Saturday, 14 June 2014

Where the magic happens






There has been a theme of comfort zones  ( or maybe more pushing myself out of them) around for me recently. It's something that I encourage others to do all the time, whether its in coaching, or in my consultancy work or indeed if we are adjusting to illness. What's important is to be open to do that yourself in my position -and to notice your own reactions.

I was chairing a session at  the NHS Scotland event on person centred care; entitled Ask Me Hear Me. One part of the session was two learning consultants from The Thistle Foundation demonstrating live how to approach an interaction in a person centred way. Would I be willing to be interviewed by them they asked, of course my reply. And then I noticed my heart rate increase as that moment approached.

I trusted them so that wasn't the issue, it was what might come up that was a bit scary. A ground rule of not speaking about my family was established which helped and I knew in a person centred way, I would set the agenda. But I also knew that good person centred consulting is challenging, it makes you think, it makes you stand back and see things afresh, it leads you to change, it's not the easy option for anyone. Being a passive recipient of care demands so much less in some respects and also you can choose to ignore advice, especially if it's not taking account of your agenda.  But when you identify it yourself, it's down to you...but with the support that's right for you.

So did I learn anything? Yes I learned its scary to be out of your comfort zone and I would only have gone there with people I trust. And that I can't expect others to do what I won't do myself; to let myself be vulnerable.  A question about how I thought my clinician felt when he enabled me to make my own decision, which was to refuse treatment ,was very revealing for me. I realised how hard that must have been for him and he didn't burden me with that at all. I'm so grateful to him for staying with me and not wanting to just fix me. I realised then we need to give support to all when we work in this way, letting go of power dynamics and fix it models expose the professionals to their own vulnerabilities too. I won't forget that.

This week we have also been able to publicise the event on June 25th Womens Voices-Scotlands Future for women to engage with the constitutional debate, in a way that gives women more of a voice in this process. The panel has Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Sarah Boyack as well as Ann Henderson STUC and me.Gulp! I'm very much looking forward to it, whilst also recognising its also a bit outside that comfort zone again. I have spoken in public before and been part of many panels but generally that has been around leadership or health and social care, but I'm looking forward to this fresh challenge-I think! What I can guarantee it will be stimulating and I hope we will all learn about how as women we can influence a future Scotland, whatever its hue.  Here is the link if you are keen to take part too,be good to see you there.

My reasons to be cheerful are that I ended this week on a trip to beautiful Argyll as a guest of Argyll Voluntary Action, for their discussion on integration and for their volunteer awards.  My role was two fold, be part of a panel and presnt awards, how could I resist! The panel was answering questions on health and social care integration, the questions were challenging and insightful from the volunteers. People power at its best! Later I was privileged to give awards to the impressive regional volunteer heroes.
The proud award winners
But it was probably the spontaneous applause for Colin that moved every one of us. Not least his Mum who said to me volunteering has given him so much confidence and and changed his quality of life. 
Colin with Ian Welsh CEO of the Alliance
The Mull Music Minds group too were inspiring with their passionate description of the group they have developed for people with dementia and other conditions. They started with a germ of an idea and now each week they meet with themes and sing songs around the theme but every time they finish with the The Isle of Mull. Some of the people who attend are in their 90s and are Gaelic speakers. Singing in their native tongue is so important to them, connecting with those old and precious memories. Here it is. What a wonderful way to end a week and it was topped off by the arrival of these flowers from the fine team at Arthritis Care Scotland. I loved working with them and I'm missing the banter already! Keep up the great work guys and thank you.

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