What happens when you’re busy making other plans….

Back in the summer of 2019, I was lucky enough to have coaching with the incredible Sarah Philp.

We had several sessions together and ended when I felt that we had worked enough, for the time being, on identifying my values and vision. After this, I began some therapeutic work to try and address some of the personal blocks that were getting in the way of me feeling entirely comfortable in my own skin.

As a result of our work together, Sarah encouraged me to create a values and vision statement for the next ten years of my life. This was quite a challenge for me, as I have always found it hard to picture or plan for my own future, even though I have a track record of being a very successful strategic planner when it comes to my work.

I have since come to understand that this is very common in women with ADHD.

This is the statement that I produced, as I approached the end of my forties.





Service to others



50 to 55

In this chapter, we see Lena settle into the role of Principal Teacher for Looked After Children for another 12 months, at which point she returns to school and her substantive role of Head of Teaching and Learning Secondary. In this work she is motivated by her core values and she uses the GTCS values and the UNCRC to help her stay true to these.

She feels more comfortable in her own skin and knows that she does not have to continually prove herself or work towards achieving “even more” as she has accrued a huge amount of skills, qualities and knowledge during the first 10 chapters of her life, 8 of which have involved her working in education.

She continues to reflect on her motivations and to attend therapy / coaching where she tries to work on her tendency towards negativity and catastrophic thinking.

She works less and spends more time ensuring that her personal and family life are as informed by her values as her professional life. She works hard on developing friendships

She takes up yoga more seriously.

She makes a focused attempt to save money.

She finds a publisher for her book and starts to do more speaking engagements.

She continues to direct plays for young people.

She does an MEd.

When she is 52/3, her daughter goes to university and when she is 54/5, her son follows.

55 to 60

In this chapter, Lena continues as a Head Teacher until the age of 58 and at this point (once her two children have finished university), she moves into teacher education, continuing to live in Argyll but spending some of the week away.

She travels often to see her children and wider family and continues to save money with a view to retiring at the age of sixty; her husband will be 72 by this stage.


Sitting here, two and a bit years on and reflecting, I can observe several things.

Life is definitely what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Fate, a pandemic, a diagnosis and some other things simply beyond my control mean that the first steps towards the vision haven’t entirely been realised yet. But that’s ok. As I continue to live, learn and work towards earning an epitaph that mine was “a life well-lived”, I am still mainly sticking with the programme.

Each day, I strive to stay true to my values, to serve in the best way I can, to approach others with a loving heart and to know my boundaries and limits. I don’t manage that every day but it is my intention (to quote my friend and mentor Christine Couser, whom I now chat to every day, as we drive to work in our respective authorities in the West and East of the country.)

And that is enough. I am enough.

I have recently also realised that I have a new ambition, now that I have experienced the joy of writing a ten year vision and thinking more strategically about my own life

I really want to live to 100.

My grandma did it and so the odds must be pretty high….

I hope Sarah’s ready for another piece of work with me to create the next chapters…..

2 thoughts on “What happens when you’re busy making other plans….

  1. Loved this Lena – and I should say that you are already living a ‘life well-lived’. You give so much, and you teach so much. You DESERVE to be happy and to feel comfortable in your own skin.

    Good luck with reaching 100! My mum managed 95, and we’re the next generation, so…

    Sending love,



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