Alan has been all over the world. He has lived in some of the most dynamic working environments the globe has to offer and now he has come home. With a twitch upon the thread he has returned to his motherland. Hebburn.
He was telling me about some of the differences he noticed since returning. Everywhere he goes he has heard the phrase.’Shy bairns get nowt!’ He had never heard if before he left for foreign shores. I can’t remember when I first heard it either though I must admit it is much more common these days.
For those of you who need a translation, the phrase means that you need to be more assertive if you want to get anything achieved. Like most proverbs this is not an absolute but serves to remind us that we need to put ourselves forward if we want to get on.
Yet another of Alan’s observations was that, as a region, this is something we are not good at doing. We are insular. What we see as our strengths, openness, friendliness and being self-effacing, may indeed be our weakness. As a region we are shy bairns.
I described some time ago that we suffer from a victim culture (Unfolding plans 33 – a victim culture) and this has been compounded with our propensity for small, rather than international thinking and finding reasons why we can’t rather than we can. Our politics can be insular, we squabble between boroughs, and we can see ourselves competing against others in the region rather than on a world stage.
We are a region that was renowned for innovation, skills and growth. People such as Alan can point out to us that things have changed however. He is one of the family and has seen what we are up against. Somehow we need to flush out our self-limiting behaviour and break out of our limited horizons.
After all, we don’t want to be left with nowt.