The benefit of that one day was tremendous. I thought “I’ll be alright now, I’ll be fine”, but the next day I was moved back. Soon afterwards my teacher told me I was useless. I remember mentally withdrawing, it felt like there was no point trying.
Avoiding anything with numbers
The anxiety about maths stuck around until I was nearly thirty.
It held me back. I didn’t really understand that all areas of life have some mathematical element. Those were the situations for me, with finance, the money, I never really looked at it.
Things changed when I left my career in football and started working in local government. There were many demands that I hadn’t had before. I had to pay for rent, shopping, all of which started to become a lot more important. I never felt confident that I knew what I was doing with numbers.
Tempted to give it all up
While working in local government I became involved in the trade union and enrolled on a computer course. It started off well, until I came to the Excel module, where I gloriously fell apart in the assessment. I became frustrated and disruptive.
The tutor came over to my desk, and asked me if I could drive. I knew that she was telling me it can take a while for things to sink in and learn. It took me 6 attempts to pass my driving test. If she hadn’t spoken to me I would have left. This was my light bulb moment.
The benefits of belief
Your outlook unlocks all kinds of things. In my current role I come across a lot of people who have carried maths anxiety from school right into adulthood. For many, numeracy comes with a stress cloud and generally people don’t engage with it unless they really have to.
I never thought about how much it had affected me. I tried, I failed, and just accepted it.
What do I say to anyone else who’s been written off? Every one of us is the same. We all feel nervous or frustrated by something at some point. But the more we try, the more confident we get, and the more we will achieve.