The Story Is Not About Us

The larger point here is simple: the day we stop losing sleep over the success of our business and start losing sleep over the success of our customers is the day our business will start growing again. 

If we are tempted to position our brand as the hero because heroes are strong and capable and the center of attention we should take a step back. In stories, the hero is never the strongest character. Heroes are often ill-equipped and filled with self-doubt.

They don’t know if they have what it takes. They are often reluctant, being thrown into the story rather than willingly engaging the plot. The guide, however, has already “been there and done that” and has conquered the hero’s challenge in their own backstory. 

The guide, not the hero, is the one with the most authority. Still, the story is rarely about the guide. The guide simply plays a role. The story must always be focused on the hero, and if a storyteller (or business leader) forgets this, the audience will get confused about who the story is really about and they will lose interest. This is true in business, in politics, and even in your own family. People are looking for a guide to help them, not another hero. 

from “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen” by Donald Miller