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What Story are you Enacting?

By Steve Davis

How much of your life is directed from the foundation of unexamined mythology? What if we are all enacting some sort of story in our lives?

Now what do I mean by story? I mean that we have some vision, set of ideas, or beliefs about ourselves that define us as a central character, in what could be called a "myth" or "story" that we're living out. All of the elements of the story have been either passed down as part of our culture or upbringing, intuited, or simply fabricated in our own minds. We then go about enacting our stories as if they they were true, thus embodying the script from which we live our lives.

So now you may say, "yes I can certainly buy that, I'm very well aware that we are a product of our own thoughts and beliefs. So what's the big deal?"

The big deal is this: The vast majority of us don't know that we're enacting a story. We actually think this is real life that we're living! (see the movie Matrix for a great metaphor). By real life, I mean that we're approaching life based on a set of assumptions that aren't necessarily backed by good evidence.

So when you don't know that you're enacting a story, you are completely at its mercy, with little control over the role you play and the course your life takes.

Now to make matters even more complicated, in addition to enacting our own individual stories, we are also part of stories which are bigger than us. We are enacting stories within our relationships with individuals, and the groups we are involved in, such as our families, work groups, community organizations, our countries, etc. Even our civilization itself is acting out a story, much of which we may not even be aware of.

Humans tend to enact whatever story we choose to adopt as our own, and will settle for the best one available. If we don't take the time to create a better one, we'll continue enacting our current story, even if it isn't working for us.

What story are you enacting and is it working for you?

Here is a simple exercise to uncover your current story:

1. Discover your story.

First, assume you are in fact enacting a story - if this is a new concept, it certainly won't hurt to give it a chance. Based on this assumption, uncover the elements of your story. Be a detective, hunting for clues. Look at all your behaviors and describe them piece by piece, until the "whole" story emerges.

2. Evaluate your story.

Now assess your story. Are you happy with it? What would you change, remove, or add to this story to make it more satisfying? Re-write your story - become the author of the grandest story you can envision - a story that truly inspires.

3. Tell your story.

Share your new story with important people in your life. Talk about your specific role in the story and why it appeals to you. The more you talk about your new story, the more it will become a part of you.

4. Rehearse your new role.

Commit to living your new role in some way. Make at least one change that is in alignment with the new story.

5. Explore how your new story fits into the bigger story of your family, organization, corporation, country, and world. What contribution can your new individual story can make to your bigger story? Explore any obstacles presented by this bigger story and refine yours if necessary so that it isn't overpowered or subverted by the bigger one.

If you are a facilitator, coach, consultant, trainer, etc, I encourage you to use this exersize to help you clients re-write their own stories.

Remember, you are the authors and you can write your story any way you wish. You're only limited by your imaginations!

Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., founder of, works with facilitators, trainers, leaders, coaches, and change agents to enhance their facilitation skills, empower their under-performing groups and present themselves confidently to a group. Are meetings killing you? Subscribe to Steve's free weekly ezine, Master Facilitator Journal, and receive the free report: This Meeting Sucks, I'm Taking Over... With Conscious Acts of Leadership:


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