What Shaped Me

It’s not an easy question to answer because I’m pretty sure I’m still being shaped. It’s an ongoing thing enhanced by spending time in the company of people that enrich life. Which actually they all do, if your open to noticing.

Plus, right now feels particularly transitional.

And I think Helen’s right. A lot of what shapes me is for friends over wine (or other beverage). Here’s some other stuff…

1. At 13 I volunteered as a 1:1 befriender at a summer play-scheme for children with disabilities (totally different name then). I was paired with 18 year old who needed me to help with every everyday activity, but couldnt tell me what he needed. I took a group of teenagers out on a boat at the local reservoir. We survived. That shaped me.

2. At 18 I volunteered as a telephone counsellor with ChildLine. I learnt to listen, and often drove home in tears. At the same time I experienced excellent supervision and promised myself I’d replicate it for others. I helped train new counsellors and got a taste for exceptional L+D. That shaped me.

3. My first FT job was night shifts in a 33 bed direct access hostel for homeless adults in Derby city. Ever worked in one? Ever been in one? Places that come alive at night. There are many many stories. I also worked at a mental health specific residence. I realised I couldn’t. That shaped me.

4. At 13 I found out I had a Dutch Brother living in Holland. Aged 14 I met him. We eventually got to know and love each other over social media and then Hendricks last year. In May I had breakfast with my brother and sister for the first time ever the morning of her wedding – magic. This has shaped me. 

5. Psychology degree. She said “by the end of this year you’ll be a psychologist”. That happened and shaped me.

6. Studying at masters level: failing, succeeding. The people I know who coach and lead. This is shaping me.

7. I delivered a developmental programme for offenders. Turns out sex offenders have more community sentence hours to spend. We developed soft skills whilst climbing, kayaking, weaselling and other experiential stuff. I wonder what you believe about treatment or interventions to change people in this context. This shaped me.

8. As a young persons substance misuse worker I attended many child in need and child protection meetings. I worked with an 8 year old using aerosol (the most high risk and lethal drug use possible). Turned out there were reasons for that. That shaped me.

9. I learnt MI and SFBT and CBA and used it to enable growth and change in others. Then developed these skills in others, and now develop others to develop others to…. enable growth and change in others. This has become part of me.

10. The people I meet through the work I do shape me. Everyone I connect with brings richness. Thank you for shaping me.

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