There is a banner stand in my living room!

Posted in On building my business, On Resilience on August 6, 2015 by racheljackson


I have been in business for nearly 8 years as an independent and for the first time (since getting delivery of those all important business cards), I have branded items in my possession.

I have just taken delivery of a banner stand, a large collection of pens and…wait for it…a branded mug and key fob – just the one for that exclusively mine feel! Isn’t it so true that it’s the little things that count? ;-)

My new landing page is also live with updates about the new Resilience Series running in the autumn.  Click on the link for more info.

…or if you are interested in getting people to talk to themselves and each other better…try this one:


Dates are booked and I’m writing web pages!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2015 by racheljackson

It feels odd to be sitting writing content for a workshop on Recovering from Motherhood…but so apt as that is what I feel like I am doing myself.

In the last two weeks I have booked venues, paid for banner stands, commissioned marketing and course booking work on the web and put a programme together for my half day FREE Resilience seminar which is now set for 23rd October at the Suffolk Food Hall just outside Ipswich.

I have also finally reached my first weight-loss/fitness goal and managed to put together a workable childcare schedule for the summer holidays so that I can write the Resilience Open Series courses and develop all my materials and marketing.  Its very very exciting ;-)

PS – if you want to come along, just drop me a line at

Things are hotting up…

Posted in Life and Learning, On building my business, On Resilience, On Women in Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2015 by racheljackson

So today I have spent my day juggling small boys who have accidentally spilt suntan cream/pressed exit on their Superhero Game and killed Spiderman/ emptied Travel Battleships pieces all over the floor…as well as negotiating with a Virtual Assistant from Time etc (recommended to me by Carrie Beddingfield from the glorious OneFishTwoFish), researching website redesigns and….agreeing to host a FREE Resilience session in October for HRDs across Suffolk and East Anglia in association with Waddington Brown HR recruitment specialists.

bouncing-backThe event will be a half day session aimed at fraught HRDs who support fraught employees, fraught managers (and equally completely calm “hand it to HR” managers) and generally work to keep the ship afloat whilst potentially also juggling a similar home-life to myself!

At the moment we are looking at a couple of venues in Ipswich with a ‘stay for lunch afterwards’ option and are hoping to offer 13-15 places for that intimate feel, with a potential for follow on events (also FREE) where demand dictates.

Delegates will be treated to a discounted rate on the Open Sessions that I plan to run in November/December on EI, Leadership, Recovering from Motherhood and Managing in Uncertainty

Details to follow.  If you are interested in registering your place, drop me a line at…and remember – its FREE!

Hard ways to learn

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 by racheljackson

This week I was reminded that there are many ways to achieve insight in this world – some more appealing than others and some more effective than others.  I mentioned last week that my son starts school in September and we had his school induction afternoon for which he insisted on dressing in his entire correct school uniform including the appropriate bag and socks.  Its possible he was trying to blend in with existing pupils and thus get into school 6 months early but I think he blew that plan by boldly directing a question to the head mistress midway through her opening speech!  I don’t know where he gets it from honestly!! He is so ready for school you can almost feel the magnetic pull of the books, brains and experiences tugging at him constantly.  He can’t get to sleep at night thinking of things like “Mummy – What is my hair made of?” and other crucial parts of the puzzle he is about to begin. When we look back at our school years are we still as aware of what a huge journey it was and quite how much we learned about the world and ourselves…or do those retorts of “well I’ve never needed calculus in my job or my life” just render it a waste of precious time.

By contrast I suspect someone in our local area learned an incredible set of lessons in a split second last week following a head on collision with a car whilst racing his L-plated dirt bike round the single carriage backroads near my home. I had been observing a growing group of young men donning their red L plates and enjoying the freedom of an engine under their control for the first time – swerving carelessly from one side of the road to the other, throwing exuberant wheelies past the high school and turning to see if they’d grabbed the eye of anyone standing outside. I remember that feeling only too well – released from parental eyes and effort-powered movement in the fresh warmth of early summer with mock exams over and only the finals to consider.  Beach parties and late night gatherings galore. But one young man will have a very different view upon this phase of his life from now on.  He is lying in hospital with a shattered leg and broken ribs and perhaps a slightly quieter spirit.

His friends seem…to borrow from the much read “Gruffalo’s Child” in our house…”a bit less brave…” with their riding techniques.  It is quieter in the evenings with the roar of revved engines gone…and with it has gone a certain innocence that my son is breathing for the first time…an innocence we would all recognise.  It is intoxicating and it drives curiosity and exploration and…of course…risk taking.

Insight is gained in a myriad of ways…and is in no way a privilege of youth.  Cultivate your curiosity, explore your world and all is has to offer…and take the occasional risk…its what make life worth living.

Becoming a Warrior

Posted in Life and Learning, Motivation, On building my business, On Dialogue, On Leadership, On Resilience, On Women in Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by racheljackson

In September my eldest son starts school.  I find it hard to believe that its been 5 years since my life as I knew it was turned upside-down and inside out by the realisation that the bus I had been driving for so long now had passengers…with views of their own!  To see him dressed up in his new uniform ready to build his own bus and start to drive it…based on observation of his newly acquired stabiliser-free cycling…is terrifying and satisfying all at once.  With my youngest bringing up the rear with constant questions and narrative about the world…I am starting to remember where I was going when this all started and am quietly pleased that in fact the holding pattern that I put in place back in 2009 has actually stood me in pretty good stead.  I am still self employed, I still have money in the bank and in the business, I am still in contact and working with many of the same clients, and in fact I have learned an awful lot about myself, emotional intelligence, resilience and mindfulness as well as leadership and organisational development along the way.  I have built new friendships and grown new skills in staff engagement, surveymonkey and bullying and harassment (training not applying!) at Colchester Hospital, been trained in Open Space facilitation and Dialogue by the amazing Sheila Marsh and Roma Iskander at the Participation Agency, designed new courses with Dr Angela Smith with some great exercises, and helped my husband set up the beginnings of a route out of the rat race.

This week I made a big step forward though…I have joined Sam Pollock’s amazing Warrior Woman programme – a weights-based, holistic, female only route to building not only my fitness, but also my commitment, courage and strength to get back to who I need to be.  I have pushed ‘prowlers’, strained towards my toes and hollered my way towards a successful pull up (yes just the one).  My goal?  To regain my own freedom of spirit.  My measure? The ability to hang from a climbing wall overhang and calmly lift my feet up to where I want them.

Building the Resilience of my sons

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2014 by racheljackson

Well I can keep telling myself that…I’m off on my belated honeymoon tomorrow.  Courtesy of my wonderful Mother-In-Law over from South Africa, my mum and dad, my amazing childcare ladies and the loving community and pre-school many arms will be wrapped around my two sons as their mother and father jet off to south east asia to attempt to rekindle some of the nappy-lost magic of their first meeting.  We will be leaving them for 2 weeks….2 weeks…the longest I have ever left them is one night…so now comes the guilt…

My husband and I spent our early relationship in deepest Derbyshire in a community of people for whom life was simpler, closer and more trusting than the world many of us inhabit.  I saw babies passed from mother to child to friend to neighbour and children brought up within a wider group of adults than the usual two parent model.  I loved it – and the children I met were more confident and independent than the often clingy and shy children I met ‘down south’.  We wanted this model – and in part it was the reason we moved back to my own upbringing in Suffolk to raise our children.

But when it comes to leaving them to be cared for by this community it is no simple matter – family, friends and strangers give me those stern looks and disapproving words…I scour the internet to see if I am indeed a poor, neglectful mother…and the media suggests I may be…but the decision seems so right to me instinctually and the kinds of mothers whom I aspire to be say they would have loved to do what I am doing but didn’t have a mother-in-law prepared to offer…to go for it…that the kids will be spoilt rotten…what should I believe….?

As departure looms closer I start to become paranoid about my son’s every move – is he happy, scared, worried, upset…traumatised???…or is he just picking up on the odd vibe from his mother who appears strangely tetchy?

Well…there is no turning back now.  I am booked to leave tomorrow morning come what may.  I fully expect tears on all sides and days and nights of restless sleep and turbulent dreams – but I choose to show my son that I trust the world around me  – even with my most precious possessions and that he can too…and to me, that is a choice which will make both he and his younger brother stronger….I hope…


Reflecting on Resilience

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 8, 2014 by racheljackson

I was looking back over my posts today thinking that it had been a long time since I found a moment to sit and write a blog.  I found this and decided to re-post it….

“A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared stuck.

The man decided to help the butterfly and with a pair of scissors he cut open the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shrivelled wings. The man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions. But nothing changed.Image

The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man did not realise that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.

Like the sapling which grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, in life we all need to struggle sometimes to make us strong.” – from Ack Paul Matthews

I am working currently at Colchester Hospital and we are going through what I hope to be a similar kind of metamorphosis. Having weathered the storms last year of Keogh and the CQC report into cancer data, we have recently enjoyed a week which has come to be known as “Time to Make Difference’.  Initiated by our interim COO Evelyn Barker, the week was set up as an opportunity for staff, managers, clinicians and consultants to take action on the things that they knew weren’t working and to try something else – something close to the NLP supposition of “If what you’re doing isn’t working – try something else”. 

Having spent many weeks meeting with and facilitating managers’ discussions around culture, leadership and change it has been incredible listening to the tales of red tape being cut through and patient care being prioritised over process and policy.  There has been a true spirit of innovation and improvement and the energy which has been generated across the Trust mirrors the story of the butterfly emerging from its cocoon.  This has been a tough, incredible, challenging and amazing year for me working with colleagues at CHUFT and I hope to continue being part of their transformation in the months to come.

On a similar note, I am doing my own little bit of transformation…discussions are just coming to fruition around working with resilience and stress management company InEquilibrium on a new contract supporting managers and leaders in a leading manufacturing firm to deliver Resilient Teams across their UK footprint.  It offers me the chance not only to spread my wings a little geographically, but also hopefully to work with a network of old colleagues whom I have missed since leaving the safe harbour of HayGroup. I am already working with InEquilibrium developing head teachers, social workers, housing officers and the like across various councils but I am looking forward to venturing back into private sector worlds.  


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