Briefing Notes: The Roles We (Want to) Play

Published: May 3, 2020

“What can I offer with my full energy?” — Deepa Iyer


HERE’S THE THING

The real roles that we play — or want to play — are often not defined by our job titles. Or any official function at work, for that matter.

Instead, they are driven by our values, sense of purpose, and the place we want for ourselves in the context of the larger world.

Why is this important:

Many of us are called to action during times of crisis.

It doesn’t have to be a pandemic to realize this. Think of any time in your life when things were turned upside down, or when life wasn’t normal for a while. What role were you called to do?

Years ago, when my father passed away, my family was thrown naturally into a depth of grief. Someone had to move and take care of things. To make the calls. To arrange for the things that needed arrangement.

That was me. That was my role.

I find myself taking a similar role often, in moments of indecision or crisis at work or in my personal life. It is a role I’m comfortable with and good at. I’m much better at it than say, the role of a healer or a caregiver.

Or even that of a visionary or a builder.

Deepa Iyer wrote about our social change roles in times of crisis, which included a framework and reflection guide. She’s used these tools in her work at the Building Movement Project.

What I love about this framework is that it allows us to see ourselves beyond the limits of our official roles at work or within our communities.

It gives us a path to tap into the parts of ourselves where we have our greatest strengths and may have overlooked.

These roles (i.e., visionary, builder, weaver, guide, storyteller, disrupter, experimenter, healer, frontline responder) give us a framework with which to see where we can be relevant in our companies and organizations.

It can be a great tool to help us position ourselves where we want to be on the other side of this crisis.

Bottom line:
We are in an all-hands-on-deck situation. And the best role that we can play – where we can be of the highest good – may not be what our job title says. I encourage you to take some time to reflect and use Iyer’s guide to find your role of highest relevance, meaning, and contribution.


MONEY MONEY MONEY

Now that I’ve planted ABBA in your brain, this may be a good time to bone up on finance skills. Good thing, Creative Live has many of its top classes on spring special, on topics including investing, personal finance for freelancers, resetting your money mindset, money management for couples, and more.

Browse Creative Live’s top Money and Finance Classes* and take advantage of the limited spring special.

*This is an affiliate link.


INTERESTINGLY
  • Networking these days looks different. The steps and scripts have changed — one might say, as it should be. Here are four moves to connect that reflect the times we’re in, and in a natural authentic way.

SECOND BREAKER SHOUT OUT
Lee Chaix McDonough hosts Coach With Clarity – a podcast for coaches, creatives, helpers, and healers. On this show, she covers what it takes to start, grow, and scale your coaching business. If you’re thinking of coaching as a career, you’ll definitely want to check this podcast out. Thank you for your support!


LEADER’S PLAY

Whether you are a leader, a teacher, or a parent, you may be called upon to answer especially difficult questions right now, questions that have no satisfying answers. But this doesn’t mean you can’t form a helpful and honest response. Here’s how to answer those unanswerable questions.


MULL IT OVER

“What can I offer with my full energy?” – Deepa Iyer


FUTURE TENSE

The WFH situation has made visible the struggle many of us experience in managing our home and work lives. This HBR article muses on what work-life balance might look like when we return to normal (whatever that may be). Will our work culture finally shift away from the “implied ideal” 24/7 ethos? Will employers finally embrace flexible work arrangements without stigma to those who ask for it? Will management stop rewarding the faster response over the better response, or the longer workday over a more productive workday? We can only hope. (And if you’re in a position to influence such shifts, please do so!)


REMEMBER THE TIME

… before Netflix and iPhones, when we used to draw on the sidewalk and play hopscotch for hours until Mom orders us to take a shower before dinner? (Wait, maybe that’s just me…) Well, from hopscotch to creative art, we’re drawing on our driveways and sidewalks again. This made me smile and think of the #goodolddays.


BOOK NOTES

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? All too often, our natural talents go untapped. In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment to help us uncover our talents. For this and other book notes.


SECOND BREAKS UPDATE

The question of the moment — “Who do you want to be on the other side of this crisis?” — is an empowering question. The problem for some is that just as you start feeling inspired to take action, here comes these inconvenient voices that chime in, and they say things like, “Well, who the heck do you think you are to think that you can do XYZ?” This week on the podcast: “Is Self-Doubt Stopping You From Stepping Up?” with Tanya Geisler. Listen on your mobile device or check the highlights of this episode here.


YOUR SUPPORT MEANS THE WORLD

Second Breaks is researched, written, and edited by me alone. Each issue takes hours to develop and requires paid subscriptions to numerous journals, magazines, and books to get the widest and best source of information. If you find value in the newsletter, I’d so much appreciate you subsidizing my coffee habit 😊 It helps with the research and the writing!
Buy Me a Coffee


LAST WORD

In 2020, most conversations start with “How are you holding up?” and end with a version of “what are you watching?” or “what are you baking?”

My meager skills with anything involving measuring cups and blenders have prevented me from trying my hand at sourdough (although most of the world has, it appears). I feel like I’m missing out!

Instead, I’ve been spending time with Netflix and Amazon Prime. The need for a predictable ending is so high on my list right now that I’ve been unable to watch new shows. Not even the newest Bosch season. So it’s old faves like Seinfeld, Bones, and Sherlock for me. And yes, I still laugh at the same old jokes.

What have you been watching? Or baking?

Here’s to a safe and sane week. Send over any comments, hopscotch tips, easy-to-bake recipés, and favorite Zoom-look hack.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


ABOUT LOU BLASER

A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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