Is your life feeling out of balance? Your roles are the problem.

When’s the last time you balanced your roles?

Has your life ever felt out of balance? We each live our lives in terms of roles—authentic roles or parts we’ve chosen to fill. Roles represent responsibilities, relationships, and areas of contribution. Much of the pain in life comes from the sense that we’re succeeding in one role at the expense of other, possibly even more important roles. A clear set of roles provides a natural framework to create order and balance.

Who do you want to become?

It was a harsh reality. My boss demanded: “Don’t tell me your priorities—show me your calendar. It’ll tell me your priorities.”

Harsh. But true. You become what you take the time to become. Who do you want to become?

Frankly, I’d have a good idea about who you really are by seeing how you used your time this week. What’s more, I’d have a good idea about who you really want to be by looking at how you plan your week ahead.

Have you ever found that success in one area of your life comes at the expense of another area? If so, you may be feeling out of balance or even guilty. Or maybe you’ve neglected a role so long that it’s caused severe relationship damage. Almost everyone I know is challenged by balancing all the critical and important roles they play.

Knowing who you are and where you fit into other people’s lives will help you identify roles and establish goals in your personal and professional life.

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What are roles?

You are many things in life. You wear many hats. You might be a manager, and a husband, and a father, and a marathon runner in training, and a historical fiction reader, and a homeowner, and a participant in a religious community… you get the point.

In other words, you are a person who has several roles in life. None of us are just one thing, and none of us are everything.

Roles are not either/or. Your life is not divided into compartments. Roles have an “and” relationship. You are a mother, and a wife, and a teacher, and a CFO… and they all add up to who you are.

Yes, you wear many hats; but you just can’t wear them all at the same time. Some of our roles are important and some are less important. A lot of stress and regret in life occurs because we don’t spend enough time nurturing and growing the roles that are personally most important.

What’s next?

Now that you know what roles are, click to see how to determine your personal roles.