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Headmasters Blog – 9 March 2012 – Be a yes person

March 9, 2012

I have just attended the fifth and final presentation in our Spring Term lecture series held in association with Highcliffe and Arnewood schools which are designed to showcase careers and how to approach building a career. Dr Damian Jenkinson, a consultant physician specialising in stroke medicine, explained how he came into this branch of the profession by saying ‘yes’ at a time when the opportunity came up in the then new hospital in Bournemouth rather than taking an easier road and staying in more mainstream consultancy. In many ways this approach of Dr Jenkinson has been a prevailing theme throughout our lecture series. Each talk has been enthralling, challenging and enlightening as we have considered careers in different areas of life. Another medic, Bob Watts, began the series by talking about his pioneering work in prosthetics. He has been responsible for helping many amputees (including servicemen and women) say ‘yes’ to a new life, after extreme hardship in the early stages after their operations whilst they adapted to their prosthetic limbs. Tom Stockwell, a house manager at the National Trust’s Petworth House in West Sussex, showed us how he volunteered time and again as a young student in various Trust properties to build up the experience and expertise needed for that all important first job with the NT. Once he had a foot on the ladder he was then able to seize further opportunities to learn specific skills within the sphere of the cultural heritage industry and now has a job helping preserve and display the finest collection of William Turner paintings in the world. Our third guest, a Ballard parent, was Mark Lande who works in Swanwick, Hampshire, as an Air Traffic Controller. We were amazed to hear how despite his disappointment as a young man in missing out on a career with the RAF, he persevered and joined the National Air Traffic Services where he has to keep a very cool head marshalling civilian and military aircraft in the skies over our heads. His profession is dynamic and certainly challenging and one on which most of us rely intermittently as we travel overseas or within the UK. Once again here was someone who said ‘yes’ when an opportunity opened up to train for a career he had initially thought nothing about. Mark Stubbs was our penultimate presenter and his approach was summed up in his personal philosophy – ‘one life, live it!’ A Royal Marine from the age of 16 he saw active duty in the Falklands War when aged 18 and this convinced him that he must make the most of every moment of his life. He moved many in the audience to tears as he recounted his hobby of ocean rowing which led him to take on the 108 year rowing record for crossing the Atlantic from West to East. If there was anyone amongst our eminent list of speakers who said ‘yes’ to opportunity and ‘no’ to failure then he was it! So, being a ‘yes’ man or woman has taken on a whole new meaning after our lectures. Far be it from meaning someone who simply follows the crowd and aims for an easy life. Here has been a challenge to take up every opportunity that comes our way, to learn through mistakes and to come out triumphant and often unexpectedly into a new area of life!

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