As we sat there, I wondered how in the world we were going to get our question answered. Would they have their glasses on? Would they be talking at all times? If someone had to ask a question, it better be important. Otherwise, they would just walk away or they might not finish the test.
I started to relax a little bit when I noticed that there were a couple of other students in the circle. One of them was a senior who looked older than me. He asked the question that everyone else had been waiting to hear. I asked him, “When do you want to take my consulting lab?” I had no idea what to expect.
He said, “I have to sign an authorization form to take this examination.” That made sense. I looked over my papers and read his authorization. He signed it, turned to leave and the teacher said, “You are authorized to take the examination.” It was a lie, but I believed him.
I was getting ready to take the final exam when I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to spend three hours in the library, reading books and reviewing my notes. I had forgotten to bring my copy of The Great Courses and I forgot to bring my calculator. Instead, I checked my time card and saw that I had enough time.
I went ahead with the plan. Unfortunately, two hours before I was scheduled to start taking the tests I ran into a difficult situation. Two other students were scheduled to take my final and I was worried that I would be placed in the same group. I was so angry that I had trouble sleeping that night. That was the first time I allowed myself to show anger.
During the tests I felt great, but then reality set in. There was no way I could let those students take my last test. I was determined not to miss this final examination. I ate an extra large meal and returned to class on time. Before the bell rang, I was excited and ready to show my students my greatest result.
In the exam I was surprised at how much preparation I had done. I could not believe that I studied so hard and still could not be where I wanted to be in six months. When I took my actual test I was delighted. I knew that I was prepared and ready to take my consulting lab entrance exam with confidence.
When the bell rang I was extremely nervous. I waited for two minutes before I walked to the board and cleared my throat. When the light finally turned on I was shocked at my true score. I was expecting to hear, “Congratulations Dr. Wise!”
Instead I was handed a cup of water. I wiped my face off with it and began to pace the room. When I took a break from pacing, I asked myself what I did wrong. Thinking about what I could have done differently made me sit up straight and start thinking about what went wrong. Then I asked myself why I was so upset.
I realized that I had been too harsh on myself. I didn’t praise myself enough for taking the time to study hard. Now I understood why I was being told to relax. I needed to calm down and take some time to evaluate how I was doing and how I could improve.
Taking time out for yourself is extremely important. When you are in the comfort zone your focus isn’t necessarily on improvement. You can easily fall into a pattern where you are taking everything in stride. By taking time out you will be more effective in taking your business forward.