I/R Theory: Individual Versus The Role We Play

If I were to ask how your “I” is today, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, the answer should always be 10. If I were to ask how is your “R” today, that could vary from moment to moment.

I/R Theory is something I learned from Tim Rooney at Rooney, Earl & Partners some time ago when I was in a different Role. Sales is a noble profession and it can be very difficult to remember to keep your “I” and your “R” in proper perspective. The same concept applies to any role.

“I” is about the Individual. Who am I?”

  • trustworthy
  • act with integrity
  • values driven
  • cares about others

I think you get the idea.


“R” is the Role we play.

  • wife
  • husband
  • parent
  • business owner
  • manager
  • employee
  • politician
  • sales person

At any given time, we could be acting in one or more of these roles. They are exactly that, roles. Not who we are or what defines us. This is where many people seem to become confused.

Man-Shaking-Hands-01“I” am an administrative assistant. No, “I” am not.

My ROLE, during business hours Monday to Friday is that of an administrative assistant. After hours, my role is that of husband, father and member of my community.

“I” am a value driven Christian man living in Barrie Ontario who strives to give my best to my family and community every day. This can certainly affect whatever role I am in at any given time. I try to chose roles that are not in conflict with my “I”. For example, don’t ask me to rob a bank!

My focus is to ensure that my I, who I am, is a 10 every day. If it’s not, that likely means that I have allowed my R (role) to affect me. That means either I’m not being true to myself and my values or it means that I need to remember to keep the role in its place. Stop letting the role define you.

Maybe you need to change roles. Sometimes the role just isn’t suited to who I am. Don’t apologize for or change the I unless that’s truly what is out of alignment. Change the role. If something about the role doesn’t align with your “I”, modify the role. If you can’t modify the role, get a new one!

It’s up to you to protect and nurture your “I”. Roles come and go. They’re just passing moments in time. You have to live with yourself for a lifetime.

Are you a good person? Are you values driven? If so, your “I” should always be 10!

The role is just the role. The outcome is just the outcome. Neither of those defines who you are. Stuff happens and you can’t control everything. You can control who you become.

I believe that if you are true to your I, you can make your role great. It may take time and there will be temptation to change your “I”. You may sometimes confuse your “I” with your “Role”. Don’t do it.

I = 10. R? Depends on the role, the time and day. It’s just a role.


Make it a great day!


P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the time I spent with my friend Tim Rooney. I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I had to learn. I’m thankful for the many roles I play in this life.

What are you thankful for today?