Have you ever stopped to think about all the different roles you play in your life – and for whom? There are probably more than you think.
When you first came into the world you were somebody’s son or daughter. You will also have been someone’s grandchild. Possibly someone’s niece or nephew, brother or sister.
The list will then have grown as you have. You will have been someone’s friend, someone student, someone’s brownie/ guide / beaver/ scout.
Today you may still be some of those plus a lot more besides. Are you someone’s employer, employee or colleague? Someone’s coach or coachee? Someone’s partner/ parent/ carer? The secretary of your Tennis Club?
Within those rules they will also be sub-roles: driver, cook, minute taker etc.
There’s a strange juxtaposition round roles. You play them all in your own unique way and yet the more roles you play, the easier it is to lose track of who you really are deep down. It can be easy to slip into living your life as defined only by those roles.
How else might you like to see yourself ? Have any of the roles become muddled? For example, are you as an adult still playing as too much of a child to your parents or to other people? If so, how could you as an adult start responding differently? What do you need to do differently to change that pattern or dynamic?
Are you simply trying to fulfil too many roles for too many people? What sub roles could you change?
Sometimes it’s worth bearing in mind that when you’re fulfilling a role for someone else that they could fulfil themselves, or certainly could learn to do so, that you’re actually disempowering them. How can you start to hand that role back to them? Obviously that’s easier if they welcome that opportunity but even if they don’t, can you start to ease away from it?
Can some of your current roles become shared, taken over by someone else or even dropped altogether?
In your busy life it’s easy to keep doing what you’re doing and have always done as if you’re on autopilot, just because you don’t take time out to reflect on it.
To explore your current roles, take a large sheet of paper and start creating a mind map of all the roles you play and for whom. Make sure you include all the sub roles, such as parent/driver/cleaner, etc. Highlight the ones you would like to change and/ or could most easily change. Aim to identify at least 3 and start with ones which would be easy to amend or get rid of.
Plan how are you will move towards making those changes and create a plan of action. Who do you need to have a conversation with?
Is there a role missing that you would like to fulfil? Also plan how you will move towards making that happen. You only have life. Play the roles you want to play.
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