While you may have never heard the term “villain-hero”, there’s a good chance you’ve come across one.
A villain-hero is someone in your life that made it hell for a period of time, but as awful as it was, the situation ended up working in your favor.
Whether their presence made you stronger, or you discovered something about yourself, these villain-heroes ended up helping, rather than hurting. (Although, at the time, it usually doesn’t feel like it.)
Back in my corporate days, a consultant came to lead a sales team that I was a member. From day one, this guy (let’s call him Steve), made it very clear to me that he didn’t like me. And, despite being one of the top-performers on the team, he wanted to get rid of me. (In case you’re wondering how I knew this, he told me that he didn’t like me and wanted to fire me.) Luckily, the owners of the company knew my value and wouldn’t let Steve send me on my way.
With the pressure of knowing my new manager’s true feelings about me, I did my best to keep my head down and stay focused on my work. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the negativity blowing my way led to some stress-induced health issues. And, every Sunday was ruined by “Monday morning dread.”
Villain to Hero Transformation
Then, something transformative happened; I met a coach who told me that while I couldn’t change Steve, I could change my feelings about him and the negativity he brought to life. He taught me that I have the power to choose my perspective and response to situations. By doing so, everything could change.
It wasn’t easy. Frankly, being 100% responsible, sucked. But, over time I used my newfound power, and everything changed.
I chose to not let Steve bother me.
I chose to stay focused on doing a great job at work.
And I chose to ignore the fact that he wanted me gone.
Steve didn’t change a thing about his behavior or his actions, but I changed. Once he realized that he couldn’t push my buttons, he got bored and left me alone. That’s when Steve became my hero, because I realized that I didn’t have to be a victim to situations, experiences, or people. I could and can control my response and my outcome.
To this day I am thankful for Steve; he taught me one of the biggest lessons of my life.