What I learned about business by leaving school at 14

The Amy Johnson Small Business Learning Through Adversity

I have shared a little about this before but I wanted to talk to you about what it meant to me as a teenager (14 going on 15) to leave school and how that has affected my life so far.

When I was 14 we relocated, moved 150 miles away to a whole other county. My baby sister wasn’t quite 1 and my brother was in his first year of UNI. Everything was pretty great, new home, new school new friends. Only it really wasn’t.

Unfortunately, there was an issue with matching where I currently sat in the curriculum with the place they were currently teaching from. They didn’t match and I would have to pick up a year of work I was never going to get the opportunity to do in a guided classroom environment. On top of this my chosen subjects from my previous school weren’t even available in my new county so again, I had a whole year to catch up on in new subjects.

It was hard but doable though, in all honesty I didn’t think this at the time.

Unfortunately, I think when you added that pressure to my emotional wellbeing through several huge life changes all happening at once I just stopped. My anxiety went through the roof I could barely leave the house without a panic attack.

I had insomnia and was diagnosed with clinical depression at which point they put me on Prozac. I still had no idea how I was going to get the grades I needed to be able to do the next stage of my journey which I had planned would lead me to university to study English and become a journalist.

After many discussions between the school, local authority and my parents it was felt that it would be best if they deregistered me with a view to doing the ‘resits’ course at our local 6th form college, this never transpired and just months later my parents decided to move back to the town we had originally left.

I was devastated.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I was perfectly happy not having to go to school anymore considering I wasn’t learning anything that I needed to progress. But I still had my heart set on those plans and I was, believe it or not, thrilled to be living in the new town which I loved.

As I had started to get better mentally, I had also gotten myself a job at TK Maxx and I loved that too. Yet another upheaval

It was a pivotal moment in my life.

I discovered that sometimes, the world around you spins differently to your expectation and knocks you off your intended course. It’s had some real effects both positive and negative and I believe that it has been instrumental in where I find myself today.

The discoveries I talk about here can be applied to your freelance business, small business or pivot in your career. Here is what I learned.

Don’t limit yourself to just 1 type of education

It’s not necessary to follow the path traditionally laid out and well trodden by others all the time. You don’t have to stick to only knowing what you know or only learning what you’re innately talented at. Particularly now, the digital world has opened up a plethora of learning opportunities that mean you can diversify your knowledge and expand your joy at the click of a mouse. Learning is available for everyone in everything, you can and should explore different things.

It’s good practice to self reflect

Sometimes, like in my situation, there are circumstances beyond your control. It’s absolutely normal to get caught up in the frustrations of this whether it me a ‘big deal’ like my situation or lots of small day to day ones like most of us experience. It’s important to set some time aside and really think about who you are and who you want to be and when you do reflect, you’ll find you know exactly what you need to let go of in order to do so. It’s a way to recharge AND recalibrate.

Figure out what and who inspires you

When things are up and down like a wild wave it can be hard to see the safety of dry land. It’s this time when you most need to feel engaged and inspired. I hope that you all find things within yourself that inspire and motivate you and ignite your spark but undoubtedly there will be times when that’s too difficult. It’s important to have a medicine bag of things, places, people and activities that inspire you so that when you need it you have easy access to it.

Be open to unusual opportunities

When you have been pivoted of course in the way I was you really learn to open up to possibilities. It has been allowing myself to be open to doing something different that ultimately has led to some of the most amazing experiences of my life. So stay open, you never know what’s around the corner.

When in doubt, action it out

I’ve written about having a bias for action before but this is key. When you are pivoted for reasons beyond your control it can feed into your self esteem and raise the ugly head of self doubt. I find that always, this is lessened by simply doing something. The act of doing is the medication for self doubt.

I needed more help than I got when I was trying to find my way, and now in a much more digital world than even 24 years ago, there is so much white noise around everything you might have an inkling to do. I created this FREE epic guide to freelancing and small business. Sign up for your copy below.

Catch you later, Amy x

Published by Amy Johnson

Welcome! I'm a Business Support Strategist, Consultant and Online Mentor and this is my home from home. I share tips on strategy, tools, resources and implementation to help you build the business (and lifestyle) of your dreams

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