Our many roles and how they affect our decision-making

Who am I? Good one, right? Let’s narrow it down a bit. Which role am I playing as I am making that decision? We all wear multiple hats, and sometimes we are not conscious who we are, or “which one of me” I should be in the moment I decide. Most of the time it is not that simple anyway.

Am I making this decision as an immigrant, a local, an academic, an auntie, a LGBT person, a taxpayer, a neighbour, a department head, a person on a zero hours contract, a parent, a tech guy, a person of faith, a lover, a Manchester City fan, an XYZ investor, a member of a particular political party, an XYZ survivor etc etc. – all these examples of different roles people play or ways they think of themselves, and one can be most of these things at the same time.

For some decisions, it doesn’t matter. For some it does – and when it does, it is usually very crucial to our identity at that time. And sometimes our many different role identities can be in conflict, they can pull in different directions for a particular decision. Or one might be strong that is called forth in another area of our lives but is not really meant to be that loud where you are right now.

All of that is perfectly normal by the way. We are multidimensional beings, and that is great. And the more conscious we are what is going on inside of us, the better we can come to decisions that align with our many roles we play, and what truly matters. Particularly during times of change this can be a helpful practice to develop.

Often the change you are looking to make might be to rebalance some of these roles, so it’s a good idea to get to know them better as you are negotiating that shift. Ask yourself: Which roles am I playing right now? What does that decision touch? What gets triggered? Any surprising “guest appearances” popping up? Try to name them. Then write down what is important for that role. (When I do this, I literally either sit on different chairs for each role, or move around, stand in a different place etc etc) You are likely going to find that some core values, core criteria are the same across roles. Others might vary. For example your parent role might request a bigger “safety margin” than your adventure traveler role, who might advocate for anything that relieves boredom.

When looking at this for decision making, for the moment ignore what is in alignment or lukewarm. Zoom in on the extremes as relevant for your decision. This points to elements or key criteria you need to be mindful of, these need to somehow feature in your decision making. Look closely. Also, as you are working on bigger changes, ask yourself if you are looking at this from your past (known) or from your desired future (unknown).

There are probably lots of solutions and options out there that do have a bit of safety margin AND can have excitement or something new, to stick with the above example. What would this have to look like to have some of both?  Get creative (and possibly rope in people that embody these extremes for additional input where this is an option).

This makes it clearer which criteria need to be on the table, and allows you to take decisions that are a bit more balanced and that reflect the entirety of your big, beautiful and multifaceted life.

How do you ensure balance in your decisions? Please share.

Want to go deeper?
Check out the values worksheet here.
Or go deeper and get the book.
Or ping me about how coaching might help.