Staying positive in a time of change
Updated: Aug 5
Four months ago I didn’t know what ‘furlough’ meant, I especially didn’t know what a ‘Furlonteer’ was, and the thought that I might be living back with my parents having been made redundant four months later was definitely not something that had crossed my mind...
Staying positive, pro-active and making the best out of a surreal situation can help you weather the bad storms of life, and the last 4 months has especially proven this to me and taught me a lot. The world is going through a pretty bad storm at the moment but my time on furlough and with Furlonteer has brought with it the greatest of silver linings.
At the end of my third week on furlough I was reading an article in the ‘i’ newspaper and quickly realised that I had in fact completed 8 out of 10 in the cliché top 10 things people have done on Furlough, you know it; baking loaves of sourdough, learning Spanish, sewing and gardening etc.
I decided it was time to do something useful, I came across Furlonteer on Facebook. I didn’t realise it was in its very early stages of fruition and soon found myself helping out with Furlonteer HQ. I’ve always been involved with charities outside of work but it's definitely not my professional background, and so with that came the first learning...
Learning 1: Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
I started helping with charity outreach and ensuring that all the charities that have signed up understood the process, and helped answer any questions and follow-ups they had. I played a role between the marketing and charity outreach teams and as the initiative grew, I on-boarded roughly 12 people over the course of 6 weeks. Everyone had such different backgrounds and amazing skills to bring to the table to make Furlonteer the success it is, it gave me such a buzz meeting new people who I wouldn't have otherwise met.
Everyone had such different backgrounds and amazing skills to bring to the table.
After a couple of weeks of ‘furlonteering’, I appeared on BBC Breakfast News with Sam the founder, I never imagined sitting in Cornwall and appearing on the BBC news trying to inspire more people on furlough to get involved in something called Furlonteer. Despite the awkward wave to the nation, it felt quite natural and I realised this was because I genuinely felt passionate about more people getting involved to come together to do good, and to make the most of their time on furlough.
Learning 2: Being made redundant is not a reflection on you.
As furlough continued, I began to realise that the world of sport wasn’t going to be bouncing back anytime soon and unfortunately, after almost 3 months on furlough, I was part of my company to be made redundant. Although I knew it was out of everyone's control I initially succumbed to the connotations that the word ‘redundant’ brings, I felt the panic of the unknown and the feeling of failure and that I wasn’t good enough. But the sea, reflection and sleep have magic powers and I soon decided that whilst I found myself in this unusual situation, I should challenge myself,
Learning 3: Do something every year that makes you laugh, cry, sweat and cramp (hard).
After a brief discussion one evening with my brother and boyfriend, we decided that we were going to run the length of Cornwall from Devon to Lands End. By far the longest endurance challenge I’ve ever tried. We climbed over 25,000ft, ran, shuffled and walked 5.5 marathons in 7 days. Like the last few months it wasn’t easy but It gave me a new sense of focus. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re capable of until you just put your head down and do it.
Learning 4: Make the most of every opportunity.
Furlough is also a perfect time to do that ‘thing’ that you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Like many sectors, sport and especially women’s sport, has suffered massively from the impact of Covid-19. I wanted to create a community to help ensure that the momentum behind women’s sport doesn’t disappear after all of this, to get women from all backgrounds to try something new in their community and be involved in more than just doing sport; but watching it, reading it and learning about it too. So I've finally made ‘Step Forward’ come to life.
Furlonteer and my time on furlough has enabled me to feel positive, have a purpose and stay connected.
At a time when there is so much change, Furlonteer and my time on furlough has enabled me to feel positive, have a purpose and stay connected, working and talking with new people, and doing things I would never have otherwise done. There are going to be more and more people in this strange position, but you don’t want to look back at this time with what you could have done, so do it. Stay proactive, stay upbeat, and keep communicating with those around you to ensure you weather this storm in the best way possible and come out smiling. You won’t be redundant and furloughed forever.
If you'd like to make a difference, why not volunteer with Furlonteer, and share your skills with one of the many charities we work with.