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Awesome All-Rounder

Can being an all-rounder feel like failure when compared to the specialist? What makes someone an all-rounder and how important are they to have in your team? In many sports, they say it’s essential to have an all-rounder in your team because they can do a bit of everything. There are people in business, school or music, who do so many different things or can play so many instruments. They are good at everything, but they’re not the specialists, they’re not the best at any one thing, they are good at lots of different things.

Which one are you, an all-rounder or a specialist? And is one better than the other? While reflecting on all of my uniqueness and individuality, I have to say that I am an all-rounder, and for me, that is a good thing not bad, although at times it has made me feel like a failure or less awesome. Consider the English cricket team all-rounders, Ben Stokes, Freddie Flintoff and Ian Botham. Could you rely on them to consistently be the best bowler or the best batsman? No. Their job is to add that sparkle of genius, to come in and change the game or sure up the position because of their broad all-round skills, making a real difference in a team.

The following three areas will help you consider your position as a specialist or an all-rounder – academia, sport and music:

Academia: – At school, you can safely say that I wasn’t very applied. This doesn’t mean I was terrible; it really depends on what the point of comparison is. When compared to top grades and high achievers at school, I didn’t do so well. Still, when compared across the country average or global average, I did pretty well, passed a good number of exams and have returned successfully to academia in later life. I am definitely not a specialist in academia; I am an all-rounder.

Sport – I got to the cusp of professional elite rugby and have played many other games competitively along with an English Channel swim (relay), which would mean when compared to many, that I am or was very good at sport. However, on the other side, I never actually made it to the elite, to the top as a professional, that contract was never written with my name on it. Making me good but not great, I was in truth a reliable all-rounder in the team without being the star or the marquee player.

Music – For me, let’s be fair the music gene didn’t come my way, meaning I cannot claim any real talent that would see me chosen in a band or an orchestra. That’s not to say I couldn’t learn the odd percussion instrument, and I did learn some chords with my daughter on the piano once. Safe to say I’m not a musician!

There are many different areas where we are good, but we’re not the top, not the professional, and we’re not the one with pure visionary talent. When we look at children, they’re great at so many things, and as they get older, they are told to focus, reduce the number of things they’re doing and become better or brilliant at one thing. This can be due to a lack of time, too many things going on, and the parents can’t physically get them to everything, or their education may suffer, meaning they have to specialise.

Why can’t they just be allowed to be an awesome all-rounder capable of doing many things and enjoying lots of opportunities rather than having to become the best at one? Transition can be seriously tough, and most of us aren’t cut out to become elite or head into the world of professional sport or business for that matter? If they’re an all-rounder, they’re always going to be wanted in a team, where reliability is always in demand.

Are you an all-rounder? Are you a specialist? Because neither is wrong. This is my point here, neither is wrong. In the world of communication, speaking and coaching, there are certain people out there with greater knowledge and skills, which is great because I can employ them. I can use them, and I can collaborate with them to add higher value and more significant impact to what I do for my clients. You categorically don’t have to be the number one at everything; you can be master of some, and amazing at lots, an Awesome All-Rounder.

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