Updated: Mar 1, 2020
About seven months ago, I qualified to sit for an exam that would give me a valuable coaching credential. I had met all the requirements for this credential, and all I needed to do was carve out time to take the exam online, in my own time and place, and achieve the minimum passing grade.
I submitted my application to take the test and received the link. And it sat safely tucked away in a folder in my email for seven months.
What was I waiting for? Two things:
First: I have a story - let’s call it a “rule” - in my head about standardized tests. I’m not good at them. Never have been. When I sat for the college admissions test my senior year of high school, I barely passed. I was a really good student (Honor roll! College prep classes! Top 20 in a graduating class of 300+!).
But my standardized test scores didn’t reflect my academic ability. This hurt me when it came to scholarship potential or getting into the school I wanted. It stopped me from pursuing a MBA fairly early in my career. It caused me to avoid any accomplishment that had a big test tied to it. It was, in effect, life changing.
Not that I regret where that took me. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. But that’s a post for another time. Still, to say that it scarred me would be an understatement.
It’s been a long time since I had to take a test like that, and I was nervous. I knew that I had been well trained, that I am comfortable with the core competencies and code of ethics that would be covered in the exam. But I am not good at standardized tests. There was a risk.
Second: I was warned that I’d need to set aside a block of three hours to complete the exam, and I would only have three hours to complete it in one sitting. Three hours!!! Who has a block of three hours where they won’t be interrupted to take an exam that they’re not even good at anyway?? There was a risk.
So it sat in that folder in my email for seven months. To be completely candid, I had pretty much forgotten about the test, until every so often, something would pop in my head that reminded me: You still need to take that exam. What are you waiting for??
And then one day, as I was meeting with my mastermind group of peer coaches, I was thinking over the goals I wanted to set for the next two weeks. Something just inspired me to put a stake in the ground and declare my intention that by the next time we met, I’d have completed the exam.
Now, I’ve learned from having my own coach that goal setting is no joke. When you tell a coach you’re going to do something, you follow through. Otherwise, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
It was getting down to the wire. With only three days left before I would report back to my group, I miraculously* had an entire afternoon free. With hardly even bothering to refresh my working knowledge of the core competencies and code of ethics, I