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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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4.2 What if I don’t succeed?

However well thought through your action plan is, there may be times when you cannot achieve what you have set out to do. On a practical level, the best thing to do is to go back and review your goals in response to the changed situation.

It is not always that straightforward, though. You will also need to deal with the emotions that result from not achieving your objectives. Whatever the reason for not succeeding, this can lead to a sense of disappointment, possibly even of failure. It’s important to think about how you will deal with knock backs on your journey, and what resources you have to call on when things get tough.

Some of the ways you might help yourself recover from a disappointment and deal with stressful situations include:

  • talking to a supportive friend
  • doing physical activity such as sport or exercise
  • active relaxation such as meditation
  • getting away –a weekend away or even a short walk
  • treat yourself – buy a box set
  • listen to or play music
  • watching TV or a film
  • playing with the kids
  • even cleaning or other housework can be relaxing!

Activity 4 Learning from failure

Timing: 10 mins

It’s a well-worn cliché that we can all learn from our mistakes, but it’s one of the most important things to hang onto as you head off into this next phase of your life. There will inevitably be times when you will face disappointments but there is always something to be learned from each difficult situation.

Think back to a time when you were faced with a disappointment. What were your feelings associated with this event? What did you do to help yourself overcome these feelings and make yourself feel better? You may wish to revisit the lifeline activity [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   that you did in Week 1 to trigger your memory. Think about what you learned from that experience and what you might do differently if the same thing happened again.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

Maya Angelou

Activity 5 Final activity

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Write a letter to yourself, describing what you plan to achieve in the next six months. This should relate clearly to the goals and objectives you have detailed in your Action Plan. You should save this in a safe place for six months, at which point you will re-read the letter – mark that date in your diary now. If you have put your plan into action, you may be surprised, not only by just how much you have accomplished in six months, but also the tone of the letter, which will indicate how your confidence has grown.