May 17 2013

Hats off to YOU!

Published by at 8:13 pm under Business,Citizen Service,Leadership,Stress Busting


When I asked coworkers to brainstorm a list of their hats, responses came in torrent:

spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, employee, supervisor, coworker, church member, mm-with-cowboy-hatcommunity volunteer, neighbor, citizen, sports fan, club member, family nurse, chauffeur, cook laundress, housekeeper, bookkeeper, and peacemaker…

Sound familiar? Inventorying the hats in our lifestyle wardrobe is enlightening—especially when combined with an actual headcount.


So please, reach up with both hands and place them over your ears. What do you feel? Only one head? Me too!

I encourage everyone examine our hats, really look them over. Then, decide what hats are most important for us to wear often, and wear well.

Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey outline the first habit as “Begin with the End in Mind.” On your 100th birthday, are there any hats you would regret not having worn more often? Are there unimportant hats taking the place of the ones that really matter most to you?

On my centennial birthday, I hope my husband and kids are there and, we continue to take delight in each other. I’d like to be celebrated as a neighbor, who gave more to her community than she took, ready to meet my Maker looking back with no regrets.


Habit Two is “Put First Things First.” If I want my family to actually celebrate my life, I’d better be sure they always come first when I plan my time. This is a real challenge because of so many hats come with a “wear me now!” urgency.

At our home, we tried to communicate how important family time was by declaring Sunday “family day.” Years ago, my then three-year old daughter explained to a friend the days of her week were: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, “Cartoon Day,” and “Family Day.”

Another habit was to not answer a phone call during a family meal. People caught on. One of the kid’s friends left this message: “I know you’re probably eating, call me when you’re done.” Once my grandfather left this message: “Jeri Mae, this is your grandpa, pick up the phone!” And I did. The granddaughter hat was a very important hat for me.

Many of us wear the important hats of encouraging and supporting others. However, there’s a special hat I’m recommending everyone add to their wardrobe.


Put on the “I’m Number One” hat first. This is the hat we wear when we take care of ourselves. Take a real lunch break, go for a walk, read a great book, laugh, take a fun class….

Exercise, eat right, laugh more, and get enough sleep. None of these activities have a sense of deadline or urgency, yet remain essential to being healthy and happy.

Taking excellent care of “Number One,” (That’s YOU!) you’ll have so much more to share with everyone else.


Hats off to you for all you do for your family, your employer, your community!

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