Shake it off and step up I consider it to be an enormous privilege and honour to be a director at Kingfisher Treasure Seekers. I am constantly deeply moved and personally challenged by the many people in our 'family' who despite having few of the advantages many of us would take for granted, are nevertheless, striving to be the best version of themselves. I am honestly amazed and deeply humbled by the awards (including the Queen's award) our social enterprise has won. I am absolutely certain that I am exactly where I am 'meant' to be and have the deep sense of fulfilment that comes with living life with such a purpose. That all said, leadership in any capacity, can be tough. It can feel like being on a roller coaster ride. We can experience real highs, lows and times when we are completely thrown by an unexpected twist and turn of events. This can leave us feeling disorientated and unsure as to how we are going to move forward from the place in which we now find ourselves. This is certainly something I have experienced in my personal life and in helping to set up and move forward the work of Kingfisher Treasure Seekers. A short while ago I was thinking about a particularly difficult challenge and unexpected situation I was facing in my leadership role, when I heard a story that really helped me regain my focus and resolve. The story was a about a grandpa donkey (stay with me!) talking with his grandson donkey. Grandpa donkey was giving his grandson some advice as to how to overcome setbacks in life. Times when life seems bleak and the challenges insurmountable. In those times, Grandpa donkey said, 'All you need to remember is to shake it off and step up.' His grandson was confused and asked him to explain what he meant. 'Well,' said grandpa donkey, 'I once knew a very old donkey friend who had fallen down a misused well. As my friend looked around him, he couldn’t see any way out. It was cold and dark and he was scared and frightened. Then he heard the voices of two men standing at the top of the well. The men were looking down the well and saw the donkey at the bottom. My friend was hopeful the men would rescue him. All hope was lost though and he was horrified when he heard them say, 'I don't think there's anyway we can get down there and the donkey seems very old, let's just fill in the well.' With that, grandpa donkey said, 'the men began to shovel earth on top of my friend and he was terrified he was going to be buried alive'. Then, grandpa donkey continued, 'the thought occurred to him, 'If I shake off this dirt it will fall to the ground and then I can step up my feet and trample it in beneath them.’ And this is what he did. With each shovel of dirt my friend shook it off, stepped up, lifted his legs,and trampled the dirt beneath him. After each shovel of earth was trampled in the ground beneath my friend, the ground beneath him became higher and higher until eventually he could feel the sun on his face as he approached the surface. Sometimes in life,' grandpa donkey said, 'all we can do is to keep shaking it off and stepping up over and over again until finally we begin to feel the sun on face again.' As I listened to this story, I realised how true this often is in life and perhaps especially in leadership. Life takes unexpected twists, turns and setbacks and before we know it we find ourselves feeling like we are in a pit with any way out seemingly beyond us. As I reflect on the moments 'in the sun', the victories,we have experienced in the life of Kingfisher Treasure Seekers, it has always come as a result of a great deal of shaking off and stepping up. Shaking off the disappointments of a funding application being turned down, people not being as committed as they promised, missing deadlines, being misunderstood, being criticised. This is not me having a 'pity party'; far from it. I have come to realise as I look back it's been through the times when I have had to step up, exhausting though it can be, that this is where I've grown the most. It seems shaking off and stepping up was wise advice indeed from Grandpa donkey. After all, isn't this what builds emotional resilience.? I have come to see that emotional resilience in leadership and indeed in life in general, is a vital ingredient in removing every obstacle if our dreams are to become reality. That all said, a 'pit free zone' for a while is what I am most hoping for!