Celebrate the Journey

More learning today courtesy of Chris @ NLP in the Northwest.  What really got me thinking was when we were talking about Esteem in learning.

This week marks the end of a year of tuition completed by my amazing CIPS students who have dedicated their free time for the last ten months in order to complete a level of a professional qualification with Chamber Business Training.  They have all participated in at least 20 days of training, completed many hours of self-study and will have soon sat through 15 hours of exams.  They have all grown as individuals, helping each other along the way, sharing their experiences and growing as professionals.   There have been so many milestones and light bulb moments along the way.  I am proud of them all.

Despite all of this, with the final exam of the year pending, this week has been more difficult than usual.  Delegates who consistently do well are questioning their readiness for next steps and generally doubting their abilities.  Celebrating this milestone is not currently an option for most of the students as they won’t feel successful until the final result rolls in.

So, where does Esteem fit in?

There is much more to it than this but esteem in learning comes from comparing yourself to where you were when you started, as opposed to comparing yourself to the absolute finished product.  If my students were to reflect on where they were in September last year, at the start of this journey, and then honestly consider how they have grown in both personal confidence and expertise, I am sure pride would follow.   Instead, many will be making unhelpful comparisons to the finished product, adding to exam stress and anxiety.

It’s helpful to try and shift your focus from what you can’t yet do to achievements you have made.  This can be repeated each week or month as you move closer towards where you would like to be.

When climbing a mountain, stop, take in the view.  Look at how far you have come.  In the early days of a new job, acknowledge that it’s okay not to know as much as someone who has been there for 15 years and give yourself a pat on the back for how much you have picked up in the last few months.  When trying a new technique you have learned in the classroom out in a more practical setting, give yourself some credit if it doesn’t work perfectly first time.  After all, you have come so far. From where I’m sat, it’s breathtaking.


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