You the power to become more than you are right now …
I never was much of a planner.
I thought about what I wanted and then started taking action towards getting it.
So I'm trying to think back to when I started to achieve results in my life.
Looking for some kind of pattern.
What was my very first big goal?
To tell you the truth I struggled a bit with this.
Probably because as I said at the beginning I was never a big planner.
But wait a minute.
I was a bit of a dreamer.
So my first important big result was passing all my exams at the age of 16.
I still remember opening the envelope and reading the slip inside.
It listed my 7 exams …
And there was this scrawled handwriting in the top corner.
It read …
Well done on getting a pass mark in all your exams.
This was written by my headmistress.
I think I read that before I took in my actual marks
English Literature B
English Language C
These were “O” levels taken at the age of 16. Your results decided your future.
I probably need to give a bit of a back story here.
I went to a Grammar School.
In the UK back in the 1970s Grammar schools were common.
If you passed the 11 Plus at the age of …
Yes 11 …
You were eligible to apply to a Grammar School.
From the age of 11 to 16 I viewed myself as “dunce”
I questioned how I'd got into the school.
The teachers treated me as if was of a lower ability to my class mates.
So I guess it is not surprising that I had that belief about myself.
I was encouraged to do sport.
By the way I loved sport and went on to qualify as a
physical Education Teacher.
Whilst at school …
I never believed I was a bright as the other girls in my school.
Well I also had a bit of a reputation in the school.
I was always getting into trouble.
I was usually seen sitting outside the headmistresses
Office because the class teacher just got fed up of
Dealing with me.
I'm not quite sure when this happened …
But it would have been sometime prior to these major exams …
One of the teachers …
Exasperated by my behaviour I guess.
Stopped me in the corridor and said …
“I hope you fail all your exams”
Yes thaT is true …
I'll repeat that.
She said …
“I hope you fail all your exams.”
To tell you the truth I can't remember what I thought …
And probably not really how I felt.
But I'm guessing it would have been between two emotions.
Anger and fear.
I believe I had this overwhelming fear of of failing.
I realised that I did not want to be a failure.
In that moment I made a decision.
I decided I was going to do all in my power to pass all my
I'm sure that part of it was also I did not want to
Give that teacher the satisfaction of seeing me fail.
So every night after school I worked and worked.
I revised and I revised.
I wanted more than anything in the world to pass all
Now remember I had spent 5 years in that school believing
That I was not bright enough
To pass my ‘O' levels as they were called then.
These days 16 year olds in the UK take GCSEs.
If anyone had asked me at the time if I had a plan
I'm sure I would have said no.
But I did have a massive goal.
If I'm honest It wasn't something that I believed I could achieve.
In a Grammar school the expectation was that at 16 you passed your
“O” levels and then went on to take “A” levels.
You passed your “A” levels so you could go onto college to do a degree.
I never pictured myself getting a degree.
Although I always had a dream to become a teacher …
And later it grew into a desire to be a PE teacher …
I never actually saw myself doing it.
I so so wanted to pass these exams.
I did not want that teacher to have the satisfaction of seeing me fail.
I went to the library I took out books in the subjects I was taking.
I did extra work beyond the homework my teachers gave me.
I did that for months.
I did not go out clubbing with friends.
I did not go out walking up and down the high street with friends checking
Out the boys who were also checking us out.
Well I might have done it once or twice.
I did not spend hours on the phone talking to friends
Talking about the stuff we'd already talked about in school.
Well to tell you the truth my parents wouldn't have allowed it anyway.
We didn't have unlimited calls at one rate back then.
Each evening was the same.
Now when I think back to that time …
I realise that I did have a plan.
No I didn't sit down with pen and paper …
Set out what I was going to do in the next 90 days,
60 days, 30 days or even daily.
What I did was set my mind firmly on an outcome.
I would be taking 7 exams.
I wanted to pass those 7 exams.
That was it.
I know that every day that was my focus.
I realised that to achieve that I had to do things differently.
I didn't really understand the concept or use the language …
That to have a different result I needed to do things differently. …
Even become a different person.
What I did know was that …
I needed to put in as much study hours as possible.
It meant making sacrifices.
It was for a set period of time.
I wouldn't get the results I needed with my current knowledge.
I couldn't even rely on what the teachers were teaching me.
I borrowed books from the library.
No internet then.
I spent hours studying.
So you see.
When I saw my results on that slip of paper …
At the end of the summer in 1979 …
I got that flip in my stomach
That feeling of disbelief
Entangled with the thoughts that
It was all worth it.
It meant the world to me.
It wasn't even about the teacher …
Although she was a trigger.
And so that's why now …
I know that wherever I am right now …
In knowledge …
And experience …
It is within my power to become more than I am
Wherever you are right now …
Whatever you think you cannot be …
You cannot do …
You cannot have …
You are right if you decide to do nothing …
You are right if you decide not to step outside your comfort zone …
You are right if you decide you are not willing to make sacrifices.
I see you …
Yes I do …
As I see myself at times …
Believing what I want is beyond my reach.
What I want to tell you is that if your goal is something you
You know you can achieve …
It is no goal at all because you won't move from where you are.
If your goal is something you have to stretch for …
The most you might do is pull a muscle and then you'll
Just rest up again until it gets better.
If your goal goes beyond your reach and the only thing you
Know is that it is possible but has not been possible
For you yet …
And you have to get up, step outside, reach inside, seek knowledge …
Then that's a goal worth going for.
For ever more you will know that you always have the power
To become more than you are right now.
And if you know that …
You know you have the power to help others become more than they
Are right now.
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