Stay Up Late and Wild Things
> Changing the world with less stress

Helping radical changemakers stay connected to themselves and each other.

  • Campaigning charity, global reach

  • Combatting stress and building connection

  • Team offsite - mindfulness, wilderness and appreciation 

The background

If you want to change other people’s lives for the better, you need to look after yourself.

It’s easy to get into stressful patterns of long hours, and not taking the time to connect, when your work feels so important.

But the quality of the work you do is directly related to how you feel - about your work, your team, and yourself. And whether your needs are being met.

Stay Up Late are a charity that works to support people with learning disabilities to lead the life they choose.

They’re one of Nesta’s New Radicals - a group of people and organisations recognised for breaking the mould.

Paul Richards, founder and CEO, has always believed in doing things differently. 

His punk attitude and sense of equality is at the heart of how the organisation shows up.

Their work makes the difference between someone being socially isolated, and leading a full and active social life - so it really matters.

They’re also a small core team, who really believe in their work, and get asked to fly around the world to talk about what they do.

So organisational life can be really full on.

Last year, this lead to a sense of stress, and gaps opening between team members.

What we did

Working closely with the team, we co-designed a day to bring everyone back together.

We chose to get out of the busy city, and headed for the South Downs.

Travelling together, by train, we asked what we needed to let go of - anything that would prevent us from being fully present and able to connect to others. 

We wrote these on bits of paper, and put them in a bag. Then I threw them in the bin

We set out on a mindful walk - with carefully chosen questions to hold in their minds about why they did what they did, to reconnect them to their sense of purpose. 

After silently walking over hills and fields, we stood and meditated in the morning sun, opening up to whatever we need to.

 

In the room we’d booked in a tiny village, where we spent the day together:

  • Busting our assumptions: everyone shared their assumptions about themselves at work. Discussing them together, most turned out to be limiting beliefs that stopped people from being how they wanted to be.
  • Connecting to our needs: the team talked about what needs were in the context of work. Everyone reflected on what theirs were and shared them, to get a clear sense of who they were as human beings, not just colleagues.
  • Practicing communication: everyone learned and practiced new ways of listening to each other, so people felt heard and understanding could flow a little more easily in the team, especially when things get tough.
  • Appreciating our team: each person took it in turn to receive positive and constructive appreciation from the rest of the team. This gave everyone a sense of value and belonging.
  • Reflecting on what we want: everyone spent time setting their intention for how they wanted to be at work, to prevent them from slipping back into auto-pilot and old, bad habits.

At the very end of the day, everyone agreed how they’d spend more time looking after themselves and each other.

Life in a small organisation that’s committed to helping people who might be suffering is always going to come with its challenges.

But there’s still a choice.

Between just reacting and choosing to show up fully, for yourself and your team.