It is not always easy working with young people (yeah, I said it), and my work with the young has taken me to many places…some of which should involve a passport and learning a foreign language.
However, there exists a rare breed of people who not only enjoy the challenges of working with and motivating young people, but revel in it. I include myself in their number but, joking aside, camera, lights, action…
Enter FIXUP Seminars stage right (Focus into eXtraordinary Untapped Potential), the motivational and aspiration raising organisation who specialise in parachuting into schools SAS-like delivering innovative and action-packed motivational and empowering educational workshops. Personal development coaches who get teens and young people fired up about revising and knuckling down to their studies.
And I know of what I speak, since I first saw this dynamic team at Kings College London where they ‘invited’ a group of young people to stop making excuses and tap into their amazing inner strengths in order to get the best outcome from their education. To explore their gifts (usually hidden in plain sight) in order to go out there and greet their best life.
There was shouting, there was dancing, there was more shouting, there was shaking out the old beliefs and grabbing a new vision for themselves by the scruff of the neck and sitting it down. There were tears. Okay, that was me, but even the most resistant of those children left with the belief that they were in fact…amazing!
Inspiring, motivating and empowering.
But then again how could it not be with the Founder of the company operating under the moniker ‘Action Jackson’?
And it was a FIXUP call to action which saw me in the inner sanctum of FIXUP Enterprises last week and privy to some of their hiring techniques.
Hopefully you get already that you would need to be a rare individual indeed who dare call themselves a FIXUP Team motivational presenter. That it must take some challenging training to find presenters who are capable of delivering the jaw dropping results I witnessed. (Shy and retiring types – or shy and retiring types not able to switch on the magic when called for – need not apply.)
So, this mere mortal was excited to be invited to observe (remember that word for later) how such alchemy is concocted.
Since I was only due to rock up in the afternoon, I have it on good authority that the search for this rare breed began early in the morning with gruelling rounds of literacy, numeracy and personality tests, group presentations and individual interviews.
Then came the Random Presentations for the morning elite who had made it through to the afternoon session.
Since I was there on a different mission from the would-be FIXUP Team Ninjas, I was, er, bemused to see my name come up on the giant projector as part of the Presenter Assault Course Action Jackson and his team was to put his candidates through in the pm.
The format being a name called out at random to perform one of several tasks for the duration of 30 seconds to a roomful of strangers. Memory informs me that my bladder felt a little slack at this stage.
Some of the tasks:
- Make like a lost cat
- Talk tennis
- Talk about your favourite TV show
- Sing ‘Happy Birthday’
- Talk about memory
- Speak to any subject in a foreign accent
On my name, I sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and that went quite well – even after some bright spark suggested the tail end of the thing should be sung in the style of Marilyn Monroe. I churned out a breathy version and sat myself down relieved to have shown myself a sport and a good egg. (Actually, I loved it. The warmth and encouraging energy in that room, and the realisation that no-one wanted you to fail…that there was no fail if you were prepared to get up and at least try.)
And those would-be FIXUP motivational presenters did more than try. Even those who seemed quite shy and likely to burst into tears, turned on their particular brand of magic when came their turn. I could clearly see how they had made it through to the afternoon and the impact they would have on young people.
My smile was only slightly fixed, therefore, when it got through to my brain that we were to keep going through the names and tasks until we had all done at least maybe two more. No-one wanted to make like a lost cat, which I secretly wouldn’t have minded having a go at, but…
Lord, please not the Foreign Accent task. PLEASE.
“Next up, Melinda speaking to any subject in a foreign accent.”
That task was a bit of a blur, starting off with a suspect American accent, morphing into a Jamaican twang, segueing into a Vietnamese slur before someone put me out of my misery.
So when my turn came around again at an alarmingly quick rate, I was more than happy to get up and…dance. A Caribbean soca number where I was moving dem hips and waving my arms in the air like I just don’t care.
I didn’t care.
I was free and unafraid in a roomful of strangers with no fear of consequences…of making a fool of myself. To just go with the moment and know that this was nothing that could not be achieved. And God sent me a reminder at just that moment that if we are uncomfortable when performing for an audience, the audience in turn is uncomfortable.
So, I danced, free and unafraid, feeling amazing.
This is the freedom and deep breath of self belief the FIXUP team gift to the students they work with because they themselves are free and not afraid.
They are not afraid.
What could we not achieve if we stopped being afraid?
Little wonder then the group of students I witnessed at Kings College London left that FIXUP seminar energised, elated and empowered.
If only someone had taught me in school back in the day to be unafraid…to believe I am amazing and capable of achieving anything…to dance with my life freely…and not care who was watching.
There are moments in life that define us, and meeting Action Jackson and his FIXUP team of motivational speakers and presenters was one such moment for me.
And I would do it all again.