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If a question exposes our vulnerabilities, should we answer it openly?

April 6, 2017

 

‘Why did you set up your own business?’

 

This is a question I am often asked when I meet people for the first time and I am never too sure how open I should be with my answer.  Not because I don’t want to tell them.  More that the truth reveals a vulnerable side of me and may make some people feel uncomfortable.  Why do I feel like this? Because the real catalyst for starting up Lordene Learning was my cancer diagnosis almost 2 and half years ago. 

 

Is sharing this with people I have just met and who have asked me why I started my business the ‘wrong’ thing to do? 

 

Could it be a case of too much information? 

 

Possibly. 

 

And that’s why I am never too sure how to answer the question and it is the same reason why I was undecided whether I should even write this blog. 

 

Yet the experience I went through resulted in me creating my Resilience and Wellbeing (RAW) Framework, so maybe I should be a bit more open…

 

I knew early in my diagnosis that I was one of the lucky ones and thankfully the cancer was treatable.  Still, the shock of the diagnosis, and the mastectomy that followed, wasn’t something I had ever thought I’d need to deal with.  Even weeks after the surgery, when I was told it was a success and the cancer had gone, I still struggled to come to terms with how it had changed me physically and mentally. 

 

It was like a huge slap in the face saying ‘you are not invincible’ and I found myself feeling overwhelmed with the all-consuming fear that one day it would come back.  My mind was busy all the time which exhausted me and often took me into a downwards spiral of negativity.  With my self-esteem at an all-time low I didn’t know how I would ever have the confidence to go back to the world of work. 

 

I felt completely lost but then things started to change…

 

Not overnight…

Not in a sequential order…

But gradually…

Piece by piece…

I managed to put myself back together. 

 

6 months after surgery? I did manage to get back to work.  

12 months after surgery? My life was changing for the better. 

2 years after surgery?  I had left my job and set up Lordene Learning.

Today?  I barley recognise that scared and vulnerable version of me. 

 

The transformation was possible because I went on quite a long journey where I immersed myself in the world of resilience and wellbeing. 

 

I developed a desire to thrive rather than just survive.

 

I looked inside myself using a variety of self-awareness methods and tools.  This included counselling, CBT, self-help books …. the list goes on. I slowly started to CONNECT with myself, processing and understanding what was going on in my mind, how this was impacting my behaviour and learning how to shift my thinking. 

 

I looked at the world around me, how I viewed it, how I responded to things and what impact that had on my feelings.  I discovered techniques for sustaining a more positive OUTLOOK and viewing the world through optimistic eyes.    

 

I assessed what was happening with my body, including the fuel I gave it and the activities I did to strengthen it.  It became important to me that if the cancer ever came back (and I still believe it will one day) I would be strong enough to fight it.  I wanted the same for my mind and so tried mindfulness, meditation and reflexology.  I discovered new ways to NURTURE myself. 

 

I started to ENGAGE with people.  This was hard for me.  For a while I had shut myself down and was held back by social anxiety.  I recognised that I needed people to support me and be surrounded by those that brought out the best in me.  I found the strength to tell people what I needed from them, something which was especially important when I returned to work.

 

I focused on the future.  I thought about what I really wanted from life and how I could REACH my dreams.  I’d always believed in the focus of goals for self-development so clarifying my ambitions in writing and breaking them down into manageable milestones, gave me drive and motivation. It started to feel achievable.    

 

It didn’t necessarily happen in that order and there were lots of bumps and setbacks along the way,  as well as some painful reflections.  By addressing these 5 important elements of my life, I saw dramatic results.  I changed from feeling that I could never go back to work to having the courage to set up my own business.

 

The journey I went on kick-started my desire to make Lordene Learning a reality and gave me the roots for my Resilience and Wellbeing (RAW) framework:

 

CONNECT – OUTLOOK – NURTURE – ENGAGE – REACH

 

 

 

I believe the framework can be applied to many situations including…

  • How we are feeling about each element of the framework in our personal lives (this can have an impact on our performance at work)

  • How we are feeling about each element of the framework relating to the work environment

  • How well a company is addressing each element of the framework (as a company and for employees)  

 

My journey isn't over, I still have days when I struggle and I know I need to continually invest in my own RAW.  I am passionate about supporting others to do the same.  

 

So, the next time someone asks me why I set up my own business, perhaps I should share with them the real roots of where my passion comes from.  Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.    

 

If you would like to find out more about the RAW framework why not join us for a free webinar:

 

The Resilience and Wellbeing (RAW) Equation (20th April 10.00 - 10.30) 

Register at https://www.lordenelearning.co.uk/resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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