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20TH JULY 2017


Imagine going on an external training course where you know nothing except for the location and the people you're going with? Intrigued? Yes. Worried? Yeah, kind of. Thoughts run through your mind like "Will there be role play?" or "Am I going to have to stand up in front of everyone and do that thing where they have to catch you?" 

Fortunately for the Better With Balance Shine On Cohort of 2017 none of our fears were realised and all our expectations were exceeded. Better with Balance was created to help support Women within Engine and help realise a vision of 50/50 male / female representation on our board by 2020. As part of the programme women from across Engine were nominated by their respective businesses to take part and approved by Debbie Klein our CEO and Simon Peck our MD. Each of us has been allocated a sponsor who'll support us through the programme. Part of which included a 3-day off-site training session "Shine".  

The aim of the "Shine" course is for us to commit to living bigger lives and showing us how we can do this by building a vision for ourselves which offers 'new energy and focus'. No mean feat! But with expert leaders with tonnes of industry experience every minute of the course was meticulously constructed and thought through to make sure we got the most out of it. To say we felt privileged to spend time with the course leaders Anna and Cal was an understatement. Why? Because the course, although intensive and introspective it was also incredibly enlightening.

Here are a few key-take outs:


We're often asked what our values are. But how do we define them? We can choose something that sounds good, like collaboration or we can delve a little deeper. As was the way with the course, there wasn't going to be a short-cut. In this exercise we challenged ourselves to think about what riles us, and it helps you find what you value in the opposite. Can't bear it when people don't deliver on time on their task? You clearly value commitment. Dislike people that are rude? Well, courtesy is one of your values. From values, you can then work out how you want to work and what is important to you.


We spent time thinking about what we can and can't influence. All to often we hold ourselves accountable for things that are simply out of our control. This could be for numerous reasons and can often be a source of worry or anxiety. But learning to accept when you can influence things and when you can't can help you manage any challenges you face much more effectively than dwelling on them or worrying. Which frees up energy to focus on bigger goals. 


Much has been written about the idea of a Gremlin, the little voice that talks to you, possibly reinforcing negative thoughts. The interesting connection here is how your Gremlin can encourage you to stay within your comfort zone, so maybe you don't push for the bigger project because your Gremlin says you won't be able to do it - well we were taught to acknowledge the Gremlin, accept it for what it is, notice it when it arrives and let it go so we don't hold ourselves back. 


We challenged ourselves to set goals that would have a radical impact on the way we worked. This could range from personal development in the shape of personal growth and learning to changing the way we behave in certain situations. We all made a commitment to each other to support each other but also make sure we personally took a big step to achieving our own vision. 

Best of all has been the group we've formed as part of BWB and Shine. We supported each other during the training and have continued to do so since, further enhancing what we learnt by sharing our experiences and further continuing the learning together to achieve our bigger lives. 

So, did Anna and Cal and the 'Shine' course deliver on their aims for us? Yes, they absolutely did and all without a single bit of role-play or people catching in sight. We left feeling empowered and energised, with clear goals focused on what we each individually wanted to achieve. And, we have a great network for sharing, supporting and learning. Win-win. 


Vicky Janaway