Military Veteran – Elegia Williams
Elegia joined Active Plus in 2016. She was keen to tell her story in order to give something back and help others. She hopes that by telling her story it will encourage others to ask for help and get the support that they deserve too.
This is her story.
Elegia joined the Army at the age of 26 and saw it as an opportunity to see the world and change her life for the better.
How did you come to be part of Active Plus CIC and the Building Bridges Programme?
Before becoming an employee of Active Plus, I was volunteering with them. I was a separated single mom of two, on benefits and I thought there was a lot wrong with me. I was low in confidence, self-esteem, suffered with anxieties and internally going through some struggles of self-doubt and unworthiness. The opportunity came my way in taking on a part-time position as a Keyworker under the Building Better Opportunities Programme funded through The National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund. I accepted the position and my journey catapulted in ways I never imagined and within a few months I became a full-time Keyworker with Active Plus, again this was a massive leap for me.
How were you feeling when you first worked with the Active Plus?
I was overly anxious when I first joined Active Plus. I questioned myself whether I made the right decision. I was entering a realm where I knew nothing about it and it was scary. Before the programme I was happily volunteering, I was learning new skills most importantly I was comfortable. The opportunity was amazing but it challenged me and took me out of my comfort zone.
How has working with Active Plus helped you?
Working for Active Plus helped me to continually grow by challenging my beliefs, my perspective on life. I continually stepped out of my comfort zone. It enabled me to give back by helping others and within myself; I began to feel my life was destined to a sense of purpose.
Given how you were feeling, what made you give the Active Plus confidence and motivation course a go?
When I first approached Active Plus because I wanted to volunteer with them. The delivery team consisted of ex-military wounded, sick or injured veterans and Active Plus supported them on “their own personal journeys, helping themselves through helping others” I felt they were the perfect fit in some ways helping towards my full potential. Alternatively, being unemployed for over five years I felt very much out of place and it was an opportunity to gain some new skills surrounding job search, job interviews and CV writing.
Was it as you expected?
Going onto the Active Plus confidence and motivation course was life changing for me in ways I did not expect how the impact and the lessons learnt would have changed my life for the better.
How did you benefit?
The course benefited me because it challenged me to look into myself. My negative chatter in my head was “I am not good enough” and I was continually reaching and applying for positions where there was no room for growth or maximising my full potential. I was limiting myself because I was afraid to fail. I feared I would not be good enough and therefore I settled. My light bulb moment on the course; I called it the “Ahhh Moment” happened in week three – the moment when you suddenly awaken and all your senses become alive and you are in the moment and the now. On the day the Lead Instructor spoke on the topic of comfort zones. How many times our fears prevent us from reaching our true potential. I felt like on that day she was speaking directly to me. The only persons I felt were present on the course was just her and me. I felt empowered that day and a valuable lesson was learnt – I made a pat with myself that day. No matter how intimidating a situation may feel I will not let fear stop me from reaching my potential and to continually stretch myself. As long as I was moving forward, that is all that mattered never backwards and if I stumbled, it is okay. What mattered is how I picked myself up again. When I am in the place of doubt and fear I go back to the course and what I learnt and remind myself all over again. It’s okay to be scared but don’t stay stagnant, stretch yourself because when we come out of our comfort zones we ascend to our fullest potential.
What made it such a good learning environment?
The environment was friendly welcoming and the instructors were brilliant in making you feel comfortable. The course starts with a practical exercise and it was a perfect way for the team to interact with each other and breakdown barriers. We had to communicate with each other to achieve the given task. With that assigned task, I had to work with others as a team and individuals I have never met.
What did you learn/take away from the course?
I have taken away so much – increased confidence, self-esteem and new perspective towards life. I learnt let my word become my reality. That negative chatter in my head I realised needed to change because my life will move in the direction of my words. I also realised the only person holding myself back was me. I learnt I was not alone in my struggles and others too were going through other battles. It was comforting in some ways that there was nothing wrong with me. The course enabled me to understand moving into new situations can be frightening. However, the ability to stretch myself a little bit and get out of my comfort zone is progress.
How has life changed now?
Life has changed in ways I could never imagined. I am currently full time employed under the Building Bridges Programme with Swindon Borough Council in a job where I feel I am making some difference to individual lives. Moving on from Active Plus CIC was hard especially as it was a place I felt so supported. Moving on from that was scary but the lessons learnt and step-by-step, continuous support from Active Plus made the transition easy. I am proud of myself on how far I have come and blessed thankful to the individuals who was part of my journey. I am continually a work in progress. I stumble from time to time but I remind myself it is not the stumble but how I pick myself back up again. I am encouraged to help others achieve their own greatness that their potential is boundless they just need to believe it.
How do you feel about the future now compared to how you felt before joining Active Plus?
If someone would tell me this is where I would be in my life, I would laugh because I had no belief in myself. I did not know I was capable of great things. I am hopeful about my future and I know the possibilities are endless. Being introduced to Active Plus CIC has been life changing. I did not just feel like just any organisation. I felt understood and they genuinely cared about your wellbeing. It mattered they cared.