“It’s true that we take a great deal of our own upbringing on into our adult lives and our lives as parents; but it’s true, too, that we can change some of the things that we would like to change. It can be hard, but it can be done.” ~ Fred Rogers
It is said that we are all actors on a stage. Whose script are you acting out?
Each of us has been given a script to play based on a combination of our genetics (what we inherited) the way we were raised, and our current environment. We can either live out those scripts, or we can choose to write and act out our own new script. We also have ability to make rewrites to our scripts along the way. BUT, writing and living new scripts is an act of self-leadership and, as Mr. Rogers said, can be hard work.
How do you go about writing a new script for your life? Here is a simple two-step process I learned a number of years ago that has made a tremendous impact in my life:
Step 1: Identify your key roles.
Most people have several roles they play in their lives – as a family member, a worker, a community member, etc. A role is a key relationship, an area of responsibility, or a contribution you make. Some roles are life-long, such as a parent or family member. Others are seasonal like a baseball coach. Take a moment and identify five to seven key roles that you play. Try to limit your work roles to no more than two.
My current roles include companion, father/grandfather, family member, facilitator, client partner, and mission leader.
Step 2: Write an aspirational statement for each role.
An aspirational statement defines who you want to become in that role. One method of developing an aspirational statement is to imagine your 80th birthday party. For each role, think of a key person you interact with and imagine what you would want them to say about you as they stand up and share the impact you have had on their life.
For example, this statement describes the father I desire to be:
“Our father loves us unconditionally. He supports us in our lives’ activities. He teaches us correct values and models them in his behavior. He plays with us and shows his love for us in his actions.”
I’m sure my children would say I’m not there yet, but hopefully I’m closer today than I was ten or twenty years ago.
As you start the new year, I encourage you to take some time away from the day-to-day grind of life and write your own script. Next month I will share some ideas for how to live out your script.
Let me know your thoughts or any questions you have on writing your scripts. Remember…
“You didn’t have a choice about the parents you inherited, but you do have a choice about the kind of parent you will be.” ~ Marian Wright Edelman
About the author
John Hester is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies who specializes in performance, productivity, and self-leadership.