ATOL Articles

Your one-stop shop for all your ATOL and Industry News

Learn More
ATOL Articles


We all have these fears and doubts going through our heads and they are debilitating if they stop you from moving forward.

What Exactly are you Scared of?

I'm going to share something today that we've all gone through. This is about being unsure, being nervous, being anxious. This is about making a decision with your own life, with your own career and always having that thought in your head “is this the right thing” or “am I good enough” or “What will other people think”?

You know, all those crazy thoughts that we’ve all had at some point. Time consuming thoughts that drive us crazy and hold us up. Just silly, stupid thoughts that really override our logical thinking. I'm not immune to it at all and I’ve recently gone through, actually I'm still recovering from it at the moment from a recent change or challenge.

This got me thinking about our prospective students out there, that are looking at our website and thinking about enrolling in training – dreaming about a change in careers. That you might all have these thoughts in your head too?

  • I think I could do. Oh, there's that word? I think I could do that, but how do I know?
  • What if I don't know what I'm doing?
  • What if I don't understand what on earth these people are talking about?
  • Who's going to support me?
  • How is all this going to work?

Really, if you look back at all those questions, then they are just really excuses. They are roadblocks to stop us from moving forward.

As I said before, I went through exactly the same many years ago.

To me, if you're thinking about it now, then you need to do it because obviously if you’re thinking about it, you are being drawn to it. If it’s something that you're drawn to, well that's a perfect start for you. If you're uncertain or challenged, take a deep breath, and GO FOR IT. Give us a call and I'm only too happy to hop on the phone with you and talk to you about my journey through it as well, including all the doubts that I had.

I hopped on a zoom with a student recently to help with her question "I’m confused about what to do for this assessment”. Once I read her email, I knew exactly why she was confused. So, I said, “let’s hop on a zoom”. She was so excited, and we had an awesome chat and we just went through it together which resulted in a huge light bulb moment for her and now she's completely comfortable and she knows what she's doing. Someone is always there for you.

Just check in with those questions in your head and, ask yourself why you're coming up with those excuses. Why are you putting those roadblocks up? I promise you that once you've pushed through those voices in your head and have challenged yourself, you will not look back.

Training is just the first step

Training is Just the First Step

It's not just about the training either - that's just the first step! It's about getting started after that and making something of that training.

I also want to address those fears and those challenges that you might be thinking when venturing out on a new career. This is what I went through both as an auditor and a trainer.

The path I chose to go up initially was consulting. I started to do that for a while, however I ended up as a certification auditor - never in my wildest dreams, would I have ever thought that! Some colleagues had suggested that I follow the path of a certification auditor and the voices in my head were saying:

  • How would I ever be good enough to be a certification auditor?
  • Certification auditors are like the highest I can go – how is that even possible for me?
  • They know everything – I could never be like that!

And of course, I have since discovered that we are normal people, that have feelings and doubts just the same as everyone else. I’m not too ashamed to admit it.

The important requirement, whether you are searching for a career in auditing or consulting or implementing a system is that you need a personality! You need to be approachable which helps people feel comfortable and the process is going to be so much smoother for everyone.

I remember my first training job where I was facilitating. I had the owner of the company observing me throughout the course and I honestly felt like I was going to be sick on the way there. I had watched, learned, and practiced so much and I was as ready as I’d ever be but honestly, I was so nervous I thought I wouldn’t make it there or through it!

The thing is though, I knew that this is what I wanted to do, and I knew I had to push through this fear to get what I wanted.

The Must-Haves to Get You Through

Hint - it’s not alcohol 😊

Support people - 

I was fortunate to have support people around me and I’m still fortunate to have them these days as well. People that have been mentors to me as I was progressing through the ranks and I'm thinking of two people in particular, who really gave me the confidence that I could do it. And you know, when I was doubting myself, I could call them, and they would give me the confidence to get on with it.

A big fear or question I hear often is:

  • What if someone asks me a question and I don’t know the answer?

I still get that – I’m not perfect – I don’t know absolutely everything! I always fall back to the Standard and say, “let’s have a look shall we” – “I’m sure we can figure this out together”.

Preparation is key

It's not an ‘us and them’ situation. Don't think that, you're like a police officer and you're enforcing the law. We're all auditing against management systems or building systems against management systems. It's a collaborative approach.

I suppose talking that through means - just relax a bit. You don't have to be perfect. And you know what, that's something coming from me! I'm one of those people that wants 10 out of 10 for everything. And if it's not 10 out of 10, that means I've failed. But just relax about it. It's a collaborative approach.

As I said, you're there to work with the organization, with the, the team, with the auditors and it’s ok to work this out together as a team.

We're always going to keep learning. I learn something new every day and it's not from me, it's from other people. I need you to be open to that learning. If you work with other people, take it as an opportunity to learn from them.

When I work with other auditors, I always learn their processes, how they conduct themselves, how they deal with conflict and what their thought process is, and preparation methods are. Take it on board and look, you'll either take it on board.

Sometimes you’ll also learn what NOT to do. Regardless, you are still learning though.

Preparation - 

This might not be for everyone; however, this is how I operate to make me feel comfortable in a situation where I might be challenged or I'm feeling anxious. The secret for me is preparation!

For any new training courses, I prepare over and over, to the extent that I am probably over-prepared. As I said earlier, you don't have to be perfect. If you forget something, you're the only person that knows that you've forgotten it, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just relax.

I'm not professing to have the answers for you, how to remove those demons from talking you out of pushing forward. I want you to understand that we all have it and that you’re not on your own.

I have had the same thoughts that you are having, and I still have them when I’m faced with new challenges. If you’re having these thoughts or doubts either as a prospective student about coming to us and learning about management systems, auditing, consulting, wherever you want to head OR if you're already a student and now you're ready to take the next step, we’ve all been there.

If you can relate to these thoughts and inaction, please contact me as I'd love to have a chat and help you through that. Or if you have any other questions, I’m up for that too!

Stay calm ….

Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, view the video here.