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“Is that my job?”

How claiming our bigness helps bring clarity

Each year I spend in this land of adulthood there are so many experiences that leave me asking, “Is that my job?”

Sometimes it’s the little things that leave me scratching my head, like learning how to properly maintain my car so that it doesn’t give out in the middle of the road.  Turns out it’s my job to make sure the oil gets changed.  It’s also been the big things like helping my family find its way after my dad died.  It was, for a day, my job to speak at my dad’s memorial.  In more recent years it’s been fielding the demands of parenthood.  I guess it really is my job to figure out what to do after my child has thrown up on me in the middle of the night.

I’ve spent plenty of time hoping an expert would appear . . . someone who really knew what they were doing.

But that seems to be the secret of the adult world, we’re all just amateurs doing our best and taking on roles that are bigger and more vast than we ever would have imagined.  

I’ve noticed this question in schools too, “Is this my job?”

Often when it’s asked, some technical answer is what the person is really hoping for.  They want a job description that neatly outlines what their role does and does not include.  But life and leadership are rarely that linear.

So what is our job?

Perhaps we hold the title of teacher, principal, dean, or coach.

But those words only get us so far.

And from what I’ve observed, the more we search for the strict definition of what is and isn’t included within the role, the more constricted we become.

As an integrative instructional coach, I think about finding a both/and understanding.

What’s particularly clear to me is that coaching is leadership and great leaders are coaches.

To lead, we must be willing to coach.

To coach is to elicit greatness from another which is always leadership.

With the leaders I have the honor of coaching, I’m often asking them, 

  • What are you a stand for?  

  • What core values can you call on to guide you?  

  • What are you willing to be fired for?

Perhaps that seems dramatic but the point is that being our most expansive and expressed selves is our job so it’s useful to know what our north star is guiding us through all the unexpected responsibilities. 

And it’s there, in the persistent light of our north star, that we find peace and clarity.

We are all, and always have been, bigger than any one job title or description:

  • Mom

  • Principal

  • Coach

  • Uncle

  • Teacher

Seeing how we can transcend a role description and step with clear vision into our leadership and willingness to coach will likely have us free, creative, and connected to our power. 


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