Previously I shared Part 1 of a Hero’s Journey, Leaving the Ordinary World. To read Part 1, click here. This is Part 2 of the 8 Steps of the Hero’s Journey.
No matter whether we are writing a novel or the story of our life, as a human being our lives revolve around the stories we tell and are told.
What can “story” teach us? Story is very powerful vehicle. For millennia, storytelling was the only vehicle for passing down information from generation to generation in ancient cultures. From the days of simple pictures inscribed on cave walls all the way to today’s multimillion dollar movie blockbusters, our ancestor’s drive for telling stories has been encoded onto our DNA.
Today, we all still connect quite powerfully through stories. Our daily personal and business lives are filled with stories. The news is made of stories. Media, advertising, novels, business bestsellers, famous speeches… all stories that we’re magnetically pulled into as if by an invisible thread. A connection of personal truth deep enough, or similar enough to our own experience, we as human beings are irresistibly and instantly connected through the power of story.
In crafting a powerful story…whether for a book you’re writing, a brand you are defining, a product or service you’re selling, or a platform you’re creating as a speaker; the Hero’s Journey is the most profound outline you can use to craft a compelling story. The journey concept, better known in literary circles as Joseph Cambell’s monomyth, The Hero’s Journey, is a basic pattern that is found in many narratives from around the world and throughout recorded history.
The hero’s journey is arguably the world’s oldest story or plot archetype. It’s a narrative pattern that’s found around the globe and is the foundation of classic, as well as, modern storytelling.
The second step of the Hero’s Journey: A Call to Adventure
When the call comes, and it does…sometimes in the form of a literal “call” on the telephone or a call in the form of a dream, or even a loss of something precious. The call comes, but the hero has to accept the call or refuse it. If the call is accepted, then the adventure begins. If the call is refused sometimes the hero must wrestle in suffering before accepting another call.
Almost always when the hero receives the call, the hero second guesses it, or is hesitant to respond for fear of the unknown. Often the hero is asked to face her greatest fears and at a minimum, leave her comfort zone in order to pursue the adventure that is showing up.
In the Call to Adventure, the hero is faced with a problem or an obstacle that needs to be overcome. The story gets tension moving as the reader or listener feels into the dilemma that the hero is facing. Heeding the call plunges our hero headlong into a journey. This Adventure and new path are uncertain and riddled with challenges, beautiful reward, as well as, great lessons to be learned.
When crafting your story, or when branding through story, consider where you’d like to take your reader or your customer. Every great story contains a hero that was presented with a call to adventure. Perhaps your hero has led a very boring or nondescript life. Until, suddenly he/she is thrust into the adventure of a lifetime. In fact this is the basic plot line of all hero stories. Consider Peter Parker living the life of social outcast until he becomes Spider Man. Or Bilbo Baggins simple life before adventure in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Your life or business is the same. We all yearn for adventure. We all yearn for a sexy exciting book, product, service or business. We’re all just looking for adventure and a little entertainment. Consider how you can develop a compelling story around yourself, your brand, or for your book. What if the story you weave could changes the definition of how your brand…your product or service is accepted in the world? How can you create a story of adventure and excitement?
In business, stories for personal branding are no different. Look at what the product or service is that you have or provide. What is a way to encourage a customer to look upon your product or service in a new way? How can what you offer be viewed as a sense of adventure, a journey that is exciting to travel?
Business practices, marketing, business development and content delivery have all had gigantic evolutionary leaps as technology has changed the landscape. But even with all of our technology, hand-held devices, new media… the ancient patterns of storytelling have not changed. Businesses, entrepreneurs, speakers with a platform to build and authors with books to sell, must become skilled with utilizing and leveraging the classic archetypes. Using the steps of the Hero’s Journey is a brilliant way to structure your story in a way that connects with power to not only influence buying decisions of potential customers but impact brand loyalty for an established customer base.
“Whoever shares the greatest stories rules the world” ~ Justine Musk
The power of story is such a sexy topic whether we are talking about using storytelling in our personal lives to identify our own journey, or talking about how we can leverage our experience into a compelling tale giving us a platform as a speaker, writer, marketer, and entrepreneur. Our story has the power to connect us, our book, our message, or our product and service to support our value proposition to prospective customers.
Stay tuned to future posts as I explore with you all eight parts of The Hero’s Journey! Here’s to you and your journey… and remember YOU are the hero of your own story!