Wisdom. Knowledge. History.

Kirat Kaur Kalyan shares her thoughts on being CEO for the day…Aisling & KK

You wanted to know what inspired Aisling in her life to be successful, did you find that out?

Yes, I think so! Aisling talked about how important meaningful relationships are to her and driving the work of Certitude forward. After she successfully completed her degree in Psychology she worked with children with autism and saw the impact meaningful relationships had on supporting these children in changing their lives. The importance of being person centred continues to be significant to Aisling and to Certitude. Aisling’s eyes lit up as she talked about wonderful stories she hears/is emailed about of colleagues supporting people to find their gifts, talents and strengths and going that extra mile to nurture it. She excitedly spoke about how this really inspires her. She also quotes the book ‘A Sense of Freedom’ by Jimmy Boyle and her “grounded experience as a support worker” as continuing to inspire her to be successful and stay humbled.

Did you ever find out if Aisling knew what she wanted to do in her 20s?

With so much pressure on young people to have it all figured out by the time their 20s is over, I really wanted to know if Aisling ever felt like this or if what she is doing now has been driven by her passions early on in life. Aisling spoke about a strong connection between her early life and where she is now. But, also discussed the importance of people around her encouraging her to go for roles she hadn’t considered or had the confidence to see herself doing, including her first role as a CEO covering a sabbatical post. It was only because of the encouragement and support of her colleagues that she decided to make a dive for it! She caught the CEO bug and continued on the same trajectory. Aisling quotes the role of her colleagues as being paramount. She also enthusiastically discussed the importance of “not getting stuck in your role” and went on to say that “what we all need in life is a little bit of stretch” and being open to new ideas, whatever age you are! This goes for both staff and people we support.

What stuck in your mind most from the day?

Aisling talked very admirably about the importance of never wasting an “honest mistake”. I was slightly taken aback because she was the CEO and surely she never makes mistakes…right? She spoke “never waste a good crisis” and we listened. There was a long pause. She went on to calmly explain that genuine mistakes happen all the time and actually are part and parcel of life. We all get things wrong but it is important to accept your role in a “crisis” and how you and/or your team will make changes so ‘it’ wont happen again. It sounds so simple and it is. But in a world so fixated on success, power and status sometimes to fail or make an ‘honest mistake’ (as Aisling terms it) can become an obstacle or challenge in itself. Aisling talked about the importance to “step back to step up”. That stayed with me. It really humbled me to hear a CEO talking about the importance of seeing and using mistakes and crises as learning opportunities to reflect and grow, however big or small. I was impressed.

Any other reflection of the day?

I wanted to share some top tips/ wise words I have taken away from an awesome day that others may want to use too. Here goes…

1. Get good people around you
2. You’ve got to be willing to face things that scare you, you know that ‘stretch’ that Aisling talked so passionately about, yeah… that! Get out of you comfort zone 
3. Take ownership of tough conversations – plan, be sensitive and sensible with words
4. Ask why… A LOT
5. We are all a ‘work-in-progress’, no-one is perfect and we all make mistakes, what is important is that we “never waste a good crisis”
6. Learn how to manage your emotional reaction to things; this sometimes gets in the way of the bigger picture
7. Never forget that the people we support are people and have dreams too, just like us. Let’s find them out and empower people to make them real.
8. Have fun and change lives, everyone has the right to a good one!

A special thank you to Aisling for allowing me to be a part of her day and to my fellow CEOs Tony and John for the laughs and building a memory I don’t intend to forget anytime soon…

If you would like to know more or ask me any questions please feel free to get in touch at kkalyan@certitude.org.uk!