I’m reading Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser. It is fantastically fabulous.
In it Elizabeth says, “Storytellers are the meaning makers in a society, therefore they have a weighty influence and the ability to move humanity forward.”
Whether you remember being read stories to as a child, or more recently reading stories to a little one all snuggled into you, or whether around a campfire or buried deep in the stacks of a library on a blustery fall day, or perhaps while gathered with colleagues around the water cooler (virtual or in real-life) we all have memories and experiences associated with storytelling.
Think of the phrase “Remember the time when……” and see what storytelling portals it opens up.
I’m convinced one reason getting rid of clutter is difficult for us is because we fear losing the stories associated with said clutter.
Stories and storytelling are important. Very important.
Not convinced about the power of storytelling? Let’s take a more objective look, from my post How you can use storytelling to defeat evil from Storytelling Master Marsha Shandur.
Study after study has shown that we base our decisions on our emotions (then reverse-engineer to justify them with our intellect). And storytelling is one of the quickest ways to affect people’s emotions.
Storytelling affects completely different parts of the brain than facts. And when you tell a story live, your brain gets in sync with your listener’s brain. And if you tell stories well, your reader or listener’s brain releases dopamine – a reward, which also helps with information processing and memory retention – and oxytocin – which helps with bonding and trust.
Let’s turn now to a different chapter in the storytelling why and how.
Using the Hero’s Journey as a way of mining for stories and supporting your team.
Stories can be used for all types of things, including to support change, collaboration and inclusion. Stories allow us to work better together because stories allow us to shape shift our perspectives, views.
The Hero’s Journey is an outline of sorts, for all types of archetypal stories. Think Harry Potter and Star Wars for examples.
Hero’s Journey Stages
I’ve outlined the stages in the Hero’s Journey, what’s happening in each stage and how you can relate that to your team. I’ve also made an editable pdf worksheet for you in the resource section below.
Hero’s Journey Stage
|How it can relate to your team
|You and your team as you are now
|You’re in your comfort zone but on a threshold. There is an urge to change, but it’s met with reluctance
|The status quo as a team, what is known and familiar.
|Need and Go
|Obstacles, trials, and challenges arise. You
enter unfamiliar territory.
|Your team experiences conflict, stress, and/or change. This could be due to a number of things such as a global pandemic (!), new members joining, old members leaving, a new IT system etc. etc. etc
|Search and Find
|There is a seeking, unlearning, learning and letting go.
|Your team embarks on learning, analyzing, diagnosing and stretching.
|The gauntlet is picked up, and transformation happens.
|Your team is open to experimenting, new ways of thinking and doing via readings, courses, workshops, blogs, conversations etc.
|Return and Change
|Return to the threshold, everyday life having changed.
|Your team applies and adapts until the next journey. The challenge has been met, the threshold crossed. This could mean there is now less conflict, more flexibility with change, better communication, more resilience etc.
Of course, in every journey, but especially a Hero’s Journey, there are characters one meets along the way. That’s for next week, when I’ll introduce you to some archetypal characters to help you with your journey.
In the meantime, take some time to use the Hero’s Journey as it applies to your team and your work. Use the stages to illuminate the way.
Happy travels. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay creative.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Learn more about the Hero’s Journey from one of my previous top reads
- No matter who or what we are, in this journey called life, we all just want to belong
- Download the editable worksheet I made for you and use it with your own team, on your own journey.
P.S. Let’s stay connected. Free weekly coaching by email on how to use humanity and humour to problem solve, right here.