Category Archives: Chats

Personal Development Tools That Help Work Towards My Passion Project.

Part Two to “I Realised I Didn’t Have A Passion Project” is now here. So if you didn’t read that post, I talked about how I had hobbies but I didn’t feel like I had a true passion for something, nothing that I could put my energy into, like a passion project for example. This post today is following on from that where I’ll be talking about some of the self-development or personal development techniques I use to try and figure out who I really am. (In that post, I also talked about trying to work on myself first and how this might help me along in finding a larger interest in something or an ultimate passion).    

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First and foremost, the majority of these techniques I don’t put into practice every day. It depends how my day pans out, but when I do incorporate them daily, I do notice a difference. Life happens however, so I’m working on not getting myself worked up if I don’t get around to putting them into place because I can’t control everything, right?

Reading “The Daily Stoic”
If you’ve never heard of this book (like I hadn’t until about two months ago) it’s a book based on stoic exercises and insights using meditations and wisdom for every single day of the year. You are given a new quote each day along with a commentary or anecdotes about what the particular quotation means. I have found a number of the quotes very profound to where I am in my life right now which doesn’t surprise me because you could say that’s what the aim is.

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Focusing on Daily Affirmations
This coincides with the quotations from The Daily Stoic. Now, while I don’t use these specific quotes, they are sometimes used as inspiration for shorter quotes and phrases that I can repeat throughout the day. Over the last six months, I have become very stressed in various parts of my life so I try and use affirmations to help decrease that stress in some form. Below I have given a few examples of the affirmations I would use to help.

An explanation on Daily Affirmations
An important part of affirmations for me is that they mean something. It’s all well and good saying a positive phrase to yourself but why are you saying it? What do you want to achieve? Are you focusing this quote or phrase in the correct way? That’s why I give a short explanation of why I choose a particular phrase, because it keeps me on the same wave length and it gives me a concrete reason on why I should focus on this on a certain day.

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My Daily Personal Growth Actions
This sounds very fancy but it’s not as fancy as you would think. This is my three point list that I work on almost every day to work alongside my daily affirmation. It’s very similar to gratitude in the way of writing down one good thing that happened in the morning, the afternoon and the evening. Working on personal development can coincide with self-care because some of my points have been “painted my nails”, “went to bed early” and “made myself a cup of tea before bed” which are all self-care based but you have to understand that in order to work on yourself when it comes to personal development, you need to also work on your self care. (In the first post linked above, I talked about why personal development and self-care aren’t the same thing but they can overlap sometimes). You can sit yourself down and tell yourself that you have all these plans in place, <insert passion project> is something that you are dedicated to and you know how to work on it. Realistically though, if you don’t make time for yourself for that self-care and are burned out because you haven’t made the time to take care of yourself, I have two questions; 1) Where will you find the energy to make the necessary steps for this project? And 2) If you can’t put a small plan in place to give yourself a break once in a while, how are you going to find the time to work on something new when you can’t even work on something that has been around longer? This list, while it is very simple, is more effective than you may think.

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Meditations
Many of you have heard of meditations before and I know that there are still some people who have this misconception about it. You have to sit still, have zero thoughts and be free, right? Well yes, sitting still does help but I also meditate lying down too. No person on this planet can free their mind and have zero thoughts; we are human beings and we are conditioned to have thoughts and feelings that spiral around in our mind, it’s human nature. Meditations are important to me in the morning and the evenings and the routine is fairly similar. I use an app called Insight, it’s free and it has so many meditations that you won’t know what to choose. In the morning, I choose a meditation focusing on waking up, starting the day and being present. I normally like to go for something in the middle of five to fifteen minutes, nice and simple to begin the day. I have found that while I love lying down to meditate, I often fall asleep so sitting up is the best option for me. This routine is very much the same for the evening but the theme of the meditation changes; I try and choose one that helps me settle down for a sleep, relaxation or a reflection of the day. The timing depends on how tired I am but I aim for ten to twenty minutes. Meditation isn’t a walk in the park from the get-go, you do get distracted and you will think about all the tasks you have to do in that day or the tasks you didn’t get done that night. Practice makes perfect they say, as long as when you get distracted, you recognize that and you bring yourself back to the breath, then each time you meditate does get gradually easier.

Podcasts
I have a thirty-minute walk to work every morning so I like to fill this part of my morning with a podcast. I found that I was getting angry or frustrated in the mornings thinking of particular situations that could happen at work and I found that this all happened when I listened to music. One of my favourite bands that I would listen to on a very regular basis, doesn’t seem like the type of music I would listen to at all. They sing very heavily about the subjects of sex, drugs and death, and while I love listening to that type of music (It’s very catchy) it’s not me. So, because the music was angry and heavy, that’s how my head started to feel. I have listened to podcasts for a few years now but incorporating them in with my walk to work has helped me focus on not only the interviewer and the interviewee, but because they are talking, my head isn’t being creative and creating scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. (*whispers* I’ll be writing some posts on my absolute favourite podcasts soon)

As you can see, the majority of these techniques I practice in the morning because I find it better to focus on my intention for the day when I first wake up. I do get up earlier than most people in order to complete these techniques but it’s something I am very used to now, but they don’t take very long to do either. I understand that meditations, affirmations and writing how you feel down, might not be for everyone and that’s completely fine. Different strokes for different folks, I wanted to share how I am working on myself and how each practice helps me balance out so then somewhere down the line, this may help me find that ultimate passion project. 

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January to March Reflections and April to June Goals (2018)

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Back in January, I talked about changing my perspective on New Year’s Resolutions and how I’m now looking at goals in a three-month basis rather than all year round. We’re now in the second quarter of the year and it’s time to not only reflect on the last three months but to look ahead to the next three. 

(Number One) Clear my spare room. 

I haven’t completed this one yet, I’m getting there but not just yet. On the positive side, I have filled six large black bin bags and given away four bags of items away to charity with more bags still to be filled. So while I haven’t completed this particular goal, I’m much further on than I was at the start of the year.

(Number Two) Finish my nutrition course.

I have my final exam to take and then I will be finished. I’ve been working hard the last few weeks to give myself time in the evening to study so to be so close to the finishing point, I’m so pleased!

(Number Three) Read fifty pages a week. 

I kept track of this for the first few weeks of January but that very much slipped so I don’t know how many pages I have read since the start of the year. I know that I have however, read two books and listened to two full audiobooks. By the way, how did I not realise the beauty of audiobooks until this year? With four books altogether, I know that was more than I had read altogether last year so I’m very pleased already with that number.

So on to the next three months; this will cover April, May and June and at the beginning of July, I’ll be back to tell you about my progress for my latest goals and what I have in store for the next three months after that. 

(Number One) Begin my research into growing my blog. 

This particular goal has been something I have been thinking about for possibly two years. I want to have my own domain name, I want to build my own media kit and I want to be able to curate my blog design to how I would like but it’s not something you can change in a day. I know research will be required for what host I use, what website do I go through for the domain, the type of service I want and whether I want someone to build me a design. There are so many more things to think about so while I’m not committing to changing everything in three months, I want to at least look into everything I want, estimated costs and how much time it will take too.

(Number Two) Note down my spending for one month. 

Note that I have only said one month, simply because I feel like I only really need to do it for one month to see an average spend. The last number of months have been expensive months in terms of special occasions but these next three aren’t too bad so that’s why it was a perfect time to do this. My main purpose is to be able to start saving money again because I like to have my own “just in case” money and even if It’s not a large amount I can save, it will at least be something.

(Number Three) Try a new fitness class. 

I’m not a huge fitness class person. I prefer to work out by myself and the furthest I go is a run with my boyfriend. I went to a spin class before but I didn’t enjoy it; despite this, I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone so my boyfriend and I have both signed up for a kick boxing six week class. I’m really excited because I’ve been looking for a boxing type class for a while but they all seemed to be “contact” classes and I didn’t want to get punched in the face, and this new class is pads and bag contact, so no injuries for me!

Let me know what you think of goals; are you more of a New Year’s Resolutions person that focuses on all year-round goals or do you like to split them up like me? 

I Realised I Didn’t Have A Passion Project.

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A passion project is a project that you are passionate about. Very simple of course but over the last few months, I realised I didn’t have one. I had hobbies but I couldn’t call them a passion. I have really enjoyed my transition into running lately but I can’t run for a few hours a day. As much as I love yoga, my time spent on it has been decreasing and it’s not that I’m not passionate about the blog, but I couldn’t go as far as calling it a passion, as much as I love how it takes me away from my work life.

While I joke with my boyfriend that I’m going through a mid-lie crisis and tell him I’ll not see sixty, I know I’m going through a transitional period in my life where I’m edging closer to the late twenties and I’m still not sure where I am going, so I guess you could call it the “quarter life crisis zone”. I’ll be twenty-seven this year but because I’ve been through a number of rollercoaster rides these last few years, I assumed I was about to come out the other side of the quarter life crisis but I’m clearly still in the midst of it.

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I sat with the very uncomfortable feeling of not being passionate about anything. I had no real spark and whilst internal and external factors had had their influence over me for the last few years, it wasn’t that surprising after all. I felt unfulfilled but I realised that not being passionate about a subject or even having a side project, probably added to that unfulfillment. I didn’t want to throw myself into any old thing, it needed to be something that I wanted to do and that was going to pay off in the short term and the long term.

Right now, my passion project is myself. Sounds airy-fairy right? I don’t disagree with you but I think it’s important to dedicate time to yourself about yourself. I’m not talking about having a pedicure or running yourself a bath, while those are great things to do, that’s more self care. I’m talking about sitting yourself down to take notes, read books and get your mind thinking about who you are. Do you know who you are? I certainly don’t know who I am right now, I feel like I’m being pulled in different directions and dealing with that enables my anxiety even more than it does on a normal day.

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Focusing on what I do will be quite lengthy and detailed so because I didn’t want this post to be overwhelming, I’ll be breaking it up into two parts. The second part will be linked right here and it will go live on Wednesday 4th April and I’ll be discussing some key personal development techniques I use in order to help me figure out the type of person I am. So, if that’s something you’re interested in, check back on that particular date.

Fear and Emotional Attachment On Social Media.

As human beings, sometimes we’re programmed to over think in certain situations, and I would say I have been dealing with this lately, more so on social media platforms. I think intently about what I want to post on platforms and not only how it could affect me in the future, but what it was like at that present moment. Over the last few days, this thought has been stirring up quite a lot and I’ve found it very hard to put it into words, so forgive me, my head is a little scattered. 

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Recently I went down for a lovely weekend trip to Dublin with my boyfriend who had organised the entire trip and it was a complete surprise. We had a lovely trip but not once did I feel the need to post about it on Twitter or Instagram at the time. I didn’t feel the need to lift my phone for a photograph like I normally would and this behaviour for me, it wasn’t something I was used to. I’m not attached to my phone but as someone who loves to share photographs of what she does, where she eats or where she visits, I was conflicted. I took a small number of photographs but it wasn’t anything significant.

I love having memories, even the upsetting ones. The feature on Facebook where you can look at your posts from a year ago or however long you’ve been on Facebook, I almost have to put up an emotional barrier to stop myself getting attached to certain memories. As much as they can hurt sometimes, it’s nice to have a memory of a place I visited or an activity I took part in that day, in photographic form. That’s where my issue lies, it could be seen as fear. Do I put something out in the social media atmosphere that while I love it now, could be upsetting in the future or do I continue to post what I would normally but try and let go of an emotional attachment? 

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I could consider myself an emotional person. Having been in therapy for a few years, I know that this isn’t a bad thing, it’s very much the opposite. It shows you aware of your emotions and you are passionate but it’s also a curse. I’m very sensitive so when it comes to criticism, I have gradually learned not to take criticism personally but that is still very hard and it takes time. Looking back on a memory can be very rewarding but if I have an emotional attachment to something I have posted about, then those emotions can go into overdrive. Having dealt with symptoms of depression and anxiety over the last two years, my emotions if they aren’t controlled quickly, can spiral out of control and it can take time to come back from that (depending on the situation). 

Both scenarios that I spoke about earlier, aren’t what I want. Posting on social media while having that fear, is living in the past of what has happened before but worrying about the future. Continuing to post and trying to cut off my emotions is telling myself that my feelings are not important and I should avoid feeling sad or disappointed. Surely that’s not the way to live my life? When you realise that negative feelings and being upset are part of life, why should you try and shut them off because they’re uncomfortable to deal with? 

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Living in the moment will never be one hundred percent sustainable for me and I’m completely fine with that. I will never not worry, I can work on my personal development skills alongside my emotions to combat my stress and worry in particular ways but I am under no illusion that I will be able to cure my worry of predicting the future or thinking too far back into the past. What’s more important right now is that I am aware of this behaviour because while I can’t control every single emotion, it also lets me think more intentionally about what I post online and why I post it. That is more important that fighting the internal battle of trying to let go of emotional attachment or pushing against the past and the future at the same time. 

Changing My Perspective on New Year’s Resolutions.

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To me, New Year is quite special. We’re told that it’s cliche to think of the New Year as a fresh start but for many it is, and that’s how I view it to a certain extent. I’m very goal oriented and I love challenging myself but over the past year, I’ve seen how resolutions and goals haven’t worked “their magic” on me (so to speak). I need a new perspective on them, but I don’t want to give up on them completely so I need to change my mindset on them instead.

Smaller goals in three months?

This idea came from one of my favourite YouTubers Muchelle B. She posts motivational, inspirational, minimalism and organisation content on her channel and lately, she’s my go-to whenever I feel like I need a boost of motivation. I would write a slightly larger list of resolutions every year not really thinking about the true meaning behind them, and because the list was very large, it was hard to keep up. Muchelle’s video called “10 Tips To Actually Accomplish Your New Year Goals” helped me on the right track to breaking down my goals into smaller chunks, therefore making them more achievable.

(Number One) Clear my spare room.

I’ve been living on my own for one year now and yes, my spare room still looks like a bomb hit it. I haven’t had a large chunk of time to clean it all, organise it and tidy through it and when I would do it in little chunks; the amount of work I knew I needed to do became so overwhelming that I would close the door. It’s been a year, and quite frankly, every time I clean the house I never feel satisfied knowing that the little room upstairs is still a mess.

(Number Two) Finish my nutrition course. 

If you don’t follow me on social media, you won’t know that I signed up to a nutrition course. This is something that I’ve been looking at doing for the last few years and towards the end of last year, I took the plunge and signed up. The course has now finished but I haven’t; I became really busy and luckily for me, it’s the type of course that doesn’t have an end date so I’m going to be catching up over the next three months so I can get my certificate. It’s video and textbook based so it’s a longer process but if I really get stuck into it, I feel like my three month goal will be easily achievable.

(Number Three) Read fifty pages a week.

Every year I tell myself I want to read more and more often than not, it was always “read one book a month” and I can tell you that it never lasts that long. Not to put any pressure on myself, I decided to look at it from a different perspective and break it down into smaller chunks. Fifty pages a week is more sustainable; I can read ten pages an evening during the work week or if I have some free time at the weekend, twenty five pages in the afternoon each evening would be just as achievable.

Yearly reflections?

I’ve decided not to reflect back on last year’s resolutions; I normally would and have done for the last few years but because I’m going in a different direction with my goals, resolutions or whatever we want to call them, I’m choosing not to reflect. Sometimes it’s okay not to look back. Within this, I’m also taking a step back from my monthly intentions. Going back to the start of my post, I wanted them to be “little sprinkles of magic” to kick start me each month but it didn’t work out as well as I had intended it would.

What are your resolutions or goals this year? Do you believe in setting yourself goals? Let me know on either of my socials, Twitter or Instagram and I hope you have an amazing start to the New Year 

A Simple Step-by-Step Guide on How To Start Saving.

In my recently monthly intentions (which is linked here) I talked about wanting to create a savings plan for the New Year because while I’m not saving for anything in particular, I do want to have some money behind me in case an emergency pops up. So today’s post is about how I plan to start thinking about my savings plan.

Before we start, it’s important to know that everyone’s situation will be different; the questions that I ask appeal to everyone though so you can still use these questions to give your own answers and see how I’m planning on working everything out.

Decide what you want to save for.

Your obvious starting point right here. If you’re reading this saying to yourself, “I should really save” but you have absolutely no idea why you need to or if you only think it would be a good idea but don’t actually want to, simply don’t. If you don’t want to, just don’t. For those of that do want to save, this is your why. Why do you want to have that spare cash? Is it for a holiday? Is it for a particular purchase? A special occasion perhaps? Mine is an emergency basis. I don’t want to be caught out with just my income in my bank account, so it’s smart to have some money behind you at least, in case anything were to happen.

(My spider diagram isn’t completely organised but it’s a great way to get your ideas out quickly if you prefer something that isn’t in list form.)
Know what your direct debit (or essential) bills are.

For many people, they will know what their direct debit or essential bills are. They’re the ones that come out every month around the same time and you know they’re going to be the same price every month. Mine are my rent, my pet insurance, my TV, my internet, my electric and my phone bill. In terms of heating for example, I have oil so I can’t top up my gas every month on a card, I have to buy it in one big batch which can a big price every few months. It’s the same with food shopping; it really varies so that’s why tip number four will be very important here.

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If you want to save a particular amount.

Once you know what needs to go out each month roughly, have an estimate of how much you would like to save. This really depends on so many factors but because we haven’t looked at ALL purchases, this is just an estimate so I wouldn’t put too much thought into this yet. You also have to think, are you looking at the saving in a monthly term or a yearly? You’ll see it come together faster in a monthly term but with a yearly, if you can’t save one month, you can always move something about and save double the next month.

Keep a closer look at your purchases for the next month.

For those of you that don’t keep an eye on your spending, this will be a real eye opener. I’m not really strict but I wouldn’t just shop and not think about how much something is, and I feel like a lot of people are in that same category. In order to keep track of what you’re spending, you need to write everything down. Yes, even that coffee you bought at lunchtime and even that box of tampons. Absolutely everything and it’s important to do that because you can see what you are buying first hand. It doesn’t take long to do; you can either use your notes app on your phone or you can quickly write it down in a notebook. I tend to write the price too because it makes it much easier to add up at the end of the month. I’m personally not doing this particular process until January because November and December are such expensive months that it doesn’t reflect my true spending habits.

See if there is anything you can eliminate.

Maybe you’ve noticed you buy more coffees than you first thought? Maybe you didn’t realise how many times you were buying lunch during the week rather than meal prepping at home? There could be so many little habits that you pick up on that you didn’t realise that you done. I find it easier to write those habits down again in one list on their own, you can see them a lot clearer that way.

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We’ll take this as an example; I’ve listed my other debit debit bills which include my gym membership, Spotify, Netflix and my Book and a Brew subscription. Out of four of those, only three were important to me so a few months ago, I stopped my subscription for the book service. This meant I was saving myself £13 a month and while this isn’t what I’ve described above, it’s a good starting point before you go through every single purchase for the month. You can really pin-point first hand what you can potentially eliminate.

Plan out treats for yourself.

Treat Yo’ Self. (If you watch Parks and Recreation, you’ll know how boss Retta and Tom are). You have to treat yourself once and a while, and not all treats are free and that’s perfectly fine. You can still go for your monthly eyebrow appointment, you can still go for that monthly lunch date with your best friend. You have to work out what is important to you to take care of yourself so whether that’s your monthly subscription to Netflix or your Saturday morning cup of tea with your current book in your favourite coffee shop.

Take into consideration any special occasions.

Birthdays and anniversaries are occasions that you can’t avoid and you will have to take into consideration. They will come quite frequently throughout the year so it might be better to budget for these each month too.

Re-examine how much you would like to save.

Go back to your estimate and after taking into consideration what you can cut, what you would like to keep, those special occasions and the bills that you have to keep, how does your estimate look? Can you increase it or do you have to decrease it slightly?

How are you going to put it into place?

I wouldn’t suggest an old fashioned money box for this particular task; I personally would feel a lot safer putting it into a savings account and with online banking, this couldn’t be simplier. With some banks, you can even set it up to take a particular amount out of your account on a certain date so if you think you won’t even up transferring it, this might be the perfect option for you.

Decide when you’re going to start.

Normally I’m all for starting right away but when we’re talking about money, it’s always easier to start when you’ve just been paid because you have clear mind to go into saving mode with. Of course, you can start right away or even start the process at the beginning of the month, but I know I just feel more comfortable when I get paid.

These are quite simple steps so it won’t be for everyone but for some people (including myself) it can be hard to save money. Whether that’s not having a large expendable income or maybe not realising how much they’re truly spending. If this helps just one person, then I’ll be a happy woman. I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you think it could help others, please feel free to share it too ❤

Not Passing Your Driving Test The First Time.

Today I’m talking about my experience about not passing my driving test the first time and about the enormous amount of pressure that we seem to be under when it comes to that all important result.

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When you make the decision to learn to drive, it’s quite a dramatic life decision but you might not even think it. It’s a huge piece of your independence that you can gain; even if you can’t afford a car, you still have the skills and knowledge of knowing how to drive a car which can even help you with your career.

I passed my test a few months before my twenty second birthday so a lot of people would see that as quite late to learn how to drive because most people tend to do it as they turn seventeen or eighteen. At that age though, I had zero interest in learning how to drive but once I came back from University, I suddenly became interested.

1001334_635239689820951_2038492520_n(This was me when I passed my test! I look so different.)

I didn’t pass my practical test first time round and I would never pretend I did. I can’t remember the exact number of times, I think it was five. Does that mean I’m a bad driver? Absolutely not and I will fully admit that I have had a car accident that was my fault. It was in my second year of driving but it still doesn’t make me a bad driver and it has taken me quite a while to accept that accidents do happen and it doesn’t make me a bad person. For those wondering, it wasn’t a serious accident; it only involved one other person and they were genuinely lovely about it happening meanwhile I was in floods of tears. I had to immediately drive from the scene and I was driving most of the day after it had happened but that was a blessing in disguise; I wasn’t put off from driving and I think if I had have walked away from the wheel, it would have taken me a while to get back into the driver seat again.

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There seems to be a stigma around not passing your test first time and even a few years later, it still gets to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy for anyone who gets their driving license because it’s such a huge achievement but I definitely think there is that stigma especially when it’s pointed out, “I passed my driving test and I done it first time!” Sometimes it feels like because we’re not in that “first time group”, we’re not as good as someone who is, and believe me, even four years later, I still struggle with it.

So for those reading this who have had a similar experience to me or who are starting to learn to drive, here’s the four most important things I learned from my experience and what I would tell my younger self.

1) It’s not the end of the world.

There were A LOT of tears from me. I felt really sorry for my instructor, she mustn’t have known what to do with a crying woman in her car quite a few times. It really isn’t the end of the world, something which took me some time to realise. I had the luxury of being able to take the test a few weeks later but I understand that finances can vary for others. In that case, some time away from the wheel to take the pressure off might help.

2) It doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver.

Unfortunately when you first start revising for your theory exam, you start to hear stories of booking your practical exam. You shouldn’t book it for the end of the month or you should book it for a specific time. You hear the stories of examiners having a quota each month so they can’t pass everyone so even if you were a good driver, they might not be able to pass you before of this. Are these type of stories true? I really don’t know. My point is that your instructor wouldn’t tell you to book your test if they didn’t think you were a good driver and for whatever reason, you didn’t pass, but that just means you can take some time either to yourself or with your instructor for some self-reflection (based on the instructors points system).

3) You’re no less of a driver if you takes you more than once.

This is the most important point of my four points. If you passed on your first try, congratulations! If it’s your tenth test, my congratulations mean no less. It’s such a lovely feeling passing your test and just because you didn’t do it first time, it doesn’t make you any less of a driver because of it. You still know how to use the clutch, you still know how to work the gears and you still knows how to do the manoeuvres regardless.

4) Don’t let anyone make you feel bad.

Anyone who tries to make you feel bad for not getting it first time, I call them toxic people and you don’t need them in your life. What you can do though is one very important thing; they can try to make you feel bad, but quite frankly, don’t let them. They weren’t there on the day, they weren’t feeling how you felt on that particular day, they aren’t you and this is your experience and your experience only. I’d feel bad for them that they have nothing better to do with their time that try and bring you down.

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It’s important to remember that no matter how many times it takes you to pass your test, you did it! Whether that’s the first time, second time, third time or as many times as you need to; we all go at different paces and that doesn’t mean that you aren’t as good as someone else. Don’t let anyone put you down for trying your best!