Personal Development

by Anna

Yay, I won the Personal Development Award at our annual staff awards ceremony! That is a real honour and something I wasn’t expecting at all. It almost feels like I have taken someone else’s award, because surely somebody else would deserve it more than me? And yet, I have indeed come a long way. I’ve worked tirelessly on improving myself and the world around me, at work as much as outside of work. But I only did what I felt needed doing and where my passion was directing me. I didn’t do any of it to receive an award.

Being given this award meant more to me than “just” being honoured for my work achievements. It takes me back, once again (I whish I would just get over it), to my non-existent father and my teasing and misunderstanding teacher who both instilled in me the believe that I am not only not worth knowing but also that I likely won’t achieve much in my life. Thankfully I was also born with a fierce will to survive and grow, the latter of which was ironically fuelled by the constant let-downs of my teacher and the lacking acknowledgement of my father. I spent the majority of my life proving myself to the world.  This award to me is the acceptance and acknowledgement that I was longing for for the past 30 years. Am I ready to accept it?

The winners of all categories were given a yellow lanyard that had “Trust Staff Awards Winner 2014” written all over it and it was suggested to wear it at work because we could all be proud of our achievement. Putting it around my neck the next day at work gave me a minor panic attack, almost like as if I was on my way to the executioner who was going to hang me with it. I was unable to wear it. Why this irrational response?

Something in me can’t accept it, can’t deal with the hype around it, doesn’t feel worthy of it, worries that it won’t be as well received by others and that it will make me look like being above my colleagues. It was as if all the sudden acknowledgement was too much in one go. I was used to quietly get on with things and when it came to present changes to others I was easily defeated by their opposition to change and my little suggested improvements often fell on deaf ears by fellow colleagues. It is interesting to note that it is more management that liked my ideas. For staff it presented just another new addition they didn’t really have the time or desire to get into, which is another factor why I felt insecure about my award.


I’m not really much of a talker, more a doer. I have done so many things in my life, all driven by my thirst for knowledge and interest in how the world ticks. And when I realised that I wanted to work more closely with people it was as if I had found the key to my purpose in life: to help others realise their potential and to assist them back to health as much as possible for them to continue with their own life purpose. Another acknowledgement came unexpectedly from a patient a couple of months ago. He said that he always wanted to have a daughter, and if he had had one he would have wanted her to be like me. The realisation of the overall meaning to me only really set in on my way home: why do I wait for acknowledgement from my father if I’m being acknowledged by so many others?

When I realised that I wanted to work with people I was working as a Housekeeping Assistant at a General Hospital. I didn’t have any care experience and therefore no luck of working in healthcare at the hospital. Instead I worked a year as a Care Assistant at a Nursing Home, which kindly provided me with an NVQ2 in Health and Social Care. This was my ticket back into hospital. There I worked for a year on the bank and accepted an offer for a permanent position on my favourite ward. Three years later, after increasing my hours from 24 to 36, I was offered the Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support. And before I even finished that I was already applying for the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Practice.

All of this was offered to me, based on the good work I delivered. And to be accepted at university, for the first time in my life, in a language that is not my mother tongue, whereas my teacher was adamant that I would be better suited for a school for special needs, is quite extraordinary to me. And then I was nominated for a Personal Development Award. Is it maybe also because I would have been the only one of 200 to raise my hand at the awards ceremony when the guest speaker asked who gets out of bed in the morning feeling happy and looking forward to the day? I didn’t raise my hand by the way, because, you know, that is embarrassing 😉

But it was also that very same embarrassment that stopped me from wearing my lanyard. And what morale can we draw from this? That it really doesn’t matter what others say around you. That everyone is perfect just the way they are and that we should all strive for the best in all areas. And to not wait until you have enough time or are paid to do something that you feel passionate about but to simply grab an idea and make something of it. This is how change happens. It starts with an idea, a feeling, the sense to do something. So go for it! Don’t let yourself be held back by past hurts and let-downs. Let them be the reason to change!

To change and a better world!