Finally nailed it…

I think I’m a pretty good advocate for learning.  Firstly, it’s one of my passions, to learn new things.  Secondly, I am a great believer in the old mantra my Gran used to say, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. However sometimes it can feel pretty soul destroying when you don’t get there, time after time.  This week, I nailed three things:

  1. Finished my Open University Course learning how to take training online
  2. Gave myself some permission to take some time off
  3. Made a cake which turned out fab and was finally enjoyable to eat!

They may not sound like much but I’m proud of my achievements. Number 2 was hard – many people, particularly those running businesses, will relate. However, oddly number 3 feels like my biggest achievement.  Year after year I’ve presented long-suffering friends and family various inedible versions. There’s “the one with salted butter” “the burnt one” “the flat one” “the one with runny buttercream” “the-one-I-wore-thanks-to-a-new-mixer” – the list goes on and on. However today, I FINALLY NAILED IT!

Looking back, I didn’t do anything hugely different, perhaps a little more patience with the cooking time, a little more care over the ingredients, a little longer mixing… nothing really major. The main thing, I kept trying, adjusting and trying.

It would have been really easy year after year to buy a shop bought cake – and don’t get me wrong, sometimes I had to – but always after I had tried.  Today, at 49 years young, I produce a cake (my husband’s words) “better than any shop bought cake”.  Just imagine how that feels after years of being at the end of family jokes and feeling disappointed.

So what I hear you cry?  In the grand scheme of today’s problems, it’s no big deal to make a cake. But it struck me how much this links to the world of learning. How important practice and reflection are when trying to master a new skill. When you try something and it doesn’t work out, particularly if it’s something new, or for the first time.  I realised today just how long I’ve been trying and waiting for that confirmation.  It’s a great feeling when you get it right though 🙂

So my message today is if you are in that area where something feels hard, is not going quite right, you feel like you will never get there. Stop, reset, think about what you have learned so far and try not to get disheartened. If you want to learn, you need to reflect, make small changes and repeat. Practice (I discovered once a year really isn’t enough!), persevere and keep going and you will get there in time. As my wise Gran would say:

“if at first you dont succeed, try and try again”

(Granted its taken me longer with baking than most…)

I’d love to hear your stories of anything you have persevered with, or are currently enduring. In the meantime, Im going for a piece of my light, fluffy, zingy lemon drizzle cake…

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