Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.Greg Boyle
Your life is a story
It’s the story of where you have been and it’s the story of where you are going. For many, there seems to be somebody else writing the story of their lives and they feel like they are simply along for the ride. Today is for the people who are ready to step into being the writers of their own story.
A different way to view the stories of your life
Most of us view our lives as one long story, a novel with a beginning at our birth and an ending at our death and decrepitude. What if we choose to view it a little differently though? What if we view our life as a book of short stories instead? In this frame of mind, our childhood is one story, our adolescence another, etc.
Now, what if your current story is just reaching its end? What if it is time to start the next short story, with a totally different theme
Writing your own future
Let’s do something crazy – let’s give ourselves permission to brainstorm before we jump into writing. With our trusty journal and pen, where nobody else will ever see what we write, what would you want the story of your future to be about? Scribble down everything that comes to mind. Remember that this is a short story, you aren’t writing the rest of your life, just the next piece of the book.
Now think about the hero of this story – you (yes, you!). What character traits would you want them to have? What are they working towards? Can you identify what the conflict they must overcome is? Can you imagine
Before you wrap up the brainstorm session there’s one more important piece. Ask yourself what this hero would do if you knew they couldn’t fail? Is their mission big enough? Grand enough? Is it worth the effort of writing the story? Because, if it’s not, you might want to go back and spruce it up.
The scariest possibility of all
Now I want you to do something that terrifies most people. I want you to look at your story and consider that it is possible that you could actually live that story. I’m not saying you have to, but I want you to consider the possibility that your life could go that way.
If your imagination was running full speed ahead and you were writing about killing dragons, then you might not kill literal dragons as you live out your story. My guess, however, is that you can quickly identify what those dragons might symbolize in your life, and you can imagine killing those monsters.
For most people, I’d bet that there is a voice piping up right about now inside you saying that this is a dumb exercise, and I’m full of crap
What’s the next step?
So how do you go from writing the story on paper to having it show up in your life?
Recognize that it doesn’t all happen at once. No story starts off with ‘and they got everything they wanted and lived happily ever after’ because that would be a really boring story and wouldn’t give us a reason to care about what happens along the way. In the same way, the story of your future should introduce you to the hero, and let you get to know them. The hero is going to have to learn some skills in order to overcome their conflict, and they will have to do some hard work to get there.
The most tangible way to start living this story is to ask yourself ‘what would my hero do?’ and then act accordingly. Sounds simple? It is until it gets hard. When that happens, remember that the hero is on the other side of each decision. Every time you do something difficult in the way that your hero would, you are one step closer to becoming them. What would your hero do right now?
Remember that this is a short story. You don’t want to waste the next five years of your future getting to know the character. You want to jump in and do this quickly so that you can get to the next part of the story. You don’t want to spend another decade stuck in your conflict, you want to break through it so that you can write the next story in the book. It’s okay to move forward when the time is right, you don’t have to wait a long time in order to get what you want.
Recognize that there will be some cognitive dissonance along the way. That’s normal. When it does come up, continue asking yourself what your hero would do, and then decide who you want to be more like; that hero or
What story do you want to tell about your future? If you are feeling brave, pop it into the comments below.