Putting "community" into community radio: being the spark is as powerful as the star
I am thrilled to be shortlisted for "Best Female Presenter" for my show "The Wellbeing Lounge" on NLive Radio. But beyond the personal ego boost - which is "nice" - I know the show means much more.
The Wellbeing Lounge was conceived in 2021 as a response to the pandemic. Radio is often cited as that much needed voice for company through loneliness, and I wanted to raise awareness of the many services available for support, as well as offer my own simple, practical, accessible tips and tools for wellbeing, which can go some way to helping buffer the effects of stress, as well as bridge the gap between reaching out and professional intervention due to hugely overwhelmed services.
Through my own work in the field as an author and development trainer, I am able to connect my listeners with wonderful guest experts sharing their work, inspirations and again ideas and activities for our mental, physical and emotional health, but also having a platform has helped me develop a personal passion - giving people a voice.
We have a human need to connect, and with that comes a drive to be seen, heard, validated and welcomed as individuals. However, many people lack to confidence and sometimes the opportunities to develop those skills...as such, while they may have so much they want to say and do (or indeed ARE saying and doing), it can be hard to bring that offering to the world.
When you pave a way for yourself, others can walk it too
Thirty years ago I produced my first theatre show, it was a vanity project, I played the role I wanted...why? Because no-one saw what I had to offer beyond what I looked like. I had talent, but I was relegated to playing the Princess in Aladdin - three times in a year once! I figured, if I wanted to diversify myself, I was going to have to do it. I self funded the show because I didn't want the ability to pay an am dram society fee to be a barrier to people joining in, and I pledged to include everyone (especially casting colour-blind)...and put in the time to nurture new talent where needed. It was a baptism by fire to produce a show, but now, 30 years on, with community productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Malaysian premiere of Fawlty Towers in Penang, Return to the Forbidden Planet - with an actor-musician cast in my portfolio, I continue to use that platform to raise money and raise awareness of causes...and give opportunities to anyone who has the talent to show it.
I recognised not just the power of theatre to build confidence, but the power of opportunity.
If you have a platform - share it, and the results can be beyond wonderful.
In The Leader's Guide to Resilience, I wrote about the "crime triangle" which suggests that the instigation of a (criminal) event requires all three elements: means, motive and opportunity. So too does personal development.
Many people already have a desire (motivation) and also the ability to some extent, but lack the opportunity to show it and finesse it. Yet, with the very people you work with, and in everything you do – that’s an opportunity to make a difference – if not on a wider scale, at the very least within your immediate environment.
Create the OPPORTUNITY for people to become, and you might find the “special ingredients” in most successes are simply - being seen, being heard, and being valued...then being given a chance.
This is something I then fed into my Radio work. For many of the smaller community groups in the station's broadcast remit, whom I've been delighted to interview, the show is a valuable confidence building asset, as through being interviewed they have gained experience in public speaking and promoting their work and themselves. I even share the platform with some of my coaching clients who wish to develop their skills as presenters and speakers. It is difficult to teach confidence, but it can certainly be cultivated.
Community radio is exactly that (like community theatre) - it is for, and embedded within, the community. We have a duty to celebrate our little corner of the world, but also support those who live within it with their own growth...and while on the one hand I do this with my practical well-being subject matter, on the other - I actually might give little more than seeing, hearing, and telling someone "You've got something to say, come and say it!" And yes, maybe, as many of these things do, it starts as a vanity project...a way in which I could say - "hey, this is what I have to give", but it can evolve into so much more if you let it.
The Tinkerbell Effect
I have often joked to my clients - I'm like Tinkerbell (her pixie dust helped Peter Pan fly) - I help you on a small scale, so you can help others on a larger one. But I like that. I'm just me - and can only do as much as my own capabilities and finances. Some of my clients are international Master Planners - building actual communities themselves; others are leaders or managers in their fields; many of my students are aspiring to make their mark; those who join me on the radio or on stage are often significant players in their communities - and if I can encourage personal growth in all of them, they can pay that forward and the ripple effect is endless.
Always remember your actions may help more than you know
Mark Nepo spoke of a Japanese monk, Tetsugen, who was twice thwarted at his attempts to translate the talks of Buddha into Japanese. He spent years saving money to publish the translations - and after about 8 or 9 years, there was a flood. Tetsugen gave the money away. He started saving again, and after 10 or so years, there was a famine and again he gave away the money. After 25 years, he finally published the translation, and now a moral which is passed down in Japan from generation to generation is "In his life Tetsugen made three versions of these texts - the first two surpass the last."
Sometimes, it is about being a spark as much as it is about being the star.
If you would like to share your story in The Wellbeing Lounge, please contact Audrey via the CONTACT page or on email@example.com
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the practical "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; or her Radio Show "The Wellbeing Lounge", and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt
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