How Infectious Are You?

As well as coaching people 1:1 and delivering training, I also do speaking gigs. For more than a decade now I have shared The TRUTH about confidence and How to use your brain for a change. As well as many other bespoke talks.  (For more info on my talks click here )

This year I have added a new title to my repertoire How Infectious Are You? 

The talk is for organisations and teams wishing to take personal responsibility to change the atmosphere and culture of the work place. And so far it’s had rave reviews. 

But it wasn’t planned. 

I hadn’t expected to be adding a new title to list this year. Writing a new talk can take me days if not weeks to create and I had plenty on my plate. I needed to catch up on the things I had had to put on hold on 2018 due to the unexpected hospital visits. 

But I had one of ‘those shower moments’ 

Do you know the ones I mean?  

Where an idea creeps in, in the middle of the shampoo rinse and is still buzzing around when getting dressed and then still there when you get to the office. 

 It was one specific story from my first week in hospital.  

I kept thinking about it. 

The impact it had on me. 

And had this nagging thought, I have to share this.  

And so, the ‘How infectious are you’ talk was born. 

 I share the story in the first part of the talk. 

 The scene is set. 

I have described the hospital bay – usual, 6 beds on a very busy NHS ward.   

I am in the first bed. And one thing I notice about being in hospital is that you very quickly learn your fellow patients first names and why they are there. 

To my right I had Nicky – kidney infection. Lady next to her unknown but very ill and mostly asleep. Bed opposite her on this particular day was empty. Opposite Nicky was Jean, in her 70’s and again gall stones and kidney infection. And finally opposite me, Maureen also in her 70’s had a foot infection. 

 It was bright sunny day, one of the first in 2018 and of course we being British we were talking about the weather. 


As the day drew to a close and we said our good nights. I settled down, longing for a good night’s sleep. Something that I was yet to have in the previous 4 nights.

Sadly that night would be no different. 

In the early hours of the morning someone was moved into the empty bed. She sounded in pain and distressed. And for the next few hours, that didn’t change. 

The exchanges with the medical staff helped me to establish that she was called Debbie and it sounded as if she has special needs. 

Sleep was not going to happen that night. 

As the sun rose, so too did Debbie’s demands and confusion.  

Around 7.30am glances and rolled eyes had already been exchanged across the room as we started saying good morning to each other.  I am not good when I haven’t had great sleep. I get short tempered and impolite. I’d already snapped at one of the staff for putting bright lights on.  

So, I took some deep breathes in. And asked myself, how did I want to feel right now and what would I need to focus on in order to start feeling that. 

I simply wanted to feel good. 

So my focus had to be on good things. 

I wondered what good I could do today. 

Just as I was thinking that, the curtains were drawn back. And we could all see each other. 

Debbie was still grumbling so I thought I would welcome her to our ‘gang’, that would be a good thing right? 

“Morning Debbie, I’m Jules. Sounds like you had a rough night.” 

Without a pause, Debbie went into a tirade of her night, the problems she had and moaning about what was not happening. 

It was obvious that although she was around 60 years old physically, mentally I am not sure that she had reached much beyond her teens. 

Listening closely to what she was saying I could hear that her biggest frustration, was that she was confused and out of her usual routine. I wondered how best I could help her. I did know the ward routine by this point and I could help Debbie by giving her a heads up on how things happened. I was at that point bed ridden, so I couldn’t go and sit by her side to share this information, so the conversation was across the room. 

Jean wasn’t happy about that, rolled her eyes at me and hid behind her newspaper. 

Maureen however quickly cottoned on to what I was doing and joined in too. 

Between us, we gave Debbie a time table. Something she could hang on to that gave her some sense of a routine in a new place. 

And it worked. 


Debbie started to relax and at one point started laughing. 

And she had one of those highly infectious laughs. 

Maureen and I were quickly infected. 

So too was Nicky. 

And even Jean had to put her shaking newspaper down and join in! 

The staff even came in to see what was happening and left giggling. 

 [bctt tweet=”It was obvious to me that we had all caught something, but it wasn’t a harmful bug. It was a helpful joyous connection. ” username=”juleswymanuk”]

It was obvious to me that we had all caught something, but it wasn’t a harmful bug. It was a helpful joyous connection. 

Debbie left later the same day. 

Whilst packing she discovered a vast amount of goodies which she started to share around the bay to say thank you and ‘sorry for being so noisy’. 

When she got to me, with a HUGE bar of chocolate, she remembered that I was still on nil by mouth whilst awaiting my next operation. 

“Oh, you can’t have this.” She said putting it back in her bag “but can I give you a big hug Jules?” 

And whilst receiving her embrace she thanked me for helping calm her down this morning.  

“I just get so confused. Thank you for helping and I’m sorry I was so noisy.’ 

In less that 24 hours that lovely lady left an imprint on my life. 

She showed me the effect patience can truly have on other humans. 

[bctt tweet=”Taking time to understand someone’s point of view can make the world of difference to them. And that even in the most challenging of times there are ways and means to be resourceful. ” username=”juleswymanuk”]

How taking time to understand someone’s point of view can make the world of difference to them. And that even in the most challenging of times there are ways and means to be resourceful. 

 You may not be in hospital right now, but my guess is that in some way shape or form, you do interact with yourself and others on a daily basis. 



Where could you be even more patient and how can you do that? 

How can you understand yourself and others even more today? 

And just how resourceful are you being right now?  

The last question is an interesting one, especially if I feel that I have been caught in a downward spiral. If I am in that place and can’t see the wood for the trees, then my resourcefulness turns to others. I actively watch something that may help, or read a thought provoking blog post or book.  

 Or I reach out to friends, colleagues or my coach (which I did a number of times whilst in hospital!) As there are times when we don’t feel resourceful. So if those times come, seek resourcefulness from others. It is there when you look for it. 

 There are so many stories that I can share from my health journey last year, and some are in the full How infectious are you? talk. 

Of course if you want to know about booking me to speak at your events then please email me direct at letting me know more about your event. 

The main focus for sharing this story today though, is to get you thinking about you. About your patience, understanding and personal resourcefulness. Imagine how your life may be when you infect yourself with these attitudes. My guess is that you might be the kind of infectious that others will want to catch!