I have a very vivid memory of sitting on a rug surrounded by classmates as my first grade teacher read this book about a man with countless caps on his head and I remember thinking, “Why is he wearing so many hats?” I was almost seven then. Fast forward eighteen years and I found myself asking that same question. Why am I wearing so many hats?
My life has become a balancing act, balancing all these different hats; the hat of wife, the hat of mother, the hat of writer, the hat of employee, the hat of ministry leader, the hat of sister, the hat of friend. I have become the character in that book. We all have. We all wear hats of different sizes, different shapes, different colors and as we walk through life we take on new hats, more hats.
Can I share a real, raw moment with you? Earlier this year all my hats fell. They seemed to all slip off of my head simultaneously. Every. Single. One. It was then that I asked myself, Why am I wearing so many hats?
Each title we take on comes with their own set of tasks. Every set of tasks contributes to a long list. A long list of things we need to do. Need. The word need by its very definition means something that is essential. But are all the hats we wear truly necessary? Are we wearing too many hats? I can’t answer that question for you but I can answer for myself and the answer is yes. Yes, I was wearing way too many hats. Yes, I took on too many titles. Yes, I was overwhelmed with all the tasks. And so they fell.
Can I share another real, raw moment with you? I’m happy that they fell. It wasn’t until I saw my hats scattered all around that I was able to see just which ones were truly essential. It wasn’t until I started picking them up that I was able to discern which ones I should say no to.
“It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs
So say no. Not to everything. But to the things that you know aren’t necessary. This part is critical, don’t feel bad about it. You’re not being selfish or rude by saying no. That’s a misconception. Saying no means that you’re acknowledging that you can’t do everything. Saying no means that you’re prioritizing. Taking on too much causes us to stagger. Like the man with all the caps on his head, they will all eventually fall. But taking on less allows us to glide and as we move, we can truly enjoy the things that are important.