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!

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

IRTDMN part 2

Hi – it’s Dan back again! Welcome to part 2 of our look at this strange word that actually stands for 6 different words which in turn help us in looking at Launching Leaders. In last week’s blog we identified the first three words: Identify, Recruit, Train. Have a look back at that blog to remind you of the detail behind those elements, but as an addition to what I wrote then, a key part across those three is the reasoning behind why you’re launching a new leader: never recruit from a need. What do I mean by that? Well it actually takes us back to an even earlier blog I wrote on the theme of “Start with Why“. If you’re just looking for someone to fill a gap, you might not get the person you actually need. You need a person who has a natural fit to your requirements and that is only discovered by asking why you need that role filled. What is the vision for your project/task/organisation/plan? Michael Gatlin says that “the currency of recruitment is vision” so go back to why you’re doing what you’re doing, then Identify, Recruit and Train someone from that point. ‘Selling’ the vision to someone will give them more of an idea of what’s ahead rather than just begging for them to get involved!

Okay, we’ve had our recap from last week, let’s get going with the next 3 words.

First up this week, the D is for Deploy.

This is important but is also tricky, because knowing when to deploy someone fully into a role on their own depends on the person! Michael Gatlin says this is “more of an art than a science” and won’t work every time. That may not sound very helpful in the grand scheme of things however he goes on to say that “the best time [to deploy them] is when they still have things to learn so that they are not unduly confident”. A key point here is that whoever you deploy will still need support. Deployment doesn’t pass the buck. Without interfering, you will still need to be around for them. Whether that’s providing an important insight, a key contact, or just a sounding board – it is all really important in the whole IRTDMN process and actually, leads us nicely onto the next letter.

So next up, the M is for Monitor.

This is not a kind of big brother type eaves dropping, but a managed evaluation and support of them. Look at it in terms of checking in with them to keep them healthy or if your want a soundbite, try this one: “you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.”

The person you have identified, recruited, trained and deployed, will need some accountability because this will increase their personal resilience to whatever the role will throw at them, and also build their effectiveness in that role. So set clear parameters for them to work within and help them along the way. How exactly do you help them? Let’s check the next letter!

Our final section then brings us to N which is for Nurture.

You want this person to succeed – I mean, you wouldn’t have brought them through the whole IRTDM parts to now watch them fail at N! To truly help them grow as a leader, there needs to be an environment that fosters that feeling. A set up that only wants the best for them in the role.

It’s important to pick up on what leads them to really flourish in their tasks and also, what drains the very life from them! You won’t be able to shield them from those draining tasks – and neither should you – but you can maybe focus your nurturing support on those areas. Nurturing is so important. Because in order for you to be able to move on to whatever it is you’re moving on to, you need to know that the person you’ve IRTDMN’d is actually going to be able to carry on with the very thing you need to let go of.

Let me summarise. Through the I and R stages, you connect with the other person. Through the T and D stages you release them. Then through the M and N stages you stay connected but always pointing them towards the goal. Through it all, be genuine. Know your stuff. Share what you know. And never ever feel bad about asking someone to rearrange their lives to fulfil what they were put on this earth to do.

I love this process and in some way or another have been doing it for many years. I hope it is helpful to you in your setting. I’m also fully aware that if I’m talking with you now, you may be wondering what I’m Identifying and Recruiting you for! Well, guilty as charged!!

If you’d like to chat more about this, then don’t hesitate to give me (Dan) a shout on communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or phone 07444 873151.

Credit to Michael Gatlin, Launching Leaders, Vineyard Training and subsequent webinar for the basis of this training.

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

IRTDMN

No I haven’t fallen asleep on the keyboard and neither am I making up words again! These letters each stand for a word that has come up in some other training I’m doing. The theme of the training was ‘Launching Leaders’ and it fits wonderfully with my task to uncover the next generation of leaders and community engagers right here in Camelon and Tamfourhill. It gave so much insight especially in respect of working with groups of people and how you help individuals grow. It also involves looking at leadership differently. It is thought that leadership is not a gift for an individual, but a gift for the community/organisation through the individual. This then becomes about identifying leaders within a community, for a community.

So, to this IRTDMN thing. There’s a lot to unpack in these 6 letters/words so I’ll take 2 weeks to cover this to save having a really lengthy blog post.

First up, the I is for Identify.

This is the point where we start to build relationships by getting to know people. That is the best way to start because only with a working relationship with them can you start to identify what they can have the potential to get involved in. Crucially, as the inner potential becomes clear, it is not my role to tell people what to do, but to help them discover it for themselves and walk alongside them as they make that journey.

It is said that a true leader is not one who passes decrees, but who lives and walks with others. This makes so much sense but involves dropping the idea of a true leader as being like the traditional view of a Chief Exec of a big corporate business (no offence to any corporate CEO’s!). Leadership is about naturally influencing others so that they can become the person they are meant to be. Identifying the potential within only comes with that process and by walking alongside them for as long as needed.

Next, the R is for Recruit

Once the specific needs are known and the potential within individuals is identified, we move to the recruiting stage. This is not recruitment in the usual sense of putting an advert out for a role, receiving applications, interviewing and appointing someone. This is not even about recruiting to fill a gap. Following on from the Identifying stage, this is about bringing people into a role that they have been made to do, through a gentle nurturing/coaching process, so what actually happens is that the potential within them does the recruiting!

People will move at different speeds through this process and that is okay. Some will need more time with someone walking alongside them as they build their own self belief. Others will be able to be released quicker. It’s important to get this speed right and that is only known by properly setting the foundations through the Identify stage and building a good understanding relationship. Moving someone into a role too soon – even if it is what they were designed to do – could cause more harm than good. The last thing I want to do is set someone up to fail.

Finally for this week, the T is for Train

This is a very key stage as, in the same way that putting someone into a role too soon can do untold harm, not training people properly for the role can do equal damage. There’s a process to follow here:

  1. Do it yourself – this is the stage many projects will be in because it seems easier that way.
  2. Invite others to watch – this links to the Identify and Recruit stages and is where you allow yourself to be as open as possible with those who are looking in.
  3. Do it together – this is where you really allow others to walk alongside you so you can encourage and teach them. This can take time and it may be tempting to move back to point 1 and just get on with it. However, it is said that if you can find someone who can do things 70% as well as you, then step back and let them get on with it. You will not find a clone of you!
  4. Be intentionally absent. Give the other person the chance to get on and do things because an appointment has ‘just come up’ or you’re not feeling 100%. But make sure you check in with them afterwards. This is a step that needs to be managed very carefully otherwise you could damage the whole process of bringing the other person into their fullest potential and giving yourself some breathing space.
  5. Release them into the role. Give them the permission to do the role in the way they have been designed to do. But be prepared for them to maybe do things differently and, as long as it works and brings the desired results in the community, that is okay.
  6. Allow them to train others. You’ve made them a leader so allow them now to fulfil that role to the full by training others. They’ve been through this process so are well equipped to do it with someone else now.

This is such a rewarding process. Yes, it takes time. How long? Well, as long as needed for each individual. But it is worth every moment in order to widen the spread of people achieving their own goals and becoming the people they were designed to be. How amazing would that community look? I don’t know about you, but I love it!

So there we have it. The first three letters explained of this IRTDMN thing. Come back next week to find out what the D, M, and N relate to.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or just want a chat, drop me a line at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151. Whether you’re the person wanting to find out what you’re meant to be doing, or the person who could do with having someone to share the load with, I’d love to hear from you.

Credit to Michael Gatlin, Launching Leaders, Vineyard Training for the basis of this training.

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

What is on your mind?

I’m sure if I met you for a chat and asked what you were worrying about, you could string a whole long list of things together. Some would be based on the reality of how you see your current situation, but the majority would come from a perception of what you think might happen.

The image below was shared on social media last week by a few friends and it got me thinking a lot about this. Have a look – does it ring true for you?

We all do it don’t we? And those daily worries are all too good at taking over. Then the more we worry about them, the more we get stuck in an ever downward spiral that can be hard to move out of. I’m also aware that on top of normal things people worry about, the current pandemic has added a whole other layer. So how can we move out of this cycle of worry?

Conquering the cause of worry or anxiety takes time, especially while the symptoms persist. When panic strikes, try these simple tricks to refocus and calm down:

  1. Reset your mind by focusing on another sensation, like the feel of the ground under your feet.
  2. Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are rational.
  3. Breathe deeply, starting at the bottom of your stomach.
  4. Find a quiet space and talk to yourself, using calming and encouraging words.

You can also try this very simple mindset shift as highlighted in the short video below from Simon Sinek.

So here’s your challenge: Change your mindset. Turn the negative into a positive. Turn the worry into excitement. Turn your fear into hope.

As well as following at least some of what has been shared here, coaching can also help you. It won’t give you the answers. But it will help you to ask yourself the right questions that will lead to the answers. It’s about being helped to be the author of your own future. Sounds good right? Why not jump on the waiting list for our free coaching programme right here. What are you waiting for?

Get in touch with me (Dan) at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or 07444 873151

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

Easy as ABCD

Last week, I was lucky to share a powerful couple of hours on zoom with over 120 other people across the UK who are working with their communities to bring positive change. It was called the Asset Based Community Development Jamboree – hence the ABCD heading to this blog. Don’t get put off with fancy words there – what this really means is strengthening communities with what exists already – i.e. the people. To put it another way, as it says in our mission statement, empowering local people & organisations to bring about positive, lasting change. What this boils down to is a community revolution! It’s the time for communities to build on their own skills and be the authors of their own futures.

I was incredibly fired up from the morning in this session, as I was joined by others who are banging the same drum as I have throughout my time in this role and for years before that: stop doing stuff to communities – work with them. I could write forever on this subject but to save boring you (who said “too late”?!), I will just put this over a series of blogs in the coming weeks and months as the mood takes me and as circumstances dictate.

The above image is the graphic notes from the morning, captured by Visual Practitioner Anna Geyer. She has really caught the mood and you can see for yourself that there is so much in there which is why I need a series to bring some of this to a local level. In her twitter summary, this quote really stood out for me:

In every meeting I’ve been in over the last 10 months – especially the current Community Conversations that the Council are leading – I have pressed the point that the whole community needs to be spoken to. Anything dressed up as a conversation cannot fall short and become a place simply for providing information. The people of Camelon and Tamfourhill have some powerful opinions that can really help shape the future of our community. It’s time these opinions were taken seriously and my pledge to you is that I will do what I can to make this happen. But you need to work with me on this.

Back to the ABCD session, below are just some of the comments shared by participants that I managed to capture and feel are relevant to us here. The first 5 quotes come from Fatima El Guenuni, a family therapist in the Grenfell area of London who had family members in the tower that burned down (thankfully they survived). Her talk certainly set the tone for the day:

  • Communities have never been hard to reach, but they have been easy to ignore.
  • Voice is important at the centre of communities but action is more important.
  • Work alongside people and be brave enough to make decisions that benefit the community and not the system.
  • It’s the system that marginalises communities, not communities that make themselves hard to reach.
  • We need to be willing to step outside roles & be there for communities with love and support – a hug of compassion and humanity.
  • Be the “human bridge” between people and the community and the system.
  • It is time to stop the politicisation of community development.
  • This citizen centred movement is gathering massive momentum. I hope councils learn, recognise it & work generously with communities to share power & space.
  • We are hearing of rooted acts of kindness, and the tremendous steely courage of communities, to flourish forward fairly, whatever the challenges may be.
  • Stories are so important and then stimulating them with the right questions.
  • Inequalities have driven the change. Our aim was to listen. Serve the people. Unlock skills and talents. Change power.
  • We need jargon free community development. It’s about people. Local people. Leading local change.

There are so many more that I’ll save for another blog. But can you pick up the themes here? Are you excited by it? Everyone was completely on board with this revolution. This last year has actually been a defining moment for communities across the land, as many have really stepped up to meet their own needs. The challenge now is to build on that, with appropriate support and empowerment, to make this change in power permanent.

I’ll finish this week where I started, with the letters ABCD, standing for Asset Based Community Development. For a bit of fun following a challenge by a Community Builder from the Denny area, I extended this for the whole alphabet, so our A to Z of Community Development is now: Asset Based Community Driven Efforts For Growing Hope, Increasing Joy, Keeping Lives Motivated, Nurturing Others, Persevering, Quickly Reaffirming, Strengthening Talents, Unleashing Volunteers With eXtra Youthful Zest.

So who’s up for joining in on this community revolution? Let’s hear your voices – your comments, concerns, suggestions, hopes, plans. What do you need to help take you forward? Is it other people? Money? Training? Property? Equipment? Other resources? Let us know and we can then work with you to try to make it happen.

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

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

What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell don’t we? The difference is what kind of story it is. Does it tell of a life where everything has gone fine for you with no issues? Does it tell of a battle against everything that life has thrown at you over the years? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Wherever your story lands in that range, it is equally important because it’s about who you are, where you’ve been and hopefully what you’ve learned along the way. All of that can help you understand more about yourself and help you move forwards, but it’s also important to capture these stories as part of the ongoing history of our area. When people hear or read them, they may not be surprised at some parts but the joy is when you can surprise them with tales of positivity in spite of everything that has been thrown at you.

The image below was shared on twitter recently. It is an image of notes captured from a talk given at a conference a few years back by Cormac Russell, who is a leading force in the world of Community Development especially when it is focussed on building upon the assets (the people etc) within those communities. I am learning loads from his writings as he speaks so much sense about not over complicating our work with communities. (You can follow him on Twitter here). The key word in that last sentence – as I’ve emphasised from the start of my work here – is ‘with’. We at OPCT are not here to do things to you or without you as has happened in many cases in the past. We are here to work alongside you and with you and as part of that, we love hearing and learning from your stories. Have a look at the image and see what jumps out for you:

So what did you spot in there? Feel free to message me with any key points especially if you want more information or even to push a particular line for something we should be doing better. For me, the following stood out.

  • Studies or Stories. This was the headline from the talk and is worth highlighting and clarifying. In one sense, both are important. I’ve already said how much we love stories and there is so much to be learned from them. However, each story is one person’s viewpoint and it is highly likely that there will be another story that will give a completely different view of a similar situation. So with that in mind, studies also have an importance because that gives us an overview of all points of view in a coordinated way. This is why we have already carried out a few surveys – not just to gather more data for the sake of it, but to help us understand what people want, what can be done to move things forward and to use it to make changes and access funding. We are determined to not let any of the consultations sit idly on a shelf with no action. Neither are we going to use them simply to point out what is wrong in the area. All findings from the studies will be used to ensure the stories we tell in the future will be ones of action and positive steps forward. How great would it be for someone in years to come to tell a story of how they made a comment in a study that led to a positive change right here? That’s our wish so please stick with us when we do a survey and feel free to remind us that there needs to be action in the end.
  • Focus on what’s strong not on what’s wrong. This is so important. I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs and have been accused by some people of ignoring the problems around us by only looking at the good stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there are issues and yes they need sorting. No one is denying that. But we are not going to be weighed down by them or avoid any opportunity to grow because they exist. We solve them best by building up what is good – what is strong – what is positive – so that in part, we can tackle what is wrong head on because we have the chance to show people a better way.
  • No hierarchies but networks. This is about bringing everyone along on the journey (forgive my use of that word!). It’s not about building up committees but communities. Yes, there will be people that need to step up to lead and coordinate things, but the clue in the meaning of the word ‘lead’ is that they bring others along with them – networks of people with a good mix of skills relevant to each project or activity. This is not about raising up just a few people, but everyone who wants to come along for the ride. And within that, we will work with everyone at their individual level to help them gain the skills they need to strengthen their part in the network.
  • Power of communities to solve problems. You might have missed this one as it’s quite small on the image but I don’t think this represents the strength of the statement. Camelon and Tamfourhill is an amazing community made up of smaller communities that are full of people who have a passion to grow the community they live in. That combined positive passion is where the power comes from. And it’s a power that should never be underestimated by others as it is built on real experiences and real understanding of what makes this community really tick. And as I mentioned earlier on in this blog, that power can and will solve the problems that we face.

I could go on but I won’t bore you any further – for now! Just know that this is really important to me as your Community Coach – as a local resident – and even just as a fellow human being! I believe that everyone has the right to achieve their potential and want to do all I can to help in that goal.

We will no doubt return to this matter again but I want to just focus on the aspect of story telling as I finish off for this week. You have a unique opportunity to tell your story in a written format, and if you want, to have that shared as part of a book that will celebrate this area. That comes via our Creative Writing Introduction Course with the help of Kev McPhee, Susan Marshall and Camelon Arts. We’ve had a great response to this so far but there is still room for a few more to sign up. Join us and be part of something special. All information at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/creativewriting.

Until next week, keep making and sharing stories and building local power.

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

Want some free money?!

Well if that headline hasn’t grabbed your attention I don’t know what will!

When I’ve put up blogs about funding before, they’ve been mainly directed at organisations and admittedly not relevant to everyone, but this one is different and is worth reading on – I promise!

Falkirk Council have released over £3m of funding that is available for local communities to apply for to bring about the changes that can make a difference in their community. There are different allocations for each local authority ward and ultimately, you, the council tax paying public, will get to vote on which projects get the money. It is released under the banner of “Community Choices” and all the information is on the council website but I’ll summarise the main points for you here.

Before I get into the funding specifics, let me remind you about how the Council Wards are structured. Our work actually covers two Wards, with the Forth and Clyde canal essentially being the dividing line: Camelon is in Ward 6 (Falkirk North) that also includes Langlees, Bainsford, Bankside, Middlefield, Merchiston, West Mains and Grahamston. Tamfourhill is in Ward 7 (Falkirk South) that also includes Bantaskine, Summerford, Arnothill, Woodlands, Callendar Park, Glen Village, Lionthorn and Hallglen. I list all these areas to let you know what you’re up against as every area will feel it deserves its fair share of the funding and will undoubtedly have worthy projects to put forward.

So, do you have an idea that will improve the quality of life in our community? Do you have a proposal that will make a positive and lasting difference to our area? I know of quite a few options and this fund could be the way to make it happen. Essentially, here at OPCT, we will support you as much as possible to help make your application as strong and relevant as it can be. You don’t have to come through us but if you do need assistance, we can help with application wording, background information, or anything else you need. Importantly, we may also know of a project that is similar to what you are thinking about and so could provide relevant advice and, if appropriate, we could link you up to double the strength of your application.

So, who can apply?

Clubs, organisations, community groups and even individuals can apply for funding to make these changes happen. Applicants do not need to have a formal constitution but if you’re an individual or group of friends/residents considering putting a bid in for something, the Community Choices team will aim to link you up with a recognised organisation that could hold the funds for the project.

What can you apply for?

Firstly, let me say that this funding will not solve everything we’d want to do locally and is unlikely to help with large projects – but it’s a start. The public vote system will at least bring visibility to what you want to do which might even attract others to join in with you.

There are two separate funds on offer. The first is a small grants programme with a maximum of £1,500 per proposal. There is around £10,000 for each Council Ward in year 1. The second fund is a Capital programme where £3m is available over two years. Proposals for this fund must be for a minimum of £5,000, and can be used for building something new, improving an asset, and purchasing equipment. Remember that £3m is across all 9 Wards so even though there is no upper limit on application, large projects are unlikely to be successful. However, the Community Choices team will also aim to provide additional support including signposting to other suitable funding if possible.

What do we need to do?

At this stage, the council just require an Expression of Interest form to be completed. This is not a full application and needs a couple of hundred words to explain what the project is, who it would benefit and who would be involved in making it happen. It does not require full financial information but a broad indication of costs would be helpful. The form is on the website.

The important thing to note is that Expressions of Interest are due by Friday 5 March with final applications due by 9 April. This is a very tight timeline but that’s what we have to work with and, with the right support, the right applications can be submitted. The final stage is a public vote that will take place between 26 April and 14 May. We will keep you posted as we hear how that vote will operate.

So, over to you?

What do you think could be applied for? Can I help you get that application in? Get in touch with me (Dan) in the usual way via email to communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk, call on 07444 873151, or message via social media. Let’s make this happen!

camelon, coach, community, development, growing, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill, training, Writing

Coach Update: Growing / Supporting / Training

I know days and dates don’t necessarily mean much at the moment, but apparently we have entered a new month! So it’s as good a time as any to give you a brief update on how some of the projects I’m working on with and for the people of Camelon and Tamfourhill are coming on.

Community Growing
We continue to make plans for various growing projects. One particular one in the old Brown Street Park, Camelon, will move to a consultation stage for surrounding residents later this month. We are also about to spend the Community Climate Action Funding received from Keep Scotland Beautiful / The Scottish Government that will see 2 Community Gardening Tool Libraries installed in the area. Those will be in place by the end of March. Keep up to speed with all Growing information, and join our team, over on our dedicated Growing page

Community Supporting
I have continued to work with organisations and individuals across the area with various different needs. Next month I will bring you full information of how you can access 1 to 1 coaching sessions to help you make the right choices and bring clarity and confidence to life’s opportunities. It’ll be worth the wait but if you want to get on my list for receiving coaching sessions before I’ve even launched this, then drop me an email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk.

Community Training
This is the one that has taken most of my time lately and rightly so. Firstly, I can tease the news that we have partnered with a relatively new local charitable company to bring a wide range of personal development courses to you. More on that later this month but it’s an exciting step forward for us. For now though, let me remind you that we launched our Creative Writing Introductory course last week and have had a good response already. Thanks to those who have signed up but there’s still room for more. I’m also pleased to introduce one of the experts that is supporting this course. It’s Camelon’s own Kev McPhee. And to save me going on about things, here’s a video from Kev to give you a bit more information on the course and to encourage you to get involved. It may be 8 minutes long but it’s worth the watch, especially as he gives away some information about our hopes for those who come on the course! Enjoy this video and I’ll update you with more in due course.

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

Ikigai

Before you ask, no, I haven’t just fallen on the keyboard to type the title of this blog, and nor am I writing about a new flat pack furniture shop!

Ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth”. When put together, these terms talk about something that gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose. The concept of this idea comes from a larger and more inclusive philosophy used within the Japanese traditional health system called the Wuxing that was introduced into Japan in the early 6th century from China and embraced by local folk religion and culture.

It’s not a word I’ve come across before and I am often wary of these things from the Far East, but if it helps, it is similar to the French term “raison d’etre” that you may have heard – or “reason for being”. The diagram below might give you a bit more insight as to why I wanted to share this with you having read about this just the other day.

As you see, what the Japanese call Ikigai – we might call it contentment – lies at the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. It is unique for everyone and can change in the course of life.

Ikigai is much more than a passion or profession. It is connecting those with a true vocation – not just a job – and something that really clicks for you. For me, it could easily be applied to my presence in this role as Community Coach. It’s what I love and I like to think I can be good at it (others viewpoint and results will ultimately judge that one!). Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund I can be paid for it, and it is certainly a role that many communities across Scotland could benefit from, as is fed back to me when I speak in network meetings that I have attended over the last 9 months.

But what could it be for you? Are you living your dream life just now, whether that be in study, work or retirement, or is there something missing? What would the ‘future you’ be looking back and saying to you right now? Keep going? Fix something? Start something? Get involved in something? Learn a new skill? Stop doing something? What does that ‘future you’ look like? Or to put it another way, what is that you would really love to do but life – or maybe just a simple need to exist – has got in the way?

As your Community Coach, it’s my role to work alongside you to help you on this journey. If we’re strict to the theme of this blog, I can work within my Ikigai to help you find yours! But in terms we’ll all understand, how can I help you reach your potential – the thing that the ‘future you’ is willing you on to. Is it training? Is it the confidence to get involved in something? Is it helping with job skills? Is it help to start your own business? Is it gaining a better grasp on basic life skills? Or is it just having someone to talk with who can help spur you on to find a way forward?

Through my role and the partnerships/connections that I’ve developed, I can help with all of these things. So what is it for you?

Why not get in touch today to start the journey to find your Ikigai? Email me (Dan) on communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call me on 07444 873151. Let’s make this happen together.

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, growing, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training, Writing

Past, Present, Future

Hi. Dan here, your Community Coach. Let me ask you, which of the following categories you fall into?

  1. Do you look back on things that happened in the past and wish it was like it was again? Or maybe you’re stuck because of things that happened to you, or that you did, in the past and can’t move forwards?
  2. Do you feel you’re fine as things are right now and no change is necessary, or do you feel restricted because of how things are now?
  3. Do you long for a future that is so much different to what it is now? Or maybe you have a dream of something that you could do, or that could be happening in the area or in your life generally?

Past – Present – Future. Past is Experience. Present is Experiment. Future is Expectation. So we could say that we can use our experience in our experiments to achieve our expectations. All are relevant and should be embraced but they have to lead somewhere and that’s important as we look at what can be achieved in the Camelon and Tamfourhill area.

We have a proud heritage in this area and it is important to learn from that and build on it. However, times have changed and so there is no point in generally wishing things were as they were before. We have to move forwards – to evolve with the times – but still ensuring we remain distinctives as Mariners.

And that’s where we look to the future. What does that look like? I know that’s going to be different for everyone reading this, but the simple truth is that we have a future to work towards and we must make every effort to do that. Certainly myself and John are here to help that happen and are encouraged by those who have already stepped up to join with us on this quest.

For now though, we have many good things happening in the area at present that we should celebrate. That is not to say it is all perfect but if you’re honest, was it ever perfect? Our perception of life changes as we age and sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond that. But despite the issues around at present that do seriously need sorting (and together we can work on that), we still have much to celebrate and be proud of. A strong foundation to build on.

CS Lewis wrote that “the past is frozen and no longer flows, and the present is all lit up with eternal rays”. What’s he getting at? Nathan Blackaby describes himself in his book “Going against the Grain” as often having lived in the ‘frozen past, trying to defrost past moments, hurts, failures, and stuff that I did wrong (or the wrong that other people have done to me). All of these past events and moments are slowly defrosted so that I can re-experience that hurt – because, if I’m really honest, the hurt is real and comfortable at times, and easier to live with than without.” He goes on to say, “if I wasn’t defrosting stuff from the past, I could be found wandering in my head way off into the future somewhere. Future hopes, plans or dreams, future fears or points of anxiety and concern were all mapped out.” Blackaby, like Lewis, is not saying that past reflection or future thoughts are wrong – far from it. “But whether you are stuck in the past or lost in the future, consumed with health, wealth or family what-ifs, you are being robbed of the ‘now'”

So, what about now? 2021! It promised so much back in December last year but has started with renewed frustrations and restrictions. Some plans will have to be re-thought but that’s okay. Things will still happen. It may all still look different at least for the next few months, but there is still so much to be getting on with.

As well as working on the Community Growing activity with a new group of volunteers, there are many other exciting projects brewing away. A lot focuses around training and I am building a partnership with a training provider for a wide range of personal development courses that will come free of charge to local residents. I am also building my own bank of knowledge for sharing with others (individuals and organisations) and ensuring that Camelon and Tamfourhill are more widely represented and recognised in various networks both locally and nationally.

I am developing a Creative Writing programme and will have more on that in due course. We’ll pick up the Bicycle Recycling scheme once restrictions have lifted, and I have a draft plan for celebrating some of the historical nature of our area. Aside of that, I am facilitating more discussion between all the projects funded through the Our Place scheme, namely Camelon Arts, TCV and Cyrenians (Camelon Connect), so that we can work together more where needed and make each others lives easier which in turn will make the activities we all produce greater and even more beneficial to local people.

That last part is a key focus of my role, as I am here to help develop local people and organisations. All the projects we work on will be there to enable people to get involved at their level but with the intention to help them grow and become more involved in their community. This will also enhance the training programme options and additionally, I will shortly have a coaching programme to offer that will help individuals to move towards their potential whatever that may be.

To return to Nathan Blackaby’s book, he says “the ‘now’ is where we operate, where we impact and influence change, and it is where we are forged … with a ridiculous amount of potential, courage, hope, adventure and purpose.” I am genuinely excited about what is to come this year and hope you will hop on for the ride. As Blackaby again says, let’s “get busy living in the now and … we will see some action”.

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, general comments or even complaints, please get in touch with me (Dan) via email at communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk or call 07444 873151.