Nadiya’s ABCD +R

posted in: Mindset | 0


This will be one of the many blogs (I’m sure) that will be written about the Great British Bake Off (#GBBO) today, tomorrow and for the next week or so – especially about its winner Nadiya Hussain.

Firstly, let me explain the title of this blog – the ABCD of Enterprise is something I created a decade ago to support workshops and sessions in Enterprise development and I’m sure, if you know me and Innovative Enterprise – then you’ll also know that it stands for:

– Attitude

– Belief

– Confidence and

– Decision-Making.

I know that the success of this business and my own personal journey has been made possible with my reliance on these four pillars…Attitude is the most powerful tool we have in our brain-power; Once you’ve mastered your own attitude (and use it positively to influence others) there’s very little you can’t do.

Once Attitude is your friend, you will start to develop your Self-Belief – mainly because when you start using a positive attitude people notice and feedback positively to you and (as long as you’re not ‘terribly British’ about it and bat the compliments away) you’ll start to get a positive energy – dare I say a buzz? – from being told you’re doing well.

Right, now to that most elusive of emotions and personality – Confidence – how do we get it? Sometime we strive for confidence and it eludes us – maybe, just maybe, we search too desperately for confidence as we see it as a glitter-ball of perfection, the Holy Grail of ‘being’ – and I think the more we search for it, compare ourselves to others in terms of confidence – the harder it is to find. Confidence in my experience with working with 80,000+ young people comes when we stop telling ourselves ‘we can’t do that…’ or ‘I’m not like that…’ or other such limiting nonsense and we TRY SOMETHING without preconceived notions of whether we can do it or not. After all, we didn’t worry about falling over (or looking daft when we did) when we started to walk did we?

Lastly Decision-Making is something, like teamworking and self-reflection, that some people find really tough. The ABCD is linear in my experience – once you’ve got a positive Attitude, your Self-Belief will grow which edges up your Confidence and this leads to better and more positive Decisions. Without Decisions we are stuck – petrified on the spot – even with the most powerful set of ABCs in the land no decisions means no movement.

OK, so what does this have to do with the triumph of the lovely Nadiya on GBBO? Well, I want to add the R of Resilience to this list – which is the final element that helped Nadiya to stay the course and win the competition. Many of the bakers in the competition had ups and downs, weekly roller-coasters of skill and then disaster – there were tears and tantrums and soggy bottoms (like the best Reality TV – but through it all they kept coming back and gave us their weekly vox-pops.

Resilience* is a big thing in education and life, giving up is easy, going home, taking the early-bath, not being bothered, CBA – call it what you want, it’s easy to give in when the going gets tough…living with yourself afterwards is the difficult thing though.

Overcoming challenging times is what helps us to increase our ABC scores and allows us to look in the mirror with pride not shame, helps us make positive rather than defensive ‘no other choice’ Decisions when they matter and finally helps us to build our personal power and our currency in fron of others.

As well as the baking challenges she faced, Nadiya’s initial feelings “perhaps people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake” through her weekly triumphs and lessons, Nadiya had to battle her inner-voice full of doubt and fear to push through the boundaries.

As the Guardian stated on 8th October: “That an Asian Muslim woman in a headscarf can win a thoroughly British competition proves that “Britishness” is a broader and more open concept than some would like us to think. It proves that whether you choose to wear a headscarf, a turban or a bowler hat, Britain is not limited by homogeneity but strengthened by diversity.”

The final words of this post are left to Nadiya herself – who spoke to millions (and became a ready-made meme) when she said:

“I’m never again going to put boundaries on myself ever again;

I’m never going to say ‘I can’t do it’;

I’m never going to say ‘maybe’;

I’m never going to say ‘I don’t think I can’;


And here’s her very own meme:


Bernie x

*one school we have worked a lot with – Our Lady & St Chad in Wolverhampton is a MASSIVE advocate of Resilience and have a number of ‘resilience days’ to bolster students’ personal development.