Do you know how many hats you wear? I guess that you are familiar with the expression “wearing many hats”, i.e. to have many roles, responsibilities and tasks to perform.
If you were to assign every role with a particular hat, with the skills and responsibilities that come with it, how many would you wear? How does it feel to wear them? Are you wearing several at once or one at a time?
Here are some key areas of responsibility that you can consider – and assess:
– At Home: are you a caretaker, the home repair person, the family cook? Would you rather say that you’re wearing one home-hat or are there more than one?
If you wear too many hats at home:
Do they feel good and do you like to wear them all? If not, which hat would you like to give up or give to someone else? Is there anyone in your family who would look better with this hat?
If you wear many hats at once you can easily feel weight down by them: so choose how and when to wear them.
And if you think that you “have to wear that hat” because “this is what is expected from you”, ask yourself: who is actually making you do it?…
– In the Community: What community involvement hats do you wear? Maybe you have responsibilities in your neighbourhood, at your children’s daycare/school, at your church etc. – If you feel that you’re too involved: what can you do to make this hat feel more comfortable?
Sometimes a “no” the next time you’re ask to be involved is better than a half-hearted “yes” – and keep in mind that a “no” always implies a “yes” for something else.
– For Your Children: When we have children, we’re involved in anything they do. Our childrens’ sports teams, clubs etc. have a great load on the entire family. – And if we have more than one child this adds even more hats to our head.
Since I decided to regularly schedule extra one-on-one time with all my three children – i.e. wearing one hat at a time – I felt much less pressure and can enjoy also the most hectic moments because I know that I have the choice to put off one (or two) hats and fully concentrate on only one.
– Your partner: Unfortunately couples often take their partnership for granted, especially when all goes weel and the hat feels comfortable. But like with all the other hats, our partnership-hat should be acknowledged, appreciated, nurtured and cherished.
– Your Job – If we have a job and/or are volunteering, we usually wear several hats there too and these hats sometimes slip on our heads before we even start working: we check our mails and phones before breakfast or before getting to work in the morning. Sometimes we even fall asleep with these hats on…
I recently started a new routine: not to check my emails before 9:00 and not to respond after 19:00. Nothing should be so urgent that it can’t wait until after 9 (real emergencies excluded of course). Those who have a 9-5 job may think that this is easy, but it’s not for an entrepreneur like me who has clients also in the late-afternoon and evening hours. Also, I do all my marketing, book-keeping etc., so checking emails or getting on social media after the last lesson or coaching session is not easy for me; but I’m getting there.
– Collateral Duties: We all tend to do more, take on other jobs, other responsibilities, especially when these things seem very interesting.
Make a list of all the extra duties that you have to perform in the different areas of your life and you will discover if there is room for more or if you have to take off one (or two, or three…) of the hats you’re wearing…
When we set priorities, i.e. decide on the hats we wear, we do ourselves a great favour: we all have only one head and multitasking is not as healthy as people think.
If you are, like me, a “multipotentialite” like Emily Wapnick defines it, “a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life”, then finding out which hat to keep and which to let go is a real challenge.
I had to take this decision. This week I gave up one hat that had about 5 hours per week of volunteer work written on it. It was a hat that I chose to wear, to grow and nurture. Its weight was never too much for me. But I had to let it go – why? It was a hat that I only borrowed. I knew that I got to wear it only temporarily.
I sincerely enjoyed wearing it, it felt good, cozy, exciting. It was one of my 2 volunteer hats. Thanks to this hat I learned so much, I got to meet so many people, make new friends and this hat allowed me to discover facets of myself that I would not have seen wouldn’t I have worn it.
When I took the decision to let this hat go, I briefly felt what it would be to “only” wear one volunteer hat. It is liberating, of course, and for a short time I enjoyed this feeling of having more time for me, my family and my business. But I am a 2-volunteer-hat-person and I chose another hat to wear. It’s only a coincidence that I started wearing my new one the same week I gave up this other one. And the new one already feels familiar – the responsibility involved is not new to me.
I counted my hats and there are many. I don’t wear them all at once, I sometime combine them, but never more than two or three. If I would always wear them all I would belie my own expectations, I couldn’t do anything the way I want. And: every hat deserves to be worn, appreciated and admired, separately.
How many hats do you wear, and do you wear volunteer hats too?
What makes you decide which hat to wear and which one to drop?