0863840132 mark@markdonovan.ie

It is September 1985, I have just finished my shift in Butterkrust bakery where I am serving my bakery apprenticeship.

I feel really apprehensive and very nervous.

I am cycling into the City Centre for my first class in night school for accountancy.

I have long since realized that there is not a long-term future for me as a baker as I don’t fancy getting up at 4 am for the rest of my life.

I also knew that the cakes I made would make a sword-swallower gag!

Being the first to arrive, I immediately take my place at the top of the room.

Why at the top?

Because I believed everyone else would in the room would all be working in offices and would know a lot about accountancy.

The only member of my family who had anything to do with an office was my cousin Fran, who was arrested for robbing one………..

As people start to arrive, I am looking around at them.

A guy walks in with a sharp suit and tie, I’m thinking he must know everything about accountancy.

A lady arrives in with a lovely black leather briefcase, wow she must already be a finance expert.

The room fills up and the lecturer comes in and starts the class.

After about 15 minutes, I am lost and can’t follow anything.

I look around everyone is writing, I get the courage to put my hand up and ask her to explain the point again.

She is an excellent lecturer and she explains it very well…10 minutes later, I am lost again.

I look around and everyone is writing and engaged in the class.

I am shaking but I put my hand up again and ask her to explain the point again.

The whole first hour of the class is spent with me asking questions but feeling less confident and insecure.

I think if I would have been sitting at the back, I would have silently crept away into the cold evening, but because I was sitting up the front I couldn’t!

This was one of the longest hours of my life.

As soon as the lecturer said “take a break”, I headed out the door for some ‘fresh air’.

When I got outside, the guy with the sharp suit was out there already.

He put out his hand for me to shake it and said “what’s your name…, I’m Bill”.

I hesitantly said, “Mark…Mark Donovan”.

He said, “Mark, thanks for asking those questions, I couldn’t understand a thing myself”.

I felt a bit better.

When I was walking back in, there were four smokers at the side of the building.

One of them shouted to me, “Hey, thanks for asking the questions, we hadn’t a breeze what was going on”!

How many times do we doubt our own abilities and think that other people are better than we are, more intelligent than we are, or know more than we do?

To get the most from our lives, take the chance and put ourselves out there.