Okay, that title doesn’t scan as well as the Jackson 5 hit “ABC” but there’s a reason for the strange title to the blog this week.
Back in February I introduced you to a thing called Asset Based Community Development – ABCD for short. It’s a fancy title for working with who and what you have in your community and recognising them not as random statistics, but as people. People who have skills, talents, passions, needs, desires. People who can be the change in their community. People who, with the right encouragement, can be even more amazing. People who can make a positive difference in their lives, in their families lives, in the organisation their part of, and in the whole community. In short, what my job is here to do.
So why am I returning to this now?
Well, apart from the fact that I live by this every day, specifically, in a couple of weeks time I am part of a team hosting the second UK ABCD Jamboree that this time has a Scottish theme. Basically, this is an online get together for people delivering some kind of Community Development but also crucially, for those who are actually in communities – those who are being the change already. Practitioners at all levels. This is the first of a series of ‘regional’ gatherings where projects can be showcased from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It’s been one of the positives of using online platforms to meet, as there is the chance to hear and learn from others across a wider field than we would ever have met with before. We’re so pleased to be involved in the first one of these and give the chance for people to see the opportunities that are being grabbed here in Camelon and Tamfourhill amongst other areas.
So this is an open invitation to you. Whether you’re reading this as someone in a position of authority, someone who is getting their hands dirty by doing the every day community stuff, or anyone in between those extremes, this is the gathering for you. It’s not a dry, policy led set of PowerPoint presentations. This is going to be full of living, breathing stories of communities making a difference. We want to flood this online gathering with people who are actively involved in community activity at all levels.
As well as hearing from some great projects from across Scotland (including a 5 minute piece from Lynne at Tamfourhill Community Hub in the quick fire talks section), there will be lots of chances to chat with people from other communities who are there to share and learn in equal measure. This is a place for ideas to be shared, connections to be made, and communities to be celebrated. And it’s all free!
So why not book in. It would be great to see you there and to truly celebrate our area on this UK platform. It’s being held on Zoom on Tuesday 7 September from 10am to 1230pm. More details are on the image below but you can book at celebratingcommunities.eventbrite.co.uk. I look forward to celebrating with you at that event.
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.
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?
For someone who is usually pretty positive, that may sound like a strange title for a blog. But this isn’t a rant or a whinge – it’s a rallying call to get involved.
Be honest though. How many times have you said something along the lines of “why bother” or “why should I do that ‘insert nice thing’ when it’s just going to become undone” or “why should I help them”. Maybe you’ve even said of others “why are they bothering doing that” or “what’s the point in them helping those ‘insert description here‘ people.” Or even “how is that getting sorted over there but not here”.
Doing good can by tiring when faced with constant negativity. Doing good can really grate when you see your good work undone or put down by others.
So why bother? Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and because it may well be the only way to bring positive change to our local area. So when John and I or any other group in this area gives an opportunity to get involved in something in the local area that will work towards that positive change, let’s jump forward together and not just leave it to the usual people. If we don’t, we will continue to hear, as has been said many times, that this is the land that time forgot.
I completely understand that getting involved in community enhancing activities is hard work and can be extremely draining both mentally and physically. There is an expectation that others (especially the council) should be doing things but times have changed (maybe not for the better but we are where we are). I completely understand that it’s very easy to get drawn into a discussion on social media about problems in the area and it is right that those problems are highlighted. But while a discussion on social media may feel good and give a good platform to rant, it is not the way to get things sorted. I completely understand though that when you stand up to try to make a positive change, you are also putting yourself up on the firing line and sometimes that can feel a lonely place.
So why bother? Andy March said “If you’re kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you’re successful, you’ll win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway”. What a great message that essentially says forget what anyone else will say or think. If you think this is the right way forward and will bring positive change to the community then go for it.
Why shouldn’t we bother? Why shouldn’t we do kind things because it’s the right thing to do? Why shouldn’t we become successful in our area? And if we’re not physically able to get involved, why shouldn’t we cheer on those who are having a go?
This is a good point in this blog to actually say thank you to those who are bothering. Those who see an opportunity and grasp it, rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to get involved. Those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Those who are willing to take on extra training to be able to be involved in something. Those who will ask questions to get positive action. Those who truly believe that the only way to make a difference is to actually make a difference.
Carl Beech said “It seems to me that far too often, rather than cheer each other on we seem to provoke each other more to angst and stimulate rows rather than love and good stuff. … I think it’s more than what we say but what we do as well. On one of the marathons I ran (plodded around) I put my name on the front of my tee. All the way round total strangers were yelling out “Come on Beechy!!! Go on son!!!” It was amazing. I’m sure they put an extra 5 miles in the tank just by cheering me on. Similarly, when I see people being gracious, generous in words and actions – it provokes me to want to do the same and lifts my head and heart up to something higher. When people are sarcastic, mocking or argumentative – in the same way it can lower your head and drag you down.”
So what can we do about it? Beechy asks the following questions which I think are good for all of us, including me, to consider: “What do I/you provoke more? The good or the bad? When did I/you last cheer someone on? Do I/we bump my/our gums moaning all the time or does what comes out of my/our mouth encourage people with generous words? Does my/your actions provoke people to good stuff or not?
Challenging questions there but they are well worth considering if we’re serious about making this community an even better place. I am well known for banging on about the good things happening in the area. I am well known for championing our area for the people, organisations and activities that are going on – often under the radar. People from other areas are beginning to sit up and take note. People from outwith our community are beginning to see what can happen when people come together for positive change. Have we sorted all the issues out yet? No, far from it. There is a lot of work to do. But if we keep looking to the problems as problems, that will be all we see. Maybe if you are looking only at the problems, how about considering how you could get involved to try to help turn things around for those involved in those issues. Maybe they just need a chance to be involved themselves?
To use Beechy’s analogy from earlier on, “Let’s keep running the marathon and cheer each other on along the way.” I’m going to bother – what about you?
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”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.
On Monday evening we celebrated (as best we could on Zoom) the first anniversary of Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill. It’s been a strange year to say the least but there was plenty to celebrate and look ahead to as well. So today, we wanted to just share some of the highlights from the evening which began with a recap from Lynne Boslem of Tamfourhill Community Hub on how OPCT came to be. Then Dan and John took over to give a review of their highlights from the year. You can watch their presentation here:
Dan then launched our impaCT 1 to 1 Coaching Programme. Again, you can watch his presentation and learn more about how coaching can help you or someone in your group/organisation/circle of friends at www.opcamelontamfourhill.co.uk/coaching1to1.
We then heard from local author Kev McPhee about how his writing has helped him through lockdown and how he wants to encourage people especially facing a life caught in addiction that there is hope and a better way to live with the right support. Watch this space for more on how OPCT will be assisting with this.
Our next speaker was Kevin Harrison of Artlink Scotland (Camelon Arts host) who spoke about the Our Connected Neighbourhoods local pilot to make Camelon and Tamfourhill a dementia friendly neighbourhood. Message us for more information on that.
Finally, we had some questions and comments from the gathered crowd including a word of thanks from Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn.
It was great to celebrate but next year will be even better as, all being well, we can be in a room together with actual cake! Thank you to all who have supported, engaged, encouraged etc over the last year. Here’s to so much more in the next 12 months.
At our First Anniversary Celebration event on Monday, I officially launched a 1 to 1 coaching programme that is FREE for you, the lovely people of Camelon and Tamfourhill. This is not sports coaching, but personal development coaching to help you, the coachee, to fully live out your potential – whether that is personal or professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.
The video below is my talk from the event where I explain what Coaching is and crucially, what coaching isn’t. This can really make a difference in your life and help you move into the potential that is within you – no matter what stage you’re at.
If you don’t fancy watching the video, then you can read things for yourself below that. Once you’ve watched or read, if you want to book in for a series of coaching sessions with me, or to find out more for yourself or someone you’d like to refer, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have a conversation. There’s also more information over at our dedicated 1 to 1 Coaching page.
What is 1 to 1 Coaching?
Coaching is an ongoing conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their potential – both personal and professional. The goal of coaching is for the coachee to discover insights about themselves, and to take action in reshaping their life.
The coaching relationship is expected to encourage insights, to facilitate greater personal awareness, to change behaviours, to initiate actions and, ultimately, to produce outcomes that satisfy the coachee. Much is expected of them: it is their responsibility to imagine, reason, identify, plan, decide, and implement their goals.
What Coaching Is
Coaching is about the coachee – their goals, their learning, and their growth. Together, coach and coachee will discover the potential within them.
Coaching is about learning – rather than teaching. The coachee is the expert on their life. A coach uses coaching techniques such as deep listening, open questions, encouragement, feedback, and always remaining supportive. The focus is on assisting the coachee in discovering insights and taking next steps in pursuing their calling.
Coaching is about action – the coachees action. Each session the coachee will determine 1-3 actions steps to take before the next session. It may be surprising how quickly the coachee will progress toward their goals.
Coaching is about all of the coachee – not just work or personal life. We all know that altering old habits and thought patterns is difficult. A coach recognises these patterns and will support the coachee as they change and grow.
What Coaching Isn’t
It is not therapy. Although many of the communication techniques are the same, like active listening, reflecting, use of questions, limited advice giving, etc., therapy focuses on the past to bring healing and unblock a person so they might move ahead. Coaching is future and action-oriented – for people who are basically free of debilitating psychological or emotional issues.
It is not mentoring. Mentors are experts in a particular field who seek to pass on their expertise to a person. Mentors provide knowledge, advice, guidance, correction, and encouragement to people who are newer and junior—by experience if not by position or age. Mentors usually play the roles of advisor and teacher to guide and impart knowledge and wisdom.
It is not training. In training, the trainer sets the agenda. Changes are imposed from outside the participant, via the trainer. In coaching, the coachee sets the agenda. Coaches use adult learning principles of self-discovery to motivate change from within their coachee.
It is not authoritarian. Did you have a tough sports coach who used to yell at you and make you do a million push-ups if you made a mistake? That’s not coaching. A coach will push a coachee beyond what they might think they can do, but will always be supportive. The coachee is in control. The desire and responsibility to choose and act belongs to the coachee – and them alone.
Why Does Coaching Work?
Coaching works because it brings out the best in the coachee; a coach believes that coachees can create their own best answers and is trained to support them in that process. During coaching sessions, a coach will:
Listen. The coachees story is central. A coach is fully engaged in what they are saying, encouraging them to discover what their potential is.
Ask questions. A coach uses questions to stimulate the coachees thinking and creativity. Questions are about possibilities and the future.
Encourage. Everyone needs encouragements, and usually we don’t get enough. A coach will hold and honour their coachees vision, progress, and efforts.
Facilitate while letting you lead. A coach facilitates learning and problem solving.
A coach is not in charge, nor do they set the agenda. A coach is simply here to help the coachee to engineer their future.
Why Use a Coach?
The reasons people want coaching are endless, and as unique as the person. Here are a few examples that motivate people to use a coach.
To make significant life changes
To make better decisions
To set better goals and reach them faster
To address changes in location or employment
To reduce stress, isolation, or uncertainty
To progress personally
To improve your relationships
To make a bigger impact on the world
To be a better leader
To better understand who you are
To simplify or prioritize your life
To evaluate your pace of life
Our Coaching approach
Provides Clarity and Focus
Fosters Intentional Progress
Rubs Off on Others
Encourages achievable Goals/Dreams
You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.
Andy Stanley, The Next Generation Leader
So, does this sound like it could be of help to you or someone you know/work with? Then get in touch and let’s get started! Drop me an email at email@example.com to start the process.
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:
Local (Kemlin); Incomer (New/Recent Resident); Refugee; Scottish; People of Colour; ‘Foreign’.
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.
This blog marks 6 months since John and I started in our posts and Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill was reborn. For my part, as a local resident as well, I came with hopes and plans as to the things I could bring to this new and exciting role as Community Coach. However, starting a new job during a national pandemic and lockdown really threw most of those plans up in the air! But, undeterred, I have pushed on as much as possible through mainly online contact and phone calls and have been grateful to the willingness of local groups to get on board with what I can bring – especially those who came to me for help. That has been especially helpful during these restrictions as I don’t necessarily know what help is needed unless people tell me.
There is still a lot of work to do and I’ve in no way been able to give all the groups what they need or even make significant contact with some. That does not mean I won’t keep trying though! Contact with individuals has also been hard as I can’t get out to meet you! But I’m working on how I can do this through the restrictions we face just now and would just again encourage anyone who wants any support with training and personal development to do as some have already and give me a shout. Even if you’re not sure what you need – often chatting it through with someone else can be a big help. My contact details are below.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has got on board with what we’re trying to achieve here. Those who have supported me, shared our social media posts and blogs, informed others about what we’re doing and basically cheered us on. Sincerely – thank you.
For now, this seemed a good chance to review what I’ve been able to do so far. I record this not to show off in any way – that’s not my style. But simply to try to show how Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill, and especially my role as a Community Coach, can be of benefit in this amazing community.
26 Local Organisations have been supported with information, guidance or training on:
4 Individuals have been supported with:
Access to training
34 External Organisations have been linked up with for:
Information and Support for Local Organisations
General Links and Wider Support
Information and Guidance
6 Organisations and 2 Individuals have been identified for delivering Free or Low Cost Training:
I am combining my search for various courses together with working to find out the kinds of courses people are needing.
The list is too long to put on this blog, and really is endless depending on what you, the people and organisations of this area, actually want and need.
Courses include Personal Development, Employability, Organisational Development and Skills Based subjects.
I have been building my own skills to enable me to deliver this training online as it looks like it might be a little while before we can have groups together for this.
I have taken part in 11 Training Sessions or Courses:
Rebuilding Income Streams
Community Right to Buy
Community Wealth Building
Asset Based Community Development
Taking your Training Online
Delivering Effective Online Learning
Human Centred Design
Working on Developing 6 Projects in the area:
Creative Communities Fund – Behind the Labels Project
Collaborative funding application unsuccessful but working with groups involved to discuss alternative options.
Cycle Repair Pop Up Workshops
Thanks to work with Cycling UK, these are happening over the next 2 weeks.
Easter Carmuirs Park
Early work on planning for Phase 2 consultation which will include forming a new group of local people to help the process.
Formation and support of new group to develop growing sites across the area.
Potential partnership with Cycling Scotland and Falkirk Active Travel Hub to include the area in some events.
I am developing a programme of 1-1 coaching for individuals to enable personal and organisational growth.
It’s been quite a fun and rewarding process putting this list together and I’m sure there’s things I’ve missed and there’s more in the pipeline as well. In any area of development – whether that is personal or organisational – it’s good to look back on where you’ve come from as, no matter how low we may feel on the odd occasion, recognising achievements to date is a real boost. This process can really help you move forwards. I hope to be able to help others do the same locally as we go through the next 6 months and beyond.
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.