This weekend I had a much-needed spa break with my husband.
My parents looked after our three children and my mum asked me to have a quick look through the boxes she'd been keeping for me, all of these years.
I opened the boxes to find folders full of GCSE and A level revision notes.
Masses of notes on every subject I took.
I did well in my exams, but I haven't retained or used any of this information as an adult.
I then found all of my diaries that I'd written during my teenage years. I looked at notes of not feeling good enough, like I couldn't cope and of the usual teenage worries of who loved me and the anxiety that I would fail.
The irony is, that my weekend away was to start the celebrations for my 40th birthday in November. Today I can still get caught up in the feelings that I'm not good enough and don't know enough.
After my A levels I went on to study a degree, a Postgraduate Diploma and then numerous other certifications in my current chosen career. I'm good at remembering facts for exams, but life is so much more than that.
So, I binned my notes and my diaries. I dumped everything.
Image author's own
I had a sudden light-bulb moment that my past and my grades don't define me.
What does define me is who I am as a person, my hopes and dreams, friends and family, the way I treat people and what I do in the here and now.
Luckily, as a nearly-40-year-old I know what to do to get over the feelings of not being good enough. I've spent the last few months coaching teenage girls to get over the same. They've started their exams this week and in every coaching session I've told them that their grades don't define them.
In the group I've worked with there is a talented rugby player, dancer, gymnast, maths genius, artist, and historian, to name but a few. Yes, their revision and results can help move them onto the next stage of their journey, but their grades don't have to determine their success.
If they don't do well there are other ways around it. Other diversions that will still lead them to their goals.
For me, I believe it's self belief and confidence that's needed to do well, not just a brain full of facts and figures.
So, for any student who's sitting exams, please remember this. Your life at the moment is just part of your journey. You can do whatever you put your mind to, so please don't let the stress, pressure and judgement of others get in your way. Feel free to bin the opinions that don't serve you and work on believing in yourself instead.
For me, that's true success.
Your results will not define you or your future.Suggest a correction