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Be Your Own Best Friend

Be Your Own Best Friend

This week is officially designated as Mental Health Awareness Week. My social media timelines have been peppered with articles and memes designed to encourage greater openness about mental health and nurture a positive approach to it.

I have my own reasons for being aware of the gift of resilient mental health, but this year, these messages have resonated more.


I was lucky enough to complete the 2019 London Marathon, raising just over £3000 (with the help of my son, Finn) for United Response. It was a truly amazing, life affirming experience and if you ever get the chance to take part, grab it with both hands and just enjoy!

I’d like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to:
  • Everyone who contributed to my fundraising (especially the team at Glasstap with their generous donation of £1000). 
  • My friend who turned my hair into its unicorn glory.
  • The ‘friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend’ who welcomed me into her home (so I only had a 10 minute walk to the start line on race morning).
  • All the people who sent me the loveliest messages of support before, during and after the race. 
  • The family members who made it to London to cheer me on. 
  • The awesome strangers lining the route, who yelled out my name and got me round with a huge silly grin on my face.
Despite all of this support, there were still moments that were tough, but I was lucky enough tohave been given these brilliant words of advice: “Whenever you are struggling, be it mile 16, mile 20 or even before you start, just imagine what Frances at the finish line wants to say to you right now. Listen to her…”

I’ve run races when, upon crossing the finish, I felt really proud of the effort I’d put in; this is a Frances I know and like. I also know the Frances who has kicked herself for not embracing the experience. Guess which version of myself I prefer?

Like most people, I’m more likely to berate myself for the things I get wrong, than focus on what I’ve done well and say, “Well done!”

As a manager, greater success always came when I helped my team develop their natural skills, rather than just focus on “areas for improvement”.

Are you the same?

In the stresses and strains of everyday life, it’s easy to forget this simple but life-changing lesson. Be kind, be supportive and be fair!

To help you and your team understand the importance of positive self-talk, here are a few exercises you might like to try: 

And, if you want to help your own ability to succeed and celebrate, the study guide, Learning from Our Strengths is a great place to start.

All the best,


May 16 2019 Frances Ferguson
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Frances Ferguson

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