Paresh, an Indian carpenter I once hired to help me restore my old farmhouse had just finished a difficult and hard first day on the job.
A flat tyre on his lorry made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw packed in, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, Paresh sat in stony, thoughtful silence.
On arriving, Paresh, in the way of all Indian gentlefolk, invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
When opening the door to his home, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
After a cup of tea, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
‘Oh, that’s my trouble tree,’ Paresh replied. ‘I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children.
So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is’, he smiled winningly, ‘when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.’
Read this story a while ago, I can’t remember where exactly, but it reminded me of the different hats we play in people’s lives.
When you are at work, wear a work hat, be the best entrepreneur, CEO, leader, supporter, manager, supervisor, and colleague.
When you are at home, wear the home hat, be the father, mother, partner, supporter and friend [and even more]
Confusing the roles we play in other people’s lives sometimes creates problems.