Social justice: unto these hills

This week I have been honoured to be the guest of a Native American family and their tribe in Cherokee, North Carolina. We were taken to see a live theatre performance of a play entitled ‘Unto These Hills’. It told the story of how, in the 1830s, 16,000 Cherokee people were forced to move 800 miles because the white people and their armed forces had coerced them into giving up their homelands in the Appalachian Mountains. The routes they took ...

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A morbid subject?

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend a conference at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the United States. The subject matter was end-of-life care. Many people would shy away from such a topic. However, there were some really interesting, thought-provoking discussions that showed how important and enriching a topic it is. Pretending we are immortal is not such a wise thing to do.

What was particularly good about the conference was the excellent atmosphere there. It ...

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What happened to enthusiasm?

In my work as a trainer, consultant, conference speaker and author I meet a wide variety of people. Perhaps it is the state of the workplace these days, but it concerns me that I come across so many people whose enthusiasm for their work has ebbed significantly. Some people I meet are semi-burnt out if not fully so, and so it was great recently when I received a thank you email from someone who had enjoyed reading the latest issue ...

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The lights were on but there was nobody home

Interest in ‘saving the planet’ has grown significantly over the years, and there is now certainly a much higher level of awareness of ‘green’ issues. However, it is sadly the case that we are still a long way from getting it right. The reason I say this is that running training courses is a big part of my portfolio career these days and I regularly have to go round venues switching off unnecessary lights. For example, I recently ran a ...

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Coping with grief

I recently ran a residential workshop on grief in Snowdonia. The beautiful and peaceful setting no doubt contributed to the very positive atmosphere. It was very rewarding to see the group gel so well and to become so deeply engaged in talking about these difficult and painful issues. They were an excellent group to work with. I had seen the workshop as a one-off event, but the group were so keen to have further workshops that I have now started ...

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Money can’t buy happiness

The idea that money brings happiness remains a very popular one, even though the evidence that this is a gross oversimplification of a very complex relationship has been around for a long time. Financial security can, of course, be a key factor in terms of well-being, as poverty and the anxieties it brings can have a very detrimental effect. Money can also buy power in some ways, and power can be important for well-being (just as powerlessness can be a ...

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The effects of not being valued at work

Research by the American Psychological Association has found that over half the people who did not feel valued at work were planning on leaving within the next year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apa-survey-finds-feeling-valued-at-work-linked-to-well-being-and-performance-2012-03-08). Considering the cost of replacing staff that leave, this shows just how unwise (and expensive) it is for organisations not to show appreciation of their staff. Valuing staff can therefore be seen as an important part of workplace well-being.

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Dignity in care

It is good to see that the campaign for dignity in care for older people is gathering momentum. The tendency for older people in general to be treated dismissively and disrespectfully is worrying enough in itself, but when we are focusing specifically on older people who are dependent on care services, this tendency is particularly alarming. A major part of the problem is that so much ageism is largely invisible, in the sense that ageist comments or actions often produce no reaction or objection, ...

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How happy are we?

A recent survey attempted to establish how happy Britain is. It was called the ‘National Well-being Programme’ and it showed regional differences in how contented people perceive themselves to be. For me this is no surprise. While the traditional approach to well-being is an individualistic one (atomistic, to use the technical term, as opposed to holistic), we need to look beyond such a narrow approach. The emphasis on happiness, rather than the broader concept of well-being, is indicative of such an individualistic ...

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