Every morning, I wake up very early, eat breakfast, answer emails, plan my day, and work out. Many times my workouts consist of a run along the water, or if I’m lucky, a hike at sunrise. This morning, I was lucky. I was able to get up, grab my camera, and take a walk along the banks of the Susquehanna River. As I was hiking along, I began to reflect on the many roles that I have in my life. I am a spouse, consultant, runner, leader, hiker, vocalist, woman, Aunt… You get the idea. If you are like me, you wear many hats. You may be a spouse, a parent, a care giver, an employee, a boss, a runner, a recent grad, or a soon to be retiree. You are never just one of those things. You are all of them. There are many things that make us who we are.
When I go to work, I may focus on being a consultant, but I never leave my identity at home. The roles I play throughout my life are very important to me. Others may have the same roles, but they do not necessarily have the same meaning to them. We have many ways in which we are similar, but we are also different as well. Those differences make us unique. They should be valued. Embracing the various roles we play in life makes us more well rounded individuals, and more creative teams.
Unfortunately, many times we are given the impression that we should leave our differences at the door. When we are at work, we only have one identity, employee. When we are at home, we have a different role. I often wonder how people think that will work? My different roles or identities are what make me who I am. They are what have inspired to be a conflict transformation professional. My routine keeps me focused, and helps me embrace creativity and drive. When I take the time to hike or run and be outside, I give my mind the space to think through the day, and how my interactions will impact the people I work with, my family, and myself. Sometimes they are all inter-related. Sometimes a problem that I need to resolve in one sphere in my life, inspires ideas for another. Sharing ideas from these roles inspires creativity and drive.
I am me. You are you. We have so many dimensions to our lives that make us who we are. You don’t just have to have one role. Embrace the differences and the complexity because they are what inspire creativity and innovation in the world.