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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0072 | September 24, 2002
5,700 Subscribers

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 
Hello MFJ Readers. This issue explores the unspoken and  unexamined "stories" that we are enacting both as individuals and as collective members of larger groups. The issue provides an interesting exercise to "reverse engineer' the story you are enacting. The bottom line here is this: a story you're unconscious of enacting cannot be changed. Getting conscious of "your story" gives you power over it.

Also, check out our sponsor ad that explains Paul Cutright's Emotional Healing Training
(EFT). A powerful, easy to learn tool for eliminating the negative effects of fear, anxiety and stress in a matter of minutes.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!
Steve Davis

Self-Mastery Skill

What Story are you Enacting?
How much of your life is directed from the foundation of unexamined mythology?

The Point

What if we are all enacting some sort of story in our lives?

Now what do I mean by story? I mean that we have some vision, set of ideas, or beliefs about ourselves that define us as a central character in what could be called a "myth" or "story" that we're living out. All of the elements of the story have been either passed down as part of our culture or upbringing, intuited, or we've just plain made up. We then go about enacting our stories as if it they were true, thus embodying the script from which we live our lives.

So now you may say, "yes I can certainly buy that, I'm very well aware that we are a product of our own thoughts and beliefs. So what's the big deal?" 

The big deal is this. The vast majority of us don't know that we're enacting a story. We actually think this is real life that we're living! (see the movie Matrix for a great metaphor). By real life, I mean that we're approaching life based on a set of assumptions that aren't necessarily backed by good evidence. So when you don't know that you're enacting a story, you are completely at its mercy with little control over the role you play and the course it takes.

The story we enact often comes to us piecemeal and/or non-verbally. It may include the stuff we "read between the lines," and unexamined assumptions. If you were to examine each single element of your story by itself, it might appear obvious to you, even if you'd never articulated it before. If all the elements, however, were collected and given voice so that they were presented to your conscious awareness, you might be very surprised at what you find. In fact, you may be shocked to the point you would want to forget the story entirely.

Now to make matters even more complicated, in addition to enacting our own individual stories, we are also part of stories which are bigger than us. We are enacting stories within our relationships with individuals, and the groups we are involved in, such as our families, work groups, community organizations, our countries, etc. Even our civilization itself is acting out a story, much of which we may not even be aware.

As a facilitator, you will encounter groups who are troubled, often because they are enacting an unexamined story whose course they feel powerless to alter. Helping them unravel their story will grant them power over it. In other words, until you know you're an author, you cannot change what you're writing.


I propose that we will enact whatever story we choose to adopt as our own, and will settle for the best one available. If we don't take the time to create a better one, we'll continue enacting our current story, even if it isn't working all that well for us.

Discover your story.

Whether you're working with a group or an individual, ask them to assume they're enacting a story. Now based on this assumption, have them uncover the elements of their story. Ask them to be detectives, hunting for clues. Looking at their behaviors alone, have them describe the story they are living, piece by piece, until the "whole" story emerges.

Evaluate your story.

Now have them assess their story. Ask them if this is a story they are happy with. What would they change, remove, or add to this story if it was ideal? Help the group come to consensus on the authoring of the grandest story they can envision. A story that inspires every member of the group.

Tell your story.

Facilitate a commitment from all group members to begin sharing  their new story amongst themselves and with other important people in their lives. Encourage individuals to talk about their specific role in the story and why it appeals to them. The more they talk about their new story, the more it will become a part of them.

Rehearse your new role.

Finally, encourage individuals to commit to living their new role in some way. Ask them to commit to making a change or changes in alignment with the new story they wish to enact. Assign a "narrator" for the group that will report the unfolding of the new story each week. The group may even assign a "story time" where they explore what kind of changes are taking place and the challenges that are showing up as they attempt to enact this new story.

Explore how your new story fits into the bigger story of your family, organization, corporation, country, and world. 

Your new story may be at odds with the bigger story in which your particular group resides. Explore the contribution to the bigger story your new one can make. Explore any obstacles presented by this bigger story and refine yours if necessary so that it isn't overpowered or subverted by the bigger one. Remember, you are the authors and you can write it any way you wish. You're only limited by your imaginations!


Try the above exercise either with yourself, looking at your own life as a story you're enacting, or with one of your groups. I'd love to hear what happens for you. Please email me your comments.

, by Daniel Quinn

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Though couched in a fictional account between a teacher (Gorilla) and student (man), this book will change you if you let it. It explores the unspoken story that our civilization has been enacting for the past 10,000 years that is taking us to the brink of extinction. It is a lesson in critical thinking, history, ecology, theology, and philosophy that will turn your world on its ear. 

cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 

What is your favorite "exercise" as a facilitator?

This week, we're asking you share with us your favorite experiential exercise you've either delivered or experienced as a facilitator or as a participant.

Please email me descriptions of exercises you've found useful in your work. I'll send the entire collection to those who contribute.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.

About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on October 1, 2002.   

Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved.