Moving away from what is wrong to what is strong

07 Jun 2016

'Shifting our focus from what is wrong to what is strong' Cormac Russell, Nurture Development, TedTalks

Sonia says:

For so long the focus within the so called helping industries was one that 'fixed' a person or their situation. We turned the person who came to us for support or advice into the victim, putting them in a box that said 'help' and taking away their autonomy to continue to do things for themselves.

 We often face situations in our lives when we cannot manage alone but this does not mean that, because we need support in one area of our lives, we automatically become useless in all areas. Cormac Russell and the Nurture Development team have started to influence those services that traditionally focussed on what was wrong in a person's life to start to focus on what is strong about that person or indeed how communities can grow if we focus on what are the strengths of that community.   The concept of what is strong can be adapted from a personal perspective to an organisational or communal one.

 The approach of focussing on the assets we have at our disposal, whether they be people, places or connections, ensures that solutions to certain situations we face do not happen in isolation and once a service is in place, those who put those solutions in place can simply walk away but leave us isolated and awaiting the next crisis. By helping people to make their own connections and take control in changing things either personally or within their communities, we make that person feel connected to something bigger and part of something where they have a valuable role to play.   We can only do this if we invite each other to identify our own solutions and play a role in creating those solutions.

Having been involved with the lives of people who others have often seen as no longer capable of doing things for themselves, I know there are people who will struggle with these ideas but by getting to understand the soul of a person or a community we can support anyone to retain that soul and build on it.

The questions need to start simple and in his TedTalk Cormac uses an example that really spoke to my soul.  Talking with an older community member the questions he was asked were simply - What are you passionate about? What makes your eyes dance in your head?

My answers came to me immediately. What would yours be?

View the video