(This article represents Step 6 in planning your Best Year Yet for 2011. I’ll list the first four steps below so that you can catch up, if this is your first time here:
Step 1: Who Else Is Ready for 2011?
Step 2: Get Rid of Your Baggage Once and For All
Step 3: The Lazy Man’s Way to the Best Year Yet
Step 4: Get Out of Jail NOW!
Step 5: What Everybody Ought to Know About True North)
Looking at your life from the perspective of the roles you play provides a sensible way of integrating the various areas of your life while placing yourself and your values at the center, directing the show.
—Jinny S. Ditzler, Best Year Yet
Reasons to Examine Your Life Roles
Why is it so important to pause and examine the different roles we play in life? Ms. Ditzler provides a few:
By taking time out to look at each role, you are creating awareness of where you have been, and where you want to go. Think of yourself as sitting at the center of a wheel. The different spokes on the wheel represent each of your roles. The mere act of identifying your roles gives you a vantage point of being at the center, evaluating and directing where you want to go in each of those roles.
Be sure, as you are thinking about the different roles that you play, to connect with the list of top values you put together, if you completed the exercise from last week’s post. It’s helpful for me, for example, to see that every single one of my roles is highly impacted by my top value of integrity. When I can be aware of each of my roles, as well as how they fit together with my most cherished values, I feel centered and fulfilled as I go through life.
About two years ago, I was very focused on generating some extra income and building assets for my family. I spent the year very focused on a couple of business ventures. I had some modest success, but it came at the expense of family relationships. I realized that the many hours and the extra energy I was pouring into my business ventures was coming at a cost to the relationships of those closest to me. Needless to say, I had some hard lessons to learn.
Ballasts are heavy material carried in a vessel to provide the ship with stability. In the same way, focused attention to each of our roles serves as a ballast to keep our lives steady as we move forward in 2011 and beyond.
The beauty of being aware of your different roles is that you can ensure you are setting goals that include each of those roles. Additionally, you can look over your roles and goals when getting ready each upcoming week in 2011. By keeping your roles and goals in front of you, you will ensure that you are living in harmony with your different roles and responsibilities.
What Are My Roles?
It can be kind of challenging to think about what our roles are. Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- What are your current responsibilities?
- What are you accountable for in your life?
- What do you do during the day? The weekends?
- What would you call the role you are playing as you are doing each of those activities?
You may want to consider roles that are underdeveloped. For example, as a son or daughter, would you like your relationship with your parents to be stronger? Think also in terms of what roles you may want to add to your life in the next year. Is there a service position at your church or in your community you would like to take on?
Here are some examples of roles others have written down:
Parent; Son/Daughter; Family member; Homeowner; Manager; Receptionist; Fund-raiser; Director; Salesperson; My own coach; Lover; Husband/Wife; Cook; Deacon; Homemaker; Friend; Poet; Designer; Adventurer.
Take some time to write down all your roles. Then count them. If there are more than 7 roles, you may want to combine a couple roles, or even cut out certain roles. This is because your brain can get overwhelmed with more than 7.
Here are some of my own roles for 2011:
- Steve’s Coach (self-care)
- Clinical Specialist
Think About How You Will Play Each Role in 2011:
Again, look at your list of values, and think through how you want to play each role in the year ahead. As you think of each role, think about how it will look, how it will feel, and how you would ideally like to play each role. I can tell you without even thinking about it: as I write, I know that my biggest challenge is how to be a better husband and father. But I’m also glad I have my professional roles written down as well, because it could be easy to discount those as I focus on being a better husband and father! And I’m glad for my “Steve’s Coach” role, because it will force me to focus on prayer, meditation, physical exercise, nutrition, and Scripture reading in order to maintain my personal reserves during the course of the upcoming year.
photo credit: Tightrope by JP Puerta on Flickr Creative Commons
What roles are you going to be playing this next year?
Have you struggled with unbalanced success this year or in past years?
I hope you will share your comments!