Let’s crack a few eggs….
There’s an old saying that goes ‘you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette’. It kind of reflects the approach that I’ve taken to Safeti so far. This has now led us to Safeti’s very own health and safety podcast.
I love those old proverbs. My mother used to have a great book of them which we would take out and read every now again when we needed to listen to some words of wisdom.
The saying simply means that you can never achieve anything without being prepared to make mistakes. You also have to accept that sacrifices will need to be made. I’ve taken heed of this old adage when pushing forward with this project.
The purpose of the Safeti project was primarily to knowledge-share and raise awareness. With the ultimate aim of helping both people and the environment. The development of the website and it’s growth have been a passion project to date.
I haven’t been counting the extra-curricular hours spent learning new skills and connecting with people. But I know it’s substantial!
This has led to the creation of our very own HSE Podcast. The Safeti podcast aims to give you a unique insight into the roles, careers, challenges and achievements of real people in the Health, Safety & Environment industry.
I’m pretty stoked about the Safeti Podcast. I think there is an opportunity to really provide value to the industry and for us to increase our impact through sharing ideas and to promote transparency.
The hope is that it will generate honest, healthy discussion on deep-rooted issues in the HSE profession. The by-product of which should be encouraging people to take action.
The ability to share knowledge and help each other is easier than ever before, and the Safeti project is going to truly embrace it.
They say the challenge is the Way
I want to get totally honest with you here about my experiences and thoughts during the process of launching the Safeti Podcast. Many of the people that I follow in the online world continually speak about the importance of ‘sharing the journey’.
I’m going to take that advice and try to write a little blog post every now and then as we move forward….though this may be easier said than done.
As with most winters here in Northern Ireland, I wanted to give myself a project to work on. It always has to involve learning something (or many things) new. Every year I will usually have a specific objective to achieve between the start of winter and the time spring comes round.
I feel mentally stronger having something to show for the unavoidable ‘dark months’. The thought of spending all winter slumped in front of TV doing nothing really frustrates me. I know, I’m weird.
A great bit of advice I once heard was to ‘turn your constraints into your advantages’. So once again, I thought I would get to work over winter and learn some new stuff. This time, I felt it was time for me to really bite the bullet.
Despite being brought up in the internet age, and some 20 odd years after getting my first internet-capable desktop computer, it was a ‘Gateway’ if I remember correctly.
I still hadn’t ever taught myself how to develop a website. That’s a little bit shameful if I’m honest with myself. What excuse did I have for not harnessing this transformative technology?
In my head, I thought the DotCom boom and bust put me off it all a little, then there was the ‘Great Recession’. The internet felt a bit too risky for some strange reason. Of course, in retrospect, these are just excuses.
Fast forward ten years and I still hadn’t done it. Lots of thinking about it, and no ‘doing’.
I also felt that my knowledge and experience wasn’t yet sufficient to be doing something of my own. This could be the right or wrong approach depending on your outlook. The truth is, we are never truly ready to get out of our comfort zone. We just have to do it.
Some time ago, I had quit Facebook. Much to the derision of my social circle. I’d had a moment of realisation, I couldn’t look at another selfie, holiday snap or self-congratulatory post without squirming. I thought, this is adding no value to my day-to-day existence.
The only real downside is that it was good for keeping in touch with friends across the world. Thankfully, Whatsapp was invented shortly afterwards. The relationships could survive after all.
After a few years, I thought I would let social media back into my life, but only to use it in a positive way to help people. Not to present a false image of how amazing my life is and make other people feel inferior or inadequate.
Moving on, October 2017 and my 34th birthday had passed. If I didn’t do it now, I would never do it.
Not one for doing things by halves, I decided to tackle building a WordPress site. I felt that despite there being easier options out there, that it was important for me to understand the mechanics of how a website really operates.
By taking this route (admittedly the site is fairly rudimentary) the learning curve has been steeper but more rewarding. I definitely feel better because I’ve got rid of that monkey off my back.
Also, it didn’t cost a huge amount (apart from the many late nights slogging over the computer). If you ever wondered about doing a blog, website etc. but have never got round to it, I recommend giving it a go.
Power of the Podcast
Having listened to some awesome people and their podcasts over the last couple of years, I’ve got some amazing value and learning from those that I have followed. Being so immersed in my full-time job and with a young family to keep life frantic, I was struggling to put the pieces together.
How could I connect with others and help people in the HSE world?
I started with Safeti’s free offering of study support and CV guidance as a means of connecting with and assisting others. This has certainly got some traction but it does take up lots of time (which I don’t have much of at present) and the level of reach and growth is painstakingly slow.
That said, it has been a fantastic way to engage with and help folks whilst getting to know them personally. There were so many ideas running around my head, things I could share, others I really wanted to learn about.
The opportunities to help other people and influence positively are boundless.
A health and safety podcast seemed to be a good way to roll many of these elements into one and create something useful for people (that will stick around for hopefully a very long time). It was only through writing a few blog posts and getting some positive feedback that I began to connect the dots.
Taking the positives where I could find them, I pushed forward with the notion of the Safeti Podcast.
There are certainly no illusions of grandeur here. I’m not a ‘guru’, don’t want to become one and don’t want to come across as trying to be one. I can’t be sure that anyone will be interested in listening to the interviews.
Who actually wants to listen to a health and safety podcast? Especially with me talking on it. But I guess you don’t know until you try. If I can help a handful of people & learn as I go, then I see that as a success.
Suffice to say, starting a podcast wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Severe Microphone Fear
Now, just so you know, this audio format move was not without moments of severe trepidation. Some of my first niggling thoughts were:
1. People aren’t going to understand me
My wife continually tells me that I mumble. How are people going to make out what I am saying? There we go, already an opportunity for improvement! Ok, I said to myself. I’ll try to put on a polite version of my Belfast accent and see how that works out.
2. I’ll sound terrible
It appeared to me (and still does) that I couldn’t talk into a microphone and actually sound like myself – I think I am generally relaxed, inquisitive and enthusiastic. I have a fear that I will just sound like someone who lost their way and should have stuck to the day job.
3. Why would people want to come on the podcast to speak to me?
I had to keep convincing myself that this wasn’t just a crazy idea with no real basis or appeal to anyone. The only hunch I have is that there are many people out there just like me.
That’s when Jack Cornick turned up. He just wanted to help and get involved in the Safeti Project. So that helped kickstart what I had already been planning. Jack would become my first guest! So I pitched the idea of the podcast to him and he was equally enthusiastic (sigh of relief). Well, that’s a start I told myself.
4. Impostor Syndrome!
Despite all of my experience in the HSE field to the contrary. I still felt doubt that I had sufficient knowledge to be doing something of this nature. Apparently, this is a common psychological battle and a normal phenomenon. I think they call it ‘imposter syndrome‘.
It is similar to another great saying, the ‘Curse of Knowledge’. This is the cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand. In the same way, many of us don’t realise the knowledge we actually possess.
Everybody be Cool
I started reaching out to some seemingly cool folks that I have followed and engaged with on social media, who were being proactive and positive in the HSE industry. I thought they might tell me where to go at first. Luckily, they didn’t (most of them).
Turns out they are just like-minded people who are willing to explore new ways of communicating their knowledge. The idea of a health and safety podcast seemed innovative and exciting to most of them.
Perfect, I thought. I could keep learning and other people could learn with me.
At this point, I have been bowled over by the friendliness and enthusiasm of the folks that I have contacted. I want to thank them again as their positivity has helped bolster my own enthusiasm.
The old energy levels are high right now to keep moving this project forward. My only request is that you keep providing constructive feedback so that we can continue on the right path to helping you.
If you haven’t yet checked our health and safety podcast, you can do so HERE.
Thanks and good luck!
Richard Collins CMIOSH CEnv