Follow your dreams
The content in this article may now be out of date. Please try searching for a more recent version.
In her first blog, senior skills coach, Eleanor Box talks about how getting caught up in everyday life stops so many of us from doing the things we really enjoy.
As children we enjoy doing so many things, being able to run without getting tired, colouring in and drawing for hours, dancing without caring what people think, reading book after book and dreaming of the future.
What I find sad is that as we grow older, finish education, start working, leave home, start a family and just live life, many of us stop doing the things we enjoyed as children, not making time to do the things we love doing. We get taken over by each day, running a home, work, raising a family, prioritising everything over a little ‘me’ time. We get distracted by life and forget about living!
I love my job and I class myself as really lucky that it allows me to come into contact with so many people and allows me to talk to people, to listen to them and find out about their lives and what makes them tick. I want to help people remember what it is that they enjoy doing and maybe, just maybe, motivate them to do something to change their lives for the better.
Our team is all about opportunities and our main goal is to coach customers to the point where they are able to find sustainable work, where they can earn enough to pay their rent, pay their bills, cover their living expenses and hopefully have some extra money to enjoy themselves. This isn’t always easy to do, there are often barriers to overcome, and thought processes have to change. All this through coaching, rather than telling our customers what to do or doing it for them.
We do this by speaking to our customers about what they want to achieve, asking questions to find out what they are interested in, what skills they have, what their hobbies are, what kind of job would they really love to do? Listening to their responses and picking up on the little things they say, which may be key to the coaching we provide.
Why do we stop doing the things we enjoy when we grow up?
So often we meet people who have lost their way and you can sense how flat they feel. This is what happened to me the other day, when I met a guy (let’s call him Matt*) who had recently moved into one of our homes. Matt works 12 hour days as a security guard. It’s shift work and he does four days on, four days off. He works alone, spending a lot of time standing which sometimes nearly reduces him to tears as he experiences severe neck, back and knee pain. He doesn’t feel stimulated by this job and feels he is no longer using his brain, which makes him feel stupid. When he isn’t at work, he struggles to sleep making him so tired that he finds it hard to be motivated to do anything for himself.
Through a conversation we had (I admit I’m nosey and tend to ask a lot of questions) I found out that he used to ballet dance and loves interior design - not necessarily what you’d expect from a security guard! His family and friends are always telling him he has a really caring nature and that he should work in a role where he could use these skills, either with children or adults. Matt told me that this is something he would be interested in doing but with no previous experience doesn’t know where to start. It is also difficult to think about a career change when you have bills to pay.
With encouragement that it is never too late to do something he really wants to do, Matt said he would love to look into doing an interior design course. We also talked about him doing some volunteering for a couple of hours a week, working with children or adults, to see if this would be a line of work he would like to consider going into. So he is going to look at local colleges and online learning to see what courses are available. He’s also going to have a look at the Do It website to see what local volunteering opportunities there are.
Our conversation wasn’t just about work though. Matt told me that he missed dancing and going to the gym but because of his neck, back and knee pain he just couldn’t do it anymore. We talked about different activities that he could possibly take up, including pilates. He’s now going to check out a local class just round the corner from his home – something he hadn’t thought about doing before our conversation.
I really hope he follows his dreams and does the things he wants to do. We will continue to work with him to hopefully make the steps away from a job he has no enjoyment in to one that he loves. If he does only one of the things we discussed he will be one step closer to finding himself again.
By having constructive conversations, taking an interest in someone and listening to them, we can help our customers and the people we come into contact with remember what is important to them, and hopefully to take steps to improve their lives, even if in the smallest of ways.
Now to practice what I preach and do the things that I love, but no longer make time for. I’m going to buy a colouring in book (hey it’s cool to colour now), buy a good book to read on holiday and join a yoga class. I don’t think I will be running anytime soon, but I’m determined to find a little more ‘me’ time and remember the things that I used to love doing!