You can live into a story that interests and excites you … take the first step to becoming a Hero on a Mission.
Everyone Has a Story
Transitions in life can be very challenging. As you reach a milestone, there is excitement for the accomplishment, but often anxiety for what lies beyond. Whether it’s graduating high school or getting married, navigating those emotional peaks and valleys is rarely smooth. The climax of one story leads to a new one, usually into uncharted waters.
Regardless of how old you are, you’ve lived through many different short stories that have made up your life to this point. You’ve got family stories, school stories, work stories, and relationship stories, just to name a few. Typically, the tales overlap and there is more than one going on at any given time.
Society provides a foundation for many of these narratives and, like it or not, it has standards to tell us how the “best” stories turn out. You might struggle against those societal ideals because they are rarely based on reality. Rather, they are an airbrushed picture of how life “should” be.
Taking Control of Your Life Story
For good or bad, these stereotypical stories have shaped your journey from childhood to adulthood. While you may not have stayed completely on the script, you’re likely very aware of where you stand. The question you face now (and just about every day) is how is the story going to play out.
If you’re relatively early in your career, there’s likely a path that’s pretty clear for both your work and personal lives. It may feel a bit early to consider a life-long arc that will become your story, but it’s actually quite important to consider it much earlier than you’d expect.
If you’re later in your career, you might be near the very challenging time when society’s scripts are starting to run past the clear sections. Your family is grown, you’re seasoned in your career, and you’re not sure what’s left to be written. Having an exciting story to live into is quite rare, but it’s perhaps most important for you now. You might be doing similar things, day in and day out, and you’ve become just a little bored with your own story and struggling to find real meaning in what you’re doing.
The First Step
Donald Miller’s new book, Hero on a Mission, provides a framework for all of us to craft and live into a story that we find exciting. It requires some thoughtful consideration and even some soul-searching on your part, but it’s well worth the work as it can have you starting your days with energy and anticipation. You can wake up each morning eager to “add something to the plot” of your life’s story.
The first, and arguably most important, step is to begin with the end in mind by writing your own eulogy. Now, it may seem strange to consider what might be said at your funeral, especially if you’re expecting your life has plenty of time remaining, but it’s a crucial exercise to get your head and heart open to the possibilities your life might contain.
The heroes in our favorite books and movies aren’t perfect and quite often they are reluctant to accept their role in their story. But as they go, they have wrongs to right, victims to rescue, and villains to overcome. Then the story gets interesting. If you can take the time to thoughtfully consider your journey, you can start to see the opportunities for your heroic potential. You can begin to create a story arc for your life. They may not be condensed into an exciting two-hour film, but you also have wrongs you can right, victims you can help, and villains you can combat.
The process Don puts forth in Hero on a Mission can help you establish the heroic goals and ideals for your life that will give meaning to your days. Considering how you’d like to be remembered and living into those qualities will inspire your future. Writing your eulogy and reading it regularly as a part of Don’s process will keep you interested in your own story. You’ll wake up with a sense of meaning that will help you reach your potential.
Whether you read and follow the Hero on a Mission process, or not, you should strongly consider writing your eulogy and reading it regularly. You will inspire yourself to live a life of meaningful contribution and you’ll never be the same again.