This is the second in the What’s My Story? series of blog posts.
Have you ever wondered, “Where am I going in life?”
“What should I do next?” or maybe, “How did I end up where I am”?
Shakespeare reminds us that “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” and I try to heed that advice.
When I feel muddled or confused, unable to clearly answer those questions, taking a step back and thinking about my life as a unfolding play helps me create a sense of greater objectivity about what’s happening.
But where to start?
There are four major elements making up most dramas: characters, action, setting, and costumes. The single most important of these is characters because, without characters, there’s no action to be had, no need for a setting, no one to dress.
First and foremost there’s the main character — the star of the show, the person who changes over the course of events, the one the action revolves around.
Too often people hesitate to think of themselves as the main character starring in their own life.
It’s selfish, they think. Or narcissistic, or self-absorbed to see myself as the most important person in my own life.
But it’s not.
In our own lives, we each need to see ourself as the main character.
I deserve a star on my dressing room door, and you deserve one on yours. There’s no need to shy away from taking our place on center stage, from being the hero of our own lives.
There aren’t a lot of single-actor plays or stories with only a single character, and while I may be an introvert, I’m still social and share my life with other people. So do you.
That’s why the next step in mapping out your life as a story is to make a list of other characters in the ongoing drama – comedy, tragedy, or somewhere in between — that is your life.
Who’s with you on the stage?
- Family, be it a spouse and children, parents and other extended relatives.
- Colleagues and professionals you work with.
- Friends you’ve known forever and a day or new friends you’ve just met.
- People who wish only the best for you or villains eager to help you take a fall.
- All the bit players, the seemingly inconsequential people who briefly crossed your path but made an impact on your life.
Once you’ve compiled your supporting cast consider the size of their roles. Who has a large part to play? Who has a smaller one? Which roles would you like to enlarge? Which do you want to shrink?
Be honest — who would you like to write out of the action completely? More importantly, could you easily do so? And if you can write them out…why don’t you?
Seeing myself as the leading role in a drama of my own creation reminds me that I owe it to myself to play the role for all I’m worth.
Maybe I’ll even get a star and put it on the closet wall to remind myself each morning — it’s MY life.