WHY BEING THE JACK OF ALL TRADES (AND THE MASTER OF NONE), MIGHT ACTUALLY BE THE ANSWER
The ‘Swiss Army Knife’ Approach to ‘Work’
When I stopped writing my blog so regularly, going from daily to a couple of times a week and then before I knew it barely even monthly (the shackles of meaningful content really causing a mental barrier), I don’t think I noticed the gap in my life it created.
If anything it was one less thing to think about, which with the stresses and pressure I was feeling, it was a good thing to let it go a little. Or so I thought.
Lately I’ve been reading lots, writing journals, buying every wellness, spiritual, non fiction book I can find. It’s not something new, it’s just that the pace of my obsession peaked. Jase kept asking me why, and I couldn’t really articulate why, except I wanted to learn and understand life, balance, happiness, creativity, behaviour etc.
But today, after a couple of weeks of more normal working hours and time to be slow again, I realise that probably what it comes down to is a longing and lack of a creative outlet.
I have creativity in my veins, my mum has taught my sisters and I the art and magic of creativity and we each subconsciously found our own outlets, mine happened to come to life through by blog – writing, photography and creating my own editorial if you will – So when I stopped writing regularly all those years ago, I closed the door figuratively speaking on a hugely important part of me, and really my single outlet for my inner creativity. I didn’t realise perhaps until today, that this is what’s happened.
It hasn’t just mean I’ve found myself restlessly desperate to ‘create’, buying every book under the sun to understand these feelings and even buying an art stores worth of painting equipment at an attempt to find creative release. It’s also meant stress. I think back over the last 3 or so years, and I feel now, with the benefit of hindsight, that when I removed the energy and focus on my blog, I just filled that energy with more of the stress and pressure I was feeling from work.
I closed off my release, my outlet, my therapy, and filled that mental space with ‘work’. And yes maybe I gained a few hours back and got a little more enjoyment out of some moments (not always thinking about capturing every second or place I went or arguing over photo taking), but what I lost was a big part of me that perhaps isn’t fulfilled elsewhere in my life.
My blog was how I cleared my mind, released my creative energy, it was my platform to share ideas, and perhaps most importantly it gave my mind more than my job to focus on.
– the jack of all trades –
The last few months with time to think and be, I’ve dreamt up ideas for new businesses, (re)considered alternative careers like journalism, writing, photography, coaching, I’ve read plenty of thought provoking books on living your best life, I’ve even … as of today … thought about returning to study. Going back to do a masters in something I love … for the fun of it.
And then it dawned on me, perhaps what this all comes down to, is the fact that I need and want to be doing lots of things in my life. It’s not about one thing over the other. It’s not about leaving this to do that. I’m not one dimensional, and so perhaps just a single focus or ‘outlet’ isn’t quite fulfilling enough. I love my career, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t tick off everything I want or love in life. My book buying and soul searching perhaps has simply been in order to realise that I’m someone who wants and needs lots of outlets in my life. And my blog certainly facilitated that.
Perhaps, instead of having one focus for my energy, craft and skills, I want to have multiple. Different outlets for my different passions and interests. Perhaps the age old saying ‘the jack of all trades and the master of none’ isn’t so bad after all, if in fact it means you live a life that’s fulfilled, creative, contented and happy?
‘The jack of all trades, and the master of none’
My blog, my photography (and the continuous learning journey and exploration that comes with photography), my writing (on many different topics from wellness, to careers, to life), travel, interiors; all of those things & the all encompassing creativity of it all are hugely critical to my happiness.
They are my release, they fulfil the part of me that wants to create, make, to be inspired and use it towards something. Without them being released via my blog I have become restless and ended up searching for answers. Jase spotted it a while ago, this need for me to have a few things on the go, a creative outlet for passion project alongside my job.
At the time I paused my energy on the blog, perhaps it was needed a little, to give Jase some focus and tone down the sheer volume of things I was trying to do, but now it’s clear it’s about balancing it all. Finding time for my creative pursuits alongside work, my health, family, friends, wellbeing. I need that creative outlet, and whether it’s my blog or something else – my new business idea, a return to study, or exploring photography more, I need to bring it back in my life.
Sat here today, reading another book this time focussed on creativity (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – it’s fab, I highly recommend), I realise some of the challenge is now just doing it. Getting back on the saddle so to speak. The hard work of ‘creating’ this platform is long done, now it’s time to use this space to create, share, produce and MAKE again!
Whilst I really haven’t ever expected this to be anything more than just an outlet for me, I do now see the window of opportunity that sits behind this platform. Maybe not for now, maybe not even 5 years time, and probably not linked at all to blogging or instagram, but somewhere in the future I see how my work here, and the work I want to bring to this space, could pave the way for further creativity and opportunities in my life. Writing, photography, travel …
That active release of creativity is something I need, and that excitement and hope for future possibility as a result, is something I’d like to have in my life again.
I feel like I have so much to share. I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years. I am desperate to create photos that excite me again. I’m energised to make something, and have an outlet for my ideas and inspirations. I am ready to let all the multi faceted elements of my personality and passions come to life and have a home again.
So this is for me as much as anything else, a steak in the ground. It’s time to create.
Here’s to being the jack of all trades.