Learning to change
Learning to change

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Learning to change

4.5.1 Thinking about resources

Modern-day life often means we have so many commitments that it is hard to find the time to do all the things that we would like to do. However, instead of listing ‘not having the time’ as one of your obstacles, an alternative decision might be to ‘make time’ by temporarily dropping another activity that you currently take part in, so that you can make room for the new one. It is a question of working out where your priorities lie; how motivated you are to achieve one goal rather than another. As we said earlier, the more exciting your goal, the more committed you are likely to be to finding the time to pursue it. So if you are still saying that you do not have the time perhaps you need to think again about what your real goal in life might be. In this way goal setting uses problem-solving and organisational skills.

You may also have listed a lack of money as one of the hindering factors. Again, this can be an obstacle but there are also ways round it. For example, rather than acquiring knowledge and skills through formal academic courses you might acquire them through voluntary work, by visiting the library on a regular basis, or by learning from others and trial and error learning – like Madhur Jaffrey in the early stages of what turned out to be a career in cookery (even though she had not voiced this as one of her goals at the time).

One of the biggest resources we can have is people on our side. See how Karen values the support she has had.

Case Study: Karen

My husband used to proofread my work because, sometimes, you get too close to things and you can’t see the wood for the trees. He was very good at that. My son bought me a memory stick. I had never used one before so he showed me how to use it. My work colleagues were very supportive throughout. If ever I came back to the office when I was on placement they would always be very supportive, ‘You can do this. Of course you can.’ And the people I was studying with were a lifeline. I knew that I could ring them up and ask them for help and they would help me. And exactly the same applied to me – they would ring me. We would email each other. I knew I could contact my lecturer. He would be only too happy to discuss any problems I had. And my practice teacher during supervision. I can actually reflect on things I had done and, if I wasn’t quite sure about what I had done, we would talk it through during supervision time and I would actually realise that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea or yes, that was a really good idea. So yes, I found supervision very supportive as well. I think I pulled from every area really. You know, I used everyone who I felt could help me. And they helped me through the course.

So it is really useful to have other people who:

  • have the knowledge and skills that we need and are willing to spend some time to share them with us
  • have the equipment we need – or know somebody else who does – and are prepared to arrange a loan or to make a mutually acceptable swap of resources
  • inspire us and can act as our role models
  • cheer us up when we are feeling down
  • have the networks and the know-how to open up opportunities to us
  • are not afraid to prod us when we need it or give us constructive criticism when they notice that we are not doing things quite right
  • have similar values and interests to keep our own enthusiasm going
  • concentrate on what can be done rather than dwelling on the problems, and help us to develop a can-do approach to life
  • we feel comfortable with and bolster our sense of self-worth.

Activity 48 Building your sources of support

Allow about 30 minutes for this activity

In Section 3, you thought about how other people can help you by giving feedback. This was just one way that other people can help out. Here we are interested in who might act as a support for you in the future. Complete the right-hand column of the table below with the names of the people who might usefully play the roles listed in the first column.

Think about family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, people in organisations that you belong to; and people that you might be able to find through local information and advice agencies – the library, the job centre, local colleges and so on.

Sources of support

Support roles Who might be able to do this for you?
Passing on their knowledge and skills
Loaning equipment – or information on where to get it
Inspirational leadership and role model
Cheering us up and cheering us on
Opening up networks and opportunities
Prodding us and keeping us on track
Sharing values and interests
‘Can-do’ people who keep us positive
Providing a ‘comfort blanket’ – reassuring us of our worth


We expect that some of you will have found this last activity quite straightforward, while some of you will have found it difficult or even impossible. If you found it relatively easy, this suggests that you can identify a number of people and that you can see these people giving you useful support. If you found the activity harder it may because you do not know many people (you may have moved to a new area). Or the activity may have been difficult because you would not feel that the people you do know are in a position to give you support. You might see the outcome of this activity as being to set a goal to increase the number of people that you can turn to for support.


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