I was made for living in a digital world. I remember that moment when someone explained the World. Wide. Web. to me in, I think, around 1997. My eyes widened, my jaw dropped and I said with an enthusiasm usually ascribed to discovering that the cake I just ate was made out of beetroot and avocado, “you mean I can literally go to any library in the whole wide world?” My inner geek could be held back no longer. The excitement at the potential of something so vast as I held on to my one-year-old firstborn, literally blew my mind. Little could any of us have known what that potential actually was.
In 2010, having worked in Local Authorities for the previous 20 years, firstly in Social Work and then in Edcucation, I became self employed. The collision of the impending end of contract, a relationship breakdown and a full on 11 year old and 13 year old (alongside a depleted tolerance for things you really need to be tolerant of in a LA) created all the ingredients for figuring out how to work for myself. As usual my enthusiasm superceded my capability and it took me a good couple of years to learn how to actually earn a living!
Roll forward to 2020 and a decade on, I enjoy many of the successes that living as I have for 10 years brings. One of those is very much the fact that I have utilised the technologies that open up spaces for my favourite endeavour; connection. I could not have had the success that I have had without it. Who knew that so many people would be dragged into this way of working and living when a few months ago it became clear that the virus COVID 19 was going to change just about everything.
In the early days of my self employed life I created all my own workshops and events, on journalling, writing, self care and coaching. It has only been in the last six/seven years or so that I have been almost entirely asked to work in organisations, schools, charities and Local Authorities. I’ve been very fortunate, having had all my face to face cease overnight during the pandemic, that many organisations have continued to ask me to support them and their staff. This has been with self/collective care as they move through phases that mirror Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Grief, with understanding trauma more deeply and also facilitating group supervisions. What became clear to me, however, is that there were a whole raft of frontline workers who were not getting the support, understanding and connection that they needed from their employer. How can you work on the frontline without that? You can’t! And if you’ve got poorly elderly relatives and/or are ‘homeschooling’ your children, you will collapse quickly and the people who need you to be there for them won’t have you. As the ONS analysis shows us, the divisions are proving predictably, to exacerbated and this increases the workload of frontline workers exponentially. So I had to make a decision about creating my own events alongside my other work.
Technology has created the most astounding space within which to bring people together, where we can all be a part of the conversation. We can feel connection, support and develop our thinking about how we might co-create with one another, the environment and the resources available, a way of being that may well become known as ‘post pandemic nurture’. I have now worked online enough to know that even though the energy is not in the room for me to harness, it is brought to the virtual room. It is present but we have to work differently to feel it. We have to work far more intentionally creating what Hubl calls the ‘we’ space. I experience that ‘we’ space when everyone sets the intention to be present, to be open and to expand perspectives.
If you would like to attend the next online training session, Post Pandemic Nurture: The Transition Back to School, then you can join here. In the ‘we’ space.