Inventory: Identities, Roles, Values, Plans

Circa 1988, while working for IBM, B.Michael completed a self-guided exercise to help clarify a kind of “life strategic plan.”

First, he was prompted to list roles that he played in his life, in order of importance:


SOCIAL (aka Community) ORGANIZER*

The number of asterisks above indicate how intensely, at the time, he was playing each role. The roles in bold caps are those he wanted to increase in intensity. Below are responses designed to get at what brought him fulfillment at that time.

Principles he stands for:
Hope, Family

What has given him the most lasting satisfaction:
Education, Sharing

Major stumbling blocks he has overcome in his life:
Being Gay, Being Poor, Being a Black Male

Activities he most enjoys:
Reading, Movies, Teaching children, Listening to people, History

Experiences in life that stimulate him and make him feel it’s great to be alive:
Children, Acquiring things he thought he could not get, Achieving things that [illegible] only slightly [illegible]

Experiences in life he wants more often:
Teaching, Creating, Helping my family

Skills or talents he would like to improve/develop/become proficient at:
Speaking another language, Writing, Having children, Socializing more via work

Present activities he would like to do less of/drop entirely/avoid:
Working on sales to my customer set

What appears to be the “central values” of his life — the “matters of highest priority” when planning how he wants to live:
Empowering others

Finally, given all of the above, he was asked to bring it back to his context as an IBM employee.

What he wants to do inside IBM:
Improve income, Work for community sector

What he wants to do outside IBM:
Teach, Travel, Learn another language, Raise children, Help others

It would stand to reason that this inventory helped him arrive at and/or confirm his decision to leave IBM in 1989.


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