camelon, coach, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

What is your motivation?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 6 May 2021

Earlier this week, I saw this tweet from a force for good in Community Development – Cormac Russell, MD of Nuture Development:

Truth is, *the needed* need *the needy* more than *the needy* need *the needed*

Cormac Russell

Take a moment to read that again, just to really take in what he is saying here. He also went on to say that “Society perpetuates the opposite story; because there’s an entire segment of the economy tied up in commodifying human needs”.

Okay, let’s break this down a bit. What this basically boils down to is looking at why people help others or provide services to meet local needs. There are those who believe the help has to come from ‘outside’ the community whether that is from the local authority or some other support agency. There is a real danger here that a support system solely running on this basis can lead to (and arguably has already) the long term damage of individuals and communities, who lose the belief that they can make a difference themselves. They become so reliant on external help that they cannot see any other options. So often they become seen as those who just look for the next handout and sadly, there are those who will turn on them for being like that. However, if it’s all you’ve known then it’s difficult to break free from that without someone genuinely walking with you to help you.

On the other side of things, those providing the support from external organisations believe they are genuinely making a difference by providing what is usually just short term sticking plaster support, and also get some kind of goodwill power trip from doing so. Okay, I’m generalising a bit here and there are some amazing people who genuinely do make a difference within these external groups. They are appreciated but are often in the minority as the others just do what they’re told to do, clock off at the end of the day and switch off.

Essentially, we’re talking here about the difference between sympathy (I’m sorry you’re in this position but here’s some help) and empathy (I know what you’re going through – I’ve been there – I understand – what do you need – how can I walk with you).

If we’ve learned nothing else over the last 12 months of living through Covid-19, so often the help we need is right under our noses and exists in amazing levels within our own community. We have seen fantastic support services grow up within communities that are led by people in our communities based on the real local need. Okay, some have jumped on the bandwagon for different reasons but the ones that have really stood the test of time are the ones who truly understand the needs of the people around them and truly engage with and involve those people. They will meet the immediate need but then look to really understand where each person is at and what they really need to move forwards.

This also comes back to something I bang on about a lot – stop doing stuff to people and start working with them. The word ‘alongsider’ has come to the fore so much lately. This is about really listening to local people and working with them to achieve whatever needs achieving. I’ve even heard Council staff saying they’ve had to learn how to listen to local people over the last year. That may sound like a sad statement to hear and in a way it is, as it took a worldwide pandemic to make them do this. But I’m going to take the positive from it and hope that we will begin to see a real change in how support and community benefit is enacted. Here at OPCT we will continue to work to ensure that any transfer of activities or even transfer of power is meaningful for you the local people and not just something that seems to be the right thing to do but is essentially a way of saving budgets elsewhere.

So, back to where I started with this blog: what is your motivation for doing what you do? What is your driving force? Are you in a position right now that you’re happy with? Are you doing what you really enjoy? What, if anything, needs to change for you? What support do you need? Our impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching Programme can help you to truly understand yourself and your motivation. It will help you to take time to look at where you’re at, what obstacles might be in your way, and how you can move forward in a supported way. If this would be of help to you, check out the information on our coaching page then give me a shout. I’d love to walk with you in this and before you ask, I can genuinely say that I’m doing this because I have seen the benefits of it and have always wanted to help people reach the potential that is within them. I don’t have to do this – I want to.

Until next time……

Dan Rous communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk 07444 873151

camelon, community, Our Place, tamfourhill

Friday Feature – One Year of OPCT

On Monday evening we celebrated (as best we could on Zoom) the first anniversary of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill. It’s been a strange year to say the least but there was plenty to celebrate and look ahead to as well. So today, we wanted to just share some of the highlights from the evening which began with a recap from Lynne Boslem of Tamfourhill Community Hub on how OPCT came to be. Then Dan and John took over to give a review of their highlights from the year. You can watch their presentation here:

John then went on to launch his Community Safety Strategy. You can watch his presentation and read the strategy for yourself at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/safetystrategy.

Dan then launched our impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching Programme. Again, you can watch his presentation and learn more about how coaching can help you or someone in your group/organisation/circle of friends at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/coaching1to1.

We then heard from local author Kev McPhee about how his writing has helped him through lockdown and how he wants to encourage people especially facing a life caught in addiction that there is hope and a better way to live with the right support. Watch this space for more on how OPCT will be assisting with this.

Our next speaker was Kevin Harrison of Artlink Scotland (Camelon Arts host) who spoke about the Our Connected Neighbourhoods local pilot to make Camelon and Tamfourhill a dementia friendly neighbourhood. Message us for more information on that.

Finally, we had some questions and comments from the gathered crowd including a word of thanks from Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn.

It was great to celebrate but next year will be even better as, all being well, we can be in a room together with actual cake! Thank you to all who have supported, engaged, encouraged etc over the last year. Here’s to so much more in the next 12 months.

Dan Rous and John Hosie
Community Coach and Community Safety Engager
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Coaching 1 to 1

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 29 April 2021

At our First Anniversary Celebration event on Monday, I officially launched a 1 to 1 coaching programme that is FREE for you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. This is not sports coaching, but personal development coaching to help you, the coachee, to fully live out your potential – whether that is personal or professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The video below is my talk from the event where I explain what Coaching is and crucially, what coaching isn’t. This can really make a difference in your life and help you move into the potential that is within you – no matter what stage you’re at.

If you don’t fancy watching the video, then you can read things for yourself below that. Once you’ve watched or read, if you want to book in for a series of coaching sessions with me, or to find out more for yourself or someone you’d like to refer, then please email me at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk and we’ll have a conversation. There’s also more information over at our dedicated 1 to 1 Coaching page.

What is 1 to 1 Coaching?

Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their potential – both personal and professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.

The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce outcomes that satisfy the coachee.  Much is expected of them: it is their responsibility to imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.

What Coaching Is

Coaching is about the coachee – their goals, their learning, and their growth. Together, coach and coachee will discover the potential within them.

Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. The coachee is the expert on their life. A coach uses coaching techniques such as deep listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remaining supportive.  The focus is on assisting the coachee in discovering insights and taking next steps in pursuing their calling.

Coaching is about action – the coachees action. Each session the coachee will determine 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. It may be surprising how quickly the coachee will progress toward their goals.

Coaching is about all of the coachee – not just work or personal life.  We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. A coach recognises these patterns and will support the coachee as they change and grow.

What Coaching Isn’t

It is not therapy.  Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented – for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.

It is not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.

It is not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within their coachee.

It is not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. A coach will push a coachee beyond what they might think they can do, but will always be supportive. The coachee is in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act belongs to the coachee – and them alone.

Why Does Coaching Work?

Coaching works because it brings out the best in the coachee; a coach believes that coachees can create their own best answers and is trained to support them in that process. During coaching sessions, a coach will:

  • Listen. The coachees story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what they are saying, encouraging them to discover what their potential is.
  • Ask questions. A coach uses questions to stimulate the coachees thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
  • Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. A coach will hold and honour their coachees vision, progress, and efforts.
  • Facilitate while letting you lead. A coach facilitates learning and problem solving.

A coach is not in charge, nor do they set the agenda.  A coach is simply here to help the coachee to engineer their future.

Why Use a Coach?

The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.

  • To make significant life changes
  • To make better decisions
  • To set better goals and reach them faster
  • To address changes in location or employment
  • To reduce stress, isolation, or uncertainty
  • To progress personally
  • To improve your relationships
  • To make a bigger impact on the world
  • To be a better leader
  • To better understand who you are
  • To simplify or prioritize your life
  • To evaluate your pace of life

Our Coaching approach

  1. Leverages Strengths
  2. Provides Clarity and Focus
  3. Instils Confidence
  4. Catapults Learning
  5. Fosters Intentional Progress
  6. Rubs Off on Others
  7. Encourages achievable Goals/Dreams

You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.

Andy Stanley, The Next Generation Leader

So, does this sound like it could be of help to you or someone you know/work with? Then get in touch and let’s get started! Drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk to start the process.

Until next time…

community

Launch of the Community Safety Strategy for Camelon and Tamfourhill

The Strategy document is the start of a community engagement process

The first anniversary celebration of the Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill Project was a great success, there was positivity , enthusiasm and good news and virtual celebration about the first year of the Projects work in the community. There will be recordings of the evenings highlights available soon so keep an eye out on our social media if you want to catch up with the presentations and different inputs as we reflected back on a bizarre year, showcased our successes and looked forward to what was planned ahead. The evening provided an ideal platform for myself to launch the new community safety strategy for Camelon and Tamfourhill.

Presenting the community safety strategy at OPCT first anniversary celebration

Although the local strategy and priorities are a community led plan and they represent the voice of local people, I also have to acknowledge the wider national context that we operate within and be aware of the central driving forces and priorities of the main partners that we will be working with in the coming months. Falkirk Council: The Falkirk Plan, Locality Plans and strategic property reviews, community planning partnership, criminal justice system, Scottish Government social policy & economic development, emerging drugs policies and a movement away from a punitive approach through criminalisation and the courts towards regulation, harm reduction and health focussed approaches. This is the context the local strategy sits within and these are some of the wider agendas that most align with our own local activities.

In a recent blog I discussed the Scottish Community Safety Networks election manifesto for 2021 and in particular I emphasised this section: The SCSN believes that communities will be safer if there is more involvement of people in communities in the planning, delivery, and development of the services that they use, they go onto stress the fundamental importance of youth work and Community Learning & Development and an emphasise upon working together through creating local partnerships which keep communities safe. This then will be the guiding principle of our local community safety strategy, it will promote community development and capacity building facilitating the local ownership and delivery of new projects and initiatives, especially with young people and the development of new local youth work opportunities. There is the assertion within the manifesto that there must be more involvement of people in communities in the planning, delivery and development of services that they use, or often what is referred to as co-production. This ethos has been taken forward on confirming the local community safety strategy.

The local methodology and process of consultation, included: the community identifying its local priorities and the areas that were felt to require action, activity, and development. The process deployed included: surveys, 1-1 interviews, focus groups, meeting stakeholders and partners. 

We have 12 key outcomes , and a raft of activities and plans that will enable us to reach these outcomes successfully, it is dependent on agencies contributing to that process and buying into this strategy , some activities, actions and Projects will meet several of the outcomes, however the indicators or contributions of these activities will be measured with different criteria and we will look at different indicators derived from the activity depending upon the key outcome, so working with young people in the community will contribute to the key outcome around ASB but it will also make a significant contributions to other key outcomes like the improvement to our open green spaces , the strategy is therefore cross fertilised and interconnected where activities and community projects will be serving to meet several key outcomes concurrently.

The full strategy document is now available , so please get in touch with myself if you require a copy : communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or Mob: 07391524548, here is a summary of the 12 key outcomes of the strategy:

The overarching aim:

Camelon & Tamfourhill will be a safer, happier, and more attractive place to live

The Community will have greater capacity to address the negative impacts of ASB.
Young people will have increased opportunities to have their voices heard about the issues that affect their safety within the community
There will be an increase in the number of Young people involved with projects and activities that address community safety and reduce risk taking.
There will be an increase in the provision of recovery and support opportunities for individuals and families who have been impacted by substance use and the criminal justice system. 
There will be improved Community cohesion.
The level of community anxiety about local substance use will be reduced.
Local people will have greater confidence in the agencies that deliver relevant community safety services.  
There will be improved partnership working and greater collaboration between the community and agencies.
The quality of the local green environment and open public spaces will improve through a reduction in the quantity of littering, fly-tipping, and dog waste.
Public spaces and the green environment will have an increase in the amount and diversity of use by local groups and individuals.
There will be greater road safety with an increase in the level of Active Travel.
The community will have an improved sense of security and reassurance about their homes, property, and assets.
A future community development opportunity

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, safety, Support, tamfourhill, training

Friday Feature – Let’s Celebrate

This is a reminder that on Monday next week (26th) we will be gathering on zoom at 6:30pm to celebrate the First Anniversary of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill.

Despite not being the first year any of us would have planned, our team have still managed to achieve great things with you in the community and are well set for so much more in year 2 and beyond.

We’re just sorry that restrictions don’t allow us to do this in person – hopefully next year! So for now, head over to Eventbrite (link below) to register your free place so you get the link, then on Monday evening, bring your own cake and join in the celebrations.

As well as reviewing what has happened so far, John will be speaking about the Community Safety Strategy and Dan will be speaking about our Development Coaching programme. Plus we’ll hear from local author Kev McPhee and others about some great opportunities for you in Camelon and Tamfourhill including how you can get involved and shape the way forward.

So please join us if you can. The link to register is https://opctgathering2021.eventbrite.co.uk

camelon, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Keep the main thing the main thing

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 April 2021

As we begin to move towards more things opening up and less restrictions, this is a good time to take a look at why you do what you do. Whether you’re doing something in the community, or have been in a job for years, or are just starting out with something – knowing why you do it is crucial to your success and, more importantly, your inner happiness.

Way back in July of last year I wrote a blog entitled Why, How, What, that referred to the order you should plan anything. Always start with why you want to do something and only consider how you’ll go about it and even what you will do once the main purpose – the why – is set in your mind.

It’s a revolutionary mindset that isn’t really rocket science, but is something that Simon Sinek pioneered back in 2006 after a period of not just dissatisfaction in his work but an inability to even do what he was meant to be doing. He’d lost sight of his ‘why’. Once he found it, his life turned around completely. His passion was restored. His productivity increased. He was a happier person. Have a quick watch of this video in which Sinek explains more about this as part of the 10th anniversary of ‘Start with Why’.

So what about you? How are you feeling about whatever it is you are doing? If you’re responsible for something that is only just about to reopen after lockdown, do you still believe in why you’re doing it? Can you even remember what the ‘why’ is? I was recently chatting to a friend who has just left the corporate world and managed to enjoy the Easter break with her family before starting out in a new community focused role afterwards. She is enjoying her life again because she’s fulfilling her ‘why’.

Now, let me be very clear that this blog is not an instruction to just go and change what you’re doing! You may be living and working right at the heart of what you were put on this earth to do. You are living the ‘why’. If that’s you – allow me to celebrate with you. But if you feel a niggle inside you. If you struggle to get going with whatever it is you are doing. If you just feel there’s something else you’re meant to be doing, my advice is to look into that more. Don’t make any rash decisions. Think this through properly. Research things. Speak to your family and your close friends – those people who really know you. Really dig into the thing that makes your heart skip a beat.

If it will help, I can offer you some coaching sessions that will guide you to be able to come up with the answers within you. If that would be of interest, then please give me a shout at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or 07444 873151.

Finding your ‘why’ and living it out is the most liberating thing you can do in your life. I look forward to hearing your stories about this in the future.

Until next time……

community

Plastic is suffocating our Planet, what we throw away in on our street ends up in the ocean and then returns to poison us and our environment.

Young volunteers taking part in group discussions about the problems of discarded plastics

What we learnt from the Canal Clear ups

Terrible truths about plastics

A recurring theme throughout the Canal clear ups was how our littering actions locally actually impact upon the world globally and then come back to affect the quality of our lives locally. A big circle of environmental damage and pollution that will affect every one of us in our daily lives. The young people who took part in the workshop sessions at Tamfourhill Community Hub came up with highly creative ideas about how we can start to reduce the damage that we are causing by our constant use and dependency upon plastics.  Top of the list is the need to get rid of single use plastics like drinks cups and juice bottles and we need to stop them getting into our food chain through their pollution of animal habitats. One of the groups suggested that we ned to start using bioplastic, made from plants and therefore will break down naturally once we have finished using it, edible plastics was another suggestion so that fish can eat them safely once they end up in the seas. Governments need to get more involved and ban certain products like plastic cups and carrier bags can be taxed so they discourage people from throwing them away after using them which will also generate more cash to help tackle the climate emergency and the worldwide plastic problems. Young people felt that not enough people knew about the danger and consequences of what all this plastic was doing to the planet and so we had to raise awareness and having days like the canal clear up days was a really good way of highlighting the issues with the wider community. The biggest and most consistent message was that we must stop people dropping the litter in the first place, we must find ways of discouraging this destructive behaviour. The journey of a piece of dropped plastic like an Iron Bru bottle thrown into the canal was discussed and the process by which it ends up in the sea as it travels through our water system. Once in the sea it is then eaten by fish that we end up eating in our fish suppers, so it therefore comes back and poisons us through digesting the dangerous chemicals derived from the plastic which are now in the fish.  Here are some of the terrible facts and concerning realities of what plastic is doing to our environment:

There is an island of Plastic rubbish on our ocean which is the size of France

The amount of plastics discarded in our oceans contributes to global warming

The Plastic theme was very evident at both the canal and towpath litter picks, the most frequent litter that the groups removed were plastic bottles and discarded drinks cans, these items were by far the largest and most significant type of litter that was being collected.  I was again reminded of the scourge of thrown away plastic when I met up later in the week with the community volunteers who were taking part in the first if our monthly community litter picks. A big thank you to the group that worked in the sunshine, along Carmuirs Ave, around Elizabeth Crescent and clearing the back courts along the Glasgow Road. One of the volunteers highlighted to me the damage that leaving plastic does to our wildlife and animals and she described some horrific injuries which were  often fatal that are being inflicted upon hedgehogs due to discarded plastics, and I am therefore keen to promote the work of the Forth Hedgehog Hospital and their rescue line : 07815914912 or contact them at: queries@hedgehoghospital.org.uk, I would also point out this can also happen to your family pet, plastics are getting into every bit of our lives, the animals around us and the food we eat.  

Our plants and animals are getting poisoned by our discarded plastics and then are entering into our food chain

The Canal Clear ups will be operational monthly from May to August, there will be open community sessions , and others targeted at local groups and organisations, if you would like to book a place or find out more then please contact myself John R Hosie at: communitysafetyengager@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or give me a phone on 07391524528 , I have announced in past community safety blogs that Tamfourhill Community Hub is a national clear up Hub through Keep Scotland Beautiful, so our littering gear is always available for booking out, insurance can be provided and the rubbish that you collect will be uplifted by agreement with Falkirk Council ,you just need to contact  myself and complete a borrow form and you are away, and if you would like to be part  of a regular community litter pick, which will also involve an outdoor social activity, then the #tidycleangreen regular monthly litter picks will take place on the  first Thursday of every month at 4pm and to get involved with these then contact myself again at the same numbers. (Next Community litter pick is Thursday May 6th, Election day, location still to be confirmed so please keep out an eye on our Facebook page for further information)

The Community volunteers tackle the Glasgow Road area

Thanks to Ella Gorman at Falkirk Council Waste Services for producing and presenting the above slides on Plastics and world pollution.

camelon, coach, community, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Slow down to go faster

From the many things we have learned or developed over this last year of restrictions, the gift of extra time is high up on many peoples list. A few friends of mine normally had a 60-90 commute to work each way – so they’ve gained up to 3 hours a day. What an amazing gift! The trick of course, is what to do with that time. Many have taken up a new skill or started a new exercise regime (whatever that is!). Others have been able to spend much more valuable time with their family. But come on, hands up who vowed a year ago to learn a new skill or start something new, but all they’ve developed is a working knowledge of NetFlix?!

So, as restrictions start to be lifted, that extra time may still be there so what are you going to do with it? How are you going to manage it? Or if you’re going to lose some of that time for reasons beyond your control, how can you still remain as productive and chilled as before but without moving towards burnout? The answer – slow down to go faster!

That may sound weird but stick with me.

Ever heard the phrase ‘slow and steady wins the race’? And any Top Gear fans will know that part of the trick of getting a top time on ‘the lap’ is often to take some of the corners slower and more controlled. It’s not about ‘pedal to the metal’ all the time. It’s about consciously slowing down. Let’s explore this a bit.

John Ortberg describes this idea as “cultivating patience by deliberately choosing to place ourselves in positions where we simply have to wait.”

So if you regularly say you haven’t got time, this quote seems to indicate that there’s a choice you can make to make that time and it usually comes by doing less but doing it better. Now before you lynch me – especially the parents reading this – I’m a parent too and I’m also good at taking extra stuff on. So I’m speaking as much to myself here! Lets learn and develop together!

John Mark Comer, in his book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” lays out four practices for unhurrying your life, and one of those is the practice of Slowing. He explores ways of slowing down both mind and body. I get that. I’m pretty good at slowing my body down but my mind is constantly on the go and that can be just as tiring. So Comer lays out 20 ideas (stick with me – I’m just taking 12 of them) for slowing down your overall pace of life. Ironically, even though I’ve not taken all the ideas, I’m still going to race through them! I’ll give my thoughts around his headlines with a few quotes from him interspersed. The first few relate to something most of us do regularly – driving a car – but then we move on to life in general.

  • Drive the Speed Limit. Okay this is the law, but how many would say they might just see what they can get away with. Why do it? Forget the “instant gratification of a life of speed” and just slow down.
  • Get into the slow lane. (This will apply more from Friday when you’re allowed to go into other local authority areas!) Comer says “settle in. Feel the wheel, the road. Watch the scenery pass.” Use the time as a chance to practice slowing of your mind as well. It really works.
  • Come to a full stop at stop signs. Again, this is actually the law according to the Highway Code. But how hard is it to do this? You just keep on rolling a little until you can move on safely. There’s an in built desire to keep moving but even if you’re not driving, how about occasionally just coming to a complete stand still in whatever you’re doing. Intentionally.

So let’s move on from driving and take some other ideas:

  • Get in the longest checkout line at the supermarket. This will probably be an unpopular one and I know most supermarkets will open another till if the queue gets too long! It seems like wasting time on purpose doesn’t it. But this is why Comer does this: “It’s a way to slow down my life and deal with the hurry in my mind. It gives me a few minutes to come off the drug of speed. … And when I get up to the cashier … say hello, ask a few questions, and say thank you. (Rather than my default of paying for my items while texting with work, while podcasting via headphones, all the while treating the poor cashier like an ATM instead of a person.)” He suggests it’s wise to “regularly deny ourselves from getting what we want … that way when somebody else denies us from getting what we want, we don’t respond with anger”.
  • Turn your smartphone into a dumbphone. Now I can say I’ve done this. The simplest way to do it is to turn off all notifications except for calls and texts – even just allow texts from select people. You could go further and actually remove the apps from your phone if you want to go hardcore. But taking away the notifications stops you being a slave to your phone. You can choose when you’ll look at it. Choose when to go on social media. Choose when to respond to someone who doesn’t need an urgent response. Delete every app that you don’t need or doesn’t make your life a whole lot easier. Keep your home screen as free as possible. And here’s a powerful one: “Set your phone to grayscale mode. This does something neurobiologically that I’m not smart enough to explain, something to do with decreasing dopamine addiction. Google it!” Or better still, just get a basic phone – you know, the ones that just phone and text and might have the snake game on it. It’s about taking away things that could drain your time unnecessarily.
  • Parent your phone; put it to bed before you and make it sleep in. Comer and his wife put their phones ‘to bed’ at the same time as their kids: 8:30pm. He says “we literally set them to airplane mode and put them in a drawer in the kitchen. Otherwise we burn time and end up frying our brains with blue screens rather than winding down for bed.” But how will you discuss things on social media about the latest episode of Line of Duty? Here’s a thought – do it tomorrow! Maybe even just give someone a call to discuss it?
  • Keep your phone off until later in the morning. Comer says “The stats are ominous. 75% of people sleep next to their phones and 90% of us check our phones immediately upon waking. I can’t think of a worse way to start the day than a text from work, a glance at an email, a quick (sure…) scroll through social media and a news alert about that day’s outrage. That is a surefire recipe for anger, not love. Misery, not joy. And definitely not peace.”

We’ll take a pause here to point out that “none of this is legalistic. These ideas are simply self-imposed guardrails to keep the trajectory of my life between the lines and on the way to life”.

  • Set times for email. Pretty much every self-help writer, time management study, workplace efficiency expert etc all say the same thing. I struggle with this but am getting better. Listen, if something is that urgent the other person will phone you and you can answer calls. So don’t just glance at the emails when you get a free moment. Don’t answer randomly through the day. “Set a time to do email and stick to it”. The accountant for my previous job did exactly this and put it on her auto email response so you knew when you might expect a response from her. I know there have been times I’ll turn the emails off on the laptop so I can focus – especially when a deadline is looming! Most experts will recommend no more than twice a day for email. Comer points out “the more email you do, the more email you do“!
  • Set a time limit for social media. This is huge whether personally or professionally. How often have you opened the app and started scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. The next thing you know the programme you’d put on to watch has finished and you’re still scrolling. Comer says “it just eats up my time and with it, my joy”. Why not even set a daily allowance of social media time – there are apps to help you with that. If you can, why not even try coming off completely? If it wasn’t for a work need then I might consider that. Social media can be really helpful but it can also become a hotbed for negativity. It’s so easy to bang out a comment without really thinking and without facing much comeback on it. Things can grow arms and legs so quickly. For me, give me a proper conversation with someone – even if it is on Zoom – rather than just 280 characters in a tweet and then another one and another one.
  • Turn off your TV. “Even more than social media, TV consumes the lion share of our so-called free time. For the average person (note – this was written before lockdown!) that is up to 35 hours a week.” How much binge watching have you done on Netflix recently? It may not be something to be proud of when you look at what you could have been doing. Check this out: “when asked about the competition from Amazon Prime and other up-and-coming streaming services, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, shrugged. He said their biggest competition is sleep”. Wow. That is what the world has become. Creating something that competes with sleep. And we wonder why we’re not as productive as we used to be.
  • Single-task. Now I’m a guy quoting from another guy. We all know the line that men can’t multi-task. I beg to differ having worked in catering for a while when I first moved to Scotland. But read this: “multi-tasking is just sleight of hand for switching back and forth between a lot of different tasks so I can do them all poorly instead of doing one well.” Or what about this: “multi-tasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to extend our power and our effectiveness. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing”. Ouch!
  • Walk slower. Unless you’re late for picking your kids up from school (go on – admit you were watching something on telly or you got lost in social media? See above….!) then just walk slower. You’ll still get to where you’re going. Now I’ve lived in London. I’ve worked in Edinburgh. You know the pace of people. I’ve even found myself clocking someone else going in the same direction and pretending I’m in a race with them to the next lamp post! Just me?! Comer says “One of the best ways to slow down your overall pace of life is to literally slow down your body. Force yourself to move through the world at a relaxed pace.”

As we’ve said, these are just some ideas. They might not all work for you. So why not come up with your own ideas as well. But don’t just come up with a list – actually put them into practice. To finish with a word from Comer “There’s more to life than an increase in speed. Life is right under our noses, waiting to be enjoyed.”

So if I don’t respond to you quickly. If I’m walking slowly. If I’m just that bit slower. Join me!

All quotes taken from John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry published by Hodder and Stoughton.

community

The Easter Clear up is underway

Last Wednesday saw the first sessions in our Tidy, Clean and Green Easter tour begin with an extraordinarily successful Canal Clear up carried out by local youth groups and an incredible effort by members of the Addictions Support and Counselling Forth valley Recovery Group to clear the grass area next to Camelon Juniors FC Car park of all the discarded rubbish. The efforts of both events were noted and praised by many local people and the feedback on social media has been tremendous, so I would like to use this week’s blog to thank the partners who made this collaboration so successful and who helped demonstrate that when we all work together, we really can make a significant difference and create a community that is Tidy, Clean and Green.  The Canal Clear up has been supported by a generous grant from the Great Places Falkirk Development Fund and their contribution has enabled the participating groups to engage with the social and natural heritage of the canal and make a difference to the safety and quality of this great green space. The day’s activities were delivered and supported by Scottish Canals, TCV Scotland, Falkirk Council Waste Services, St Mungo’s High School achieve group and coordinated as part of our local community safety programme. The Easter school holiday fortnight has a youth focus on the canal whilst other community volunteers are concentrating on the streets and public spaces in Camelon and Tamfourhill. The great news is that the Canal Clear ups will be running monthly from May to August so there will be plenty of spaces and opportunities for local people and their families to get involved.   I will detail in next weeks blog and in our social media platforms how you can get involved and I would encourage you to come and make the most of the experiences, in addition to helping look after our environment, the younger participants are all receiving certificates of volunteering through the Saltire Award and other accreditations are being gained through learning new water-based safety skills.

Please enjoy these photographs from last week’s clear up along with some of the quotes from the participating young people:    

“Something I didn’t realise was just how much litter there actually was”

The youth groups excelled at the workshop session held at Tamfourhill Community Hub when they learnt about the danger of plastics to the environment and how we need to think global but act local.

There was a real social aspect to the days activities , new friendships were made through the different challenges on the canal

I learnt new skills using a paddleboard but I didn’t know that canoes are so hard to paddle

next time I would like my own canoe

I really enjoyed being with my new friend and learning how to use a canoe

And finally a view of the wonderful job the ASC Recovery Group carried out to clear all the litter from the grass area beside Camelon Juniors FC Car park: The difference is night and day

camelon, coach, community, development, leadership, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

What do you see?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 8 April 2021

When you look at other people in the community – what do you see?

It may seem a strange question, but it’s an important part of community development especially when we take time to focus on the real assets around here – the people. We need to see past any initial reaction and purely focus on the person within. That can be hard especially when we look at the different types of people we might come across and the labels we may attach to them, even subconsciously. But it’s really important. Here’s some categories that came to my mind:

Life Labels

  • Youth; Criminal; Addict; Troublemaker; Helper; Retired; Active/Inactive; Unemployed; Student; Safe; Community Activist; Deaf/Blind.

Nationality Labels

  • Local (Kemlin); Incomer (New/Recent Resident); Refugee; Scottish; People of Colour; ‘Foreign’.

Language Labels

  • Local; National; International; BSL; Digital.

Do any of those ring true for you? You may have thought them but have you even said them? Or have they been said to or about you? Some may be said in jest but have you really meant any of them in a less than positive way? Don’t worry – I’m not asking for feedback here! These are all questions for you to think about yourself or to reflect on any things that may have been said to you.

Everyone of these labels that will have been applied to someone locally at one stage in their life can cause people to act and speak differently towards them. Whether positive or negative, they can create a stigma that usually is unhelpful. It can weigh that person down and not make them feel part of the community or alternatively, can create an elite kind of group. Either way it’s not great.

We all have a label that is much more positive to use – our name. It’s how we’ve been addressed since birth and is who we are. That’s not to say we are not any of the things listed above, but they do not define who we are. Every person – yes even you! – was born to change the world and deserves to be seen as the individual that they are. Every person has the right to achieve the potential they were put on this earth to achieve. Whether the time you’ve had up to this point has been positive or negative, it is never too late to achieve that potential – and to help others achieve theirs.

One further question for you. If you’re looking to support someone to move forward, to grow, to achieve their potential – how do you approach that? Essentially, do you see a person or a project? (Okay, sorry, that was actually two questions!) However positive you may have been about the labels we explored above, if you simply see them as a project you can ‘do’, then you might as well have been negative with those labels. Whoever they are – whatever the journey they need to go on – they are still a person. Our role in supporting them is to do just that – support them. Have a look at this quote from my friend Maff Potts, who heads up a fantastic organisation called Camerados.

This is a perfect summary of how I see my role. But to be honest – I do struggle with this because I’m a fixer! I love to sort things. But I have learned over the years – and especially over this last year – that this doesn’t really help – not in the situation we’re in just now. I came across the use of the word ‘alongsider’ last year and it’s perfect. I have worked in this way before and I do love it. It is perfect again for what I do and how I want to encourage you to do as well. Come alongside people – just as they are and as who they are. Step out among the people who you might not even naturally go towards. Hey, you might be pleasantly surprised. And next time you’re walking around the area, don’t just see things – observe. Truly look at what you see. Look beyond the labels and see the people that live here. Everyone has a part to play in the development of our community and I look forward to more opportunities to play my part.

Until next time….

Dan Rous, Community Coach, communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk, 07444 873151