L’enterprise des Possibles

Watching French24 tv, I was heartened by the amazing work French billionaire Alain Merieux has achieved. He set-up L’enterprise des Possibles or Company of Possibilities just two years ago.

In the interview he explained why he chose to set-up this initiative up at the age of 80. Looking back to his childhood – which many of us seem to do as we get older, he noticed there was no homeless when he was a child. People shared what they had and took care of each other. Over recent years, he noticed that caring and sharing has been lost and homelessness is everywhere. The same could be said of countries around the world.

Alain’s idea was to join businesses with homeless charities. Companies and their employees could donate their time, annual leave or volunteer for the charities to make a real long-term difference.

Over the two years L’enterprise des Possibles has been operating, 60 companies have signed up raising over €1.1m and housing 550 people in Leon alone. One of these was a Congalese asylum seeker and her two young children who had been sleeping in fear wherever they could find space in the three years they had been in France. Now she proudly showed the news team around her chalet provided by L’enterprise des Possibles and spoke of her feeling of safety now. One of seven chalets she and her children now had a real support network in which to flourish and rebuild their lives.

The calmness on her face and positivity for the future was inspiring. The woman and her family had literally nothing. Now they have peace, security and a future – how rich is that?

Just as inspiring is Alain. Most 80+ people would be looking inwards, not what they could do for others. In the week that Captain Sir Tom Moore sadly died we are reminded of the amazing difference someone can do, no matter their age or ability, to make a difference and inspire others on what is truly the richness of life.

Making a positive difference when you don’t even know it….

Earlier this week I was contacted by someone who had been selected to take part in Growing Talent in 2019.  Growing Talent is an employment empowerment programme I run, which has been on hold since March 2020 due to Covid (www.growing-talent.co.uk).  

At the time they had many personal pressures to deal with which had reduced their self-confidence to an all-time low whilst greatly increasing their anxiety – exhausting as we all know.

They worked hard to complete the Orientation Week – confidence building workshops – prior to going on the employer’s site working well with their peers on team and individual challenges.  Gradually shoots of growing self-confidence started to appear.  More importantly, a smile returned to their face.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t maintain the routine of work back in 2019 and left before completing the programme.  This made their contact this week even more thought provoking.

They have been a carer for over a year working extensive shifts caring for the vulnerable is tough enough for anyone let alone doing this role in the middle of a global pandemic.  The people this person supports all have varying stages of dementia – challenging for individuals, family, friends and carers.

Finding the strength to make decisions and changes in their personal life took massive courage.  With everything going on, they still put others first and decided to move into the care home to support their peers and residents as much as possible.  Unfortunately, they got Covid themselves and had to self-isolate.  Now the residential care home is currently Covid free – a big relief for all.

As I’m reading all of this information they sent, my pride and admiration swelled.  Their growth from 2019 to now is inspirational.  The reason they wanted to get in touch now was to not only share their journey but thank me for my teachings.

Anyway, my point is, that, no way could I have gotten through the turmoil of Covid in a Dementia Care home and self-loathing induced by personal pressures if it hadn’t been for your teachings and even that week of lessons really in prep for growing talent. Thank you for the lessons, thank you for the courage and the self-belief you instilled in me, before I could really believe in myself’.

As a trainer/facilitator passionate about encouraging people and businesses to be the best they can, I often wonder about those who aren’t ready to move forward.  I know see, even instilling a short time of self-belief and proactive personal nurturing makes a difference to them long term.

What’s the point in sharing this with you?  To share we may not always know the outcome of something we do – that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful and positive.

Never stop trying to do what you know is right.  You are having a bigger, positive impact than you may realise.

Pandemic = tech opportunities

‘It’s not what happens to us that affects us but how we look at those things”

Naturally, for many of us the global pandemic has brought pain and misery to many – both physically and mentally.

For the tech industry, the pandemic has brought opportunities for innovation and good business.

Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight – https://www.ccsinsight.com explained some of the new solutions appearing at the CES Tech Expo – for the first time being held virtually 11-14 January 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-55582236

Ben explained some of the ideas presented at the expo are a direct result of the pandemic. These include specially coated tech protected from picking up the virus, a desk light which cleans keyboards etc every hour, face masks with integrated purifiers.

Robotics have been around for over 50 years. We’re used to seeing these in car manufacturing plants. Recently we’ve seen food delivery companies use robots to deliver food in smaller areas. Robots are used in corporate setting to direct visitors, used for contactless service and payment. Future plans include use in the care sector for administering drugs but also to stave of the killer of loneliness.

Innovation and opportunity often springs up from adversity. Let’s not be scared of that adversity but grab it for the opportunities it presents.

Remember – ‘It’s not what happens to us that affects us but how we look at those things”

Inspiring….

Despite Growing Talent, an inclusive employment programme I run, being on hold due to the pandemic, it’s always lovely to catch-up with some of the people who have participated over the years on how they are doing especially now.

Amongst the doom and gloom, uncertainty and insecurity the global pandemic has spread, some heart warming news!

Catching up with Jane, Debbie & Sharlene from past Growing Talent programmes, it was great to see their ignited self-belief and drive for personal growth has not been diminished by the challenges presented by Coronavirus.

Jane updated me on her current role. Still with Baxter Storey, who she joined on completion of Growing Talent 4, but now at a different account, she decided to use some of her personal time volunteering in her local community to help young people. Despite the application and joining process – rightly thorough screening – Jane is determined to support and encourage those that need it. Just as enthused as she was at the start of her journey all those years ago, it was a joy to learn how well she’s doing.

Debbie contacted me to share she had made it into print! Yes, her Christmas jumper, almost as bright as her smile, lights up the PwC welcome floor in the Welcome Team’s newsletter to raise money for charity on the annual ‘Christmas Jumper Day! Despite a challenging year – more so for Debbie who loves her intrepid travelling to far flung places, Debbie has also just won a new internal role after being interviewed by a Partner at PwC! Fearless as a lion and always up for a challenge – Go Debbie!

Just this week I learned Sharlene had come full circle. After completing Growing Talent in 2019 she joined a national facilities company in their facilities administration team. Unfortunately, like so many, Sharlene was made redundant earlier this year. Did she retreat into herself? Of course not! She moved house and got a job with Department of Work and Pensions as a Work Coach encouraging unemployed people to find the right role for them – and hopefully referring some to Growing Talent once the pandemic is over!

I am always in awe of the spirit, determination, innovative, empathetic DNA of the amazing people I work with on Growing Talent.

I know the next chapter for Jane, Debbie & Sharlene is going to be amazing because they will make it so.

For more information on Growing Talent check out – http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

V- Day has arrived!

Listening to @TalkRadio this morning, I listened to the news of a new figure in history. What a joy!

Maggie Keenan 90 years young with her 91st birthday next week became the first person to receive the PfizerNBiotech Covid-19 vaccine at 6.31 this morning.

This amazing lady only retired four years ago. She is already encouraging her peers to accept the vaccine. Role models, beacons of strength come from all ages, cultures and backgrounds of humanity. Let’s not dismiss anyone based on our own assumptions. See the heart and strength within everyone.

A much better 2021 is now looming thanks to the ingenuity of scientists, supply chains, manufacturers working together to deliver solutions.

Nothing is impossible when we work together and share ideas and innovation.

A much more positive approach to this weekend than last when a feature in the national papers showed the mental stress on our NHS throughout the global pandemic.

My positivity has just shot up………. how about yours?

New month, new outlook maybe?

It seems like Covid-19/Coronavirus has always been with us! As a new month dawns, we can be forgiven for feeling it will be with us forever!

At a time when we are all feeling the pressure of the continually changing situation with no end in sight, it’s easy to let our negative thoughts take over and slip into a negative spiral. Perfectly natural behaviour for humans but not at all empowering nor nurturing.

I came across this feature on the global flu pandemic of 1918 written by Richard Gunderman and updated in August 2019:

https://www.healthline.com/health/1918-flu-pandemic-facts

This feature busted number of myths. I wonder how many of the information about Covid-19/Coronavirus will be deemed ‘myths’ once this pandemic is over. Check it out for yourself.

Some myths in 1918 included:

25 million people were killed in the first six months globally sparking fears this was a ‘super virus that would wipe out humankind’. Following the end of the pandemic a rational look at the ‘fears’ reveals they were myths but, I feel, not dissimilar to our fears today about Covid-19/Coronavirus. Remember the First World War was still in place in 2018:

“Much of the high death rate can be attributed to crowding in military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition and sanitation, which suffered during wartime. It’s now thought that many of the deaths were due to the development of bacterial pneumonias in lungs weakened by influenza.”

Even though we are still in the middle of our pandemic today, researchers/scientists have considered a higher death rate amongst our citizens living in poverty/overcrowding. Sounds logical and makes me question how much have we really learned from history?

Thankfully we now have an annual flu vaccine for our elderly and vulnerable citizens.

A key thing I took away from this piece by Richard, what how overwhelming it must have been to live through the pandemic of 1918 BUT, it did end. Covid-19/Coronarivus will end too.

If we can dig deep to get the strength and courage to stop wasting energy focussing on things we have no control over – Covid-19, Brexit, Weather etc – instead, reflect on where we are and where we want to be to enable us to start plotting small targets to get to that overall goal instead of running through life on automatic pilot, how much more would our resilience and empowerment grow?

Let’s switch off all the negative news, stop looking at social media, stop listening to negative people and learn some positivity tools.

If we plan where we want to be this time next year with small achievable targets in the journey, we might actually get there. Just how empowering would that be? Let’s grab hold of the opportunity this new month brings….

‘Build them up – knock them down’

A couple of things struck me whilst reading this feature about doctors fighting Coronavirus/Covid-19 in Italy.

  1. It isn’t just us in the UK suffering although from the constant negative reporting by ‘experts’, ‘Government officials’ and media – we could be forgiven for feeling it is.
  2. All humans seem to have the same trait. We praise someone for doing something great and follow it by knocking them down. Whether it’s a healthcare professional, charity leader, celebrity with a social conscience – why do humans feel the need to do this? In the UK we spent months clapping our NHS – as many countries did. Now in the second lockdown, we don’t.
  3. Contradictory reporting gives mixed messages, causes confusion and spreads disbelief. As the feature in the photo says, experts in Italy have given contradictory messaging on Covid. Some medical staff are now being singled out for abuse. How is this acceptable.

Balanced, unbiased reporting of hard facts is crucial to enable people to make informed choices. Whilst we constantly want to ‘sell’ news – and let’s face it ‘good’ news doesn’t sell – we will constantly be dragged into this quicksand of confusion and suspicion.

Accurate communication in all areas of our lives – work and life – are essential to enable us to flourish.

What do you think?

Hidden Figures – Acceptable?

It’s long been known and accepted within business that figures will be ‘fudged’ to give a more favourable report on their performance.

 

Take a look at Estate Agent’s house descriptions – often not the same in reality.

 

Today Times Radio reported on the results of their Freedom of Information request from all healthcare trusts in the UK and found there are over 15 million people waiting for their hospital NHS appointments having been referred by their GP for further investigations.  Times Radio went on to report the Government’s official figures of this waiting list is just over 3 million as their stats are not centralised.

 

It’s accepted tough decisions needed to be made during the pandemic but there seems to be no clarification on whether the 15 million is accumulative backlogs from prior to the pandemic or if this figure is due solely to the decisions made to protect the NHS during the pandemic.

 

Either way it seems unacceptable to ‘fudge’ figures when lives are at risk.

 

We’ve already seen countless people who have discovered their unknown cancer has now spread as they couldn’t be seen during the pandemic.  For every individual there is a family who will carry the lifelong scars of these tough decisions.

 

Whatever the real figure, we can’t change what’s happened but we can come up with a solution to address this backlog now.

 

Will there be action or blame shifting?

 

 

The two sides of cancer during Coronavirus

A disturbing headline.  250,000 lives condemned because they couldn’t get tested/their treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic.  More families will be deprived of loved ones.  Some will never recover.  Questions will always be asked

 

‘with Nightingale Hospitals, why didn’t my …….. get their test/treatment in hospital? or why wasn’t I given the choice to go ahead with my treatment and the threat of Coronavirus in hospital or holdout and risk the spread – it’s my life, my choice?’

 

Heart wrenching for all involved.  Decision makers will have to bear the weight of their decisions going forward.  This, for me was the worst side of Coronavirus reported in the Sunday papers.

 

Below was an innovative feature alongside the one above which for me shows the best face of cancer during this period.  Medical professionals thinking outside the box to treating reassure their patients.

 

 

Whatever your view, one thing is for sure, a lot of long lasting pain will be caused by this pandemic which we don’t event realise the full extent of yet.

Deflated? Never at Growing Talent – ready for any challenge!

We all know the pleasure and the pain that Coronavirus has brought. Although we’ve all been in the same sea trying to get to the other side, we’re all in different boats.

It’s been a rollacoaster for everyone – maybe just to different degrees.

For those able to work from home, there’s maybe been the challenge that others in your family have been doing the same! Home schooling for those with children has been an added dimension – not all bad but not all good either!

Some of us have been forced to look at our own wellbeing. If we’re lucky enough to have gardens – they are likely re-designed and weed free! Some may have set some space aside for a veg plot having seen the advantages of growing your own – especially in a pandemic!

Some have taken the time to learn new skills – learn a new language, bricklaying or joined an online choir or logo class.

For some living in rooms without their own space or garden the initial lockdown is particularly tough.

Now we’re nearing the end of lockdown and the end of the furlough scheme which is seeing the unemployment figures rise exponentially. Graduates and those who have finished A levels are leaving full-time education. There has never been so much untapped talent in decades.

The poison chalice of unemployment quickly strips away self-worth and belief even in those previously highly confident with solid work histories. This needs addressing. It won’t work for everyone being put into a job without a programme of rebuilding their self-esteem – enter Growing Talent!

After six years collaboration with Job Centre Plus on Growing Talent, I was approached by two key cheerleaders of Growing Talent – also managers at JCP! – to run some programmes to address this self-esteem void along with knowledge for job searching to give those looking for work the edge wellbeing and so on.

Next week kicks off a week long programme for Jill – JCP manager at Bromley for some of her customers. Followed by two sessions the following week specifically aimed at Graduates. We’re really pleased Sophie and the team at Smart Works are joining us on these session to showcase their amazing offering.

In August a week long course is deliver for Rajen of Job Centre Plus in East London.

Meeting and exceeding the Government’s Kick Start programme our partnership will deliver empowerment to participants to sustainably move forward.

Ask any Growing Talent Associate or Graduate – we’re never deflated and always ready for any challenge!

Can’t wait to get started!Deflatd

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