Role Audit-Part Two

This is part two, (part one can be found here) in a series on “Roles” inspired by this interview with a friend and mentor.

What “Roles” do you hold? Or what “Hats” do you wear?

Can we agree that for every role, “mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, volunteer etc.) there are a set of spoke and unspoken expectations that you and those around you have for that role?

I think sometimes we don’t really take the time to think about that simple, but true fact.  We are so busy “doing” that we forget (often) to think about what we are doing and  why we are doing it!

So the first question in a Role Audit is:

❡ Who am I? (In other words, what “hats” am I wearing?)

After you have identified what the roles are in your life ask yourself:

❡ What are the responsibilities that accompany each role?

Responsibilities is really a question of what must be done to satisfy the requirements of that role.


Some roles in your life might be quite subjective in nature.  Meaning, it’s up to you and those around you to evaluate and decide when it comes to thinking about what the responsibilities are for a given role.  Some might disagree with me, but I think the role of parent, being a friend, a community member etc, can be quite subjective in nature.  What I may see as my responsibility as a parents, other parents may not see as necessary at all.  This is not about value judgements.  It’s about being clear, for yourself what you are trying to accomplish with each hat you wear.  In reality this step, just like creating a vision, helps clarify decision making.  When you know what you are responsible for, you start to know what is important to say “yes” to, and maybe, even more importantly, you know what to say “no” to!

Other roles in your life probably have objective: set responsibilities. Professional roles have set outcomes that you are responsible to achieve.    As you think about these roles in your life, outlining the responsibilities will be much easier.  Take a look at your job description and see what you are being require and evaluated on.  Even the “defined” roles in our life, do, I believe have unspoken responsibilities that we may be measured against.  Take time to think through the defined and expected, but undefined responsibilities in this category too.

❡Are you surprised by the number “hats” that you wear?

❡Do you need to make any changes? (IE: can you combine any roles, do you need to let go of any roles? Is there a role that you are missing that your unique strengths and gifts are begging to have an opportunity to “shine” at?)

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Roles Audit-part one

In a recent interview I did with a colleague she mentioned something I found fascinating and profound.  She said:

“often times we [women] let our roles define us, not us defining our roles.  We have to identify and understand how we see ourselves and the role and ask ourselves ‘How do I define this role (wife, mother, friend, worker, sister, daughter, volunteer, community member)’ rather than letting external sources define [our roles] for us”

In organizational development consulting work that I’ve done with organizations we often look at job titles and discuss questions such as:

  • What are the responsibilities for this role?
  • What are the tasks that this role requires you to complete?
  • What behaviors are expected for/from this role?

These questions (among others) we call a “Roles Audit” both the role holder and the supervisor or others working closely with the person in a certain role are asked to answer these questions.  What emerges is a clear picture of the role: both the tasks and the behaviors that are expected (both spoken and unspoken.) From that information a new and often times much clearer “position description” is written.  As with most things in life, the clearer the expectations are, the more helpful it is for all involved.

Which got me thinking. . . . .

  • What if, as women,  we took the time to do a “Role Audit” in our life?
  • What would the result be?
  • I wonder if maybe, some of us are trying to live out someone else’s (or society in generals) expectations in some of our roles?
  • What if we defined for ourselves what these roles (wife, mother, sister, daughter, co-worker, volunteer, community member etc.) meant in our own life?
  • What if in defining the expectation, responsibilities, and tasks associated with these roles we took into account our strengths and challenges?

For example:

My husband has this **crazy** expectation that part of my role as wife and “keeper of the home” is that not only will I wash, dry and fold his laundry.  He also thinks I should put it away.  Well, he says, “I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to start putting away my laundry, not just leave it piled here on top of the dresser”

Here’s the thing.  It only takes a cursory glance around our closet to see that we have different expectations for how laundry is to be put away.  I have a rather, shall we saw, “free-form” way of putting away my laundry. . a drawer “loosely” dedicated to t-shirts, a basket mostly dedicated to sock, a hanging rod almost-some-of-the-time-completely-except-not-really, dedicated to pants. . . you get the picture. . . while HE has neat as a pin drawers, with systems for socks, color coded, divided, folded, sorted. . . I know myself.  I just don’t work that way.  I appreciate that method. I wish I could, but I just can’t make myself work in that way.  So I just KNOW that in the end, he will be happier, I will be happier if he just works his system and lets me work my system.  (And he does mostly just have to put away the the clean clothes!) Some “keepers of the home” might put away all the laundry. . . but it’s just not in my role description.  I feel it’s better for everyone this way!

What about you?

  • What roles do you have in your life (wife, mother, sister, daughter, roommate, worker, co-worker, volunteer, church member, etc.)
  • Have you thought about the spoken and unspoken expectations that you and others hold for each of those roles?

Strategic Futuring Interview

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Mary-Ellen Rood about Strategic Futuring. Mary-Ellen has been using and observing the use of Strategic Futuring for over 20 year from the time her husband first developed the process for a Graduate class at Azusa Pacific University.

If you read the Strategic Possibilities Newsletter-September Edition you’ve already “met” Mary-Ellen. (if you haven’t received the newsletter, check out the Newsletter Archive link above to see the entire issue)

The following is Mary-Ellen’s “stream of conscious notes” from our phone conversation.

A: You’ve been using/observing Strategic Futuring since Ray developed it 20+ years ago: What do you see as the value of the process?

  • SF engages the whole person (body, mind, spirit).
  • Requires use of responsive, proactive, inventive thinking / decisions; leads to a sense of personal-life empowerment.
  • Requires reflection for the clarification of values and the identification of one’s life purpose.
  • Moves one’s thinking about his / her life beyond the present to consider possibilities previously not considered or thought possible.
  • Requires active engagement in planning for one’s future vision (i.e. setting goals, seeking support, and accountability).
  • Utilizes the power of the unconscious mind to move toward a desired outcome.
  • When treated as fact, SF gives substance to hope, direction to decisions, and shapes behavior.
  • Changes how one views oneself giving new meaning the concept of “unlimited possibilities.”

A: What do you believe is the value/importance for women especially in this process?

  • Expands the sense of one’s capacity / capabilities beyond current circumstances, roles, responsibilities; provides the opportunity to see oneself in a new / different light
  • Strengthens self-esteem, confidence and a sense of centeredness and positive self worth.

A: My Strategic Futuring Work is focused and directed towards women in their 20’s and 30’s, As you know, part of the process is to ask women what questions they have about their lives 15 years in the future.

  • As you think about that season of your life, what are 5 questions that you did, or wish you would have asked yourself-given what you know now?
  • Who am I? What is my purpose in life and what do I need to do to fulfill my purpose?
  • What are my core values?
  • What is my vision for my life? (What do I want my life to look like / be like in my 30’, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc.?)
  • What knowledge, skills, resources do / will I need to achieve my purpose / goals / vision?
  • How can I maximize who I am in the achievement of my life goals / purpose?

❧ Don’t forget to subscribe, using the “subscribe button” on the right of this blog so you don’t miss out on any new content!  We’re starting a new series on “roles” inspired by this interview with Mary Ellen.

Key to the Future

I recently found the following. I found it inspiring and challenging. article about the importance of empowering women if we want to eradicate poverty…

What if just one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — achieving significant progress toward gender equality by 2015 — met its target, and in the process ensured that other MDGs would be realized as well?

In the developing world, women are gatekeepers and influencers in their villages. They have deep knowledge of local eco-systems and are the primary water gatherers, cooks, domestic organizers and healing agents for their families. When a mother is given a malaria bed net or attends a course on sexual education, she shares the net with her babies and an understanding of HIV and AIDS transmission with her partner and her friends.

Armed with a voice in community discussions, political decisions and leadership roles, women will rise above their poverty and pain. Most importantly, they will bring their children, husbands, brothers, mothers and friends with them.

Women will apply the skills they learn in business school back to their hometowns and local communities. Women will teach their children about sustainable living, ensuring environmental protection for the next generation. They will send their children to school, making sure they are wearing shoes and carrying pencils.

What if I told you that I know who holds the key to a future free from the torture of hunger, the lack of schooling, the isolation of discrimination, the grief of infant death, the confusion of sparse pre-natal care, the agony of disease, the devastation of environmental degradation and the pain of systemic injustice in the developing world?

What if I told you, that it was your daughter?

– Flynn Coleman, legal advocate for human, animal and environmental rights

As I work on starting my Strategic Futuring business, to inspire and empower women in my socio-economic class, I am convinced that it’s equally (if not more important to empower women around the world, to change the world)

For EVERY paying Strategic Futuring Client I work with, I will be making a $25 loan on KIVA.

What’s Your Vision?

” A Vision leads people towards a plan that exceeds their present resources.” (Robert Quinn Deep Change)

Do you have a vision for your life? Before you start to panic, let’s talk about vision. Vision is one of those lofty terms that gets batted about that for many of us brings feelings of panic and fear. It sounds big.  It sounds scary.  “I’d rather not think about it right now, Thank you!”

Vision is really the question of “Who do I want to be?” What are my values? How are my values played out in what I do each day? What influence do I want to have with what people? How can I best use my gifts, talents and strengths for good in the world, with the people around me?”

Having a clearly defined vision for our lives frees us to say “Yes” to what we need to say “Yes!” to, and probably even more important, allows us to say “No” to what we need to say “No” to.  When we have a vision of WHO we want to be and WHAT we want our lives to look like, we know what to say “yes” to, and what to say “no” to!  And who doesn’t want that?

Having a clear vision isn’t scary or overwhelming, in some ways it’s more scary to NOT have a vision.  Without a vision of WHO you want to be and WHAT you want your life to look like, how do you know what decisions to make? Having a vision is really having an anchor for your life!

What about you?

❧ Have you thought about what your vision is?

❧ Who do you want to be?

If you want to learn more about how to clarify and LIVE your vision consider doing Strategic Futuring.  Through Strategic Futuring I can help you identify and clarify your values and strengths to LIVE YOUR VISION!

Worth Reading

I love to read.  It’s my hobby.  I always have more books started than I’ll ever have time to read.

These are a few I think are worth reading (or at least looking through) right now:

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

Buckingham is a Strengths Finder guru.  These paragraphs capture this book: “The conventional image of a successful woman today is that she’s a virtuoso juggler, somehow moving fast enough to keep all the many aspects of her busy life in the air at the same time. . . the core skill of juggling is throwing, not catching. To keep every object in the air, you have to get rid of each one as quickly as possible, barely allowing it to register on your fingertips before you toss it away. . . A Strong life is the opposite of juggling. Juggling requires you to keep everything at bay, up in the air, away from you.  The secret to living a strong life lies in know how to draw a few things in toward you.  It asks you to be discriminating, selective, intentional.  You can find energizing moments in each aspect of your life, but to do so you must learn how to catch them, hold on to them, feel the pull of their weight, and allow yourself to follow where they lead.” (Living Your Strongest Life, pg xviii)

Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within by Robert E. Quinn

I first encountered this book in my graduate school studies.  I’m reading (like really, reading it, not skimming it, taking notes, reading it!) it again for probably the third time. Quinn’s basic premise is that organizations and individuals are in the process of either “slow death” or “deep change”.  I’m going to be writing more on this book in the upcoming weeks on this blog.  The principles are timeless, and even through the book is written with an organizational/business perspective, the ideas and principles are profound and meaningful for individuals as well.  A really worthwhile read!

Last, but not least (for today)

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Woman’s Work” by Kathleen Norris

This book is another “reread”.  I love Kathleen Norris and this small 88 page book helps remind me of the honor and good in the Quotidian (ie: daily).  “Whatever you do repeatedly, has the power to make you over into a different person-even if you’re not totally ‘engaged” in every minute.” (The Quotidian Mysteries pg 80)

❧Have you read anything inspiring or challenging lately?

What the world needs. .

I first read these words in college, and they have stayed with me and challenged me since that day. . . .

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than that of society, say, or the superego, or self-interest.  By and large a good rule for finding out is this: the kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) the world most needs to have done.  If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumable met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b).  On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you haven’t only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking-A Theological ABC

The delight in these words are I’m suppose to be happy in what I do! The challenge in these words are, I’m suppose to be happy in what I do! It excites me and challenges me to think about how I spend my time in light of what I need most to do, and what the world needs most for me to do!

❧ Have you heard these wise words of Fredrick B. before? What do they speak to you?

Offensive or Defensive

Offensive and Defensive plays aren’t only for Basketball teams. . . I’ve come to believe that we all have Defensive days, or Offensive days. . .

A “defensive” day are those days we when we are constantly responding to things that are happening.  Part of being a mama will always be defensive, no matter how carefully you plan and schedule and build a routine; spilled milk, accidents, colds and crabby days will come! I find defensive days draining, I’m always responding never knowing quite exactly what’s coming next! On a “defensive” day I feel like a victim of my life always responding, not creating and building a life for myself and family like I picture it to be.  Defensive days are those days when I’m focused more on the doing and less on the being.

“Offensive” days are days when I feel like I’m creating the life I want to live for me, and my family.  When I’ve set out with a plan, when I understand how all that I have to do, relates and supports the vision I have for myself and my family.   Offensive days don’t necessarily mean that I’m crossing everything off my list, (but it can be) it can be a day at home coloring in our jammies!    Offensive days are not about the doing they are about the being.

When I do Strategic Futuring™ with women one of the first things we talk about are the 4 different ways that we approach the future.  Each approach has its own strengths, and limitations.  For some the trouble is we rely almost totally on “defensive” decision-making: Responding and Reacting to what is happening around us,  rather than “offensive” decision-making: Proactiveand Inventive that help create our future.

So, is today a Defensive Day, a day of responding and doing?

Or is today an Offensive Day of creating and being?

Do Less, Be More

Life’s Best Moments

Life’s best moments. . . you know, those moments or days that bring a smile to your face at just the thought.  Life’s Best Moments might be a wedding, birth of a child, those BIG moments, but what about those more mudane, yet equally as thrilling days?  Those days where nothing huge happened, but everything within ourselves seemed to be in alignment.  Days where our talents, strengths and values all seemed to line up.  Those days are some of life’s best moments too! I call them “Satisfying Achievements”.

Satisfying: because it fulfills something in your soul.  When we work out of our talents and our strengths it gives us energy, it gives those around us energy, it’s exciting!  The work feels like it’s no effort at all, and while we may give it everything and be physically exhausted at the end of the day, our minds and hearts are overflowing!

Achievement, because you did something that had meaning in the world.  You reached at goal, did something out of your own effort and skills.

Have you taken time recently (or ever) to reflect and think about your most satisfying achievements?

When I’ve taken the time to think about my life’s most satisfying achievements, what always surprises me is “themes” seem to emerge. . For me they always involve working/being with other people, I’m a born encourager/developer type person, and most of my most satisfying achievements  include encouraging people, helping them to spot hidden strengths or talents. I love to have new experiences, and many of my satisfying achievements include “going”. . . moments from the year that I lived in China, parts of the summer I spend traveling around south Asia encouraging North American College students who were teaching abroad.  My most satisfying achievements are times when I feel like I have given something of value to those around me, and it all seems to flow naturally from those things that I’m good at.

❧ Take some time to think about your most Satisfying Achievements. As you think about them, note what you were doing.

❧ Do you notice any theme that emerges?

❧ In your daily life now are you finding ways to do some of those same things that made your list?

❧ If you’re not, how can you add something into your life that uses your strengths and skills like your satisfying achievements?

Banish Balance

Balance, we talk about it, long for it and strive for it. STOP!  You can’t achieve it, don’t try.  Find a new word!

Balance by definition is “all things equal”.  Just think about a balance scale.  When the scale is balanced there are two things of equal weight.  When we spend so  much time talking about “balance” (IE: Work/life balance) we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  We can’t achieve “equal” parts of “personal time” “family time” “work time” “physical activity time” “personal development” “sleep” “social time” etc. etc.

Years ago I began to use the word “integration” to replace balance in my vocabulary.  Integration is finding the appropriate “weight” for each activity in my life. It’s an ever ebbing and flowing concept.  To make sure I have the appropriate “integration” in my life I first have to make sure I know what my big “categories” are: family (nurturing, teaching, cleaning, eating, fun, learning together, Physical (working out), Intellectual (reading books, blogs, news etc.) Relationships (maintaining, developing w/family & friends) Spiritual (relationship with God, prayer, service).   These are the categories/activities/events that really matter in my life, the things that I want incorporated into my life each week. I don’t want balance (equal parts), I want a niceintegration of them all.

For example: I like to run for 30 minutes. I don’t want to spend as much time running as I spend with my family!  But I want to make sure that some time in my week is dedicated to getting outside and running. I love to read, I could spend all day reading, but my family (and I, most of the time) don’t want to sacrifice quality time with my family over a book, but sometimes, the quality of time with my family is better if I have read a little bit of something!

Integration helps me understand what is important, and find the proper ratio in a 24 hour day for all of the things that matter.

Banish Balance!  Embrace Integration!!

What about you?

❧ Do you strive for balance?  Does integration make sense to you?

❧ What are your “big categories?”

❧ What would a successfully “integrated” day look like in your life?