What I learned by leaving school at 14? I’ve shared about this before but today, I’m writing about how it helps business.

The background to why I left school at 14 (in 1997) 

At 14 we moved 150 miles away from Haverhill to Cheltenham, it’s beautiful. My sister was 10 months old and my brother was in his first year of Uni. 

I did not cope well.

Why I struggled

I missed my brother and was disconnected from my mum. My relationship with dad was always terrible and I was far away from friends and family.

Here’s the kicker. There were some major differences in the curriculum. This meant I had a whole year to catch up on in all my subjects new and old without any teacher guidance.

Exhaustion was overwhelming. It felt insurmountable.

The breakdown

What I learned, mental health abstract

At this time my anxiety went through the roof. Even leaving the house caused panic attacks.

I now understand that I had a breakdown. When I was in it, I just thought I was broken.

Symptoms: Insomnia, over thinking, withdrawing, crying. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and prescribed Prozac. At 14 I was on Prozac

How would I be able to follow my plan? Would I be able to go to Uni, study English and become a journalist? (Want to see what I did with my life? check out my about page.

After many discussions between the school, local authority and my parents I was de-registered 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.

Truth time; I was happy not having to go to school and I loved the town. But, I still wanted to become a journalist.

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.

What I learned was – 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, here’s what I learned

What I learned is a woman self reflecting with notebook

Sometimes, there are circumstances beyond your control.

It’s absolutely normal to get caught up in the frustrations of this. Whether it’s a ‘big deal’ like my situation or lots of small day to day ones like most of us experience. 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 re-calibrate. 

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.

What I learned? When in doubt, action it out

Action, Jumping

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. Does that resonate? Get my Set Up For Success Guide. It’s free!

Catch you later,

Amy x

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