This morning, my daughter was born.

As I waited there in the hospital room, hoping that my presence was somehow encouraging to my wife, and receiving the flood of texts from supportive friends, I remembered for the thousandth time along this journey:

I am just a player in my daughter’s story.

And as I remembered that, I remembered that it is true about every other person that I encounter in my life. At the grocery store, at church, at the race last weekend, at work, during my last cold call, and as I received all those texts:
I am just a player in their story.

It’s important to remember this for our own sakes. To remember that players in our story come and go. Some of those players will make big, dramatic entrances and exits, and others will simply be extras. The person sitting across from you in the coffee shop while you’re reading this on your phone? The nurse who comes in to glance at one of the machines connected to my wife? They’re extras. The friend I will send this to for proof-reading? A big player in my story.

Equally important is that we do not deserve to be players in another person’s story. We are lucky to be there. I read a question on Quora today where a person was bemoaning the lack of responses garnered from an e-mail they had sent to several people about their great new business idea. They had put so much work in, and they were so qualified, but no one responded to their e-mail. Didn’t they deserve a response? And the answer is, absolutely not.  They are just a player in all those other people’s stories. Today, in your life, I hope to play the role of “the writer of an article that made you think for three seconds about the person in a car in front of you today.” But you don’t owe that to me, I don’t deserve to be part of your story, I’m just hoping to.

So now, if you take these thoughts with you later, look around and think about how you are the player in the stories of the people you walk by or sit near. In the story of their life, what role will you play?

You can see this on my LinkedIn if you’d like