Wednesday night was really frustrating. I was scheduled to take a professional certification exam the following morning, and from my recent experience on a couple of practice exams, all indications looked like I would go down in flames. My frustration came from the fact that I had been consistently studying every day for several weeks and it felt like it would have been for nothing if I failed the exam.
Thursday morning I woke up, completed my normal morning routine, reviewed the material I had been studying and took the exam at the scheduled time. I was thrilled when I learned I had passed the exam with an 83%!
After the exam, I was reflecting on how I had wasted the previous evening with feelings of frustration, disappointment, and worry when I should have trusted the process I had been following. The process is the same one I follow for any event where I need to deliver. The 3 step process is simply:
- Do my best to adequately prepare
- Give my best effort when it’s time to deliver
- Take any next steps, if necessary
Although I had done Step 1 well, my poor results on the practice test caused me to momentarily doubt the process and start looking ahead to what to do when I failed the exam. This kind of thinking rarely enables us to give our best effort. Fortunately, I was able to get back on track and focus on completing Step 1 so I would be able to perform well at Step 2.
During the test, I gave my best effort in the form of focus, thinking, and trusting what I had done in Step 1. The result was a solid passing score and no need to retake the exam. However, even if I had failed, all I’d have to do is simply adjust my studying, (Step 1) and repeat the process. Not a big deal.
It’s easy to lose trust in a process, and start doubting when things get challenging. When those moments of doubt and frustration come up, I’m trying to get better at reminding myself how often the process has served me well, to quickly get back on course, and to continue to trust the process.