Catalog Your Roles and Instantaneously Expand Your Possibilities

Patrick Muller
6 min readAug 4, 2020
A sample profile with newly recognized roles.

Internal Roles Are Not Even Half of What You Are

When I see roles listed in social media profiles, I often get immediately disappointed. It’s not that roles like mother or father, spouse or partner, and Vikings or Flyers fan are not central and important, they don’t articulate the depth and breadth that you are. Furthermore, they are what I call internal roles — roles of family and home. People think these are the roles with which they interact with the world. These are supportive and valuable roles. But the roles people inhabit to interact with the world are different; they are external roles. External roles are where you give to the world. Understanding external roles gives you access to unrecognized parts of yourself. External roles enumerate talents and potential that can fuel your dreams and accomplishments.

I promise yourself, if you catalog what external roles you inhabit, you will open yourself to all kinds of evidence of the talent you possess (and can strengthen) and you will give yourself all kinds of confidence and direction for whatever you want to accomplish next.

Cataloging Our Roles — My Turn

The first step in understanding how powerful and resourceful you are is to know exactly what and how many roles you inhabit. I see so many confine their profile to something like: father / husband / Bucks Fan / engineer or mother / wife / fashionista / wine lover. Stopping there is like discovering the cosmos has given you access to vault filled with eighteen gold bars (and they all belong to you) but you only take two or three home with you.

It’s easy to catalog your familial roles: grandparent, parent, partner, child, grandchild, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, in-law, cousin. And it’s easy to list your occupational role (accountant, teacher, stay-at-home parent) and your leisure roles (baseball fan, craft beer brewer, shopper, wine drinker.) But you’re not cataloging anything profound or unique about yourself. And you’re not really opening up yourself to knowledge about yourself.

Patrick Muller

Making the arts essential to everyone every day while exploring new models for meaning, mattering, purpose, belonging, understanding, and conversation.