Recently I was on a massively intensive training event - I'm already a One of Many Certified Women's Coach but I really want to take the amazing OoM tools to bigger groups.
Groups of midwives in particular because, while the work I do with women using the maternity services is one piece of the puzzle, another part is supporting midwives (and other staff) within that system too.
The environment that women labour and birth in is the same environment that many midwives work in.
I want women to feel strong, confident, able to make the right choices for them, aware of their agency and for them to come out physically well and emotionally whole.
I want the same for midwives too, I want them to feel strong, confident, able to act as advocates for the women they serve, valued as the autonomous professionals they trained to be - physically well, emotionally whole and well supported.
I strongly believe that a system that values the individuals working in it and using it, that's built on respectful, compassionate, relationship based care will deliver better patient care and a better working environment - the two go hand in hand.
So, anyway, I've spent the last few weeks preparing for the One of Many Trainers' Certification and last week was the intensive residential training.
A week of learning, doing, drilling, practising, prepping. Layering new skills onto our content knowledge and drilling, practising, prepping some more.
Wow! It was challenging in so many ways! But it was also amazing.
A roomful of women, all potentially being pulled out of their comfort zones and having to confront limiting beliefs, working at a fast pace, knowing the Soft Power Principles of 'first replenish' but also knowing that so much needed to be done in a short space of time. N
Now, here's the utterly amazing thing.... Not once did I feel anything but love and support in that room.
Not once did I hear anybody get snappy or short with anybody else.
Not once did it feel competitive or unpleasant.
Some of those women I knew from earlier parts of my One of Many journey, others I met for the first time on the Monday morning. But absolutely every woman there offered support and love to the group.
I heard women asking others for help or support. I heard support being offered freely. I saw support being negotiated so that both parties got what they needed without the other being compromised. Women calmly and clearly understanding their own needs and taking responsibility for meeting them while extending help and support to others as they could.
So it was an awesome, tiring, emotional and uplifting week.
And what has that got to do with the English language being a funny old thing?
The word present.
Last week I was learning to present from stage. To speak, to teach, to give information and facilitate transformations. It was powerful training and I grew so much as a trainer just in that week - I can't wait to continue developing my skills with practice, practice, practice.
Last week I was present. Very present. To my own needs, to the opportunities available to offer and receive support, to the energies in the room, to the fabulous people from around the world that I was sharing the experience with. Present. In the moment. Alive and alert to all the possibilities.
Last week I was given many gifts. Presents if you like. Gifts of time and love and energy from my fellow trainees, from the beautiful crew who volunteered to support us, from the trainers and other staff who prepared and delivered the training with such attention to detail. Many gifts. Many presents.
And many ways to use the word 'present' - all of which I'm enormously grateful for.
I learned this week that I passed the practical. I now have the written exam to take. Some of my fellow trainees need to complete a little more preparation work and will be supported to do that if they want to. Of course I'm proud of my individual achievement and I hope for success in the written exam.
But do you know what?
I'm even more proud of being part of that group and proud of every single woman in it - what a magnificent display of Soft Power in action!
If you want to know more about the One of Many community and what we stand for, see
Or just ask me a question!
And watch out for workshops and training days once I'm certified ;-)