Who Are You? If you can’t answer that quickly, this is the blog for you.

By the end of this post, you will identify your non-automatic roles and be on the pathway of deciding who you want to be in life.


There is threat looming out there. It began the day you were conceived. It is the danger of falling into the role(s) that you were born into.  For instance, some humans became the greatest figures in history by acting differently than expected.

Moses had the chance to live as Egyptian royalty. He gave it up to lead the Jews out of slavery. The Jews became one of the longest lasting cultures on the face of the planet. Moses is nearly a household name.

According to scant historical records, Temüjin (widely known as Genghis Khan) could had stayed a nomad like his father. But he thought bigger. Genghis united various clans, expanded his power base, and formed an empire whose descendants now make up about 20% of the world’s population.

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay. ‘Nuff said.


What about you? Were you born into a role that you actually have a choice about? Are you the political party of your parents? Are all of your friends the same race? Is your religion based on family tradition or place of birth? Or did you actually search for yourself before making a faith-based decision?autononauto'

Many people don’t give it much thought (or are afraid to). Yet, everything mentioned above are things you actually have a choice about. Moses, Genghis and Ali knew this and became some of the most memorable figures in human history.

What does this have to do with improving your time management?

Learning Point: To manage your time effectively, you must determine what roles in life you were born into (automatic) and which you actually have a choice about (non-automatic).

Try to focus on critical roles that satisfy your personal mission. In other words, although it is good to have roles like son/daughter/husband, don’t get carried away with these too much. In order to determine your roles, focus on who you want to be other than who you automatically are.

Again, there are two sets of roles:

Automatic—these are roles that life automatically assigns you. For example, you might be a son, a brother or father. You simply have to deal with the duties of these roles in line with your mission statement.

Non-automatic—these are roles that you choose for yourself. Non-automatic rules define you. As you can imagine, these are critical roles you need to continuously think about and balance based on your available time. These roles must match your mission statement. Otherwise, you will be pursuing roles that would not provide any meaning to your life.

Here are some examples:example of roles

As an exercise, identify some of your non-automatic roles and write them in a list. Try to come up with at least 7-10.

Okay. Now take what you just learned. Stop thinking about what you are. Instead, think about what you want to be.

Identify Yourself

When I did this exercise, I had an epiphany. I stopped performing the non-automatic roles people assigned me or that I had simply fallen into. I went from being a property supervisor to being a writer who happens to work in the apartment management field until such time writing can become a full-time profession for me. Now, every day I make a decision. I ask myself, “Does my job or actions contribute to who I want to be?”

This way of thinking changed everything for me. My passion for what I do ignited. Why?

Because I aligned my personal mission (explained in the previous blog post) with the decision I made about the non-automatic roles I would willingly assume. Now, everything that I did—how I spent my time—was focused on accomplishing my personal mission of being a writer/creator who finds happiness in helping other people succeed.

“Every day I make a decision. I ask myself, “Does my job or actions contribute to who I want to be?” ”

It was liberating.

Sure, it would have been great to write a book that was instantly on the New York Times bestseller list. But I set realistic goals to become an expert in my field. I practiced my skills by traveling nationally to teach time management, corporate talent development, and professional skills. I engaged in deep exploration about the methodology I use to get things done. Thus, the birth of 15 Minutes Per Day.

With this food for thought, here is your 15 Minute Per Day to-do list:

  • Place a 15 minute wedge on your calendar to review and revise the list of non-automatic roles you live. (Politics, religion, clubs, job description, hobbies, etc.)
  • Schedule 15 minutes to mediate on who you really want to be in life. What roles will help you fulfill your personal mission?
  • To truly challenge yourself, schedule 15 minutes to have a conversation with a close friend of family member about a non-automatic role you assumed without having given it much thought. (For instance, has your home become the weekend party pad for family gatherings even though your personal mission is to spend more time out of the house engaged in volunteer activities? Or are you dating someone who is politically/racially/financially approved by your family instead of moving toward someone to whom you are truly attracted?)

After you have engaged in this self-exploration, do what Moses, Genghis and Ali did. GO FOR IT! Not everyone will be pleased. That’s okay. Those people don’t please you all the time and you still stick around. Yes, you will be breaking tradition to live life as you were born to do—a human being with free will.

Just promise to use your super powers for good.

15minPERday logo


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