The interviewer asked me what the heck did I mean about being on a script. And I thought I’d better share that here, too, in case there were more people who didn’t quite catch my drift. So here we go.
The other day someone asked me what my favourite movie of all time was. I immediately said Terminator 2. Why? Because that has been my answer to that question for the last 17 years! I’ve surely seen some other, better movies in that time – how often have I reassessed my answer?
That’s my script for that question. And it really doesn’t matter that much, because who cares what my favourite movie is? The problem lies in that fact that many of us have scripts for lots of far more important questions in your lives.
Picture this: you’re at a party full of people you don’t know. You start a conversation with some strangers and they ask “how are you, what do you do, who are you?”
Think of your script as the answers you give in these situations. Or on a first date. When speed dating. In a job interview. When you don’t have time to reflect, when you have to give a 5 second answer.
Two years ago, I was working in advertising. My script was “I work in advertising and my goal is to reach account director and earn a six figure salary. I want to work in an award winning creative industry”.
I was looking at the person sitting next to me who was an account director and I thought I genuinely don’t want his job. And I looked at the people above him and didn’t want their jobs either. I thought to myself: then where am I going, if I don’t want to get there? Moreover, I’m not enjoying the process of getting there.
I was doing it because I’d said I was doing it.
At different times of our lives we feel the need to write a script. My old script was written when I finished University and was faced with parents and grandparents desperate to see what I’d do next.
Your script can be your armor – it can start to get very strong when your answer really inside is “I don’t know”. There are many people who can’t deal with your “I don’t know”s.
It’s when that script you came up with the reassure people and probably yourself becomes your reality that you’ve got to take stock.
I’m working hard myself to not write a script right now – when people who love me find out about my marriage breakdown they first check if I’m ok, and then there is a logical barrage of follow-up questions: “what are you going to do now?”, “are you going to stay in the house?”, “do you need to change your job/name/car/income source/Facebook status?”.
(FYI people who don’t love me also have these questions, but I mainly tell them to mind their beeswax!).
It can come from love, from concern and from curiosity. And many of these people don’t want to hear me say “I don’t know”.
But there is a certain aspect of script. I’ve got enough answers about my house, Suki, work etc. to keep the question wolves at bay.
What I’m not doing is making grand pronouncements about how my life will be now and what my intentions are for the next five years.
Because I don’t know what I want my next five years to look like yet. So I’m not going to get stuck on a path I’m not passionate about.
Next time someone asks you a script-triggering question, reflect on your answer. I don’t mean ask a complete stranger for some thinking music and make them wait! But perhaps later on, think about how you really felt when giving that answer.
When I would tell people at a dinner party “oh I’m in Advertising, I work for XY client and produce XY websites” they would think it was very impressive and cool. I, however, would feel sorta … dirty.
Now when I tell people “I’m a Dream Strategist, which is an aspect of Life Coaching, and I help women live their best lives through planning, joy and colour therapy”, even if the person I’m talking to looks completely bored, baffled or bewildered, I feel lit up and fulfilled.
You’re living on the script. You’ve written it! So you are the one with the power to make a change, to edit that script.
Does your script still serve you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And if you’re not already signed up to receive Aspire each week, make sure to sign up here so you can get next week’s article “I want off my script – now what?” delivered straight to your inbox.