Saturday, 15 June 2013

Motivation for Chartership

In the last few weeks, I've started to host 'Chartership Chats' on Twitter. A topic that seems to keep coming up is motivation for completing Chartership.

Strictly speaking, I'm not actually doing 'Chartership'. I'm working on Aclip Certification with my eye firmly on Chartership. It's part of a long-term goal. And it has been for a few years. Despite the fact that neither Cilip, library qualifications or Chartership are recognised by my workplace. As far as they are concerned, I have the skills and knowledge I need to do the job. The fact I'm an 'information professional' is neither here nor there.

I'm holding my hands up here. That degree thing? I didn't quite make it. The rest of life took over and I found myself having to quit Aberystwyth just before I started the dissertation. But it didn't matter to my employer. It still doesn't matter to my employer. So why am I doing it?

I've wanted to be a librarian ever since I was a child. The library was one of my favourite places to be. Whether that was the local library (currently celebrating 80 years), my school library and later on, my college library. But it took me until my mid-20's to realise that I could actually work in one.

Having to leave my studies at Aberystwyth was devastating. But in around 2006 my line manager became a Cilip Mentor, supporting people through Chartership and Aclip. She encouraged me to sign up to Aclip, along with a few of my colleagues. I was reluctant. I didn't want to do Aclip. I wanted the degree. I figured Aclip would do until until I actually managed to make that happen.

Fast forward several years later, and I still haven't completed it. And I'm driving myself nuts in the process. It hangs around my neck, weighing me down. A process which should be fairly straight forward, but seems like a labyrinth of twists and turns, and I'm never quite sure I'm heading in the right direction. On my way down the long straight corridors, the rest of life calls out to me to distract me. I'm a volunteer at Voices for the Library. I organise the @VoicesLibrary rotation curation project. I'm a governor at my child's school. A single parent to a child with special needs and help to care for an elderly grandparent with dementia. And yet... and yet... it's still not a good enough excuse to justify the amount of head space I've given Aclip and Chartership without actually handing anything in. (Although don't even get me started on this blog post by Michael Martin. I still can't read it without wanting to throw stuff!)

Part of it is fear. I've been doing it for so long, that now anything I have to hand in has to be super-amazing to justify the amount of time I've spent on it. I still feel like I'm faking it by calling myself a 'librarian', even though the job I do would be recognised as a professional role.

So I decided to think about this a little differently. I used to be a big believer in 'creating your own reality' and making things happen. I had notebooks as a child filled with pictures of things I wanted to do, wanted to be, books I wanted to read, pictures I found inspiring. Anyone that wandered into my downstairs loo of my first house would be met with four walls covered with postcards and pictures sent to me by friends, photographs of beautiful places I'd visited, child's drawings, letters from my mum, pages torn from magazines of Ani Di Franco, along with a huge poster of the Fairy Fellers Masterstroke. Visitors would come out 30 minutes later, apologising for taking so long in there. It was a place to dream, a place to wonder, and a place where I remembered all the things I wanted to do. When I moved into a house on my own, I recreated the space over my desk - a more natural place to put it as this is where I work.

My 'memory wall'
  I spend a lot of time looking at this wall. And something occurred to me. There was a huge difference between the scrap books I created as a child - which focussed on my future, and what I wanted... and the board I had created as an adult, which only reflected my past. Looking at this wall, you'll spot lots of things that are important to me. Faeries. My child. My Godmother. Reminders of adventures with my beautiful Croatian friend. Brian May. My family. There is only a teeny, tiny reference to libraries. A tiny little red badge which says 'Reference is cool'. But what I want for my future? My librarian dreams? They aren't represented.

So, I decided to 'pin my way' to my future. There's a lot written by life coaches and mentors about the ability to visualise what you want. 'Mood boards' are credited with boosting well-being, increasing happiness, and providing motivation. I've been playing around with Pinterest recently as a way of increasing awareness of @VoicesLibrary and Voices for the Library. How about I create a board to visualise completing Chartership, consider what my dream job looks like, and provide a little library motivation? There's something powerful about a collection of images, and I'm a big fan of playing tricks on the brain to fool it in to behaving differently.

I've started a board. I think I need to get better at positive motivation, rather than hitting myself with a stick...

But I thought it was worth a go. Either that, or I've just created another way to procrastinate from actually completing Aclip. But think of all those beautifully organised bookcases I can pin. Whoops....

In case that isn't enough, I'm making my goal to complete Aclip public. I'm going to print this out in colourful letters and add it to my wall. All chivving welcomed!

My Aclip goal :: It is 31st October and I have handed in my Aclip Portfolio. 


What's your goal? And what's stopping you getting there? You know... apart from you.

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