#DailyWritingChallenge Day 80: Altruism

noun. disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; behaviour of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.

Altruism is the principle and moral practice of concern for happiness of other human beings or animals, resulting in a quality of life both material and spiritual.

I am lucky to know a lot of altruistic people. People who give their time, their energy, their experience and their resource for free.

I am lucky to know a lot of people who are light-bearers. People who shine a light, who share the light and who light up others with their presence.

“Every man must decide if he will walk in the light of  creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness”.

Martin Luther King

So what are the traits of an altruistic person?

1) They put others first.

2) They think about how their actions will affect others.

3) They feel good after helping someone.

4) They are proactive.

5) They possess and display a healthy degree of self-confidence.

altruism 1

My reflections:

How altruistic are we as individuals? How altruistic are the people around us as a collective? How many of these altruistic people do we take for granted?

It is human nature for us to be selfless and to want to help others, but some people lose this and become selfish in their behaviours and self-centered in their thinking. In psychology altruism is also referred to as ‘cooperative behavior’, this way of being enabled our ancestors to survive under harsh conditions.

Cooperative behaviour is the interaction of two or more people or organisations directed toward a common goal which is mutually beneficial. An act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit, i.e. joint action.

In today’s highly complex society, altruism still serves a purpose. In fact I have noticed that people have become more altruistic during the period of lockdown. People have thought less about themselves and more about others. The sense of community and a collective endeavour, a shared experience,  has returned, for now at least.

“Altruism nourishes humanity and turns a beast (man) into a human”.

Masood Ahmad

People who are altruistic do it because they are in service of others. Their kindness comes from a conviction that it is the right thing to do. There is not an ulterior motive. The acts can often go unnoticed and unthanked, but the ‘gift’ was not gifted with that as an intent.

Our society has become driven by transactions. If someone does something for the sake of doing it, it can be questioned as to their motive.  There is an expectation that in giving there is something to take back in exchange.

Matthieu Ricard (EN) on Twitter: "#Beautiful #quote by #JohnLennon ...

So what are the rewards?

There are emotional benefits of being altruistic. Humans behave altruistically because it is emotionally rewarding. Even when we don’t expect recognition or reward for a good deed, we often feel energized and happy afterward. This sensation is sometimes called a ‘helper’s high’ or a ‘warm glow’. The emotional response helps to reinforce altruistic behavior in those who feel it.

“Altruism is the best source of happiness, there is no doubt about that”.

Dalai Lama

There can also, ironically, be financial benefits!

Studies suggest that altruists may reap unexpected financial benefits from their kindness because others will feel compelled to reward their kindness; other research has found that donating money to charity might make organisations more valuable.

Over the years, I have gifted a lot of my time. I have organised events, I have spoken at events, I have self-funded my travel, I have supported my network, I have been a listening ear, I have checked letters of applications, I have prepped people for interviews, I have hosted coaching circles.

I do these things, because they help others and because others have done them for me. I pass the gift of a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on or to stand on, a listening ear, on to others who will benefit from it.

I don’t do any of these things to receive anything back, but my kindness is often rewarded with further kindness. I am touched regularly when I receive surprises in the post – cards, gifts and flowers – as thank yous from people I have helped along the way.

Some of my favourite messages are from people who I have never met, people who have reached out to say thank you for something I have said or done, which has impacted them, without me even knowing it.

105 Best Philanthropy | Altruism | Donation | Quotes images ...

I often get push back from people in my life that I am too generous with my time and my energy, that I give too much away for free, but I am not going to stop being me. However, my relationship with time, money and energy is different now I am not salaried, and I am exploring this tension as I navigate my new journey.

I want to be in service to others, I want to continue to give and support, but I also need to balance earning a living!

“The root of happiness is altruism – the wish to be of service to others”.

Dalai Lama 

Being happy, being altruistic, being in service are all drivers in me for the work I do. I am committed to empowering others to empower themselves and to pass the feeling of  empowerment on to others.

I will finish with one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite writers and role models.

NYSPTA on Twitter: "#QOTD I've learned that people will forget ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

#DailyWritingChalleng Day 79: Blessing

noun. God’s favour and protection; a prayer asking for divine favour and protection; grace said before or after a meal; a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; a person’s sanction or support.
I am not a religious person. I am christened, but I only go to church for weddings, christenings and funerals.
But I do feel blessed.
I often think that I have Guardian angels looking down on me, keeping me safe.
I sense that my maternal Grandmother, Cathy, my maternal Grandfather, Bill, and my maternal Great Aunt, Clarice, are up there/ are out there, looking out for me.
I am not scared of many things but I am scared of the dark and I am scared of death. Both gave me many sleepless nights as a child. As a child with a vivid imagination, who dreamt in technicolour I experienced recurring nightmares about both.
I have had two near-death situations which I have walked away from unscathed, which brought my fears to life. I feel blessed to have survived both accidents. I feel blessed that my parents rescued me on each occasion.
The Skiing Accident
When I was 16 I was skiing with my family in France. I was more confident that my Mum and my sister, and would often take the harder pistes with my Dad. We took a nasty black run with one day, which we had done a few times before, called ‘Le Face’, it was a vertical decline. That morning, it was a sheet of ice, and I stopped to let some people pass to create some space.  As I paused, I crossed the tip of my skis, I lost my balance and I fell.
I kept falling.
As I somersaulted down the mountain, picking up speed and momentum, my skis came off and snapped, my ski jacket road up and exposed my skin, which grated on the ice and became raw. The skiers on the chair lift above us were screaming as they watched me hurtle down the mountain. My Dad was behind me and could not get in front of me to help. My Mum and my sister were on the adjacent blue run and saw me falling to my supposed death.
For those of you who had not met me, I am 6 ft 1, I am heavy. My mum is 5ft6 and slim. I don’t know who or what got in to her, but she took it upon herself to save me, to stop me in my tracks. She skied across from her slope to ours and broke my fall. I must have hurt her, and it must have winded her, but the adrenaline gave her the strength and the courage to do so.
The rest of what happened is a blur. I can remember getting off of the mountain and back to our apartment.
I miraculously did not break anything. I was shaken, bruised, battered and my back was bloody and raw. But I ‘walked’ away relatively unscathed.
I was blessed.
Dad got me to ski again the next day to make sure I didn’t develop a fear of skiing. When I talk about the Wilson family grit, resilience and character-education that is what I mean. At the time I may not have appreciated it, but it did the trick and I still love skiing today, so I am grateful he did so.
Eva Burrows Quote: “The love of a family is life's greatest ...
The Car Accident
A year later, I was 17 and I had recently passed my driving test. I had been babysitting for my family friends on Exmoor, and I was driving back late through pitch black country lanes, in the middle of nowhere, in the early hours.
This was before I even had a mobile phone. That night Dad had said to take his Vodafone brick with me, “just in case”.
As I came to a junction, another car drew up opposite me and started revving their engine, flashing their lights and beeping their horn. It totally freaked me out. So, I waited to let them go. The boy racers clearly thought it was funny and continued their behaviour, so I tentatively pulled off. They followed me and continued with their ‘game’.
I stubbornly drove slowly and carefully as they pursued me. They got bored eventually and raced off, but as they did so I must have lost concentration and been distracted momentarily by their antics as I hit the hedge.
The next thing I knew, my Ford Escort was upside down in the middle of the road, and I was hanging from my seat belt, suspended in the air. The engine was still on. All I can remember thinking was that the car was going to explode.
I managed to get myself out of the car. It was pitch dark and I was petrified. I was in the middle of nowhere, there was no natural light not artificial light to be seen.
I scrabbled around and managed to find Dad’s brick.  I called home and told Dad I had been in an accident. I didn’t know my precise location and I was in shock, I was hysterical and I must have been pretty incoherent.
He jumped into his truck and headed out to find me, to rescue me. I can’t remember who arrived first, my Dad or the taxi with some rugby lads in who had been out on the lash.
But the group managed to tow my car to a gateway to clear the road. Before Dad got me home to safety, someone had already reported the accident to the police, and the local copper had banged on our front door to tell Mum that I was missing! Luckily she knew that was not the case.
When the car was towed back to us the next day, we all looked at it and burst into tears. I honestly do not know how I managed to get out of the wreck, nor survived the crash.
I miraculously did not break anything. I was shaken and scared, I was bruised, had whiplash and a tender chest from the seatbelt. But I ‘walked’ away with just a tiny scar on the back of one hand as a reminder.
I was blessed.
Dad got me to drive again the next day to make sure I didn’t develop a fear of driving. Another example of the Wilson family facing their fears head-on.
So I have been blessed and very lucky twice. My Guardian angels have kept me safe. My parents have come to my rescue.
Brian Blessed Quotes (30 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 78: Order

noun. the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method; an authoritative command or instruction.
verb. give an authoritative instruction to do something; request (something) to be made, supplied, or served.
I like order.
I am a highly-organised person and my friends, family and colleagues often laugh at my need for order around me. I like things to be colour coded, alphabeticised and stacked in size order. My book shelves, my wardrobe, my drawers, my cupboards are meticulous.
Everything has a place. Everything has a home.
When I bought my new house I was most excited about having a garage and ordered shelves and boxes to tidy and sort loads of random stuff I have collected over the years.
I am someone who cannot sit down and relax until the washing up is done. I get home from holiday and put the kettle on, unpack and put all my clothes in the wash. I make my bed as I get out of it each morning.
My house is always very tidy, and my friends who have kids come over and enjoy the peace and calm of an unchaotic space.
I like a routine and  I go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time most mornings.
Order is my friend.
Order for me brings clarity, certainty and consistency. Order also means I am in control of my environment. Order makes me happy and calm. Order anchors me and centers me, amidst the chaos or in a crisis.
“We adore chaos because we love to produce order”.
M C Escher
order 3
I don’t like orders.
I am not very good at being told what to do, I never have been. I am confident, independent, headstrong – some would say stubborn.
I respect authority but I like to be in control of what I am doing. I thrive when I am autonomous.
I respect routines, rules, protocols and laws because they create boundaries and parameters for us to work with in, but I also like navigating them and finding where there is wiggle room.
I am not someone who reads and follows recipes or instructions, I like to find my own way of doing things.  Unless it is a life or death situation of course.
I prefer to be asked than to be told. I find that being told what to do, what to think, how to behave is disempowering and inhibiting.
I am rebel in many ways.
“Seek other people’s advice, but don’t take orders. And don’t take 100% of anyone’s advice. Make sure every decision you make is a decision of your own conclusion.
Be a student, not a disciple”.
Jim Rohn  
As I reflect, I have realised that I thrive in environmental order, and I suffocate in ideological order.
My coping mechanisms during the Covid-19 lockdown and social isolation have been focused on what order can I create in the chaos, what order can I bring to the crisis. I have helped others to process their emotions and bring some order to their thinking.
I have been in control of my bubble. I have firmly maintained the sense of order around me. For this situation I have also taken the orders, I have fully followed the recommendations – I have done as instructed. It has frustrated me that others have not.
It has pained me that there has been disorderly behaviour in society. It has concerned me that there is a sense of some people’s behaviour being out of control, especially on social media.
This is when we do need an authority figure to step in, to create order, to give orders, before a Lord of the Flies-esque situation appears.
Order Quotes

Whistleblowing – an anonymous blog

“The phrase bells and whistles refers to features of an object which are not essential to it, but which make it attractive or special.

Its origin is unclear, but it is a relatively recent idiom.”

Source: Jakubmarian.com

Whistles are often associated with joyous and positive experiences.

A train pulling into the station and depositing a loved one on a cold, crisp, winter morning.

A gyrating, celebrating, loving crowd at a late summer festival.

But then there are those contexts where the whistle is a tool by which to alert others to danger or risk. To trigger an emergency response. To help save lives.

The whistle on the life jacket that, as a child, you so long to blow, whilst also experiencing a terror of ever being in a position where you might need to do so.

whistleblower 1

I don’t know when the term “whistleblower” was first coined. I can’t be bothered to google it I don’t want to seem clever or well-researched in this piece.

I do know that every organisation “should” have a whistleblowing policy. I do know that many organisations say that it is important that employees can safely “call out” poor or dangerous practice without fear of recrimination or punishment.

Having a whistleblowing policy is part of the same armoury (and I choose that word carefully) that contains the complaints policy that says “we value complaints as it helps us to improve our practice.”

I am sure that there are organisations where these policies work well. Again, I could research some and present them to you here.

But right now, I want to tell you about a context where they have not worked. Where they have been used as the weapons of an organisation that says it does the right thing but then needs them to fight a battle with those who dare to say otherwise.

Nowhere is perfect. Life is always a compromise. People can and should disagree and respectful debate is to be encouraged.

The public image of an organisation is always likely to be a happier, shinier, airbrushed version than the reality. That is to be expected.

WhistleBlow_400x230px_Banner_4Jan19_FA

But imagine this.

A person decided at a young age to go into a profession where they felt that they would be able to serve others and ensure a world of learning, health, fairness, justice, love, and peace.

The person trained, became a professional and continued to learn through their career. They rose to a position of leadership in their profession.

Then they found them self in a setting where some things did not feel right. The person took time to observe, to listen and to get a sense of whether these things were things to worry about, or just the every day niggles of working life. It became clear that these things were more than just disagreements over what type of milk to buy for coffee break or who should sit where in the staff room. They were things relating to the behaviours and actions of colleagues that were potentially very harmful to the lives of those whom they were responsible for serving.

The behaviours and actions were not just amongst younger, inexperienced colleagues who might grow to know better. They were also amongst those in the organisation with the greatest power and also the greatest responsibility for the wellbeing, health and safety of those they were serving.

The person started to speak out about their concerns. Quietly at first, then more loudly but always respectfully. The concerns were often phrased in “I wonder whether…?” questions or “I might be wrong but….” phrases but they seemed to go unheard.

whistleblower 3

Then the person decided a different approach: staff training; use of anonymised examples; direct appeals to colleagues and line managers. But little shifted.

Next, due to an unavoidable set of circumstances, the person became both a user of the services of the organisation, as well as an employee and employer.

Other users started to confide about their concerns…”you work there, can’t you do anything?”.

The pressure began to mount. The unbearable stress of seeing so much wrong-doing led the person to grab the whistle and let out a shrill, piercing blast.

For a while there was silence and just a ringing in the ears.

And then the strangest thing happened.

whistleblower 4

An attack.

Not on those who had been causing concern.

But on the person.

Subtle at first. Whispered conversations.  Things moved and stolen. Endless critical emails.

Massive overreactions to tiny mistakes.

And then questions about the person’s judgement and mental health.

And then, to top it all, an accusation that the person was not fit to work, was not professional or loyal and therefore a danger to the strength and excellent reputation of the organisation.

And all the time, the wrong practices continuing. The challenges being silenced and the lives being ruined.

This, in an organisation that, in the 21st century, is funded with the sole purpose of making people’s lives and society better.

If this were a fiction, it might be dramatic, interesting, thought provoking.

But it is not. I am living it.

I have been cast out for speaking the truth and the wrongdoing continues.

If you read this and see yourself or your organisation, I urge you to consider what part you might be playing and why.

I write in the hope that the pen may be mightier than the sword in this battle.

Alex Morgan Quote: “Always work hard, never give up, and fight ...

 

 

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 77: Wealth

noun. an abundance of valuable possessions or money; a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing.
Material wealth:
Are you wealthy? How rich are you? How much do you value your material wealth?
When I think of wealth, I don’t necessarily think money. I don’t think about how many pennies do I have in the bank, or how many bills I have to pay.
My family are self-employed. They work hard, they earn a decent living. They are modest in their spending. My parents made sacrifices as they chose how to spend their money, based the kind of lifestyle they wanted to have.
I have never been money-motivated. I have earned my own money from the age of 11, I self-funded myself through university by holding down multiple part time jobs – in my PGCE and NQT year  I was managing a restaurant two nights a week.
I have always been financially independent. I am quite comfortable taking risks with my money, I am okay with being in the red, having an overdraft, having a loan, having a credit card. I borrow money when I need it as I know I will be able to pay it back later. I am also quite confident in negotiating my worth when it comes to money.
“Wealth is not about having a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of options”.
Chris Rock
Experience wealth:
Are you experience wealthy? How experience-rich are you? How much do you value your experience wealth?
I am comfortable to be in the material-wealth ‘red’ to enable me to embrace experiences.
I consider myself to be wealthy because my live is rich with experiences. I live life to the full. I say yes to invitations and to opportunities.
I have travelled far and wide. One of my motivations to work hard is to earn the money to explore new countries. I enjoy spending my money on experiences that bring me joy – going to the theatre, chilling on spa days and taking flights to new places.
I do not see the money of having money sat in the bank for a rainy day, when there is a world to see.
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life”.
Henry David Thoreau
Time wealth:
Are you time wealthy? How time-rich are you? How much do you value your time wealth?
It  is said that we are “all born rich in time”. We all have time at our disposal – it is our choice how we spend it, how we invest it.
As a teacher I was always time-poor. My profession made demands beyond the 9-5pm working routines of my friends who pursued other vocations. I would then compensate and seek work-life balance by doing lots in my social life. I evened out the balance, but it meant I was always busy doing stuff – professionally and socially. I realised that I had very little time left to just be, so I began to commit to ‘me-time’ and diarised dates with myself.
On leaving teaching I have re-evaluated my relationship with time and I have become wealthy in this area of my life. I have less material wealth, but I have more time wealth, so I feel richer as I can have more experiences too.
Our lived time is our ultimate richness in the universe.
“Time is wealth, and unlike money, when it is gone you cannot replace it”.
Napoleon Hill
Relationship wealth:
Are you relationship wealthy? How relationship-rich are you? How much do you value your relationship wealth?
Another thing that makes me feel rich, that makes me wealthy, are my relationships. I am a connector – I enjoy connecting with people and getting to know them. I also enjoy connecting people to other people where I can see there are connections.
I have friendship circles from many different aspects of my life. Each friendship enriches me and each circle supports me. I enjoy spending time with my friends and I enjoy sharing experiences with them.
I have made choices about relationships, like I have about my money, my experiences and my time. If they do not serve me, if they do not bring my joy, I make better choices.
“Your wealth is where your friends are”.
Plautus
Mental wealth:
Are you mentally wealthy? How mentally-rich are you? How much do you value your mental wealth?
Physical, emotional and mental wealth are another way I feel rich. I am mentally wealthy. I have created the lifestyle and established the habits that enable me to be balanced and to live a balanced life.
As well as saying Yes to experiences, I say No to things that do not make me happy. I have clear boundaries and non-negotiables.
My mental wealth comes from my self-awareness, from my sense of self and from my core values. I value my piece of mind and make choices based on that.
“The first wealth is health”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson 
So, for me, wealth is what we value and what brings us value. It is what we value and what we prioritise. We are rich and wealthy if we fulfil our potential.
“True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire”.
Cesar Chavez 
We are rich and we are wealthy if we are kind, if we are generous and if we serve others.
We can have an abundance of valuable possessions or money, but that will not make us happy.
Instead, we need to focus on having a plentiful supply of what we need, of what makes us happy and brings us joy. 
“Without a rich heart wealth is an ugly beggar”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 76: Empowerment – a blog by Baar Hersi

‘Is she Somali?’ This is the question I repeatedly hear in my first term in a new school. I hear it in the corridors, I hear it in their whispers and I hear it when I enter a classroom. This has been my normal for the past decade.

That moment of anticipation wrapped in hope, where I get a glimpse of what my answer may mean to them is so humbling to witness. The question above may seem like a simple question, one born out of curiosity or just kids being nosy, but it is actually far more profound than that. The real question these students were asking was ‘Is she like me?…..because if she is like me then I can be like her.’ Each time this question is asked it is loaded with hope because we know, they cannot be what they cannot see. The reactions on my students’ faces when I answer ‘YES’ is one of the reasons why I became a teacher.

This question empowers me. It gives me superpowers to show up and overcome the challenges I face because there is no greater fuel and purpose than empowering a young person and giving them the permission to be themselves. No one gave me that permission during my school years, 11 years old Baar felt like that alien that no one can relate to but tolerated. I was a freshy for some, not black enough or holy enough for others and too foreign for most. I spoke three languages, performed in front of packed out theatres and could banter for days . I was a people’s person but I didn’t belong in that space. Bless my teacher, Ms Gleeson, who created a safe space for a young refugee girl overwhelmed by her new adopted country. It took me years to be empowered to be me and to feel like I belonged at school. I owe this to my mum, who fought for me and siblings to be safe and brave in our new home.

‘Is she Somali?’ This question is my why!

It is why I use my voice and experience to advocate for parents who struggle to navigate the education system and work tirelessly to bridge the gap between school and home. It is why I organise cultural events to instill pride in young people who for far too long have heard only negative narratives about their identity. It is why I donate books written by Somali authors to our school library and use my network to invite Somali professionals to be our guest speakers and mentor our students. I want to empower the next generation to ensure that their experience is different  from my generation’s or even my own kids who have never been taught by a black teacher (let alone a teacher of Somali heritage) in one of the most diverse boroughs in London.

We often talk about the importance of representation and the importance of having a staff body that is reflective of the students in a school. For me representation is more than whether or not the staff reflect the student they teach. It is about ensuring that students do not feel invisible in their own school. I have found that it is very possible to belong to one of the largest ethnic groups in a school but not see one poster of someone who looks like you. Schools are meant to be where possibilities are planted. Schools are meant to be a conduit for aspirations and inspirations but this is not the case for many BAME students. We really have a very long way to go.

Many of my students are shocked when I tell them about my friends and networks which consist of Somali writers, doctors, lawyers, creatives, councillors, engineers, lecturers, teachers, film makers, health professionals, athletes and so many other distinguished professionals and leaders. I cannot count the number of times a young adult has told me that they wish they had a teacher like me. I would like to think they mean someone who is confident with her identity, who is driven by her values, who feels empowered to be authentic and is willing to open the BHM fashion show in her traditional attire in the first half term in a new school. Yes…..I did that! So if my representation, my narrative and my journey to self-empowerment helps empower another young person then I look forward to answering….. ‘Is she Somali?’

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 76: Empowerment

noun. authority or power given to someone to do something; the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
To empower. To be self-empowered. To empower others.
Your Strength
For me self-empowerment is rooted in our inner strength. The strength we have at our core – our inner reserves of resilience propel us forwards.
Being self-empowered is also about being self-sufficient and having self-efficacy.
It is self-empowering to face challenges head on, to rise to the challenge.
“A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink”.
Gina Carey
It is also self-empowering to reflect on everything we have overcome. Our journeys, our struggles make us stronger.
I feel self-empowered when I reflect on the battles I have won, the obstacles I have navigated and the barriers I have climbed over.
“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself”.
Hannah Gadsby 
Self-empowerment is also about our abilities to rebuild ourselves when things go wrong.
There is no such thing as winning and losing. Failure is not a choice.
Mistakes makes us stronger and are opportunities to learn and grow.
Your Confidence
Self-empowerment is fuelled by our confidence.
Confidence in our own abilities, confidence in ourselves means that we hold onto our power and we do not give it away.
It is an act of self-empowerment to be ourselves, to be authentic.
It is self-empowering to know our own worth, to acknowledge the impact we have, to appreciate the value we add.
“Noone can make your feel inferior without your consent”. Eleanor Roosevelt 
Small things can make a big difference to how self-empowered we feel.
Saying No is an act of self-empowerment.
Saying ‘Thank you for waiting for me’ instead of ‘Sorry I was late’ is a self-empowering reframe.
Saying who we are with pride, rather than the self-deprecating “I am just a…” expands us rather than diminishes us.
Accepting compliments and basking in praise, empowers us to be seen and to be honoured.
Your Courage
Being yourself is an act of courage. Being yourself is about owning your own power.
To reach the courage to be our full selves, we need to overcome the fear of being judged and of being criticised.
I was once told to reframe criticism as praise and this helped me to be self-empowered from the feedback.
When we are driven by the conviction of our values, when we are purposeful in our pursuit of our mission, when we are bringing our vision to life, the fear soon dissipates.
“You must never be fearful of what you are doing when it is right”. Rosa Parks
Conviction in who we are, in what we do, in why we do it, reminds us, strengthens us and empowers us.
Self-empowerment becomes intuitive and instinctive when we listen to our gut.
A daily mantra, affirming who we are at our best sets us up for the day:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think”. 
Repeating our intent, out loud to ourselves in the shower, or whilst looking at ourselves in the mirror will deepen our sense of self-empowerment.
Reminding ourselves who we are, what we stand for, what we bring, whilst standing in the power pose will also turbo charge our sense of self-empowerment.
15 Brené Brown quotes to empower your teacher heart during the ...
Your Narrative
Being self-empowered also means owning our stories.
We need to take control of our own narratives. If we do not do this then someone else will!
Life will throw stuff at us to test us. Each challenge will wound us, but it is our choice how long we let that pain linger for.
It is our choice if we let each challenge stop us, slow us down, or of we use it to empower us to carry on.
“She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her”. 
Our scars tell the story of the battles we have fought to get to where we are.
Self-empowerment is sharing the journey as well as the destination.
Motivational quotes from Brene Brown to lift you up and give you ...
Your Tribe
I am self-empowered but I am also empowered by others.
I have a team of supporters, champions and cheerleaders who hold me high.
Our network gives us strength.
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women,
who have her back”. 
Our tribe hold the mirror up to remind us who we are.
Our tribe shine a light on us to amplify our achievements.
Our tribe celebrates our wins and our learning points.
Our tribe stands with us and gives us that leg up or that helping hand when we need it.
“We rise and shine by lifting others”. 
Self-empowerment walks along side empowerment.
Empowering others is as rewarding as empowering ourselves.
Be the girl, be the woman, who gives others a hand.
Mentor, coach and sponsor.
Build others up, don’t break them down.
“Girls compete, women empower”.
I have worked with people who have seen competition as a threat and it has brought out the worst in them.
Competition makes us better, there is room for us all to flourish, for us all to rise.
Your Life 
Life is too short to wait.
Take opportunities as they come to you – say Yes and work it out later.
Do what feels right and seek forgiveness after, rather than permission before.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me: it’s who is going to stop me”.
Ayn Rand
Be empowered to be yourself.
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants”.
Coco Chanel
Empower others to be themselves too.
Favorite Inspiring Quotes ~ Empower Other People

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 75: Service

noun. the action of helping or doing work for someone.
Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations.
Service 1
Being in service of others is a powerful leadership style. Being a servant-leader requires heightened self-awareness, humility and integrity.
Servant leaders are result-oriented, but they use their foresight, they listen and they do not abuse their authority.
They use their intellect to build trust, to forge collaborations, to coach others and to resolve conflict.
A servant-leader leads from behind.
“A leader… is like a shepherd, they stay behind the flock,
letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realising that all along they are being directed from behind”.
Nelson Mandela
People become leaders in a number of different ways, for a number of different reasons. Leadership motivations and leadership skills vary from leader to leader.
Servant leaders are selfless, empathetic, resolute, virtuous, authentic, non-partisan and thorough. They lead with their hearts. They lead as a human-first, leader-second.  
Accidental leaders, they serve first, they lead second. Their leadership surfaces through their commitment to who and what they serve.
“The servant-leader is servant first… it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first”.
Robert Greenleaf
Theorists have identified 11 Pillars that underpin the Servant-Leadership model:
  1. Calling – compelled to lead others, for a belief that is bigger than the individual.
  2. Self-Awareness – thinking deeply about emotions and behavior, align with values.
  3. Stewardship – taking responsibility for the actions and performance of a team, and being accountable for the role team members play.
  4. Listening –  committed to listening deeply to others.
  5. Persuasive – encouraging others to take action.
  6. Growth – committed to the personal and professional development of everyone in the team.
  7. Empathy – striving to understand other people’s intentions and perspectives.
  8. Foresight – predicting the future by learning from past experiences, identifying what’s happening now, and understanding the consequences of your decisions.
  9. Community-building – building a sense of community within the organisation.
  10. Healing – supporting the emotional health and “wholeness” of people.
  11. Conceptualisation – dreaming great dreams, looking beyond day-to-day realities to the bigger picture.

Servant Leadership: An Ideal Approach to Enhance Job Satisfaction ...

I read this article on Servant Leadership via Linkedin a while back. It is based on research into the most successful companies, brands and CEOs in the world and what characteristics they share:

“Over the last three decades, servant leadership has risen from a noble and ethical leadership ideology stuck in religious worldviews to the very principles of how the most successful companies on the planet operate and profit”.

Marcel Schwantes

Servant leadership makes teams stronger, organisations more successful and enables each individual in a team to grow and have impact. Servant leaders grow communities, create followers and lead change.

When I think of great leaders who I admire, I think of Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandel and Mahatma Ghandi.

What do these world leaders all have in common?

Servant Leadership.

When I think of the leaders  around me and in the world who do not inspire me, what do they have in common?

Self-serving Leadership.

 

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 74: Stillness

 

noun. the absence of movement or sound.
The quality or state of being still; quietness; silence; calmness; inactivity.

 

Still waters, sunlight glistening on the mirror-like surface.

Still air, leaves and flowers stand tall and proud.

Still bodies, humans pausing to take a breath.

Still heads, thoughts settling like the white flakes in a snow dome.

Still hearts, peace expanding through the body.

stillness 3

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you”.

Deepak Chopra 

Stillness can be liberating and relaxing, stillness can be oppressive and frustrating.

Stillness can be welcomed, stillness can be feared.

Stillness is a choice we make about how we lead our lives.

My favourite time of day is the early morning, I am an early riser and I love the stillness as the world comes to life, before everyone is awake.

As a teacher I was often the first one in to the building, I enjoyed the stillness – the peace and the solitude of being in my office/ classroom early to get  prepared for the day head – before the crowds entered.

stillness 2

“There is nothing as certain as silence, stillness and solitude, to introduce you to the secrets of yourself”.

Guy Finley 

I create moments of stillness in my life, pauses in my day, by:

Sitting on a beach and looking out to sea…

Lying in a field and staring at the clouds…

Sinking into a hot bubble bath…

Lounging on my couch listening to music…

Standing and admiring my garden as it blossoms…

Arriving to a destination early and waiting in the car…

Letting my pen flow over a page, or my fingers flow as I blog…

Lying on my bed in the middle of the day…

Going to a meeting early and gathering my thoughts…

Creating space in my diary…

Laying on my Shakti mat and relaxing my muscles into the pins…

Giving myself permission to stop, to pause, to reflect…

“The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy,

they come when the mind is still”.

Unknown.

 

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 73: Equity

noun. the quality of being fair and impartial; the value of the shares issued by a company.
Social equity is concerned with justice and fairness of social policy. Since the 1960s, the concept of social equity has been used in a variety of institutional contexts, including education and public administration.
Diversity… Inclusion… Equality… Power… Privilege… Justice… Freedom… Liberation… Belonging…
The words that come to me when I start thinking about Equity and what it means.
Belonging: A Conversation about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
People sometimes mistakenly use equality and equity as synonyms, but the words have different meanings as illustrated in the image that is often used of the children watching the ball game.
Image 1: Equality, each individual is treated the same.
Image 2: Equity,  each individual has different supports to enable equal access.
Image 3: Justice, the systemic barriers are removed, the cause of the inequity is addressed.
We can accommodate changes and we can adjust practices to be inclusive, we can challenge inequalities but we need to address the inequities themselves.
By addressing the root cause, by focusing on the barriers – societal, structural and systemic – we can then affect sustained change. These changes have more meaning, are more impactful and create a legacy of social justice. The individual is liberated, free from the power hierarchy.
Another way of looking at it is shown in the variations and the reasonable adjustments made to each bicycle to personally meet the needs of each individual to enable full access to the opportunity.
Equity vs. Equality - YouTube
Equality is important. I believe in equality of opportunity – I am an advocate of people being treated equally, of people being paid equally.
Equity is more significant though.  I believe in social justice and social equity –  I am concerned with social justice and I am passionate about things being fair.
Once we recognise that people do not start at the same point, that people do not have the same access, nor the same opportunities, we can do something about it. More importantly, we can focus on we will do about it.
“Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those that need it”.
Caroline Belden
Once we are aware of the inequities, we can help to change the status quo.
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change”.
Sheryl Sandberg
Once we acknowledge that we can all make a difference, we can make the choice to be part of the solution.
“What you do makes a difference, and you need to decide what kind of difference you want to make”.
Jane Goodall
Once we accept that we need to take action, we can lean into the agency to collectively affect change.
“There will be no equity without solidarity. There will be no justice without a social movement”.
Joia Mukherjee
Once we check our own privilege, we can take responsibility for redressing the power imbalance.
“Equity is the principle of altering current practices and perspectives to teach for social transformation and to promote equal learning outcomes for students of all racial, cultural, linguistic and socio-economic groups”.
Enid Lee   
 
Once we concede that equity is a human right, we can  transform our world.
“The dimension of cultural equity needs to be added to the humane continuum of liberty, freedom of speech, religion, and social justice”.
Alan Lomax
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal goals for all which are broken down into 5 key elements: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
Each of the 17 SDGs is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable opportunities for all.
Sustainable Development Goals kick off with start of new year ...
Greta Thunberg is a brilliant role model for everyone, but especially young people, about how to be an activist and how to campaign for social equity and social justice. She embodies the way we can all make a difference about something we care deeply for.
What does Greta Thunberg mean when she says “equity?”
Greta Thunberg - You Are Never Too Small To Make A Difference