Colin's Story

The Warrior Programme

I work within Police Scotland’s National Safer Communities Division and I am responsible for a number of priority work areas which focus on protecting vulnerable people. My team are located across Scotland.

I joined the division in September 2019 having spent the previous 20 years on operational duties across Ayrshire and parts of Glasgow. The move into a more strategic role has been demanding & challenging. Previous formal training had taken place almost exclusively internal to the organisation based on specific functions.

6 months into my new role I was approached and asked if I would consider taking part in an innovative approach to personal development. Never one to pass an opportunity to try something different I jumped at the chance, to then be sent the joining instructions which described “Warrior for the Human Spirit Training” – I then researched what ‘it’ was.

I found that warrior training, according to Google, was either a fitness camp, a rugby club or an approach to achieving ninja status. I didn’t think any were applicable to my role!

Further enquiry revealed it was in fact a programme which promotes the practice of mindfulness, self control and supporting the most important thing: people. A programme being delivered through a residential experience for an initial 5 days.

I arrived on the Monday, still with very little understanding of what was going to unfold or indeed what benefits I would derive with a doubt that it was indeed the right fit for me. How mistaken I would be.

I met a group of people, all in relaxed mode and dressed casually. Fascinating people from a wide variety of backgrounds, professions and, as would become apparent, with very different perspectives on life. For me, a perfect mix for personal development/learning.

I was quickly to learn that there were many commonalities: we all worked in some form of public service, we all functioned under pressure, we all experienced frustrations and, to varying degrees, we all had fluctuating control over our daily work.

Through a series of interactive and theoretical inputs/discussions I became aware of the importance of self-regulation and the fundamental need to have a much greater appreciation of other people, where they were approaching challenges from, their intentions and to do so while NOT judging. I gained an understanding that being curious, compassionate and willing to ‘have a go’ or more importantly allow others to have a go is vitally important to overall success. I also learned a lot about myself, and have reflected since that a lot of the pressure and stress I have experienced in general life is exactly how others feel. I appreciated after the weeks activities that I was not alone, unique, or indeed a failure because I had limited control over things. That is life and it is what we must accept as a starting point.

Things I always looked for from family, friends, colleagues were not necessarily going to come along eg praise & applause, but again I was not the only one with the same desire to know I was doing the right thing. We all feel the same – we are just not good at sharing the reality.

So, has it changed me and my approach…… absolutely. I would never have contemplated researching, let alone practicing, mindfulness. How I wish I had done so much earlier in my career. This has been the single most significant training I have engaged on in 20 years, it provided me a lot reassurances that I was not unique in my thoughts and also gave me some invaluable tools to help me cope with the pressures of day to day life, to lead people both at home and in the workplace by being friendly to myself, doing the right thing and appreciating people, their feelings and their beliefs & perspectives. Putting the theory to practice has been very beneficial.

I genuinely wish I had been exposed to the principals many years ago and would advocate them to colleagues, especially those working in a multi-agency or cross-sector environment.

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