The Real Lesson of the ACT

Jade Hasseman and the ACT test

My youngest daughter Jade is getting ready to start her Senior Year.  As a parent, this is an exciting, bittersweet, scary, fun and surreal time.

Yes.  All of those. As many of you know, it’s also the time when you have to start talking about “what’s next.”  With that in mind, there are the obligatory college visits, discussions about the future, and the ACT test.  This is the test, of course, that helps colleges and universities decide whether your kid is good enough to pay for the opportunity to attend their school.  If you think you detect a hint of negativity about the process, you are right.

Unfortunately, on the first time out, Jade felt the same way.

She was not sure what she wanted to do.  She did NOT want to take this test.  She did not want to get up early.  She was pretty much “all out” on the whole process.   Her results showed it.  She did not do well on the test.  But as is nearly always the case, the failure is not nearly as important as the response to it. Jade went back to work.

First, she adopted a better attitude about the whole process.  That is SO important.  Studies tell you that when you have a positive attitude, your brain functions better.  So that alone might have helped.  But that was not all.   She also started working with a coach.  Elaine Smith worked with her over 5 sessions.  Not only did she give Jade tips and tricks for attacking the test, but (maybe more importantly) she gave her the confidence that she could do well.

She studied.  She worked on it .  She had a better attitude.   Her results showed it.

I am very proud to report that Jade’s overall score went up quite a bit.  Several sections of the test went up even more.  It’s great news.  But to me, this is not the best part of the story. The reality (as I see it) is that this is just one standardized test.  It’s one of those things that seems important in the moment.  But it’s not.  Not really.

What IS important is that Jade learned how life works.  When you try something new, you might do poorly.  You almost certainly will do poorly if your attitude sucks.  But if you learn from it.  You readjust your attitude.  You work on it.  You get a coach.  You will get better.   Now THAT is a lesson I can get behind.

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Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.