Dispute resolution practitioners take many forms: CDRC staff, volunteer mediators, private practitioners, NYSDRA staff and NYSDRA individual members. One thing all of these dispute resolution practitioners share is that they are people who wear many hats!
Each of us fill many different roles as we navigate our daily lives. We are mediators and arbitrators; we may also be parents, neighbors, farmers, medical patients, spouses, community members, friends, volunteers, sons and daughters. We often find ourselves struggling to fulfill our obligations to the different constituencies we serve. We juggle competing needs from the many roles we play in our lives and often overlook how much we gain from our many hats.
Here are some ways we can benefit from wearing multiple hats:
- Stretch and grow! Sometimes we feel we can’t learn a new task or take on a new role. Then we do and learn so much about ourselves! Every new parent is sometimes filled with “I can’t do this” moments – until we realize we can do this and we have done it! Our many hats gift us with these kind of moments of personal growth.
- Help! It may be hard to keep balance as we juggle our roles; then we realize that we can ask others to help us as we keep those hats intact on our heads! Giving to others gives us great joy; the research of social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn proved that people found greater happiness spending money on others as compared to spending it on themselves. Asking for help may be hard sometimes but we can do it knowing that others may find happiness by giving to us.
- You’re doing great! As we work hard to take care of all of our hats, we may overlook how skillful we are at getting it all done. Our efforts to take care of every role may leave us feeling that we haven’t done enough. However, those around us are looking for us to be our best selves – not some perfect paragon that exists only in our imaginations. Celebrate how great you are and the beautiful hats you have!
- Let it go! Sometimes we need to make a shift. Our parents may be aging and need more assistance from us; a new baby in the house leaves us sleepy; a new job may be sapping our usually boundless levels of creativity; or we might have health challenges that limit our energy. As we travel on our life’s path, there may be times that we have to temporarily set aside some hats until we have the strength, energy and time to devote to that role. Those hats we set aside (whether as a food bank volunteer or a budding author) likely will be there when we want to pick it back up again.
- Celebrate the hats of others! As part of a community, it helps to recognize the multiple hats that other people wear. We can encourage others as they show us their varied hats and we show them ours!
So our hats go off to everyone for all the hats they wear! They look so good on you!