It’s time to go off script - Michelle Gibbings

Comedians will tell you that some of their best comedic moments happen when they go off script. Robin Williams, for example, was well known for being able to improvise – adding enormous value to the movie’s production.

And yet in our work and personal lives we are often told to follow script.


The question is, who is writing that script for you?  Are you setting the script, or are you being influenced by the ideas of others?

We all want to be liked and respected, and so it is very easy to absorb the opinions of others in terms of how we should feel, think and act – particularly when it comes to career and life decisions.

These ideas may have the right intentions, and indeed, be very helpful.  It’s up to you work through what will be helpful to your life and on the flipside, unhelpful.

If you don’t, you can end up living the life that people around you expect you to live – not the one you want to live.

This doesn’t make for a very fulfilling life. In fact, you’ll end up feeling like a character in a novel that you didn’t pick, not knowing how you found yourself there.

So ditch the character and in the words of the well-known children’s book series – ‘Choose your own adventure’.

Success in life isn’t an accident. It’s about taking conscious and deliberate steps every day to get you to where you want to go.

It involves choice and decisions about what you will do and what you won’t do.  It also involves trade-offs, as doing one thing often means you need to forego something else.

As you make these decisions be open to what is going on around you, as there may be good times to change the script you have written for yourself.

The world is constantly changing and you want to make sure you are able to take advantage of those opportunities as they arise.  This isn’t possible if you are so fixed on your path forward you’re unwilling to experiment and try new things.

It was the famous 1950s director, Joseph Mankiewicz, who said: “The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense and life doesn’t'”.

There are times that life can feel like it doesn’t make sense, but it certainly makes far more sense if you are the one in the driver’s seat.

Change happens. Make it work for you!

Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress in complex environments. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.

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