So finally, after 12 months in the waiting and the making, I finally got to deliver my Lightning Process talk to a multidisciplinary team of mental health workers, in one of the leading Mental Health Hospitals in the London area! And here’s how it all unfolded, challenges and all………………….
Firstly, it was suggested to me that I approach this particular Mental Health Hospital, and introduce them to the Lightning Process. Now this is a team of: social workers, psychologists, and occupational therapists; all working for and funded by the NHS. The Lightning Process is an alternative therapy, and as such would tend not to be accepted by the NHS, though this is in flux at the moment and will hopefully change in the near future. And some Dr’s do recognise its strength and support the work we do.
So, as you can see, this was not going to be an easy talk to nail, and certainly had the potential of being a tricky audience. I recognised the importance of getting this group of professionals informed of the LP and its successes in order that they could make an informed choice as to whether they would refer clients, and work together to get them healthy change.
The talk itself took a year to secure, with emails and phone calls back and forth with my point of contact. She was keen to hear all about it, and firmly believed it would be of interest to other professionals in the multidisciplinary team of staff. There were funding issues; timing issues; permissive issues and finally exactly 12 months after the initial contact my tenacity and perseverance paid off and I had a date!!
Being in south west London, I decided it would be easier to drive than take the train. Simple route around the M25/M4: leave early to allow for traffic – easy!
The day arrived; I checked the PowerPoint was working – yes, enough handouts – yes (I was told to prepare for up to 20 people!), the roads were clear – yes. Marvellous: off I went, nice and early. M25 was clear and I chose the M3 route which was also clear. A beautiful sunny day as I approached Richmond with half an hour to spare and came to a halt. Oh well, I was nice and early and the sun was shining and I’d never driven this route before so I just enjoyed the views. Tick tock, tick tock: twenty minutes to spare. Tick tock, tick tock: I was crawling along and the area was stunning. Over the Thames, beautiful; slowly into the car park at exactly 10.30am, being my expected arrival time. The lady I was to meeting came out of the main door just at the same time and introduced herself! Amazing! She took me to the secretary who took me to the presentation room and helped me to set up. All was going well until the projector wouldn’t connect with my computer – hmmm. ‘do you have it on a memory stick? We could then run it on our computer’ and guess what – I did! Calmly I handed over the memory stick and she set about setting up their computer with my memory stick and guess what – that didn’t work either! She was getting stressed by the technology and called someone in to look at it, I continued setting up the chairs and putting the leaflets around the room. Another chap came in and couldn’t get the projector to communicate with the computer and I suddenly remembered someone showing me a few buttons to press to make this happen. I suggested I might take a look and hey presto – a picture on the screen and 5 minutes before people were due to arrive – oh yes!
People started to arrive; I remained calm and delivered my presentation to a team of 15 NHS professional staff, and even remained calm when the embedded video failed to run. They asked me many challenging questions which I answered with elegance and ease. One staff member was extra tricky and asked a question which I couldn’t answer, and in good old Walt Disney style I assured her it was such a good question that I had never been asked this before and would be sure to gain an answer and email it to her: Which I did.
At the end, I packed up and had an easy drive home and felt very proud of myself. There were many challenges in the day that I could have got very anxious about but didn’t. I could see I had no control over the traffic, so enjoyed the moment. I had no control over the technology being tricky, so left it to those with more knowledge and by remaining calm I actually did resolve the issue. I did have control over my expertise of the Lightning Process and the presentation I was delivering and trusted in this and answered all questions with good grace and understanding.
The feedback was highly positive: more people attended than normally attend outside speakers presentations and all were engaging and with many asking the host more about it after I left. It is possible some referrals may be made and for that I will be truly thankful for the clients. Because they are the ones that matter in all of this: the clients. It’s not about right – wrong, NHS accepted or not. It’s about answering the simple question of ‘can we help the client?’ if the answer is yes, then let’s work together and move people forward into good health