What’s Your Story? Using the Power of Story to Frame Your Life & Business
part 1 of 5
What Character Are You?
Stories make life interesting, so if you figure out the story of your life & business, your life & business will be more interesting to you and others.
Since ancient times, we have used stories to communicate ideas and experiences with each other. The thought that our lives are a story to be told, helps us frame how we think about ourselves and our purpose on this planet.
There are four main characters in a story, which one sounds the most like you?
The Four Main Characters
There are four major roles in stories, the Victim, the Villain, the Hero, and the Guide. Here’s the purpose of each of these roles:
- Victim – Needs to be rescued. Powerless.
- Villain – The one who is taking action to create the Victim. Evil.
- Hero – The one who rescues the Victim and defeats the Villain. Fights injustice.
- Guide – The one who helps the Hero win.
We play each of these roles in our day-to-day lives but it’s important that we are conscious of where we spend the majority of our time.
Victim – Try not to ever play the Victim! A Victim has no control over their situation and is essentially helpless. We are rarely actually helpless. We can adjust and overcome obstacles. It doesn’t mean we don’t ever need help, but we aren’t just waiting for someone to rescue us.
Victims don’t grow or get better, instead, they blame others and wait to be rescued.
Whenever we act like we’re powerless in our current situation, we are likely playing the Victim… don’t play the Victim!
Try also not to ever play the Villain! Villains are evil. The reason they exist is so that the Hero can focus their efforts on a single point to resolve the conflict and save the Victim. Often, Villains are created by a past hurt they incurred, and rather than learning from the pain or working to resolve the conflict, they are seeking vengeance.
In fact, they feel justified in their actions to right a past wrong that will make the world a better place. Unfortunately, they end up doing bad things in the name of good.
We need to be careful when we’re trying to get someone back for something they did to us, as that’s usually playing the Villain… don’t play the Villain!
This is one of the roles that you do want to play! Especially early in your career, you want to overcome challenges in life to help others and create value in the world. Helping others (Victims) and stopping evil (Villains) is all part of a Hero’s work. It’s vital to have a clear set of objectives and a counter-attack against some kind of injustice.
Heroes anticipate, expect, and accept that they will face challenges they’ll need to overcome. A Hero’s life isn’t easy.
Standing up for folks in a tough spot or gaining skill in a craft that will solve problems in the marketplace are Hero actions, and you definitely want to spend time playing the Hero!
This is the other role you want to play when it’s your time. Guides are in the story to help the Heroes win. After you’ve had some success as a Hero, you’ll have established your authority to transition to playing the Guide. Guides have already faced and overcome challenges, won and mastered a craft, and are ready to use that experience to help others win.
Playing the Guide is about being empathetic to the Hero’s situation, and using your past similar experiences to help the Hero win.
After building successful Hero experiences, the ultimate goal in life should be to end up as a Guide helping other Heroes to win!
What Character Do You Play?
You want to spend as little time as possible playing the Victim or the Villain. You want to start out playing mostly the Hero and chalk up a bunch of wins, overcoming obstacles and correcting injustices to defeat Villains and save Victims. Then you can transition from Hero to Guide by using your experience to see how you help other people win.
What character do you play most of the time?
Are your objectives clear and you’re overcoming obstacles to achieve them? What is your Hero story?
Consider your story and the part you’re playing. The more you can play the Hero or the Guide, the more positive your life will be.
If you’re interested in learning more about these roles, pick up a copy of Donald Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand.
Next week, we’ll see how whatever role we normally play, impacts our lives and the opportunities we can create if we use the power of story for our brighter future.