Your exam results weren’t what you expected. You don’t know what you want to do next. Your hopes are stolen. Your dreams are crushed. What do you do now?
This story was reality for many people over the summer. It was told right across the country as the Coronavirus had a negative impact on aspirations for almost every teenager.
However, this story is not unique to the summer of 2020.
In the 1970s, an 18-year-old Trevor Waldock opened up an envelope to reveal he had flunked his A levels. Everything he had planned was ripped apart when he ripped open the seal of that brown envelope.
What happened next was going to change the destiny of not just this one lad from Essex, but the lives of thousands living in third world countries.
Shortly after getting his A Level results, Trevor had been invited to a weekend away for young people. It was to encourage them to lead in the future and how if you see the power of leadership, you can make anything happen. Leadership lead Trevor to his future and has then helped him lead others as well.
Trevor created a business called the Executive Coach and it was whilst he was having coffee with a friend that the next chapter evolved. His friend’s company needed money to set up a school in Zambia. It was going to cost £2000 to run for one year. Trevor was shocked that it wasn’t as expensive as he thought, so through his company, provided the money to set up the school.
The following year, Trevor went out to visit the school. The sights he saw were devastating. It was during the AIDs crisis in Africa which lead to the death of so many people in their 20s-40s, so there were children and old people and almost no middle generation.
Trevor realised on that trip that you couldn’t just throw money at the situation. He wanted to help the people lead themselves out of poverty. So, in 2005, he set up Emerging Leaders, which has had an impact on over 85,000 people directly and over 2.5 million people indirectly.
Trevor talks passionately about the work of Emerging Leaders. He describes how many people arrive without hope, heads down and not making eye contact. However, the leadership for life programme inspires and encourages them to take control of their lives. It changes their mindset to look beyond the abject poverty of their current situation and encourages them to take control of writing their life story. Their story maybe lived out in a tough setting, but they hold the pen and they can write a different ending.
For some people, the impact of the programme can often be seen overnight. When they realise that they have the potential to write their own story and live the life they have dreamed of, their heads come up and so does their confidence!
In one village, the main road caused many deaths due to the huge potholes. After an Emerging Leaders course, just one woman was inspired to get the whole road tarmacked, something that even the local government hadn’t been able to do. She realised that by working with the locals and taking responsibility, she could make things happen and countless lives were saved as a result.
Trevor now has his own podcast inspiring young people to understand the importance of leadership and how there is always something more you can do. If everyone gets involved, a massive difference can be made.
So what do we learn from Trevor Waldock’s story?
Even though your circumstances might be different to Trevor’s, and you failed your exams for different reasons; reasons that were totally outside of your control, you can still live a life of success. Just like all those people on the Emerging Leaders courses, you still hold the pen and you can still write a great life story.
The coronavirus pandemic might actually make you stronger. Use this situation to be more determined. Use this situation to be more resilient.