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

Why not?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 22 July 2021

Last week in this blog, I asked the question “why bother“. Many of you read it and some took the time to comment positively about it which is nice, but now I want to encourage a bit more action. So, in direct answer to last week’s question, I give you answer “why not“!

Okay, I accept that’s a question not an answer but I think it’s acceptable in this case.

The communities within Camelon and Tamfourhill need more people who will stand up and say “why not”. People who are not willing to look for excuses not to get involved. People who, when they see something that needs doing or where helpers are needed, say “yeah okay, why not. I’ll do that.”

We do have many people like this who have stepped up, said “why not” and used their time, talent and resources to make a difference. Some have been doing it for many (many) years and others are new to it. Here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, we want to celebrate those people, many of whom don’t even want thanks, praise or recognition for doing what they do. The unsung heroes. Obviously there are the big things like running Community Centres or Sports Clubs where we find many amazing “why not” people at the helm. But then there’s the smaller things which are arguably, just as (or maybe more) important. The person who picks up the litter in their street. The person who regularly does their elderly neighbours shopping. The person who checks in on someone to make sure they’re okay. The person who helps out with a club or activity. The person who checks the accounts for a small community group. The person who reports issues to the relevant authorities so they can be dealt with. The person who organises a get together of people in their close. I could go on…..

The thing is, many of these people have done these things for a long time and could do with some help. Many local organising committees are short on numbers. Many things need to get started but it needs local people to step up to make it happen. As I said last week, times have changed from when you could rely on statutory bodies to provide every service or activity you need. So do we sit back and moan? Do we rant on social media? Do we complain? Or do we say, yeah, why not, I’ll help out, tell me what I can do.

Now that’s all very well if you have the relevant skills to do something. But I know some of you will be concerned that you won’t know what to do or have the necessary skills or qualifications for it. Guess what – we can sort that. If you are not confident in your own abilities then we can sort that too. Here are just some options for sorting these and other things:

  • I can provide 1 to 1 development coaching for you to understand what you might need, what you could do, and to help you find the ways to move towards your potential.
  • We have partnered with NHS Forth Valley to bring the THRIVE to Keep Well programme to the area for the first time, as a pilot for women but hopefully for the whole community if this works – click that link for all information and contact details as there is still time to sign up for the August start of this programme.
  • We are partnering with the Employment and Training Unit and a new charity called 4 The Benefit of All, to bring various personal and skills based training to the community for free – watch this space for more on that soon.
  • I have access and links to various information, support, guidance etc to give you all you need to get involved in whatever it might be. All you have to do is ask.

So what will you say “why not” to? What do you see in the area that you think you could do something about or get involved in. What don’t you see happening that you think should be?

I am currently working with a couple of groups of local residents who have an idea, have seen a need, and have said “why not”. My job here is to support exactly that kind of thing. Whether its setting the group up and getting funding, or just making connections, finding premises and volunteers, and dealing with authorities, I’m here and at your service.

So why not bite the bullet and voice that idea that’s been hanging around your head for a while? Why not speak to someone you know who might be a good help with whatever it is you’re doing? Why not take that step towards finding your potential by finding out what training you could do or how you could get back into work?

If you’re in any doubt, just say “why not”!

Until next time

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

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

Don’t just speak – say something

Community Coach blog, Dan Rous, 17 June 2021

I was relaxing the other evening watching “Later… with Jools Holland” when he introduced a song from UK jazz musician Emma-Jean Thackray. She’s quite a talent, being listed as a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, bandleader and DJ! The style of music hooked me in and I was really taken by the use of a sousaphone by one of the musicians – not something you see every day! But it was the title that really got me thinking and became the seed for this week’s blog (not what you really want at 1030 on a Friday evening but that’s my commitment to you!).

Just think about the song title for a second – Don’t just speak … say something.

I wonder what thoughts that has brought to your mind. Feel free to share either in the comments or by messaging me directly. But for me, its about making sure that whatever comes out of my mouth is worthwhile, helpful, and not just said for the sake of it – that the language I use is to build up not to knock down. I could also apply that to this blog, where I try to put out useful material that will be of interest to you. I’m really grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received from readers which is helpful in knowing this blog is not just reaching people but is having the desired results. I accept that the subject each week will not be for everyone, and the same can be said for some of the things we generally want to say in life. Is this really something that everyone around you needs to hear or is this us just voicing a thought in our head that we really just need to work through ourselves or in a specific conversation directly with someone?

So, let’s look at this in relation to our daily lives. What are we speaking or saying generally? As we’re chatting to people at the school gate, in the shops, on the bus? What about when we’re ‘chatting’ to people on line or making a social media status update? Are we just speaking for the sake of it or are we actually saying something?

While we ponder all that, here’s the lyrics from Emma-Jean Thackray’s song:

Open your eyes before you open your mouth.
Stick out your tongue and let me look inside.
I want to find what’s down your throat.
Open your heart to open up your mind.

Those pearly whites do they really shine?
Are they even real? They look too bright.
I want to find what’s deep inside.
If you must speak, show us your mind.

Don’t just speak…
Say something.

Blogger Reno Omokri says “Don’t speak because you want to say something. Speak because you have something to say. The more you talk just to say something, the more your listeners lose respect for you. The more you talk because you have something to say, the more they gain respect for you. And when listening to people, don’t focus only on their words, or you may miss out on what they‘re really communicating. Pay attention to their demeanour, their eye contact, or lack of it, etc. People lie with their spoken language, but hardly with their body language.”

I’d say that really sums it up, so you’ll be pleased to know I don’t have a lot more to add!! But I think the timing of this is really important as we’re beginning to move back to higher levels of activity and therefore more interaction with people. For those who haven’t necessarily had much direct human interaction over the last year, conversations may have been extremely limited, so this is a good time to remember even how to interact with others.

And the other side of this is actually looking at the person you’re talking to. As Emma-Jean says in the opening line of her song “open your eyes before you open your mouth”. What can you tell about the other person before you speak? Are they actually in the right frame of mind to hear what you feel you want to say?

It’s also important to understand that this doesn’t just refer to the general statements you say, but also the questions you ask. By that I mean asking the right kind of questions that will help you get the answers you need – and bear in mind they might not be the answers you’d like! Business advisor Belinda Lui says “The problem is, most of us ask terrible questions. We talk too much and accept bad answers (or worse, no answers). We’re too embarrassed to be direct, or we’re afraid of revealing our ignorance, so we throw softballs and miss out on opportunities to grow.”

This is a key part of our impaCT coaching programme during which our coaches will actually help you to ask the right questions of yourself and then to work towards finding and understanding the answers for yourself. It will help you to move towards your potential which includes how to interact better with others. There’s more information on all of this on our coaching page.

So as I close for this week, let’s all just think more about what we say, how we say it, and why we are saying it – both in person and online. And let’s give as much value to listening as we do to speaking. These are huge parts of community life that will further build on our community spirit as we regain the art of truly meaningful conversation.

Until next time, if you want, here’s Emma-Jean’s song for you to listen to!

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

camelon, community, Mental Health, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill

Don’t suffer in silence

Last weekend, another young life was ended too soon. What makes it worse, is that this local young person chose to end their life. No-one should feel so much without hope that they feel this is their only option. So what can we do about it for ourselves and for our community?

Firstly, let me remind you that it is okay not to feel okay. And as Vasundhara Sawhney, quoting Dr Jaime Zuckerman, says, “Not only is it okay to not feel ‘okay,’ it is essential. An abnormal emotional response to an abnormal situation IS normal. We cannot simply pick the emotions we want to have. It just does not work that way,” Dr. Zuckerman said. So feeling sad and scared about my parents after they contracted Covid was normal. Crying after you get into a fight with your partner is also normal, as is feeling anxious and scared about an uncertain future. When we think we might lose something we care about, that’s sad. When we don’t know what to expect next, that’s scary. We should let ourselves, and other people in our lives, feel these things as they come up — which may be more than usual right now.”

Secondly, (and I know this is easy for me to type here but not so easy in reality), there is no need to suffer in silence or alone. Whatever you are feeling – whatever has happened – no one will think so badly of you that they would leave you on your own to deal with suicidal feelings. Find a trusted friend to talk to. This would be better in person but if a text/messenger exchange would help you get started then go for that. But do something. If you’d prefer to talk with someone you don’t know who maybe won’t be connected with your situation, then link up with a local organisation or national service that is there for you no matter what. Contact details for some of these are further down this blog.

Thirdly, we all need to better understand who we are and help our minds focus on that. Now I know that’s a big statement to make, but I want to emphasise that speaking with others is an essential part of that. Not pretending to be someone we’re not. Not trying to be like someone else. But being our awesome potential-filled selves.

Matt Meher says “we live in a day and age where we are very distracted. There’s a million places to be in our minds and our hearts – anywhere except here, now, in the present moment. And usually when we’re in the present moment, a lot of us avoid it because what’s waiting there is sometimes grief, fear, anxiety, or suffering. In fact we kind of live in a day and age where we’re more and more tempted to escape suffering instead of embracing it. We need to be willing to embrace the reality of the human condition, and the reality of this life, even to the point that it moves us to tears, because you can cry from grief and you can also cry from laughter – both require a heart that is so present to the moment that it is willing to be moved to that place. If you’re not present and you’re not free, you can’t get moved. Not only that but fear and anxiety can actually choke off our emotions and so crying is actually a natural involuntary response of our body, our subconscious. We’re getting stuff off our mind, off our chest in a way. And if we’re willing to do that, it creates an environment where we’re more in touch with who we are, and more in touch with the reality our circumstances. When we do that we tend to be more likely to find and experience peace.”

You may have heard about the swan syndrome. This is where everyone looking at you will think you’re all calm, sorted, and just gliding gracefully through life! And yet, just like the swan who’s wee legs will be flapping away to keep it going, under the surface of your outer appearance, things are going absolutely crazy. Your mind is a blur of different things and really you’re just going through the motions. You might be involved in so many things but never really settling. You might be so busy that you’re not sleeping because you’re not having time to wind down. You might be drinking so many energy drinks that you just can’t switch off. This list could go on and on. Things need to change and you need to take time to assess what is most important in your life. Now that might mean some tough choices. I’ve had to make some choices over the last year and have given up some things that I really enjoyed. It was tough. I miss the things I was doing and the people involved in them. But to be honest, I don’t know how I had the time to do them before. Not because I’ve replaced with them other stuff, but because I’ve spent time for me and with my family and friends. Yes, I was happy doing the things I’ve given up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy now I’m not doing them!

Dan Gilbert says “Happiness is not a final destination – it is just somewhere you visit on the path of life.”

What that quote is saying is that sometimes you’ll be happy and sometimes you won’t. And as we started this blog, THAT’S OKAY! It’s sad to say that happiness may not last forever in your current setting, but it needs to be acknowledged. That doesn’t mean you should be expecting things to go pear shaped at any minute and so you stop enjoying where you’re at. Please enjoy the moment for what it is. What it does mean is that if that joyous situation does come to an end, you’re ready for it and can pick yourself up with the help of trusted friends, and move forwards.

What I want to do just now is give some key contacts for local and national organisations, but first, here are some key statements from two local organisations that we would recommend:

Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH) say “You may feel that there is no hope, but our experience shows us there is. All lives are precious. Don’t feel alone with your thoughts or feel ashamed of struggling, we can all struggle at different times. We are here to listen, without judgement, and to help find a positive solution to what might seem an impossible situation. We offer a range of services that can and do help.”

Quiet Waters Listening and Counselling say: “Do you feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad, hurt, or any of the many difficult emotions that are part of the human experience? Emotions are not good or bad, but they are trying to tell us something. Do you have difficult thoughts whirling around in your head? Is life a struggle? Do you want an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in confidence? We are here if you want to talk through your situation.”

Here are some recommended contact details for you to have for yourself or to pass on to someone who you know that is struggling right now.

FDAMH: 01324 671 600 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 10am to 3pm)
Quiet Waters: 01324 630643
The Spark Counselling Falkirk: 0808 802 2088 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm, Friday 9am to 4pm)
Wellbeing Matters: 01324 630 100
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
Samaritans: 116 123
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (support for men): 0800 58 58 58
Childline 0800 1111
Young Minds: text YM to 85258
NHS 24: 111
Emergency Ambulance 999

There is lots of help out there and they are ready and waiting to support you and those you love. Please, let’s ensure no one suffers in silence to the point of complete despair. As our friends at Camerados say, “The answer to our problems is each other”. We have an amazing community spirit across Camelon and Tamfourhill. Let’s continue to build on that and be there for each other.

To finish this week, I encourage you to watch the video below from the World Health Organisation. It’s well worth the 4 minutes it lasts. This was shown to me when I undertook Mental Health First Aid Training a couple of years ago, and I have used it many times since. If you’re struggling with your mental health just now, this may help you understand what is going on in your head. I’ll leave you with the best 5 words I could ever say or have said to me: “I’m here if you need”.

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

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

THRIVE to Keep Well

Community Coach blog, Dan Rous, 3 June 2021

I am so pleased to be able to introduce an exciting programme that is new to Falkirk. We’re excited that NHS Forth Valley have come to us with the opportunity to pilot this programme that has run elsewhere but never before in Falkirk. So Camelon and Tamfourhill are ground breakers!

So “what is this programme” I hear you cry! Well, specifically this is for the ladies of Camelon and Tamfourhill. I realise that means I’ll lose half of the readers of this blog today and I’m sorry about that, but I’ll balance that back up at a later date. Guys, feel free to read on though as you may have a female in your life to whom this might be relevant so you can let them know.

So ladies, here’s a couple of questions for you, to see if you would be eligible for this programme.

  • Do you live in Camelon and Tamfourhill area?
  • Are you aged 16 upwards?
  • Do you find it difficult at times to deal with day to day stresses?
  • Are you looking for help to improve your confidence, motivation and/or self esteem?

If you can answer YES to those questions then this programme is potentially for you. If any of those do not apply to you then I’m sorry that the rest of this blog won’t be relevant for you. However, as for the guys, feel free to keep reading as you may know someone who would benefit and you could encourage them to get involved.

The programme is called THRIVE to Keep Well and each letter of the word THRIVE stands for another word. Each participant will have the opportunity to be Transformational in their journey to making positive Health and wellbeing changes, by being a Responsive Individual, to feeling Valued and Empowered by improving knowledge, skills and opportunities in a variety of ways to move towards a positive destination.

The programme is delivered over 16 weeks through one 4.5 hour session per week in a local Centre. The sessions run during the day in school hours. We have space for up to 12 participants so it will also be a great way of meeting some new friends.

The THRIVE to Keep Well programme will help you to:

  • Increase your knowledge and ability to manage day to day stress and anxiety.
  • Improve your self-esteem and confidence through self-development and reflection techniques.
  • Improve your knowledge and skills around motivational goal setting to enable a change in your health behaviour.
  • Increase your knowledge of your current health. (As part of the programme you can have a NHS Forth Valley Keep Well health assessment)
  • Increase your confidence and motivation to improve on your life skills, especially when looking towards further learning, volunteering and employment.
  • Increase your knowledge and develop skills and confidence that will improve family relationships, support your children’s learning, behaviour and attainment (if you are a parent), and enhance the wider wellbeing of you and your family.

Through the programme, participants will learn about stress, anxiety and how to make positive changes through a variety of group and self-reflection activities. Participants also take part in relaxation, creative, health, safety, and community awareness sessions. There will also be a chance to meet with training and employability support providers.

It’s a bit of fun but is also a seriously helpful programme that has benefited so many people to better understand themselves and to progress in life, including moving on to training, volunteering or even a paid job. What’s more, it’s all FREE, plus all resources, drinks, snacks and lunch are included.

So here’s the detail:

  • The programme starts at the end of August (Preliminary session Friday 20, then Wednesdays from 26 August)
  • Sessions happen once a week for 16 weeks (breaking for the October school holiday).
  • Sessions commence at 9:30/10am and finish at 2:30pm, so if you have children at school there’s time to drop them off and pick them up and still benefit from the programme.
  • This pilot is just for females in the local area aged 16+
  • Most sessions will be at Tamfourhill Community Hub but some will be at Camelon Community Centre.

If you would like further information, you can get in touch with me (Dan Rous, Community Coach) on 07444 873151 or communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or better still, you can contact Jackie Turnbull, who is the NHS Keep Well Forth Valley coordinator and is also local! Jackie is on 07909 002795 or jackie.turnbull@nhs.scot. If you’re linked with a support worker, they may speak to you about referring you to this programme as we have also contacted local agencies and schools about this.

If you would like to support the development of this programme in the local area so we can run it for more groups, male and female, in the future, or if you want to get involved in any way with any of the craft, food, pamper or other elements, then please get in touch with me as well.

So, over to you. Have a think if you would benefit from this, or if you know someone close to you who would. We’re really looking forward to bringing this programme to you this Autumn.

Until next time…..

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……

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.

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

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

Be the Fool

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 1 April 2021

So today is April Fools Day! But rather than actually do a joke blog post (I was really tempted!) I want to encourage you to be the fool! I don’t mean for you to mess about or cause trouble and neither am I being rude, but I want to encourage you to be the one who isn’t afraid to ask the stupid question that could actually help everyone else understand things better.

Let me ask you: Have you ever read something you didn’t really understand? Or been in a meeting when someone is saying something that is just noise to you? I’ll be honest and tell you that my hand is firmly up to both of those questions! Before I go on, and just for fun, have a look at this short video from the US SitCom ‘Friends’ where Joey experiences similar feelings….

Sound familiar?

Now whilst I am being truthful when I said my hand was up for the questions I posed earlier, I do know that occasionally I may write or say something that isn’t clearly understood. I try not to get too technical as, well let’s be honest, I don’t do technical! So I want to encourage you that if you read anything from any of us here at Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill that you don’t fully understand, please ask! You asking the question may not only help you get clarity, but could help countless others as well. We’re more than happy to post something again with better explanations.

I often use videos from Simon Sinek in these blogs as he has such a great, down to earth, encouraging style. I’ve been reading and listening to him for ages. I return to him again this week as I came across this video earlier in the week and just had to use it. He’s taken my blog title a step further by saying – be the idiot! Now we don’t allow that word in my house but I’ll allow it here for artisic purposes! But his point emphasises what I’ve been going on about today. Please don’t be afraid to be the one who speaks up and asks the question that maybe others were thinking. It’s the only way we’ll all grow and learn together. It’s the only way to be in life.

Until next time! Go on – be the fool! You don’t know how valuable that could be!

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

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

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 25 March 2021

I saw this image on social media and thought it deserved a feature in this blog. Have a look at all of it and then we’ll discuss a bit further

So what does success look like for you? Or maybe I should ask what you’ve been told that success should be for you.

If this last year has taught us anything, it’s that there is more to life than just work. Many people have realised that they’ve neglected the most important things in life so that they can climb the career ladder and have suffered as a result. Now let me stress here that there is nothing wrong with climbing that career ladder. If that’s for you then you go for it (please remember us when you’re successful!) But even when doing that, it is important – I’d even say crucial – to make sure you look after yourself on that journey. And by “yourself”, as the chart above shows, I mean your physical AND mental health.

Before I carry on, have a watch of the short video below in which some people are asked how they would define success:

Surprised by some of the comments there? What was the standout? I can’t help be reminded of the guy who wanted the most likes on Instagram and wonder what kind of success that is! But really, the person who stood out was the man who said coming home from work to see the smiles on his families faces was his measure of success. I love love love that! He felt good about his work and even more happy when he was with his family. I’d say that’s a perfect balance – wouldn’t you?

So how do we get this for ourselves? Let’s go back to the image we started with, and to help, I’ve guestimated the percentages for each section:

  • 10% Job Title
  • 10% Salary
  • 15% Free Time
  • 20% Liking what you do
  • 20% Physical Health
  • 25% Mental Health

So whether you learn better from a picture or from numbers and words, this seems to make it clear doesn’t it? First and foremost, focus on your mental health. The salary and job title are the least important things. Within that mental health section will be having good support networks around you whether that be family or friends. Surround yourself – online as well as offline – with people who can bring genuine support and positivity. Keep yourself as active as possible within your own capabilities and obviously just now, within allowed limits. And notice this – liking what you do is as important as the job title and salary put together. Also, having free time is not far behind liking what you do. Down time. Switching off. These are so important to help both your mental and physical health.

Now let me say something here before those who know me well start having a go. This blog falls very much into the territory of ‘do as I say not as I do’! I’m really good at talking about the theory of things like this but not always so good at putting them into practice. If I’m honest, right now I’m doing well with the ‘liking what you do’ bit and I certainly don’t care too much about the salary. My mental health is mostly okay, and physically – well let’s move on!

So, shall we work on this together? As community, can we agree to help each other with this quest to redefine success. It’s not dumbing down success. It’s making it more real, more sustainable, more enjoyable, more successful!

As always, if you want to make any suggestions, or just chat anything through, give me a shout. communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or 07444 873151.

Finally, remember to keep Monday 26 April, 6:30-8pm, free in your diaries. All will be revealed soon!