Behind my mask, when I took my driving tests for my D Class and my Z endorsement, was pure fear. I did not expect to experience such stress. I did not expect to experience driving test nerves.
The mask I normally wear is a mask of confidence. It is a mask that says: I am okay and I have it all under control.
My first driver’s licence was issued when I was 16 years old. In those days, if you completed a driver’s education course, all that was required at the examination centre was successful completion of a short multiple choice exam. Within ten or fifteen minutes, I had my driver’s licence. No fear. No stress.
Totally different experience when I took the DZ tests.
What would happen if I did not pass the DZ tests? We would not be able to bring the coach home as we had originally planned. And because Lorraine was delayed in taking her DZ courses, my DZ licence was on the critical path. No one else in our family would be able to pick up the coach from the dealer.
I did not want to let Lorraine down.
Failing something can be hard to take. Failing something can be embarrassing.
There were fifteen people in my class and every person was stressed out over the written and practical tests.
Why was everyone so nervous? What consequences did we face?
It then became clear to me: being nervous in these situations is actually pretty normal. The thing to watch out for?
Fear of failure often leads to failure!
It is so important to shift the nerves and anxiety into positive energy.
I told myself that I can absolutely do this. I told myself that I can ace these tests and, as it turned out, I did. Out of 160 test items over four different exams, I missed only 2 questions.
I used 4-7-8 breathing to ease my nerves and anxiety:
- Slowly breath in through the nose for 4 seconds
- Hold the breath for a count of 7
- Slowly exhale for a count of 8
Repeat this process a few times and suddenly the nerves and anxiety levels calm down.
I did not treat the driving test as a test. I told myself that I was going for a drive. I have been driving for over forty years now. I know how to drive. Sure, I don’t often drive 4o-foot vehicles weighing over 30,000 lbs, but I know how to drive.
When I started the drive, I knew I had it. I knew that I could show the examiner that I could safely operate this class of vehicle.
“Congratulations!” he said at the end of the test. “You aced it.”
Lorraine took her Z endorsement training last week. And she had her tests on Friday. She was also nervous and anxious. She also aced the tests. Learning to control our nerves and our anxieties is part of life. Getting our commercial driver’s licences for our motorhome was a milestone in getting ready for our new adventures.
That was another important part of the process for us: keep ourselves focused on the goal. This was simply just another step in the process.
We get to drive the coach home this coming Saturday.