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.  


Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 by racheljackson

Oh my it has been a long time…and so much has changed…two young boys…a new house…a pretty much full-time role…a marriage…

For those of you with whom I have kept in touch – and have kept in touch with me…hello.  For those I’ve lost touch with for a wide variety of reasons…do get in touch…I think often of what a rich and coloured life I have lead and how many amazing people I have met, worked with, worked for and generally connected with.  I miss you all…where are you now?

Back to Work!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 by racheljackson

Having just come back from our first break with the little man in Italy, it is time to start getting my brain warming up for work again. What better than two intellectually challenging, motivated and clearly well-connected individuals to start my day with – a call with the HR Director of one of my much loved clients regarding our upcoming Resilience work with the chance to also “chew-the-fat” a little about how to develop coaching as a practice and a behaviour across the organisation…and then a great conversation with a new contact about the current state of coaching, coach accreditation processes, marketing and the like…really got me thinking about how to kick start myself back into work.

Resilience Conference

Posted in On Resilience, Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 by racheljackson

I have lately been speaking to an old colleague about childcare and how the whole feeding process works when you pass your child to another person for a full day.  Given that I am still breastfeeding and the small amounts of pureed this-and-that I am adding into Leo’s diet are hardly enough to sustain him, its something that is causing me some concern. As someone who despite sometimes looking a little “seat of pants” does actually like to plan ahead, the reason for my concerns is the fast approaching date of the Resilience Conference at Brighton University on the 5th April.  I know its still a month away but when your preparation involves pumping ounce after ounce of milk from your body rather than printing business cards and brushing up over-dinner networking lines, it pays to start early!

To be fair though, I do also need to brush up a little on my networking.  This is in many ways my first day back at work and having recently put together both a resilience diagnostic and a two day workshop plan based on many days of prenatal reading and researching, I am keen to see where the world of Resilience finds itself and even keener to ensure that I become a part of the growing focus on this highly relevant and  growing development area.

If you are interested in talking Resilience, or catching up at the conference, do get in touch – through my website – or my mail  I promise to try to avoid boring you with nappy-tales! ;-)

I’m still here!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2011 by racheljackson

Although there are days when I’m not quite sure who “I” am.  Motherhood has been a transition beyond anything I could have imagined.  From an independent, feisty, intellectual and free-spirited soul, I am now – for at least the time being – only capable of discussing breast-feeding, weaning options and the latest noises Leo is making.  I do try but my world seems to have shrunk dramatically and my conversational skills with it.  I now fully understand all those little smirky laughs people gave Brad when he said “well it doesn’t mean the whole world will change”.  My mornings used to consist of high speed multi-tasking before sitting down to write client workshops or coach other professional in leadership or personal change.  Now even getting the dishwashing and washing done can be a task broken into many phases to fit between feeding, comforting and generally tending to the needs of his lordship!

It makes me realise what an amazing growth path we all tread from these early days of helplessness and dependence  and how many connections and influences it takes to get from here to adulthood.  I look forward to taking this new perspective back into my work as I ease back into the land of the grown-ups with my first workshop coming up in June.  I also look forward very much to catching up with old colleagues, may of whom I would also consider as friends, and making new connections. Til then, I hope to begin trickling a few passing philosophical thoughts  back into my blog just to get the old cogs back in working order…assuming I have a spare hand free of babyrice ;-)

Life on the other side

Posted in Life and Learning on November 8, 2010 by racheljackson

As some of you will already know…the last couple of weeks have been a  little chaotic and the fact that I’d spent the previous few weeks finalising my new Resilience programme has stood me in pretty good stead!

Firstly my motorbike was stolen – the sole transport for my partner to get to and from work without leaving me carless or requiring me to get up and take him to and from the train station. Secondly my partner was requested to carry out additional works on his property to deal with an urgent damp problem. So these two in my final weeks of pregnancy were a bit of a challenge to say the least.

Against this background, I went in to hospital late evening on the 29th October (3 days early) already 2cm dilated and with strong contractions and gave birth to Leo at 5.53am after a bit of a battle of wills – he wanted to stay in, Brad and I wanted him out :-)

He is – as are all babies to the eyes of their parents – the most beautiful ever. Weighing in at 7lbs 4oz and with a thick head of chocolate brown hair  he is feeding and sleeping well and we are both very proud of him.

Brad, for his part, added to the excitement by luring me down to the beach I have grown up around and proposing to me – so life continues to keep me on my toes and remind me that sometimes letting go of the plan and “not knowing” is the best move.  I accepted of course :-) so from a random, singleton encounter in the woods north of Chiang Mai, Thailand 18mths ago on a 3mth escapist jaunt, i am now a mother and bride to be…who’d have thought it…

My next challenge is learning to type one handed and at speed so that little Leo can enjoy his cuddles whilst I update my long overdue travel blog – that and learning to sleep in 2hr blocks round the clock :-)




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