Millennium Mom

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2/14 Blog: How many roles do you have?

At P&G we are very fortunate to have some truly amazing leaders to learn from. Because we are a promote from within company, we highly value people's ability to develop others and the broader organization. We had one General Manager in particular who was a truly aspirational leader - Jim Lafferty. Jim just retired this past year, but thankfully in true fashion he did a long road show before leaving to share some of his wisdom before his retirement from P&G.

Jim had a couple of core principles that he shared that I truly believe in and try to practice each year. The first is one that many people have which is a list of what you want to do before you die. Jim would say to have 100 things you want to do and to try to cross 2-3 off each year. Of course it depends on how you define your list with how hard this is to do. For instance one person may list a few states or countries he or she wants to visit before they die. Another person my list "visit all 50 states" or "visit all the countries in Europe" as one item. No matter how you compose your "bucket" list be sure that you can achieve the items so you feel fulfilled when you do, don't make it too hard.

The second big principle Jim proposes is to define your roles in life. He believes each person can only have five roles and do them well. I personally believe some women can actually pull off six, but let's stick with five for this blog. Importantly you have to get really clear on your roles. Let's give some examples. If you are married then you are a husband or wife. If you have children then you are a mom or dad. If you are employed you are a nurse, teacher, manager, etc. That is three roles right there. The last two get a bit trickier for those working parents. Most people would have son or daughter listed. It takes an effort to be a son or daughter in staying in touch with your parents, caring for them in some cases and managing the normal family affairs of holidays and so forth. You are also likely a brother or sister. I actually combine sister and daughter into one role. All of my family are in NY, and at this point my parents are still independent and don't require an care. So my relationship is via phone calls, email and trips home.

That leaves some of us one or two roles. Hopefully most of us are a friend. To be honest for me this is a tough one. My dearest friends are miles away, so it has become about email at best...even facebook entries. I try to keep in touch, but not having an on-going relationship doesn't make you the #2 priority when you happen to be in the NY area over Christmas. Net, it is tough. In Cincinnati, we are very good about seeing our neighbors regularly. But even our work friends take effort. Any time a babysitter is involved, and remember we don't have family we can call, we have to plan it, this means no spontaneity. So we try to plan a social calendar to see people but it is tough.

Other people have "athlete" or "fitness" as another role. A priority is to work out and stay in shape. This is certainly one of my husbands. He makes time each day or week to fit in all of his training so it is a key role for him. I on the other hand gave this up when I had my kids. I was able to keep playing basketball until I was pregnant with my third, but just don't have time or don't make it a priority (likely a little of both) these days.

Another group of people have the role of "volunteer". I had this role when I was single and even married without kids. But that was another role I had to temporarily give up when the kids arrived. I hope I will pick it up again when I am able to drop another role.

I encourage you to think about your roles and try to get it down to five. It helps prioritize what is important in life and how to spend your precious time.


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