FeForte: Conversation with Sam Eaton

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FeForte: Conversation with Sam Eaton

Georgina Gorman and Dr Jacqui Leaman Grey had the pleasure and privilege to speak with the lovely Sam Eaton. Sam is a business coach and has successfully run her own businesses in the past. She joins us to share her story of how she found resilience through particularly difficult times. As a warning, we discuss bereavement, domestic abuse and PTSD during the conversation.

I was treated for PTSD for 6 months. And it was probably the best thing that had happened to me because I was able to deal with so much. And some of the strategies I learnt from there I still use today. And these are great strategies particularly now. So let me give you and share a couple with you now. One particular session I had was when I was asked to replay what had happened to me but as an onlooker. So as if I went to the cinema. So for all of us who are dealing with bad things right now this may be really helpful. So place yourself in the cinema and look at the event as if you are watching it on a screen, it takes you out of it. And from there, once you run it through in colour, run it through in black and white. Reverse it. Speed it up. Slow it down. Once again it gives you control over something that is really quite harrowing and awful. It also takes that feeling of pain, feeling of out-of-control because that’s what this can feel like when you have been through something traumatic. It takes that away and gives you some form of control back.

Sam Eaton

Full Transcript:

Georgina: We’ll do a quick introduction and then I’ll hand over to Sam to talk through her story. We are going to keep the whole session interactive so feel free, if you are hearing my voice now or if you are just joining, feel free to either pop any questions in the chat box, we’re going to do a Q&A as well at the end of today’s session. We are recording the session but towards the end we may jump off of that, we might stop that just while we do the Q&A

So if you are hearing my voice, Hi everyone, my name is Georgina Gorman. Welcome to FeForte and welcome to our discussion today. If you haven’t heard of FeForte before, our mission is to build female resilience using science and philosophy. One of our key principles is to share knowledge, and today’s conversation is one of the ways that we do this. So we’ve invited the wonderful Sam Eaton to join us today and talk a bit about her life experiences. You’ll hear as we go through she has found resilience through some particularly difficult times. As a warning we will be discussing Bereavement, Domestic abuse and PTSD during today’s conversation. What we want is really for this to be informational, for this to be something that potentially expands your thinking on different subjects but also hopefully a bit  inspirational too and you can take away some tips for how to find resilience in your own lives when you need it. So that’s what we are hoping for today. Again any questions please feel free to put any questions in the chat and we will come off recording later to do some Q&A as well. 

So Sam is a business coach and has successfully run her own businesses in the past. And she is going to talk to us a little bit today about her life journey and as I say about those difficult times and how she got through those. Sam I’ll hand to you if you are happy to tell us your story. 

Sam: Good morning everyone, well afternoon, it’s 5 minutes past 12 after all. I hope we are all well today, it’s strange times we are living in and actually probably some of my experiences and strategies I used to help myself out are probably more relevant than ever before. We were saying earlier on before we came on this call, what a bizarre time we are in, with lockdowns, it’s all become a little bit too close to home with everything that’s happening and also what we say in the States, you just couldn’t write what’s happening now. It’s sort of been a little bit about what I’ve been through in my life. So what I want to talk to you about today is, things that have happened, some of the big things that have happened that have been far from pleasant, and then some of the strategies that I used to get myself out of it, and I think that’s the important bit here. And before I go any further, in both these scenarios I had a choice. I could either feel really sorry for myself and feel like the world had done me wrong, and in many instances it truly had, or I could feel this isn’t going to happen to me, and that’s the path I chose. And today I am really proud of the path I chose. 

So let me begin, I had a really, really fabulous upbringing. Devoted parents who loved me, successful businesses, great schools, everything was going swimmingly well. And for those of you who are connected with me on linkedin, you will have seen on a few posts of mine over the years I have put, I managed to press, in some instances, my own self-destruct button, which doesn’t help. But again it’s that accountability and finding accountability empowering, rather than ‘oh woe is me’, it doesn’t have to be that way. Many years ago, I was married for the second time, I’m a bit of a ‘Joan Collins’ in that regard. I met what I thought was a super guy and to put it in context, when I phoned up my Mum with great glee to tell her he had proposed, my Mum’s response was, oh god I had a headache before now its got worse. So that was really a sign of things to come. My Mum was never backwards in coming forwards. Anyway we were married for 7 years and throughout that time, every once in a while, there were these sparks of sheer violence and it was the emotional blackmail throughout that was really hard to deal with. There were also violent episodes in the evening so when I was asleep he would say what he was going to do to me, and if I hadn’t controlled my breathing, and if I hadn’t stayed calm, I genuinely don’t think I would be here today. We had, if you like, a real ‘come to Jesus’ moment, and he smashed up the walls, he said what he was going to do to me and he smashed up the entire house. There was nothing here in his eyes, and I never ever want to see that look in another human being again. One thing I have learnt, fight or fight, I will always fight but it possibly wasn’t the best thing to do in this scenario. Me being me and the kind of person I was, I went to work the next day, because hey that was last night. And things seemed to be OK until about 6 months later when I just utterly, utterly fell apart. I felt like the world was falling down on me. I felt like I was suffocating. I was just, couldn’t lift myself up, I couldn’t stop crying. I was in a really really bad way. and that’s just not me. For people who know me, that’s not who I am. Friends were really good and realised I needed help, I was treated for PTSD for 6 months. And it was probably the best thing that had happened to me because I was able to deal with so much. And some of the strategies I learnt from there I still use today. And these are great strategies particularly now. So let me give you and share a couple with you now. One particular session I had was when I was asked to replay what had happened to me but as an onlooker. So as if I went to the cinema. So for all of us who are dealing with bad things right now this may be really helpful. So place yourself in the cinema and look at the event as if you are watching it on a screen, it takes you out of it. And from there, once you run it through in colour, run it through in black and white. Reverse it. Speed it up. Slow it down. Once again it gives you control over something that is really quite harrowing and awful. It also takes that feeling of pain, feeling of out-of-control because that’s what this can feel like when you have been through something traumatic. It takes that away and gives you some form of control back. As I said, even today, even if it might be something bad that’s happened at work, or unfortunately as we know a few people who have passed or are about to pass from covid right now, it’s a great technique that we are using to help us through that. The other thing I learnt at that time is to wear a cloak. So for example, whatever it is that keeps you safe and protects you, when you are going into a difficult situation. For me, in wedding number 1, back to Joan Collins, over my wedding dress I wanted this beautiful long gold gown, as I said very Joan Collins-esque, and it just fitted over the wedding dress. It cost an absolute fortune but I felt fabulous in it. So when I’m going into a difficult situation, I put my gold cape on and that’s what I call it. So no-one can touch me, no-one can upset me, they can say what they like but it’s going to bounce off. And interestingly when I’ve coached other business owners and they have difficult decisions to make or they just feeling life is really tough, they’ve gone from anywhere from putting sparkly gold shoes on has been one, to actually just a baseball jacket or cap, but it’s something that protects them and makes them feel safe. And just that mental psychology behind “you can’t touch me” and mentally feeling like you’ve got that on has been a huge benefit to me and I’m delighted that it’s actually helped a lot of other people over the years as well. 

So after that incident, I had a number of years living by myself and obviously went through a divorce, and many of my friends said to me I was determined to be single better than anyone else. I was spinning twice a day, I was learning languages, I’d be up at 4am hoovering and I actually cut my edges with scissors because I had a dingly dell cottage. I did single well. And then a few years later, some friends of mine said, ‘Come on, it’s about time’. Introduced me to a lovely guy and again even in that story there’s some hilarity around it as well. In that, when we first met, we met on a Sunday, I’d been out with these specific friends on a Friday, let’s just say I’d had rather too much to drink and we’d agreed to do a fun run on the Sunday. Now not wanting to let my friends down, I felt particularly rubbish on the Saturday and I had a chest infection coming, I decided to again maximise my time, I would put my cough mixture on the side of my bath. This is where things started to go horrifically wrong on that Sunday morning. I got up in time, like a machine I went down to the bathroom, started to get changed, got washed, everything else. Took a swig of said cough mixture, swallowed and was violently, violently ill. In my haste on the previous evening and in my preparations, I’d managed to put surgical spirit down instead of cough mixture. 

Georgina: No!

Sam: I turned up at this fun run, still feeling dreadful, feeling particularly green around the gills and my friend then turns around and says “Oh look, here’s my friend Brad”. Super guy and the world just didn’t seem to exist. But through the alcoholic sweat and surgical sweat, this general fear for having to do this run, I didn’t really pay much attention. Anyway, a few days later he phoned up and we went out for dinner and the rest, as they say, is history. We had a wonderful few years together. He was a super guy and everyone loved him. We never got married because of our ages. We thought children were more important. He started to have a few heart problems and we had rushed him into hospital a couple of times but we carried on exercising. The last time, rather than giving him an angiogram, the doctor who was leading the A&E that night had said “Listen, I think you’ve just passed a heart muscle”. On August 12th, which was my parent’s golden wedding anniversary. He went out one day and never came back. I later had a police officer coming to the door who said to me “I’m really sorry, I regret to inform you that he died on scene”. He was just at a motorbike thing that he loved, it wasn’t an accident, it was a massive massive heart attack. My life sort of unraveled very quickly, all of a sudden coroners, identifying him and everything else became my norm. Preparing for a funeral. People avoiding me because, hey, not many people had lost someone that suddenly and in such a way in their early forties. There were frequently police officers at the house taking statements and helping us through because obviously we had liaison officers who helped us. But things were about to get even worse: we weren’t married and there are a whole load of legal things that are at place as well. So again I was back at work within a month but I was dealing with three sets of lawyers and probably had the biggest fight on in my life. As far as the law concerned and all of a sudden my other half’s family, I no longer mattered. They swarmed, they cleared the house out and I was meant to understand. This story as I later found out isn’t unusual, and actually I was very lucky with what we were able to salvage and we had been fairly clever with some of the other areas in terms of protecting us. But I remember about 3-4months later when I was back at work, someone asked me to go for a walk with them, and it was the lady I reported into who then said to me that I wasn’t performing at work and actually that was the best possible thing that happened to me. My fire ignited again, and rather than I’ll show you because that’s never ever good…[Sam’s doorbell rings]

Georgina: One of the joys of working from home is that at least you’re there but you can’t predict when the doorbell is going to ring. Everyone that’s on here and want to chat in questions as we go through please feel free. 

Sam: I’m so sorry. Like I was saying, actually that was the best possible thing that happened to me because rather than get indignant and negative about it, it was “I will not be seen as this victim. I will not be seen as this person that’s put in this box, either as a widow or someone who’s failed, who can’t do this” because someone was putting a ceiling back in something and saying what I couldn’t do, and I’m really sorry, I don’t believe in that. You can do whatever you want to do in life. So yet again, I had to start all over again. I used all of the tools and everything else I’d learnt from previous lives, and I put that in place. One of those things I learnt to do was no longer care what people thought, either of me or my situation. That’s your judgement, that’s up to you to decide and think what you want to do. I also learnt to listen more. It’s something I’ve realised that people rarely do. It’s difficult isn’t it hearing a story like this? I’m sure many of you can relate to the fact that, hey, you don’t want to ask how someone is, which by the way isn’t always a good way to do it, there are other ways of doing it. But, it’s just the whole thing about being able to communicate and talk, but what very few of us do is listen. One of the things I vowed I would do is start talking to people that I wouldn’t normally talk to. It’s easy for us to go and talk to people who look like us, who sound like us, who come from similar backgrounds. But one of the things I’ve learnt most over the last few years is talking to those who don’t. They don’t think like me, they don’t look like me, they don’t come from my background. And particularly at networking event, those are the people that I go to and who I have learnt the most from. I have also learnt more humility rather than “I’ve been through this, I’ve earnt my stripes”. Well other people have been through other stuff too so going back to that whole listening piece, that’s been such a powerful insight. It goes back to that diversity of thought and what you’ve been able ot learn from there, and actually that’s very much a part of resilience but it is not spoken about because there are other people who have dealt with things in other ways. There is no one set way for resilience to follow through in your own resilience, we all have our own journey when it comes to resilience, but the most important thing of all I’ve learnt, was to share. Some people’s stories are really really difficult to hear and it’s ok to ask the questions. That’s another thing I’ve learnt and that also helps build our own resilience. Sometimes these things are some of the worst things that can happen will really help us to understand and build that resilience for ourselves. Simple things like whatever that piece of clothing or item that you want to carry to help you in difficult conversations, or playing something on a screen in front of you to help you deal with something and play that video back. The last thing that I learnt that I wanted to share with you all today before we go to Q&A that was hugely helpful to me. On one of my sessions, I learnt that we’re all born with a body and a soul, and we get to the age of three and all of a sudden our mind kicks in and can be a real terrorist with us. So again I’ve done lots of work with Briony Cate where she asks you to question and challenge yourself “Is this true? Is this really true what I’m thinking?” and she’s done some great things in that area. But one of the things I’ve also learnt is when my mind is really running away with itself, I can overthink things and can get myself in a real stupor when I want to, was to actually almost physically pick my brain up and put it somewhere. So me being me, in my mind it looks like me sitting in a black mini, don’t ask me why – I’ve never driven a black mini, and my brain looks like a british bulldog with wings next to me. It is so bizarre and strange, it enables me to talk to it and for me to take back control of something that may not necessarily be true. As you can see, I’ve also put a bit of humour in it because for me that’s important, and it’s enabled me to really challenge myself, even for the day to day things that are quite minute and really don’t have that much bearing or significance in the bigger picture but hey, aren’t those always the ones that make you wake up at 3am either worrying with a knot in your tummy or stressing out or angry. But actually by creating that vision and having my mind as this bulldog with wings on it sitting next to me, it enables me to step back and challenge myself. So I’ve found that by putting this protection cloak on me, being able to play the video back and trying to deal with particularly bad situations like that, and then putting my mind to my left in a car, it’s given me the ability to take back control of my life. It’s also given me the ability to actually see who I want to be. For me, it goes back to that really cheesy I want to give back, but I wanted to give back in such a way that it had value and for me I’ve used my experience and expertise as a business coach to change people’s lives. It’s enabled me to put myself back in a really strong place. I’m privileged to know Georgie and to work with her, and to have met Javqui in the last few months. And it’s only by meeting people who have got equal stories and who you respect that continues to inspire and engage you as an individual. I feel I’ve done a lot of talking and I’d just love to hear anyone’s thoughts, if anyone’s got any questions, if anyone’s going through anything at the moment that they want to talk about then hey, I would love to see how from a resilience perspective how we can help. 

Georgina: Thank you so much Sam. Anyone feel free to come off mute and come onto the audio. If you don’t feel comfortable with that and what to chat in, do feel free and I can read them out from there. I know I’ve got a few questions buzzing around in my head but I’ll let our attendees start off. 

Jacqui: I’ve got one that I’d quite like to throw in the mix, I don’t know if it’s sort of the fact that I’ve been around a long time, but I’ve had a series of bereavements and difficult things that have happened. One of the things that I learnt was the first time you’ve had a bereavement or something devastating happens to you, you think your life’s over, that you’re never going to get through it, that you’re never going to survive. That sort of “Nothing is going to make me better ever.” I don’t know if it’s the same for you Sam but my second bereavement was equally as horrific but the difference was I knew I would get through it, I had that knowledge that I had that resilience in me that somehow I would survive it and therefore it gave me more resilience even though you’d think it would be slightly more debilitating each time some sort of crucible of experience hit you. Did you experience that or is that just a personal thing from me?

Sam: I did, I absolutely did experience that and I think the other thing is doing things that make you feel good. Bizarrely, I joined a gospel choir and absolutely loved it, it was a great distraction for me and they do say things like that are really really helpful and it goes back to that journey to recovery can take two to three years. That’s absolutely fine for that to happen but it’s about doing things along the way that are good for the soul really. So yeah I completely agree with you Jacqui, the resilience grows. 

Jacqui: Yeah, that’s a really interesting one. I went back to horse riding after my second bereavement. It was like I have to do something different. I have to engage with something that makes me happy. I went back to riding horses, got my own horses, met new people, met a new partner. It’s interesting how getting back on the horse, if you’ll excuse the metaphor, actually gets easier with time I think. It’s such a cliche isn’t it?

Sam: But it’s so true!

Georgina: Feel free if anyone else wants to come onto the audio line. Sam, there’s a few specific questions coming up in my mind from your story. What did your mum see? What was, you know you mentioned in your unfortunate relationship and when you said to her “We’re engaged” and her headache got worse, was there a sign or was there something that she had seen that you look back and think “Oh yeah, I can see why she had that reaction” or was it a gut feeling or something specific?

Sam: I think she had seen something in his behaviour that I possibly hadn’t noticed. And again it comes with experience doesn’t it. When I look back now and you see certain people and you see traits and again it goes back to bias doesn’t it? Whilst you try to remain open, I always think your initial instinct tends to be the right instinct. She’d seen something in his behaviour that I hadn’t and again it goes back to her being around a little bit longer than I have. Can I ask everyone a question who’s on today – What peaked everyone’s interest to come on today and what had they wanted to come away from today with?

Jacqui: You can chat in if that’s easier.

Sarah: Hi. For me, I was really interested to know about your story and I think the introduction that Georgina gave us on the FeForte lead up to you was really interesting. But from a resilience point of view, I think the story of going through your trials and tribulations resonated with me. I’ve not experienced anything as dramatic as you have but I think certainly over the past six or seven years, there have been a number of instances that have triggered my resilience, so that’s kind of where I’m at with it really. 

Sam: Has it helped Sarah?

Sarah: Absolutely! It’s fantastic! What an inspiration.

Georgina: Those tips that you’ve shared Sam I think are incredibly helpful! 

Sam: Really?

Georgina: Including the gold cloak. I love how quintessentially british is your riding in a mini with a bulldog, where were you when you came up with that?

Sam: I have no idea! It’s the wonderful world of Sam. I’ve had many people over the years saying Planet Sam must be an awesome place. I mean it’s freaking awesome I can tell you that!

Jacqui: Forgive me if it’s inappropriate on a call that’s your story. I’m just hit that there’s so many similarities because I have a bell jar that I used to have if I was going into a particularly tricky presentation with quite difficult corporates, that I would have a bell jar coming down, I’d close my eyes and I’d visualise this bell jar coming down over my head and any arrows bouncing off the bell jar. As it was coming down I’d have the music from Mission Impossible. Dun dun dun dun dun dun.  That is so spooky that you have this cloak and I have a bell jar. 

Sam: I’ll tell you what if you could buy the tune, you’d be invincible.

Sarah: I’m trying to think of something that I could use that’s equally as exciting.

Georgina: You’ve got a high bar now. For everyone on the call, all these things are visualisation techniques and if you’ve already been part of a cohort or are thinking about joining a future cohort, we do go through some techniques that can improve your confidence. Visualisation and power poses and things like that do come into play when you think about confidence and resilience and getting through difficult situations. From what it sounds like both of those techniques really are creating that feeling around you that you then absorb that you can then take forward and use that energy in whatever you are about to face. Just to draw attention to the chat, Mia says that she is joining just to listen and learn, which is wonderful Mia that’s absolutely fine. And I think that’s Louisa, I remember your handle, “Agreed, I think with Covid, the increases in domestic violence and as employers we need to recognise the signs and how to support”. I wonder Sam, is there anything you can talk to around that? You said that you went into work the next day after those instances of extreme violence from your partner. Was there anything that perhaps people could have noticed or had noticed or did anyone have a conversation with you at the time noticing any differences?

Sam: I think I was, I’m a parallel thinker so I’ve got seven or eight things going on in my head at any one time which is never a good thing to be honest. But I became mithered very quickly, I was a bit of a busy fool if I’m honest. And actually, you hear it time and time again these days which isn’t “why has your performance dropped?” it’s “hey, I just wanted to check in with you and see what’s happening”. It may well be that that person doesn’t say anything because what I’ve found subsequently over the year is actually invariably these are strong women who stay, because you can’t believe it’s happening to you. You cannot believe that you are in fear in your own home, both mentally and physically. You’re trying to control that to the best of your ability and therefore you think you’re maintaining your strength, which you are. There’s a certain amount of female pride here as well which is “I’m better than this so this can’t be happening. This cannot be happening to me!”. It’s only when it gets to such a bad point that reality bites and something dramatic has to happen. So it’s about constantly checking in and it may well be that you know what’s going on. You can sense what’s going on. If it’s something that’s extremely violent then of course something needs to be done and it’s handling that carefully but actually just checking in with someone and saying “Hey, how are you? Is everything ok? What’s happening in your world?”. that just gives some that opportunity to start to just open up and talk. They may talk about absolutely nothing but at least you’re opening up that channel to talk. 

Jacqui: Something what you said early is very useful as well, your experience you actually learnt to listen more. I think the reason that mothers pick up on bad partners is they’re always watching and listening to their children. This isn’t my story but my husband’s mother cried at his first wedding because she didn’t want him to marry the woman he was marrying and she was abusive physically and verbally and emotionally. His mother saw that and I just think that mothers focus on their children and as employers I’m not suggesting we should be behaving like everybody’s parents but it’s that if something seems off with someone, actually noticing and listening between what they’re saying. You’ve obviously raised those skills as part of your resilience toolkit and that’s why you’re a great coach and it’s the same thing as employers, we need to be aware that something’s going on and really listen to people and what they’re not saying as much as what they are saying.

Sam: Jacqui, you’ve hit the nail on the head right there – it’s what they are not saying! It might well be that someone is drinking more than usual and you can smell it off them. It might be telltale signs – they’re looking tired, they get flustered more at the slightest things. The telltale signs are always there and let’s not forget, as you so rightly say Jacqui, it works the other way round. The number of men I’ve subsequently come across who have been abused by their wives. It’s the same thing. The men who feel that they are the providers and that they are there to provide support and be the protector and actually they’re the ones who become the victims. That’s equally hard to deal with but with other ramifications obviously from that. I’m a great believer of let’s not forget this works both ways. 

Georgina: I think Sam your advice there works specifically if you’re an employer and notice that someone may be struggling at home. I think that also just in general at the moment – everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is going through something! We are living in a world at the moment where everyone’s home lives are so difficult and so different and our homelives are now our work lives for the majority of people. So I think, if you are in a situation where you are an employer or in a team or a colleague, opening up that conversation, as you’ve said Sam, “How are you? What’s going on for you in your world at the moment?”. No one is OK at the moment, we’re all going through the day saying “Yeah, we’re ok, we’re fine, we’re getting through.” We are getting through, we’re hopefully surviving but it’s a really difficult time. Just to say “How are you doing?” “Yeah I’m ok” move on – isn’t really scratching the surface. So I think regardless whether it’s specifically you suspect or whether it’s just that someone isn’t themselves right now, have that extra level of conversation where it’s “What is going on for you right now? How are you feeling? Look, all cards on the table, it’s a shit situation, excuse my French. Let’s not call it any other way – this is tough. Can I help?”. Hopefully people are asking you the same questions as well if you are in that situation. 

Sam: Yeah. Funnily enough it’s interesting, one of the best things someone said after he died – one of my great friend’s husband who just says it how it is and I love him dearly for it. He came up to me and said “This is shit isn’t it?!”. I just wanted someone to be that raw and just say it how it was and subsequently over the years, when other people have lost people close to them or they are going through something – they’ve got a horrific disease, I’ve said to them, rather than try to help them make it better, say to them “I know I can’t make this better and it’s shit, but what do you need me to do?”. Actually, that is much more straight talking and the person who is receiving it and going through it will probably go “Thank goodness! I just needed someone to say that!”. 

Georgina: Rather than pretending that everything’s ok or that we’re just pushing through. Just own it!

Sam: Yeah! Because there’s somethings that you just can’t fix. 

Georgina: Absolutely. Anyone on the line if that’s resonated with you, if you’ve got any other questions, please feel free to pop them in the chat or jump on. Hi Leonie. No pressure but you’ve come on camera so you’ve got to talk now. 

Leonie: I know, I wanted to thank you Sam for sharing your experience and to your earlier question, it’s my very first meeting with FeForte so thank you Georgina for inviting me and I think it’s kind of marks the starting point and also for later on for the new cohort. So I think similar to the comment earlier, I’m just really interested to listen and learn and I think there is great power, and why I ultimately joined this meeting, when expertise is shared and things that are very difficult to talk over. If someone starts to initiate the talk, obviously then it becomes easier for others to talk as well. So thank you for sharing and I do have a question as well which is related to taking back control. You’ve mentioned that so often and it resonated quite a lot with me and I wanted to ask you to what extent it was something that you newly learned or you had to re-engage with like learning it in a new situation again and how that evolved with you?

Sam: So it was something that was newly learnt in each scenario because each scenario was different and emotions in each was different. As I said, using it in combination with the skills – definitely that cloak, small things would get to me. Using the cinema scenario or playing it on a handheld camera, however I chose to do it was really helpful. So they were techniques that helped me have control and one of the things I learnt that I had done and one of my weaknesses was: I cared too much about what people thought. So I let it go, which was “I actually don’t care what X Y and Z think about me but what I do care about is that I earn your respect”. One of my mantras now is “Respect is earned, it’s not a God-given right. Once it’s earned it can still be lost”. So you need to continue to earn that right. Again, that’s something that’s really empowering and it’s helped me with my resilience. Because it means that I can be authentic and share my views in difficult and challenging situations. I’m no longer the pleaser, which I always used to do, which got me in terrible trouble because I wanted everyone to be happy. Well it doesn’t happen. But what you can do with clear communication is rather than “I’m sorry I disagree with you” is “Well my thoughts on this is X,Y,Z and I’m thinking that because…”. So you’re not apologising. You’re not being the crowd pleaser. You are explaining your position without being combative and doing it in such a way that you’re giving context behind it as well. I think that all of those tools really helped me to get control back rather than giving control away. 

Leonie: Great. Thank you

Sam: Does that help Leonie?

Leonie: Yes. I can relate to it. There are a few examples that come up in my mind. Thank you. 

Sam: Pleasure!

Georgina: Louisa has just dropped in the chat that she “unfortunately has to drop off but really inspiring session and thanks so much to Sam for sharing”. Anyone else on the line that has any questions? Any other thoughts? Anything just bubbling up for you – it doesn’t need to be a specific question for Sam, just anything that’s coming to mind? 

Sarah: I do think playing back the scenario and removing yourself from the situation, I think that’s quite a useful tool because you actually develop that as a thing. I’ve heard that before actually, I’m not quite sure where. 

Sam: It is really helpful. 

Jacqui: Leonie, were you part of the cohort? I’m sorry I should know this and Georgina will know this. 

Georgina: Leonie is joining us on the 20th. 

Jacqui: You’re coming on the next one. Well the whole area of control is one of the things we pick up on around the existential fears that we have and there’s quite a lot of neuroscience around that too so we’ll dig into that a bit more on the cohort. 

Leonie: Ok that’s great. I can imagine it’s something that does often come so natural and I’ve just experienced over time that there are people that it does come very immediate and others really not and struggle a lot with that. So there’s big differences in kind of how you see yourself in that situation. Looking forward to it. 

Jacqui: Good! We look forward to having you!

Georgina: Thank you Leonie! I’m not seeing anymore comments in the chat, final call for anyone to jump on the audio line if you have any further comments or questions. 3…2…1 Feel free to keep them coming as we wrap up and if anything comes to you after the session, you’ve got my email address from the calendar invitations so feel free to pop over any questions and we can follow up after. Sam, any final thoughts that you’d like to share?

Sam: I think the main one is we’ve spoken to all our clients between last week and this week and again it’s really just control the controllables. We’re living in a world that’s completely out of control right now but also let’s not forget that when we do go through change, there’s huge opportunity. So yes, physically and mentally and everything else this is tough, but there are massive opportunities for us out there right now. We’ve thrown away the rule book. We no longer have to live by a certain way. We can create our own futures. We can create our own networks. We can create who we want to be and we can do it now. So is now tough? Yes it is. But is it an opportunity? It’s a massive opportunity. I know we can’t always see that when it’s raining outside and it’s dark and we’re stuck at home and the news is dreary and everything that’s happening in the world but let’s just take a step back and look at what we do have. Look at what we can and will achieve in 2021!

Georgina: What inspiring to end on! Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences so candidly today and also for giving some of those brilliant tips for us all to help build our resilience as we go forward. I hope everyone is thinking about what they can wrap themselves in, whether it be that gold cloak or baseball jacket or whatever else it may be that helps you feel resilient. If you haven’t already checked out FeForte, please do check out our website where you can learn more and learn some more tips as well on any of our training programmes to help you build your resilience for everyday life but also through some difficult times as well. Thank you so much Sam for joining us today, it’s been a real pleasure!

Jacqui: Thank you!

Georgina: Thanks to everyone for joining us. Thank you for joining us on the line. Again, we’ll stay on for a couple of minutes now and will turn off the recording so if you do have any questions and you’d prefer to ask them now please feel free. If not, we hope to see you again really soon!

Sam: Take care everyone.

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