I’m so excited to kick off a new series on my blog called Word Of The Moment.
The idea came to me after recently watching Legally Blonde on TV. I know, how random! The movie reminded me how it shaped me when it came out and it’s message of being able to pursue anything if you worked really hard at it. The true sense of determination. Not giving up when the world turns against you or worse, when you turn on yourself. Pushing yourself past it and not giving up. Even when you at times don’t believe in yourself.
There’s been many times in my life where I doubted myself. From what to wear to if I was going to pass an exam. School in Switzerland is no joke. At least from my experience, it’s incredibly competitive and you’re comparing grades with class mates all the time. That elitist environment was very stressful – tears involved at times – but seeing Elle Woods make it to Harvard really inspired me. Yes it’s a fictional story but in many ways it’s also a true story.
I had a few ‘geniuses’ in my class that barely had to study and would do great in school. I wasn’t one of them. Some subjects came easier to me (like English ha!) but math, german, french – oh my! I loved learning – still do! – and enjoyed studying for the most part.
The way that the Swiss school system is setup, you have to take a test if you want to go to a proper 6 year high school program. If you fail, you go to state middle school for three years. I failed the test the first time and was devastated. I still remember like it was yesterday. Both my older sister and brother had gone to high school and now I wasn’t going to go.
After completing middle school, you can either take a test again to get into a 4 year high school program or do an apprenticeship. I went on to do a 3 year apprenticeship at a Swiss bank where I’d work and go to business school 2 times a week. For my business school degree, I had to take yet another test in order to get into the top program.
This time around I knew I had to take extraordinary measures in order to ensure my success. I remember the test being right after our two week spring break so I wrote myself a schedule. I was going to be home anyways so I had the goal of studying 2-4 hours a day, alternating test subjects. I was determined to pass this entrance test, come hell or high water.
The day of the test I was feeling nauseous but as best prepared as I possibly could be. I remember handing in my test answers early on one of the exams and knew that even if I didn’t pass, I knew I had given it 110%.
I ended up passing the entrance test and still to this day, I’m very proud of that moment. My determination kept me going, in the face of failing the original high school entrance test. I think because I failed an entrance test the first time, I KNEW I had to work that much harder to pass.
Business school itself could be several blog posts long (…) but I also passed my business degree and am incredibly proud of that. Don’t get me wrong, university was hard. A lot of work – reading and writing. But in terms of stress level and fear of absolute failure!? Business school was WAY harder.
This is where my Word of The Moment Series kicks in. Each post will center around a word where I’ll share with you what it means to me or how I’ve experienced it in my life.
Going back to determination, I recently listened to an interesting podcast about the man who invented the 5 hour energy drink. He talked about how entrepreneurs use the word passion too often (I agree!) and that more than anything, you have to be determined. Because being passionate is a very emotional experience but determination pushes you even when you’re feeling low about the task at hand.
When I’m determined about something, even when I don’t feel like it at times, I push through it because I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m a perfectionist to a certain degree but more often than not, I’d rather get something done well -instead of perfect – than not get it done at all. Otherwise you’ll never move forward and still work on ‘perfecting’ a task that could take years.
I’m determined in the face of many obstacles, including my own thoughts and feelings. Aren’t we all? My hope with this series is to connect with you on a new level and delve into some more personal anecdotes. Now that I’ve shared my take on determination, what does it mean to you?
PS: If you’re wondering where I’ve been all month on the blog, check out my Youtube channel where I’ve been uploading videos twice a week! I’m going to be uploading a video every day in October (!!) so consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of them!