When you need your Team around you – mini blog

It’s safe to say this week has been super challenging for me. I undertake a role I enjoy and find so fulfilling, but there are times when something unexpected gets in the way. This week it’s been my health…whilst it would be too long and laborious to unpack it here, I’ve need to speak with my colleagues as openly as I could about what is going on for me. That task has been difficult in itself, but necessary…openness and vulnerability are hard, but can really help others to understand you better. 

The Team and colleagues I work with at TWBC have been fantastic, supportive, accepting and hugely accommodating. In many respects I didn’t expect anything less, but at my lowest point this week I took real comfort from the awareness of their kindness, consideration, gentleness, and acceptance given to me. It may not surprise you to know that these acts are the hallmark of a great Team; the sense of the value given to each other not in just what you do, but who you are! 

Here at TWBC we spend a lot of our time and energy working alongside Teams to create the right conditions for growth and development – helping Teams to be the very best they can be. I feel proud that we don’t only invest in it, we demonstrate it too within our own everyday working life.  I end the week feeling the arms of my Team around me, I could call any of them and I know they would be there. 

#team #teampride #wellbeing #kindness #care #concern #acceptance #valuing 

Tim – The Wellbeing Collective

Restoration and wellbeing – why ‘breaks’ are important.

Breaks? Holidays? People often wonder why I need a holiday when I am now practically fully retired but I still find the concept of holiday invigorating and exciting. Holiday for me, used to be time for a recovery, time to get away from everyone and everything, I liked nothing more than to be in my caravan, to shut out the world and mainly entertain myself by walking, reading and disengaging from the world. As time went on during my working years, I realised that these were all healthy activities and certainly had an important place in my life, but if I was so drained by the time a holiday came around maybe my work/life was out of balance. I switched to placing greater focus on increased resilience whilst at work and for the focus of my holiday to be a time to use the charge from a battery that should already be fairly well topped up. Holidays for me then developed a different and more positive purpose. I wanted to have the energy and enthusiasm to use the opportunity to do something different to my usual routines.  

Walking remains a love of mine and most of my caravan holidays will have some sort of walking challenge although not all, as we may also be off with the fishing gear – which for me means time to get out running and get in lots of reading whilst my partner fishes, or off to sightsee a new part of the country or meet up with family/friends.  

Whilst I love nothing more than to be off in the van, walking boots packed and hoping for good weather, I remain open and eager to other options – a week traveling around northern Norway chasing the northern lights involved very little walking, many hours of being awake and a lot of discomfort being in a tiny minibus in close proximity to people I didn’t know – but it was fun, it was different and exhausting.  

For me holidays (whether at home or away) need purpose. Knowing the purpose and what I need, is key for me in making a successful holiday and then the holiday seldom disappoints – purposes vary, ranging from ‘just chill’ time to full on active, and any one holiday may have a range of activities but gone are the days when all holidays are just for recovery, time is too precious for that. I started by saying people ask me why I need a holiday – holidays give purpose, they provide opportunity and challenge, they change routines and offer a chance to develop a new perspective whether working or retired. 

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#holidays #rest #recuperation #restoration #contentment #wellbeing #breaks

How do you recharge your batteries?

Last week Amy posted a brief picture and message to Twitter and Instagram of her trip to Hampton Court. She reminded us how important it is to take time out and relax. She asked an important question;

How do you ensure you recharge your batteries?

We all need time and space to reenergise, to find space between the business of our lives and the time we completely have to ourselves. As you prepare for your break, we reflect on what type of breaks we like and why.

I’m sure some of the ideas will resonate with you and create that relaxation feeling, that future point when you will have time and space to really switch off.   

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Photo taken by the TWBC team.

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#relaxation #recharge #holiday #rest #reenergise #break #coach

Becoming Active Allies…

Here at TWBC we’ve made protected time to review our diversity credentials. We set out at the beginning of this spring to really challenge ourselves:  

  • Just how much do we embrace difference and diversity?  
  • Do we even understand what these words mean to us as individuals or as a Collective?  
  • How can me move from a position of supporting and endorsing principles of diversity to being an active ally in the cause for working towards equality, fairness, and justice?  

As a Collective we have wanted to really challenge ourselves, part of that has been creating lots of opportunity for discussion and challenge within ourselves and you would have seen some of this filtering through in recent weeks.

Probably the most important part of our journey has been working with an expert in the field to begin our own active ally journey. This last couple of weeks we have been exploring what we mean and understand by the term diversity. We’ve been asking about what is means to actively work with diversity in our relationships, conversations, and actions…it’s a fair and worthy challenge. For us it creates excitement, but there is also a shared agreement that it also takes courage to stand out, speak out and speak up. Look out for our reflections this week on what we’re beginning to learn… 

Tim, The Wellbeing Collective.  

Our latest short blog – preferred pronouns

Yesterday a couple of us at TWBC had a conversation about preferred pronouns, we discussed Eddie Izzard, other celebrities and colleagues. We reflected on how hard it can be to remember to use preferred pronouns when we are so conditioned to go by just what we see and hear. 

To work with preferred pronouns involves consciously engaging, and mindfully working, with someone else’s preference – really valuing who someone is and how they are in the world.  

Part of our discussion also included a reflection that in the UK we can have these conversations, these are freely spoken and bravely faced. Yet for over 70 countries in the world there continues to be legislation that limits any form of expression difference reflecting a LBGT+ person. 

As we move more confidently into a space of working well with difference we need to continue to hold in view the ongoing oppression of so many across the world. Everyone should have the right to have #pride in their own identity.

Reflections on Pride Month – embracing my own difference.

On pride month, I’ve been reflecting on what significance it holds for me. What feels important to me at this moment? 

Like most values-based organisations at The Wellbeing Collective we’ve been really immersing ourselves into what it means to work well with difference and diversity. For us, the content of our discussions has been mainly about race and culture; we do not want to shy away from, of be afraid of, difficult discussions at this important moment in our shared world history. That said, we’ve long celebrated difference and diversity in our team; the pride of having members of our team who are from the LBGTQ+ community has really enriched our shared experience of what it means to be different. We are part of our own diverse community. 

In this context, I’ve been personally challenged around the behaviours that I, as a gay man, have often displayed to meet heteronormative expectations. I’d never really thought about it a lot previously, in fact it probably has been something hidden from my immediate awareness. It’s only in our conversations around race that I’ve also noticed how I’ve often adapted to fit in, to perhaps hide away something of myself, that I have somehow felt oppressed. I notice this often when others are talking about their family life, and I have something that stops me from talking about mine. In fact, the intersection between the experience of those behaving differently because of their race and mine somehow feel closer than I expected. I know this is my personal challenge, many really value ‘me for me’, but it’s sometimes that feeling that there’s ‘something in the air’ that stops me from being really who I want to be. 

On pride month we have a lot to celebrate and value, but as I have reflected, I would encourage you to do so to. My goal is to work on actively being proud of who I am, proud of my own rich family life, to speak out about who I am, to be proud of my identity, to embrace my difference as I strive to do so in others. If there something I have taken away from this last year is that it is not good enough to say we embrace difference, we must actively do something about it and ‘call it out’ in ourselves and others when we see that this is not happening. That is my task and I hope it is yours too! 

Tim Coupland, Consultant, TWBC. 

On Learning Disability Awareness week TWBC’s Carol shares her perspectives on art and creativity.

Each year, during the month of June, we have a chance to celebrate the lives of people with a learning disability throughout a week of awareness activity and promotion. This years theme is on the arts and creativity, and is a great opportunity for us all to stop and think about the things that enrich our own lives and how we can use creativity and the arts to boost and enhance the lives of others, in particular those with a learning disability (as it is their week!) but everyone else too.

Without a doubt this last year has been a challenge for us all, but for those who have a learning disability, and for their families, the pandemic has presented a raft of difficulties that we have not had to face before including the closure of services, restrictions upon lives that have been hard to understand and comply with, loneliness, loss and bereavement, poor health to name but a few. The health risks faced by the learning-disabled population are already far greater than those faced by many others, and the Covid 19 virus has just added to those risks, increasing the vulnerabilities of this group hugely. It is estimated that the rate of people with a learning disability dying from Covid 19 is 3-4 times the rate in the general population.

Despite all of this, the pandemic has taught us all to be more appreciative of the simple things in life, and has encouraged us to be more creative with our time and our space. There are two particular things that come to my mind when I think about how I have tuned into my creative side during the lockdown. One is the creative way I have accessed exercise classes during this time, resulting in me exercising more in the last year than I have ever done in my life, and actually enjoying it! There is nothing like an early morning salsa or Zumba class to set me up for the day and make me feel good about myself. The second is the coaching qualification I have obtained during the pandemic, opening up coaching opportunities for me that were not there before. The development of my coaching skills has certainly tapped into my creative self in a way that has surprised me. And I am aware that both of these newly aroused creative streaks within me are being tapped into and used to good effect when I work with people who have a learning disability. This makes me smile, encourages me to recognise and appreciate my own creativity, and reminds me of the many ways that we at The Wellbeing Collective utilise our creative selves in our delivery of services to others.

If this is how I feel from a few moments of self-reflection upon the arts and creativity, just imagine the possibilities for people with a learning disability…

Carol Bailey – TWBC

Coaching – enriching the focus on the person

In coaching and facilitating, the desire to add value, help or say something useful can get in the way of actually doing those things. Without realising it, we can become focussed on ourselves rather than the other person, instantly undermining everything we hope to offer.

What we often hear from people coaching and facilitating is the desire to ask, ‘brilliant questions’ or say something ‘very clever with huge impact’. The desire to add value, help someone, and say something useful in conversation can get in the way of actually doing all those things. 

Without realising it we can become focussed on ourselves rather than the other person, instantly undermining everything we hope to offer.

The counter balance to this is to let go of all our expectations of being clever, or asking brilliant questions, to quieten down that inner voice that doubts us, and instead focus totally on the other person or people, hold them entirely in mind and allow yourself to respond authentically to them with curiosity and compassion.

At The Wellbeing Collective, we have accredited, skilled and experienced coaches and facilitators. To learn more about our coaching and facilitation offers and how we may be able to help you as a coach, or provide guidance in your coaching journey, please check out our website using the link below or contact us via info@thewellbeingcollective.co.uk

Note taking – how coaching helped changed the way I approach my anxiety at work

My ability to recall information, is, quite frankly, laughable. Ever since I was little recalling information has been something I have struggled with. Academically, even during my degree, I scored highly in my essays knowing my exam grade would pull me down. The exam wasn’t reflective of my learning, I knew the content – it was reflective of my recall skills. Even now I have a very strong anxious reaction to anything that requires me to be in an ‘exam style’ situation. 

As I entered the workplace, and during my career, I realised my anxiety around trying to ‘remember’ was stopping me from being able to recall important information when I needed to. And this is where coaching came in. My coach helped me find the root causes for my heightened anxiety in the workplace, and also discover a new way of working that reduced that anxiety. Note taking – or as my coach and I like to call it, putting things in my back pocket. Note taking has saved me in countless situations because it removes the pressure. 

I have taken notes into interviews, with examples written down so that I could concentrate on applying my answer to their question and not panicking of thinking of an example first. I take prep notes before and during meetings for the exact same reason – and when I do this, it allows me the headspace to recall because the pressure has been removed. 

Over time I have honed the confidence and skills, with the support of my coach, to not rely on note taking as much, which includes being confident to say “I don’t know” or ”let me find out and come back to you” or “I will just look that up now”… we can reach information so quickly thanks to technology, that we no longer have to feel like we need to retain everything. And that freedom allows me to concentrate on what I need to, to be able to apply it and be more creative in a thinking and meeting space. I am now able to listen, be involved and respond. I have been able to achieve this because I had a coach who asked exactly the right questions, so I could explore the issue myself and form my own conclusions. This empowered me to undertake activities I already had the answers to – I just didn’t know I had them. The coach created a safe space.  A space to think. A space that allowed me to find the answer myself.

Do you also struggle with the ability to recall information? You may have another burning issue on your mind? Coaching for me was a powerful medium to help me discover something that worked for me.  For me, coaching helped me to reduce the pressure on myself, and opened up a creative thinking space to recall the information! I won’t ever be able to state exact numbers in a meeting for example, but my notes can, and that is one of the most powerful tools in my work toolbox and no longer something which holds me back. 

For more information on how The Wellbeing Collective can help you via coaching, please get in touch info@thewellbeingcollective.co.uk

Something for the week ahead…

We may have had some well needed rain this weekend but I’m seriously hoping for sunnier weather in the week ahead. I’m also hoping for an enriching week at work. For me I’ve been doing things a little differently.

With days filled with meetings or emails I needed to make a conscious effort to do something away from my desk, something for me. Go running I thought? Try a new exercise class perhaps? … but the more I thought about them the more I couldn’t bring myself to find the time or inclination. So instead, I started to think about the natural full stops throughout my day that had disappeared, that chat with a colleague whilst grabbing a coffee or the thinking time that my commute used to provide…so I have decide to start small. 

My new virtual commute is a 5 mins stroll in the garden with my cup of tea before I sit at my desk, booking myself a protected 30 mins in my diary for a some lunch away from emails and monitors and squeezing in those 10min buffers of time for a coffee break before joining the next meeting. They may seem like tiny insignificant changes but I can tell you that their impact is a huge positive on both my well-being and on my working day. Sometimes it’s the little things that can impact the most.

As you go into the next week take time to reflect on how the last week has been, is there a little thing you’d like to change, a little goal, is there something that would make next week even better for you?

When Monday comes try it out…let us know how you get on.

Max – The Wellbeing Collective