H is for Happiness and I would certainly that this is the ultimate goal of another goal as a sense of completion. For me happiness is not about having a big grin all day long and pretending it is fine. Rather, it is about the satisfaction of enjoying life in the way it was intended and to make the most of every opportunity available. It is about feeling good about where you are in life, where you are going and how fast you are getting there. It is about understanding and knowing who you are and being honest to the values you have.
Right now I feel quite happy, 9 out of 10, how would you rate your happiness?
G is for Getting Tired, which is very appropriate to write today since I am extreme tired. I have been working extremely work the last few weeks and with my holiday around the corner, everything is catching up with me. This is just a part of my life and this is my point.
Because of my impairments it can take me more energy to do things and I therefore get tired more easily. This means I been to plan my day more carefully to ensure I use my energy efficiently and it is a central reason why I need personal assistance. When I have a long day, it is possible for me to ‘borrow’ energy and ofcourse I need to pay it back by resting the next day I can and this is one of those days!
F is for fun, and in the world of disability issues, this is often something that is forgotten or not considered, but it could be argued life is not living if it does not contain some fun. I also believe some fun is necessary for good mental wellbeing, if a right brain left brain balance.
It has not always been busy but I have always tried to ensure there is enough fun in my life especially when I am working hard. This is one reason I am going on holiday to Lanzarote in a few weeks, to have a week of relaxing sunshine to balance the cold and depressing winter months.
My recently new electric wheelchair has helped greatly with my work, like in London, and it has made “walking” fun again in Coventry, London and anywhere else as it makes me feel alive. It has been a great way to combine work with fun, which is about having your cake and eating it, because why have cake you can not eat?
E is for Enable and Empower, 2 terms that are very important to how I describe what I do and what I encourage others to do. Enablement and Empowerment are the tools to provide people with fishing rods, as opposed to fishes, and to teach them to use the rods for the most impact.
I feel many organisations see themselves as farms as opposed to factories. This means as a farm they may feel it is the role to nurture the people they represent throughout their journey, often over many years, and like a parent, the interdependent relationship means they find it hard to let go. It also means in a limited resource environment, they also can often only support a small number of people at one time and so their impact can be small.
By becoming an factory, the rule of an organisation moves to having the ability to support a larger number of people by having clear programmes that enables and empowers people to manage their journey with no or limited ongoing support in a manner that feels right in these changing times.
I would argue to enable and empower people is key to creating and supporting responsible citizens.
D is for Discussions and sometimes, it feels that it is the only thing I do. I feel it is important for people to be able to discuss issues together, by social networks and the more traditional methods, but it is often a harder task than people hope for.
Often people are singing the same song but with different words, so while people may actually agree on the same things, they may not be able to recognise it and this is often the cause of conflict. I have also found that to properly understand an issue, it is sometimes necessary to turn it on its head.
In my work, especially on social care issues, there is certainly a lot to discuss and I enjoy challenging current viewpoints to bring people’s understanding forward.
C is for Change, and Change is a ongoing journey is the never ending goal for things to be better. In this past and still for many people now, change is regarded as an one-off move to a better place that will mean they will not need to change again. This meant they did not keep monies aside to enable them to grow further.
I would argue success for individuals and organisation comes from an ability to embrace change and keeping an eye of cutting edge technology, ideas and trends. In the big sea of opportunities, it is often better to be nibble like a windsurfing rather than solid as an oil tankers, especially when the general pace of change had increased.
My role as a consultant is often to guide people through change, especially in disability and social care issues. It is not so much about being the navigator but rather the radar, providing a map of where everyone else is so organisations can plan their route.
If you are interested in knowing how I can help your organisation with Change, you can visit;
B is for Being Myself, probably one of the most important skills I have developed and everyone should be able to be able to do. It is however far harder than it looks and it takes great courage to be honest to who we really are.
From books I have run and my own thinking, I have understand that we all have a story or journey to fulfil and that we do have a ‘choice’ in whether to carry it out or not. Clearly, if we choose not to fulfil our story, we may not always be truly happy as we are not being truthful about ourselves.
I fully believe that everyone’s journey is equally important however society and others may perceive it difficulties. This means that David Beckham’s journey is important to that of a lifelong taxi driver since without these taxi drivers, many ‘important’ people would not get to their events.
I feel that rather than people being support to discover their true self, people are often pressured to conform to how others wish them to be and therefore it is a wonderful gift to be able to be myself!
A is for advocacy, which is an important range of services which supports disabled people and others in understand situations and make appropriate decisions. While advocacy is not as widely talked about as it was 10 years or so, it still as an important place in ensuring service users, especially those with learning difficulties, in having as control in the services they receive.
I have provided advocacy to many people in many ways over the years, and it is something I am able to provide through the Enable and One brands. The main difficulties with advocacy is finding the funding to pay professional advocates to support individuals, who very often do not have the fund it themselves.
I would argue that it is the role of a good advocate to be honest with the people they are working with and supporting them to take responsibility for by actions, often by explaining to them the consequences of specific actions in a way they can understand so they can make decisions for themselves.
For more information on what I do on advocacy, please visit;
It is clear to me as well as many people that the world economic has changed for good. As we absorb the change, it looks terrible but by the value of social interaction over materialism will help us come through this, that is however another story. This blog is about the potential rise of social Darwinism.
Social Darwinism is a concept that was fashionable a century ago and is the basis of the eugenics agenda. At that time, disability was not so much of an issue because of the general poor level of health services available, so it was about race as a biological issue. While I certainly do not imagine debates around the inferiority of different races, the issue of eliminating disability could be back on the agenda.
While disabled people have enjoyed increased public acceptance over the last 10 years or so, where the eugenics agenda had not had a place in social policy, I fear this could change. The reason for this is the “rights without responsibilities” I have often mentioned, that is being peddled by charities, could seriously background.
While the charities would like us to believe disabled people are mostly vulnerable and helpless creatures who are needy of their costly assistance, the evidence is that disabled people have more opportunities to make a contribution to society than ever before. We all need a break at times and for my access needs to be met but if disabled people do not start to take more responsibility and use the opportunities provided to them, society will start to wonder if disabled people have a place where resources are diminishing?
The sad part of all this is ‘modern’ eugenic solutions do not eliminate the ‘work shy’ so to speak but people with long term conditions, who actually do want to work if given a change. While none of this is right nor fair, it is a reality of where we could be and just one argument to review how we see disabled people’s role in society as contributing citizens.