Are our rights more important than our duty to others?

This is a thought that’s been resonating with me with growing repetition during the journey of the global pandemic here in the UK.

It seems to me humankind has become more and more inward rather than outward looking over the years.

As the restrictions enforced by the pandemic have continued, the more amplified our disregard for our duty to others seems to have grown.

By that I mean consideration of the potential consequences our actions can have on others.

Each week, local small patches of council green areas outside residential houses are scattered with litter comprising fast food wrappers but lately discarded alcohol bottles. I haven’t seen people having picnics on these areas so assume it’s household fly tipping by residents, or people returning from fun in the park with their friends.

Why? Each household in the UK has rubbish collection weekly. There is no need to spoil the environment for others through laziness and/or entitlement. If there is no public rubbish bin locally, or if there is one, it’s full – why can’t people take their rubbish home and put it in for their rubbish collection?

I don’t doubt this is happening in every part of the UK.

Clearly the thought of the right to personal enjoyment of the individuals dropping these items far outweighs any thought of their impact on others. Children play on these small greens. Pet dogs are taken for walks by their owners. Residents look at these green spaces from their windows – vital when housebound or shielding. Where is the thought for the impact on others – the anxiety and isolation caused by thoughtless, ‘my right’ attitudes?

We see this time and again on a larger scale when the sun is shining in the debris left behind in parks and at coastal spots. There is a huge cost in clearly this up.

We know the dangers to the environment of discarded rubbish which has been proven to get into our water tables and food chains. By discarding rubbish thoughtlessly instead of taking it home, those individuals are potentially affecting their health and that of the ones they love. Ironic isn’t it?

Isn’t now the time to start to think of our duty to consider the impact of our behaviours on others?

A step too far?

Some years back, I was introduced to Adam who had just started working with Jamie at a national recruitment company.

Sharply dressed, seemingly able to talk to anyone at any level confidently and make up really good raps for audiences ‘off the cuff’. A real ‘presence’ in the room, Adam was late teens when I met him not sure of the path he would ultimately take.

Several different jobs over the years followed before Lockdown hit. At Christmas 2020, after almost a year of uncertainty the global pandemic has brought us all to trying degrees, Adam took the massive, in my view, step of getting on a plane and going to Tanzania. Without a job/home to go to there, Adam wanted a complete change.

He reached out to me to discuss his next moves and explore his thoughts – I was honoured.

I was shocked by the reality of Dar es Salaam from the photos Adam sent me which were the polar opposite of my perceptions of what this African City would be like.

Curtesy of Adam, I share a photo of his new home City:

According to Adam the pace of life is much slower compared to London and has given him time to think what he really wants to do.

Taking the time to ask ourselves ‘are we happy?’ and ‘does it feel right’ enable us to take the pulse of where we are and helps answer those questions of whether to keep going down a certain path or change.

Adam’s had the time and space to figure out his next move by relocating to Tanzania – even if to some of us it feels like a step too far.

Of course, it may not be practical to relocate to the other side of the world to find what we want to do. We don’t have to. Giving ourselves some space alone to think about our own happiness and whether what we are doing ‘feels right’ will give us the same ignition for our own next steps.

Holistic – Day 4 – Fitness Reigns Supreme!

After completing the 2nd half of the Art project, the Growing Talent Associates were issued with a challenge to design a wellbeing magazine using the knowledge they had learnt for features.


After some bewilderment, they grasped the challenge and hit the ground running – after a few lattes of course!


Amar and Robert decided to do a front and back cover using the front for wellbeing topics and the rear for nutrition although the chilli drawn by Amar was a strange colour due to lack of felt tips!!!!

Here they are presenting the finished ‘magazine’! helped by Shennell!


A close up of Natasha & Charlie-Ray’s Fitness Weekly & presenting it’s finer points….


Charlie-Ray show cased clap press-ups – a feature of their magazine:


Looking good……. but after 3 …….


Exhaustion hit!!! Well done Charlie for showing us though!


Last, but not least, Shennell and Adeyinka delivered their magazine idea….


A fun day, with new lessons learnt.

Solution to all problems……

How often do you hear ‘you’ll feel better after a strong cup of tea’? or ‘cup of tea with plenty of sugar – it’s good for the shock’……


Whatever situation we are going through, a cup of tea is thought to ease the way.


So, a pretty sobering piece in The Metro this morning!  ……… which published findings ‘office teabags have 17 times more germs than a loo seat’


When you consider that statement remember office teabags are usually stored in an open jar which everyone can help themselves to.  How many times have you been in the toilets at work and seen people come out of a cubicle and leave the area without washing their hands…………. then they make a cup of team – ouch!


I can see how the findings could be right – what do you think?


Maybe think twice before accepting that cuppa!  Better still, bring your own cup and T-Bags in!

What an honour!

Running Growing Talent, it’s my responsibility and privilege to mentor and support vulnerable people to successfully complete and secure the permanent job on offer – literally changing their lives.


Like most things we experience vulnerability is on a scale.  People on Growing Talent come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some will be very vulnerable others not so.


This support doesn’t end with the programme.  I continue to mentor and support long after the programme has finished.


It’s been a difficult few months for one graduate of the programme from seven programmes ago.  Still employed and doing well at work but experiencing some personal issues.  A pendulum of events and emotions over the past few months will continue a while longer.  I have no doubt the person concerned will conquer this period and be a much more empathetic force.


I am very proud to have received this award and know that I do make a difference.


We should follow Action for Happiness’s view on automatic living.  We bundle through live without actually living it.  Taking a breath to take in our surroundings and live in the moment is so key to our wellbeing and strength.  I personally believe affirmation every day and a reflective period on what we have done well at the end of each day boosts out self-esteem and positivity.


I’ll look at my award every now and then to remind myself I do make a difference and do a good job.  Why don’t you try it and see how your self-esteem increases?

Mental Health First Aid – Lite

Just been retained to deliver three workshops for 60 people in total for a global organisation with HQ in London.


With diverse backgrounds in the room, these should be an effective training sessions!


Lite is an introduction to the full Adult First Aid course.  It covers:


  1. Languages & Mental Health Issues
  2. What is Mental Health
  3. Mental Health Problems
  4. Supporting people in distress
  5. Managing our own well-being


Covering 3 hours, the course is designed to be a taster in understanding this complex subject.

There’s a fine line……………..

In communication between perception and reality – what really happened vs what we think happened!


There’s an equally fine line between how we portray ourselves as assertive and how we come across as aggressive!


Two subtle yet core areas of communication that can break what was previously a strong relationship,


One employer, spoke with  a member of another organisation without following the protocol of going through me.  The employer felt they were assertive whereas they came across as aggressive to the other party!  Each has a different belief of what happened during that conversation.


The result is a breakdown in a relationship built over two years, a bad light portrayed on a programme which has seen over 70 people into employment and a lot of bridges to repair for me!


So, please remember for every action there is a reaction.  How you feel you may come across isn’t necessarily how you do.  Lastly, reflect back on the conversation.  Make sure you are in agreement on what was said.


The simple tips above will save a whole lot of work later!



What’s on the web….. stays on the web! Be aware

Every now and then, I google myself just to see what others do when trying to research me………  It also serves as a reminder of past achievements and contacts.


I just came across the link below referring to a programme I devised and ran for a national FM company from 2006-2013.  The link covers a really proud moment for me – winning the overall European Employee Volunteering Award back in 2012.  Beating 22 other countries was amazing.


Although the picture of me is pretty embarrassing, it reminded me of some of the things I achieved during my employment with the organisation.  It is strange to think back to my departure from the company.  They didn’t want any mention of my work on the Real Apprentice in any future posts for a year after parting company whilst they built up a new work experience programme.




What they and organisations like them don’t consider is the web coverage from other organisations – once on the web – it stays on the web!


Clearly we don’t have much control on what others post about us, but we do on what we post on ourselves.  I make it a rule never to post anything that would cause me embarrassment if family, friends or an employer read it.


This practice can take the fun out of sharing jokes etc but it is much safer!


‘Accept every challenge – work out how you will deliver it later’ – Richard Branson

Wise words from Richard which struck a chord with me when I first heard them a few years back.  It’s the only way to develop ourselves and recognise our full potential – I believe!


A few weeks ago,  I was invited to devise and deliver a bespoke workshop for the national arm of an international FM company.  The account they had in mind for the trial of this project is unique.  Set in a remote location the staff are often living and working in what can appear to be a separate world!


The workforce from the local community are tight-knit often by marriage and personal relationships.  This can be a good and bad thing depending on how healthy those personal relationships translate into the workplace.  It can be difficult when your partner is your supervisor at work?  How do you ever get any ‘me time’ to recharge those batteries which make a great employee?


The client requested three separate workshops be devised.  One for senior managers focussing on building their Personal resilience and recognising when they may be at risk of pressure impacts. A second for managers looking at what mental health actually is and whether ‘wellness’ is a buzz word or a critical business tool, the final workshop is for Supervisors one how to start a conversation and when/how to signpost someone on to the experience people who can help.


I was given a basic course brief and then given a free reign to devise something.  Yesterday, I delivered the first to the Senior Manager group.  With 12 senior managers who had travelled far and wide to attend the workshop in London, the challenge was on.


We spoke about the different tools we can use to make us mindful of our resilience and then some solutions to deliver increase personal resilience.  The workshop ran on with enthused discussion and questions.  Future plans were put forward and the end response was incredibly positive.


It shocked me how well I did.  I accepted a challenge for an area I wasn’t wholly prepared for and delivered something very special which was well received.


Richard is absolutely right.  Never doubt you can do anything.  Focus, research, immerse yourself in the challenge and you will succeed.

Stay calm this Christmas – just breathe!

Isn’t it strange, the most effective tools in our life are the simplest and free.


Most of us get caught up in the commercialisation of Christmas.  We forget it’s about spending time with those we love and/or just noticing our surrounds –  being thankful for just being.


Unintentionally, we let the bombardment of commercials and subtle marketing infiltrate us without realising it’s happening.  Gradually, in the run-up to the ‘big day’, we start to let the pressure in.


Some of us set unrealistic goals of getting ‘over the top’ presents for our loved ones instead of just telling them we love them.  We hunt down items that are often disregarded quickly afterwards.  For some of us, the price paid for this goods will be high – usually assigned to a credit card taking months to pay off.


So, let’s just breathe.  Be mindful of ourselves and take back control.  My personal survival steps are:

1.    Ask myself would the person really love and appreciate the gift or discard it quickly?

2.     Honestly, can I afford it? Would I be willing to draw the cash out rather than use a debit/credit card – cards make us forget we’re spending our cash so be careful!

3.    Having armed myself with the answers to the above, I draw up a list of the gifts I need to buy with shops, locations and price.

4.    Before going out, I take 10 minutes to breathe consciously:

Breathe in slowly for the count of 3

Hold the breathe for the count of 3

Slowly release for the count of 3


Repeat these three breathing steps several times until I’m engulfed in a feeling of calmness.


With each breath, I concentrate on how my body is feeling.  Over time my mind wonders – which, with a day’s shopping ahead it invariably does wonder! – I re-focus bringing my mind back to how my body is feeling.


I am so relaxed and peaceful by the time I reach the shops, Christmas shopping becomes enjoyable – not a chore.


Why not try this?  Let me know how you feel.  Remember – no one can see what you are doing or hear you focussing on your body as you breathe.


A very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.


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