Not an interview with me but an interview with Sid Madge, founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) ! To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLCs and SMEs to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates. That is a lot of people! I caught up to Sid to find out more about Meee ….Hi Sid and welcome 😊
Hi, my name is Sid Madge.
What made you decide to launch Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise)?
I started the Meee program after I was giving a talk in a school in Wales to a group of young teenagers. I asked them to describe themselves using one word.
The first lad I asked answered “weirdo”. I smiled and said well what a great word, so creative. And he said, “No I’m bullied, I don’t like being at school, don’t see the point in education and don’t like learning”. I was horrified. I went round the rest of the class andothers used words such as freak, misfit and weirdo.
That session had a profound effect on me, so I did some research on young people and mental health. I started running workshops in schools with teachers and then worked with the unemployed and people in prison. I did a Tedx Talk and wrote my first book and followed up with two more.
My belief that this really could work, grew.
We started working with businesses and we’ve had tens of thousands of people through our programmes. We’re developing specific tools for personal development, and professional development around leadership, around culture. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m very grateful.
I guess your job isn’t an easy one as some people’s aversion to change is not that easy to solve! What sort of reasons hinder their adaptability?
Yes, people have multiple barriers to change. There’s a great saying is there no one likes change, except a wet baby!
Too often we see the process of change as negative and that’s what makes it so hard. We have to accept the situation we’re in and then create change – think of those amazing people who have got through extraordinary adversity, for example, Helen Keller, John Wilson who started sightseers International. It’s those people who have determination and the ability to regard change as positive. Others include Kobe Bryant who sadly died last year, Michael Jordan Ariana Huffington. They embrace change and that’s what Meee does.
What approach do you tend to use to help people believe in themselves?
It’s best to start in safe conversation, exploring values and where our thinking comes from.We’ve got a great programme called Fuel and that’s all about Feelings and Understanding Emotions and Logic and Learning. I think once you start having those conversations around values, purpose and your own performance goals people start to change. They realise that they are their own instruments of change. They may have developed negative beliefs but a process like this can help them change their internal script, and help them change their lives.
What is it about your job (& Meee) do you enjoy or gives you the most satisfaction? The downside?
I love what working both with young people and adults and taking them through a process of change. People of all ages have change their lives, but they do the changing and we’re there to guide and support.
When you listen to the stories of what they’re achieving for themselves, for their families, for their friends, for their communities there is no greater gift.
The downside? I want more people to do the programme but finding the money is often challenging. But we’re getting more corporations involved so that we can then subsidise the education work and work in prisons.
You are also an author of “Meee in Minute” series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life – work or family – in 60 seconds. What are 5 of your top tips?
• Words matter – think about the words that you use and how they impact others
• Never stop learning – there is so much to learn from yourself, from other people from going places, from doing things e.g., reading, writing, watching films etc, exploring the world. There is learning in everything that we do.
• Remember that we all matter. Every single person matters. We’re all in this together and everybody can make a huge contribution to this wonderful world when you find your purpose and your passion.
• Think about the energy that you have – it’s a finite amount that we get every day so spend it wisely,
• Honour your negative feelings. We all have them in a regardless of who we are. What’simportant is to acknowledge them but not to feed them. If you’re in a bad mood find out why, and what you can do to move the dial and put yourself in a better mood.
Growing up, did you always want a “People related” career or did you want to pursue a completely different direction?
At one point I wanted to be a vet, but I thought I wasn’t clever enough! I discovered the world of branding and design which has been great to work in, but it was never truly fulfilling. When that young lad said the word weirdo that changed everything.
Do you think the COVID pandemic has made a difference in the people’s mindset regarding change and life in general?
I think Covid has changed a lot of things. It has made some people more fearful but it’s made some more optimistic. It’s made us question things and what is truly important. I hope we’velearned that we’re not invincible and need to look after each other and this wonderful planet.
As you are based in the UK, are your services available worldwide too?
We are based in the UK but we deliver worldwide
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Trainers shorts and T-shirts mainly. I love being casual but also love dressing up smart too for the right occasions.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I love John Lewis and Fortnum & Mason. For convenience Amazon is useful – although I don’t think they aren’t doing the retail world a huge favour at the moment.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
My clothing Wish List is more about the children. I have three young children and I like buying clothes for them. I also like finding second-hand clothes. Recycled cool stuff is good for me especially as since the start of Covid I haven’t had any in-person meetings.
Boots or Shoes?
I used to wear a lot of Jeffrey West boots love love love his boots but now it’s trainers, it’s shoes and I love my slippers.
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Photographs have been published with kind permission of Meee (apart from header, Pinterest photo, and Jeffrey West shop – ©Linda Hobden)