Growth Mindset

Academic Self-Efficacy: Upgrading Your NeckTop Computer

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Did you know that you are walking around with one of the most amazing computers right on top of your shoulders!?!

Yes, your NeckTop Computer! Even this wonderful organic machine needs software upgrades now and then. Teach it how to learn, remember and adapt. By consistently learning, you upgrade your software, which makes your life so much easier because you can understand information at a quicker pace, store that information longer and be able to show off just how much you have learned by being able to handle those pesky quizzes, tests or exams 😉

BrainComputer.pngBrain Facts

  • About 100 billion neurons make up the human brain.
  • Each neuron connects approximately 10,000 neutrons together.
  • The human brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more it is used. That means you have more neural networks to process information and more memory capacity. The more you learn, the better your brain gets.
  • For all of you environmentalists…your NeckTop computer is powered bio-electrically! Just eat things that are healthy for you…feed and power this computer!

Learning How to Learn

Learning how to learn starts with developing your Academic-Self Efficacy; the belief that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete your courses and that you have the ability to improve, when necessary. For example…


  • Knowing how to schedule time to accomplish tasks.
  • Knowing how to take notes.
  • I knowing how to study to perform well on tests.
  • Knowing that you are good at research and writing papers.
  • Knowing and feeling that you are a very good student.
  • Having the experience of usually doing very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • Consistently finding ways to make your academic work interesting and absorbing (even when it is not at first).
  • Knowing that, despite obstacles, you are very capable of succeeding in your post-secondary program.

4 Ways to Develop Academic Self-Efficacy Beliefs

  • Performance accomplishments: The experience of mastery influences your perspective on your abilities. Successful experiences lead to greater feelings of self-efficacy. However, failing to deal with a task or challenge can also undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
    • If you avoid doing class presentations because you feel anxious or nervous, you never have the opportunity to improve, adapt, develop skills and believe that you can do this. Yes, despite how anxious you are, you can learn to at least survive presentations. I did.
  • Vicarious experience: Observing someone else perform a task or handle a situation
    can help you to perform the same task by imitation, and if you succeed in performing a task, you are likely to think that you will succeed as well, if the task is not too difficult. Observing people who are similar to yourself succeed will increase your beliefs that you can master a similar activity

    • Look around your classroom and your life. Who seems to “have it all together” or seems to know how to write papers, to study or to write tests. Ask them about their process. Observe, try and improve based on the experience of others.
  • Verbal persuasion: When other people encourage and convince you to perform a task, you tend to believe that you are more capable of performing the task. Constructive feedback is important in maintaining a sense of efficacy as it may help overcome self-doubt.
    • Ask for feedback from friends, classmates, professors/instructors or tutors. Learn from the constructive; learn from the encouragement.
  • Physiological states: Moods, emotions, physical reactions, and stress levels may influence how you feel about your personal abilities. If you are extremely nervous, you may begin to doubt and develop a weak sense of self-efficacy. If you are confident and feel no anxiety or nervousness at all, you may experience a sense of excitement that fosters a great sense of self-efficacy. It is the way people interpret and evaluate emotional states that is important for how they develop self-efficacy beliefs. For this reason, being able to diminish or control anxiety may have positive impact on self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Learn about YOUR brain. Learn more about this awesome computer. I have written extensively on emotion regulation, stress management, anxiety, check out some of my other posts to learn more about managing, understanding and improving your own NeckTop computer.

Adapted from the following source: Click Here


Step-by-Step Process


  • Academic Self-Efficacy Mindset: Start with building your Academic Self-efficacy mindset (above). This prepares your mind for the software upgrade process
  • Study Skills Questionnaire: Start with an assessment of your study skills tool kit. What you have; what you need.
  • Study Skill Toolbox: Make a list of skills that you already have. Make a plan for the areas you would like to improve (upgrade the software).
  • Software Upgrade: Start searching online or in human interactions, for tips, strategies to learn different ways of improving in the following areas:
    • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
    • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
    • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
    • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
    • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
    • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
    • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective.
*I used to have a 1969 VW Beetle that I painted red foot prints running from the back, over the top to the front. I could totally post rationalize that it was because I so strongly believed in the step-by-step human growth and change process, but really it was because I loved bare feet, I was very poor and the red paint was free 😉 I have grown 😉

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Study Skills Questionnaire


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Let me know what you think, what topics you would like me to cover or ideas you have. I would really LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Leaning In: Learning to Show Up in Your Own Life

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Be the Main Character of Your Life

This can be a difficult mindset to develop, but it is definitely easier to live as the person Gotta Make Things Happenwho “leans into their life”, solves their own problems, makes stuff happen and navigates their life from the helm. There is so much truth to the advice “it gets hard before it gets easier”. This involves learning to bounce back from failures, developing flexibility in your thinking, finding solutions to your problems and building your assertiveness skills.

Wait, what? Aren’t assertive people BORN assertive?!?! you ask..


Well, no actually! Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive; and; in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it considered a highly  learnable skill and mode of communication. So ha! yes, yet again I am pushing you to build the skills that you need to be the most successful version of yourself. Yup, what a meanie I am 😉

Want to be more assertive so that you can have better control over your life?

Check this out



Showing Up in Your Own Life

Here are some guiding questions to get you thinking about what it really means to fully show up in your life.

Where are you showing up in your life?

Start with understanding where you feel the most at ease being your full self and then ask “why don’t I feel this in all aspects of my life?”

How do you show up in your life?

Do you tend to be cautious and hesitant in your life, perhaps waiting for others to do things for you? Showing up in your life with 100% effort is the only way to go. Whatever you do, wherever you go, be fully present and ready to show up BIG. Solve your problems, learn new ways of coping or thriving and design your life.

What keeps you from showing up?

Maybe you feel insecure or uncertain about how others perceive you. It’s almost always our own negative self-perceptions that block us from being our true selves, and showing up in the world. Acknowledge these fears and work with them. Experiment with new ways of doing things.

What does it mean for you to show up?

The idea of truly showing up in your life can be scary and invoke a sense of panic. Fears around not being accepted or acknowledged run deep in our bones. Showing up in your life now means trusting that you are enough, and that you offer value on many levels. Yes, you are interesting!

Where can’t you show up?

We all have limitations so be realistic about the places that are impossible for you to show up. Sometimes avoidance, being quiet or simply observing can be all that you need to be present and assertive in that moment.


Hard Roads

Still Feel That You Just Can’t Move Your Life Forward?

Please check out this amazing and inspirational TedTalk, “Living Beyond Limits” presented by Amy Purdy. I challenge you to use 9 minutes of your time to change your mindset. You will be inspired.

When she was 19, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now … she’s a pro snowboarder (and a killer competitor on “Dancing with the Stars”!). In this powerful talk, she shows us how to draw inspiration from life’s obstacles.


How will you answer Amy’s question?

If life were a book, and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?




Assertiveness and Self-Confidence…

…are really great friends…

Here are some statements to help you get into the right frame of mind for writing your own story; making your life happen as you create it.


Assertiveness Bill of Rights

The “Assertiveness Bill of Rights” can really help you to develop a thinking framework that can shift you to a more self-respectful approach to your life, in balance with respect for others. This mindset shift can also help you to “lean into your life” and make your life happen and your story come alive.

  • I have the right to be treated with respect.
  • I have the right to have and express my own feelings, beliefs and opinions.
  • I have the right to be listened to and be taken seriously.
  • I have the right to set my own priorities.
  • I have the right to say no without feeling guilty.
  • I have the right to ask for what I want.
  • I have the right to get what I pay for.
  • I have
the right to make mistakes.
  • I have the right to assert myself even though I may inconvenience others.
  • I have the right to choose not to assert myself.
  • I have the right to be human.


To start building assertiveness, start with asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Am I comfortable meeting new people in social situations?
  • Am I able to say “no” without feeling guilty or too anxious?
  • Am I able to express strong emotions such as anger, frustration or disappointment if I need to?
  • Can I easily request help and information from others?
  • Do I feel capable of learning new things?
  • Am I able to acknowledge and take responsibility for my own actions?
  • Can I tell others when their behaviour is not acceptable to me?
  • Can I speak confidently in group situations?
  • Do I believe that my needs are as important as those of others and should be considered?
  • Can I assert or maintain my beliefs even when the majority disagrees with me?
  • Can I express anger and disappointment without blaming others?
  • Do I value my own experience and wisdom?

If you said “no” to any of the above questions, ask yourself “is this something I want to change in my life?” and if so, “what small steps am I willing to take?”

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What do you want yours to look like?

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Perspective: The Relationship Between Failure and Success

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Inspiration Friday!

Last week, I was sent an email from a reader, Bella Campbell, a content coordinator for Online MBA Today. I was so honoured that she reads my blog! She created an inspirational infographic that illustrates the important role failure plays in our success. So many people think that if they are not successful when they attempt something that somehow that defines them as a “failure”.


Failure is just part of the process; and when you adopt that perspective you lower the risk of labelling yourself inaccurately. Just because you feel like a failure, does not make it true. Check out one of my previous posts addressing unhelpful thinking patterns; particularly Emotional Reasoning, to learn strategies for creating helpful thinking patterns that assist you on your road to success.

See the infographic below for some perspective, inspiration and an introduction to the power of paradoxical thinking. Ah, the paradox, seeing failure as a good thing helps you to gain perspective, focus on the task at hand with a brain state that is more receptive to retaining information.

Check this out!



Click Here for the original post by Bella Campbell.

Highlights from the Infographic.
  • 90% of business startups will fail. 42% of those startups fail due to a lack of market for their product. Construction companies have the lowest 5-year survival rate at a mere 36.4%.
  • J.K. Rowling herself claims to have “failed on an epic scale” and was “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless”. Of course, once she introduced the world to Harry Potter, now a $15 million brand of her creation, things changed for her. Her estimated worth is now $910 million.
  • Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and later realized it “was the best thing that could have ever happened to me”. He went on to build an empire that led him back to his own tech start-up and became a billionaire. 4,000 people now work for Apple.
  • Bill Gates knows that, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Gates dropped out of Harvard and his first start-up, Traf-O-Data went under, making him no stranger to failure. However, he went on to become the billionaire owner of Microsoft and is well known for being an extremely charitable philanthropist. He was 31 years old when he started Microsoft, and became the world’s youngest self made billionaire at the time.
  • Michael Jordan is a man who knows that failures are necessary for success. In his younger years he did not meet the minimum height standard and was passed over by coaches. Now, he has a championship record and an apparel line with Nike. He is currently estimated to be worth $1 billion.
  • “Success is failure in progress.” This is a famous quote from none other than Albert Einstein. He was once expelled from school, then refused entrance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. However in 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in theoretical physics.
  • Abraham Lincoln went on to become one of the most influential Presidents of the United States, but only after failing in business and suffering a nervous breakdown. He also lost 5 elections before he was elected to office. One of his best quotes on the matter of failure, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”


5 Key Steps for Turning Failure into Success

…from the infographic

  1. Investigate what went wrong.
  2. Learn from your failure.
  3. Realize that you have nothing left to fear after failing, because you’ve got nowhere to go but up.
  4. Recognize that accountability is a very important part of turning things around. If you are the reason you failed, own it and move on.
  5. Innovation:Trying new things can often lead to failure, but at least now you are more apt to take risks.


There have been many epic fails in my life and career. Those were painful lessons; but memorable and powerful, and without those moments I would not have achieved so many of my personal and professional goals. 

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Try Something NEW?!?! Terrified? Growth Requires Expanding Your Comfort Zone

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Comfort Zone - 2% Mindset

I want to take this opportunity to introduce a wonderful colleague of mine, Kim Hill! She will be the guest blogger today. It is pretty cool to have her share her expertise with you today because she will be talking about learning something new, living outside your comfort zone, which is exactly what she is doing by blogging! So cool! So cool!

Emotional Intelligence growth really requires us to try new things outside our comfort zone. Yes, it can be hard, painful and overwhelming at times, but really, that is where the growth, “The Magic” happens.

Take it away Kim!

…the new techie version of yourself 🙂

This blog is about the fear of trying something new!

I have never blogged before so this is something I am trying for the first time too! I understand the uncertainty and fear associated with trying something new.

Let start by defining “Something New”  let us start with the things it is not! … drugs, sex and rock and roll.

Let us say the something new is…

Meeting new people,

Doing a class presentation,

Driving a car,

Travelling alone,

Going to a job interview,

Going on a date.

The difficulty with trying something new is…We really do not know what to expect!

That is what makes it NEW!

….and very challenging!

Sometimes our thoughts and our worries take a hold and sometimes will not let go!

….all of the “What if this happens”, “what if that happens”, “what if I look stupid?” , “what if people laugh at me?”, “What if I fail!”, “What if I cannot do it!”, “What if What if?

See how difficult it can be?

… and why we want to avoid this pain.

Ok Breathe,


Calm yourself,

…and remember your early learning self…

Let us not get paralyzed by the “what ifs”, no matter how loud, no matter how interfering they can be.

Come with me on a little journey…

…let us go way back…way back when you were young and inexperienced…


Think about the first time riding a bike.

  • It may have looked scary, and challenging and foreign … how can anyone balance on those two wheels?
  • Parents or siblings were coaching you and supporting you with words of encouragement …”You can do it, just try!”… “I will be holding the seat until you are steady to do it on your own”.
  • But the fear of pain and falling was an interfering thought..and you may have said “I can’t do this!”
  • You then saw your friends easily riding bikes…
  • The coaxing, encouraging and support from those around you, convinced you to give it another try.
  • Before you did, you may have asked others when and how they learned.
  • Eventually, you decided to try it again!
  • It felt uncomfortable, shaky, uncoordinated and nerve racking!
  • “I’m going to fall” … is what you told yourself.

A few attempts later…

…..maybe even a few falls

….but all of a sudden…..

You were able to RIDE A BIKE!

The process is the same for trying anything new.

  • Calm the fear.
  • There is support, encouraging people and information out there … you just need to look.
  • There may be challenges and difficulties, but that is ok! That is part of the process. Don’t let it stop you. Just try it!
  • Practise…Even super athletes must practise a skill they are good at.
  • Be flexible, adjust and learn from the challenges.
  • Accept the NEW learned behaviour as another skill you have acquired! Make it part of your life.

Thanks Kim!!

I just want to take a moment to say that Emotional Intelligence growth is uncomfortable and overwhelming at times, but so worth it. Growth in the 15 Areas of Emotional Intelligence can help you learn new things, take on the challenges in your life, help you to manage your stress and, most importantly, you will have the tools to become the best version of yourself.

Later today…

I will upload an Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire to help you assess where you are at

and set some growth goals.

Check Back Later Today!

Thank you so much to those who have emailed me comments! I love hearing from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Emotional Intelligence = School Success: Really? Yes, the Math Does Add up!

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Emotional intelligence, or Emotional Quotient (EQ) has been researched for over 40 years, well technically since the 1930’s as Social Intelligence, and consistently it is found that EQ is a strong predictor of success in many areas of life; work, school and relationships. So what is the magical EQ that I speak of? There are many good theoretical models of EQ, I have chosen to focus on Dr. Reuvan Bar-On’s model which breaks EQ down into 15 Areas of Emotional Intelligence.

Here is the all important technical definition to help get you thinking:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is an array of non cognitive abilities, skills and competencies that influence your ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures. EQ addresses the emotional, personal, social and survival dimensions of intelligence, which are often more important for daily functioning than the more traditional cognitive aspects of intelligence (IQ).

So what?


My recent research focused on student Emotional Intelligence levels, student engagement in the academic process and persistence through the first year of college (most risky year for drop-out). What I found was that students with higher EQ overall, participated more on campus, in class and in general college life (engagement).

Higher EQ means a stronger “ability to engage” leading to an increased chance of success.

Ability to Engage

You can improve your EQ!

What we know in post-secondary student success is that students who engage, or participate actively in school in and out of the classroom, succeed. Period. So, consider joining me over the next few months to foster your EQ and increase your chances of successfully completing your first year, and your college program.


Take a moment to read over the 15 Areas of Emotional Intelligence and try to predict what your Top 3 Strength Areas are and your Top 3 Growth Areas.

Next week I will add an Emotional Intelligence Assessment for you to complete. Over the next two months I will be focusing on one of the 15 areas weekly to help you enhance your EQ. I will be talking about EQ, Academic Self-Efficacy and Career Clarity, as well, in relation to your success as a student and your post-academic life. I really want you to do all that you can to develop your EQ so that you can achieve the goals and dreams that you have set for yourself.

The reason that I am so passionate about student success is that education changed the trajectory of my life immensely. Completing post-secondary education and training, increased the amount of control I have over my own life, it enhanced my ability to financially support myself and family life and allowed me to work in an area that I absolutely love…working with students. 

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life”

Tara Meyer Robson