You don’t need qualifications to be successful in life
Yes, I did just say that.
I know it’s a bold statement, and some would strongly disagree, however in my 12 years of professional experience (six of these being running and managing my own businesses) the lack of qualifications are no longer preventing barriers for people to work in the jobs or businesses they desire, and life the successful lives they deserve.
Now, back in 2009, after graduating from the University of East Anglia with a Business Management Degree, I thought the world would be my oyster – only to be shocked to find that I was competing with thousands of other graduates for a low number of quality jobs due to the recession happening at the time.
Due to this I attended over 100 interviews to secure work, and even when I was employed it still wasn’t in an industry that I aspired to be working in. So, even though I had spent three years at uni, was in debt, and studied hard during that time (as well as working various part time jobs so I had a bit of experience too!) I really struggled to follow my passions and dreams.
Now, I’m not say at all that qualifications are a waste of time.
I made some amazing friends from my studying days and many have become ambassadors or associates who still support my businesses to this day.
The skills and knowledge I gained from studying have been invaluable to me throughout my career, especially when developing my own businesses.
And, my qualifications have given me more credibility throughout my work journey.
One issue I have with qualifications is that these are physically a piece of paper that show how well you sat the exams and completed and course work or dissertations – they don’t give any insight of the person as a person (i.e. their skills, experience, attitude, personality, character, etc).
The other issue I have with qualifications is that I see so many people use lack of them as an excuse not to follow their true aspirations (especially in the work I do with mentoring business women through HER Business Revolution).
So, let me tell you this.
Qualifications (or lack of) don’t define you.
If you need education to take you one step closer to working in the job/career/profession/business you want, it’s never too late to learn new things.
We are learning every day (sometimes without even knowing it), so the skills and knowledge you need to progress might be easier to learn than you think – and there are different ways of learning than through formal institutions, whether it be from work experience, collaboration in business, online courses (with or without accreditation) or more informal ways of learning through the Internet or vocationally.
So, coming back to my point that qualifications are not needed to be successful, let me give you a few examples.
A previous CEO of one of my businesses (Glow Virtual Assistants) left school with no qualifications due to being pregnant with her first child at the time. Even though she didn’t have that bit of paper with grades on, she did have an incredible personality, hard-working attitude, and resilience to learn new skills and knowledge on the job and in her own time, which meant she progressed in four years from an Administrative Assistant to CEO of the company.
One of my mentoring clients was struggling in an abusive relationship, and with basic level qualifications she felt trapped in her marriage due to her husband being the breadwinner for her and her three children. With a little support she learned new skills from evening adult education classes and developed her business enough to be able to make more than double the income her husband brought into the home, meaning she could then part from the abusive relationship and move into a more secure and happy home with her children.
So, in essence, what I am trying to say is that attitude and character are the main factors that impact the success of a person, as all the other things needed can be learnt.
And with the right attitude and support, I honestly believe that anyone can achieve anything! (which is why I created all three of my companies to be able to provide that support!)
Written by Serena Fordham, Founder and MD of HER Business Revolution, Glow Virtual Assistants and Mums Empowerment Movement CIC