In episode 47 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast, I talked about how heroes choose the best guide for their journey. (Listen on Apple, Spotify or your favorite platform.)
To recap, in classic hero’s journey stories, the guide just appears. Luke Skywalker got Yoda. Cinderella got the godmother.
But when clients look for a guide, they’ll have many options to choose from. A modern Cinderella won’t have to settle for the godmother who set a midnight deadline: a competitor will let her stay out till 3 AM.
So we need a new step: Hero chooses the guide.
There’s actually another missing piece: “Make sure the guide can help the hero.”
A few years ago, a client invited me to write copy for a program that sounded good. When we dug deeper, it became obvious that the client lacked the experience to carry out the program and the credentials to win the confidence in that particular market. We revised the program and targeted a new audience.
Remember Cinderella? The godmother guide waved a wand and got Cinderella to the ball. She didn’t ask questions like, “Will the royal family accept a commoner who spent the last 2 years as a household drudge?” She didn’t even ask if Cinderella could hold her own on the dance floor.
In real life, you can’t afford to skip that step. For example:
Linda helps business owners become recognized as thought leaders in her industry. She tells a success story about Martin, who reached an impressive goal by writing articles and high-level networking.
In telling her story, she explains that Martin already came equipped with extremely strong interpersonal skills and a journalism background. Linda’s story demonstrates her strengths as a coach – just as it should – but she also clarifies that she knows she can help only certain types of clients.
In this way, she qualifies her prospects – saving a lot of time – and attracts clients with backgrounds and motivation like Martin’s.
Harry, an executive coach, shares a story about Janet, a client he coached to win a promotion in a competitive field. In his story, he adds a step: evaluating the corporate environment. Many organizations have unwritten rules and qualifications for success. Sometimes you can do a work-around. More often, you’re advised to find an environment where you don’t have to fight to belong. You save energy and enjoy the ride.
Adding an extra step – the guide helps the hero through a reality check – will make your story more persuasive and clarify the characteristics of your ideal clients.
Discover how to write your own story with my course, Build Your Brand One Story At A Time.
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