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4 - Roles We Play In Life

Living a meaning-filled story does not happen by accident. Whether we like it or not, the lives we live are stories. There is a beginning, middle and end. Inside each act we play many roles. For many, the stories we live feel meaningful and interesting. For others, life feels as though the writer has lost its plot.

 

Is God writing our stories? Or fate? Or our boss? Or government?

 

What if we are much more responsible for our own stories than we thought?

What if any restlessness we feel about our lives is not the fault of fate, but the fault of the writer themselves? And that writer is us.

What if we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond?

 

In stories, there are four primary characters.

 

1.  Victim: who feels there is no way out

2.  Villain: who makes others small

3.  Hero: who faces challenges and transforms

4.  Guide: who helps the Hero

 

If our story is going to work, we must ask ourselves, what role am I playing?

 

Victim: We see victims every day. Victims give up because they believe they are doomed. People that have surrendered their life to fate are victims. The truth is, we may live this way ourselves. They believe they are helpless, waiting to be rescued. Actual victims do exist and do need rescued.

 

We have all been through periods of hopelessness. I was working for Owens-Corning when Wickes Lumber attempted a hostile takeover. I was a victim that led to losing my job as Owens-Corning restructured to fight off the takeover. Because my wife and kids needed me, I move forward and left the victim role behind.

 

Victimhood is a temporary state. Once rescued, a victim can write a better story.

 

Villain: The second way to fix a bad story is to make sure the Hero does not present too much villain energy. A villain feels small, and needs to make others smaller. While in college, I used sarcasm to belittle others while covering my insecurity. I was not even aware of it until my friend called me out.

 

Villains start out as victims, often carrying pain from their backstory. We know we are surfacing villain energy when we reduce others to their outward appearance instead of taking time to understand their point of view.

 

Hero: Playing the hero improves our story dramatically. If we want to take control of our lives and focus our story on meaning, we can create more hero energy and less victim or villain energy.


What is hero energy? A hero wants something in life and is willing to accept challenges to transform into the person they want to be. After licensing The Eldred Company’s technology, I felt an emptiness in my life. One month after 9/11, I volunteered for my first mission trip … to New York City. It was the beginning of my transformation from “me” focused to “us” focused. There have been many guides along the way that challenged me.

 

Guide: Guides help the hero win. Remember that heroes are flawed. They have a problem and are in need of transformation. Janie Tinklenberg has been an early and on-going guide for me throughout my transformation. She has offered empathy and encouragement.

 

The confidence guides have, comes from their years of experience focusing their own Hero’s journey. Guides know what they are doing and can pass their valuable knowledge on to the Hero.

 

The empathy guides have come from their own pain. Guides have backstories of pain too. Pain, then is often the teacher that transforms the hero into a guide.

 

The main characteristic of a guide is that they help the hero win.

 

Living a Story Is Not a Choice

The hard truth about life is not that it asks us to live a story, but that it forces us to live a story. We are living in a story of our own making. This can be a terrific challenge if we choose to see it that way.

 

We would be confused if we thought we could succeed on our own. Heroes have help. Lots of help. There are people in our lives who show us a better way to live. A hero gets help from a guide.

 

The truth is, our lives can be charged with meaning, just as a good story is charged with meaning. The idea that fate writes our stories is a lie. We do not suffer fate. We partner with fate to write a story from our own God-given gifts and actions. And that story can be meaningful.

 

Who do you believe you are?

Who could you become?

 

Here's to taking action and living out your life's story.


Wes Legg




 

Part of this story is from Donald Miller’s books

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