Think about all the roles you play in your life.
At work you’re probably a colleague, an employee, and maybe a boss as well. At home, maybe you’re a parent, a friend, and perhaps a cousin along with so many other roles.
Whatever roles come to mind, there are three additional roles that you’re definitely playing.
The question is, are you aware of them?
Because if you don’t know that you’re playing these roles, you’re probably not doing a great job of them. Or at least not as good a job as you could if you want to be your best self.
Three Important (and Commonly Overlooked) Roles
The three roles we’re always playing but tend to overlook are being a leader, being a role model, and being a creator.
When you overlook their importance or even forget that you’re playing them, it makes it that much harder to achieve your full potential.
1. Being a Leader
I think of there being two types of leaders. There’s the capital “L” Leader and the lowercase “l” leader.
The Leader with a capital “L” is the person with the appointed title, such as “Head of X” or “President of Y”. They’re in the formal seat of authority.
The lowercase “l” leader role is about behavior. It’s the activity of showing leadership.
By far the most important is being a leader, as in lowercase “l”. It’s the kind of behavior the world needs more of, and everyone can be (and we need to be!) that lowercase “l” leader.
Frankly, you don’t need a title in order to behave like a leader. And unfortunately, just because someone is anointed as the head of something doesn’t mean they’re behaving like a leader (in the lowercase “l” sense).
For example, when you’re walking down the hall at the office and you see a candy wrapper on the ground do you walk by or do you pick it up and throw in the garbage? When you see somebody being mistreated, do you speak up or just let it be?
In essence, behaving like a leader is simply acting like an owner. You’re always being a leader. So, what kind of leader are you being?
2. Being a Role Model
Any time others can see or experience you, whether that’s in writing, in person, or on the phone, you are role modeling some kind of behavior, good or bad.
What kinds of behaviors are you role modeling? Who’s watching you as a role model and what are their takeaways about your behavior? Are you being the best role model you could be?
Even if you’re thinking, “I don’t want to be a role model”, I’m afraid that’s too bad. Any time somebody can see you, you are a role model by definition.
You are who you are when you think nobody’s looking.
3. Being a Creator
We are all creators, especially of two core raw materials: energy and ideas.
You’re always creating energy. It’s what you bring with you when you walk into a room, get on the phone or start typing an email.
Is the energy you create positive or negative?
You’re also always creating ideas. Our brains do it all the time. Are you sharing those ideas and letting them out? Or are you doing a bit too much self-editing and judging?
When you create and share your positive energy and interesting ideas, you interact with others. That, in turn, leads you to become a creator of experiences and relationships.
Once you create experiences and relationships, it becomes natural for you to be the creator of opportunities and outcomes. These can be for yourself, for your team, for your family, and for the organization.
You are a creator. Start with the raw materials – bring that positive energy and bring those creative ideas to whatever you’re doing.
Two Key Success Factors
Now that you know the three additional roles that are too important to overlook, it’s time to adopt the two key success factors that will help you play these roles well.
1. Be Intentional
Being intentional is about being “on purpose”. That doesn’t mean you have to plan out everything to the last detail so that there’s no room for spontaneity.
Instead, being “on purpose” means making conscious choices. Being aware of your options and deciding what is the right thing to do.
It’s also about behaving in a way that’s aligned with your values, your mission and your bigger “why”.
2. Pay Attention
Paying attention is about being aware of how you’re showing up. Being aware is the first step to being able to improve.
So, pay attention to what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and what triggers you to be at your best versus at your worst. Make sure you spend some time learning about and seeking to discover your blind spots. We all have them and those are things we always need to work on and improve.
Awareness is the first step to self-managing, which is a great step to making sure you are bringing your very best self to everything you do.
How will you play your roles?
You’re always playing these three roles in your life and career: leader, role model, creator. How you play them is up to you. Choose wisely.
Whatever you do, don’t overlook these important opportunities to step into the very best version of yourself.
Which of these three roles would most move the needle for your life and your career if you were to work on it right now?
And what’s the first action you can take to become that leader, role model or creator you know you can be?
Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.