Introduction to Roles
When Stephen Covey first introduced his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I was surprised by the time he spent on the idea of “roles.”
Roles seemed like such a waste of time. Who cared what role I thought I was playing? I had things to do! Besides, I was young and I had very few roles in life. Working and hanging out with my friends were the mainstays of my life.
The truth is that we all play roles and that your roles are going to differ significantly from mine.
If you read last week’s take on Motley Goals, you should have a list of roles that you have brainstormed. If not, go ahead and do so and we’ll go through the four steps for developing your roles into Qualitative Roles.
Four Steps to Qualitative Roles
There are four steps to defining Qualitative Roles.
1) Define your roles.
2) Decide which roles you want to set goals for.
3) Add a qualitative component for the roles you want to set goals for.
4) Add a destination for your role.
As we go through this process, I’ll share with you some of the roles that I have defined for myself. However, it’s often best for you to keep your own roles and destinations a bit of a mystery to those around you. Those definitions are a window into your soul and those who don’t dream may find them targets for amusement rather than the crystallization of thought that you know them to be.
Define your roles
The first step is to tentatively define the names of the roles that you play in life. I say tentatively because there is no need to set these in stone either during this exercise or even longer term.
The idea here is just to get started with something and have a working a model. After that, you can go ahead and move forward or revise the roles as you see fit and as you process through the various parts of the goals.
Here are a few that you might try on: Parent, Spouse, Worker, Writer, Dreamer.
You may even want to start with something that describes the role and then find a unique word to describe that role.
For instance, I wanted to somehow capture that I was both a father and a husband in a single role name. After discussing it with the walking thesaurus that is my daughter, we settled on Patriarch.
My initial list settled into the following group of non-work roles: Christian, Patriarch, Writer, Exerciser, Gamer, Steward, Encourager.
Decide which roles that you want to set goals for
There are different theories as to how you should decide on which roles you should set goals for.
In general there are three approaches:
You may even take the next step for roles that you don’t want to look at each day on a goal by goal basis just for the fun of it.
Adding a Qualitative description of your role
The next step is to add the qualitative description.
This change should be a word that will remind you of what you want, you would like your life to look like. Forget about other people while you pick these words.
Let me give you an example from my life. Above, I noted that I had the role “Exerciser” as one of my roles. Well first of all this is a terrible word. It’s wooden and sterile and just boring. Athlete would be a better word, but that didn’t capture what I was hoping for so I settled on Spartan.
The Spartans were strong and dedicated to their strength and abilities. So what would be the best qualitative word for me to use with Spartan. I’m 46 and while I’m in relatively decent shape from a BMI point of view, I’m stiff as a board. One of my goals is to be able to get back to being able to touch my toes and so for this role, I’ve selected the title “Flexible Spartan.”
Another concept that I picked up from Anthony Robbins is to use humor in setting goals and dealing with life and this area of creative role names is a good place to apply that principle.
Two of my qualitative role names use non-words or poor grammar to include humor in my goal setting:
Bestest-Selling Author and Celberating(sic) Coach.
The “Celeberate”(sic) comes from a misspelling of mine back when I was reading a lot of Robbins and I accidentally wrote “Celberate(sic) For No Reason” on a large post-it note over my computer.
Here’s my list of the other roles I use which will give you some examples to leverage off of with the original roles in parentheses:
Setting a Destination
So where are you going in each of your roles?
Each role should have a one or two sentence summary of what you want that role to look like in your life by the time you are done. That is the destination that you are shooting for. It’s not a yardstick to measure if you’re there yet. Essentially, we don’t want to beat ourselves up over whether or not we’ve made our goals, we simply want to get pointed in the right direction and make sure that we know where we’re headed.
Here’s a couple of examples from my own goal setting.
For “Bestest-Selling(sic) Author,” my destination is: “Make James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks jealous of my success.” No lofty goals for me! Ha!
For “Flexible Spartan,” my destination is: “Cast vision like Randy Pausch, Coach like Bo, encourage like Barnabas, and celberate like Leon Lett.”
Randy Pausch is the famous speaker of and author of the book “The Last Lecture.” Bo is Bo Pelini who coaches my favorite college football team and pushes the mantra of getting better each day. Barnabas is the disciple in the Bible who was known as the “Son of Encouragement.” Leon Lett was so excited about forcing a turnover in the Super Bowl that he ran towards the wrong endzone. Now that’s celebrating!
Carve out a destination that’s big enough to take up your whole life. You may never reach it, but you’ll get farther than those around you who simply meander their way through life.
Next week, we’ll start talking about some tools in your tool box for Motley Goals.
All articles are original content of Kent Ostby unless otherwise noted.
To contact me, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.