How We Lose Control of Our Life
The following post is an excerpt from my book, Life Mastery: The Fully Functional Life, chapter two.
I’ve mentioned a few times the word “identity” in connection with “roles” and our “core”. Playing a variety of roles in life is natural. People will play the roles of a daughter/son and possibly a sister/brother, cousin, aunt/uncle, mother/father, grandmother/ grandfather, and wife/husband in familial relationships. Other roles may be that of a friend, mentor, employee and co-worker, business owner, athlete, etc.
Some of the roles will have sub-roles. As an example, a business owner may play the sub-roles of being a leader, manager, co-worker, encourager, disciplinarian, counselor, pseudo-psychiatrist, payroll clerk, and more.
An interesting phenomenon takes place the more we spend time in a role. The more we spend time in a role, the more we think and believe that is who we are. As we take on a “Role Identity” as the primary part of our life, we believe that we become that role and we begin losing our Core Identity in the process.
Let’s go back and consider two of the examples I mentioned in the first chapter. Remember the international business man? He had a lot of role confusion in his life. Very successful in the business world, taking time away to spend developing his role as husband and father, then returning to the world of business only to discover many fears, doubts and worries in that role. You may wonder, how could just two years away from such an accomplished career cause a person to feel so inadequate?
Then there was the woman I described. She gives of herself and her time to so many roles. She expects perfection from herself, and others, in each role. She takes on the weight of responsibility for each role and she feels she is ultimately accountable for the outcomes. With all of that going on, she has no time to give attention to her own health, fitness, diet, and other physical, emotional, and mental needs.
Living only in the roles we play in life is the point where we begin to lose control of our lives. How so? The Role Identities we have are very fluid, yet, we treat them as if they are stable. Let’s look at two examples.
You start a job and let’s say you’re about 20-years-old. This role is new and exciting! You start at the bottom of an organization with the hopes of contributing in some major way and putting your thumbprint on its growth. After being with the company for a few months or years, your role has changed. You’re familiar with the politics, culture, and other internal workings, so you navigate through to reach a certain level of influence.
At this point, you may move up in the organization, or move to another company to make an upward move. Or, maybe some decisions you made were poor and you don’t move up, you may even be moved out.
What if there is a change in the person to whom you report? That changes your role because you now must adapt to their style of managing and leading.
A change in a co-worker can quickly change your role. If your previous co-worker was spontaneous and creative, but your new co-worker is detailed and exacting, this completely changes how you work and interact with them.
Technology has changed many people’s professional role over the last 30 years. Can you think of any place in your role in business that technology hasn’t had an effect?
The point is, you may hold the same job title or belong to the same industry for years, but your professional role is in constant flux, even if you think it is static or stable.
The second example is that of being a parent. From the time a child is conceived, the life of the parents is in a state of constant change. A new child is on the way? We need a bigger car and house. The baby has learned to walk? We need more safeguards around the house. The child has a natural inclination to a sport or art? We need to enroll them in training or classes. The child is turning 16? We need to get them a car of their own. The child is getting married? We could become grandparents soon.
Yet, many people I have worked with believe and act as if being a parent is a stable role. If you’re a parent, when you think about how much change takes place in that role, you’ll probably find it dizzying!
I want you to stop here for a moment for reflection. Here’s an important point I want you take with you from this chapter and this book: (To read the rest of the article, please follow this link to my website: http://trans-think.com/how-we-lose-control-of-our-life/)
Want more information on having Life Mastery? Reach out to me at 972.900.9207 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Dr. Edward Lewellen is an expert in creating methodologies for people to learn to use their mind; their beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, and put them back in control of their lives and become top-producers. He is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.
For more information, call Dr. Ed at 972.900.9207