Remember when we were at school and life was one long lark? Despite not being the best years of my life I sailed through them with a benign trust in the human spirit to endure. Somehow I knew I’d survive. And miraculously I did.
I’m yearning for that perspective again as my final practical assessment looms large on Monday morning. Yes, I’ve studied before and pulled through to live another day. But experience tells me that insanity returns all too soon and before I come to, I’m scrolling through study course options and checking the bank balance. Of course the more you look the more you will find and it didn’t take long to find a study course at postgraduate level that totally gelled with my urge to study again and fit snugly within the budget.
And here we are at the final hurdle and it is terrifying. Monday’s effort is really important. I have to clear this significant assessment before I can graduate. The weeks leading up to this assessment have been work-hectic so the usual weeks of preparatory work – required to be a truly qualified Type A personality – haven’t happened. Just about the time I started to melt down I had this dream.
I’m in a small car, a really really small car and for some reason it is grey. The small grey car and me in the driver’s seat are at the base of an incredibly huge and near vertical stretch of road. My task is to get myself and that incredibly small grey vehicle over the hill. Rather than feeling terrified – as I should – I am grinning like an idiot with complete confidence in my ability to pull off this insurmountable feat. Moreover, I was looking forward to the challenge with some kind of stupid mindset that this will be a synch. The kind of mindset that says: Yeah, bring it on, I’m so up for this!
There I am stuck half way up this hill, brakes applied, and feeling like the biggest duffus and not only am I paralysed with fear … I am whimpering. Those who know me know that whimpering is not part of my behaviour repertoire. In the midst of the whimpering one thought has assumed pole position. What if, when I let the brake off, we roll down the hill front-end-over-back-end.
Stupid, I know and this leads me into the next set of anxieties – those accompanying something I struggle with on a regular basis – those of the imposter syndrome. If I didn’t have the capacity to get the little car over the hill, do I have the skills to pull this final practical off? I don’t feel worthy of this qualification, nor do I know enough, I make too many mistakes, and finally I have no idea what I am doing. Me! At my age! With a post graduate counselling qualification …
So as the final day arrives I am feeling extremely insecure, vulnerable and filled with self-doubt. However, I know that …
This too shall pass
I’ve been here before and will no doubt be in this spot again. However, whenever I feel this terrified I am reminded that one of the tenets of living a courageous life is simply showing up. And that is what I will do. I will show up. Stare this thing in the eye. And give it my best shot.
How do you manage that final leap to success?