Becoming the Hero: our subconscious and conscious role-playing

29 Oct

Did you know that Rapunzel isn’t the only heroine who was locked in a tower? There’s another woman who is closely associated with the tower that entrapped her. She’s known for having heard voices of the saints, leading armies into battle, overcoming incredible odds, and – in the end – being locked up in a tower and put on trial. I wonder if the story of Rapunzel existed in Jeanne d’Arc’s time, and whether Jeanne thought of that heroine while entrapped so unfairly. One thing is for certain, the legacy you leave in this world, all depends upon how you see yourself in the story. How do we become the hero instead of the victim?  I’m going to quiz you in this post, and we’re going to find out how you define your role in life.

The tower where Jeanne was held.

Now, first off you should know that Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) teaches a concept called Meta Programming which “are filters that determine how you perceive the world around you”* and these filters are often unconscious, so you might be surprised at the role you’re actively choosing to live.

So let’s do a little quiz to see where you fit; everyone is a gradient of these responses, so don’t worry. Please simply reflect upon how you’ve handled past challenging situations and use that behaviour to answer these questions.


Are you motivated by gaining achievements, or by solving problems?

Are you the type to act first, or allow others to initiate?

Do you judge a problem based upon your internal beliefs, of from outside information or feedback?

There’s this great dynamic I love to use in my coaching; it’s aboutconflict resolution and where we fit within that exchange. You see, every course of action needs its players, an during conflict there are at least two sides to every story. So we have the hero, the victim, and the villain. Clearly Rapunzel was the victim (damsel in distress) and Jeanne was the hero.

Could it be that we remember these women who were most likely both heroes and victims at different times in their lives (for instance, do you think Rapunzel was a victim while in the desert, giving birth to her children, protecting their lives and ensuring survival. I should think not!) so distinctly from one another because of the beliefs they held, and the actions that followed?

  • Rapunzel waited for the world to save her.
  • Jeanne jumped from a tower while trying to escape the English.
  • Rapunzel accepted her situation and didn’t easily disagree with her world.
  • Jeanne did nothing but disagree with her limitations of a young & illiterate woman in the fifteenth century – she was on a divine mission, and nothing would stop her.

Clearly Jeanne held deep beliefs in what was right, which she continuously demonstrated in her actions. She choose  to be the hero, even if it was an unconscious decision with difficult implications. And to the watching world, she was strong despite what must have been an unbearable situation in the inhumane, dark and constant conditions of that tower.

And what about yourself? The above questions were prompts to reflect on how you react to problems. But you know best as to where you fit in the hero, victim, villain relationship.

Ask yourself: where do I fit?

Then ask yourself: Do I want this to be my story?

We can be the hero too often, and we can be the victim too easily. Everything has a balance . . . so over the next few weeks as we follow Jeanne d’Arc’s story – please ask yourself, is this the story I want to create with my life? Am I happy with my role, and if not, how can I spark change at the deepest level?

Till next week,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.

*quote from Live Your Dreams by Roger Ellerton, Trafford Publishing, 2006, p.52.


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