Every year we see students excitedly opening their results on our TV Screens, some with joy, some with devastation. Whatever your views I think we can all agree that this has got to be one of the weirdest hardest things our young generation faces. I’m not sure how I would have coped knowing that all those years of study, hard work and dedication had been robbed of me? So for everyone getting their A – Level, Degree and GCSE’s results, especially my daughter….
Dear Sophie and every student of 2020,
Things I wished I’d known;
We don’t look to change and improve because life is great, we look to change because something is bad or wrong. I think we can safely say that this year has had plenty of bad to it, you will be the most resilient, determined can do attitude generation ever to have lived. Remember great inventions happen because of disasters (air bag inventor John Hentrick wouldn’t have saved thousands possibly millions of lives had he not have ended up in a ditch saving his daughter’s life because he reached out at just the right moment.)
Traffic lights, wind up radios, rubber sole shoes all came out of disaster as people looked to find a better way. That is not defined on a piece of paper. What you will need to be successful in life is;
Believe you can and no matter how many times you get knocked back you will up and do it all again;
I could go on telling you about media moguls, billionaires, authors and celebrities who failed shockingly in their studying days and still achieved amazing things. So hold on to that fact.
You did the best you could with who you were back then. You are already more today. Cool right?
And remember when you open that email/envelope only you can decide how you define what you read.
And no matter what happens you have the proof that you can achieve – you aren’t still crawling around in a nappy saying Da, Dad, Ma, Ma are you? So clearly you can learn, you can achieve more and be more – that is not a young person thing, that is a all humans thing. (Well those that want to do well in life).
And lastly Sophie and everyone opening those emails today – this is just the start, exciting right?
Oh, and that English grade? GCSE – B (I think) and A level (C) yes a shocking C!
It didn’t stop the UK’s top nonfiction publisher from phoning me and asking me to write Fight the fear for them. They’d read my blog and loved the way I wrote – so Ha, Mrs Grimstone turns out you were wrong and I can write, so much so that my latest book has a foreword from not one globally recognised expert but two! Who both think I’m awesome and know what I’m talking about. The fact is that a grade is not going to define you, you are.
Choose wisely, think big, and know you can do it.
As I sit next to my snoozing poorly daughter who has another migraine (In the hope we can starve it off) I want to talk about stress and its impact on your success.
The irony is that my gorgeous girl used to have a 3 to 8-day migraine every month until she started on Tessellate CBD so it’s a shocker to find her suffering a 2nd one after only 4 days from the last one. She’s being investigated for Lupus like her Mum and so while we expect it to be a big tougher for her, the exam stress is already getting to her and they aren’t for another 4 months!
I’m impressed by how many emails her school send me about revision guides and after school revision sessions, but devasted that I’ve not heard one word mentioned relating to;
Shall I go on?
According to a study by Girl Guiding Organisation “More than half of girls (52%) say exam pressures affect how happy they are, yet four in five say they don’t get the support they need to manage exam-related stress.”
And in my role as a coach I see many women who suffer a lack of confidence and if you’re happy and positive about your capabilities guess how confident you feel? I honestly question if there is a direct link between the drop in confidence in our young adults and the pressures of teen life.
It is something I’ve long wanted to be involved in schools, because so many of my coaching clients are;
It is not a crime to look after your mind so that you can look after the body and your success so I really struggle to understand why the school is only dealing with the knowledge and not the vessel they hope to store the knowledge in!
AS I advise clients, you are not a robot or a superhuman so if you don’t listen to your body it will play up just when you need it most. Do you get ill just before a holiday or Christmas? My clients not only achieve their goals they also find they get ill less – no shocker is it that our minds impact on our bodies is it?
Teens aren’t the only ones that hide what’s really going on. And they aren’t the only ones suffering as a result. To change the results, you get you need to be honest about what you are experiencing. In coaching I raise awareness to what is going on, help clients take ownership of it and responsibility for it (believing it’s just life or it’s nothing to do with you, stops you from creating lasting change) and then they can create a plan of action. So, find someone to talk to. It could be multiple people;
Think about what kind of support you would like and who in your world could provide it?
None of us like owning up to needing help. Remember as I talk about in Fight the fear even the cross-channel swimmer gets someone else to rub on the Goose fat otherwise they can’t see where they are going because their goggles are greased up! No one successful get’s there on their own. A perfect example of this is the clients who I helped get life in order and now they still see me because they want to keep life in order. Asking for help is not a sin in it’s a saviour! So, look for the reasons why you are not honest;
Challenge your thoughts to be able to get over yourself and speak up.
Studying together is great if you make time to veg out, watch TV, hang out at the shops, slap on face masks, share dodgy Memes, and anything else that takes you out of your daily life. We all need down time, ideally don’t be attached to your phone, but phones are useful too (see below). So, ask yourself if I had a go to wish list of things to do with my friends over the next 5 months what would they include? Make it visual. Tell your friends. Get the diary out and book something and don’t cancel it! Your brain needs space to process what you are learning. (That’s not an excuse not to revise!)
I struggle to understand why phones aren’t taught in school. We have never seen so much anxiety and mental health in this planet and I think it is in no small part down to our inability to use our phones for good, not destruction. A successful person has apps that;
Just research apps for stress and you will find something right for you. Not convinced it’s never been so important to master your phone.
Phones are not currently listed as an addiction, is that because they aren’t addictive or because the list has not been updated! Phone issues I see in clients include;
These are signs that you aren’t controlling your social media – your social media is controlling you! Here are a few ideas to take phone control;
When my children sat their 11+ they were the only children that ran out of school with big grins, parents would often remark “Why aren’t your kids stressed out?” The reason my kids stayed sane was because we discussed them before hand;
1. We talked about how the exams were measuring the school’s ability to teach and not them.
2. The secondary school they were going to had already advised they took no measurement from the 11+ so it was not important, their overall attitude and learning capabilities were far more important.
3. If they failed and couldn’t get into their perfect school, it was not the end of the world.
For most of our children this is their first big adventure into the scary land of failure. As a child your parents would ensure that you got what you wanted (or Father Christmas did!) then suddenly it’s landed on their shoulders. After GCSE’s many want to go to University, some can see dream career paths (my daughter wants to be a cardiac thoracic heart surgeon!) and suddenly there is a potential block in the road.
Successful people understand that when obstacles arise, we can always overcome them. Failure helps us to understand who we are, it helps us define what we want out of life and how we will get it. And it helps us appreciate how much passion we have to ensure we always have the drive to keep going.
As I advised my daughter, if she is not suited to passing exams there will be other ways to help people. It could be that cutting people open and saving lives is not what she is meant to do in the form of a surgeon but that won’t stop her from training as a paramedic, there’s no denying their brilliance!
There is always a way and GCSE’s are not the end of the road, they are just the start. So don’t think so laterally. Think big picture.
I’m really unhappy how much pressure is created in schools. You must pass!
For the record I only got a C in A level English and I have a book that is in 5 languages sold around the world and made it to WH Smith’s top 10 books! Miss Grimstone, My English teacher, told me I was a lousy writer and here I am writing for Lifehack that has over 150 million readers!
Check out the celebs that failed too; Lord Alan Sugar only has 1 GCSE and he is worth about 1.4 billion! And poor old Richard Branson left school at 16 and now has 200 companies in 30 countries around the world, while loser Steven Spielberg was rejected from Film School! And there’s plenty more including Adele, Harry Styles, Zoella, Eminem and Leonardo DiCaprio.
My daughter’s own Grandad has severe dyslexia, rarely attended school and had an automotive business that he sold for well over a million pounds. Not through what he achieved at school, but damn hard work, dedication and commitment. Exams are not the be all and end all – sorry teachers, they really aren’t. Look at how you adjust your perception of where you are right now.
As you look to shift perception, look at what values matter most to you and then no matter where you go in life you will find true happiness and success that matters to you.
Values may include anything you like;
Come up with 10 values that mean the world to you and then use the values exercise in chapter one of my book to see how essential that knowledge is for life.
You can’t fuel your body on sugar and crap. My daughter makes herself a proper breakfast every day – she will have a variety of things including scrambled eggs with salmon, toast, fruit, cereal, but always a proper breakfast and she prepares a proper meal every day for lunch and often cooks the evening meal . You may ask why I’m not doing this?
There are various breathing exercises that have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in seconds. One practised by the Navy seals is called the Box method.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds, smile right? Do this for a minute and notice the results.
According to Examined Existence this works because (and here’s the science)
“This breathing method works because of the physiological effect breathing has on the nervous system. Breathing slowly and deeply activates the hypothalamus, which is connected to the pituitary gland in the brand, to send out neurohormones that block stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline from being released. This thereby triggers a relaxing response from the body. Additionally, breathing deeply and slowly triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to secrete hormones that decrease blood pressure and heart rate, which also induces a relaxation response in the body.”
Notice your breathing and practice at bedtime, there are lots of apps that help you do this.
Getting out in nature has been proved to reduce stress, so don’t be a slave to your studies, record your revision on your phone and get walking. This interactive way of learning has many benefits. And a change of environment is good for you. Many business owners tell me they do 16-hour days, that’s not impressive, it’s foolish. Step away from your desk at least every 60 minutes (smart watches are great for reminding you to do this!) Read on for more on this…
Don’t work harder, work smarter, I’d love just a penny for every time I hear this. Here is a quick down and dirty guide to actually doing this, what will you include in your stress-free exams tool kit?
Know on a good day how to deal with a bad day. It’s not easy looking for solutions when you are stressed out, so know today what would help you change your mindset, calm down and get back on tract. Write a list, create a vision board, make it visual to remind you.
Choose different music for study, for relaxation, for fun, for stress release – don’t choose the same music, it loses its power.
Students who take water into the examination halls may improve their grades; a study of 447 people found. As reported by the BBC water could improve your grades, so don’t always wait for the exams to ensure you’ve water at hand!
I have always used a bit of Rescue remedy, when I was petrified of public speaking, I would use this, whether it was the placebo effect or the remedy it helped. So, I’m getting my daughter some. (For the record, that is why I’m so good at fixing people’s fear of public speaking because I know how it feels!)
My daughter is good at reaching for the aromatherapy. Rosemary for study. Lavender for sleep. We have over 80 oils in our house and she will explore how she is feeling, look it up on her phone and choose and oil accordingly.
Tessellate CBD. I have been taken this since May last year and it’s changed my life (I know how crazy that sounds so I rarely talk about it) it’s not illegal, it aids sleep, anxiety and many many symptoms my daughter and I used to suffer. I’m going to get my daughter on the higher 10% dose for the next 5 months to help. She has only ever taken the 5% before.
Yoga, running, dancing, painting, singing, hobbies, tai chi, look for things in life that make you feel good and at them too!
You won’t stick to these stress-free exams tool kit unless you make it visual;
A business woman walks in and sits down.
This lady has never had coaching before and is clearly nervous.
Within half an hour they have told me their life story and probably every embarrassing thing that is rattling around in their head that;
Wind the coaching session on about 25 minutes from that moment and they are starting to really understand what is impacting on their life and not just what they could do about it but why it’s imperative they do it.
And I’ve found myself more and more noticing that so many women do this…
I could go on, however the point is that we look at other people’s mistakes, faux pas, and cock ups and we forgive them. We accept they are human and that mistakes happen.
Flip that around and look at the same mistakes, faux pas’s and cock ups and in your own life and boy can you get harsh!
If you don’t know how to fix this discrepancy that could be costing you dearly start with these thoughts;
“If I can continue to assume that I have to be perfect then what am I saying I expect from my children?”
“For what reason is it okay to make mistakes at work but not make mistakes with parent hood?”
“For what reason(s) do I expect perfection and what impact(s) is it having on me, my life and my goals?”
You see ultimately no one gets through life without making a few mistakes and as long as you keep beating yourself up about them then guess what it will do to you, your actions and your results?
And lastly aim to remember what happened in 1 area in your life on 1 day – not everyone in the world knows about it – so stop acting as if they do – it’s killing your success rate, happiness and fun!