I hadn’t heard the expression “your name determines your destiny” until I went to Italy. There, a friend told me it was the reason him and his wife decided not to call their daughter Penelope. Even though they liked the name. I am beginning to think he has a point. So far Odysseus, for this gal, has proved to be elusive.

Our discussion reminded me of an exercise I undertook during Transactional Analysis (TA) training. When were asked to tell the story about how we got our name. Even the apparent ‘I don’t know how I got my name’ revealed a story. And gave an insight into one’s beliefs and patterns. In doing so we were introduced to the concept of ‘scripts’.

TA is a theory of personality, a model of communication and a study of repetitive patterns of behaviour established by Eric Berne in the 1950s.  In TA language, scripts are the stories that we develop early on. The lifeplan we create to help us make sense of our world and the decisions we make to navigate that world.

And they are just that. Stories. Fiction that we spend a lifetime reinforcing.

Perhaps they are most recognisable by any phrase starting with “I am” or organisationally “we are”.

We find ourselves believing in them. And buying into some fixed version of ourselves.

What are the stories you tell about yourself? or yourselves as a company?

And how are they serving you?

It is worth asking.

Without knowing our scripts, we act mindlessly. However the more aware we are of those scripts, the greater choice we have to change them if they are not serving us well.

Moreover, with greater awareness of them, we have a greater chance of releasing ourselves from their clutches and surrendering to life’s bigger story.


  • Thanks to the creative talents of Gareth who did the cartoon.
  • Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash


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