As human beings we have a tendency to be creatures of habit. This doesn’t just apply to our behaviours it also applies to our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes. At times these beliefs and attitudes can be the reason we feel ‘stuck , or perhaps a sense of loss or being unfulfilled. When there is a defining moment, something that rocks our sense of stability, we ask the universal question of ‘why’.
Or, it’s simply a whispered word, which escapes through clenched teeth.
It is often at that moment of questioning that we start to ‘unravel’ emotionally. Everything becomes a challenge, things that didn’t affect us before, are now ‘major dramas’. We can lose focus, begin to withdraw, or respond with abruptness, or a ‘I couldn’t care less’ attitude. Stress levels start to rise, we feel tired, have ‘sudden’ aches and pains, and our thoughts drift aimlessly, swirling on the emotions and then settling like a truck load of bricks.
We then tend to look for an ‘out’. A new job, a new relationship, something exciting, anything, that will pull us from where we are. When our resources don’t support that change, or the inner circle of people begin to question and brush off our suggestions or disregard what we are feeling, the overwhelm kicks in.
So now not only are you questioning the ‘why’, and what should I do, you begin to doubt if you should be questioning anything at all or even looking at making a change.
It is often at this point, we hit crises mode. And we feel pushed or compelled to make changes. In that crises or ‘why’ moment, we tend to look for our purpose. The why I am here sort of questions. These moments can open up a floodgate of unanswered questions and thoughts that are random and seem to have no logical place to settle.
When we consider that we filter information through the Physical, Emotional and Intellectual, we can begin to identify where the feelings, thoughts, words and desire for the change sit or are held in these layers. In doing this we can begin to ease the confusion and lower the stress. However we can often overlook the Energetic or intuitive part of self, and ignore the inner self, or Core.
Let’s explore this a little. If we consider ‘success’ as an example and the crises moment being ‘I feel I am unsuccessful or I have failed’. Obviously something has happened for those feelings and thoughts to reach the ‘I need to do something’ critical point. It may be a loss of income, you were overlooked for a promotion, a redundancy, or a teen who is breaking all the rules and driving you to distraction. Or, you may have compared your life, the things you do and don’t have, against another’s, and made a decision that they are more successful than you. Whatever the moment that brought you to that thought, you have decided (without conscious thought) that you are ‘less than’. It is from this place you begin to question, to ask the ‘why’, to doubt what you have done, the things you have achieved, your parenting skills, or your inability to acquire those things considered successful.
The ‘less than’ belief is subtle and hidden, however it is often the core belief that is held deeply. Thoughts of ‘I can’t’, ‘I will never be good enough’, why would any on want to work with me’,( to name a few), often hide the ‘less than’ belief.
Being ‘less than’ sits across all layers.
Exploring those thoughts, feelings and physical reactions is critical in being able to determine the steps to take, to move from where you are in that moment, to a place that is energised with action and clarity.
The truth is no one is ‘less than’, we are all unique, nothing that we have done or not done, changes the uniqueness of who we are. The talents and skills you have, are equal to others. They are not less than.
Acceptance is the key. Accepting all that you are, and all that you will be, with an expectation of change that allows you to step into the fullness of who you are.
How often have we considered the power of our words and the words of others?
For me words hold a beauty and synergy that is a joy to play with. As a writer, words are part of me, they express the inner me, the thoughts and beliefs of my characters, and drive the dialogue.
Within my business, words have the power to heal and to release, to build and create, to restore and rebuild.
Seven powerful words were spoken to me… ‘I am going to treat you …now’. These words changed my life, released years of illness, of pain and beliefs that held me bound in a place of ‘less than’. A place that was barren, alone, and without hope.
They also created something new.
A newness in me, and a business that is dynamic and built around the power of words and actions that bring healing and restoration.
Our words are powerful, they can resonate with life and the fullness of all that is, or they can take from us the very thing we desire.
The spoken word holds power. It is energetically connected to the one speaking and to the one being spoken to. The words and energy connect, to create, destroy, rebuild, tear down, or cause harm, and yet, the sound and tone of our words can encourage our body to health and healing.
Words can create ‘less than’ moments for ourselves and for those around us. So our words need to take us to a place of ‘greater than’, where we speak words that pull us above all that we see and believe or that hold us bound in a place that does not feed the inner self.
Physically, words heal and release the body, and from this place we can allow the body to truly live.
Emotionally, words carry the balm that soothes the fear and calms the uncertainty.
Intellectually, words hold truth and wisdom that equip us to walk in our purpose.
Energetically, words connect to all that is, entwining with all that we are.
From the essence of the inner you, words carry all of you.
True confession time.
Over the past months I have let go all that is familiar, expected and comfortable. In doing that, my life has taken some dramatic turns, and I am experiencing something new every day. I had one of those ‘new experiences’, a moment of clarity and understanding.
A moment of truth …. the more I tried to be what others expected and believed was right for me, the more I lied.
I lied to myself, and to the purpose that is uniquely mine to work in.
I have to say this realisation was not pleasant. It was not comfortable or easy to accept. Yet the more time I gave the thought to settle, the more I began to understand that, that when we stand in a place where all we do is done to placate the needs or expectations of others, we lie to our self. We withhold the truth of who we are, and the beauty of who we are. We do not honour who we are, or the purpose that is ours to walk in.
It is a place of ‘less than.’
We walk in ‘less than’ who we are.
When we walk in a ‘less than’ place in regard to who we are, the acceptance or recognition of others becomes ‘greater than’ the purpose we walk in. From this place we walk in a lie. We use words to justify, calming the inner turmoil, so that we walk the day with some ease and sense of purpose and clarity.
In doing this, we lie to our truth, the truth of who we are, and the purpose we hold, holding on to the belief that what we are doing is necessary. Needful, in that, we must do what we must do, and accept what we must accept.
It is in this place of action and belief, we stand in ‘less than.’
The abundance that is held for us becomes ‘less than.’ We cannot see past the moment we are in, and we cannot see what is being held for us.
To step from that place, to recognise the lie, and the ‘trying’ that holds us in the ‘less than’ place frees us to move in our purpose. When we move in purpose, free from the expectations and beliefs and constraints of others, we being to release all that is being held in that energetic space.
It is in that moment, when we stop trying, still our thoughts and actions, and accept the totality of who we are, that we begin to move in all that we are.
A few months ago, my business partner said to me; ‘speak your truth’. The conflicting emotions at the time I heard those words ranged from anger, to confusion, to surprise, followed by thoughts that were far from supportive.
The words cut deeply, and it has taken some time for them to settle and for me to see them in their purity.
The truth we speak is so often the words of others. It is their beliefs, thoughts, and ideals about who we are and how we should be.
The speaking of your truth is found in the essence of who you are. The inner you, untouched by the actions or words of others, or smothered in the disappointment or restricted beliefs of what is in the moment.
And yet, it is in those moments when we need comfort, to be held and hold, to feel encouraged and bathed in the acceptance of another, that the words we speak to our-self do not hold the truth. They become a weapon, used to inflict pain, to reinforce the lack, the desire, the need, and continue to withhold the healing and release craved.
To speak your truth is to speak the truth of who you in those moments. It is the understanding that you are more than all that is felt, that you are greater than the moment stealing from you what you desire.
The speaking of your truth is the beauty of the inner you, perfect, without flaw, not held to account by the actions or words of others.
The purity of truth is held in the purity of you, and the depth of all that is you.
It is the words spoken when your heart is broken and the tears threaten to consume. It is the gentle whisper of hope that wraps around you when disappointment steals the joy. Your truth is the thought that sustains you when all other thoughts conflict and confuse. It is the comfort, the hope, the belief, the fullness of you without restraint or contradiction.
It is the truth of your purpose, you why, your reason for being, not your reason for doing.
The purity of speaking your truth.
How beautiful are those words.
I think one of the hardest things to do as a business owner, is to do what I teach others to do. For some reason it is easier to see what others need, and be blinded to what I need. I am truly blessed to have a business partner who is not afraid to ask the hard questions. To challenge when I need challenging and to gently guide and redirect when I need guidance and redirection.
The biggest challenge is to fully embrace the thought that I am my business, and my business is me. To consider what I believe, and that my values and my thoughts are reflected in my business is a little overwhelming.
The truth is, if I am standing in a place of ‘less than’, then, my business is in a place of ‘less than.’
If I am restricting my connection energetically, then all that I do is restricted energetically. If I am withholding what I need to nurture and care for me, I am doing the same to my business.
To begin to walk in the thought that you are your business, and your business is you, is the beginning of acceptance, and from that acceptance flows change. It is in the acceptance of the totality of self, all that we are, the skills the talents, the values and the beliefs, that we can begin to change and grow.
As we move in the total acceptance of self, significant change moves through our business.
We begin to see all that we do as an extension of self, a connection to all that we are, and the purpose we walk in. This flows in the way we connect and communicate, the engagement we have with those we work with. Emotionally there is balance, the highs and lows, the uncertainty, the feelings of ‘less than’ begin to release. Our thoughts are empowering, seeking understanding and knowledge that support what we do and who we are. Energetically our connection to all that is, is heightened, and our purpose flows through all that we do.
It is then our business reflects who we are, it is no longer ‘a thing’ we do, it becomes the expression of the ‘why’, the purpose that fills and feeds us.
You are the grace that follows. These words were spoken to me after the death of my partner. Words that had little meaning at the time, words that were consumed in the pain and sorrow of the moment. Earlier this month they were said again. A reminder of a ‘life moment’ where the words were lost.
So this week I took time to consider the words, to seek understanding of the deeper meaning.
The word Grace holds its own energy and vibration, it is filled with beauty, carrying a message of inner peace, of substance of actions and thoughts empowered with a gentle giving and receiving. When I considered this thought in relation to what we teach in our business, the emotion began to rise. We teach people to heal and accept the totality of self. In healing it is all of self that is healed. So often we consider healing to be a physical need, yet it goes deeper and involves our emotion and intellect, the energetic part of who we are the very core of self.
To become the grace that follows the life moment that has moved you to a place of sorrow or despair, fear or loss, is to live in a moment of total acceptance. Of healing and release, of embracing all that has been and letting it go so that you can step into all that is being held for you.
That moment of understanding empowers the thoughts, actions and words with an energy that is gentle and filled with a compassionate purpose that flows from the core of you. The essence of you, the beauty that is you, the total energetic being of all that is you connected to all that is outside of you. That, is the grace that follows.
It is being afraid, yet not walking in fear.
It is knowing weakness, yet, allowing that weakness to become your strength.
It is feeling alone, yet never walking in a place of isolation.
It is the tears and the sorrow, wrapped in compassion and freely allowed to flow to another.
It is the belief that you are all that you need to be in any moment.
The standing in the trueness of self, allowing the raw emotions to flow, so that healing can begin.
Grace is a subtle strength wrapped in beauty and carried in all that you are. It is beyond words, a knowing, a seeing, a touch, a look that carries the beauty that is within you.
To become the grace that follows, is to become greater than the life moment that threatens to take from you all that is you.
That is a question I often ask myself when I look at our business.
What is it that makes a business unique?
It is all that you are, all that you know, and all that you will become, which moves you from different to unique.
Different brings with it a negative thought and energy at times. Different is not always seen as something to strive for. To be the same as, to be comparative to, is often the place we seek in business. This is a ‘less than’ place. It is a thought or belief that can constrict and withhold, keeping you and all you desire to be, held in ‘less than’.
Embracing the totality of who we are, and walking in the uniqueness of who we are is not always easy. It brings with it its own challenges. Often these are the words and actions of others. Questioning, prodding and poking, making assumptions and judgements, based on their own fears and unwillingness to embrace the uniqueness of who they are.
It may be that you are not unique in the actions you perform, however, your uniqueness comes from the reason why you do what you do, all that you are, the beauty that is in you. It is what sets you apart from everyone else who is in the same business or providing the same product or service.
At times we can feel a push pull between the who we are when we are not ‘doing business’, and the professional person we become when we step into our business persona. Aligning both brings balance, calmness and direction, moving you to a place of acceptance, a place of understanding and openness to be truly in and on purpose.
Unique is beautiful.
Unique is filled with the energetic purpose of who you are.
Unique is not swayed by the words or actions of others.
Unique is creative, empowered, and carried on empowered thought.
To be unique is to honour self, and to value all that you are.
To be unique in your business space is to allow all of who you are to be seen.
I think one of the loneliest and self-confronting places you can stand in is your own business. The drive, the urgency, the things that must be done, are never ending. It has been one of those weeks for me, where overwhelm and urgency has been strong and demanding. Moments where, if you were looking for me, check the lost and found. If you find me, slap a ‘return to sender’ sticker on my forehead.
Overwhelm is not a healthy space to remain in. It feeds stress, challenges the emotions, disconnects us from the energetic creative space, and we shut down from those who support and care. It is then we feel the pain, the tiredness, and the heaviness in the body.
It is those moments of overwhelm, that the reason why we do and holding tightly to staying in and on purpose sustains us. It is a place that moves past the intellect, the beliefs, thoughts and understanding that we hold, to the deep inner place of the core of who we are. From that place we rest in the ‘why’, easing the urgency and bringing balance to what we do.
Often the doing, the busyness, the demands of others becomes greater than the truth of what needs to be done. To remind ourselves of the reason for all the ‘doing’ can calm the urgency. It does not remove all that must be done, it bathes all of self, calming the emotions, stilling the thoughts, and connecting energetically. The emotional swings, the tiredness that consumes, the creative thoughts and the urgency to do, are measured against the reason for why we are doing what we are doing.
If we are true to who we uniquely are, to the inner purpose that is greater than the intellectual thought or belief around what we do, there is clarity and focus.
It is then we see the light that has cast the shadows, and we can change our focus and do all that we do in the purity of the purpose that flows though us and sustains us.
‘Instead of waiting weeks, months or years to get enough injury data, in a day we get a snapshot of our whole workforce’
In our last issue of EmmChat, we reported on a program currently being run in Townsville to focus on ‘Zero workplace injuries’. This issue we spoke to the Departmental Manager to get some more details on how the project was conceived and find out how it is progressing.
What started out as an idea to provide a workplace based remedial therapist to reduce muscular pain and discomfort for staff has turned into a wonderfully proactive opportunity to reduce workplace injuries. The manager with a large Utility Company instigated the program with local Remedial Therapist and Emmett Instructor Debbie Keighran. He had been a client of Debbie’s for many years and credits her treatments with fixing his long standing sports related injuries. In a moment of inspiration earlier this year, when he was looking for ways to re-invigorate his ‘tired and worn’ employees, he conceived the idea for a workplace therapist. After securing the funding he rang Debbie, who commenced a regular program of Emmett treatments for the staff.
‘It’s a pro-active program which focuses on injury prevention. The initial trial was scheduled for 3 months but once the trial date had expired, the results had been so good,we arranged to continue it. We are now 6 months down the track and in the process of rolling the program out to our workshops in Brisbane and Rockhampton as well at the Townsville site. There is a lot of interest.’
Senior management became very interested in the pilot program when they discovered not only had they experienced the desired reduction in workplace injuries, they had also been able to identify and address ‘at risk’ work practices and discover trends. ‘Instead of waiting weeks, months or years to get enough injury data, with the information Debbie provides, in a day we get a snapshot of our whole workforce. This had often been too late coming because the injuries had already occurred and the workforce had already suffered lost time and personal health and wellbeing issues’ he said.
‘This program provides us with a really good idea of areas that are at risk and as far as the workforce is concerned, they see that their employer is doing something for them – to make them feel better, improving their health and wellbeing. This aids workplace relations and improves morale and productivity …. A win/win situation all round’.‘In the short period we have been doing this program… we statistically would have normally experienced at least 1 workplace injury. With data just released, the national average lost time injury costs Australian industry about $66,000 per person. That is quite a big saving already. And for the cost of our work place program not only do we get to identify trouble areas, we are also providing ongoing treatment.’
‘It is a transparent program. We can look at the trouble areas – and then we can look at the work practices in those areas. I love the focus of it… We get a pretty good focus .. if 40% of the guys in one area all have the same injury, we work it back to find out what they are doing in the their duties which might be contributing. It could be as simple as using a screw driver in one hand and carrying a heavy tool in the other.’‘The program has only been going for 6 months – it is in its infancy… but head office already want to roll it out to the other sites. I get pretty excited about it.’
In one of my last articles I spoke about the DO’s of witness statement writing. In this article I want to address what topics should be included in a witness statement to make it a thorough and valuable document to include in your investigations. Too often I see employees filling out incident report forms where there is only room for a small paragraph to describe the incident and these “statements” only tend to address the few minutes leading up to the event. Here are 9 key areas of the sort of things I like to see in a witness statement which should be written by someone other than the witness involved so that you can draw out the most information possible from each and every witness.
1.The Name , Occupation, employer, work address, employment history and qualifications of the witness.
This is obviously pretty self-explanatory but in regards to who the employer is that can at times be a bit tricky when there are agencies involved or people are sub-contracting. The rule of thumb is basically who is the company stated on their pay slip. The employment history is also quite important as an indication of experience and knowledge of systems and work processes. For example, a witness may have ten years’ experience in a certain field but has only been on a particular site for two weeks and may not have a thorough knowledge of the site processes and has inadvertently reverted back to processes that he worked with on another site.
2.Describe how the witness was involved in the incident or how they have knowledge of the work activities, system of work or the persons involved in the incident.
Points of interest to be included:
- What were they doing
- How were they doing the work
- Who were they with
- Where were they located/positioned at the time
- When/how they became aware of the incident
Not only do you interview key witnesses but in this case you also have the option of taking a statement off someone who has knowledge of the work activities but may not have been involved in the event. I find that interviewing a couple of different employees will assist in providing you with a clear picture of systems , processes and other key aspects of a business’s activities
3 Describe what information the witness can give in relation to the incident. What they experienced; saw, heard, did, smelt, tasted in relation to the incident.
Each witness provides their knowledge of the incident and its cause based either on their eye witness account; subsequent investigation /inspection of the accident site; discussions with the IP or other witnesses after the incident; referring to incident reports or other investigation reports or first aid reports and accounts. Always keep this factual and in sequence making certain to confirm the date, time and place.
In this section I try and be as thorough as possible. If need be let the person draw the scene on a piece of paper and then adopt it into the statement for further reference. Also use the photographs that have been taken to jog the witness’ memory and adopt those into the statement. Be as detailed as possible, so for example, if the witness is discussing a particular object I will ask what material was it made of, its length and width, its weight and how did the witness know this etc. The more detailed you are the better your understanding of the underlying issues within the event that you are investigating. Remember we asking what, where, when, why, how and who……..over and over again.
Points of interest to be included:
- Describe the scene generally ( if applicable)
- Specifically describe all the aspects of the incident
- Identify persons
- Produce exhibits: photographs etc
4.Describe any background information relevant to the current incident.
This will include any information in the chronology of the events which leads up to the incident. In the case of an assault in the workplace by a work colleague, describe any build up or history of previous personality conflict and altercations and how management dealt with this.
5.Discuss Induction and training in relation to the activities
Obtain a full description of the witness’ initial induction and the topics covered under these instructions; duration; whether they were provided any notes or a booklet; whether they had to sign this or any other company document agreeing to their OH&S rules and company policies.
Although a number of companies will say they have no formal induction, describe their informal induction processes –
E.g. ‘At the time of commencement, I was given an orientation lecture from………..(a supervisor) and walked through the workplace. I was shown the no go areas, the lunchroom and toilets and was then placed alongside an experience worker to be trained under the “buddy system”. When he was deemed to be competent enough to perform the duties on his own, then worked with minimal supervision.’
In regard to training – provide information and copies of any certificates regarding further courses completed or qualifications obtained by the witness. Also whether the witness was trained under a multi skill system and obtained further recognition.Training and competency levels of the injured person need to be determined as part of the investigation process.Identifying deficiencies in the training process is important to identify and for facilitating continuous improvement processes.
6.Systems of work prior to the day of the incident
This will include a detailed overview of duties of the witness and the activities and nature of his/her duties.
Importantly, cover all aspects of the duties in relation to the normal system of work related to the work activities (which resulted in the incident) prior to the day of the incident. What procedures were in place and , were JHAs carried out, were Take 5s completed, had there been any near misses previously or maintenance issues and how were these actioned. Include the completed number of repetitions of these tasks in an average shift; whether there were any deadlines; any penalties; bonuses or what would happen if the worker(s) failed to meet the company output targets. Were these all factors? What system failures allowed the incident to occur? How could the incident have been avoided? During this part of the interview allow the witness to examine his/her beliefs and knowledge as to how the incident occurred. The witness may have significant knowledge in a certain field and should be allowed to express their opinion.
7.Level of supervision at the time of the incident.
Describe the type of supervision he/she was under, whether direct or whether the witness was deemed competent and trustworthy of working with minimal supervision.
8.Discuss what procedures, JHAs, Take 5s were in place prior to the incident. Were they appropriate and being followed?
Remember before taking a statement please make sure that you have read all the associated documents that you are going to discuss in the statement. Read the relevant procedures and identify if the witness has actually ever used the procedure or has been trained in it. Do they have access to it and has it ever been used a reference? The same goes for the JHA and Take 5s . look at the quality of the documents. Have the risks been addressed appropriately.
Prior to asking a witness about a procedure or JHA etc I usually ask the witness to walk me through the work process of a particular activity or to identify the hazards involved . I note this commentary in the statement. I then produce the associated document and discuss this further. In this way you can very quickly get a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding an event. Be thorough and know your documents inside and out. Highlight areas in the documents that you want an explanation for and include it in the. Statement.
9.If the accident was caused by the failure, design or mechanical problems with a machine
If the accident was caused by the failure, design, mechanical problems with a machine, describe the cause, the remedy and identify any third parties that may have been responsible for the failure.
E.g. A contracted maintenance firm who failed to properly fit a safety guard to a press machine.
Talk about one thing at a time – one thought per sentence, one sentence per paragraph.
If your company has had a serious incident or accident or is being investigated by WorkSafe we can assist your business to carry out in-depth investigations. Our personnel have years of experience in managing, coordinating and undertake highly sensitive and complex investigations of fatalities, traumatic accidents and serious incidents and preparing prosecution and legal reports for lawyers. We are also able to undertake legal privilege investigations for your in house general counsel or for your legal firm.
Contact us on 0408 955 929 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org