Amid the onslaught of choices and information we face each day, the act of actually doing what matters the most to us is sometimes lost in the noise. This new blog series tackles specific action steps you can take to not just dream but accomplish what your heart desires.

These steps are based on years of studying and implementing best practices from thought leaders and organizations across the world, especially the work of the FranklinCovey organization. These are relevant for both your professional and personal ambitions; in fact, the only time they don’t work is when you don’t practice them:

1. Identify the most valuable roles you play in life
2. Establish goals for those roles
3. Reflect on potential hindrances to those goals
4. Re-build your calendar in order to prioritize those goals, creating a fluid, organizational system that helps you keep on track and minimize distractions
5. Stay well–physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually–in order to have the capacity to achieve those goals

In today’s post, let’s think about the “roles” that each of us plays these days, or the various “hats” that we wear.

Each of us is a whole person, and ultimately we need for our values and actions to synergize together so that we can find meaning and peace. But to pull back the curtain and truly grow more aware of how much we are–or aren’t–doing what matters the most to us, it’s helpful to take a deep dive into each role…to hone in on specific oak trees, and then return to a panoramic view of the forest itself.

For example, my current roles include “Spiritual Being,” “Aly’s Dad,” “Olivia’s Dad,” “Writer,” “Coach & Consultant,” “Homeowner,” “Friend” and ‘Family Member.” For each of these roles, I’ve defined what excellence can look like right now, and these pursuit-of-excellence goals are then broken down into action steps that I plot across my calendar each week. I might not always have these exact same roles (although I can’t imagine a scenario where one goes away), but they are what I value the most right now.

A few additional details on some of my roles:

  • The “Spiritual Being” role includes intentionally embracing all the mindfulness practices I wrote about in a recent blog series
  • I make a distinction between my two parenting roles because my daughters are very different from each other and require a differentiated approach.
  • “Homeowner” is an umbrella role for all of my financial responsibilities, with the care and funding of my home being the most important fiscal priority I have, and one that sets the tone for everything else I do with my money.

Have you ever paused to reflect on what excellence can look like in the different roles that you play or hats that you wear? Some of the roles might be obvious, such as those relating to your job, your marriage, or your children. But others might not be as intuitive, such as “Friend” and “Family Member.” What does it mean to be an excellent friend to someone? What does it mean to be an outstanding son, daughter, or sibling (which, unfortunately, I’m not these days)? These specific two roles tend to be the easiest ones to blow off and not reflect upon.

Chances are you have a hobby or passion that you don’t cultivate nearly enough. It doesn’t matter what the hobby happens to be; you can re frame it as a role with goals to be accomplished. This creates focus, confidence, and energy.

We get the most important things done when we recognize the most important hats that we wear. In my next post I’ll say more about how to establish very concrete goals for these roles.

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Strengths that you can develop as well.

Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.

Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.