As a court reporting student in the early ‘80s, I remember how exciting school was during those theory days. Learning to make the combinations of strokes on the writer was somewhat natural for me having been a flute and piano student throughout elementary and high school, so it never felt odd pressing those keys in harmony. And being the only freshman in a typing class of seniors was simply motivation to push myself – and it worked as I was top in the class that semester (and on a manual typewriter, I might add!)!

Then came speed building!

Moving into speed building still felt right, at least in the early speeds, but then I ran into a few bumps in the road when I hit my 100s. The brick-and-mortar school I had been attending was consolidating with another school and now I would have to drive 25 miles one way each day. But I had made friends with several of my classmates so we took turns with the driving. Our morning commutes were always fun and lighthearted. We shared our frustrations with the particular speed we were in, but always encouraged each other to do our best. Our afternoon commutes were typically not so inspiring. Invariably, one of us took a speed test and didn’t do so well, while another one had knocked it out of the park. It was hard to be happy for the one who did so well because you wanted it to be you.

Failure is inevitable.

It’s easy to let failure cloud your judgment moving forward. But without failure there can be no true success. Failing a speed test is inevitable in school. No one passes every test on their first try, so knowing going in there will be failures along the way should make those failures not so devastating. But there is always something to be learned from each failure. And the first lesson should be to find what inspires you to do better.

There is inspiration all around us; we just need to keep our eyes open for it and seize it when it appears. If we hang our heads in defeat after not passing a test, the only direction to go is down. Hold your head high, evaluate what it was that got in your way, and vow to do better on the next one.

But my test anxiety is off the charts!

I hear many students talk about having test anxiety and using it as a reason for not passing a speed test. The reality of being a court reporter is that every day on the job is a test – you never truly know what you’re walking into until everyone takes their places, the witness is sworn, and the questions begin. There’s no room for anxiety in this situation. It’s those very early moments of the job that set the tone for your success that day. Deciding that it will be a great day before the participants speak is always the best approach.

Where is the inspiration?

It lies within each one of us. It could be as easy as watching a hummingbird flutter near the feeder before feeling safe to land and enjoy the nectar. Or maybe it’s in your faith. Perhaps you find inspiration in the tranquility of yoga or meditation. You need only to open your mind to those things that bring you peace and unclutter your mind – then inspiration can flourish.