On Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness
once counted my heart rate at 48 beats per 15 seconds. I knew I was giving her cardiobox class my best shot but when I checked my pulse exhausted but
elated, I wondered momentarily if a cardiac arrest was in order.
Mel Irons for you. She's a motivator, but not in anyway OTT American lifestyle
coach sort of way. She’s more real-deal than razamataz. She’s totally confident
yet totally unassuming. She’ll have you sprinting and landing upper-cuts,
before you can say ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’
you saw Australian Story recently, you’ll know that Mel Irons is a born leader:
dynamic; driven; organised; and inspiring.
from the successful fitness business, Booty, she established in 2006, she’s a
PhD candidate, which is tough enough. She is also the dynamo behind the much-lauded
Facebook page, Tassie Fires - We Can Help, the groundbreaking grassroots
community recovery response which mobilised the goodwill of the Tasmanian
Girl wanted to know Mel’s take on living loving Hobart, so we caught up at
Grape one recent torrential Sunday afternoon.
isn’t born and bred, but she grew up here because her parents wanted a safer place
than South Africa to raise a family. Hobart, tick.
|Mel's now famous dog, Boris|
Mel’s a big girl now, why stay?
fair to say she went through an ambivalent stage, but the scales fell from her
eyes when she started Booty.
was a time when I was a teenager when I was genuinely concerned that the people
who stayed here after school had not made anything of themselves.’
she’s got little time for anti-Hobart/Tassie sentiment, heard time-to-time,
mostly from ex-pats. She reckons the place is brimming with opportunity. You
just need to get out there and seize it.
got a problem with the idea that this place has nothing to offer. For some
industries/careers – sure, opportunities are a bit limited. But maybe you could
thought about moving once, mostly to consider a different university for her
Doctorate, but most of all she just knows how lucky she is to have the
opportunities and benefits that come with living in a smaller place.
reflects momentarily on the demands on her journalist boyfriend ‘He could want
to go, anytime. In the past I would have gone with him. Now, I’m kind of like
NO, I’m not moving!’
her business from scratch has been relatively easy in Hobart and after seeing Tassie in
action during the bushfires earlier this year, she knows she can make a
pragmatic and is aware she’s seeing things from the comfort a middle-class
bubble. But she isn’t naïve enough to think that there are not some serious
issues confronting the State.
I was doing the website, there were a number of people who would ring me
because they couldn’t read or they didn’t have internet or a computer.’
I’m thinking about Mel and how she motivated me in cardiobox and I’m
interested in what it took to mobilise Tasmanians faced with January’s bushfire
perspective is unsurprisingly rooted in psychology. There are three things that
are critical to wellbeing. And feeling good about yourself is central to
engagement and participation.
important to create three things: a sense of autonomy - feeling in control and
being responsible; the creation of competence – feeling like you can succeed;
and, the fostering of relatedness – being part of a team or a group, connected.
If you can help make people feel autonomous, competent and related – not only
will their wellbeing improve, you will get things done!’
Facebook she provided a public forum where the community could be in control
of, and be responsible for, their own solutions. It provided people with opportunities
of all shapes and sizes.
couldn’t say ‘everybody give money’, what if someone didn’t have money? Maybe
there was something else they could do. Maybe they had a car and could drive
somewhere for someone. Maybe they had no resources and they could sit on
Facebook for an afternoon and answer questions for me.’
recounts the story of a woman from down the Channel who had nothing but a loaf
of bread and a bottle of milk and she donated it.
camaraderie of Facebook followers coupled with the commitment to return each
phone call and answer each post generated the relatedness.
sounds to me that Mel has the key to unlocking potential, so what’s the
next thing she’s going to unlock?
this point she’s stumped, or a little coy, or both. She needs to look after
herself more. But here’s the rub. She’s just established the Tassie Fires - We
Can Help website. She’s networking with key stakeholders in the emergency
management and community recovery industries like there’s no tomorrow; that way
she’ll be ready for the next incident. She’s a social media engagement
consultant to a number of community groups and charities. And she’s evolving
her Doctorate to make it relevant to her recent experiences and so it will
have a practical future application, here and elsewhere in Australia.
sounds to me like she may have found her path and she’s going to spend a little
time consolidating. Burying deep roots into the fertile soil she’s been tending
and caring for the shoots that emerge, ensuring they grow up strong and bear
the take home message from all of this?
ordinary citizen can do amazing things.
community is one of tremendous good will and compassion.
that we all need a mechanism to unlock our potential.
you are living and loving Hobart yourself you might see Mel at her favourite
hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant, Chon Na Kan, King Street, Sandy Bay; having
‘the’ best hot chocolate at the Raincheck Lounge; drinking coffee at Brew,
Sandy Bay; or enjoying a steak at Salamanca’s Ball and Chain Restaurant.
She was an early fan of the wildly popular Ginger Brown. And she just loves the
State Cinema. It’s the location of Sunday night date night and it’s also where
you might find her hooked up to her array of technology, working and watching
the world go by, overhearing snippets of conversations, pondering what film
people are going to see, and getting the job done around people who she’s
genuinely interested in.
out more about Booty here
Tassie Fires - We Can Help here
Tassie Fires - We Can Help webpage here
about Mel on Australian Story – Irons in the Fire transcript here.
If you want to know more about Ginger Brown, check out our blog post here.
We're seen at Raincheck too, see here
And we love the State Cinema, do you know about the roof top cinema? Find out more here.
Labels: People of Hobart