The only thing that would have prevented me doing the course would have been myself, my fear of change and not knowing what I was getting into. I deliberately didn’t read the pamphlets. I’d had discussions with my Manager about wanting to change, but not knowing how to change. He suggested The Power of Personal Change. I have a lot of respect for my manager and the way he deals with people, and I wanted to deal with people in a similar way. He suggested the course and that was good enough for me.
I found out more about myself in those 6 days than I have in 49 years of living. I found I had a lot of defences, walls and barriers up. I pushed people away. I didn’t want people to know me, because I’d already made up my mind what I thought they’d think of me, which wasn’t fair on them. I think I’ve taken those barriers down — I’ve certainly hugged a lot more people than I ever have before!
The thing that stood out for me and that I enjoyed most was the reflection each morning. I’ve been on courses where we’ve had times like that. But what I enjoyed about your course was that it could go for half an hour or it could go for three hours. There was no feeling of, “OK let’s wrap this up and move on”. I felt like if it had gone all day you would have allowed that. The reflection and listening were incredible.
One morning I was listening to someone, and I was thinking about all the ways I could respond to what was happening. It was as if all the choices of how I could respond were laid out in front of me — like I had multiple choices. It was almost like slow-motion; I could feel all these different multi-choice decisions, starting with my old reaction and slowly coming around to what I’d learnt. And that was only the second day. It was very powerful for me. I decided I wanted to be open and honest and, while it was challenging, I wanted to respond so that what I was saying wasn’t in any way offensive or destructive.
The environment — right from the word go — made it safe. I don’t have words to describe the environment. I felt from the moment I walked in and met everyone that I was transparent. Even if I wanted to hide something, I felt like they would have seen it — in a good way! I felt, “This is my opportunity to be me.” There was no thinking going on when I entered the room each day, I just felt safe. I felt I could do anything and would be forgiven, or accepted, or loved, or corrected, but that everything would be in a way that would be advantageous to me. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
The way I interact with my children has changed. I listen a lot more and act a lot less. I just love them and they’re responding differently. At work I rearranged my office to create better flow and people have noticed that. Before I had my desk as a barrier to protect myself, whereas now people just come in and there’s nothing between them and me. I don’t need to protect myself. Communication is more open, and I think I listen better.
Some things haven’t changed; I’m still not into social media! I just like a simple life and I’m not a small-talker. That’s OK — it’s made me feel comfortable in myself.
I have highly recommended the course already. I recommended that people should go with an open mind and the willingness to change. So if a person wants to change but doesn’t have the tools, it’s the right space for them.
It’s a life changing experience, and I think for people who think it’s a googly-gaggly, superstitious kind of thing — it’s their loss. And for anyone who thinks you can’t have a decent course in Raglan, they don’t deserve to go on it! It’s quality not quantity to be honest, and I like that you restrict the numbers, because the more people you have, the harder it is to get everyone on the same page.
The time that I was on the course was invaluable. I’m trying to find words to make it as valued as possible, but there aren’t any. It’s more of an experience of the number of people you can affect, once you’ve changed. You can’t put a dollar value on that.