anxious. I had worked so hard. A monotone voice instructed us to “Turn over your exam papers! You can now begin…”
I put those feelings aside, blocked out the noise around me and got to work. I tried to answer every question, even if I knew it wasn’t right. I’d done my very best. I got on with my life and waited for my results to come through the post.
Weeks went by, as I prepared myself mentally for the what if…
Then it arrived…it was here! I will never forget that day opening the letter, knowing it was my result, which either meant I needed to try again, or look at another career option or I could carry on with my career plan…. I gingerly opened the letter…it was a simple piece of paper with my name on and the result, directly from the examination board. The cover letter explained where and when I could collect my result from. “If I wanted to!” I thought…
So, I turned over the paper….
I couldn’t believe it! I had achieved the C grade I needed to! Wow! A wash of emotions came over me! Happy, excited, elated, surprised, shocked and so proud of myself! All those years of compulsory education, classroom environment and I taught myself! The subject that I struggled with the most. I felt that I could take on anything! It gave me courage, determination & confidence!
I am not saying follow this exact example, but what is needed to achieve self-belief are CHALLENGES. These challenges do not have to start massive. In fact, it’s probably best for them to start small and to build upon them. Challenges that will take you out of your comfort zone, challenges that will aid your progress towards your goal, challenges that you will not give up on. Look at me! I hated maths, I thought I was terrible at it; I had failed at two different attempts, but I didn’t let that stop me, I tried another method.
You are the ONLY PERSON in the world that can either, stop your progress or make your progress towards your dream. Yes, the only person. It doesn’t matter if you blame someone for telling you, you cannot do something; in the end, if you believe this, it is your next actions that will determine your success to try or failure to stop you. No-one else! This step in my life gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I put work into and that I put my mind too. It gave me Self-belief….
I look back on more recent challenges I have set myself and once I have done these, I think, why was I so worried, imagine if I didn’t do this because of the what ifs, the negativity, the doubts. Every Instagram post I do is a challenge for me, every blog I write is a challenge; as I have no idea how it will be received. I have fear I have doubt, but I still do it anyway, because my overall aim and why, is greater than my fear. But that’s a whole other topic!
Setting yourself challenges aids your own knowledge, your own growth and adds to your own self-worth, therefore your own self-belief…
What challenges do you need to face to reach your dream…?