A little while ago, I was delighted to announce that I’d been shortlisted for VA of the Year in the Midlands this year.

Unfortunately, however, I didn’t make it to the finals. Boooooo.

Sure, I’m disappointed, but actually, it served as a really good lesson to me. And here’s why.

You may not know that I get very hung up on the fact that I didn’t go to uni and that my dear dad was utterly disappointed by that life choice of mine.

In a fit of rage, he told the 17-year-old me that I’d never make anything of myself because of that decision.

Fast forward 20 years, and those words still stay with me. Sure, they’re no longer raw, but they’re constantly there in the back of my head.

I’m not good enough.

Not clever enough.

Not enough.

This leeched into my relationship when my other half and I first got together while he was at uni.

I felt so very inferior to him and his friendship circles.

It wasn’t until I read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks that I realised my dad was actually trying to motivate me in the best way he knew how by having that conversation.

He was trying to help me.

He saw some potential in me and thought that a university education was a fast-track to success.

He didn’t know then that there were other ways to step onto the career ladder.

On-the-job learning.

Vocational qualifications.

Being in the right place at the right time.

Sheer grit and determination.

So THAT is why shortlisting alone was so darn important to me. And it’s that tiny sprinkle of external validation that has gone some way towards putting those demons of mine to bed.

Peace out. x