How Many Hats Do You Wear?


Hats look awesome on most people – I am just not so fond of how hats look on me. I am not quite sure why I chose to wear a hat when I got married, but that was a number of years ago! These days, I only wear hats out of necessity. I have a cute baseball cap with pearls on it that I wear to keep my hair from becoming a tangled mess when we are out on the lake having fun on the boat. I also have a knit hat or two with matching scarves  that I wear about every five years or so if I am forced to go outside in when it is crazy cold.

So when it comes to keeping my hat collection in check – that’s not an issue for me. What can be an issue for me: taking on too many roles and responsibilities – that’s what hats represent. I am quite prone to adding more and more and before you know it I am weighted down by my hats. Ever felt that way? Maybe you are feeling that way now! I work with leaders all the time who are overwhelmed by their many hats!

Here are a few signs that you’ve donned a hat or two too many:

  • You feel like you are perpetually running in circles and things are falling through the cracks.
  • Peace is not a regular part of your life.
  • You feel like you are failing more than you are succeeding.
  • People are complaining that you never have time for them.
  • Your relationship with God is shallow or non-existent.
  • You never have time to do what rejuvenates you and allows your creative juices to flow.
  • Frustration is on your most-used word list.
  • You are tired, unmotivated, and dissatisfied with your life.
  • Margin is a foreign concept because your schedule is jam packed!
  • You’ve accepted stress as a way of life!

The #1 Reason You Keep Collecting Hats!

Leaders have their reasons for collecting hats. And how many hats you can comfortably wear varies in different seasons of your life. If I am honest, deep down I want to accomplish something big – make a difference and a contribution that is significant. I want to matter.

You might have another motivation for collecting hats. Perhaps having a host of roles and responsibilities provides validation that you are enough or needed. Maybe it proves that you are strong, competent, successful or important. Doing above and beyond might keep you from feeling lazy or make you feel more like a winner. Could it be that in your mind, the abundance of hats makes you feel valuable or more acceptable? Have you ever considered that collecting hats might be a clue that your Fear Monster is at work?

Fear tricks you into doing more and more and more! And yet all the striving and additional responsibilities never have the effect you were hoping for. Nope! While you’re wearing your stack of hats proudly, like a mature set of antlers, you are consumed with DOING and wearing yourself out. That’s because you’re not a human DOING, you’re a human BEING!

Sometimes I get it backwards too. I attempt to do more, more, more, when in reality it would be incredibly more rewarding and significantly more effective if I did less  – much less.

The Remedy

I’ve discovered that it’s much better to wear fewer hats and make my focus who God created me to BE. For me that’s BEING loving. When that’s my focus, it naturally limits the number of hats I can wear and still operate from that loving place. And it also requires me to depend on God to BE loving and that’s not a bad place to BE!

Who God has created you to be might be something different – it might be…

I promise that leaning into who God created you to be will help you keep your hat collection in check. Chances are it will also make it quite clear which of your hats are the most becoming on you and which ones need to go. Wearing the right hats – that’s when you’ll find yourself experiencing the validation, significance, and/or success you were aiming for in the first place!

New opportunities pop up all the time – “hats” that are incredibly appealing to me. I’ve passed on some sweet hats and that’s not easy! Keeping your hats in check is truly an ongoing process. It’s tempting to see the “hat” so and so is wearing and want that same hat in your own collection. Just remember, your hat collection is YOUR hat collection and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s collection. Not the number of hats, the variety of hats, or the perceived status of the hats – none of that matters. What does matter? That your hats are the hats best suited for you in this season of life – hats that allow you to BE exactly who God created you to be!

I invite you to examine your stack of hats and evaluate them one by one. Allow God to show you the hats He wants you to wear, the hats that will be most flattering on you in this season.

Working with a coach is a fabulous way to whittle your hat collection down to a more manageable size. I’d love to hear about your stack of hats and help you identify who God created YOU to BE. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know your hats compliment you in the very best way?

What entices you to keep adding to your “hat’ collection?

NOTE: This post that was originally posted on 8/3/13 & has been updated & revised!

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Mary Lu Saylor on August 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Marvae, how right you are. In the world of companies needing more from employees sometimes it’s so hard not to wear 5 or more hats. I’d love to learn how to remove each hat for work and try to figure out how I can become a better boss. I need work too at home with removing the hats. I know God has blessed me with a compassionate spirit that wants to help others. I’ve learned how to try not to run to everyone’s rescue (because sometimes I think He needs for us to go through things) and to try to help when asked. I strive to do my best for the Lord and some days I look at what was accomplished and wonder ….is this what you really wanted out of me today? Our lives seem to demand that we run at a fast pace. I embrace Jeff Goins Slow Down Challenge wholeheartedly….but need to find ways to incorporate this into my life.
    Thank you for the opportunity to explore and share.
    Blessings to you! Keep up the good work!

    • Marvae on August 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Mary Lu – It is unfortunate that there is such a push for more. If less was done more would ultimately be accomplished!

      It is tricky to know where to draw the line when additional responsibilities are put on you. Often in the midst of it, pausing to access the situation is not our first inclination. It is hard, at times, to know what is your responsibility and what really should belong to someone else.

      So glad you have embraced Jeff Goin’s Slow Down Challenge… wholeheartedly. Now that you have finished the challenge, what would be the next best step to keep yourself moving at a slower pace? What drives the accelerated pace – you or others?

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      • Mary Lu Saylor on August 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        I think I may need to continue the challenge a couple times a month.
        For me my job is one that demands a lot of of me. I’m trying to wrap my head around a change in that area. Even when things aren’t ideal I want to be in God’s will and serve him. Keep praying and making connections!

        • Marvae on August 3, 2013 at 9:16 pm

          Making changes takes time! What do you think about focusing on Day 1 for a week and IF you have mastered it moving on to Day 2 for the next week? How would giving yourself more time to integrate the ideas into your life impact things? I am delighted by your desire to be in God’s will and serve Him. With that in mind, if you were able to pursue anything… what do you think you would want to do?

  2. April on August 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I have discovered my need for reevaluation as you suggest here. I remember the first time the concept of “seasons of life” hit home to me. I had always been heavily involved in music ministry and it didn’t occur to me until our first child came along that I would ever take a breather from it. But I knew God would have me remove that hat the moment the first one was born. While my children were young,I switched to teaching Sunday school and working in AWANAs, etc, and I barely touched the piano during those years. I remember how guilty I felt when our church did without a pianist until someone else stepped up to the plate. But from this vantage point, I realize that life is full of such seasons –and hats that were good and right for one season may need to be discarded when the next season comes along. And I shouldn’t hold on tightly to any hat, no matter how beautiful it is! 🙂

    • Marvae on August 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      Yes, sometimes even the beautiful hats must go! What do you think gave you the courage to keep from putting on the pianist hat in spite of your guilt?

      • April on August 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        In a word, conviction!

        • Marvae on August 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

          So often people struggle to have the conviction to honor their values rather than giving into the guilt. So glad that was not true for you! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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