We All Have ‘Can Do’ Abilities. But It’s Our ‘Motivated’ Abilities That Drive Our Vision
“Everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed.”
Those words had impacted Una as a teenager and have remained with her ever since.
They went on to be the words that represent her Vision statement at the volunteering coaching company she founded to help people from less advantaged backgrounds do well in their WorkLife.
Together with the words:
“Do what you can do to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.”
These words have been Una’s motivation in driving her vision. Because she believes we all have the ability to follow this motivation to drive our vision.
Una grew up in a farming community in a remote part of Ireland. She was part of a loving family, but life was hard, and they often struggled to make ends meet.
Una and her two older siblings had no expectation that they would go to university. They simply couldn’t afford it. As soon as they reached sixteen, which was both the age they would finish secondary school and the legal working age, they would need to get a job to support the family. Una’s sister, Bridget, got a job at their local grocery store, and her brother, Seamus, got night shifts at their local pub, allowing him to help out on the farm during the day.
Una was expected to follow suit, and she was fine with that. That was how life was, and she wanted to play her part in helping her family survive financially.
In her final year at Secondary school, the Head Mistress brought in Deirdre, a Career Coach, to work with the students to help them gain perspective on what they wanted to do in their lives on leaving school. Most of Una’s classmates were planning on going to university. Some knew their course of study. Others didn’t. Deirdre’s role was to help the students gain the clarity they needed that would help them get the most out of the next steps they were all about to take as they embarked on their WorkLife journey.
Before working with each of them in one-to-one coaching sessions, Deirdre addressed the class to talk about her work and answer any questions they may have.
It was the answers Deirdre gave in response to these two questions that deeply impacted Una:
Question: Why did you become a career coach?
Answer: Because I believe regardless of a person’s background, everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed. I believe I can play my part in supporting that.
Question: How do you support that?
Answer: I do what I can do to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
Fiona shared a short story of how when she was growing up. Her family didn’t have money for extras, such as outings. She never asked to go anywhere or do anything that would cost extra money because she didn’t want her parents to feel bad.
Continuing her story, she said: “I loved to play camogie as a girl, and I was picked to play for our local team. There was a bus to take us and from the matches, and we always came straight home afterwards. Until the day we won the county final, when on the way home, we stopped at a restaurant to have something to eat by way of celebrating our win. As all the other players trooped off the bus, I remained in my seat. I didn’t have money to pay for the meal. I hadn’t asked my parent’s as the rest of my team had asked theirs. I knew they didn’t have the money, and I didn’t want them to feel bad.
Then our coach came to get me and said he was getting my dinner. At first, I said no, because I couldn’t repay him. He told me he didn’t need me to repay him, that I just needed to do something to help someone else whenever I could. The kindness he had shown me through his words and actions made such an immediate positive impact on me that I vowed to myself that I would show the same kindness to someone else whenever I could, to honour what my coach asked me to do.
Una loved Deirdre’s story, and she loved their coaching sessions.
Deirdre took time to get to know Una. She asked what she enjoyed most about school and what her dreams were. Una shared how she loved the Irish language, and she also loved the arts. She talked about the Irish college summer camp that ran each year, where students from all over the world came to learn to speak Irish. Irish students who did Irish language classes as part of their curriculum went to improve their ability. They learnt and improved their language skills through song, music and dance. Una said she dreamed of going, but it was just a dream, and she knew it would never become a reality. This being her final year at school would be the last opportunity she would have to go, and that just wasn’t going to happen.
Una was about to be proved wrong. Because of an intervention by Deirdre. The Irish college offered two scholarships every year to the summer camp. To apply, Una was required to do a written and oral exam. She aced both. Then she was required to have an interview. She aced that too. The interviewers recognised Una’s ability and her love of the language and the arts.
But going would mean that Una couldn’t apply for a job immediately on finishing school, and she’d also need pocket money while she was there. Una didn’t feel she could go. She hadn’t actually told her family about the scholarship. At first, it was because she didn’t know if she would get it, and now it was because she felt her family needed her support, and it would be selfish of her not to do what she could to help them.
This time Una’s Irish teacher, Ciarán, intervened. Knowing Una’s family needed her financial support, he figured he had a way that would enable Una to help them, and to also attend summer college.
Ciarán ran weekend Irish language classes for young people who had moved to Ireland and needed support in learning the language, and for students who wanted to improve their ability. He needed help, and he had a budget to bring someone on. He suggested Una for the job, which she happily accepted. He planned to expand the classes to offer after school classes and model the work they did at the summer college to teach the language through the arts. Once again, he suggested Una for the job, and once again, she happily accepted.
So, Una found a way to go to summer school and support her family too.
Una’s natural ability in both learning and teaching the Irish language through song, music and dance was very apparent to everyone. This led to a further intervention. This time it was by Gráinne, the headteacher at the summer school. She believed Una would be perfect for their team, and she suggested Una might like to become a teacher. To do this, she would be required to do teacher training at the nearby college. Gráinne said her college would sponsor her and welcome her onto their team when she had completed her studies, and she could gain experience working with them in the holidays. Once again, Una happily accepted.
It was too late for her to apply for that year, and that was fine because, during that time, she would work with Ciarán, gaining practical experience and also earning money to help her family. This was an arrangement that she continued when she went off to college, working with Ciarán at weekends during school term and working with Gráinne and the team during the holidays—all the time, gaining experience and earning money to help her family.
On graduating, Una went on to work full time at the Irish college.
Outside of her work, she founded a volunteering coaching company to help people from less advantaged backgrounds do well in their WorkLife.
Deirdre, Ciarán, Gráinne, and many more people who Una has met along her WorkLife path, have joined her company in volunteering their services and support.
The Vision statement that guides everything they do is: “Everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed.”
Together with the words: “Do what you can do to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.”
These words guide everyone’s motivation in driving the company vision because they remind everyone that each of them has the ability to follow this motivation to drive their vision.
As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.
I created The School Of WorkLife book series to help people continuously fine-tune their learning, development and growth in the areas most important to them. Click on the series to see all the books available and previews of what’s inside each book.
How To Drive Your Vision and Motivated Abilities is book 3 in the series. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.