Terry Prior


Diploma in Organisational Leadership




Heavy Construction Projects



By Terry Prior

Moving ahead with my new venture

After completing the rigorous application process and subsequently finding out that I had been accepted into the Diploma of Organisational Leadership, the extent of what I had signed up for slowly started to sink in.

It is natural at times for everyone to have some degree of self-doubt, and as a ‘very’ mature aged student I certainly did go through those feelings as I contemplated being placed alongside some very smart, switched on and savvy professionals far younger than myself who would presumably process information at the speed of light, versus my more sedate manner with regards to understanding new things.

Nevertheless, I had already made the decision to do this so that I could update my skills along with trying to be a positive example to my daughters and the graduates I work with.   So there was no turning back, and nor did I want to turn back.

Before attending the first module, I received some very useful guidelines of what to expect along with a significant amount of pre-reading material (which in itself triggered those self-doubt feelings again) due to the depth and complexity of the subject matter.

It was clear that this exercise really was going to push me outside of my comfort zone.  But worthwhile things are usually hard to get, and this was no different.

As the first module date approached my family waved me goodbye at the airport and I commenced the long journey from Australia to the UK with mixed feelings of excitement and pride, underpinned by a significant amount of trepidation!   Such long flights are always useful with providing uninterrupted time to organise the mind, revisit values and beliefs and in my case I made good use of the time for that process.  The ‘thinking’ time resulted in a very short mantra that I decided to use to assist with my immersion into the programme, namely:  ‘I enjoy being outside my comfort zone’.

Simple, but for me very effective, and to be honest repeated on a regular basis during the programme.

It was a long and very cold walk to Saïd Business School on the first morning of the programme, a complete contrast from the tropical heat that I had left behind 30 hours before, but on the positive side the weather provided a good excuse for the nervous twitch that appeared as I entered the building.  Time for more repetition of the mantra.

Once inside, though, it has to be said that the genuine welcome from the Business School staff quickly put me at ease, and the sign-in process was short, efficient and set the tone for the rest of the day.

After sign-in all new attendees were ushered up to the lounge for coffee where other new arrivals were gathered and very quickly good conversation flowed as everyone expressed similar pre-course nervousness and relief when they too discovered the warm and welcoming environment that we were all about to become part of.  An amazing cross section of people within the group from a range of backgrounds, nationalities and age groups.  –I still believe that I may be the oldest in the group, but was relieved to find that there were many attendees who were of my generation which was pleasing.

Most of the morning was setting the scene for the programme, with valuable presentations from a variety of Business School tutors and other specialists, presented at a pace that even I could understand.  It all felt good.  Felt right.

In the afternoon we started the programme for real.  It was time again to remind myself that I have chosen to do this and that I enjoy being outside of my comfort zone.

The content of my next blog will look at what it is like to sit through and participate in the programme presentations and subject matter.  But in closing, as a ‘mature’ learner I can only say that I was made to feel very welcome on the programme, both the tutors and the participants are world class and my honest opinion is that whilst this will be a ride where I will be truly stretched in every respect, I have total confidence that the tutors along with the cohort will be there every step of the way to ensure my success.

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