Welcome to the first of an occasional series where we will highlight something that we feel is of special interest to you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill (and others too if you’re looking in!) We might feature an organisation, an activity, an individual, an opportunity or any number of things. If you feel you have something worth including here, then please get in touch with Dan, our Community Coach.
For today, we’re going to feature an opportunity that pretty much everyone could get involved in and benefit from. And it comes from the Compassionate Communities Team at Strathcarron Hospice.
Here’s a couple of quick questions:
Can you talk or write? Would you like to be connected with someone with similar interests? Would you like to offer friendship and a listening ear?
If the answer to any or all of those questions is “yes”, then this could be the opportunity for you. 2020 has been unexpected to say the least! And it has been tough for many especially in terms of keeping in touch with others. If you’re not great on a computer and stuck in your house, conversation for many has become a distant memory.
The Compassionate Communities Team at Strathcarron Hospice have seen and understood this, as have we here at OPCT. So they have have set up this opportunity that is open to all. It will enable you to connect with someone of like mind either by phone or through the good old art of writing letters – it’ll be like having a penpal as used to be a norm for lots of people many years ago.
As well as helping people remain connected, this could even bring out a creative spirit within you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get into creative writing and didn’t have an outlet for it? Here at OPCT we’re looking at doing something with the writing skills of local people in 2021 so this scheme could be a good way to start warming those skills up in readiness. We’ve got a local author willing to help us, and a few ideas for putting your skills on show. All we can say is, watch this space!
For now though, to get more information on the Connecting People scheme in addition to the flyer below, you can email email@example.com or call 07881 511961. Alternatively you can contact us and we’ll help you do the necessary.
***Please share especially with those you know who are not online.***
Do you look out for others? Would you help someone else in the community?
If so, why would you do that? Is it so you can look good? Because you are encouraged to? Or simply because it feels right?
Many people in our community need some kind of help. Some of that help is obvious and actually quite easy to give. But a lot of the help they need may not even be known to them!
Confused?! Well again, that’s half the point! Let me quickly explain and then I’ll leave the rest to Simon Sinek again in this week’s video (see below).
Not knowing what help you actually need can be a sign of a lack of self belief or self confidence. But as Sinek explains in the video, a bizarre way to help your own lack of confidence is actually to step out and help someone else – possibly even someone in a similar situation to yourself. Helping others to help yourself to grow – and maybe for you to grow together – is a powerful thing in any community.
The danger comes when you help someone or do something good, just so you can look good. This is completely counter productive and can actually damage any self belief the person being helped has in the first place.
Where we all need to start is by celebrating who we are and what we have. No matter what that point is, it is still a starting point and something to build on. Lots of people are not happy with where they are in life but rather than settle for the status quo, there is always an opportunity to grow and develop. Even a small step forward is still a step forward.
I’m not going to labour this point today. As a coach, it’s my job to help people take these steps and even to help them find people to take those steps with. I don’t do that to make myself look good but I’ll be honest and say it feels good when I see people take even the smallest step towards their full potential. I make no apologies for taking pleasure from seeing others grow because in return it helps me to grow. I learn so much from working with people and I would love to work with you in 2021.
Have a think about where you are and then think about where you’d like to be. Don’t despair at that, but take a step forwards. If you want to know more, then please give me (Dan) a shout on 07444 873151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show me someone who has never made a mistake in their lives and I’ll show you someone who isn’t telling the full story! Not one of us can honestly say we’ve never messed up at something either in education, work or just life in general. Okay, there is a scale of mistake but even the smallest one has the power to trip you up or allow others to try to trip you up. Why is that? Because we often see those mistakes as failure.
There was a joke years ago referring to people having letters after their name for qualifications they’ve earned, and someone said he had 7 letters after his name: F-A-I-L-U-R-E. It was tongue in cheek but the reality is that there are people out there – maybe even you as you read this – that have been labelled, or labelled themselves, as a failure because of something that didn’t go right earlier in their life.
In the video below, Simon Sinek (yes, I’m back to his wisdom again!), tries to help us to move on from this way of thinking, especially by dropping the use of the word ‘failure’ and using the word ‘falling’ instead. This gives a natural thought journey that if someone falls, you help them up. You don’t leave them there. Sinek says:
The language of “falling” vs “failure” matters because it changes our mindset. Falling happens naturally. As leaders, we have to encourage our teams to take risks and help them get up when they fall – not instill fear that they could lose their job.
This is a hugely important not just in business, but in community life as well. People around us will fall in many ways. It is up to those around them to pick them up, dust them off, and set them going again in whatever form of action that takes. I’m a huge fan of this suggestion and it forms a large part of what I have the opportunity to do as a Community Coach. This also comes back to what I spoke about in this blog a couple of weeks ago, about finding the gold in this community. That ‘gold’ could be stored within someone who is known as a failure. My job – my privilege – is to help that person stand up again and continue to be what they were designed to be and not leave them as society has labelled them.
Thomas Edison, described as America’s greatest inventor, is best known for inventing the lightbulb but also invented an electronic voting recorder, the phonograph, talking dolls and tattoo guns. His most famous quote was the cover image for this week’s blog, but he also said this:
Failure is not just falling down, it is refusing to get up. Failure is not a dead-end street, it is just a detour. Failure is not a tattoo, it is just a bruise. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.
So who do you know who needs a hand up? Maybe it’s you? Why not give me a shout and see how I can help.
For this week’s blog, I want to return to the idea behind my role – to coach people to be the best they can be. One source of information for me that I have referenced a lot lately, is the book Mining for Gold by Tom Camacho. This idea of mining – or looking – for gold is exactly what my role can do. Sadly not actual gold (although that would be nice!), but the talents, skills, passions, dreams, desires and abilities that currently lie hidden and unused within people in the community. The leaders of the future that don’t know it yet.
Gold is rare and has great value. It costs a lot to mine it and refine it to a usable condition. The same is true when we look for leaders or those with hidden skills. There is a human cost to stepping out from the comfort of where you are and putting your head above the parapet to reveal and develop whatever you have kept hidden.
Some facts about Gold:
Of gold usage globally, 80% is used in the making of jewellery. Gold bars are held by large banks as reserves to guarantee their ability to repay depositors and trading partners. Gold is also used in coinage, medicine, dentistry, computers and even aerospace applications. And, of course, gold is used in making the highest Olympic medal. Gold is a universally accepted substance of the highest value.
Gold is beautiful. It is pure. It is soft. It is rare. Did you know that all the gold on the planet could fit into a cubed space the size of a tennis court!
Those 4 characteristics – beautiful, pure, soft and rare – can also be applied to great community leaders. We have many in our community already, some of whom have been pure gold for many years. But I know there are many more still to be found. Those who either don’t realise what they could achieve, have told themselves they’re not able to do anything, or worse still, they’ve been told by others that they can’t do it. Let’s get rid of all those thoughts. There is gold here in Camelon and Tamfourhill and it lies within you!
Camacho, in his book, starts and finishes by taking the letters of Gold and applying meaning to each. So, allow me to take those thoughts for us to apply here:
G is simply for Gold. It is everywhere. It could well be within you. Take some time to think about how this could be true for you. Think through those dreams that lie within you.
O is for Open your eyes to see it. Chat to a trusted friend. Or chat to me if you want. But chat to someone who can help you see what it is that is hidden within you.
L is for Learn the skills to draw it out. Coaching is a great way to do this so that you can be guided and supported to uncover the skills you believe are within you.
D is for Develop continuously. You can’t just identify the skills and hope they will just grow within you. You need to work at them continually and even when you’ve got to the point that you’re living out those skills, you still need to develop them.
So will you join me in searching for GOLD in Camelon and Tamfourhill? I know it’s out there. It could be in you! Give me a call on 07444 873151 or email email@example.com to start the digging!
For this week’s blog, I wanted to build on that a little, as I look to work alongside local residents to help them achieve what they were designed to be and do. After Christmas we’ll be able to do this through coaching sessions (probably online to start with unfortunately) but this blog will help a little for now with getting a better understanding. For reference, some of the content here is influenced by the book Mining for Gold by Tom Camacho.
You don’t need me to tell you that everyone is different. If ever there was a sentence that stated the obvious, that is a strong contender! But it’s something we often forget especially when people don’t see things as we do. If you’ve ever been in a discussion, on or offline (but usually on Facebook!), where someone completely went against your point of view, in the main they didn’t do so just to annoy you or to start an argument, but they simply saw the subject differently because of the way they are designed. Where strength comes in a community is when people of different viewpoints, skills and abilities can come together, harness their unique differences, and work towards a common goal. That doesn’t mean being something we are not – it simply means recognising who we are as individuals, allowing others to do the same, and using the mix of skills to achieve whatever is needed. I know that is far from easy – but it can be done.
We all have what is often called a ‘sweet spot’. It is the key to being who you were designed to be and will show up when quite simply, everything you do reaches a point of success. It’s a bit like what is often called the Midas touch – when everything we do, or get involved in, turns to gold (not literally – sadly!!). There are three parts to this:
Our Passion – what really drives you. What do you absolutely love doing that means however tired you are, you’ll always find that extra energy to get it done? What activity or issue really strikes a chord with you and gives you determination to tackle it head on?
Our Wiring – how your mind works. Some of us excel at numbers, some at words, some at getting their hands dirty. But what is it that just comes naturally to you so that whatever you do around this is successful and effective?
Our Fruit, or our Positive Output if you prefer. What do you do that brings the greatest impact around you for the least amount of effort? What do you do that people near to you say is really helpful? That may be an activity you’re involved in, or something you do in your street, or something you do to help out?
If we take the time and effort to deeply understand how we are wired, what we are passionate about and what we do naturally that helps others, we are discovering our sweet spot.
Doing this is not a quick or easy process and takes effort, but can be incredibly rewarding for you and those around you. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to do things that you don’t necessarily enjoy! There is always going to be something to do where you really have to push yourself to do it. The problem comes when that is taking up the majority of your life – that is when you start to feel pressed down all the time because you are trapped working outside how you are designed. Some have even said it feels like a punishment. Believe me, I’ve had to lead personnel meetings or budget reviews (to name just 2 examples) that have made me want to run for the hills – but they were a necessary part of what I had to do at the time. Where I’m happiest is when I’m coming alongside people to make a difference either for them or with them for the benefit of others. Happily, that is a huge part of this job!
Coaches often talk about the 80/20 principle, where people will thrive when they spend 80% of their time working in what is their sweet spot. That means they are doing what they do best for the majority of the time. Work is no longer a chore but brings real excitement and success. To get to this point takes hard work though and might mean stopping doing some of the things that aren’t within our sweet spot. (Sorry, housework and ironing are exempt from this!!) The 20% section is often called the challenge spot. Some things just can’t be avoided at home or work and might mean learning some new skills, but when your life is taken up with more than 20% of challenging things, it becomes an uphill struggle. And that is where coaching can help. What amongst those challenging things could you let go of, or what do you need training on?
A key part of working within your sweet spot is when you realise you have the power to make the changes that can make a positive difference in your life. You are not trapped in this life and where you live certainly does not define your future.
The short (3 mins) video below takes this a bit further by looking at our individual character strengths. This is a great place to start by first understanding your inner self which then helps to move on to identify your passion, wiring and fruit/output. I’d love to work with you more on this. If you want to as well, then give me a shout.
While I was away, I spent time reflecting on what I’m doing both in and out of work, although to be honest, the line is often a bit blurred between the two settings! We’re coming up to 6 months of being in post for Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill so it seemed as good a time as any to reflect.
It is said that you will know that your job is your ‘calling’ when you do what you love, and love what you do. Philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie said:
‘The average person puts only 25% of their energy and ability into their work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% and stands on its head for those few and far-between souls who devote 100%.’
He obviously never knew candidates for “The Apprentice” who routinely say they give 110% or more!
You may be totally set on what your strengths are and may also be in the enviable position of living them out in what you do. That’s brilliant. But you may also be at the other end of the scale where you haven’t got a clue what you want to do or even what you could do.
To me help in this, I took a strengths test at www.high5test.com which helps you discover what you are naturally good at. I’d really recommend this test that will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. You’ll be shown a list of statements describing a certain behaviour and all you have to do is move the slider along the scale from 0% on the left to 100% on the right. Research shows that when we use our strengths, we’re happier, more engaged and more likely to achieve our goals. This doesn’t just benefit you, but also people, groups, teams and organisations that you’re around and involved with. Stats back this up too, as an average of 74% of people who have a chance to use their strengths are more engaged.
So what were my High 5 strengths? Well, I was quite pleased with the results as it backs up why I thought doing this job would be a good idea! Of course, these questionnaire things can sometimes be a bit subjective and our answers can be determined by our current situation, but I tried to answer as honestly as possible. My strengths, together with the headline description (there’s more background in the results you’ll get) are:
My objective is to develop people’s potential;
My objective is to believe and to do the ‘right thing’;
My objective is to solve problems;
My objective is to act and to initiate action;
My objective is to see the big picture.
I’m not sharing this to show off or anything like that at all. This is purely showing you what is possible from these kind of questionnaires. Whether you’re just starting out with looking for work, getting going again now the kids are sorted, or have been forced to rethink following a lockdown redundancy, finding your strengths is a great place to start. Stop focusing on what you can’t do and discover what you can do. The short video below explains that further.
When you believe that what you do makes a difference, you have a different feeling about what you do. I am certainly beginning to see my work make a difference and if I can help any of you along that journey too, even to guide you through this strengths process, then that would be great. Give me a shout and let’s make it happen. You’ll get me (Dan Rous) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07444 873151.
I’m away this week and as well as switching off and enjoying family time, I will be spending some time thinking over where I’m going and where the work I do is going. None of us probably get anywhere near enough time to think about stuff like that. Life happens and we react – even more so in current times. We can sometimes see the destination or have an idea of where we want to go, but the route we take is not always the one we would want. However, having a clear idea of where we are going is important always.
That’s called ‘vision’ and its really important to have this personally and with any work you’re involved in. You could say that the tag line of “Empowering local people & organisations to bring about positive, lasting change” is the vision of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill. But what does that look like and how do we get there?
I’m not going to answer those questions. In time, you are! That’s not me passing the buck. For sure, I have an idea where I can see Our Place going and of what it can be with the community alongside, guiding its route. But this is about the destination that the community want and need. My job is to walk with you and help you get there.
I’ve quoted Simon Sinek before in this blog and he may seem a bit deep at times – sorry about that. But he speaks a lot of sense. To finish this week I’ll share a short video (less than 2 minutes) of him talking about vision and how that develops. An even shorter summary of the talk is this: “Vision is the ability to see that which does not yet exist. As we slowly bring that vision to life, more people will start to recognise the work we’re doing and join our crusade. But, like an iceberg, there will always be much more waiting to be revealed underneath the surface.”
I love that and it might help you understand a little of how my mind works!
Yes, John and I are starting to make progress with the vision of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill and people are starting to see that. But as more people jump on board, there is so much more to come. I look forward to that journey with you.
Part of my role as Community Coach is to bring various training to you both as individuals and organisations. But what training would you like to have? What skills do you think you would like to develop? What learning have you always wanted to develop but never had the opportunity? What gaps are there in your knowledge? Practical, educational, skills-based – right now the list is pretty much endless of what could be delivered. But it needs to be what you actually want! So, to give a helpful steer to my planning, please select as many of the following options as appropriate to you. It’s completely anonymous, but if there’s anything you can think of that’s not in the list (and I’m sure you can), please let me know and we’ll see what we can do. To start with we will need to run some courses online, but ideally we’ll get you back together in a room – remember how we used to be able to do that! Thanks for helping shape the support that is actually needed in this area.