Why encouragement is the greatest motivator

Tim Gibson reflects on a life lesson about the power of encouragement to change lives

By Tim Gibson

Charley* was a withdrawn boy. A typical teenager from a London estate. Broken home, poor schooling. Self esteem at rock bottom. When he stepped onto our yacht for a week’s sailing as part of a charity project, he barely said a word. Slung a Nike holdall in his pit and sat quietly in the corner, staring daggers at anyone who tried to engage him in conversation.

    ...he was apparently unmoved by the beauty of the stars twinkling in the sky above us.  

He was assigned to my watch, on the grounds that if anyone could get him chatting it would be me, who rarely shuts up. But it wasn’t easy. We sailed from Hamble to Cowes, then across to Poole. Four days into our voyage we anchored in the shelter of Lulworth Cove. The plan was for some of us to swim ashore and walk round to Weymouth, while the rest of the crew sailed there.

“Come on, Charley,” I implored. “Join us for a swim. It’ll do you good to get some exercise. And it’s a great day for a walk over the headland.”

Charley wasn’t keen. He hadn’t been keen on much, to be honest. When our watch was on deck, he’d sit huddled in the corner unspeaking and unengaged. Even when we sailed overnight from the Isle of Wight, he was apparently unmoved by the beauty of the stars twinkling in the sky above us.

Eventually, though, after lots of encouragement, he agreed to accompany us on our swim and stroll. He was still reluctant, but came up on deck with his swim shorts and rash vest on, ready to dive in.

Touching the water was like being exposed to some kind of magic potion. Charley’s demeanour changed immediately. He was an exceptionally strong swimmer, and quickly made progress towards the beach in the cove. I strained every sinew to keep up with him, dragging myself ashore and gasping, “Crikey, Chas. You’re a flippin’ good swimmer.”

That moment of recognition signalled a change in our relationship. By identifying a clear strength in Charley, I unlocked something in his psyche that was massively untapped. So when I encouraged him to jump straight back in the water and swim to the stragglers, giving them a friendly boost as they made their slow progress towards the shore, he didn’t hesitate. It was the first time I’d seen him do something with genuine enthusiasm all week.

When one of those stragglers later tripped over a hummock and twisted his ankle, it seemed inevitable that the revitalised Charley would be the one to help him through the final three miles of our walk. At one point, I glanced round to see Charley with his big arms wrapped around his injured crewmate, offering gentle words of support as they limped, three-legged style, towards the boat.

For the remaining three days of our sail-training voyage, Charley was a completely different person. Funny, enthusiastic, lively and engaged. He ended up being recommended for watch leader training, giving him the chance to come back in future years and mentor other novice sailors.

    ...By identifying a clear strength in Charley, I unlocked something in his psyche that was massively untapped.  

As he left the boat at the end of our trip, I helped him down to the pontoon, where I’d been loading victuals onto a trolley. As we shook hands, he looked me straight in the eye and said: “Thanks for what you did in Lulworth. No one’s ever told me I’m good at something before. It made all the difference.”

It’s tempting to chalk this experience up as an example of my world-famous man-management skills. But the reality is this: that difference Charley saw? He made it all by himself. All I did was show him how good he could be.

Tim was sailing in the late 1990s with the London Sailing Project (LSP). The charity, now called the Rona Sailing Project, continues to provide sail-training voyages for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 and vulnerable adults. It specialises in working with people who have learning disabilities, mental health issues, a history of addiction, or who are living with long-term challenging conditions.

*Charley is a false name. His identity has been disguised.

Published: 15 May 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this story, you may like – Getting things into focus

You may also want to read – “When we lose we learn”

Jobs currently available

New job
Goods In and Despatch Person
Sector: Warehouse
Salary: £10.00 - £11.00 per hour
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909243
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a goods in and despatch person with some QC experience on behalf of a company based in Colchester.

You will be responsible for booking in and booking out all deliveries for the company. Competent skills in use of computers and Excel is essential for this position.

Aim:

To assist the two Production Managers with the coordination and control of all goods in and out process, for all departments. Excellent communication between departments is necessary.

Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all goods arriving and being despatched from the factory in an orderly manner
  • Quality control of all products leaving and entering the factory from finishers or being sent directly to clients
  • Compiling pallets lists using Excel
  • Keep the despatch list up to date for purchasing and sales information
  • Collate all the delivery notes for the purchasing dept to collect and check them against the purchase order and mark that they have arrived

Characteristics:

  • Meticulous attention to detail, alongside a high level of accuracy
  • Keeping work area clean and tidy
  • Self-motivated
  • Good time management skills with the ability to prioritise simultaneous multiple tasks
  • Ability to read CAD drawings desirable but not essential
  • Forklift licence preferred
Read more
New job
Machine Operator/Assembler
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £18,000 - £20,000 per annum
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909240
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a Machine Operator/Assembler for a client based on the outskirts of Sudbury.

The role will involve the following skills:

  • Assembly of timber staircases from in-house manufactured components.
  • Working to daily/weekly deadlines.
  • Assisting with machining standard parts for staircase assembly.
  • Assisting team with loading and despatching finished goods and making the necessary despatch records.
  • Use of a variety of hand and power tools including power screw drivers and nail guns.
  • Application of specialist adhesives.
  • The use of special stair press, squares and other measuring tools to ensure that products are put together accurately and consistently.
  • Machine setting: loading of cutting tools to magazine and placing work holding equipment on machine bed.
  • Loading of work-piece blanks to machine table using laser alignment system or other stop/location devices where necessary.
  • Machine operation: Exercising awareness whilst machines are ‘in cycle’, clearing of waste and offcuts and remaining watchful for other employees approaching the area where the machines are in ‘automatic operation’.

In addition, candidates should be:

  • Physically fit and be able to carry out this task across the entire working day.
  • Able to lift and carry parts and materials and be experienced in group lifting activities when the need arises.
  • Comfortable with handling workshop documentation, adhering to established works procedures and eventual involvement in computer-based data entry.
  • Have a familiarity with timber machining and how cutter rotation, in and out paths can Additional skills in first aid, H&S, manual handling (maybe with supporting vocational qualifications) or fork truck driving will also be noted.
  • Reading component data from workshop documentation including drawings and cutting lists.
  • Carrying out daily/weekly/monthly maintenance and cleaning of machinery to keep in good working order.
  • Any candidate who has had prior experience of CNC machining of timber components will be of interest

Monday to Friday 8am-4.30pm

Free Parking

20 days plus bank holidays

Standard gov pension scheme.

Read more
New job
Sales Executive £40k OTE plus Company Car
Sector: Sales
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906139
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be representing a company based on the outskirts of Colchester, they are looking for a new member of the sales team. 

Are you a driven sales person looking for a new business role? 

Would you like to self manage your day, drive your own leads and develop new business? 

Would you like to work in a role where you have autonomy? 

The package offered includes a basic salary and commission, this is uncapped and the average sales person is earning in excess of £40k.

As well as a good financial package you will have 20 days holiday plus bank holidays, staff benefits, an excellent working environment and the opportunity to progress. 

You will also have a fully expensed company car! 

Your normal working hours will be Monday to Friday 9 - 5:30 but this role does require some travel and 1 night away away from home (Thursday night - fully expensed and meals included)

You must possess the following skills and attributes:

  • Excellent communications skills.
  • Be able to communicate at all levels as you will need to deliver information to stakeholders.
  • Excellent IT skills.
  • A real desire to be successful.
  • Outgoing, bright personality.
  • It would be beneficial to have but not essential.
  • Sales experience.

This is an excellent opportunity to build a successful career, its all about you!

Please note that due to the nature of the role and travel required you must have a full clean driving licence and be prepared to stay away from home 1 night a week (Thursday). 

Read more
New job
Payroll Assistant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £19,000 - £23,000 per annum
Location: Norfolk – Norwich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909231
About the role

Our client, a leading independent accountancy firm are looking to recruit a Payroll Administrator to join their practice in Norfolk

This role may be suitable for you if you have previously been involved in the preparation of payrolls (ideally within a bureau environment) and if you have a keen interest in further developing your skills and becoming part of a busy payroll bureau.

The available position is working within the Business and Private Team in the payroll bureau, assisting with the processing of client payrolls which vary in frequency (weekly, monthly, 2/4 weekly) and in size (1 to 100+ employees). 

You will have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the payroll function and will have the potential to progress with increased responsibility for clients. We are looking for a candidate with good communication skills, who enjoys working as part of a team, has the ability to organise their workload and an appetite for learning and development.

Addresses, discusses and advances conclusion in respect of technical and audit issues identified during the course of the audit

Controls the audit in relation to timescales, budgets and risk managements procedures

Provides feedback through regular communication and timely assignment appraisal

To be conserved for the role you will have:

  • SAGE and / or Payroll Professional (formerly known as Star) experience.
  • Xero / Quickbooks payroll experience.
  • Background in working in a payroll bureau environment
Read more