Adam is 14 and lives on a large housing estate. His mother is a drug addict and he has four siblings, all with different fathers. When I first met him, his life had little structure, he missed great chunks of school and he had no expectations that his life would ever be any better. He had no aspirations or goals.
Adam’s mentor said had suggested he mightbe willing to go through the IYE sessions as a last ditch attempt to get him interested in something.
It looks at three areas – Personality, Purpose and Passion questionsor put another way, Who am I? Where am I going? and How will I get there? Adam answered these questions simply, with a ‘no-one’, ‘ nowhere’ and ‘won’t’ and I knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge.
The building blocks of the universe are contained in the elements- earth, water, wind and fire so we use these words to help people understand the elemental make up of their personalities.
So, it was this simple and visual profile I used with Adam. He was fascinated. As I brought up a variety of descriptions of the different elements, Adam began to show an interest and after a bit of humorous interaction he decided he was a ‘water’ type personality – a great team player, loyal, likes stability (although he said he actually got precious little of this) patient and sensitive (characteristics that weren’t immediately obvious to those who knew him). But he pointed out that under pressure water boils or freezes and this was what was happening in his life.
Next, in the ‘Where am I going section’, I started by talking about the missions of Adam’s favourite football team, Mc Donald’s, Asdaetc and he certainly knew his stuff as he matched the mission statements to every one of the organisations, correctly. We then chatted about what it might be like if he had his own personal mission for his life – giving him something concrete to measure his decisions and his life choices against. He looked a bit bemused but agreed to give the process a try. Adam found it surprisingly easy to create his . Wow! Was I impressed! We thenwent on to talk about what Adam would like to do if there were no barriersto his future career and he said he’dnever told anyone but he’d really like to be a sports physiotherapist.
When I showed him how well this fitted with his personality type and his mission, he was amazed. I had his full attention by now and he wanted to be reminded what the third question was. ‘How am I going to get there?’, I said and I told him that having an idea of his personality type and with a new personal mission statement , by looking at‘How will I get there’ we were going to work out how to make his mission a reality – basically, to work out a vision for his future.
For Adam, his vision had to begin with returning to school regularly! We’d looked at the exam results he’d need if he wanted to train as a sports physiotherapist and what colleges he could apply to. Adam was ....excited! In a two hour slot, he’d got a real idea of who he was, where he was going and how he could get there. And returning to school on a regular basis came out of Adam’s own desire to achieve what he wanted, not because someone was hassling him.
Adam’s story is being repeated in many different venues around the country, from NEET’s to sixth formers and teachersto business men. It's something which gives each of them, no matter what their situation, a focus as they look to the future and it helps enormously with decisions about course choices, employment possibilities and even career changes.