Facilitator Focus: Lisa

Today we are focusing on one of the amazing facilitators that is helping women be their best! Lisa has just recently completed training in delivering The Real Me programme and has kindly taken the time to chat to us about her experience!

1. Tell me a bit about yourself, where are you from?

My name is Lisa and I actually grew up just 5 minutes away from here on the other side of the Peace Wall on the Falls Road. I live in Lisburn now with my wee dog Sandy, she’s a cockapoo and she’s just turned three! 

2. How did you find out about and connect with GLOW?

So I was on the WRDA community facilitator course and one week I sat beside the lovely Natasha (another GLOW facilitator) and we connected straight away. I’d say she’s one of my closest friends. She asked me if I had anything lined up after the course and that she had been sent by GLOW. After she explained who GLOW were and all about The Real Me programme, I just thought ‘That’s it, that’s what I want to do’ and so I got Chara’s details and then had an interview.

3. Lisa before you had heard of GLOW you were already training to become a facilitator so what interested you in taking this path?

As part of my personal development journey, I went to a really intense three day programme and it was the first time I had ever been around other vulnerable people who were being so raw, sharing their story and I just felt connected to them all. 

I remember sitting there watching the programme facilitator and thinking what she was doing was amazing. I wanted to do what she was doing, for the women in my own community.

4. You mentioned you were on a PDP programme yourself. Who were you before you started that programme and at that point did you see yourself ever wanting to become a facilitator?

Six months before I did that programme, I also started having therapy. I had just come back from Australia. I had a lovely house and was going to the gym and looking good but inside I just felt like so much stuff had caught up with me that I needed to address. So I went into therapy and I felt things starting to shift but wanted to dig up more. I wanted to go to programmes, seminars and I was reading more books.

If I think about who I was before, I was definitely someone who cared a lot about what everyone thought. I had low confidence, low self-esteem and I didn’t like speaking in front of others. I had a lot of old beliefs about myself that I carried around from my childhood. Beliefs that weren’t necessarily who I really was. I suppose I also just didn’t feel like there was meaning there. I didn’t feel like I had real, authentic relationships with anyone. I went through my life always pretending I was really independent and that I didn’t need anyone. But inside I deeply wanted a hug, closeness. So when I began my journey I was breaking off that shell and saying ‘No I want connections, authenticity and vulnerability. I want to be able to say how I really feel’. 

So I believe in this work whole-heartedly. 

5. What was it that appealed about GLOW’s programmes and why did you want to facilitate The Real Me?

It was really about empowering women. Hearing the women making comments about them having low self-esteem and confidence. I realised that women have always been conditioned to be quiet and not be seen. Even I was afraid of what people thought of me at one point. One day I realised, this is crazy, we are fully grown women and we should be able to step into our power and not feel afraid to share how we feel or feel like we’re being judged. The space that is created here at GLOW allows women to do that.

6. You’ve been doing an amazing job co-delivering The Real Me so far! What do you see women getting out of the programme?

I see the increase in self-esteem and I see the women becoming more confident in who they are. They aren’t just mothers or whatever labels have been assigned to them and I see them gaining so much more self-awareness as they discover what find joy in, what their strengths are and what triggers them. When we have more awareness of who we are we have choices to make as to how we approach situations. I feel this programme gives women choices so they can make positive changes. Another thing the women get is that sense of belonging as they are all so real in sharing their struggles and not feeling just as alone.

7. I’ve been told that outside of GLOW you are also studying to become a counsellor which is amazing! Is that the ultimate goal for you?

So I’m still in therapy myself now. I don’t go every week and I’m not going to say it was just therapy as I’ve been doing a lot of other work on myself. But therapy has been transformational for me. Having someone there to talk to every week just made massive shifts. It made me see myself in a new light and possibilities were endless!

So that’s why I wanted to do a counselling degree and as much as that is the end goal and I do want to pursue and practice, I also want to continue facilitating these programmes too. I think the energy and empowerment from women coming together is absolutely vital.

8. Did you encounter any challenges over lockdown? If so, how did you manage/overcome them?

I’m definitely a classroom learner but because my second semester from January through to May was all online, that was a big challenge for me. I get so sleepy being on technology all day, so I printed off all my notes the night before a lecture so I could focus more on what was being said. That’s how I overcame that.

Within my personal life, I was a bit scared to begin with. I was watching the news constantly and that made me more anxious so I stopped watching TV and started transcendental meditation 3 or 4 times a day. I bought myself a piano and started to learn how to play and I got an app that teaches me. I still do that 2-3 times a week now, I love it. I also did lots of journaling too and had so much time to reflect. 

9. Do you have any advice for anyone out there who would like to become a facilitator?

I would say, go for it. You should always try. One thing I know is that the fear of trying something new is always there but it does slowly start shifting. If you had told me that I would be facilitating a programme and I’d be confident doing it, I would never have believed you. So just feel the fear and do it anyway.

10. Lastly, bit of a fun question – What makes you GLOW? 

My wee dog Sandy! My best friend throughout lockdown! Sandy and I in a forest park, any park and the sun is out, I have coffee and I’m listening to a podcast. She’s a cockapoo and just seeing her wee floppy ears makes me so grateful. I’m in my element with her.