The Problem of A+ Students

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The other day I’ve been having a coffee with one of my best friends. We are both into personal development and getting our own thing (coaching/therapy) running. I wasn’t in the best spirits recently and welcomed any advice. To put you into the picture, I am in the transition of becoming fully self-employed. I’ve got enough time, enough knowledge and did enough preparation – setting up my website etc. And still, I don’t always feel prepared enough. It’s not easy for me to take action and jump into cold water.

That’s when my friend told me: that’s perfectly normal that you feel like this. After all, we are A+ students and that’s our problem. Omg, it was so obvious to me now! I remembered Robert Kiyosaki’s book title Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students. He’s not the only one saying that the best students are often NOT the best entrepreneurs/ business people. 

Why is that? 

Perhaps you are also the “perfect” student and feel identified with me. Or perhaps you are a C student and wonder what your advantage is.

Let’s face 5 problems of A+ students when it comes to starting their own business or working for themselves. 

Problem #1 Afraid to fail

Yes, the best students are afraid of failing. That’s why they study hard not to fail! The disadvantage of always being top (or not being the loser in anything) is that you’re simply not used to making errors. You prepare well and take into account all variables. Perhaps you don’t mind being average in things that don’t interest you. I’ve never been very good at Maths but I didn’t mind. However, things that are important for you – in those you want to be the best!

When you build a business or get self-employed, that’s a problem. Because failing is normal and an essential part of the process. If you’re afraid to fail you’re easily discouraged. Resilience may not be something you’re good at. On the other hand, if you’ve always been a rather average student, you’re used to making mistakes, failing and getting up again.

Problem #2 Only doing things you’re good at

In order not to fail, A+ students likely engage only in those things they’re really good at. This starts at an early age. I remember that I had this issue as a kid. I would only play with things I knew how they worked. If I didn’t, I preferred someone else to try first while I was watching how they were doing it.

As a C student you probably don’t bother much about this. You do all kind of things, knowing that some of them will work out better, some worse. As you’re not afraid to fail, you just try stuff out.

Problem #3 Forever preparing yourself for action (and never taking any) 

Perfection. Excellence. This is what A+ students strive for. That’s why preparation plays an important role for them. It gives them security in the process and lowers the probability of failing. However, A+ students are likely to get stuck in the preparation part. Preparation is easy for them, they’re good at it. They study what is needed, know where to get information, know what is needed for action. The theory is perfect. The action is what they’re afraid of. 

Because action is different. It requieres taking decisions and facing unexpected things. It also implies getting it right or wrong. Many things can’t be seen when you’re in the preparation part. They just come up when you’ve already taken action. You can learn the theory of coaching and get well prepared. But having someone in front of you in a one-on-one session is completely different.

Problem #4 You’re used to be the best and get easily frustrated if you’re not

As you’re used to be excellent at what you do, you get easily frustrated if you’re not. Simply because you’re not familiar to his feeling. You hate being average or not as good as you would like to. It’s painful and you’re trying to avoid it by preparing and preparing. If you then take action and it doesn’t turn out to be the way you thought, you get frustrated. Perhaps you start doubting about yourself, or blaming others, or just give up and get back to your comfort zone of an employee.

Frustration is a big issue and you have to take it into consideration if you identify with that. Just don’t take yourself too seriously and try again!

Problem #5 Pleasing others

This is a bad one. Very difficult to un-learn as you’ve learned to please others when you were a baby. When you did something “right” you saw a smile on your parent’s face and listened to a nice and happy voice. When you did something “wrong” you were scolded, ignored or simply didn’t feel loved in this moment. We learn this very early and continue pleasing the teachers at school. A+ students get hooked on praise . Without noticing, they do what others (especially authority people) think is right/wrong. 

Starting a business implies that you can’t please everyone anymore. Some of your friends, your partner or family may not be in favour with your plan. Not all clients will be happy. Perhaps your competitors will critisize you. It’s just impossible to please everyone.

That was it. If you feel discouraged, no need for that. Knowledge is power, and becoming conscious is the first step towards change! And don’t forget, you’re not the only one who needs to overcome the A+ student obstacles!