Introduce us to the hero of your journey, which happens to be you
Now that you have outlined your backstory and the purpose of your quest, tell us about you. What do you believe and value? What are your strengths and, heaven forbid, weaknesses? Yes, foibles make us human and your audience wants to know that you have them too. It makes your Hero's Journey more intriguing.
This is the only time you get to be the center of attention. All future uses of the Story Cycle will place you as the mentor in the story. For instance, when you use the Story Cycle to craft your brand story, the hero is not you or your brand. It is your customer. More on that later.
But first, it's all about you.
We use the term "hero" with caution. People often tell us, "I'm no hero, how can I tell my story?" We point out to them what Joseph Campbell said about the Hero's Journey not being a courageous act, but as a life lived in self-discovery.
"The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others."
Your personal story is about your inner hero: that person we all have inside of us who is striving to find meaning, passion and purpose in this chaotic life.
This persona is expressed in the why you do what you do. Leadership guru, Simon Sinek, explains it best in his TedxPugetSound talk: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Watch this motivating piece, and then consider how you will describe your character and what drives you.
According to Sinek, "People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. What you do simply proves what you believe. People will do the thing that proves what they believe."
Stories help us connect our values with the values we share with our audiences. And when you can describe your character in other than heroic terms (see, you don't need to be a hero to have an epic story), you become more authentic and embraceable.
So introduce yourself as the protagonist in your story with these three steps.
Describe what makes you tick by sharing your beliefs and values that are at the heart of your story.
What are your abilities and talents that will help you succeed in this quest?
What scares the hell out of you in this journey that makes you think you're not quite up to the challenge?
You are inextricably connected with your brand. Your brand is an expression of why you do what you do, and it is the functional how and what you do. However, when crafting your brand story, it is your customers who become the hero of the journey; the center of the story.
You can use the Story Cycle to craft insighftul customer personas that help you understand, appreciate and empathize with them like never before. Knowing your audiences in a godlike way is the first step to connecting your shared values.
Below your position statement on that little side sheet of paper you're using for your brand story, write down your top three audiences in order of importance, and consider how well you know each of them.
After you've finished writing this chapter, please click the "complete" button and move into Chapter 3, "What's at Stake".