So my States Odyssey is drawing to a close. I just need to squeeze the 67 teddy bears the girls wanted to bring into the six cases we have acquired along the way and survive the transatlantic flight + obligatory jetlag and I’ll have done it!
Along with all the information, inspiration and examples I have brought back about work, I have also learnt some of my own personal lessons along the way; namely:
1.Shout ‘YES’ to any opportunity
When Lyndon first suggested I apply to the WCMT, I started to play my traditional responses ‘Pie in the Sky’ ‘Won’t happen for me’ ‘Waste of valuable time’. But Lyndon’s sense of possibility and optimism has obviously rubbed off because underneath my pervasive, droning record was another voice that said ‘YES, why not? What the hell…’
So thank you to Winston Churchill’s family for setting up such a trust and advocating exploration and learning for our nation (www.wcmt.org.uk) and for giving me the grant. And thank you to Lyndon Johnson (my partner, not the
president) for always encouraging me to think bigger and bolder than I am totally comfortable with. US
2. Trust that people want to support you
So, the award is sitting on my desk waiting for me to have my baby and get my brain (half-way) back. I have had another year off work to settle Iris Belle into the world and I am now going back to my boss to ask if I can take another six weeks off to go to the States…How will this go down? Will she fire me? Should I even ask? In the past, the possibility of rejection might have stalled my request but experience has taught me that my ever-supportive boss is open, positive and full of surprises. Thank you to Trish Harrison and WSCC for this time.
Also, I have been amazed at the responsiveness of all the people I have contacted in the States regarding this trip. Every single person I reached out to gave me their time, their energy and their ideas.
3. Take it personally
I have had some excellent professional conversations but running underneath all of them has been a sense of how violence or abuse of one kind or another has invaded their personal lives. It has made me conscious of bridging the gap between the personal and the professional – breaking down those boundaries. It has also given me a greater sense of responsibility towards helping create a peaceful community for all – starting with myself.
4. Travel light
I always pack for EVERY eventuality and NEVER use half the stuff (yes, yes, ok, I finally admit it Lyndon now we’re home). It’s an important life lesson for me….
Thank you for reading my blog. I’ll publish the more coherent and professional version of my trip after the jetlag subsides….