Not all of these posts will follow a chronological order, so you'll never know when your name is going to be called.
The following actions weren't big actions but they had lasting effects.
When I was 17 I moved to Wales. A small village in the then Borough of Newport called Rhiwderin. Which means blackbird on the hill. That has no relevance to this story but I thought you might appreciate a little bit of history.
I dropped out of school at 15 without finishing my GCSEs and I'd had a couple of jobs since leaving school but I didn't really have any prospects for the future. I signed up for a Youth Training Scheme and got an interview at a local computer store called Microcare Computing. Fans of Goldie Looking Chain may know of this place ;-)
The interview was held in the basement office and I had one of those out of body moments like I did in Miss Amos's music class. I am convinced that these moments are signs of something that is meant to be! I was nervous but was trying to look "not nervous".
To cut a long story short I got the job. It only paid £25 a week but I liked it.
It was family run and had a family feel. Ian Agland and his wife Sue were the owners (with a silent partner I believe), and it was managed by Ian and Dave.
Ian and Sue were like the parents (although I'm sure Sue would have preferred big sister), Dave was the older brother and Mozz (Paul the Saturday man) was the visiting cousin. Sorry Mozz.
Dave was the manager and one of the most honest people that I knew who was around my age. He was who he was and didn't appear to be bothered if people had a problem with it. I totally respected that.
He was like a beacon of light for the local misfits (I include myself in that group) and they would visit the shop mainly just to see him. We called them Klingons, but meant it in a nice way. Dave kind of gave them all hope I think. Dave was like the older brother I never had. I tried to take on that kind of role for others but not sure I ever managed it like he did.
I won't go into detail as it's not my place to say but Dave faced a situation where he needed to be courageous enough to go against popular thinking and seek out the truth of a situation for himself, rather than rely on what he was being told. Believe me that this is not an easy thing to do, especially if you are controlled by your environment. Even braver than that, he asked me for advice!
Ian was the boss. I liked Ian, but I still had an issue with authority and so I distanced myself a bit. I had a pre-determined view of what a boss should be, but in the end I was wrong! There were times that Ian had to get tough on things, things that were probably down to me, and I didn't respect his authority enough.
There was a period of time that I was constantly late as I was relying on buses to get me to work. This was obviously affecting business and got Ian quite angry. He tried to talk to me about it but I got angry that he was on my case about it.
A while later, Sue came into the shop as she often did, and decided to have a chat about it. I honestly cannot remember all of what she said or the words she used but I felt it. And still feel it now as I write this so, that to me, is stronger than words.
I do remember her telling me (not in these exact words) that just because I think someone is being a particular way towards me, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are, or that their intentions are bad. Our mind and emotions can trick us into thinking the worst of a situation, or of someone! I'll be honest I didn't have a clue what she meant at the time but after that chat, I did see Ian in a different light.
I noticed how Ian looked after those in his charge, how he had fun while doing the job and made it a pretty fun place to work too. It was never a job where I dreaded to be there, in fact I looked forward to going. It was somewhere I was made to feel that I belonged!
From Dave I learned to have the courage of my convictions and search for my own truth, regardless of who was telling me what the "truth" was.
From Sue I learned about perception and how looks can be deceiving and from Ian? What had I learned from Ian?
A few years ago I made a post on Facebook and Ian commented. I asked him why he even took a risk and hired someone like me, someone with no prospects or promise. And why he continued to, even when I messed up quite a lot. His reply?
"I could see your potential!"
That stopped me in my tracks. It made me think of all my successes and my "failures" too. Ian's (and Sue's) faith in me, whether I knew it or not, sparked a greater determination within me!
So what I learned from Ian was how to take a chance on someone and give opportunities to people who may not have opportunities elsewhere. And to have more faith in people. I'm re-learning this now but the foundation was set way back then. Nearly 30 years ago!
Yeah I said it!
So thank you Dave, Ian and Sue for my foundation! It's often been tested but it's unbreakable!
I'm setting the challenge for you all to lean into your vulnerability and give appreciation to someone else, if this is something you feel you cannot do but want to!
Have a great day and I'll be back with another name soon x