Came across this amazing article on Wait But Why today, it's called 

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

It's "a framework that I think can help a career-path reflector better see their own situation, and what really matters to them, clearly and honestly. This framework has worked really well for me, so I think it can probably be helpful for other people too." By Tim Urban 

Which map are you holding? 

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The Big Question

"These are people who feel indecisive about their career path. They’ve been told to follow their passion, but they don’t feel especially passionate about anything. They’ve been told to let their strengths guide them, but they’re not sure what they’re best at. They may have felt they had answers in the past, but they’ve changed and they’re no longer sure who they are or where they’re going." 

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The Wrong Arrow

"A nice clear arrow representing a direction they feel confident is right—but find their legs walking in a different direction. They’re living with one of the most common sources of human misery, a career path they know in their heart is wrong."

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The Up Arrow

"The lucky ones feel they know where they want to go and believe they’re marching in that direction. But even these people should pause and ask themselves, “Who actually drew this arrow? Was it really me?” The answer can get confusing." 

 

Read the full article here - it's long but so very worth it for that moment of reflection... 

What are you doing with Your Dash

I know on my gravestone it will read, my date of birth is September 2nd, 1988. And the day I died - morbid I know. And a date none of us know yet. Between these two significant dates is a Dash. 

Born xxx - Died xxx  

There is is The Dash. 

Here's a poem that's great for funerals, and just general contemplation about what you do with your dash. Your life. 

 

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; Are there things you would like to change?

For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real

and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more

and love the people in our lives like we have never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,

Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash…

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash? 

It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Alice on the Balsall Heath Cooks project as part of the We Are Balsall Heath Street Festival on 22 April 2018. Alice has this incredible ability to turn the most challenging of situations into fun, calm and ease. Her joyful personality and excellent communication skills helped her offer compassion and creativity during the ups and downs of working with the culturally diverse women and their understandable trepidation of launching their catering businesses publicly. Throughout, Alice worked very hard - sometimes late at night - to make sure everyone had what they needed when they needed it. I loved working with Alice especially her ‘can do’ attitude and creativity and look forward to working with her again.
— Dr Noha Nasser, Founding Director, MELA Social Enterprise and Organiser of the We Are Balsall Heath Street Festival.
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Life Insurance claiming to "Heal the world"

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Interesting perspective on our desire to change the world in the work we do...  by @dhh on Medium 

You're not changing the world

 

"... but the cognitive dissonance between “I sell life insurance” and “I believe I’m healing the world” is so loud that it invites intervention. Someone to slap you across the face, shake you violently, and yell “snap out of it, mate! Snap out of it!!!”. The absurdity of the juxtaposition is the subconsciousness wailing in distress."

"Carrying the weight of Changing The World on your shoulders is a tremendous burden. Look at the characters who actually managed it. Most of them weren’t exactly living envious lives outside the scope of their work. Why are you so keen to follow in their footsteps?"

I can relate to feeling like you are carrying the weight of 'changing the world on your shoulders. When my siblings and I were in our teens, asking questions, thinking through the answers and solutions, breaking and fixing things was commonplace. This was an interesting article to stumble upon today, which has provoked some thought for sure. Growing up with inspiring parents who set standards for not accepting things as they are - Dad a behaviour change advocate and radical sustainability speaker / consultant to Welsh Gov and Natural Resources Wales and Mum a healer, life coach and therapist has led me to live in this world with open eyes, a passion for helping other people and a belief that knowing the reality we create for ourselves can be however you dream it to be. Call me naive, or optimistic but I think the work I am doing today with Civic, and the work I have done previously for Wild Labs, Unreasonable, Do Lectures, TYF has in fact been helping to shape a world that we want to live in and want to bring our kids up in. With more justice, more adventure, more balance, more empathy, more compassion. And personally, if I wasn't feeling like I was contributing to something bigger than myself then life wouldn't feel quite right. 

 

Take 5 - 10 minutes to share your thoughts around Ocean Literacy...

I'm also working with Wild Labs at the moment. In advance of two 2 day design sprints in London and Bristol to prototype some solutions to 'save our seas' we are gathering perspectives from people across the UK to discover what does Ocean Literacy mean to you... Please take a moment to complete the survey, it shouldn't take 5-10 minutes of your time and would be really important to us. Click the image below. 

Thanks!! 

Civic partners and all the acronyms

So you may have read in my CV and Work about my work with Civic. I've been there for two months now and am loving it and have learned so much. It's challenging, interesting work and I feel very humbled to be working with the international team all trying to make change 'cheaper, better and faster' - that's their mantra. 

We (Civic) built a digital platform to help people from around the world share their learnings and collaborate on models of social change.

We're testing it at the moment with a network of communities who are all working in disaster-affected areas - from the Syrian refugee situation in Jordan, the droughts of Northern Kenya, the slums of the Philippines to Bangladesh. In each of these countries is a wild and wilful team of folks who have set up innovation labs to help the local community develop their ideas, prototype solutions to whatever challenges they face and scale them up. We would like to see the labs uploading their process and methodology and the communities sharing what they have done and how they have done it all with the hope of replicating these models in other countries worldwide. 

They are called DEPP Innovation Labs (Acronym 1 - Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Program) which is a 3-year project with Start Network and CDAC Network (Acronym 2 - Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities) who are at the help. ThoughtWorks is the innovation partner and RIL (Acronym 3 - Response Innovation Lab) are also part of the process. Each lab has it's own partners too - from the IRC (Acronym 4- International Rescue Committee) to Adeso to Plan International. So there are many many partners and stakeholders to consider, plus the vast and diverse community themselves! It's quite mind boggling really!

My job has been to onboard the community, develop a content strategy, curate content that the labs will find helpful, and basically do whatever I can to help the platform to become a diverse place to source solutions from. 

Yesterday I was in London meeting with the team who are working on this project, and Start Network has their office at Save The Children -it was quite fascinating being in a space like that and getting to glimpse into that organisation as well. 

 

A timeline of the last year

This one most definitely goes down as the biggest year for me yet in terms of learnings, travel, relationships and work. I've been to Portugal, Cornwall and Devon, cycled to Edinburgh, cycled to Copenhagen (solo in Feb), completed Ironman Wales and the 90 mile Velothon in Cardiff, ran a 36 mile ultramarathon with my friend Zennor in Austria, moved house three times, worked with 5 different jobs, went back and forth to Pembrokeshire like a yo-yo and went to three beautiful weddings. My grandpa passed away last month, my friends have had babies and gotten pregnant and my sister got engaged. I've also been to gigs and concerts including Matthew and The Atlas, Michael McIntyre, Van Morrison and The White Buffalo, done courses in Photoshop, pottery, joined a choir, kickboxing and been to two different dance clubs - Afrodance fusion and a swing dance intensive course.

I've made a bit of a habit of reflecting on the year that's been on New Year's Eve. And this year was no different. 31.12.17. Fresh start tomorrow and 2018 brings plans for many more exciting adventures, more weddings, more triathlons, new work, exploring a side project, spending more weekends with friends and family plus I've signed up for a level 4 diploma in holistic massage too. 

I put my photoshop skills and memory to the test and took a trip down memory lane, this is the result! 


Moments that made my 2017, made by me on NYE 31.12.17 

that time I went to Bangalore for work

Two weeks into my new job working with Civic I found myself waking up in Indiranaga in the heart of the urban Indian sprawl Bangalore or Bengaluru. I was there for just 4 nights, there to listen to some amazing stories of work in the humanitarian sector - specifically around disaster and emergency provisions in The Phillipines, Kenya, Bangladesh and Jordan, but also to deliver a one hour session on who Civic are, what they do and how the digital platform our team has created will help them to better collaborate and share their models of positive social change so they can be replicated across the sector and beyond.

 

 

now working with Civic

They write about themselves:

Civic is a change accelerator. We bring together unlikely allies, people-powered ideas and shared assets to help make social change happen faster, cheaper, better in places around the world.. We're a fledgling, ambitious, start-up - more a movement than an organization. We are currently operating projects in Nepal, Afghanistan, Jordan, Turkey and the UK. And we actively partner with local and global operators to deliver our work.

They have a simple website civic.co to describe their work - check it out, it'll take you just 5 minutes to read. =  ) 

My role is the Digital Community Manager and I am working remotely from Bristol with the occasional trip to London doing 2.5 days a week. My role, as laid out by them is to: 

• Manage a growing and dynamic group of users on the Civic platform • Split focus on communities associated with partners/sponsors and organic users • Input into platform strategy with a focus on community growth and platform development

And it's going well. I'm now about one month into the new job and am learning lots. Apart from my digital work with Good For nothing, The Wild Network and TYF, plus building my site here, I'm fairly new to the digital space. That said my community management and development experience has spanned lots of different industry's - from retail at finisterre, hospitality at surf simply, community engagement and support through good for nothing, events at unreasonable and do lectures - so I'm excited to see how this physical community building will translate across to the digital space - likely to include many of the same values of building trust, being authentic, listening and communicating effectively and often, allowing a space that people can open up in an honest and helpful way... being kind, being generous, experimenting, rapid prototyping solutions, and embarking on a learning journey. 

Our users aren't on boarded yet but will be in the next few weeks, so I'm looking forward to working with that community to get them using the platform and helping us to make it better.

And as always, like most millennials, it's important to me to do work that matters. I am incredibly passionate about the work Civic are doing - essentially aligning with their belief that we can make positive change much faster if we work together, and in doing so share what we are learning along the way so others can benefit from what's been done before. They do that through their place-based work, their digital platforms including impact measurement, ecosystem mapping and this collaboration for innovation tool and capital. 

Providing I pass my 3 mont probation I'll still be there this time next year, so expect to hear more on the Civic stuff soon! 

 

I'm an Ironman (x 2)

Last Sunday was the toughest physical endurance challenge of my life. 

Two years ago I flew to sunny Mexico and competed in my first Ironman - on the island of Cozumel. It was 35 degrees, flat and windy. Shortly after I finished it, I decided I'd one day like to complete Ironman Wales in my home county of Pembrokeshire. So on a winters evening in January this year me and my best mate Jo signed up for the race. Along with my husband Ross and my little sister Jaz. The four of us didn't quite know what we had got ourselves in for but trained hard, with grit, tears, sweat and blood. This determination got us to the finish line last Sunday but not without a battle on our hands. 

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
— Isak Dinesen

In classic Pembrokeshire style we were treated to a colourful forecast to say the least.

 

Throughout the day we experienced gusts of up to 40 mph from the WSW (head wind to Angle and tail wind to Narberth) an horizontal rain. There were oil spills and other challenges along the way - in the chaos of transition I left my swimming ear plugs in for the first 10 miles, on the 2nd loop of the 112 mile bike I got a flat tyre which I sorted but without co2 or a track pump didn't get the pressure above 50psi... and I threw down ibuprofen and paracetamol to ease the pain of my left IT band on the marathon.  Although I did my first Ultra in June, my self inflicted knee injury meant that for the 5 weeks leading up to Ironman I didn't run more than 7 miles. Not ideal in preparing for a marathon. 

They say if you finish between 11pm and midnight then you finish in heroes hour because you have been going the longest. Our race started at 7am and I crossed the finish line after 16 hours and 6 minutes... at 11:05pm which I guess makes me a hero??! Nice. I was pretty beat coming into the 'Athletes Village' and was treated to a 10 min sports massage which I could have enjoyed all night, a hot chocolate, a slice of pizza and a hug from Ross and eventually my sister too. 

Our fans lined the course in most villages we passed on the bike ride. Seeing familiar faces peppered between crowds of strangers all shouting "Go Alice Go, you got this, you're going to be an ironman, well done Alice, keep pushing Alice, nearly there Alice, one more lap Alice.... Alice Beese You Are An Ironman".... it was all super awesome. 

Why did I do it? You don't get many opportunities in life where you push yourself really, really hard. Most things come easy and you float along on the comfortable day to day hum drum of life. When you sign up for something like this all your free time goes into training - morning sessions in the pool, long days on the bike and short, medium and long runs - sometimes fast sometimes steady. You work so hard for something and then you test what your body can achieve - and if you let it, it will often do much more than you might ever have imagined possible. 

So much of the Ironman journey is a mental one - and 15% of the competitors didn't finish the race last Sunday, not surprising given it's the 10th toughest Ironman course in the world and the worst conditions they've seen in the 7 year history. Still I made it to the finish line with 55 minutes to spare before the midnight cut off and felt so proud to receive my medal - couldn't bear the weight of it though what with the rash on my neck from the swim and my weary legs.