The Decision to Act

I read this quote attributed to Amelia Earhart and smiled to myself – so it was today, as I set out to write the 3-hour International Coaching Federation Coach Knowledge Assessment exam.

I have been pursuing my ICF credential since February 2016. This designation as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) requires me to fulfill three criteria: 60+ hours of coach-specific training, 10+ hours of mentor coaching and a knowledge-based examination around the ICF ethics and core-competencies of coaching. I have exceeded these guidelines by a fair margin and the last component to cross-off my list was the on-line exam. I have spent a good deal of time in practical work and so the study portion seemed manageable.

I haven’t written an on-line exam for ages. I haven’t wanted to succeed at something this much for ages. I haven’t felt the adrenaline rush of anxiety this way for ages!

I set myself up for the best possible experience: I slept well, ate a good breakfast, cleared my desk and turned off all my devices. I sat in front of the computer and took a deep breath. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity”. How true!  Hitting the button to begin the exam was a decisive moment and watching the timer count-down was a little nerve-wracking. However, things got even more apprehensive when with only 13 questions left to complete and about 35 minutes remaining, the power went out: lights, computer and internet all clicked off.

That’s when the tenacity kicked-in. The timer kept counting-down, I had limited resources and I had not only the exam sitting-fee on the line, but hours of work. (How interesting to note what physiological responses surfaced and how I had to rely on my own self-talk to settle down and complete the task.) Long story made short: I collaborated with people I needed to and when the power came on again I navigated the test platform and against the odds, I resumed the test with 9 minutes left on the clock! I completed the exam and not long afterwards, I had my passing grade.

I am more proud of the self-management skills I had in the moment, than the mark! It was a great lesson to reflect on from a “10,000-ft-in-the-air perspective”. Amelia would concur I suspect, that things take on a different frame of reference from a distance. Stopping in the moment to consider reasonable alternatives and actions gave me the outlook I needed to simply move forward without getting caught in the drama.

Just to confirm, I am flying in a figurative sense! In my own world, this new step is setting me free. The process and the credential both have merit and I am excited by the potential now in front of me. The decision to act – to follow my dream – is in action today!


What is worth “digging deep” for in your world? What would you have if you engaged your tenacity and held yourself accountable to completing a challenging task?

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