Julia Haynes, a Health Visitor from Kent attended Beyond Training Solutions’ NLP Practitioner training, and caught up with us recently to talk about the impact this course has had on her life… 

I met up with some friends recently that I hadn’t seen for a while. One of the first things they said to me was “So last we knew, you were a Health Visitor visiting families; now you’re a Project Lead, you’re lecturing at universities, you’re delivering presentations at huge conferences and you’re pitching an app to Appe! HOW and WHEN did all this happen?!” They just can’t believe it!

It made me realise that this has all happened because I’ve seen opportunities, and I’ve had the confidence to take them. Opportunities are always there, it’s whether you notice them and then choose to take them that makes the difference.

I recently had an opportunity to give a presentation to the Executive Board. If I’d been asked that a year ago, I would have freaked out. Now, taking on board everything we learned on Practitioner, I just rose to the challenge, saw it as an opportunity and I did it. I went in and I absolutely sold the project I’ve been working on and it was fantastic! I even got a letter saying what a brilliant presentation it was and I thought to myself…’ WOW’!

I became a Nurse back in 1978, went on to do my midwifery training, and in 1988 trained as a Health Visitor which I’ve been doing ever since. In 2009 I discovered this project called ‘Active Movement’ based in New Zealand who promote the idea of helping children to get active, even new born babies and how this in turn supports their physical development, helps them to learn, increases confidence and teaches them to develop socially, intellectually and emotionally. I remember thinking ‘This needs to become practice! People need to know this stuff!’

There’s lots of really big evidence based studies like the Millennium Cohort Study that shows if children reach their expected levels of development at the age of one, then they are likely to be ready for school. If they’re ready for school, they’re going to achieve more and their life chances are improved. If you can get equity at school entry then you’re giving children a level playing field, they’ve got equal chances with everybody else, and all the science says early intervention is the time to get the message in there.

As Health Visitors you’ve got a unique position and access to every single newborn baby. So we rolled out the message of the project across a whole district, which was simply to give the following information to parents… “Let your children play, let your children move, talk to them, get their eyes moving – not stuck in front of a screen all the time” that will make a massive difference.

Active Learning Baby

How it started…

Initially I rolled this out to 1500 people and then got the go ahead to roll it out across the whole trust, which would be for around 18,500 babies! The project was now known as the ‘Born to Move’ project and people became interested and it was suggested I should apply for conferences and such like. Talking to big groups of people made me incredibly nervous, my heartbeat would be thumping so loudly I would think no-one could hear my voice over it. My knees would go to jelly and I knew that my passion for the subject didn’t come out when I was that nervous.

So that’s when I discovered Beyond Training Solutions and I came on your ‘How to Enjoy Presenting’ workshop. That course changed things so much for me. The feedback I got following the presentation was great and I was told I should definitely continue. The fact I had been asked to go and speak to over 400 people in the first place was because it was a good message!

Deciding to do NLP Practitioner training…

It was then I knew I wanted to do more with Beyond because what I’d learned about the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, communication and actions, on the presenting workshop, I found fascinating and such a positive way to develop and empower you to do your job. I was suddenly in a leading role, trying to coordinate a massive project but I only had the skills of a front line Health Visitor, I didn’t have any leadership skills or delivery skills or teaching qualifications. I was relying on the passion and, well, winging it really!

I did the first half of the NLP Practitioner course and then applied for the next big conference. When I wrote that application, I took on board all the messages about language we had learned. When the feedback arrived, they said I had ticked all the boxes and covered all their criteria, and I thought to myself ‘Yes, I have! Because I deliberately set out to!’.

The first half of the course alone had heightened my awareness of how to access these opportunities if you like. Then I delivered that second presentation, and the feedback I got it from my Head of Service was that the Head of Clinical Skills had said to the Board that every presenter should aspire to deliver like I had, and that it had got everyone listening and thinking. They said it was the best presentation of the day! Which made me feel great, and, I actually enjoyed it!

Then I came on the second half of the NLP Practitioner course and addressed the issues that were holding me back, and that did help! I addressed my limiting beliefs and learned more about how to empower others. This was also around the time I was due to have an interview, for Project Lead of the Born to Move project. I was up against four other people, who I had trained! So again using NLP, I turned it on its head and I thought ‘Great! There are four other people who really believe in this project and want to carry it on!’ But I still got the job, so that was a relief! And that gave me confidence as well.

Full steam ahead… !

Following that I just kept seizing opportunities. I submitted an abstract to the NHS England Public Health conference and they accepted it! Then the Health Visitor National Conference so again I submitted an abstract for that, following which they then phoned and said the panel are so interested in it they want me to do a presentation! So I’ve got to run a workshop at the National Conference which is brilliant! Again, a year ago, I’d have gone ‘Oh nooo’! And now, I think… ‘Brilliant’!

Three weeks ago, the Institute of Health Visitors, a professional body promoting the role of the Health Visitor and sharing best practice, contacted me. They had been calling for nominations for their fellowship so that the innovative practitioners who were fighting the cause around the country could become fellows. The Clinical Lead looked at the criteria; innovation, vision, teaching skills, leadership skills, courage… and she said I ticked all the boxes. Then there was an application and you had to get three testimonials, from Head of Service, a Manager and somebody who you directly trained, and I sent it all in, and I’ve just heard that I’ve been invited to become a Fellow!

It’s just staggering! I’ve been stood still for 25 years and now this! My vision is to get the project going there, with all those other passionate Health Visitors!

I’m evBorn-to-move-image Julia awarden going to lecture at the universities now! They want frontline Health Visitors to talk to the students to share their passion for the job and that’s been brilliant! Again if you’d said to me a year ago ‘you’ve got give a lecture at a university’, well I just couldn’t have imagined it, I was so nervous. All those strategies you learn through NLP; anchoring, the circle of excellence, walking the walk, talking the talk, presentation and communication skills, all those little techniques, it’s made me look at other people who speak with great passion and learn from them.

The NLP Practitioner course is the course that’s made the biggest difference for me.

Apple Headquarters…

Another amazing thing that has happened is that I’m getting an app developed, by Apple! It’s called the ‘Born to Move’ app and will help frontline health staff and parents. I had to pitch an idea to the guys at Apple HQ on Regent Street! That would have absolutely terrified me before! The next morning I got an email saying “We’d like to develop your app!” so I thought… “Brilliant!”

It’s all quite extraordinary! But I do think, it’s all about communication. My children laughed and said “Mum, you don’t even know what an app does!” and I said “No, but that’s what everyone’s using, so, tell me about it?!”


Why it’s so important…

This whole thing has gone from being under the radar for 1500 babies, is now at 18,000 babies, and when the ‘Born to Move’ app goes out and I join the Institute of Health Visitors, potentially it could get rolled out to however many hundreds of thousands of babies born in the UK every year! That’s what I want, for the project to become practice so that we actually address the changes that have happened in society that’s meant babies have become little sedentary things in carry baskets. We wouldn’t want to go on a long haul flight every day, but we expect babies to do it, day in day out. Movement and play used to be normal; it’s only the modern pace of life that has meant babies have to be portable. Keeping babies in seats for such long periods of time is impacting upon their attention span, their ability to sit still, their ability to listen, their communication and even their relationship skills.

In the children’s centres we’ve encouraged the babies to come out of their car seats while they’re waiting to be seen. Mothers have learned from each other because they’ve watched other babies moving around and it’s sort of normalised the fact that babies should be on the floor having a little play and not always contained in a seat with a strap. Talking to them is also a massive thing, that’s what begins to develop their social, intellectual and communication skills.

My summary!

So yes, I’ve come such a long way! Something else actually that I learned from Jo & Andy on Practitioner, to look back, to listen to the feedback and to recognise your successes. To stop and look at how far you’ve come and that’s so important, it gives you such a sense of achievement and the confidence to carry on!

I feel like I’m not a puppet anymore. I make things happen now! Before it was always ‘Oh no, I can’t because…’ and now I have the conviction and belief in myself to be able to do new things. Post NLP Practitioner, my response is now ‘Actually YES! I’m going to!’


Thank you to Julia for sharing her wonderful story, we are so delighted for her and everything she has achieved. We’re also excited to announce that Julia’s ‘Born to Move’ app has now gone live and you can now download it from iTunes! Take a look here Apple Born to Move App

To learn more about the fantastic ‘Born to Move’ project visit www.kentcht.nhs.uk/Borntomove

To find out more about our 8 day NLP Practitioner course click NLP Practitioner with Beyond