My Lesson On Self-Acceptance and How To Overcome Life’s Challenges

Self-Acceptance is about accepting that everything that is happening in your life right now – the good and the not so good – is happening for a reason, and that reason is growth.

Acceptance is not about trying to lay blame onto others. It is not about trying to justify what is happening to you. It is not about making excuses as to why you have or have not done something.

Self-Acceptance is about saying, “okay – I accept that this is what I am going through now – what can I do to deal with it?”

My lesson on self-acceptance came in 2008. I am now a qualified Chartered Accountant and I am I studying for my CIMA qualification. The final stage of the CIMA qualification is a 3-hour examination paper where you are provided with a scenario of a client and you need to provide a report on your advice on what that company should do in order to achieve its strategic goals.

At the time of writing that examination, I was a senior executive working for a corporate, and I was regularly writing reports providing strategic advice. So when it came to preparing for this examination, I did not study much, thinking that “I do this all the time, this examination should be easy!”

I failed the exam with a stunning 43%

Insight into failure

I could have justified my situation by saying that at the time of writing the examination it was our company year-end and I was not able to study in the evening or in the morning due to the long hours that I needed to work.

I could have laid blame by saying that I was not allowed long examination leave due to my senior role.

I could have made excuses and said that the board courses that prepares one for such an examination was at odd times during the week that conflicted with my work demands. This made it difficult for me to attend a pre-examination workshop – equivalent to a board course.

I could have done all the above, but instead, I just accepted that I was the source of this problem. I did not fully commit to this examination and I reaped the outcome out of my lack of commitment.

A different approach

When I studied for this examination on the second attempt, I did things completely differently!

  • I attended the board course;
  • I reviewed past year papers and found trends in what was tested and how it was tested;
  • I analysed past paper examiner comments to learn from past student’s mistakes;
  • I practiced my report-writing skills.

In preparing for this examination, I found a unique way to study and prepare for it and I said to myself, that when I pass, I would like to share this technique to other students to help them to pass this examination.

A light is meant to be passed on

When I did pass that examination, I became a part-time lecturer working for a private college. I taught my unique approach to preparing for this examination to students in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

I did this for a period of 5 years.

In that time, I was blessed to have shared my knowledge and experience with people who themselves came to me after failing this examination. On applying my approach – they passed the exam and were able to apply for membership.

My average pass rate for the students who attended my class was 80%. Today 120 people have been able to apply for membership as a result of attending my class, adopting my approach that allowed them to pass.

I no longer teach this class, but that experience taught me an invaluable lesson on passing on your knowledge to other people.

It starts with self-acceptance.

Once you take responsibility for what is happening in your life, and have self-acceptance for who you are and what you have or have not done – it is easy for you to move forward. Then find a way to overcome your obstacle or challenge – because once you do – there are many people around you who would like to learn from you.

It starts with self-acceptance.

Dineshrie Pillay DTM is a member of CIMA Toastmasters Gauteng. Dineshrie Pillay is the founder of Neospectives Consulting, a business leadership training firm. She is an executive coach and leadership development consultant.

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