Always building a better future

There’s a book I’ve gone back to recently, and recommended it to a colleague too… How to take charge of your life with NLP by Richard Bandler.

I’ve written about it before, and the summary chapter is written out here –

But a key part for my that I’m reminding myself of just now is these paragraphs here – a way of changing your mindset so that trauma is left in the past and instead you focus on the positive, and allow yourself to move on from the past.

> Personal freedom is the ability to feel what you want, so that the chains of fear, sadness and hate are broken. These chains are made up of negative feelings, limiting beliefs and destructive behaviours. >

> A lot of people have had bad things happen to them. So instead of being glad that it’s not happening now, they go through it over and over in their heads, so that their present is destroyed by their past. Many people feel trapped by their past, but they aren’t really trapped. They’re just practicing a habit of feeling bad. >

> We always have the choice of taking our past and limiting our future, or taking our past and building a better future. NLP is about teaching people how to make it so that when they look at their past, they learn from it. They avoid suffering because of it. >

> Life is not about remembering and reliving unpleasantness from the past, but about going forward to look at life as the adventure it can be. Maybe reality isn’t what you think it is. Maybe whatever you think becomes your reality. >

> Tragedy exists only in the mind as a terrible memory. A memory is just a representation of an experience. When you change the way you represent an experience, you change how you feel about the experience. >

In the last six months, I’ve settled into a new chapter in my career and in my life… the next 8 year cycle of my life it seems – I’ve settled into a really good job, in a great team, in a good and relatively new organisation that works to my values.

I’m working for the people of Scotland, to deliver benefit to the people of Scotland (and the people in the organisation), and as a result of the new organisation being set up and expanded, I’ve now been given the opportunity to shine.

This blog has been inspired from speaking to people in my team, and just two people saying that they liked my blog and really connected with it. It can be a lot of writing, and I’ve got out of the habit of writing it, but if it connects with and helps people (and me) then that’s what it’s all about.

Now in my new role sitting in my spare room, on my laptop, in Teams calls and getting to know my role, team and the culture … sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s real. I know I’m a civil servant now, and I believe I have a great rest of my career ahead of me – but sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the past.

Sometimes I’m brought back to the bumpy ride of the last two years of my BBC career, where I seem to have brought some gremlins from. Whilst there were quite a few good people there that made the place, there were a few not so good – and I’m sadly still looking over my shoulder expecting the knife to go in.

But then, I realise that a lot of it is probably in my head. That I have the freedom to move on from it all. To not go over the fact that I spoke up when my job disappeared from me and I nearly fell apart but no one was able to help me and pick me up and move me on. It is what it is – stop letting it haunt you.

But still, no one – right up to the top of the BBC, thought or was able to say – ‘

‘there’s Lorn, she’s great – that new job we have for her isn’t quite her. We can see that her job changed and disappeared, and this new one isn’t a good fit. Let’s help her.’

‘The job she was great at in News isn’t available for her as it was an attachment Let’s see what else she could do. She’s great – with so many skills – she’s given us 13 years of her life. Lets move her into retrain to be a Production Coordinator, and she can pick up her BBC career from there and help us make programmes. Or maybe she’d be good in HR.’

But no, no one was able to do that. Red tape, policies, trying to not look unfair, no budget, no roles, too big an organisation? No one willing or able to take a punt on me.

They weren’t able to help when I felt like I was drowning for months, and in the end, years. Like I was waving / asking for help with my career and mental health… like I was on the edge of going under for so long, and waving and shouting, yet no one was able to drive the life boats to come and save me and my career.

I spoke up and tried to prove that a couple of managers did wrong, and instead of being listened to, it was all covered up and I floundered, became quite ill and tried my best to stay afloat. Luckily my friends, some good colleagues and I managed to get my life jacket back on, and I bobbed slowly to the shore and got myself out.

But my life has made me resilient and I tried to reframe it all and take positive learnings from it all – all of which I won’t go into here – but when I think about what I went through, I try to reframe it and remember the positives. But none of it really matters anymore.

It simply wasn’t to be, and now I can take what I’ve learned, and who I am, forward to benefit another organisation and team, and the people of Scotland again.

I’ve been swimming all my life, sometimes up stream, sometimes in choppy waters and sometimes in nice pools and lochs. But I’ve got through it all, sometimes thrashing about, sometimes nice and smooth swimming, always able to get my life jacket on and float.

And as Richard Bandler wrote above:

> We always have the choice of taking our past and limiting our future, or taking our past and building a better future.

I choose to take my past and build a better future, every single time.

And it’s all getting easier – being part of a great team, with good managers, with an organisation that’s going to invest in me and get the most from me. An organisation that listens, that has good processes and policies and systems in place. It’s honestly like night and day.

In the last 6 months when I’ve been learning about the my new organisation and team – there have been times when I’ve actually cried a little at just how good it is – and that’s compared to just how bad it had been. Crying with relief, or happiness that I’m here and finally out of a chaotic mind fu&k of a place. I’ve been able to let go at the start if the year, and finally move on after so many pointless months and years trying to hang on. I’m slowly being de-instituitionised, and it feels good.

This week, something brought a happy reality to where I’m at – I met nearly all of my new team face to face for the first time in nearly 6 months. As one of my colleagues said, butting bodies and limbs to the people we’ve worked with for so long (on Teams) and on the screens.

6 months in our team wins an organisation wide award for best team… and I’m a part of it. The team has been invested in so that we can make a difference, and I need to remember how fortunate and lucky I am to be here and to be a part of it.a hand picked team, shaped to become the team we are. New blood, each and every one of us love working with and helping people. Not politics or knives – just good good people. It’s truly and quite simply, magic.

Last night in our work night out where we met up for the first time ever, I was struck by how encouraging and lovely everyone is. Each getting to know each other, part of something special, something that’s been in the planking for months, probably years – we’re at the start of something amazing and it’s all been curated to perfection.

I remember being so proud and motivated to be a part of the team who set up the new News teams for the BBC Scotland channel. With my excel as my right hand, I made up the list of all the jobs that they decided they needed. I helped from start to finish of hiring in around 100 brand new staff, and helped to coordinate in the delivery of about 180 roles being recruited into.

I made it my mission to make it a good experience for those new staff coming in, but also a good experience for staff who were already here. I really was able to shine and grow. One lovely person called me the light of the newsroom and I got so much other positive feedback, it’ll stay with me forever. I built great relationship and had the time of my career.

But the sad and horrible thing for me was, that the big long list of new jobs and people, didn’t have my name on it. I tried to suggest a spot for me, but I was on attachment coving someone else, so it wasn’t to be. As much as I wanted it; and maybe others did too, there wasn’t the budget or the push for it to happen, so it didn’t.

When I left news in around May 2019, I had a good meeting with a lovely leader in there… and he quite wisely said to me – the next job will be the one. And at that time I was still thinking BBC – but I also knew how unrealistic it was to think that in a shrinking organisation, that the next job would be able to be amazing in there… because there simply were no jobs in the sort of area I knew I could make a difference.

I want to tell him he was right – my next job is ace, and he and the news teams helped me to be able shine so I could get the experience to be able to secure it. And now I’m going to fly.

The truth is, it probably all happened at the BBC for me for a reason. So I could get the know some great people in there, and then so I could let go, and move on. To pastures new, to get my contractual redundancy for some financial stability and reward for the last 13 years, and to move on and make a difference elsewhere.

I was allowing the BBC to turn me into someone I wasn’t – a negative victim. I’ve never been a victim in my life and it was time to move on to stop the cycle.

I’ve said before that my life seems to run in 8 year cycles, and it so happened that this new cycle started exactly when it should do – from 41-48 years old – and it’s starting off to be a belter. I’ve had many ups and downs in life and in my career, and it’s most defiantly on the way up again now. It’s all settling into place.

And I’ve even some how magically been able to pick up swimming coaching again too, to give me that connection with people and helping them to swim. It all feels a bit unreal – but it’s good.

In 2019 when I realised that my BBC career was falling away from me (or being badly ripped from under my feet) I did some work to think about an alternative career and I looked into the possibility of me retraining to be a primary school teacher.

I went as far as researching the universities, and I even wrote my application statement. Written, rewritten, honed and rehired, they key parts of it were that I want to make a difference with people. (I eventually didn’t apply as I shadowed a couple of primary school classes for two days and realised it wasn’t for me).

But I reminded myself that I love working with people (adults mostly) it’s my mission in life to make a difference and leave footsteps (or capes and rainbows) in peoples lives.

I’ll finish with this – a bit of a personal story – the part in the paragraph from Richard Bandler’s book above sticks out to me –

> The one thing in life that you can control is the inside if your head. If someone went into your house and painted horrible pictures on your walls, you wouldn’t leave them there would you? No of course not. You’d paint over them. Then why leave bad ideas inside your head? Unwanted negative images or horrible voices: there’s no point. >

And the reason for that is, whilst I see what he’s trying to get at, it sticks out to me because that actually happened to me once. I was about 15 and I’d just spent the day stripping and re wallpapering my bedroom with approval from my Dad.

But then I came home late after a night out with friends, and my Mum had been in a drunken rage and ripped off all the new wallpaper I’d put up… and ripped some other wallpaper off around the house. Then she’d written or scrawled things in black marker pen ALL OVER my bedroom walls, and on her bedroom wall, and in two other walls in the house.

It was like something out of a TV drama like it was unreal – not something you’d ever expect to experience or be a part of. And those were probably the hardest years of my life. A part of my life that I longed to move on from and make my life and my home a better place. Something I learned from that I’d never do anything like that to anyone else, or let anyone else get that bad or ill.

I wallpapered over it the next day, and over the years I moved on from the trauma of my childhood. I got counselling and worked my way through it all. I worked to underhand why my Mum’s might have done the things she did, and realised that she wasn’t all bad. I learned to understand why things happened or accepted that they did and moved on.

And I know that I need to do that here with my past at the BBC. I’ll get counselling through work, and work through it so that I only see the positives from the situation and I move on remembering the good and not letting the bad or negative take up any more of my brain power or headspace.

I’ll also use the counselling to get the full me back – back to being the light of the room again. Enthusiastic, positive, creative and making a real difference again.

Time to leave the gremlins in my head behind, and focus on doing good again, getting me back and making a difference for those who matter. It’s gonna be great.

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