Tag Archives: project nelly

I be a Success Story

Bill sent me a copy of his most recent, hot off the press, newsletter today, and guess what? I feature in it!

2. A client called me up and asked if he could meet me for a session to support his interview technique – his contract job is coming to an end after about two years. He brought his fiancée, the acquisition of whom he directly attributed to some workplace coaching we did about four years ago around understanding his colleagues’ point of view and managing his rambling mind in conversation. She is his first girl friend and they are getting married in May!

3. The first coaching session with Jake was about his desire to move on from van driving. He is now talking about becoming a vet assistant, to his Dad’s amazement, because he was resisting the idea of studying up to the time he talked with me. By coincidence the fiancée mentioned above is a vet nurse, so I have good information for him when we next speak.

Hehe, I guess I am. And as he put it in a follow-up email: You are a success story in anybody’s book!

Yes, yes I am. 🙂

A Return to Project Nelly

I’ve been working up the hours this week to make up for having today off. Weather-wise, I’m really glad I did as we woke up to a fresh covering of snow, and then pretty much blizzard conditions by breakfast time – so much so that we were halfway tempted to knock any kind of travelling on the head. But travel we did, donning our waterproofs and our boots and trudging out through the snow to the station, and the train to London. We were very glad we did actually, because it was absolutely beautiful out there and I’m sure we got to see more of the snowy landscape by getting the train.

In London, we made our way south to Clapham Junction, for my catchup section of aspergers coaching with Bill both as nervous as hell. I think I was nervous, not because I’m not used to and comfortable with Bill as a coach but because I was also taking Em along with me. And Emma was nervous because she was meeting someone new and didn’t really know what to expect.

We settled our nerves with a hot chocolate and and double chocolate chip cookie in Cafe Nero, before wandering up the road to our appointment.

Bill was as just the same as ever, and remembered me immediately – then again apparently I’m quite hard to forget! 🙂 The format of the session was based around helping me regain confidence in myself and my work situation (with reference to certain ‘killer’ questions of: how do you deal with difficult situations/people; what are your strengths/weaknesses). He has this way, a very coaching way of asking a question that leads out the perfect answer that made me realise that I do actually have alot going for myself and I am good at what I do. I think the intervening time of being on short-term contracts and that insecurity hand led to me thinking negalively about what happened at Blackwell over the short-lived Production Editor job and the subsequent being-replaced-by-a-machine redundancy.

The other focus of the meeting was to allow Emma to see a bit more how my mind works, and to help her deal with my little peculialities. She was also able, by observing Bill’s coaching style, to see how ask me questions to get the most out of me.

After fearing the day (last night before bed, my head was buzzing with uncertainess) we both had a really enjoyable time and learnt such a lot, it was well worth the time and the money.

Low

I had a great weekend. It was good, really good. My parents came up to stay on Friday night and I cooked pizza for them. Then on Saturday we went into Bicester and chose some new stair carpet (will just have to wait till the new year to get it measured up and fitted). After a quick and easy lunch, I went off to my rehearsal before the concert, which went well. Then on Sunday we took Barney for a walk at Stowe Landscape Gardens, and came back for roast lamb with roasted vegetables and crab apple jelly, and meringues the way Gran and Granpy used to make them… 🙂 I even bought a hand whisk for the job!

Today was okay, very Monday, very ordinary. I’m not entirely sure why but this evening I suddenly got very low about the whole job redundancy/uncertain future/and I cried, big balls of snivvelling tears and much feeling sorry for myself. I do actually feel bad about this reaction because though I’m not rolling in money, I’m not badly off, and there lots of people with less, so why should I be complaining? But this evening I did feel very sad and insecure and wanted, desperately, everything to be sorted.

Oh, and before you say it, yes I know that I should be taking this opportunity to launch off into something new and exciting and better. And I kind of agree, but you know, for me, people saying that – it doesn’t help. To seize those opportunities requires one to get out there and talk oneself up, and sell oneself and network, and you know what, I find that really, really difficult. This recent, informative, article in The Guardian nicely explains why…

Special intelligence

The Author Biog

When snugglebunnyjm asked me about Project Nelly, this set me thinking about a publisher’s rejection note that aurora_floyd got sent recently. It’s so utterly, completely wrong that publisher’s need there to be a story in an author’s life that make’s them marketable. It’s rediculous. It’s the book that needs to be special, not the author. Then again, there’s a lot that’s so utterly, completely wrong about today’s publishing industry. I should no, I work in it. I get the memos.

This said, there’s not much I can do about it unless I were to become the CEO of Random House, Bloomsbury or Penguin. So this got me thinking. What’s marketable about me? What’s the hook that will grab the Marketing Executive’s eye? Not much. I have talent, I’m a good writer, but there’s not much that’s remarkable about my life. Or is there…?

What is Project NellyTM, Jody asked. Project Nelly is the secret code devised by me and my then manager, Helen, for the project to help me with my aspergers and with succeeding in life. Feel free to shoot me down here for being rediculous (I would), but maybe that’s it, maybe that’s my thing, maybe that’s the hook with which to catch my Marketing Executive?

Part of me thinks this idea stinks. I don’t like to go on about my asperger’s, and I don’t wake up every morning and think that it’s against me, but it’s there, if mildly and it does effect who I am. I try not to let it effect what I do, and I certainly don’t use it as an excuse (I hope), so why should I try to use it to help me get published? That seems so wrong, doesn’t it? It probably wouldn’t even work anyway…

the good news and the bad news

So I finally heard what is what with my job interview today. Apparently I gave a good interview, and I impressed them, and I would have fitted in well with the team, and my skills were good, but…

And yes, there always seems to be a but. But, there was someone with more project management experience who they decided to give it to. So no joys for me. Carry on pushing the issues live and sitting on top of a rapidly diminishing bag of contbugs for me. There is a glimmer of light though, at the end of the tunnel (or at least a little bit further down the track), apparently Sarah did go back to her manager and say that she had found someone to fill the vacancy of Web Producer, but that she would also like to have another Assistant Producer in the form of me, but sadly the 2006 budgets are full, so there was nothing to be done there. There are a lot more projects on the horizon though, and 2007 budgets are currently being worked out, so if something does come up she did say that she would give me a call and suggest that I might like to apply.

To recap…

Bad news: no new job for Thomas
Good news: definitely seem to be getting the hang of these interview thingamies but just lacking in experience…

…sounds like a Catch 22 situation, now where have I heard of that before!

A little further along the road…

Back when dreams were dreams, and college was something in the future, I thought that Editorial or Commissioning Editor was where I was pointed. Then I did my publishing course and I tempted in some publishers and saw what goes on, and I decided that I was best suited to producing things, doing the production work on the product.

My previous role compounded that view, and when I saw the differences between Production and Editorial, I felt right at home where I was. Now, having delved further into the murky world of production I see that it perhaps isn’t for me. Strangely though, the aspergers-related coaching has taught me a new set of skills, and brought to the surface some others that I didn’t know I had. I’m beginning to wonder whether, after all, I might be able to cut it in editorial. It’s an option, and something to talk to the nice folk at work about.

Meanwhile, having seen Production from the publishing side, when my novel gets accepted and I’m dealing as an author with my own production editor, will I be the model author, or will malevolence and revenge get the better of me and force me to take on the author from hell. *smiles wickedly* It’s worth a thought…

The road ahead

The road ahead is on, not back.

So last week, I had the finale, the curtain call to my probationary period in my new job. It was nothing that I did not know already – I have been finding the author corrections part of my job curiously difficult to get to grips with. Curiously, because at the beginning, I thought that was my greatest strength, and that where I would struggle would be with those softer skills, the communication with a multitude of different contacts all with a multitude of different agendas and approaches. As it turns out, with Bill’s help, but not exclusively, this has not been so much of a problem. The bread’n’butter part of the roll, that of the last pair of eyes to be cast across the papers before publication, is what has been letting me down. Quite why this has been the case we shall probably never know. Certainly it has not been for lack of enthusiasm, determination, and desire. Louise and Mel have been faultless in the help that they have given me, and they too do not fault me for trying. It just hasn’t been working out, and last Tuesday I passed the point of no return.

So that’s it. They are in a recruitment cycle anyway for a couple of other vacancies, so mine will be added to the pot, and when a successor has been found, I will bow out. Tuesday night I was bitterly upset, and I didn’t sleep at all. Wednesday I was upset, but I did sleep, I talked more rationally with people and I admitted this all to my mum (for the first time) and I felt better. I don’t know why I had kept all of this secret. Maybe, deep down I didn’t want to admit it to myself that I was failing? I think it’s more likely that I was just frightened. I thought that if I failed, then that was it, I was out, finished, without a job. And without a job, how would I pay the pills, the mortgage, by food, run the car. Money doesn’t drive me but, having some to keep to the bank manager does help. As it happens, I shouldn’t have thought that. I shouldn’t have let myself get into such a state. Louise, Will, Duncan, the company – they have no intention of casting me out on my own. Far from it. They want to find something else for ‘valuable Thomas’ to do. They just have to work out what. I have to work out what.

In the short term, I will be moving on to be Electronic Production Editor, and resuming my former duties and responsibilities. This is on, not back. And in the future, on again. I have great skills, some of them that I have always known I’ve had; a good deal of them that I’ve only recently discovered; and learnt. They are getting Bill back to help me through this and give me some more coaching, and if that’s not a beletia beacon of a signal that they mean what they say when they say they want to find me something I want to do, then what is? I know how much he costs.

This week? I think I’ve come to terms in my head with what’s happening, and I’m no longer upset. To say I’m not sad would be a lie. Despite everything that’s happened I still like the job. I do the tasks and I catch myself thinking, I’m going to miss this. I set in track something and I think: I’m not going to see the end result of this. Or I see something in the future, and I think, in some warped way, that I was looking forward to that. But, on the flip side, I think I am more relaxed, less stressed, happier person inside. I’m no longer fighting to prove myself. I know my strengths. Louise, Will, Duncan – they all know my strengths. It’s just this, this didn’t work out.

As one door closes, another one opens, and it’s kind of nice to think that, on the other side of that door, they’ve actually built a purpose built wing especially for me. There are lots of connecting doors through there. All I have to do is choose one…

Oxford to Bicester in two and a quarter hours…

…via Oxford City Centre, two flooded roads, a missed opticians appointment and miles and miles of traffic queues.

One of my pieces of homework from last week’s coaching session was to look at myself in the mirror, long and hard, and accept to myself what I do have; what good there is about me. Herein, I now reveal two truths about myself. The first is not really a secret: I am scared of the hairdressers. Some people are scared of the dentists – not me – I like it; but take me to the hairdressers and I am petrified.

The second is something, which I guess if I’m honest with myself, I have been aware of for some time, but have been unwilling or unable to admit to myself. At 32 years of age, my hair is thinning on top. I’m not particularly happy about it, and I don’t like to think about it, but its true. It’s time I faced the truth and admitted to myself the truth.

Self-Aware and Outcome Orientated

This morning, seemingly a blink of an eye since it first started, the Project NellyTM series of coaching, came to a close. Bill came up to Oxford for a wrap-up session, that first involved me for, and then brought in Louise and Duncan. I had to sum up what I thought I’d learnt, and in doing this, I created a series of action points for me to continue to work towards:

  • awareness of mine and other’s time presures
  • switching off conversation…
  • state management (adjusting the state of my mind for pre-meeting to meeting to post-meeting in the broadest sense of the word ‘meaning’)
  • object orientation
  • listening (and understanding/realising other people’s object orientation)

The overall perception was that over the course of these three or four months (yes, it has actually been that long), my awareness and confidence have grown considerably. Duncan himself, said that he had noticed huge differences in me, which makes me happy, as it does validate the investment in training that he has put into me. We looked at Helen’s original email – a curious beast in that it only exists in the form of a typed bullet list in an email because she was leaving for maternity leave and so wouldn’t be around for all the discussions – and we all decided that were that to be written now, it would be a different list. Somethings probably wouldn’t be on it; some would have less weight behind them. Changes have been made. Maybe I am on the cusp of reaching unconcious competence in these things.

Of course it’s not all over. Bill will be offering an after sales service of phone and email contact, and will check back in with both Louise and myself come the end of September and October. We haven’t even really touched yet on organising myself for the big meetings with external clients, and so it is likely that come the end of October I will have another coaching session to address this specific topic, leaving me free to end the hallowed society doors of Burlington House in London’s Picadilly and face the might of distinguished professors et al

I don’t think I’ve cracked this thing by any means, but I do feel like I do now have a rule book that is printed in English for me, and that I am slowly understanding; becoming more confident in my ways; and self-aware of myself and aware others.

It’s been an intense few months, which possibly explains why my novel is still not much over the 60,000 word stage. I have ideas running through my head only this evening, and yet no time to write them down. I must make time. I have so many goals that i want to conquer…

The Girl in the Cafe

Two sides to every story

I have just finished watching Richard Curtis’ new tv film set around the upcoming G8 Summit (intriguingly switched from Scotland to Reykjavik). I felt it to be an extremely compelling drama for the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign. At times the dialogued lumbered around stats and statistics that had to be dropped into what was otherwise a love story, but it seemed to work none the less. Certainly, one is left – if you didn’t already have – with the overwhelming feeling that really and truly, no matter what the economists and politicians might say, it really is that easy.

There is no good excuse for the way we, the richest of the world’s nations treat the poorest. If it means that we all have to make some sacrifices to the standard of living that we have each come to enjoy, then so be it, that is what we have to do. We have to act. We have to act now. We have to act unilaterally. And we have to live with whatever (small) consequence there is to our nations wealth.

The film was interesting for me on another, personal, level. That of the love story between the Bill Nighy and Kelly McDonald characters. Watching this, as I was, on the heels of today’s final(??) coaching session – of which more later – I found myself seeing my own diffident nature in forming and developing relationships in Bill Nighy’s Lawrence character. The tentativeness, the uncertainty, the fear; the simplicity of the opening question, in a cafe… I could do that, maybe. Maybe not in a cafe, but I could sit down at a table, couldn’t I? I’m not saying that I’m going to start hanging round cafe’s on the off chance. It might not be a cafe. Either way, I must keep my eyes open, keep my ears listening, and sometimes, just sometimes I must take those risks.

Interesting.

Thought provoking.

The Curious Incident of the Production Editor in the Nightime

A roundup of Project Nelly #4 (the third London session).

Hot on the heels of last week’s additional session, yesterday I was back to London Town for more coaching. So what had changed since my last coaching session? Well, of course there was last Thursday’s curious discovery for one, plus one on the nature of friends that I discovered at the weekend. My weekend in Derbyshire was brilliant; it was great; I had a fantastic time. It was good to see Rachel and Joe, and their family again. Dalehead, and the Edale valley is magic. There’s nothing better than standing in a stream with your rock bar shifting rocks and damming the landscape in the name of conversation. And despite seering temperatures, the ten mile walk on Sunday up and round to Mam Tor was good fun, and I’m glad I did it. All this said though…

…boy the rest of the group are a weird bunch. It’s not even that I don’t know them, I’ve been out with them on Sunday’s before, and I’ve been on a couple of weekends too I think. This weekend though was the first time – and I’m sure this is Project Nelly related – that I realised what an odd bunch they are, and how much I don’t have in common. I’m not going to go into it, but some of it the things that people said and did bugged me somewhat: a bit of intolerance, a bit of inflexibility, and a touch of plain dullness – these are not the kind of people that I can really be ‘friends’ with. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. I quietly fumed a little, but I didn’t get angry – just underwent quiet realisation. The process allowed me to look objectively at some of my other relationships in my life. Particularly the work one’s.

I don’t have many friends. My closest friends – those who I am honest with about my most inner secrets – tend to be either people from school, college, conservation holidays, and who are now geographically separated from me, or here, online. If you asked me to name someone who I could call up on the phone at the moments notice, and go for a drink there and then … I don’t think I could.

This said, amongst my peers at wind band, and at work (the two places where I do interact weekly/daily with people) I think I can now identify those people who:

  • i consider to be friends
  • are people with who I friendly too, but who are are just colleagues
  • who are and always will be colleagues

Yesterday, Bill took me through some techniques about how to recognise friends v. relationships, and more importantly some techniques for establishing whether the people who I consider to be possible friends, also consider Me in the same way. As part of this, he brought out his video camera to help illustrate to me, how my body language works on other people.

In the second half of the session – which yesterday sprialled out of the original three hours up to 4 o’clock – we looked at controlling the State of my mind. What state do I need to be in to prepare for a meeting. What State do I need to switch into for having the meeting. And of course the techniques for switching from nervous and panicky to organised and methodical. All very interesting, and all very useful.

Now alll I have to do is put the plan into action…

Slow down, be confident, remember your status…

Years ago I was standing with all my peers in a big old fashioned school type hall with tables down the side. We were cued up for ages waiting to be handed our uniform and books, pencils and pens and things. At the end of the line they had this stack of instruction manuals. The thing is by the time they got to me they’d run out of the English one’s and they thought, he looks bright and clever we’ll give him this Japanese one.

The thing is I don’t speak Japanese…

Project Nelly: Session 3

Today, was my second trip to London and I arrived at Bill’s house in Clapham Junction, SW11 in time for a coffee and to recap over last week’s extensive phone conversation over my profile, and a review of the last session and what, if anything, has changed…

Detailing my experiences last week at being plunged into meeting and greeting Richard (my replacement), and demoing my current job role to Louise, it seems that a fair bit has ‘stuck’ in my mind. I’ve been practicing open questions, and listening, and from that basis selecting what I talk about and how I might or might not form a rapport/what kind of relationship I might have with someone. The mind-mapping exercise too, as made me aware of drifting in conversation and enabled to me to pull myself back on track.

I did however, here, reveal my inability to really talk intelligently with others about what I had learnt, and this led on to being told aout the five stages of learning…

The 5 Stages of Learning
5. Expert
4. Unconscious competance

– super-practice

3. Conscious competance

– practice

2. Conscious incompetance

– teaching

1. Unconscious incompetance

– information

Most of the time I’m existing at Stage 4 which makes it hard to describe what I’m learning because I’m just doing it, and to step back down to Stage 2 is hard work but that’s where you have to go if one is to learn and to be taught new skills. Stage 1 is like not being able to ride a bike or speak a language, but not knowing that are bikes are for riding or languages are to be spoken. By contrast, Stage 2 is wanting to ride a bike or to learn a language, but not knowing how to ride/speak the bike/language.

Drawing on the Action Plan from the profile report then, I identified three areas to concentrate on. These were Communicating (Listening), Developing People, and Delegating – with the two major points being the first two. Then came a time of brainstorming and pulling out bits from the profile to fill a flip chart page, and thus to fit beneath these headings. In time for a late coffee break, I managed to end up with the following…

London_20050524_02

Following this, faced with the question of which three points I thought to be the most important, I took a rare moment of assertiveness and labled them sequentially with letters of the alphabet. At this point, Bill didn’t have an idea what I was doing, but I confidently asked him choose a pen, and then gave him a piece of paper, giving us both both instructions to write down the three most important for me. I came up with I, L and M, and Bill with E, L, and M (I agreed straight away that E should have been on my list!). With this in mind, the rest of the session was given over to instruction and practice into what I can do improve these areas, and in doing so to better manage stress, and to manage conflict, to trust more, and to be less defensive, and to come up with strategies and choices for when things don’t go right (to have a Plan B).

Over the next three weeks then, I have practice and pay attention to, in myself and others:

  • status
  • body language
  • spatial postioning/gesture
  • grey spot thing
  • pattern interrupt
  • breathe
  • handshakes
  • outcome
  • slow down
  • silence/pauses
  • PERSONAL STYLE

All in all, a very productive day. I feel positive, and I feel that I am getting somewhere…

In which I discover that I am learning…

I sometimes think that I am not learning. That nothing is changing. On the outset I look at my training course last week, and wonder, when I try to explain to others how it went or what I am doing there, whether I am actually achieving anything?!! I don’t notice any seismic shifts in my personality, and I find it hard explain what the process is.

However, here is where the funny thing is. Regardless of all that, subtle shifts are taking place in me. It’s like when I did the Navigator training programme back in 2002. I didn’t feel at the time, like anything was happening, indeed it wasn’t till about a year and a half later when I tried talking it through to a prospective new Navigatee that it suddenly clicked in me what it was that I had learnt, and how I had changed…

…it is similar with Project Nelly. It is not until after I have floundered through some awkward, hesitent explanation (or at least that is how I see it) that I realise from the response that follows that actually I am changing, if subtly.

That I am learning.

A 25 page dossier on … on Me?!!

This afternoon, Bill sent me the details of the profiling site which will, after answering a series of questions bring back a profile of how one prefers to be communicated with. It consisted of 26 questions – each one consisting of four sets of words. I had to indicate which set of words was most like me, and then out of the remaining 3 sets, which were most unlike me. Similar to the quiz things you find on the internet, this is supposably more scientific in it’s approach.

Within seconds of clicking on the ‘Finish’ button, I had a 25 page dossier emailed to me…

Edit: Having now read the first couple of pages I am a little alarmed at how accurate this is proving to be…!!

Mind mapping and elephants in the kitchen…

I thought I might get a bit of a lie-in today. I was off to a training course – so I ought to get a bit of a lie-in. But no, train times dictated I rise with my normal alarm. I made my way into London on the Chiltern line, and made my way across Town from Marylebone to Clapham Junction without the slightest of hassles. From there, I made my way (again without hassle) to the house in Rochelle Close where I will be undergoing Project NellyTM

It turns out that I most likely have all (or most) of the skills present in me, it’s just that I’m missing the ability to read the map correctly – either that or someone’s printed the instruction book in the wrong language. I got introduced the idea of mind-mapping where you break down conversations or ideas that you want to discuss into different areas. I was actually able to demonstrate in the session how this might help me with reading lack of interest in a subject which I’m interested in but my conversationee is not.

some notes, probably only of interest to me…

Butterflies

I’ve just watched a very interesting documentary about the riddle of the hobbits.

In other news, my insides are all of a topsy-turvy about tomorrow. Instead of heading in to work, I am off to London Town to begin my aserger’s-related coaching/training – and I’m nervous. I can’t say more than that. I don’t really know what to expect. I must go to bed now, and try and not think about it – try and not let it disturb my sleep…

Project Nelly

Pheww! It’s the weekend! And boy am I glad it’s here. It’s been quite a busy week this one, and one which as seen me slowly sink under work, to bubble back to the surface over the days and end the week lounging about in the shallows again.

Today was mainly taken up with my PDR (staff appraisal), starting at a bit before 11 o’clock and going through till half one. It was a good review, probably my best, with a great manager whom I’m going to miss when Helen goes on maternity leave next month. Still I’m doing good, and my extra print production work seems to be going well, and is now a part of of my objectives and training needs in an official form.

…and yes, we really must get away from talking about ECQC job roles and journal production. One last time, it is all Journal Production, just that one is print production and one is online production. We were in East 2-1 longer than the allotted two hours, but it was not long with for argument or fighting over oppinions – but for a good, productive discussion. We found that we agreed on many aspects of how I was doing (freakily the same words in many ways). However we did have to come up for something to replace the truly awful and unusable C-word.

Communcation Skills.

I’ve known for a while that this is not a strong point with me. As part of the job roles, HR are assigning a fair amount of time to the four remaining ECQC (of that once proud and growing race), and this has been one of my areas of concern. Helen had done her research for this PDR, and thought about this. Now the truth is that from her perspective of being my line manager and the person who has seen me work, and given me an issue of her journal to see through to print production, I don’t have a problem with this work-wise. In work-mode I’m fine, I can communicate my needs and and get the job, no problem. The problem is, and this is why Communication Skills is such an ugly word, is that for people who work with me but who haven’t actually seen the work that I do, my social communication skills might give the impression that I wouldn’t be that good. And here’s where Helen was particularly good at doing the research and broaching what good have been a difficult situation. Six months ago in my interim pdr, I had mentioned to her the deal a few years ago with dealing with some workplace bullying and my discovery that I might possibly be in some way Aspergic or have tendancies along the way of Asperger’s. Certainly, mathematics, science and ADD aside, I do have a lot of the symptoms.

Helen didn’t really know an awful lot about Asperger’s, and so did some research and found out some. And she agreed, that some of the list was screaming Thomas at her. And the big one was the whole inability to read body language and social situations correctly, and it struck her that actually this was probably at the crux of the situation – and not the business/work side communication that HR might be going down the route of. To this end she has flagged this tentatively and confidentially with HR and they think they have found someone who, with experience of Aspergers Syndrome, can offer some form of training course to me if I would like.

It makes sense to me, and I think I was pleased that I was being taken seriously for a change, after the singular, bullying failiure of manager #3, the ineffectiveness of #2, the works in a different country of #5, finally manager #5 was doing something!

So I agreed to this idea, which will henceforth be known as Project NellyTM, since it’s aim will be to finally banish the elephant in the room that no one mentions…

Navigation

Each year, my work sponsor places on personal development programmes for men and women, and these called Navigator and Springboard respectively. They consist of four day long sessions at a location, away from work, spread over four months – and in 2002 between May and August I attended the Navigator. It was interesting, and thought-provoking, held at Wolfson College, Oxford, and involved a very nice three course lunch… ^__^

At the time though, perhaps because I did not get the revelatory, BIG change in myself that some of my friends who have done the Springboard course got in themselves, I was left with the impression that although it was interesting, and thought-provoking, it did little more than reaffirm in my mind things that I already knew or had worked out for myself.

This year though, Human Resources sent round and email to past particpants asking if we could talk with any prospective-participants for this years programme. I agreed to this, and today, I had a short chat with someone in Finance interested in going on it. I explained, in a bit more depth what Navigator involved, and what I got out of it, I explained more or less what I’ve outlined above (but in more detail that I shall spare you)…

Anyway, it was during this chat, that something quite unexpected happened to me: I realised how much of an emormous help Navigator had been to me, how much it has affected the way that I think, feel and behave. I’ve done things that I would have never have done before. I now feel able to speak out and say what I’m feeling/thinking, instead of shying a way into a corner and bottling it up. I’ve started this journal – I don’t think I could have been so open and written things here before then. I was in Tallinn last summer and saw the amber pendant wanted it, bought it and have worn it every day since (well apart from the days when I’m wearing the silver one from Edinburgh), and felt good about it – I certainly couldn’t have done that two, three years ago! I’m more open with my feelings, and I think I’m happier for it.

And all this realisation from five minutes talking with someone of whom I’ve never met, about a course that I was previously unsure of. I guess very often, you don’t realise how much something has affected you until you attempt to describe it to someone else. I felt so inspired by this that I felt I had to go there and then and talk with the training officer in HR how much I do value the course after all. I recommend it to anyone! ^__^

Interesting, reflective, and thought-provoking…

from siren_songs, by way of jordaaner – and oddly too, many answers didn’t need changing.

1. As a kid, I missed the chance to: have friends who I could call up and meet with at a moments notice
2. As a kid, I lacked: co-ordination, sporting ability
3. As a kid, I could have used: more close contact with people my own age
4. As a kid, I dreamed of being: a writer or a film-maker (or both)
5. As a kid, I wanted a: girlfriend (but it never seemed to happen – I guess it will one day…?)
6. In my house, we never had enough: time. That’s not too say we didn’t not do things, just that we had so many interests, more time would have been good 😉
7. As a kid, I needed more: confidence, support
8. I am sorry that I will never again see: those days (the whole package) again
9. I beat myself up for the loss of: nothing. One skill I *do* have – I never regret anything.
10. I have a loyal friend in: my family, and now I think, a few more…
11. What I like about my town is: I have a nice house, a nice garden, and it’s MINE – I can be me in it, and it’s convenient for the moment.
12. I think I have nice: manners 😉
13. I am taking a greater interest in: music, at least in a more organised sort of a way. I’ve negletted the joys of classical music for way to long.
14. I believe I am getting better at: this whole living biz. But I could be wrong 😉
15. My inner artist has started paying [more] attention to: um…?!!!
16. My self-care is: eager and optimistic.
17. I feel more: (you can change that colon into a full stop.)
18. Possibly, my creativity is: increasing; however I prefer to deal with certainties.