Monday, December 6, 2010

Who are you in your own story?

For months now, marketing people everywhere have been talking about the importance of telling a good story. Stories are how we relate to each other. When I tell you a story, you will gain insight on who I am and whether you may want to pursue our relationship further.

But what stories are you telling yourself? Stories (or running commentary) are how most of us live our lives. We have conversations with ourselves in the shower full of hand gestures and heated arguments that never take place in real life. Our attempts to find our keys when running late in the morning are met with critiques about our brainpower and lack of focus..... We think and relate (both to ourselves and others) with these stories.

Sometimes our stories are so ingrained, we don't even notice our roles. So give it some thought -- are you the hero of your story? Or the victim.

I could be wrong (be sure to tell me, if you think I am) but I think those are the only two choices we get.

Hero: the one who takes charge. You don't have to save or fix everyone but you are doing the work that matters to you.

Victim: the one who is stopped from doing the work that matters to them by forces (seen or unseen) beyond their control. You may be doing good work but you aren't as satisfied with your life as you would like to be -- "you just can't help it -- it's not your fault."

Victims can be spotted easily because they use the phrases "If only I could...." , " Well, maybe someday I can...", or "If only he/she would .....then I could....".

Being a hero doesn't mean you win every time -- every Disney movie ever created will teach us that. But Hero's never quit. They might think about it, in the dark of night. Even when success looks like it will never happen, ultimately they never give up. They never settle -- maybe change goals but never settle for something less than what they know in their heart is right.

Victims are victims because they accept what is given to them even though it isn't what they want. They try, unsuccessfully, to be happy with what they are given but it doesn't work. They feel thwarted at every turn.

The interesting thing about heroes and victims isn't that they are fundamentally different breeds or that they are given fundamentally different circumstances to work within. The difference lies in what they do with what they're given.

Any Victim is only one decision away from being the Hero of her story.

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