Practise makes perfect and mentorship magic


On the 29th of July 2017, 163 students participated in the Academy of York Graduation and Celebration Ceremony. There was an air of excitement and anticipation as over 400 people gathered to witness this incredible event. It was a day of firsts for many, as a lot of our students were the first to graduate in their families. Dressed in their graduation gowns and caps, they proudly went onto the stage to receive their certificates and diplomas.Our key note speaker, Graham Mitchell – CEO of GROW coaching – spoke about the importance of perseverance and mentorship in building one’s career. Many students felt inspired by his words, and I thought I would share some of the key points with all our students and readers of this newsletter.

It is a fact that it is no small feat to study via correspondence, to complete your studies and attain a qualification. Many people start the process of studying, but fail to complete the journey because they lack the skill of perseverance. John D Rockefeller, who founded the largest oil company in American said: “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

Perseverance is a skill that is vital to success and to improve this skill, we need to practise. In order to move from good to great, practising the right skills is vital to success. One of the key things to note about practise, is a concept called Deliberate Practice, which is based on the studies of Anders Ericsson. He developed the concept that it takes 10 000 hours to become a master at any given skill. Secondly, it is about how well you practise in these 10 000 hours; for example, if you practise badly you will not improve. There are 4 critical parts to Deliberate Practice:
  1. Take time to think: Focus on how you are practising and whether your practise yielded positive or negative results.
  2. Practise against a known standard: In order to improve you may need to find an expert to mentor you; one of the ways we can be mentored by the greats is to READ about them. Andy Grove was one of the founders and former CEO of Intel who, unfortunately, passed away. But even if he was still alive, it would be unlikely we would have access to him as a mentor. But Andy Grove wrote many books on how he built Intel and whatmade him successful, so if we read these books, we can gain the insights that Andy Grove has for us. So read as much as you can for learning.
  3. Eat the elephant, one bite at a time: If, for example, you are in the field of Human Resources, I am sure you will agree there are lots of aspects to master. Break this challenge into smaller more manageable tasks and create mini goals for yourself.
  4. Expect setbacks: Anticipate the fact that you will fail along the way. This is something that we need to expect so that, when it happens, you don’t simply give up but persevere.

In South Africa and the world today, we face the situation of millions of people who cannot find work, but at the same time, face a situation where people with valuable skills are in shortly supply. Anyone who has taken the time to build up a valuable skill will succeed in the world today because, not only are valuable skills in short supply, but people who are prepared to persist to build this skill, are also in short supply.

Congratulations to all our graduates who persevered with their studies and completed it. We hope that many new doors of opportunity open for you in your careers. For all our students who are still studying, we hope that our graduates’ success motivates you to continue and complete your studies