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Change your narrative: how to step out of your comfort zone

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Whether you’re unhappy in your current position, with your academic grades or just your general work life balance, you still have the power to change it.

Do you need to change your narrative?

It can be difficult to realise whether you believe that your narrative should be changed. A good first step to approach this concern is by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Are you happy in your job role?
  • Are you happy with your work/life balance?
  • If you look back on your life in 10 years, will you be happy with what you have achieved?

The ultimate question is, are you happy? In January to March 2022, the Office for National Statistics reported that 25.5% of adults over 16 years old in the UK reported a high level of life satisfaction, while 32.2% reported they feel like the things that they do are worthwhile.

At Kaplan, we believe that these statistics should be much higher. And if you are not fulfilled, you should do what you can to improve this.

From an education and workplace perspective, common factors that may cause the feelings of being unfulfilled or ‘stuck’ in your current narrative include:

  • You may have received lower grades than your peers in full-time education
  • You may have previously struggled to understand or remember lessons taught in school
  • You’re potentially concerned about a lack of career progression, or you struggle in interviews
  • You may gain feelings of anxiety in exam or assessment situations.

However, although you may not have previously considered yourself ‘good’ or ‘smart’ when in education, that doesn’t mean that it’s not for you. It’s important to try and keep your brain stimulated and learn as much as you can. But sometimes, classroom courses just aren’t what’s best for you.

For example, we offer study methods for everyone. Classroom is an option, but we also have methods such as Live Online, OnDemand and Distance Learning. Each method varies in terms of direct support that you’ll need from a tutor.

So, if you’re a much more independent learner, then OnDemand or Distance Learning might be more your thing. Alternatively, an apprenticeship may be a better option as you can apply your knowledge directly to the workplace. So, if you didn’t excel in a classroom course in school, that doesn’t mean that you’re not clever or capable - you just need to find what’s good for you and change your narrative.

Challenge the imposter syndrome

It’s easy to think that you’re not good enough to reach your goals. You may even believe that any good things that come is due to luck. However, imposter syndrome is extremely common, and could be what’s holding you back from achieving your aspirations.

For example, YouGov released a survey in 2022 to show that 57% of Brits say that they criticise themselves more than others criticise them, and 56% of people downplay their achievements when they speak about them to other people.

This lack of self-belief, or acknowledgement for your achievements, can hinder your success. It’s down to you to change your narrative, and ask yourself, “why not me?” Why shouldn’t you reach your goals? And why shouldn’t you be deserving of your accomplishments?

For more support and advice regarding imposter syndrome, we also recently held a webinar, Boosting your overall confidence and overcoming imposter syndrome, during which the panel discussed ways you can overcome this issue when studying and working towards your career.

Take small steps

Of course, not everyone is granted the same opportunities. There can be many reasons as to why you feel unfulfilled, or have imposter syndrome. However, a big change is not necessarily going to happen overnight.

However, it is important to not let your past failures or struggles define you and hinder your progress and happiness. You can reach your aspirations by taking small steps at a time.

Write down your goals - this can help you to remind yourself of what you’re working towards and the life that you want to have.

Split your larger goals into smaller steps - if you only acknowledge the end goal, you may become overwhelmed at the journey that it will take to get there. It’s important to divide your larger goals into smaller steps so that you can work towards each individual goal in a realistic time frame.

Do your research - once you know exactly what your goals are, put in your research to find out how exactly you can meet them. This may also tie in with your smaller individual goal setting.

For example, if your goal is to go into a specific job role but you’re not yet qualified, do your research into how you can get the relevant qualifications. It doesn’t matter if you have struggled with education in the past, if you choose the right training provider, you will have enough support to succeed.

Reach out for support - step out of your comfort zone and reach out for support from those who can help. What’s the worst that can happen? Whether you know how to reach your goals right now, or if you need a bit of advice, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. This can be from your peers, a career or life coach, or through mentorship.

You can find many mentors online on websites such as MentorCruise, Meet a Mentor, or One Million Mentors. A mentor can provide advice and support on how to reach your goals.

Commit to the process - there may be times when you struggle or feel demotivated, but commit to the process by reminding yourself of what your goals are. There is no reason why you shouldn’t deserve the opportunities that you want, and your dedication, hard work and commitment will eventually pay off.

Take every opportunity - if you see a job role come up that you believe you may not be qualified for, still go for it. Again, what’s the worst that can happen? The more interviews you have, the more you’ll understand the workplace and job role that you’re looking for, and you’ll also gain an insight into what employers are looking for. Remember to ask for feedback so that you can continuously improve throughout your journey.

Put the past behind you - if you’re currently unhappy with the narrative that you’re living, use these steps to change it. Put the past behind you and work towards becoming a better, happier version of yourself. It’s easier said than done, but if you keep your goals in mind, you’ll soon realise that you are more than capable of achieving what you want.

Take your first step

At Kaplan, we offer apprenticeship programmes within the accounting and tax, banking and financial services, and data and technology sectors. If you’re interested in any of these, browse our current vacancies online. As an apprentice, you will gain knowledge and hands on work experience while receiving support throughout your training.

If you’re looking to further your studies away from an apprenticeship, you can look into a professional qualification. We offer professional accounting and finance qualifications such as AAT, CIMA, ACCA, ACA and Tax, as well as banking and finance qualifications such as CFA, CAIA, IMC, and FRM. Not only that, but if you’re looking to strengthen your data and technology skills, there are options such as the ICAEW Data Analytics Certificate programmes that can help with that.

Browse all of our courses online and find what’s best for you. And remember - you don’t have to be a maths genius to become an accountant. You’ll have plenty of support throughout your studies.

Need more advice?

If you need some more guidance on what course to choose, or options available to you, call our Student Services Team on 0161 259 7400 or send them an email at

Our EDI team can help support you

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