I don’t like making mistakes, especially when it comes to speaking and story telling.
Am I saying I don’t make them?
Absolutely not. The older I get, the more mistakes I seem to make. Sometimes, they cause problems for others. That’s why I don’t like this one and have to correct it.
What am I talking about?
There’s a notion that I’ve been promoting for years – and need to correct immediately. I’ve been promoting the idea that you are not the hero of your own story. The thinking behind this was that as the hero, you don’t want to disconnect yourself from your audience by being the all-powerful hero who has all the solutions, all the successes, and has never failed.
My heart was in the right place. It was my terminology that was incorrect. The fact is you are the hero of your own story, because it’s your story. You’ve walked the walk, you’ve fallen down, you’ve gotten back up, you’ve had successes, and hopefully you’ve learned from your mistakes and failures.
Where my terminology was incorrect is that you are not the guru of your story. The guru is the individual who provides the wisdom so that you can learn from your errors.
A classic example from the movies is Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Luke is the hero, because in the end he does destroy the Death Star. But he didn’t get all his wisdom on his own. In the beginning, he was a whiny farm boy, ignorant of the way of the world.
He got his wisdom from Obi Wan Kenobi. Obi Wan taught Luke about the Force and how he had to defeat the Evil Empire and in particular, Darth Vader. He served as Luke’s sage; he led him through his struggles and obstacles. Luke is a relatable character because of his difficulties and flaws.
As you craft your story, remember that you are the hero of your story. You’ve had ups and downs. That’s what will connect you to an audience. The guru is the person who teaches you lessons from those three F’s: failures, flaws, and frustrations. If you paint yourself as the guru, you’ll disconnect from the audience, you won’t have that bond, and they will not buy into your message.
So I ask your forgiveness. I’ve made a mistake – You are the hero. Continue to be the hero. Just don’t try to be the all-knowing, all-powerful sage with all the answers. Do that and you’ll connect with your story every time.
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The book ‘Just Listen’ by Dr. Mark Goulston.
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