This is a beginning, graduates are told

Taking one small action can lead to a whole lot of actions to help reach your goals, says life coach and author Anne Harvey.

Ms Harvey was guest speaker at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology graduation ceremony at the Marlborough Convention Centre, in Blenheim, yesterday afternoon.

She recalled stepping in front of a camera at a photo shop in Blenheim for a student ID card 15 years ago, aged 37, with her four sons in tow, aged 1, 9, 11 and 13.

"I had driven to town from the Marlborough Sounds with my four sons, and arrived covered in dust, sweat and my youngest son's vomit."

Her will to get ahead surpassed the challenges she faced at the time, including a failing marriage, living in an isolated area of the Marlborough Sounds and raising four boys.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity it was important to accept life as it was, she said.

"Most of us have a case of the ‘should' and the ‘horribles' - most of us should [accept life] and when it doesn't go right, it's horrible."

"Life is not the way it is supposed to be - life is the way it is."

Taking one small positive action, whether it was getting a student ID, or smiling or dressing nicely for a job interview led to a flow-on of positive actions, she said.

It was even more important for graduates to remember this now they would be looking for a job: "‘You might feel like today that something is ending. Trust me - it's just the beginning."

That start in life had helped Ms Harvey buy two preschools in Blenheim, complete a diploma of life coaching, and receive the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Service in 2004. She has also completed a creative writing course at NMIT and written a book.

The Marlborough Express