opportunities

Has your ambition been crushed?

life crushedReading this article which highlights the number of people who give hope after not getting the exam results they hoped for really struck a chord with me.  I have coached scores of people over the years who wish they did something different but didn’t…because of the results the gained in their exams and the meaning they gave to that.

A useful NLP principle is ‘there is no such thing as failure, only feedback’.  When I first came across this, as with many things to do with NLP, I thought someone was havering as clearly there is such a thing as failure!  But wait a minute, what actually is failure?  What does it mean to you?  What does it look like?  What does it feel like?  What happens next?

Failure is something we don’t often give much conscious thought to but we all have a real sense of what it is to us.

What failure is to each of us is a personal belief and unpicking our beliefs to understand them is useful to get insight into whether it actually serves us or not.  If it works for us great, if not then we are able to change it.

Beliefs are made up of 3 parts: the cause, the effect and the meaning we give to it.

Let’s look at the common belief of ‘I failed my exams which means I can’t do X with my life’

We only have 2 parts of the belief so it will be useful to get more information.

If ‘I failed my exams’ is the effect and ‘I can’t do X’ is the meaning then finding the cause of failing the exam will be useful.

Knowing what happened to get a particular result gives you clarity to change the result (the effect) in the future.  Whether you didn’t study enough, found the subject boring, experienced ill health so weren’t in a productive mindset- you have insight now to tweak and improve if you choose to resit the exam. By changing the cause you can change the effect.

For some people resitting the exam is not to most appropriate option, you may find that there are other ways to get into your preferred option that suit you better. Remember there is always more than one way to get the same place.

Let’s look at the meaning side of the failure belief ‘I can’t do X’.

Ask yourself:

grassy question markHow do you know you can’t do X with your life?

What other people have failed exams and still achieved what they wanted in life?

Are exams the most important indicator of career success?

So, yes, there is a thing called failure in as much as it’s a piece of information telling us that we didn’t reach our preferred outcome and all this is is feedback.  What we choose to do with that feedback is the most important thing.

It may be that what you thought you wanted isn’t actually what you truly want and if that’s the case then let it go and spend your energy creating something that excites you.  If it is something you still really want, then use the feedback and figure out a new way you can still get it.

Everything in life is an opportunity to learn and some of the most useful lessons are in the times when things don’t go to plan.  Don’t let your ambition be crushed, learn from it and turn it into a stepping stone to get where you want to be.

If you are unsure of the alternative paths to your preferred career area use the services of a careers adviser – get in touch for more information.

Release your inner genius!

It’s the time of year when many of us are winding down and taking a definite stance of now thinking about next year…until next year.  I appreciate the wind up to Christmas is a busy time but if you are putting your plans on hold until January or later you are risking missing out on some great opportunities.


  • What do you want to have happen next year?                                                                                                  
  • Do you have all the resources you need for that to happen?

Whether what you need is more knowledge, skills, qualifications, an improved network of contacts, confidence or experience, considering this now is a good time.  Now will ensure that you are ready to hit the ground running.  Lots of people are putting it off until the New Year – do you want to risk a faltering start by not exploring what may be useful to you now?

Learning something new comes in many different shapes and sizes and is a great way to maintain, update or develop your skills, explore an interest or pursue a passion. Or just stretch that comfort zone.  Or meet new people.

It doesn’t have to have any to do with ‘work’, although you may well find that your new understanding opens up new doors for you.  It could be a 1 day course, or an evening a week over a few months, or full time, or through the internet or phone – there are learning opportunities that suit your interests, your time constraints, your learning style and budget.

There is even some support to help you cover the costs depending on your location & personal situation.  Get in touch with me or the learning provider to find out more.  For example, for those of you resident in Scotland and earning less than £22k per year you are eligible to an Individual Learning Account to the value of £200 which you can use towards the cost of approved learning opportunities.  That’s each and every year.

If you’re not sure what you need to help you reach your goals or you’re not sure what your goals are then it’s definitely worthwhile considering talking this over with someone and I encourage you to do so but if you don’t want to,  still explore the opportunities out there for you.

If you wait to consider what you want from next year you may miss out on:

  • Several Open University courses start in February with applications closing the beginning at January.
  • Some colleges still have places left for their short & fast track courses starting in January.
  • Many private providers have courses starting early in the year.

It will only take a few hours of thinking & looking – here are a few things to get you started:

Do a search for learning/studying/careers in your particular area of interest – this will come up with a huge amount of information for you to sift through but it’s a great start.

Consider what is important to you:

  • Do you value professional accreditation? Do you want to use this learning experience to build on for career purposes? If you have even a small inkling you do then I recommend considering accreditation seriously.
  • Is location important?
  • What’s your constraints?
  • What do you want to get from it? You may want an opportunity to learn with a particular group of people or with a specific set of contacts or experiences.

Remember a time when you have learned something you really enjoyed.  How did you learn that thing?  This will give you a clue as to your preferred learning style & environment.  For example, I learn best with a small group of people who I can discuss things with.  I struggle with distance learning but now have the self awareness to know that I need to involve real people and actively organise that to overcome this potential barrier.

www.open.ac.uk

www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk (click on tools, course search)

www.scotlandscolleges.ac.uk (click on member colleges and look for a college near you)

www.nextstep.direct.gov.uk (to explore entry requirements to various careers if you are exploring learning for work purposes)

Good luck, enjoy and let me know how you get on!