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Wellness Matters 02.07.2022


Jack of all Trades


There are many people who are able to focus on one task, attending to it to the exclusion of almost all else. I always aspired to be one of those people, persevering in lofty heights, churning out stories, or art or photography, forgetting to eat, sleep or clean, allowing days to drift into months and years. It’s a romantic notion, but not for me, because I have finally learned to accept that I get easily bored and distracted, and so being able to indulge in writing and art and photography is who I am, and I am comfortable with that.

I have my coaching business, correction, successful coaching business, I work for a local charity, I freelance, consult, proofread, clean my holiday flat, and enjoy creative writing, reading, amateur photography, occasional sketching, gardening, Pilates and sea swimming.



When visiting St. Columba’s Hospice last week, we - a representative group from NBCCC and I, were introduced to the supremely organised voluntary administration assistant at the front desk, who demurely brushed off Maggie’s compliments saying, ‘Just a Jack of all trades, master of none,’ with a shrug of the shoulders and self deprecating giggle.

Having heard the origin of this phrase discussed on the radio recently, I moved towards the front desk, contrary to where Maggie was directing our posse, and informed the awesome administration assistant that she should be proud to be a Master of All Trades, because the original and complete phrase is:

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Intended as a compliment, the phrase celebrates a person who is a versatile and adept generalist, rather than a specialist.


This resonated with me, and is now adopted as my 'super power.'

When all is said and done I am best at being me. It’s got me this far and who’s to say what’s around the corner?


Since beginning this blog, I had a catch up session with one of my (favourite) clients, Craig, who is a head teacher in the Highlands. We started working together in December and completed 6 coaching sessions over a 4 month period. I have had the privilege of watching him take on, develop and mould such a huge role, under extremely challenging circumstances: emerging from the bewilderment of a global pandemic, asserting himself as an empathic, reflective and compassionate leader who will stay the course, and building a sustainable school community.

Through all this, Craig has completed Into Headship - no mean feat - addressed pupil behaviour, staff absence, timetabling, SQA submissions and the inevitable multifarious tasks required of a head teacher. So when Craig asked to meet for a check in, I was delighted to accept, and listened with pride and admiration how he has achieved positive outcomes for himself and his school. That our coaching sessions were the best thing about his short tenure as head teacher, came as a very pleasant surprise, and we are planning for future collaboration, this time focusing on team coaching.


A few weeks ago when I was at my low ebb, I wondered whether something had to give from my multi-faceted life, and over the past week, I realised that the answer is most definitely not! I do not want to exclude anything that brings me joy from work, in whatever form that might be: creativity, flexibility, stability and accountability. I want to be at my best to support and attend to requests from those who need and value my knowledge and experience.


I have continued my membership with GTCS, because, although I haven’t taught since leaving in 2020, having a connection to education is really important to me and I worked hard for that membership. For now, I will keep my options open and maybe consider supply teaching next session.


While wearing my jack of all trades hat, I will continue professionally learning and developing as a coach, enjoy the short summer letting season, write, blog, take photographs, sketch, potter, garden, swim, practice Pilates and live my best life.


I found this lovely quote from David Hume this morning:

“Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness”


Have a great week, and be yourself - everyone else is taken!





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