The role of storytellers and educators (who are masters at storytelling) isn’t all that different: help your audience see that they are the heroes of the story you are telling, the change initiative you are working on, or the learning program you are facilitating.
Leave space for the audience to be a big part of the narrative, so that they can see themselves in it, believe in it, and themselves.
The best facilitators, professors, and change practitioners I’ve seen can tell great stories, but they always find a way to point out the audience / client / learner as the hero in the story.
“It’s not me, it’s you”.
The more we can help others see and feel that, the better equipped others will be to craft more powerful stories and have the confidence to go after the challenges, opportunities, and allies that they need for each chapter of their narrative (or, lives).
Learning and teaching as art: The best, most inspiring example of this I’ve seen recently was as a student in Professor William Duggan’s class at Columbia Business School. All semester long we studied the hero’s journey of ‘famous’ businessmen and women, military leaders and cultural icons.
We were inspired by them but their stories of personal and professional triumph never felt out of reach. Their stories were not fairy tales.
We can study and learn from the quests, obstacles, and successes and failures of others and their stories – but none will be as powerful as putting ourselves and those we help in the driver’s seat of their own hero’s journey.