Readers of this blog will know that I’m a pretty big fan of leveraging the narrative of our lives to augment reality. Whether it’s putting on my combat boots and reminding myself that I’m a hard-charging devil dog or pretending that the driving snow simply means that we’ve made the jump to hyperspace, I love manipulating the stories I tell myself about my life.
In particular, I like the fact that when I put my life into a Grand Epic, I can see the people in it as more than my friends and family – they are my Allies.
Metaphors are Important
It’s funny how words matter. What if I’d said “cohorts” or “cabal”? If I were writing this blog during the Victorian era, perhaps I would talk about creating your personal “Empire” and describe your friends and family as “Colonies”, with no ill effects. But somehow I don’t think a personal development essay about the “Axis of Conquerors” would quite resonate right now.
One of the metaphors I do use is “Mastermind” – which is a common enough technique among personal development folks. My friend Ben and I were in a Mastermind Group for a brief time in Seattle, and the result was the table of contents that became the first draft of my Defining Moment book.
More recently I’ve been meeting once a week with a hypnotist entrepreneur friend of mine, an author and hypnotist Lee Allure. I asked her to sum up the benefits (if any) of our time together. Here’s what she wrote:
Our mastermind group helps keep me focused on the important tasks I have to get done. A regular weekly meeting and the reminders we set for each other moves me forward with new tasks and makes me happy to share what I’ve done. I’m equally happy to hear about the groups successes and to help remind them of their important undertaking.
Now, as a big fan of comics, can you imagine how awesome it feels to have a super-hero like a hypnotist in my corner, once a week? To share in her triumphs and share mine with her?
Or how about the Pepper-Potts style heroine that I live with? Or the courageous Writing Partner who is braving the slings and arrows of masculine stereotypes to forge his own path? Or my progeny, who have surprising skills and unexpected bravery in the face of unusual obstacles, who are all working on becoming the Ultimate BadAsses of Adulting?
You may be sitting there thinking that this is nothing but hyperbole, that this is somehow missing the Important Issues of Real Life. I got news for you, my friend: you are one of billions of tiny lifeforms on a rock hurtling through space around a sun that will eventually go nova and consume every molecule of anything that you ever did.
That’s reality. Anything less that’s labeled Real Life or Important is already hyperbole, given exactly as much significance as we choose to give it.
So why not choose to give your Allies – or your Federation, or your Rebellion, or whatever – the significance they deserve? Yes, you write your own story – but you don’t have to be the only character.