My sister and my daughter can each really pull off ‘the hat’ and each of them do it regularly. They each have quite a variety of hats and each of them can wear them like they were meant to be worn. I think that is part of the secret. They both really know how to make it work. It is as if the hat is just the finishing touch on a perfect picture. As for me, whenever I put on a hat, I feel so self-conscious I kind of slink into a room, looking for a dark corner so as not to be seen. This is NOT the recipe for the successful wearing of a hat. You really have to feel good in a hat to wear it with confidence. It has to feel so good that you almost forget you have it on.
Despite my inability to carry off hat wearing with confidence, the truth is that I have had the opportunity to wear a number of very exquisite hats in my life.
For many years I wore the hat of teacher with pride. This hat fit me to perfection. There was no hiding in corners when I wore this hat. I felt passionate, innovative, dedicated and inspired. I never wanted to hide for all the years I wore this hat. And no matter how many days I wore this same hat, I always felt renewed and current. I wore this hat so well that I almost never took it off. It just became who I was.
Another hat I loved was my parenting hat. It’s become very well worn over the years and I think parts of this one have now been sewn into every other hat I’ve ever had. It comes with me on every journey and even though it has changed over the years, it’s still my favourite of all. The original fit so well I usually forgot it was on my head. I didn’t have to remember to put it on when I left the house, I really think I even wore this one into the shower.
My runners hat has carried me many places and been with me through many problem-solving moments. When I wear this hat, I feel free. I feel like I can do anything. There is a certainty to this hat. I know what is expected of me when I wear it and I know I can find a way to achieve my goals. In this hat, I forget little grievances, I dismiss doubts and instead I listen for the familiar pat pat of my shoes as they strike the ground. There have been times when I have lost this hat; in doing so I felt like I had lost a vital piece of myself.
My dancers hat is quite new to me. I love this hat because it requires me to be more than I thought possible. When I put on this hat, I know it is ‘show time’. It’s such a gift to have a hat that thinks we can do more than we ever thought we could.
This past week I donned my facilitators hat as I worked with a wonderful group of School Board officials. In this hat I feel creative, confident, energetic and purposeful. I’m very at home in this hat. When I wear this hat, I get to watch people as they gain valuable insights about themselves and about the contributions they make to their organizations, families and lives. I could wear this hat every day. It energizes me and shows me at my best.
In other parts of my life I have less showy hats, but I have hats nonetheless. I’ve been known to wear the hats of uncertainty, guilt and control (this one is one I try to leave in the closet as much as possible now that I see how it really looks on me). The hats of worry, self-doubt, and pettiness are not good looks for me either.
I’ve also worn the hats of grief, of joy, of wonder and of love. Wednesday evening, I brought out a hat I rarely wear; my silly hat. What a laugh we had at our dance practice with me wearing this one! I’m trying to remember to wear my hat of curiosity as often as I wear my hat of certainty.
Since it’s spring time, a time of new life and renewal, it’s a good time for me to think about which hats I’d like to donate to someone else and which hats I’d like to wear more often. In my case, I’d love to have someone design me a hat made by combining my comfortable parenting hat, my confident coaching hat, my inspiring dancers hat, my consistent runners hat and of course my full-heart hat. Since I haven’t found this designer yet, it will be up to me to stop by my closet each day and make a conscious choice about what hats I will choose.
As you head into Easter week, what bonnet will you choose?
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘Is this the hat I choose to wear?’
Have a great week! You look fantastic in that hat!
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups. Contact Elizabeth to plan your next professional development day or to simply spend some time with her trying on hats!