I have always been fascinated by New Years Resolutions. Every year I made them, and every year I failed to follow through.
This year, I decided to try something different. Using skills I have be working with for well over a decade, I decide to take a reflective approach to this new year and new decade. I’m not sure what prompted this change of heart. Perhaps it was the posts of friends and business colleagues sharing their stories of the decade. Maybe it was the self development work I’ve been undertaking. Perhaps a mix of the two or something entirely different.
Anyway, this year I decided to take a different approach.
This year I decided to really reflect on my year and use that to shape and guide my upcoming actions for 2020 and the decade ahead.
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that the last two years have been truly difficult, on an emotional level, for me. In brief, on the 7 January 2018, my Mum was rushed into hospital in the early hours. This resulted in a sharp dash up the A1 with the knowledge that she was unconscious and the prognosis was unknown. 5 weeks later, she came out of hospital having had what can best be described as a miraculous recovery from sepsis, pneumonia, Type A flu and AF. 2 years on I am thrilled to say she is doing amazingly well.
Following that, my husband decided to leave his steady job and start a brand new career. This new career would see him leave home and be over 3000 miles away in the South Pacific for over 6 months. Those were some of the hardest 6 months of our married lives. My saviour, our (now 16 month old) golden retriever, Sam. Roll on to May 2019, hubby comes home and settled, or so I thought. In mid October, he announced he was unfulfilled in his new contract job and wants to return to sea. I won’t bore you with the details of our discussions on that one, but he is due to head back off in early March 2020, with my sort of blessing.
In the midst of all of this emotional turmoil, it is easy to forget the achievements I have made:
- Trained 775 staff and senior leaders within universities and Local Authorities
- Online programmes developed and now live
- Welcomed new members inside the Safeguarding Association
- Continued to support education staff as independent safeguarding chair
- Taught over 50 young people business skills
- Worked with a BAFTA award winning film director on a new film script
- Worked 1-1 with senior leaders within multi agency settings
These are all amazing achievements. But, I know I can do more. There are thousands of practitioners out there feeling lost, stressed and unsure of their actions and next steps in cases. The legal world isn’t changing fast enough to keep up with the challenges facing practitioners. There are no easy answers but, I know I can help.
As part of my reflection I took a long hard look at what has brought me joy in my work. I realised that whilst I love face to face training, the travelling is hard work. What I love and what brings me joy is seeing lightbulb moments. Those often little moments when a practitioner finally has permission to see things differently, or recognises a alternative way of progressing with a case or situation. Or simply a moment when the accept what they can’t change and realise there is power in that.
This reflection has made me look at what has shaped my work and the work of the Safeguarding Association, those personal experiences within my own career and private life. The two redundancies as a solicitor, the impact of a lack of support and my long established focussing on helping others and struggle to focus some of that care and attention within.
2020, for me, is about telling my story to show other child protection professionals they are not on their own with their experiences, and to, importantly, provide that safe, supportive place, that I never had.
My goal for this year is to help 2020 practitioners feel supported and to empower them with a safe place to develop personally and professionally.
To achieve this I have set myself a couple of challenges:
- Share a video a day on a social media platform. Like all services, I can only help if practitioners know I exist. These videos will either be live or pre-recorded. Let me know if you have a topic you want some tips on.
- The return of the 5 Minute Masterclass – every week I’ll be sharing a new masterclass on my Youtube channel – subscribe here if you don’t want to miss out.
- Either a digital magazine or online show all about safeguarding issues. Yet to be decided – which do you prefer?
- Awareness raising of the work I already do and love
With #4 in mind, here is what I already do.
The Safeguarding Association is a space for practitioners to develop knowledge and skills to build capacity to consider and analyse those complex situations you work with. It offers regular updating training and opportunities to join members in a group discussion and optional 15 minute 1-1 with me once a month. Want in? Head here to join.
This year I have decided I want to work with more practitioners 1-1, so, for the first time I am sharing my supervision/support service with the wider world. I’ve worked a lot with practitioners on a more ad hoc basis (and practically daily when i was in Local Authority), This is a 6 month programme of 2 x month online meetings (you can be in your pjs if you want) and email support. It is ideal for practitioners who are maybe new to a senior rolem or have a number of difficult cases coming up. You get my expertise and brain to help you navigate the next 6 months with considerably less stress and more time to enjoy spending with your family or dog, rather than behind a desk or witness stand. I am offering 1-1 and also group (no more than 6 people) packages.
For more information on these support offers follow the links below:
In the meantime, tell me, have you reflected on your year? What changes are you making, if any? What are your plans for 2020?