Monday, 23 April 2018

Introverted and Proud

Me, socialising with some old friends at Christmas
Most people, I imagine, think of me as fairly out going and out spoken. Which is true to a certain extent.

I few years ago, as part of my job I had a life coach allocated to me to me, with 4 sessions paid for by the company. Now, I am not a big fan of this sort of thing, thinking it is mostly hogwash and people who fall for this nonsense need to, well, get a life.

Anyway she asked me to do some personality tests (Myers Briggs, just in case you were wondering) and asked me some questions then went off and wrote a report which we went through in my final session.

I have to admit I was surprised, but strangely comforted by the results.

At the time I was managing a sixty person Contact Centre with another manager, dealing with lots of complaints, managing people issues, going to meetings ... a lot of meetings. There was a lot of talking, all day I talked, and listened, then talked.

Turns out, I'm a bit of an introvert, and the fact I was exhausted after a days work, was because I was having to go against type to get the job done. I had done this for twenty five years.

It was a bit of a revelation to me, I had a bit of a cry, as I suddenly realised I had been pushing myself to be something I am not for a really long time. The report recognised that, for me, being outgoing, friendly and generally positive and motivatey (yeah, that's a word....) was a real effort.

The report recognised I was a leader, and had strong views, which was a relief, because I was and I do, but the people thing, and the standing up and talking in front of people thing, and Power Point presentations in meetings.....all a total nightmare for me.

When I told people at work, they were shocked and didn't believe me, but it rang so true. I was fine one to one, but put me in a big group or in an unusual social situation and I am all over the shop.

If I am honest, I am not that keen on people, I have a lovely group of friends, including some newish ones (people I have only known the last five years, compared to the ones I have know since we went to nursery together), but on the whole the rest of the world can go and do one.

Now, I don't work in the corporate world, I no longer have to put all that effort into being friendly and nice with random people who I think very little of, now I can just be myself and it's a huge relief, I am so less stressed and find life, in general, so much easier.

If it was up to me and I had all the money in the world, I would be at home with a good book and my family, the majority of the time, with the odd trip to the seaside to take photo's and put my feet in the sea the rest of the time - perfect.

Now leave me alone, I need some more me time.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

To Perform or not to Perform, that is the question...

As regular readers of my blog will know, I turned 50 last October, and as a result of that I have tried to challenge myself regularly, and to say yes to everything, within reason*.

One of the things I said yes to last year was Tap Dancing, which I thoroughly enjoyed, so much so, that I now regularly go to an adult class.

I love my class, we tap, we chat, we tap....perfect. And it's a good work out.

Sadly, each year, the dance school that I attend does a show.

Now, as a parent of a dancer, I completely understand why this has to happen, as there is nothing like the feeling you get when you see your little person performing on stage...brilliantly, always, obvs... little tear of pride, rapturous applaud etc, etc...lovely. And there are lots of kids at this dance school.

However, as a grown adult who is actually quite introverted, (people never believe me about this but that's a whole other blog....) this is my idea of hell. Pure and simple.
Can you tell what we were tapping to Wham 'Wake me up before you GoGo?' Don't be fooled by the smile, I'm terrified.

I know the routine we are going to do, back to front, upside down and sideways, but put me on stage and you will be lucky if I will remember what a shuffle ball change is.

Tapping away in the dance studio I can use my arms, smile and tap my feet. All at the same time. I know, right?

But on stage....naaaaaah. My lips get stuck to my teeth and I sweat, alot, so I have this weird grimacy sweaty look about me whilst my feet and arms are doing whatever they please.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Last Sunday, I performed on stage, twice, once for the matinee and once for the evening performance, which my family came to.

I think it went as well as I could have hoped considering all of the above. My families review went as follows:

Hubs 'You were great, loved it.' - This is why I married him.
Eldest child ' It was better than last time and your arms were sometimes in the right place.' - Gah
Youngest dancer child 'You were great Mummy, you did really well.' - Bless her.
This was followed with:

Hubs ' Really liked the break dancing, they were brillant.'
Eldest ' I really liked the break dancing, they were great.'
Youngest 'I liked the girls on pointe they were AMAZING.'

Note to self,  must take up break dancing, because me being on pointe that would be ridiculous!!!

Now it is over, I am glad I did it, I have stopped shaking, and surely all that adrenalin will somehow mean I have become super lithe and fit in the process, and it's only once a year....

* when asking my male friend, what to get my husband for his birthday, he said 'electric sex pants' to which, I firmly replied no....

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

What's your 16 year old up to this summer?

So what's your sixteen year old up to this summer? They've finished their GCSE's and are waiting to start an apprenticeship or go onto A levels, are you going to just let them mooch about on their phones, getting up to standard 16 year old mischief?

I have a suggestion for you, you could try the National Citizen Service (NCS). Never heard of it? Here's a bit of info: The NCS was formed in 2011, by the government to encourage a more 'cohesive, mobile and engaged society'.

In other words, we don't want our kids to be snowflakes, but instead people with initiative, brave enough to take on what life offers and challenges them with, whilst being sensitive to others and kind to their needs.
On the high ropes

The service aims to build strength of character through a residential life skills course, outdoor team building activities, and a social action community-based projects, along with leadership skills for the workplace - This will look great on any kids CV and empower them in interviews, as they will have actual, real life experiences to talk about including the contributions they have made to their communities.

As some one who has interviewed thousands of young people, this service will give young people the experiences they can draw on to be successful when applying and interviewing for a job. And will support and assistance them in the workplace, enabling them to change the world, one small step at a time. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in my last blog post which you can find here.

The key thing to remember is that this will let your teenager get to know other teenagers from different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs which will give them a greater understanding of the world in which they live, allowing them to become a better citizen.
Taking part in water sports

Over 100,000 teenagers will go through this project this year developing new skills together, living together and participating in community projects together.

This is an amazing opportunity for any teenager and is only £50 and this includes, food travel and accommodation, with bursaries available to those who need it.

This scheme is available to any Year 11 child (16 year old) and will be in the school summer holidays, after they have completed their GCSE's, a perfect time to get them moving forward and thinking about careers and preparing them for the the big, grown up, world.

There are still places available for Year 11's to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer, so sign up now. You can go to the NCS website, here.

If you have already made plans for this summer, don't worry NCS will do everything they can to fit your teenager in, so please don't be disheartened, and make that application. 

If you want more information, you can check out the NCS social media sites:

Facebook: @NCS
Twitter: @NCS
Instagram: @NCSyes

In conclusion, over 400,000 teenagers have already taken part in NCS, with more than seven million hours of community action, and at the end of it all, there is a lovely celebration event to recognise their achievements.
Celebration event at the end of the scheme

I know that I will be putting my daughters name forward for next summer, as this is an amazing opportunity for any teenager.

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Please note, this is a sponsored post.

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