A Project of HOPE
July 21, 2021

Jessica Shipp the Community Connector
On the Community Listener Programme participants engage in a Wellbeing Listener Project over a 6-month period. They then write up their experience to share more widely. Want to be a  Community Listener? Check out the Inner Compass Guide CIC courses here

What happens when you really see that you and others are deeply OK? Jessica Shipp, the Ivybridge Community Connector, was on our Community Listener Programme.

She wanted to listen for wellbeing in her community of Ivybridge. Covid 19 prevented her from her initial ideas, so instead she became a facilitator on the HOPE programme. Here is her final project submission in her own words.

Opening slide from Jessica's submission

OVERVIEW

I co-facilitated a six week course (online) for 8 people living with anxiety and depression. The course covers lots of practical tips for participants to try out including:

  • Mindfulness
  • Gratitude diaries
  • Managing stress
  • Getting more active
  • Managing fatigue

The course is intended to be therapeutic and help people better understand and manage their own long-term conditions. Here is some further information on the HOPE programme.

CONTENT
Whilst the course follows a set structure, there is some flexibility within it for facilitators to deliver their own content. I therefore decided to introduce a few ideas around the inside-out understanding. My aspiration with this was to help participants realise that deep down they are really ok and to spark some interest to learn more. I felt that this would really complement the content of the HOPE programme.

Due to nerves, I pre-recorded the audios I covered two topics. You can click on them to hear what I said:

  1. Our Inner Diamond
  2. Living in the feeling of our thinking

When recording the audios, I decided to speak from my heart and share how the concepts had affected me personally and those around me. I felt that this was the only way to effectively communicate the ideas as what I was sharing was true and real for me.

Sharing from the heart seems to be more powerful. I can’t explain why or how, but it seems that people take in more of what you’re saying when you speak from the heart.

It was initially a daunting experience to share my personal experience, but one I felt was important, and I was really pleased with the outcome.

Oil painting of a wild sea

All of the images are ones I’ve painted. For me, this image represents a wide range of emotions and feelings all happening at the same time; all real and all valid.

I encouraged the participants to get in touch with me if they wanted to learn more after listening to my audios.

Feedback from Participants

Four of the eight participants did so, and as a result I created a template email which included links to courses, reading material and podcasts all relating to Wellbeing Listening.

Two of the participants signed up to an Introductory course with Inner Compass Guide CIC. My aim was for my audios to resonate with one participant, so to have four come forward and ask for more information was remarkable. My aspiration is that they will go on to explore more for themselves, enabling them to get back in touch with their own resilience and wellbeing.

Two of the participants emailed with some feedback:

  1. “I just listened to the audio you sent, and I wanted to say thank you!! I love the idea of having a diamond, it gives me a sense of safety and makes me feel reassured… I can tell myself that I don’t need to panic, because I have that diamond and nothing will change that. 
    Also thanks for making it personal, it helped me to relate it to my own experience, and to imagine what my own diamond might look like.”
  2. “I was touched by your very personal audio as I also experienced trauma as a young teenager due to the death by suicide of a close relative which was never discussed by the family. 

I should be interested to know more.”

The Outcome of bringing Wellbeing Listening to the HOPE Programme

In addition to sharing my personal stories, I approached the course with a very clear idea that I would listen openly and really try to connect with the participants, knowing (and reminding myself) throughout the course that whatever their story, that deep down they were okay.

It was really helpful to set this out in my mind from the start as some of the participants were very open with what was going on for them in their lives (domestic abuse, suicidal thoughts etc.) and I found that listening with an open heart really helped me to not get caught up in their story and also allowed me to listen without the need and desire to “fix”.

Prior to going on the Community Listener programme, I would have approached the HOPE course delivery as a long list of “to dos”, with a focus on the end point. I would have seen every participants’ problem as something to fix. Being more fluid and open made for a much richer experience for the participants as we could explore what they were interested in rather than me chivvying them along to the next thing on my tick list. It also meant it was much more enjoyable for me as rather than focussing on what was coming next, I was focussed on what was happening there and then in the moment.

An additional outcome to bringing Wellbeing Listening to the HOPE programme has been that I have found such a freedom in the realisation that I am not responsible for other people’s wellbeing. All I can do is point them to their true nature.

When I see beyond the “me”, and look to the “we”, I am bowled over by the one-ness of human nature and our connectedness to each other and to the world we inhabit. This also releases me to be free, because my ego and my story aren’t important. They really don’t matter. “I” really don’t matter. This is liberating.

What have I Learned from the Project?

I reflected a lot on the subject of listening. I realised that listening is many things.

Listening is:

  • holding a space for someone
  • allowing someone to talk without giving advice
  • hearing beyond the words
  • taking in what someone says,
  • focussing on their words and their feelings, not on how you want to respond
  • like the radio. When we’re tuned in, we’re listening. It’s important to remember that we’re not always tuned in, and that’s ok.

I also learned:

  • If you turn up with no expectations, the magic will simply happen.
  • Show up and Hold a Space for someone, knowing that they will find their own answers. That is often all you need to do.
  • Embrace the Unknown.
  • I realised that when you work with people, you’re sitting with a reflection of yourself.

What were the challenges? How did the project evolve?

When I tried to share my audio recordings initially, over half of the participants didn’t have any sound. We moved on to a different topic and at the end of the session, I uploaded my recordings onto YouTube and emailed them to the participants instead.

I reflected on the hiccup that evening and realised that in the moment of the recording not working, I had remained very calm and the YouTube solution came to me after the course, from a place of wisdom. I now have those videos stored and can share them time and time again in the future, so potentially they can reach many more people.

We had technical challenges one week, which meant the course couldn’t run. I didn’t find the experience at all stressful; I just found myself dealing with it and getting on with my day.

I experienced an ongoing internal challenge of imposter syndrome throughout the course. This feeling remained despite an intuitive feeling that the course was going well, and a desire to deliver more HOPE courses in the future.

As a result of this, I have spent time reflecting on what I can do and have come to the conclusion that I was still able to deliver the course despite the uneasy feelings, in which case I can carry on as I am with the hope that as time goes on these feelings will diminish.

Feedback from the Trainer (when I was assessed)

“You and your co-facilitator worked really well together and supported each other throughout the session”

“You were so warm and welcoming to the participants as they arrived, and you made everyone feel at ease”

“I loved that you brought the ‘Everyone has a Diamond’ to the session”

“You came across so warm, bubbly and positive”

“You have a really calming and relaxed presence, which is particularly well suited for these activities. Your pace is perfect and your tone is clear and soft. It is especially difficult to create a relaxed environment when delivering the course virtually but I thought you dealt with this brilliantly”

“You’re really great at listening to what people have to say”

What did I offer that really enhanced the HOPE programme?

The HOPE programme provides a wonderful set of tips and techniques. If participants can access those tips and techniques from a space of knowing that they’re really ok, and they do these things to help their diamond shine through, this is much more powerful than believing that the tips and techniques will “fix” them.

By introducing the ideas of the Diamond, and that we live in the feeling of our thinking, I was allowing the participants to realise for themselves that the tips and techniques in the HOPE programme won’t fix them, but instead will help them to access their wellbeing and resilience which is already present.

My bit of “fairy dust” was being able to deliver the course from a place of peace and calmness, allowing wisdom to guide me from one session to the next.

Thoughts from participants

In the final week, we asked the participants the following question:
What have you found the most useful, helpful or interesting from the HOPE programme?

I have put their answers into a Word Cloud.

Word cloud sharing feedback from participants

Closing Comments

The Community Listener Programme has been a truly fabulous journey of discovery, learning and insights.

Awareness is the over-riding thing I will take away: if I can bring awareness to everything I do, then the rest will flow.

I leave you with a picture that speaks to me about hope, resilience and stillness.

3 Comments

    • Liz Scott

      I love it too Siobhan.

      Reply
  1. Caroline Brewer

    This is such a powerful case study and the phrase that gave me the most goosebumps was “I realised that when you work with people, you’re sitting with a reflection of yourself.”

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Inner Compass

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are trainers, coaches and speakers. They work with individuals and groups across the UK. They also help develop coaching cultures (founded on wellbeing) within schools and organisations.

Recent Articles

Recent Podcasts

Podcast 43 The Gift Of Listening

The simple gift of listening is transformative. Listen to Jacquie Moses as she shares how she’s worked with prisoner and children on the verge of exclusion – just through the power of listening

read more

Discover how the Inner Compass can guide you

i

Explore our articles, podcasts and resources

Find out about courses, events and coaching

w

Get in touch with us to start a conversation

How can you uncover your in-built resilience and wellbeing? What's the best way to share a message of wellbeing with others? The Inner Compass can guide you.

Our articles, podcasts and resources will help people like you find the language to share the Inner Compass (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) with others.

We've been sharing the Inside-Out understanding around the world for many years. Find out about Inner Compass courses and events and coaching.

Do you want to find out more about Inner Compass? Or have questions about the Inside-Out (Three Principles) understanding? Get in touch.

Discover how the Inner Compass can guide you

How can you uncover your in-built resilience and wellbeing? What's the best way to share a message of wellbeing with others? The Inner Compass can guide you.

i

Explore our articles, podcasts and resources

Our articles, podcasts and resources will help people like you find the language to share the Inner Compass (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) with others.

Find out about courses, events and coaching

We've been sharing the Inside-Out understanding around the world for many years. Find out about Inner Compass courses, events and coaching.

w

Get in touch with us to start a conversation

Do you want to find out more about Inner Compass? Or have questions about the Inside-Out (Three Principles) understanding? Get in touch.

Subscribe to be kept up to date with news, information and resources and we'll give you a choice of FREE introductory audio courses to help you connect with your Inner Compass.

Follow us on social: