Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Never Alone

Day 44 ( Wednesday 13th January 2016)
44 candles are needed, in total, to light the menorah (the 9 lamp, 8 branched candleabrum
used in the rituals during the Jewish holiday of 
Hanukkah - a celebration of the
rededication of the Holy Temple).  Hanukkah is observed for eight days and nights with a new
lamp lit each day, it is in addition to the earlier lamps being replaced and relit, so the number of daily
candles required are cumulative. Eight candles, one for each day, and one light that stands apart from the
others, called the Shamash, from which all are lit. Other Hanukkah festivities include eating oil-based
foods such as doughnuts, giving gifts and playing with Dreidels (a kind of spinning top).

Today's post is by Susan Popoola, the Managing Director of Conning Towers, a business founded in 2001 in Milton Keynes that specialises in providing practical business solutions to organisations and people with HR issues. She is also the founder of the social enterprise, Engaged For Success CIC, with has a strong focus on young people and issues such as deprivation and exclusion. Related to this, Susan is an award winning speaker and author with a reputation for championing diversity and inclusion, you might like her book on the impact of immigration and multi-cultural society - Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain or, if you like urban history and culture, her first book, Touching the Heart of Milton Keynes. Susan has many years of HR experience and an interest in the power of technology to enhance businesses and the capabilities of the individuals within them. You can connect with her on Twitter - her handle is @SusanPopoola. Outside work Susan is actively involved in education - she is a governor for Hazeley School chairing the Support and Development Committee. She also serves as a Young Enterprise judge and a Business Ambassador for Countec Education Business Partnership. 


Never Alone

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 
 A.A. MilneThe House at Pooh Corner

As one year begins to draw to a close and a new year sets in, there is often a tendency to reflect on the year, review the plans made at the beginning of the year and make new ones for the forthcoming year.

I’m yet to meet anyone who says that they made plans for a year and achieved everything on the list. 

Sometimes we come pretty close and even achieve some phenomenal things that were not on the list, but no one really achieves everything.  Sometimes we or at least let me say, I, have got to the end of a year, reviewed my plans and been quite disappointed. This happened to me last year and so I sat down and wrote a list of the things that I had achieved. I was pleasantly surprised and I believe the same would apply to anyone who went through the same process. We often do better than we give ourselves credit for.

Something else that I have come to realise from going through such processes is that there’s nothing that I have achieved alone.  At times support comes from people that I’ve known for a long time, that I consider part of my inner circle, that if I’m to be honest I dare to expect to support me, just as they know that I will always be there to support them. In these cases I’m not overall surprised, just appreciative that they have been faithful to me and come through for me. 

At times support comes from the least expected place. I have no reason why these people reach out to support me – especially without me asking for help or indicating a need to them.

There are also the things that people do that come as a surprise – whether people from my inner circle or not. The unexpected gift, a kind word, the invitation to an event, the recommendation, or the mere mention of my name by someone that I thought had forgotten that I existed, as we haven’t spoken in years. The person that I bump into, who mentions how much he or she likes reading my articles or tweets and finds them to be most useful.

It’s not all one-way though. It means just as much to me to be able to give people help and support of some kind. To help them move that step forward, to overcome a challenge. Even just that little thing that puts a smile on a face makes a lot of difference to me. I actually believe you get more out of giving too.

All in all, my support system says that there are people out there that believe that I have value and worth – because of the big things that I strive to achieve, the fact that they know they can always count on me; I make them laugh or put a smile on a face – or what have you, just because I am who I am. What this says to me is that not only am I never alone in my journey and in what I achieve, but that I can’t give up. I must go on (regardless of the odds) as there are people cheering me on and counting on me to succeed.

The why that draws people in is not always clear.  I think it’s something about passion and purpose, but I’m not really sure – I don’t really ask. Maybe I should as feedback as important  - it’s fuel and it’s reinforcement.

In terms of feedback I’ve always been one to say thank you.  However, if I’m to be honest, I think it would be fair to say that I don’t take the time to let people know how much I appreciate them and the value that they bring as much as I should.  

Going forward, I intend to do this much more as contrary to what we may think, people often don’t know how much they are valued and saying so may make all the difference. Preventing someone from giving up on a job, a relationship, and a project….  By not giving up that person may go on to do something that has a positive live changing impact for them or someone else.


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