Feeling safe, stable and secure is a primordial need in human beings, the commonly discussed fight our flight system is our key response system to fear and danger. This can manifest itself in massively varied form.
Safety can be interpreted both internally and externally. Internally we constantly manage our feelings and emotions to ensure we can thrive; Externally we rely much more on managing the environment around us to keep us feeling safe and well.
In both instances accepting the support and expertise of others can be key to achieving this sense of security. But letting other people in can create complexity; hence trust plays such a crucial role in the creation of the safety concept.
If we lack trust in those around us or indeed ourselves, this can lead to a feeling that we are constantly living in an unstable environment, the safety net starts to give way and our defense mechanism is in a constant state of alert. This instability can negatively influence our social habits, our relaxation methods, our work life and our very ability to function and develop positively in everyday life.
At Route 80/37 we aim to start any journey by creating and nurturing an environment that we can all learn to trust and thrive in. Fear of those around us, negative stigma or the perception of failure will be acknowledged and supported in a carefully managed environment. Through specifically measured exercises and interventions we will deliver a platform to overcome and grow as individual’s, as a team and as an organisation.
The one thing every organisation in the world shares is its reliance on people, regardless how much technology progresses, people will always still be a requirement.
It is common for many businesses value systems and goals to involve some form of statement like, “we are going to put our people at the forefront of our organisation” or “our people come first”. That’s a terrific sentiment. However what does that really mean? Do you truly buy into and understand the effort ,time and consistency required to make this vision a reality? If this truly was the case, why are there more than 91million working days lost to mental health issues a year in UK workplaces. Why is the current cost of Mental Ill Health to the UK Economy still between £70-100 Billon every year if your people are at the core of everything you do?
Unfortunately, having to quote these stats are one of the key issues to the question posed above for what we, at Route 80/37 see as a different reason. Because we are still in an organisational and economic culture, where a company like ours, must convince a company much like yours to invest in the concept of “people being the forefront of your organisation” based on specific return on investment model. And because of this mentality our business is more than often a last resort solution rather than a prevention and early intervention policy.
If as a business leader, how much is it going to cost, is the first question you are asking when considering an approach like ours, you are more than likely not ready for the seismic cultural change required in your business. But the sad thing is your organisation is probably the most at need.
At Route 80/37 we want to keep this value as simple as we can – if you are an individual or group responsible for considering a cultural shift that allows you to understand your people better, to support them better, to provide an environment they are happy to exist in and the feel safe in – then you have a responsibility to make your first question not about how much more money will it make you in return – but to make it be about whether it’s the right and responsible thing to do because you will have a positive effect on someone else’s life and maybe even your own.
Following a long and continuous battle with various mental health issues, the turning point for our MD, Barry Fitzpatrick, came first when he started to try and verbalize his problems. However this was not an easy thing at all for him to do. However, from there he became aware he was ill. That next step to acceptance of illness was supported by diagnosis. The recovery path then began through CBT (talking therapy), structured and varied interventions and his own personal pursuit of understanding of his own and other’s conditions. Through this new awareness and education around the issues, through talking to others about his complex feelings and emotions, he slowly but consistently started to improve all aspects of his life.
Awareness of the issues, be it mental health or holistic organisational culture problems, is only the beginning of a long journey to achieve real change. That ‘real change’ can only come through acceptance that our levels of understanding and education must improve. Only then will stigma or discrimination be addressed – and only then can the correct learning environment thrive. Only then when people start to feel safe enough to talk about the issues, be it personal or organisational.
At Route 80/37, conversation is key everything we do. And we fully appreciate you don’t just send someone who struggles to open-up or does not want to talk, on a course and magically that person and the culture around them changes. We appreciate it will take time to create a unique environment based on trust and safety, which in turn will open the door to conversation, to acceptance and to how learning a different way of doing things will have a positive effect on all of us.
One of the many definitions of exploration is, “a thorough examination of something or someone.” This dual subject is the meaning we focus on at Route 80/37. The notion that we can examine ourselves or an environment fits definitively with what it is we are trying to achieve.
Exploration and greater understanding of ourselves will only ever lead to development – be it development of our emotional intelligence, of positive coping mechanisms to practice better mental health or development of our functional skillset so we have a better opportunity to thrive in society and at work.
Exploration and greater understanding of the environment around us and what it contributes to our lives, and what we contribute to that environment is key to the progression and change of any organisation. At this highly skilled level of development you will not only be bettering your own existence, you will be contributing to a better existence for many other people.
The more we explore together, the more fruitful all our journeys will be.
The journey we are focused on travelling, is one where we challenge whole cultural or belief systems. Whether that is your own belief system that drives your own identity and mental health, or it is the foundations on which an organisation is built – it will only be successful if we accept that these changes are necessary. There must be a common desire from all involved that without this change the consequences given the circumstances could be fatal.
Using the example of Route 80/37 MD, Barry Fitzpatrick, his desire for life itself diminished leading to a crossroads, of which he chose to attempt to end his journey through taking his life. But he didn’t. He chose to fight. He chose to reassess what it meant to exist, survive and live. Desire for a such a personal goal let alone one involving many people is not ever going to be easy, but at some point, you must make a choice, is surviving enough or do I want thrive.
Its at this point your desire will lead you to a new choice system, new coping strategies, new support networks, unpracticed skillsets – a new understanding of identity. Desire is essential, because this is the starting point of any journey.