How To Be The Hero Of Your Story- Self Concept & ADHD

Today we’re looking at how to be the hero of your own story as we learn about the hero, the victim and the villian and how this impacts self concept with ADHD.

woman hero

I have an important question for you to consider today.

Who are you in the story you’re telling yourself?

What role do you play in the narrative of your life?

Your answer to this question matters. 

A lot. 

The story you choose can influence nearly every one of your experiences. It can determine a sense of clarity or confusion. It can impact whether you feel empowered or powerless, and it can provide direction or leave you feeling lost. 

So again, I invite you to answer this important question.

Who are you in the story you’re telling yourself?

If you’re not sure, or you want to take this question further, be sure to tune into episode 180 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast. 

You can listen to the episode above or stream it wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript. 

In Episode 180: How To Be The Hero Of Your Story- Self Concept & ADHD, You Will Discover…

  • What it means to be the hero of your story.
  • How the hero can also be the victim and the villain.
  • How to identify the role you’re currently playing.
  • How to shift out of a story of villain or victim if it’s not serving you, and step into the role of hero with confidence.

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Episode #180: How To Be The Hero Of Your Story – Self Concept & ADHD (Transcript) 

how to be the hero of your own story as an adult with ADHD

Today we are talking about an important question, and I really encourage you and invite you to spend some time reflecting on and exploring, considering this question that we’re talking about today, and think about it over the course of this next week.

So the question is… Who are you in the story you are telling?

  • Also, what is the story that you’re telling about yourself and your situation?
  • What’s the story you’re telling others about yourself and your situation?

This question matters a lot. It really matters a lot, and why it matters will become quite apparent throughout this episode.

We can look at this question through a couple of different lenses, and today I invite you to genuinely think about it like a story.

In stories or in movies, there are generally heroes, victims, and villains. They all play a role in the telling of a story. And for you, who are you in your story? Now, as we will find, this answer might differ. It might differ on a particular story that you’re telling within your life, or it might differ depending on the particular day. That’s okay.

What we’re doing today is creating some curiosity and awareness around who you are in that story. We all tell stories from all three of these perspectives:

  • from the perspective of the hero
  • the victim
  • and the villain

Sometimes we genuinely are the victim in a situation. Sometimes we might be the villain in the story. Many times, in fact, I’d argue most times, we are also the hero. It’s not either or.

The way that we tell our story really matters and I want to suggest that, as often as possible, we tell our story through the lens of the hero.

That doesn’t mean we don’t also own the victim and the villain as well, and we’ll talk about how to do that. We can have both. It’s not black or white.

When it comes down to it, you are the star of your story. You are the hero. And the more that you remember this, the easier it will be for you to show up in that way. The easier it will be for you to show up in the way that you want to in your life.

Think about your favorite heroes in the stories that you’ve read or the movies you’ve watched. You want that hero to win, right? Even when things go “wrong,” you’re cheering them on. You know they’re strong. You know they’re good. You know they’re going to make it through to the other side.

They may have hard moments; their behaviors might shift. They might not show up the way you’d expect a hero to show up, but we know they’re still the hero. We know that they’re still the “good guy.”

I’m going to go on a slight tangent, but I promise it all comes together so. As I’ve mentioned many times on the podcast, before I was a coach, I was a musicology professor, and I studied pop music, and I studied film music.

When I studied older film music, each character would usually have their own theme music, their own light motif. Some of the older composers, people like Eric Korngold, especially in the movie Robinhood; if you’ve seen the old movie Robinhood from the thirties, every time a new character enters the screen, you hear a version of their theme.

Now, the theme might shift. It might turn a little bit sad. It might sound a little bit dissonant to reflect their current emotional state, but the fact that their theme remains, shows that their core hero-ness or villain-ness remains. It’s still the hero.

Robinhood comes on screen, and we know he’s always the good guy.

A more recent example, as I know not everybody’s watching old movies. John Williams came around and kind of updated this approach and brought it back with Star Wars, right? Each character, or many of the characters, have their own themes, their own leitmotifs.

Of course, real life is much more complicated.

We don’t all have our own theme music. (Though…I kind of wish we would. That would be amazing.)

We don’t just have clear heroes and villains, right?

However, what if we took this view? When Robinhood comes on screen, despite how he’s showing up throughout the movie, we know that he’s the hero. What if we take that view and we give you the benefit of the doubt that you are inherently the hero of your story?

There are times when you might want to tell your story as either the victim or the villain. We’ll talk a little bit later about the fact that there is healing and growth in both of these. So, I’m not trying to take either one of those away from you.

The goal for today: Come back and recenter yourself as the hero of your story. We’re going to talk about examples of how to do this.

How The Hero Can Also Be A Victim and A Villain

Let’s look at an example of Harry in Harry Potter, because you all know I love this series, so I’m just going to let my true colors shine here.

So clearly Harry Potter is the hero.

The whole series is named after him. We know he’s the hero. Now throughout the books, there are definitely times when he’s clearly the hero and others when he is the victim or the villain.

  • He was the victim when he got his scar and what happened to his parents, and when he was picked on by Malfoy and the Slytherin and Snape.
  • Harry was also being a villain when he does things out of spite toward Malfoy or Snape or jealousy of Ron. He’s human. And he’s the hero, right?

He’s also the hero. And he’s human. (Well, I mean, I know he’s a fictional story, but stick with me.) He’s human.

Throughout these situations, Harry Potter is the hero, in addition to being the victim and the villain because he grows and learns from all of those situations.

He learns from his mistakes and becomes the bigger person when he shows up as the villain. This makes him the hero because he grows and learns. When he’s a victim, he solidifies in his own morals of what is right and wrong. He makes time to heal, and he comes out stronger on the other side.

So again, I ask you the question, who are you in the story you’re telling about yourself?

I’m going to give some different examples, some different scenarios to help you notice because maybe your brain’s like, “I don’t know. I don’t know what story I’m telling. I’m just me.”

So I’m providing some examples to help you maybe identify the language that might be coming up for you.

Perhaps you’re often portraying yourself as the villain

This can appear in a lot of different ways. It might be a more traditional understanding as the villain.

You might be blaming others and you tell the story that you don’t actually care about how others feel and you should, or you potentially know you’re causing someone harm, but you just disregard it because it serves you.

These could all be more traditional understandings of the villain, blaming people, not caring about how they feel doing things just for yourself, and disregarding others. I suspect this is not most people listening to this podcast, and my guess is that’s probably not the story you’re telling. But there might be times when this comes up when we’re telling that version of the story.

At times we’re being a villain to ourselves

We’re beating ourselves up and being the villain.

So, we might tell stories like:

  • “I just always drop the ball. I’m just super unreliable.” We’re the villain, to everyone else around us because we feel so unreliable.
  • “I always mess things up. I just make things harder for others because I’m just a mess.”
  • “I’m a terrible parent. I don’t want to play race cars with my kids. I’m just, I’m terrible.”
  • “I can’t control my emotions and I make people feel uncomfortable when I have these emotions. I just don’t show up the way that I should.”

If you notice that there are times when you’re making yourself the villain, and this is your main narrative, right?

Maybe you often use the story of “I am the villain” in different ways.

Let’s question this.

  • Are these stories actually true? Your brain is immediately going to say yes because that’s the story it’s been telling. It’s been gathering a lot of evidence. But is it actually true?
  • Do we have data to prove otherwise?

For example, is it true that you’re really unreliable?

I bet that if you grabbed a piece of paper and you wrote down 10 times, big or small, when you have shown up and you have followed through, you’d be able to do it with ease and show your brain.

You don’t always drop the ball. It’s not that you’re really unreliable, and you can remind yourself that you are the hero and you are human. And that’s okay.

You can remind yourself that you’re the hero and there are some areas that you can learn from what happened.

Perhaps you dropped the ball once at the school pickup or at work. What can we learn from that and become the hero learning and strengthening and moving forward?

Or is it true that you are really a terrible parent because you don’t want to play race cars with your kids? Is that actually true?

In fact, how might the opposite be true here?

Maybe you’re a hero because you’re honest with your kids, and you say, you know what? I am not going to play cars with you right now. Why don’t you two play cars and I’m going to go get lunch ready, and then after lunch we can play Candy Land.

Is it possible that you’re wrong about that? That being a terrible parent means you don’t want to play race cars? How might the opposite be true?

Maybe there are times when your brain thinks, “No, genuinely this is true. I did not show up the way I wanted to. I think I kind of acted like the villain here.”

Maybe you did lose your temper and you said things that you didn’t want to. Okay. How are you repairing the experience now? You become the hero in your story when you reflect on and you learn from those different triggers and how to regulate your emotions more easily so that that way the next time it comes up, you’ve strengthened those tools for yourself.

You’re like the superhero who has strengthened their muscles to be able to allow those emotions and regulate their emotions more easily the next time because they’ve learned from it.

You’re the hero when you sit down with that person. You say, “Hey, you know what? That was not my best. I’m sorry. I’d like to make this right.”

So even when we’re acting as the villain, we can still be the hero. We can still maintain our core hero. And in fact, we often become the hero when we ask ourselves that very question, “you know, that wasn’t in alignment with my values and how I want to show up. What can I learn from this? How can I repair and strengthen this situation now?”

Understanding The Victim

woman feeling victimized

Now let’s talk about being the victim.

I want to be extra careful here because as I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of healing in acknowledging and owning when you have been made a victim. So, I am not here to take that away, nor am I encouraging you to try and push it away if it’s really healing for you right now.

If you’re working with a therapist and you’re healing past traumas or something like that, this is not what I’m talking about here. And as always, these tools are only here to be supportive of you. They are never allowed to be used against you.

So, if you find that what I share here feels a little bit off, maybe it rubs you the wrong way, you constrict against it. Notice that. This might not be for you right now, and that’s okay. You are on your journey. If you are working with a therapist or a counselor and you notice that come up, this could be something to explore. Again, that’s not my territory. I want to stay in my lane as a coach, and I’ll share some examples where I think it will make more sense.

But again, if you are working through being the victim, I am not here to take that away with what I’m talking about here. But there are times when we find ourselves in a victim role where it can feel incredibly disempowering.

Those are the moments that I really want to pause, highlight and give some examples.

I think it’s really impactful to recognize these moments because if we don’t, it can keep us stuck.

Examples of how your story of being a victim might sound

It might sound like…

“My kids just always take all of my time. It’s not fair. I never have time for myself.”

“My team will not do their part. I always have to do everything. I always have that last-minute scramble because nobody else follows through. Nobody even acknowledges the work I do. I always have to do everything.”

“Nobody is buying my product. I keep making offers and nobody’s buying it. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything. I’m just stuck.”

How do you feel when you hear me saying these stories?

When I’m saying them, I just feel ick. I feel tight, I feel powerless, and like I’m spinning and stuck.

If you feel the same, make note of how that feels in your body, because your body will probably feel like that when you tell your stories through this lens of victim when they’re not supportive for you.

If these stories are supportive, it’ll feel like expansion. It’ll feel like a release, it’ll feel like relief. But if you’re feeling that constriction, if your body’s closing up to it, it’s not supportive.

how can we make you the hero here?

confident woman - the hero

How do we rewrite that story with you as the hero?

Create acceptance of what is.

Meaning “Okay. This is what’s happening right now. And I’m figuring out how to address it. I’m figuring out how to make it work for.”

So “I’m with my kids X number of hours per day, and I would really like to have Y number of hours to myself. Currently, I do not have that, but I’m figuring out how to create it.”

Or “my experience has been that my team does not complete their work. And I have ended up finishing the presentations the night before, countless times in the past, but I am learning to strengthen my delegation skills and my communication skills. I’m talking with my boss for support. I mean, who better than me to figure this out? Because I always do. I know I can figure this out too. I’m still on that journey, but I’m figuring it out.”

Or “People have not bought my product yet. I have thoughts about that. But you know what? It just means that I haven’t figured out how to describe the value of it yet. I’m still learning how to convey why this product is so important. I’m learning how to improve my marketing skills and clarify my messaging. I’m getting closer and closer each day. What can I learn from the data I’ve gathered from last week?”

When we become the hero of our story and we step into that place of empowerment and confidence, I am telling you it changes everything. Because the world stops happening to us.

Instead, we get to take control of our thoughts, our emotions, our actions and how we show up in the world, and this changes everything.

It allows us to show up and create those results that we want to create in our lives. And do it in a way that’s in alignment with us and our values.

We get to show up in the way that we want to.

Now, yes. Things absolutely get hard. Yes. Sometimes we show up in ways we wish we hadn’t, and we go, “Oof. That was not my best self.” Yes. There are times when other people behave in ways we wish they wouldn’t. Or outside circumstances happen, natural disasters happen, and things happen where we are made the victim.

Give yourself time to process whatever’s going on, to heal from that experience, and then to learn and grow from it when you’re ready.

This is something that I think a lot of people want to avoid in coaching (and outside of coaching.)

  • We don’t want to uncover and look at what’s really going on.
  • We don’t want to expose those villain thoughts hiding underneath. Or all of those victim thoughts hiding underneath our story.
  • We just want to have a new strategy. We just want to have a new thought to feel better.

What I’m saying here is that we really need to slow down and create clarity around the stories we’re telling ourselves; first around the story of being the villain or the victim. And this is why I think coaching is so imperative before we make any big changes in our lives.

This is why I think group coaching and We’re Busy Being Awesome is so powerful because we have all these relatable examples from so many different people to help us put things into perspective, to hear these different stories from the outside. We can look at this situation and see how these other people are truly heroes and then realize, “oh, the same could be true for me.”

Final Thoughts

Once we’re ready to move on from our place of victim or villain, and we’re ready to step into our truth, knowing that we truly are the hero of our own story, that is when everything changes.

When we remember that we are the hero of our story every time, that is so empowering.

Yes. Challenging things happen.

There are times when…

  • We don’t show up the way we want to.
  • Other people do things that impact us.

It is so important to remind yourself often that this is your story, and you are the hero of your story.

So how do you want to tell it?

How do you want to tell your experience to yourself and to others.

How do you want to tell your truth?

Again, sometimes you do want to tell the story through the lens of the villain or the victim, right? Sometimes it’s really important to recognize and heal. But once you’ve moved through those experiences and you’ve healed, that is when it’s so powerful to step into your story of the hero.

The way you tell that story is directly correlated to the results that you create for yourself every day.

If you’re ready to take the concepts that you’ve learned here and apply them to your life, and ready to learn how to support your ADHD in a way that works best for you, within a small supportive community, then check out We’re Busy Being Awesome. It’s my small group coaching program for ADHD brains just like you. Learn how to release perfectionism, strengthen the links, and work with your brain in a way that’s supportive for you. You can learn more here and sign up!

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