Archive for resilience

Who is teaching who here?

Posted in Life and Learning, On Resilience with tags , , on May 24, 2017 by racheljackson

You couldn’t make this up – but bear with me whilst I unfold the tale…

Last week a friend of ours bought a gift for our boys – a Star Wars construction kit to make a U-Wing. My eldest (6.6 – and yes the 0.6 is important) claimed this prize and between us we carefully inserted tabs and bent pieces until the model was complete…and I have to say pretty impressive.

Alas my youngest (nearly 5 – the ‘nearly’ is equally important) was upset – where was his model? I dutifully went onto Amazon and found the same brand but this time a model AT-AT. It arrived the next day – thanks Amazon – and whilst my eldest was in the bath, my youngest opened the package and filled with smiles. I suggested he keep it to himself until the morning as Leo would only want to play with it and he reluctantly agreed…only to sneak into the bathroom and wave it in front of his bathing brother with glee.
I put Ben to bed gripping his model-book ready for the morning….and went to put Leo to bed…who was now sad. “Why can’t I have an AT-AT?” comes the standard parental nightmare. “Do you think Ben would swap with me?”

Bedtime complete, I go downstairs and attend to my evening – helping my husband evaluate an umbrella (don’t ask) and watching the repeat Planet Earth II offered (the one with the snakes) to replace the Broken series we had planned to watch. We hear a few toilet trips upstairs but nothing really worth a walk up the stairs…until 10.15 when we are turning lights off to go to bed. I hear Benjamin’s door close, a quick dash across the landing and a hastily turned out light.

I find Leo with a fully completed AT-AT model in his hand sneaking into his brothers room to put it by his bed! It appears he has spent the last 2+hrs in his ‘bat cave’ with an angle poise lamp painstaking constructing what was in fact quite a tricky model. His eyes tell me he knows this may not have been the right choice…”I’m sorry – Ben wouldn’t have been able to make this so I did it for him…” he offers hopefully.
I do the necessary chat about “you’re going to be so tired for school” and “you should have asked first” but with secret pride in my heart I go downstairs to discuss how we should best handle this parenting dilemma. Between myself, my partner and two fellow mums over Messenger we agree that it could be an incredible act of love…or a devious lack of resistance to an envied toy. Either way it was clear that believing the former made us all feel better…and we went to bed – gently placing the completed AT-AT outside Ben’s door.

My youngest wakes at about 5.30 every day…and this morning comes into my room to update me on his wee colour (again – don’t ask!). Nothing is said about Star Wars or model making….

At 7am Ben comes downstairs and asks his dad whether he can help him to make his Star Wars model. Confused, dad reviews the presented model book – complete with all the pieces in their places as new….

It turns out that Ben had spent his morning carefully deconstructing the whole kit and painstakingly placing all the individual pieces back into their allotted places in the model book so that he could make it himself. There was no question about how it came to be made and outside his door – no complaints, no arguments, no pointy fingers or tears…he had simply fixed the problem…

…and we think we need to teach our children….

On a day where we are still reeling from a young person’s apparent decision to eliminate a number of other young people from this world at the Manchester Apollo please feel free to share this simple act of brotherly love with friends and colleagues.

Our children are born with the capacity for immense love, resilience and creativity…we need only nurture it.

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Forgive me….

Posted in Life and Learning, Motivation, On Resilience with tags , , , , on November 5, 2015 by racheljackson

…because I’ve just REALLY enjoyed my work!  Two weeks ago I ran my first free resilience seminar at Suffolk Food Hall for a great group of HR experts from a wide range of local businesses and it was FUN!

Today I ran another workshop at the CEFAS labs in Lowestoft courtesy of the lovely Karin Rundle who gave us her great lecture theatre for the morning – and I had FUN again.

90% of people are dissatisfied with their job and many are stressed and frustrated and unable to see the way out. If you want to get back the FUN and bounce in your role, maybe these words from an old old source will resonate with you. image

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 racheljackson@changingdialogues.com…and remember – its FREE!

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.

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.  

Christmas – only one day..

Posted in On Resilience with tags on December 14, 2009 by racheljackson

I know there’s a few days to go but I can already feel the adrenaline levels rising in my system and it made me stop a moment to reflect; Despite being heavily marketed as a time for get-togethers and warmth, Christmas is also very personal experience based on memories, anticipated futures and individual circumstances. There are many who dread those few days at home; people for whom the financial crisis has rendered Christmas down to one more bill to pay; people who face a difficult relative or a tough family gathering; those for whom Christmas recalls painful losses or traumatic pasts . So for those of you who find Christmas a time of panic and anxiety…a few words of Resilience before you pull the curtains shut and try to ignore the twinkley lights peeking through the blinds:

Christmas is in fact only one day.  If you stretch the boundaries it might be two days (to include Christmas eve carol singing and boxing day up to the point where you fall asleep on the sofa).  Even for those with the most demanding schedules it’s only a week.

Many people create a vast monster of the Christmas period in their heads.  The spent-pound signs are large and flashing; the pile of washing up is positively elephantine; the in-laws come in packs of 20! Now imagine looking forward to that kind of Christmas and you might well understand why it should be dreaded!

Maybe you’d like to let go of your picture of the old Christmas today instead of after its all over…so grant yourself a break and take a little exercise to imagine – in fact recall the feeling you always have on the day after Boxing Day…that quietly satisfied feeling of having eaten, drunk, unwrapped, given or exchanged.  See the TV or the fire flickering in its usual corner. See the house – or indeed the office – in its empty, calm, off-duty kind of way where there is no requirement to run around and be productive because no one else is! Smell the sausage rolls and left overs serving as every unthinking meal and breathe in the crisp winter air and quiet scenery on the inevitable walk-it-off event between Christmas and New Year. You know what…it might just be a Christmas you could enjoy…it might even be one that goes by faster than you’d like…

Whatever your experience of Christmas…let it be whatever it is, and know that you do have a choice…you could carry on like it didn’t exist! You actually could you know…no turkey, no time off, no presents, no parties, no spending, no silly games….sound like fun? In that case choose what you want from Christmas this year…and then relax and let the rest wash over you. Christmas is, after all, only a day!

Talking about Growth

Posted in On building my business, On Dialogue, On Resilience with tags , , on December 2, 2009 by racheljackson

Yesterday I met a wonderful couple at their home south of Manchester to talk with them about their work in the field of facilitating dialogue.  Janice and Phil McNamara from Summerhouses have, over the last few years, travelled an inspiring journey together and now work together using their diverse experiences and background to help schools, colleges and organisations improve the dialogues they share.  As someone who is also passionate about this field, it seemed bordering on criminal not to catch up with them to talk.

As the tea flowed and we nattered, the openness and authenticity of our communication enabled me to reflect on my own journey and the challenges and gifts that have shaped that journey.  It brought to mind something my partner has often repeated to me in my moments of fear and growth:

“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.

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

The description of my day that I had given to my partner which prompted him to repeat this wisdom once more was “somedays it feels like I am standing on a bar-stool trying to pin something to the ceiling!”. Those days are tough days to get through and I find myself testing all my resilience capabilities to find the courage and faith to move forward. I equally find that I learn more in those days than I could ever have imagined – and meet the most amazing people travelling similar paths.

To stick with the butterfly metaphor, each time I feel the urge to cut the cocoon and take the easy way, I reach out and connect with new travellers; I beat more blood into my wings and it reinforces my sense that I am travelling the right way…both in direction and in pace.