Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Back in the SSE

Yesterday I made my way back the SSE in London for a day one of a two day leadership course. It took me 35 minutes to walk there from Waterloo and 24 to walk (rush) back to get the 5.05 train home for pancakes. I was shaking by the time I got to the train but it was so worth it.

You may remember that I was on a wonderful year long Scale Up Programme and also that I won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award (I still have both trophies. Oh yes)

It’s genuinely always a treat to be at SSE. There’s something industrious and vibrant in the air. The absolutely understanding there is that action is the thing. Yes there’s reflective thought and time to ponder but there is real focus on moving forwards, changing for the better, learning and doing. It’s my kind of place.

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It also seems that whenever I go there I get whatever I needed, whether I knew it or not. Without being all tiny violin about it, and while recognising that I’m not down a mine, it’s hard to do this job of mine. There’s no handbook or guide, and there’s very little routine work. WMYP might be 6 years old now but we still feel very much like a start up to me and there is still a ton of building work to do.  And I want to be the person that everyone else here leans back onto. That’s part of my job. I’m the boss. But I need someone or something behind me to lean back on too, else I fall over. And the SSE, I think, is that.

So. The ten of us on the course yesterday started by spending time working out and being told by others what our strengths are. This ‘being told by others’ bit is critical I think and is one of the golden nuggets of SSE. As another course member said, ‘I spend so much time telling myself what I’m bad at, it’s good to be made to focus on the good’. I don’t know about you but I am a master at pointing out my flaws – I don’t need any help from anyone else! But the positive qualities are harder to spot, identify, sit with, know, own and focus on. That part was like breathing out –  a big sigh of, wow, I’m that person? I like that person.

After lunch – a gorgeous vegetable samosa from the little shop across the road, eaten in a scrap of sunshine with a view of both the river and a pancake contest, we spent some time looking at an interpersonal relations questionnaire we’d done – interesting stuff. They also had us stand up and place ourselves in a line for various parts of this – high scores at one end, low at the other. This  was not as godawful embarrassing as I thought it might be, but actually useful as this was in the after lunch slot! And it was good to be reminded, again, that there’s no right or wrong way to be who we are,but what’s important is to know who we are and use our strengths well and find support for – or people with complementary skills – for our weaknesses.

Then we moved onto looking at what challenges we had ahead and how we might use our strengths to address those. The focus at SSE is very much about finding actions and going away and doing them – which I love.

I’ll be back for the second day at the end of March and I’m looking forward to it already. I genuinely urge you – if you are thinking of starting a social business – to check the SSE out. I mean really – what’s not to love about a place like this?


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One Response

  1. […] Fellows this week. Becky John took part in the first day of our Leadership Development course and reflected on the day here. Meanwhile Melanie Glass reflects on her first year running a social enterprise ‘From charity […]

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