Guiding Stars: How the Outcomes Stars help build hope and self-esteem

Having recently returned from a long holiday, I am re-engaging freshly with Triangle’s work, creating Stars, training and supporting people to use them well and sharing our wider vision of an enabling service delivery system.

Returning after a solo hiking along the beautiful Cleveland Way, I had the chance to see our work with fresh eyes, and ask myself the question, “After 20 years of working on the Outcomes Star, why does it still matter to me so much?”

The answer that came when I asked myself that question was this: Working with the Outcomes Star gives people access to a developmental framing of their situation. The Star presents their situation as a time of challenge, not a sign of failure. The fact that they need help is an opportunity for them to draw on their existing strengths and develop new ones rather than being a sign of weakness. For people who are so often seen as a set of problems, having access to this hopeful, growthful narrative really matters. It is a simple reframing but it can make all the difference.

The Star reflects the person’s life back to them; they see they are a traveller moving forwards on their journey in life, rather than someone who has come to a dead end. The endpoints or the tips on the Star point to the way things could be, and in some cases they show what is already working well, giving people something to celebrate as well as offering things to work towards.

Stars have always been a navigational guide and a symbol of hope. Outcomes Stars are aptly named because they do just that – offer hope and guide us in the right direction. They don’t tell us exactly how to get there or exactly what it will look like when we arrive. That is something only the person completing the Star can discover for themselves. But they do shine the light forwards and give us the self-belief and self-confidence to keep moving forwards toward a better life.

We all need to see ourselves as heroes in our own journey – facing challenges and setbacks, but achieving and finding a way through as well.

As I reflect on my 20 years helping guide Triangle through the many challenges and triumphs of our work, I feel proud to be able to play a part in helping others move forward on their life’s journey. Refreshed by my holiday I am as hopeful and excited as ever at the potential of the Outcomes Stars to support and embed an enabling approach to service delivery.

Joy MacKeith, Founding Director

To find out more about Triangle’s vision for service delivery read “Enabling Help: How the social provision can work better for the people it services”. You can download the report or watch this video of Joy speaking about the key ideas in the report.