I saw so many wonderful things during my recent trip to Uganda, and sadly some not so wonderful things – I’m still processing the week, the emotions and the experience and I have no doubt that there is more learning to come as I reflect further, but for now, I wanted to share five of the most obvious lessons that I have brought home with me.
See the learning in every experience and make the most of the learning you receive.
During the training sessions every single person round the table was engaged, actively listening, questioning and participating in the discussion.
After the first day of training I had conversations with people who had immediately implemented the learning after the sessions and noticed the impact at home and at work – the lovely ripple effect that I’ve written on before. By the end of the week, the same people were coming back to me to say how much more of a difference it had made to them – change was happening, learning was being implemented.
The children place value on education and/or learning skills that will help them build a better future for themselves and their families. Be it learning English, Maths or Science, how to make bracelets, to tailor, or to fly a kite, everyone wants to learn – and its magical to watch.
And OMG – as the team delivering the training did we learn from every experience!
The Retrak staff have been under enormous pressure over recent months, yet they remained positive and grateful for the work they do and the changes they make. I have never seen a group of people so grateful to be trained on developing their skills and knowledge to make them better managers.
And at the whole team away day, we bought the Retrak team a cake to show how awesome we think they are, only to receive a beautiful song in return for being their guests and sharing our skills and knowledge.
The children in the centres, who have arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs, are grateful for the support, the food, the bed and the Retrak family around them.
The people we spoke to on the streets, children and adults, were grateful for all that had, no matter how small it may have appeared to us.
Everyone we met was grateful for us visiting them, taking the time out of our day and acknowledging them.
Believe In Something Bigger
Go big! Go big with your dreams, your goals and everything you do. Realise that anything is possible when you believe in something bigger. And that when you have this belief, it’s easier to see the positives in every situation.
Every staff member, whatever their role, has a big motivator driving them every day. Every child that we met has a belief that they can be anything they want to be.
Those that believe in God believe in hopes and prayers, and those that don’t believe they deserve better – regardless of what side of the fence you sit, everyone had hope for a better future.
As a team we had belief in every person we met. The 5 year old who wants to go and educate other young girls on how to get off the streets and into safety, the 11 year olds who want to be doctors, the nurses helping sick children recover and the 17 year old with a three year old disabled daughter whilst caring for other family members. I could go on.
Make The Most Of Every Moment
Perhaps the most telling part of the week for me that highlighted the differences between home and abroad was during the away day on Friday. The morning session had finished a little early and lunch was running a little late. There was a gap of about 20 minutes to fill and everyone was told to do their own thing until lunch was ready.
The group stood, turned up the music, danced, played football, volleyball, games and laughed.
Not one person picked up their mobile phone, not one person checked their emails, not one person moaned about lunch being late and not one person sat on their own.
These are people who are literally saving the lives of children and they made the most of the 20 minutes to relax, spend time together and make the most of the moment.
The situations that many of the children have endured is a far cry from fun, and many of the children openly stated they didn’t know how to play. Yet with a frisbee, a ball and a skipping rope, the girls learned to have fun.
With some music playing everyone knew how to sing and dance.
With some sticky felt pieces and some coffee filters, everyone knew how to make something pretty.
Whilst engaging with street children, football and catch were the universal language.
Learning became fun.
Every day, every new experience and every interaction involved fun, making the most of every moment, learning, gratitude and believing in something bigger – without exception. If I can bring even some of these into my work and my personal life on a daily basis, then my life can only change for the better.
How could your work be better with just one of these on a daily basis?
Not one for thinking outside the box – mainly because she believes there isn’t one, Kelly founded Chrysalis in 2014 after being appointed as the UK’s Youngest HR Director (something she was told she couldn’t achieve with two young sons), after feeling that consultancy needed to more people and less process driven because – well that’s what gives consultants a bad reputation.
Through her consulting, coaching, talks, presentations, workshops and books, she rips up the rule book and helps people create what’s best for them, their teams and their organisations – not what’s best for their competitors.