What’s it all about?

This is the post excerpt.


I have decided to take the leap in to the world of “Blogging”. I will be sharing stories about my job as an Employment Specialist, the importance of giving back to the community, talking about topics that are important to me and ways of helping others every day.


Give us 12 days and discover the best version of you.








Learn how to transform yourself using the art of personal power. Starting 23rd January

Discover yourself….

With our Personal Development Course coming Jan 2018.

An Investment in Your Personal Development Is The Best Investment You Can Make.

Improve Your:

  • Self-Awareness,
  • Knowledge,
  • Skills,
  • Talents, and building potential goals

You deserve to be happy and proud of where you are; a coach will help you achieve that happiness and develop any skills you wish to improve.

With this course you can learn how to improve on your personal development so that you can tackle day to day situations with more confidence.

This is a practical, fun and engaging course. The intention is to focus on personal development, broader life skills, interesting workshops and confidence building before progressing towards a lighter touch employment aspect in the later sessions. The delegates will learn quick, easy and high impact techniques to practice throughout the 4 weeks individually / together and share progress in a supportive environment.

Personal Power Course Dates January 2018:

  • Week 1:     23rd, 24th, 25th January
  • Week 2:     30th, 31st January, 1st February
  • Week 3:      6th, 7th And 8th February
  • Week 4:      13th, 14th And 15th February

0930 – 1230. Delivery of key content for the day, mixed in with activities keeping things fun and engaging.

1230 – 1300. Break for lunch.

1300 – 1400. Mixture of self-paced and group activities consolidating the learning from the morning.

1400 – 1500. Time to focus on 1-2-1 or anything additional the group require. This is optional for the delegates.

It's new you Jan 2018 - green

A simple example of exercising personal power is changing habits.

Changing a habit could be giving up smoking, implementing an exercise routine, or controlling an emotional reaction to a person at work. How quickly and efficiently someone changes a behavior pattern is one way to measure their personal power.

Some people might think personal power and self discipline are the same, but there are some differences to consider.

Desire is a key factor to consider when looking at the ability to change a failure habit into a success pattern. The stronger the desire the faster the change will occur. A person who comes face to face with serious health consequences if they don’t give up smoking is highly motivated. With the desire to live, they can overcome a lack of self discipline and access personal power they didn’t know they had. What we may think of as a lack of personal power or self discipline might just be a lack of real desire. We can tap into reserves of personal power by getting in touch with the power of our authentic desire.

Competing desires is a big reason that people fail to make changes in their lives. They may claim a lack self discipline or personal power, but don’t notice the effects of conflicting desires on their habitual choices. Let’s suppose that someone wants to eat healthier but keeps finding it too tempting to pass up dessert or give up those potato chips as a snack. The desire for the pleasure associated with the snack competes with the intent to eat healthy.

These conflicting desires in the mind set up a conflict of agendas. When this conflict happens we often expend some of our personal power debating back and forth between the two choices. This simple conflict in mind can zap our energy, but there is another place where we are likely to waste even more of our personal power. It happens after we have the dessert or eat the potato chips. The critical voice in our head chimes in with condemnations about our choice; puts us down, tells us we failed, and works to convince us that we don’t have the self discipline or will power to succeed.

If we agree with the proposals that this critical voice offers we effectively hypnotize ourselves into being a person with little power left. We use our will power to invest in the belief that we have no personal power and no self discipline. This type of self hypnosis can be more damaging to our emotional well being than any amount of food we ate. If you have ever seen someone hypnotized you know that it can turn us into someone that we are not.

The problem for many people isn’t that they lack personal power and discipline. It is that they have already invested it in agreements about being powerless.

One very effective method of gaining personal will power is to refrain from agreeing with these sabotaging thoughts that the voice in our head proposes.


Having the self awareness and learning the steps to do this are only some of the techniques that you will learn in Discover yourself course.

Deciding what not to do, Is as important as deciding what to do

You’ve made up your mind: It’s time for a career change. If only applying for jobs were as easy as making that decision.

images (3)The job search process can be confusing and intimidating, to say the least. But the good news is that there are some little-known facts that can clear up a lot of that confusion and make the process a little more approachable

Start with self-assessment. 

Before starting your job-search, take time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you like accomplishing. The better you know yourself, the more likely you’ll find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction. To find out your strengths take this personality test.


Most Jobs Are a Secret 

OK, they’re not a secret, per se, but 80% of jobs never get posted and are only found through networking.

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Knowing Someone on the Inside Can Get You Hired 

Only 7% of job applicants get an employee referral, yet referrals account for 40% of all hires! So, basically, having someone put in a good word will give you a serious leg up on the competition.

Conduct research.

Information is the true secret of a successful job-search. Gathering information on types of jobs, job openings, and prospective employers  provides critical information for tracking down real job leads, and helps you in tailoring your resume and preparing for the job interview.

Recruiters Don’t Really Read Your Resume

Well, they do, but they don’t. Recruiters spend, on average, six seconds reviewing your resume. Translation: A resume alone won’t get you a job, but a bad one can ruin your chances.

Hundreds of People Are Applying for the Same Job

Did you know that a typical corporate job posting will attract 250 resumes on average? I know, that number’s scary. But it’s a good reminder of why you do need to tailor your application and put in that extra energy.

The Job Search Drags on (for Everyone)

imagesOn average, it takes about 52 days to fill a job opening. that’s something to keep in mind when you see an opening that looks amazing. It’s better to take a few days to submit the perfect application than it is to fire off your materials right away without customizing them at all


Your Embarrassing Email Address Will Disqualify You  images (8)

Hey, hotstuff12345@hotmail.com, unfortunately you and your friend Ih8work@aol.com, will fall into the group of 76% of resumes that are thrown out simply because their email address was unprofessional.

Create your online career brand. 


The job market is slowly evolving from a paradigm of job-seekers and employers using job boards to find each other to one in which employers find job-seekers online — whether through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or the job-seeker’s personal Website. Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web could find it — and removing any unsavoury — digital dirt — you can find

Get organized. 

Before you start applying for jobs, going to job fairs, or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job-search. A simple spreadsheet works best for many


Attempt to complete job-related goals daily. 

It’s a bit of a cliché now, but in all clichés, there is truth — and that truth is that it takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job-search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success.

Develop anecdotes and stories that showcase your skills. 

People remember stories over bullet points, so your goal should be developing a set of anecdotes you can use in networking and interviewing situations that clearly demonstrate your skills, accomplishments, and passion for your work. Using stories may also help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself Use these stories to showcase your achievements on your CV too!


 Excel in the job interview. 

Research the employer and interviewers, know your route for getting to the interview, dress appropriately, arrive about 10 minutes early (to compose yourself, observe your settings, complete any paperwork), greet everyone warmly (from receptionist to hiring manager), use positive body language (firm handshake, strong eye contact, attentive posture, and friendly smile), confidently respond to interview questions, show enthusiasm, ask questions of the interviewer(s), and close the interview with appreciation and a request for information about next steps in the process.

Write thank-you notes after interviews to all interviewers.

images (7)A quick note (by email and/or postal mail) of thanks that emphasizes your interest and fit with the job and employer will not get you the job offer, but it will help make you stand out from most job-seekers who do not bother with this simple act of courtesy. Your work is not done once the interview is complete or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager regularly shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job.

Don’t despair!

n a tough economy where one open position can attract numerous qualified candidates and you’ve been job seeking for some time, on occasion it might seem difficult to hide your feelings of desperation. Although deep down you may be at the end of your rope and tying knots to just hang on, the odour of desperation is readily discernible from your demeanour, words and attitude. And an aura of “giving up” turns off prospective employers like nothing else can, thereby blowing your chances at what could be the job of a lifetime (or at least a steady pay check). Rein in your desperateness and show that potential employer your real worth instead!

Dress well, even if the potential workplace consists of people who don jeans every day. Contrary to a desire to “be yourself” through appearing “casual as”you can’t afford to give any impression of sloppiness, as it imprints “desperate” across your forehead. Be sure that your clothing is neat, ironed if appropriate for the fabric, adjusted to the standard of the workplace you’re hoping to join, tucked in where needed  and that your hair is one hundred percent dry (wet hair suggests you only just made it out the door).

Have a firm handshake. Not too strong, not too weak––a handshake speaks volumes about your self-confidence. A floppy handshake will cause the interviewer to feel that you aren’t really into this interview from the start.

Things go wrong at work

for everyone at times. Sometimes, they are wrong enough to cause you to want to leave a job or to end up in being fired. Yet, a potential employer isn’t going to feel reassured if you explain that the reason for no longer being in your old job is because “X did such and such to me”. Once you start placing blame or making excuses, you’re going to look weak, lacking in the ability to be either a team player or to lead/manage, and you’ll most likely come across as desperate. Avoid placing blame on someone else. Regardless of the situation, never tell your interviewer that you lost your job or a project fell apart due to the incompetence of another person. Instead, be confident when you state the facts and explain what it would take to create a successful situation

Don’t just blame the economy or the job market. Once again, blame is typically frowned upon during an interview as it’s an indicator of a wider tendency to place blame rather than accept responsibility––something few employers want to see in their employees. Your interviewer knows that the economy is down in the dumps and that jobs in various industries are scarce, so pointing out this obvious fact, or making it the reason you’re unemployed, will only have a negative effect on your interview.

Never badmouth another person or previous employer to lay blame for a mistake. Employ the cardinal rule of “never burning your bridges”, no matter how much another person tormented you or perhaps even sabotaged your life. If you badmouth another, you may end up looking like a whiner, bad guy or worse… a victim.

The best way to approach feeling nervous, being asked challenging questions and worrying about your general prospects, is to remain calm and cool during your interview. Don’t dwell on problems in the past. Instead, punctuate your strengths and play up what you can bring to the potential employer’s company now and for the future.

In preparation for an interview, write out your strengths on paper.


This will help you to identify them, as well as giving you the chance to focus on those that truly stand out for you in relation to the job you’re interviewing for. Read through these strengths many times and elaborate on them out loud, as if talking to the interviewer. The more that you know this aspect of yourself inside out, the easier it will flow for you during the interview.

Stop yourself from saying that you’ll “do anything” to land the job. As opposed to having the right experience or education to handle the job, telling the employer you’ll literally do anything to land it may turn him or her off. It suggests that you no longer have credible skills or value yourself enough.

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On the other hand, don’t oversell yourself. Identify your strengths, but be humble when talking about your accomplishments. If you come on too strong you’ll look desperately aggressive––and possibly a little scary. Nobody wants to hear a narcissistic rant about how brilliant you are or how you single-handedly saved the company; keep it realistic and always remember that it takes a village as far as the interviewer is concerned.

Sometimes desperation shows in the trivial things you after a perfectly well-presented answer––things best left unsaid. For example, you might have just explained why you want the job to the interviewers and really impressed them. And then, you add a final comment like “because my current job is just crazy and I don’t really know why I’m still doing it.” You’ve just undone all the good that came from what you said!

Once again, the rules of dating apply. Without stating that you’re interviewing with other firms, give your prospective employer the impression that other companies––possibly competitors, are pursuing you (even if they aren’t).

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Bring your planner to the interview (that should be filled with “appointments”) to make sure your interviewer doesn’t think your dance card isn’t filled.

If the interviewer calls you back, don’t jump to answer the phone on the first ring. In fact, let the first call go to voicemail, listen to what the interviewer must say and then call back within a few hours. If you do answer the phone, always ask for time to consider their offer.

Give the impression that you’re fielding offers. Listen intently to what the interview must offer and say. If he or she makes you an offer, thank the interviewer and ask if you can call him or her back later that day

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Don’t wait too long or else the employer may think you aren’t interested!!!!

Be happy & Give.

Why giving is good for you


1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
“he thanked them for their kindness and support”
synonyms: kindliness, kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartedness, goodwill, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care;

plural noun: kindnesses
“it would be a kindness on your part to invite her”
synonyms: kind act, good deed, act of kindness, good turn, favour, act of assistance, service, help, aid
“she has done us many a kindness”

What goes around comes around – and with kindness it really does. Research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. What’s more it has a knock-on effect – kindness is contagious, so it makes our communities nicer places to be.

Recent research into brain functioning has confirmed that we are hard-wired for love and compassion. So, it’s not all chasing about individual success – our communities and society flourish when people look out for each other.
When we’re kind to people we know it strengthens our connections with them and provides a source of support. Research shows that we may benefit from giving support more than those receiving it – and we’re also more likely get support in return when we need it. This may not be like-for-like support, or even from the same person, but being kind to others builds a wider support network which increases well-being all round.
Doing kind things for strangers helps build co-operation, trust and a sense of safety in our communities. It also helps us to see others more positively and empathise with them. These are the foundations of a thriving local community and a flourishing society.

To be kind, it’s important for us to be aware of the people around us – and to notice their needs and feelings. We all have an innate compassion but sometimes it takes bit of time for us to tune into it. As the Dalai Lama says: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”


Kindness can be as simple as a smile, a thank-you or a word of encouragement. It’s a way of connecting, even if only for a brief moment, with those we pass in our daily lives. It doesn’t have to cost anything or take much time – what’s important is that it’s an act of genuine care and thoughtfulness for another person. There are lots of ideas below and throughout this website.
Kind acts can be spur of the moment, like when we notice someone in need. For example, we might give up our seat on the train or pick up and return someone’s glove when they drop it. Opportunities to be kind pop up all over the place – like handing on a newspaper we’ve finished reading, letting someone take our parking space or passing on an unused ticket.
Kind acts can also be thought through in advance – planning to do something for a friend, neighbour or loved one or because we want to spread some daily joy. There are unlimited ways to be kind to others – we only need to keep your eyes open and pay attention to those around us to start seeing opportunities to help.

Plan for kindness – Do some thinking about what you might do to spread some kindness – then you’re more likely to spot opportunities when they come up. Make yourself a list of small actions you could take in your daily life – they don’t have to cost any money at all. Think about people you know and others that you pass by during the day. What could you do today or tomorrow? What do you feel drawn to doing? There are lots of ideas below to get you thinking.

Have a kindness day – On a day, perhaps once a week, try to perform at least 5 different acts of kindness for different people. Make these things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Afterwards, think: How did you feel after you did each act? How do you feel at the end of the day? You could also do this as a challenge with friends and get together in the evening to talk about what you got up to. Go on spread a little kindness!

Do it together – Try to think about kind things you could do with friends, family or neighbours. You can swap ideas and support each other. Doing new things together helps build connections, which also increases happiness, so it’s a win all round. If you’ve got children, get them thinking about what they can do too. Ask them what kind acts they gave or received that day – they might share some lovely stories with you!


Here’s a list of suggested acts of kindness to get you started:
1. Give up your seat
2. Hold a door open for someone
3. Give a (sincere) compliment
4. Make someone laugh
5. Give someone a hug
6. Take time to really listen to someone
7. Let one car in on every journey
8. Make someone new feel welcome
9. Help someone who’s lost
10. Have a conversation with a stranger
11. Pick up litter as you walk
12. Let someone in front of you in the queue
13. Read a story with a child
14. Tell someone they mean a lot to you
15. Let someone have your parking spot
16. Offer your change to someone struggling to find the right amount
17. Treat a loved one to breakfast in bed
18. Buy cakes or fruit for your colleagues
19. Invite your neighbour round for a drink and a chat
20. Offer to help with someone’s shopping
21. Tell someone if you notice they’re doing an excellent job
22. Pass on a book you’ve enjoyed
23. Say sorry (you know who to)
24. Forgive someone for what they’ve done
25. Visit a sick friend, relative or neighbour
26. Buy an unexpected gift for someone
27. Bake something for a neighbour
28. Pay for someone in the queue behind
29. Do a chore that you don’t normally do
30. Help someone in need
31. Offer to look after a friend’s children
32. Offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn
33. Donate your old things to charity
34. Give food to a homeless person and take time to talk with them
35. Visit someone who may be lonely
36. Give blood
37. Get back in contact with someone you’ve lost touch with
38. Organise a fundraising event
39. Volunteer your time for a charity
40. Plan a street party

So, how can you lead a more compassionate, happier life???? Here are six rules to follow every day to live a much happier life.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the universe, deserve your love and affection.” The Buddha

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Be Kind to Yourself  A compassionate life radiates from the inside out, so the only way to truly show love to others is to first start with yourself. Stop being your worst critic and turn into your greatest cheerleader. Be patient with yourself instead of rushing to assume the worst of your abilities. Resolve to speak only good things about you instead of putting yourself down. The compassion you feel inwardly will overflow to everyone in your life.

Be a Giver
One way to be more compassionate is to give. You can give money to your house of worship or to charity. You can also donate clothes to organizations that help the homeless. However, your offerings don’t have to be to a stranger. Look for opportunities to give amongst your friends and family. Perhaps your cousin has fallen on tough times or a friend just lost a spouse. You can be an angel for someone in need who’s close to home.

Find a Cause
Many people don’t have a cause – an issue or a plight about which they feel strongly. Causes give life fire. Want to know what your cause is? Ask yourself this question: what upsets you most when you watch your local news? Where do you see injustice that really riles you up? What makes you want to stick up for the underdog? These are clues that will lead you to organizations that you can join and support.

Forgive Both Big and Small Offenses
To lead with compassion means to extend mercy to others. That can be difficult when you feel like you’ve been wronged. Whether it’s a major crime against you or something as small as the rudeness of a stranger, you can learn to be a forgiving person. Forgiveness shows love to people in your life whether you feel like they deserve it or not. It frees the offending person, but it also releases you from the burden of carrying resentment.

Take Care of Something or Someone
Be an active participant in the care and nurturing of another living thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a child, a spouse, a pet or a plant. When someone else’s ability for growth and maturity is dependent on you, it calls for something special to rise inside of you. It expands your heart and builds up your capacity for kindness.

Expand Your Worldview
Having compassion comes from a place of empathy, which is the ability to feel someone else’s feelings. That can be difficult when most of us exist in our own tiny universe. So, you must push yourself beyond the knowledge and influence your own family and social circles. Read biographies about people you have nothing in common with. Watch documentaries made by and for ethnicities, genders and religions other than your own. You can go beyond tolerance to understanding when you try to see life through someone else’s eyes.


Why not take the kindness assessment and find out if you really are as kind as you think you are and use the 30 day challenge to build relationships and positivity!!!

I have challenged my team at work. Our challenge starts on 2nd January 2018!!!!


Are you ready? How to get a job that doesn’t exist yet.

Could a robot do your job? Millions of people who didn’t see automation coming will soon find out the painful way. The answer is a resounding yes.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.


“Without urgent and targeted action today, to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

 New skills for new economies

So what skills should workers be acquiring to make sure they have value as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Some may be surprised to learn that skills we develop in pre-school will be valued highly.

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, argues that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He says the modern workplace, where people move between separate roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation.

Deming has mapped the changing needs of employers and identified key skills that will be required to thrive in the job market of the near future. Along with those soft skills, mathematical ability will be enormously beneficial.


The study shows that workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.

So, what are the soft skills you will need to get a job in the future?


As a soft skill, communication is not about multiple syllables or rousing speeches. Able communicators can adjust their tone and style according to their audience, comprehend and act efficiently on instructions, and explain complex issues to colleagues and clients alike. Communication is also an important aspect of leadership, since leaders must be able to delegate clearly and comprehensibly.

Here is a link to a great communication training video: https://youtu.be/HAnw168huqA


Having the positive attitude and the initiative to work well without round-the-clock supervision is a vital soft skill for any employee. Not only does it demonstrate reliability and commitment, but it shows that you can fit efficiently into an organisational structure without the need for constant oversight.


Leadership is a soft skill you can show even if you’re not directly managing others. Leadership can be thought of as a collection of various other soft skills, such as a general positive attitude and outlook, the ability to communicate effectively, and an aptitude for both self-motivating and motivating others.


Self-awareness is a seldom talked about but highly valued soft skill; knowing when to accept responsibility for any mistakes you have made demonstrates a healthy level of humility, and a willingness to learn and progress.


Like leadership, good teamwork involves a combination of other soft skills. Working in a team towards a common goal requires the intuition and interpersonal acumen to know when to be a leader, and when to be a listener. Good team players are perceptive, as well as receptive to the needs and responsibilities of others.

Problem Solving

Problem solving does not just require analytical, creative and critical skills, but a mindset: those who can approach a problem with a cool and level head will often reach a solution more efficiently than those who cannot. This is a soft skill which can often rely on strong teamwork too. Problems need not always be solved alone. The ability to know who can help you reach a solution, and how they can do it, can be a great advantage.


Knowing the distinction between decisiveness and recklessness implies a soft skill. Decisiveness combines many different abilities: the ability to put things into perspective, to weigh up the options, to assess all relevant information and, crucially, to anticipate the consequences, good and bad.

Ability to Work Under Pressure and Time Management

Many jobs come with demanding deadlines and occasionally high stakes. Recruiters prize candidates who show a decisive attitude, an unfaltering ability to think clearly, and a capacity to compartmentalize and set stress aside. Time management is closely related to the ability to work under pressure, as well as within tight deadlines. Employees who manage their time well can efficiently prioritize tasks and organised their diaries, while adopting an attitude which allows them to take on new tasks and deadlines.


Naturally, people can be wary of leaving the comfort zone formed by their repertoire of hard skills. Flexibility is an important soft skill, since it demonstrates an ability and willingness to acquire new hard skills, and an open-mindedness to new tasks and new challenges. Employers often seek candidates who can show a willing and upbeat attitude, since many jobs come with the possibility of secondments.

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

This is another of those soft skills which employers look for in potential leaders. To be an adept negotiator is to know how to be persuasive and exert influence, while sensitively seeking a solution which will benefit all parties. Similarly, conflict resolution depends on strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish a rapport with colleagues and clients alike.


From man or to machine

No one really knows which jobs will be automated in the future. But one thing is clear: as machines become more pervasive, so too do the humans who teach and interact with them. As we’ve already seen in the airline business, autopilot didn’t put pilots out of a job; instead it foreshadowed an increasing collaboration between human and machine on complex tasks.

As automation gains ground, the human workforce has the intriguing possibility of further developing uniquely human skills that machines cannot match or replicate. In an unusual twist on industry practice, automotive giant Toyota is removing robots from its factories because human workers can, unlike their machine counterparts, propose ideas for improvement.

Machines, it seems, are not very good with innovation. They’re not very good at certain types of agility, either. Watch Parisian waiters in action and ask yourself how long it would take for robots to put them out of a job.

Then there’s empathy, creativity, leadership, intuition and social intelligence. If I were to give younger people an idea of the skills they’ll need, these would be on the list, as well as advice to pay attention to how machines function and think.

“Learn your enemy’s language.” If machines are coming for us we need to understand how they function.

Lessons from history

The problem with the changing world of work is not so much the loss of opportunities as the period of transition.

A CEO of a 40,000-people company was asked to list the skills he thought would be needed in a digital, data-driven future. He mentioned programmers, designers and online marketing specialists

For those whose training is becoming obsolete, and organizations needing completely new skills in a short amount of time, the transition will be complicated. As the author Alvin Toffler once predicted, the future belongs to those who can unlearn and relearn.

History tells us that technology creates more opportunities and jobs. The state of the world might look confusing and worrying, but it is not. Virtual or tangible, automated or humanized, work is changing in many ways, but the fundamentals remain: acquiring skills and doing things that people need.

A few skills that take a long time to master but will be with you forever could be the difference in being successful or unsuccessful for the future. You will be surprised to hear, these skills don’t include finding ways to get more done in less hours, cutting out lunches and avoiding timely conversations. No, these skills are much more holistic and based on individual’s mindfulness and positivity.

  1. Make time for self-care

Today, your career success is often linked to the number of hours you can devote to achieving your goals. The author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class master in your field. But in pursuit of our dreams, we often neglect other areas of our lives.

We should pay more attention to the psychological and emotional well-being of others, and that far from being a “soft” issue, it lies at the root of many modern challenges. By learning to take pain seriously, and carve out time for self-care, we can become healthier and more resilient both in our workplaces and our homes.

  1. Stop rushing

One of the greatest skills we can learn from older generations is to be kind to ourselves. When watching and interacting with older people we are reminded that putting undue pressure on ourselves to reach self-imposed milestones is unhelpful.

According to Pew research, women generally feel more rushed than men, with working mothers hit the hardest hit: 40% of them report that they always feel rushed.


In relation to this, we can choose to organize our lives in such a way as to show which things have value. Rethabile Mashale Sonibare, social worker and founder of Thope Foundation, explains that we have the same amount of time in a day, and therefore how we choose to use it “determines how successful we are in achieving our goals”. She suggests apportioning your time between developing yourself, spending time with family and friends, and immersing yourself in work that serves your purpose.

  1. Speak up, speak out

There is a tendency – particularly for women – to believe that if they work hard and for long enough they will be sufficiently recognized and rewarded. Genna Gardini, a writer and educator, spent many years trying to make herself invisible to “quietly produce interesting work that surprises people”. However, upon reflection, she learned that this only served to make her invisible to herself. She therefore urges: “If you need to speak, speak.” Have boldness and courage to share your work and ideas for the benefit of others, whether that be through provocation, critique or praise.

  1. Be curious

Young people around the world are reshaping the systems that we have clung to for decades. Movements such as the Arab Spring, and the more recent decolonization efforts in South Africa, are led by younger generations demanding the freedoms and rights they have been promised. Gardini reflects on how much she has learned from her students. Watching them insist on an education and grapple with difficult concepts, she feels empowered by their belief that they have every right to question unjust systems.

Fashion designer Valerie Amani, meanwhile, attributes her sense of curiosity to the many questions thrown her way by her nieces. She explains: “As a teenager, I found that to be incredibly annoying because I didn’t understand why they wanted to know so much. Looking back, I realize the importance of being curious, being alert and not only asking questions, but asking questions until you get a truthful answer”.

  1. Be kind and fair

In a world where discrimination, injustice and pain are part of everyday life, kindness is in constant demand. Jos Dirkx, a media and communications expert who founded Girls and Football SA, believes that channelling kindness and power is one of the greatest skills you can learn, and there are only a few great leaders who are able to do both.

By exercising power with kindness, we encourage respect and tolerance. Clinical psychologist Nicky Abdinor says: “If we look at any excellent work in our community, it is always linked to a personal story where we understood a need, could identify with a problem and felt empowered enough to believe that our contribution (no matter how small) could make a difference.”

  1. Don’t treat suffering as the enemy

We tend to believe there is a quick fix for most things, but suffering is not the enemy. Comfort is not the way to truly live, and the culture of instant gratification and materialism that is so easy to fall into at home and in the workplace, can cause us to become demotivated and depressed.

As with hard skills, you should spend some time considering what your soft skills are (it may help to ask people who know you well) and highlight them wherever possible in both your CV and in job interviews. Hard skills can be shown via qualifications, but soft skills are slightly more slippery.

Since soft skills are necessarily abstract, you should reinforce any claims with examples of when you were able to use them to achieve positive outcomes. These examples can be drawn from professional, personal or academic experiences. Remember to show, don’t tell: simply stating that you are a great communicator, for example, can have the ironic effect of undermining the very soft skill you are claiming to have.

If you have been an undergraduate student, you will probably have experience of juggling various deadlines and extra-curricular responsibilities. If you have previously worked in any job with a customer service element, you may have had to use your communication and conflict resolution skills to manage any complaints.

Otherwise, with your CV, the easiest and most essential way to show your soft skills of communication and attention to detail is to proofread ruthlessly, and eliminate any typos. When you attend an interview, remember that this is your first chance to show your interpersonal skills to your prospective employers. Be professional, make eye contact, shake hands, listen closely to the questions and answer them fully.e.png

Looking at the shift in the Top 10 skills employers need, speaks louder than words… Times are changing. Will time be your friend OR enemy?download.jpg

Why the world thinks you are better off unemployed

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Living standards still face squeeze as earnings have failed to keep pace with rising inflation but unemployment is at its lowest in 42 years!

I find this astounding.

A nuclear family in one of the outer London boroughs (2 parents, 2 kids) with husband sole breadwinner will have an income of £30,007 (£577 per week) on a £40k wage plus child benefit of £1,750 per year or £33 per week. Council tax is approx £30 pw. A travel card from zone 4 into town is £43.60 per week.
Pay in full for school meals.
Pay in full for prescriptions.

Weekly total (minus council tax and travel card) of: £536.

A nuclear family where both parents are unemployed in London would get;

child benefit x 2: £33
child tax credits x 2: £115
2 bedroom LHA allowance (outer London) of: £236 or 3 bed if children are different sexes and over a certain age: £300
income support/job seekers allowance: £112.55.
No or little council tax to pay.
Free school meals.
Free prescriptions.

Weekly total of: £497 (2 children both same-sex) or £560 (if different sexes or one over ten).

So, the household with one earner on £40k per week is at the most £39 a week better off than their unemployed counterpart and the unemployed family is not affected by the benefit cap unless they claim the 3 bedroom rate of LHA.

Work really doesn’t pay does it.


So, great news. Even with these astonishing facts, unemployment rates are at the lowest since 1975! Surely, we should be commending all the great back to work programmes and initiatives for the challenging work and commitment for helping achieve this fantastic result!

Employees are significant economic actors. Workers who are paid wages, generally spend more than 100% of their earnings, which stimulates the economy. So economic analysts watch the unemployment figures as a sign of a good economy. More workers will mean more spending next quarter, as workers spend their money.

I’m completely unqualified to answer this question . . . so let’s get started!

First, I’m not sure there is any such thing as an “economic” problem . . . am inclined to think there are personal problems and political problems . . . but economic?

A person who is unemployed is likely to experience personal and financial problems . . . can no longer pay to keep a roof overhead or food on the table. Finances can exacerbate relationship issues.

An unemployed person here or there is easy to ignore. Widespread unemployment in a relatively democratic society will create problems for politicians who want to be re-elected, so must produce solutions and explanations and blame the situation on their opponents.

People who are unemployed are unable to pay taxes to support governmental programs and may instead become programs themselves, in need of support by the still employed who would rather spend their money in more fun ways. Diverting money/resources either forcibly or voluntarily from xy&z to ab&c will probably annoy some individuals and delight others, but I’m not sure it qualifies as an “economic” problem.

So, what do people need to be employed?

Education, which

results in skills, which

Creates economic value, which

Incentivizes a business to hire you, which

Creates a pay check for you, and thereby

Profits the business and the employee.

This happens when the employer is free to hire the workers needed at the wage concomitant to the skill sets available in a market. Employees benefit by being able to choose their work, self-determine the amount of effort they are willing to put in the economic system and reap the rewards they’ve earned.

Enter the government with every good intention and sets the wage. Results are going to be additional unemployment. Concurrently, if the government allows for mass immigration (suppose legally for this example) of lower skilled workers. The surplus of workers seeking a wage is thus created, which drives down income at the low-end of the market.


Allow workers to enter the market place with the skills they work for (or don’t work for) and supply of their labor will equal the wage necessary for businesses to hire and stay open—and profitable.

Present day situation in the society.

xThis is the result of earning money without doing anything for this society. Educate the people, those who are around you, up to your limit. Don’t follow the crowd. Just Make your own way.

How about this…. You have finally graduated. It is on to the Career Path. Bearing in mind that you have 50/50 chance to succeed or fail, with all the faith you can muster, you sell your skills to the world.

But years later, the world still does not respond to your services. You try all you can to make sure your skills are on the radar but it doesn’t care about your talents.

No matter how much you pitch your strengths, it seems that the world isn’t given you any audience.

Well here is the thing, the world thinks that you are better off unemployed.

Now why would the world feel that you don’t need a job? Why would the world believe that you are better off staying in the unemployment circle

Here are the reasons which might surprise you:

The World can’t keep up with its promise to Job Seekers including You

There was a time when it was so easy to get a job. You finished from the university, graduated and there was your job waiting for you with beaming smiles.

It was easy for the world to give out jobs and the adage “Go to School and Get a Job” was the popular wisdom; in fact, the world promoted this slogan. It was confident to give you a job.

However, after much innovation, economic reforms, revolution, evolution plus the rise in technology, the situation seems to be different. Jobs have become far-fetched for the job seeker.

The world is trying so hard to keep its promise to give you a job with several policies and strategies, but alas it seems to be losing the war.

The World Can’t keep up and handle The Excuses

You might be feeling that it is not your fault for not having a job. You must be cursing why the world would put you in a state of unemployment. You must be depressed that you can’t do anything about it. Turns out that you are not alone.

So many job seekers are in pain wondering why the world would put them in a state of confusion. Why aren’t there campaigns for more jobs? Why are there so much downsizing among workforce? How come there is much corruption when there are so many unemployed youths?

While these issues look valid, the world sees them as excuses which are affecting its progress.

Now this is strange to the world; why do people hold on to excuses when right before them are so many Golden nuggets? Why do people fail to see these nuggets as dream jobs but easily see failure?

Strange isn’t? Why do you feel that there is no Job opportunity? Do you believe that your situation has no solution or are you just holding on to Excuses?

You are making it Difficult for the World to make a Difference

You are sure starving the world of inspiration. You are making the world lose its battle in being a better place without realizing it.

It is easy to blame the world for your lack of a job. It looks good to point your finger at the world because it is sure not doing enough to make you have your dream a reality.

But does the world really owe you anything? Does the world really owe you a living? Is the responsibility of the world to make your life so full of bliss or are you responsible for such life?

Here is the thing If you knew how much you make a difference to the world, you would never hold on to its realities because it is through your realities that the realities of the world become profound.

Indeed, no matter what you think or believe, the world is helpless without you. You shape the world in ways you have never imagined.

Believing that you have no say in the world, is what is limiting you to the products of your Culture, Society and even Politics.

Therefore, the world is saddened that you are given it the responsibility to make a difference in your life. It can never fulfill this goal because it is not equipped to do such.

The world marvels why you can’t see your amazing gifts. It wonders why you seek its validation to prove you are worthy.

So, What Should You Do?

In times of adversity – You must always choose to move forward. Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether you move forward or back: this too is a choice. So, what is your choice?

Open your mind, expand your options, and create your own opportunities.

Take a temporary contract. Volunteer, start your own business, make use of your connections, take advantage of your hobbies. No more excuses. Making positive changes in your outlook and mindset is very important.

The world is full of problems that it can’t solve. It is only your unique skill set and experience that are needed to solve these problems.

Think about this: Why is it that despite the abundance of Job unemployment, a few people still make a difference?

What is that these set of pacesetters see that are not obvious to rest?

You have a voice inside you that has the power to overcome all self-imposed standards and cause a transformation to the World. You are the power tool that shapes the world.

It is time for you to take responsibility for your life. You have got so much to offer and so much skills that can make a difference.

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If the world can’t create a place for you to express your skills then you need to find a way to create one for yourself.

Are you going to give the responsibility of your dream job to the world or are you going to take the initiative to create the job of your dreams?

Over to you

What do you think? Is the world justified to make you unemployed?


Mental Health awareness – Stand up to stigma.

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Did you know, One in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year. This can have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in the UK, and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day.


615 million people suffer from anxiety or depression.

1 in 4 people will experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem.

The number of people who are affected by mental health is rising. In 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety worldwide – these numbers rose to 615 million in 2013 (World Health Organisation, 2016).

Current figures state that each year in Britain an estimated one in four adults will experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem, though only 230 of every 300 who need help will visit their GP.

Mental illness is extremely common and exists in different forms, each of which can have an adverse effect on your well-being.


Mental health problems at work are common. At least one in six workers is experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

There is such a negative stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace and I have seen first-hand, people genuinely concerned about telling an employer about a mental health problem out of fear they will be sacked, or, not hired. How if this fair? As a country we want to support the unemployed back in to work, yet the battle then is to keep them in work because employers are as helpful as chocolate teapots when it comes to supporting their employees and are more focused on how to rid them from the business.

Statistics show the cost of work days taken because of mental health, they do not reflect the cost on our society to keep up the out of work benefits!!!

I hear on so many occasions, managers criticizing staff for being “too sensitive” or being told to “get over it” Overhearing conversations in the tea rooms about individuals, mocking their mental health and questioning the genuineness of people’s difficulties. Mental Health issues do not affect a certain age, race, gender or class. It affects anyone at ANYTIME.


It is easy to forget, that sometimes, acknowledging someone when they are doing a good job is what gets them through the day. When an employee is feeling worthless, they feel nothing they do is good enough. You regularly see them working through their lunch breaks, staying late and trying their best to impress which ultimately just results in the individual procrastinating, being less productive and becoming more anxious. And, just to think… just talking to someone could have been all they needed.

You might not be talking about it, because mental health is still a taboo subject. And many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work.

Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed man (19.8% vs 10.9%).

Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

Better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year.

There is convincing evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

  • Try to do something different today and make a connection.
  • Talk to someone instead of sending an email
  • Speak to someone new
  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.
  • Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savoring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

  • Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you.
  • Get a plant for your work-space
  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Visit a new place for lunch.

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.

Why not learn something new today?

  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read the news or a book
  • Set up a book club
  • Do a crossword or Sudoku
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  • Learn an unfamiliar word.
  • Top tips for staying well at work

Reclaim your lunch break Why not make the most of that precious hour – or half hour – by trying some of these suggestions…

  • Organise a picnic
  • Take advantage of the summer sun and make the most of clean air and tasty food with your colleagues.
  • Hold a group activity
  • If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energized for an afternoon of productive work.
  • Take up a challenge
  • Local sponsored walks or marathons are a wonderful way to keep active. Sign with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks. Participating as part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge. You could even support Mind’s work by signing up to one of our running events.

Whistle while you work

If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.

When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones you can focus easier on the task at hand.

Listen to your favorite song as a simple treat to yourself. Rewarding yourself is a great way for your general well being, giving you some added motivation so you can better tackle a big workload.

Get the work-life balance right

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We know you’ll have times when you need to work overtime to meet deadlines, but try to make this the exception not the norm. Long hours mean you may be working harder, but not better – they’ll quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health.

Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to then close the door on work.

Write a to do list. At the end of each day, go over your list and write up one for the next day, when your thoughts are down on paper, you’ll find it easier to not think about work.

Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work – Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions can really help you to switch off.

If you feel your workload is spiraling out of control, take opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can’t resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.

I strongly believe employers must now act to support their staff instead of ridiculing them. It can be so simple… Some management are just plain ignorant and, well, shouldn’t be in management. Mental Health won’t go away… it is discrimination. Fact.


Research confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:

  • More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
  • 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
  • 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
  • 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance

If you are a manager in your work place and need some guidance around supporting staff members who do struggle with mental health, take a look at;


Starting a conversation about mental health can be rather daunting but there are a few questions to try when bringing this up:

  • How are you doing at the moment?
  • You seem a bit down / upset / under pressure / frustrated / angry. Is everything OK?
  • I’ve noticed you’ve been arriving late recently and I wondered if you’re OK.
  • I’ve noticed the reports are late when they’re usually on time.  Is everything OK?
  • Is there anything I can do to help?
  • What would you like to happen? How?
  • What support do you think might help?
  • Have you spoken to your GP or looked for help anywhere else?

Would you know what to do when an employee discloses a mental health problem????? Employers have a legal obligation to support and consider reasonable adjustments for an employee and to prevent personal injury.

You should focuses on:

  • avoiding making assumptions
  • embedding confidentiality
  • encouraging people to talk
  • responding flexibly
  • seeking advice if you need to.

Managers and their member of staff may find it useful to put in place a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) which outlines:

  • what the signs and symptoms of the mental health problem in the member of staff may be
  • what the triggers may be and what support can be offered
  • who should be contacted in event of a crisis.

When employers are aware of health or disability information about an individual, they have a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments as well as a general duty of care and responsibility for employee health and preventing personal injury.

Making reasonable adjustments can often be straightforward and low cost and comes down to treating the member of staff as an individual. Some of these are listed below:

  • allowing an employee time off to attend medical appointments
  • modifying a job description to take away tasks that cause particular difficulty
  • offering flexibility in working hours/patterns, i.e. reduced hours or working from home
  • transfer of workplace
  • social or cognitive support
  • training
  • providing support to overcome barriers to returning to the workplace.

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I feel it is vital that people know their rights when it comes to mental health and employment. Unfortunately, mental health coincides with bullying/harassment in the work place way too often and ultimately, individuals feeling they have been pushed out of the business and too frightened to take action on colleagues or managers behavior because they either do not know where they stand or because they do not have the confidence to act. Bullying is never acceptable and if you standby and watch it happen, then you are no better than the bully themselves.

“Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.”
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Radicalization; What we need to know.

There are so many topics right now that we are inundated with in our daily lives. More recently, the Manchester Bombing, the Finsbury park attack on Muslims and the London Bridge attack.

These attacks have been occurring since 1996 and becoming more regular. Here is a link to attacks going back to 1996; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40013040

There are many people who have very direct views on these attacks but, I feel these opinions and views have been made without enough knowledge or understanding about “Terror” attacks which, results in unfair treatment on Muslims in the U.K.

I have studied The Prevent Strategy and how, as a nation, we can help reduce the threat of these Terror attacks. A greater understanding of the threat and how to identify a potential threat or if someone is being radicalized is needed. The Prevent Strategy is Mandatory for schools and childcare providers to educate their employees and students and this will become more and more evident as time goes on. I believe that in no time this will become a mandatory strategy for all U.K residents and beyond.

The Prevent duty is the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on specified authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Please follow the Link for the full policy; document https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/439598/prevent-duty-departmental-advice-v6.pdf

Police cordon an area near London Bridge station after an attack in the capital, 4 June 2017

Prevent is one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest. It was created by the Labour government in 2003 and its remit was widened by the coalition government in 2011.

The other strands are: Prepare; Protect; and Pursue.

Now, personally, I believe, no matter how many policies we read or documentaries we watch, we will not understand how we can make an impact to help recognize radicalization or be able to help fight the hate crime that reflects the fear of terrorism. The policy doesn’t educate people on how to take control of their actions in everyday life. I have written online Prevent training modules for organisations to ‘Tick’ of their mandatory training for new starters however, I do not feel that completing an E-Learning module and answering some multiple choice questions is sufficient for people to REALLY understand what Prevent is all about. We must talk, join together and discuss the choices we all have as individuals to create the knowledge and power that we have to reduce terrorism and hate crime. Training should be delivered, as there is no better way to reach out to people than to show, talk and put training in to practice.

First of all, it is important to understand that radicalization can happen suddenly OR over a period of time and there are, absolutely, warning signs although, sometimes these may be very subtle.

Teenage years are a time of change, a lot of change and this is a vulnerable time for many. We all know our children better than anyone else and are best placed to know whether their behavior is out of character. Have confidence in your instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong.

Some signs of Radicalization could include:

Your child becoming argumentative and unwilling to listen to other people’s points of view.

Refusal to engage with or become abusive to peers who are different to themselves, perhaps on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexuality.

Becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution.

Changes in friendship groups and appearance: young people may distance themselves from friends, both online and offline, convert to a new religion, significantly change their appearance or clothing, and reject activities they used to enjoy.

A change of online identity, including own social media name or profile image. This may include two parallel online profiles – one being the ‘normal’ or old self, and the other being an extremist identity, often with another name.

Spending excessive amounts of time online or on the phone, and be secretive and reluctant to discuss activities and/or whereabouts.

Further signs include expressions of sympathy for extremist ideologies and groups or justification of their actions, accessing extremist material online, including on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, possessing other forms of extremist literature, being in contact with extremist recruiters and joining or seeking to join extremist organisations.

Personal vulnerabilities or local factors can make a young person more susceptible to extremist messages. These may include behavioral or family problems, lack of perceived status or belonging, and involvement in criminality.

Underpinning the radicalization process is an extremist ideology that seems appealing and credible, often because it appears to make sense of the young person’s feelings of grievance or injustice.

There is usually a radicalizing individual who encourages others to develop or adopt extremist beliefs. The internet is increasingly being used to spread extremist messages, so young people often don’t meet this individual in person.

Finally, there is often an absence of positive, supporting factors which would protect the young person from radicalization – such as a supportive network of family and friends, a teacher who notices a problem and intervenes to help, or a more formal intervention process such as a mentoring scheme.

Knowing who you can turn to for support is imperative. Would you know who to turn to if you had concerns?? Probably not. Have you read the articles about the lady at the Manchester arena who shared her concerns with a security guard about a lady and her behavior was dismissed by security as just another racist?

Always talk to someone! Explain your worries and find out if they have noticed anything out of the ordinary. Hearing another perspective may help you decide if something is wrong.

Your local police force or local authority can also provide advice and support. If your child has not committed a criminal offence, you shouldn’t need to worry that you’ll get your child into trouble by speaking to the police or a local authority. They will discuss your concerns with you and suggest how to best protect your child. Some local authorities have dedicated officers who work on preventing extremism and they will be able to provide you and your child with specialist support and advice. They might suggest referral to the Channel programme – a voluntary government-funded programme which aims to safeguard children and adults from being drawn into terrorist activity.

If you think a child is in immediate danger or see or hear something that may be terrorist related, call 999 or the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

As a parent or a colleague in the work place, it is important to talk. Educating people is the best way to work together to prevent terrorism and radicalization.

It is valuable to discuss the risks and issues with your children from a young age, to give them a safe space to discuss complex issues and give them confidence to challenge extremist narratives.

As they become more independent, they will explore new ideas and push boundaries – teenagers are often searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement. This can make them vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers, an identity and a strong social network. Because they know young people are vulnerable, extremist groups often target them – frequently via the internet and social media.

A number of young British people have travelled to Syria or become involved with far-right groups in the UK after being influenced online by extremist groups. You play an important role in helping to keep your children safe from the risks posed by extremist groups.

It is a given that social media often provokes, even encourages, extreme commentary and behaviour, but the menacing attempt by sections of the Brexit brigade to throttle dissent by threats and imprecations is a classic manifestation of radicalisation. This is what Mr Cable meant when he spoke of the Brexit jihadis of the future.

The realisation that anyone, from any community, can be radicalised, is important. It has profound policy implications. It confirms a new wave of analysis that views ISIL more as a gang of young people driven by the identity.

Remember though, radicalisation is NOT brainwashing.

Brainwashing is changing someone’s beliefs against their will. It is a well-worn trope of dystopian fiction, from Nineteen Eighty-Four to A Clockwork Orange, but it is arguable whether or not such a feat is actually possible in the real world. Even if it were, it would require a great deal of time and effort. Supposed examples involve US soldiers subjected to prolonged, intense mistreatment in Korean prisoner of war camps, or people living entirely within closed cults. politics of victimization than as a religious or ideological movement.

What is terrifying, is the idea that anyone could have their free will neutralized by nefarious agents of evil. But what is reassuring is that this means these young men have not freely chosen their path, for reasons they believe to be good. This reassurance, however, is false. Radicalization is not brainwashing and we cannot counter it if we pretend it is.

The problem is not a lack of free will but a more prosaic impaired decision-making. What should really frighten us about this is that the errors jihadis make are all simply versions of much more common ones.

To understand this, we need to start by accepting that even the criminally insane do things for reasons. In the case of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who believed God was calling him to kill prostitutes, those reasons are clearly the product of a deluded mind. But usually there is at least something plausible in the reasons people have to do wicked things.

For jihadis, the narrative is that Islam is the true faith and that it is threatened by a hostile, kafir world. Given that millions throughout history have died to defend their religions, we cannot dismiss those who do the same now as simply deranged. What’s more, living in a country with a lot of anti-Islamic feeling, there is plenty of positive reinforcement for their feelings of persecution.

The rest of us are not so different. Few of us have no reason at all to believe what we do. But what persuades us is usually more a matter of personal history and social circumstance. And once persuaded, we seek confirmation, not challenge. It is hubris to assume that we could never have followed a similar path to the jihadis if we had found ourselves at a young age marginalized in an apparently hostile culture with the promise of something more meaningful elsewhere.

Food for thought, huh?????