About the author.
My name is Ashraf Ramzy, Narratologist, Business Story Consultant, Coach, Author, Speaker, Founder and CEO of MasterStory®. Some 30 years ago I attained a master’s degree in Narratology, the science and study of Story. Since then I have been quietly putting the power of Story to work for visionary brands, organizations and leaders. And, with great success. During those 30 years, a systematic and effective methodology emerged. One that ensured the successful development of a business narrative with impact. Be it a campaign story, a customer story, a target audience story, a brand story, an organizational story, a corporate story or a masterstory. Building further on that methodology I developed StoryMeter®, a diagnostic tool that measures the power of story and its impact on business. In addition I have developed the StoryMaster® program, a 3 day workshop to equip and license you to use the MasterStory® methodology and diagnostic tool. In the weeks, months and years ahead I will post (infrequent) updates on my work, my methodology and my own journey. So make sure to check this page every once in a while. Or subscribe to our newsletter.
What drives the Hero?
In the previous episode, we defined the Hero as (1) the protagonist, who (2) suffers and struggles towards (3) a greater purpose. He (4) overcomes obstacles and (5) defeats the villain. He (6) brings rescue to (7) his beneficiary and (8) changes the world. Now, we ask; what holds these 8 elements together?
In other words, what drives the Hero? The answer is simple: service and sacrifice.
But there is a deeper meaning to the word sacrifice. We find it in its Latin roots: ‘saceres’ and ‘facere’. ‘Sacere’ which we recognize in Sacred. And ‘Facere’, which we recognize in fact and in factory. It means doing, making, working, acting. And when combined it means the Sacred Act, the Holy Deed. We could ponder and philosophize about what act is sacred and what deed is holy. But, there is an American expression that captures it: “doing the right thing”.
Doing the right thing
Doing the right thing comes at a cost. It is dangerous, often life threateningly so. It puts us in harm’s way and at odds with the world around us. It separates us from the crowd and leaves us standing all alone. It alienates people from us and turns them against us. Doing the right thing is Jung’s and Campbell’s call to adventure. Doing the right thing is what drives us out of the proverbial comfort zone.
If doing something you think is the “right thing” which does not come with that cost, you might want to consider the possibility that you did not do the right thing but the easy or popular thing. You may feel scared. You may feel good. You may even feel righteous. But let’s be real: feeling scared does not mean you are in real danger; feeling good does not mean being good and feeling righteous does not mean being right.
Service and Sacrifice
Put together, Service and Sacrifice simply means: doing the right thing, for the right reason.
I said it was simple. Never said it was easy. But it is important, I think. Coz it’s a jungle out there.
Being a better storyteller
If your ambition is to be a better storyteller, bringing wisdom and truth, joy and beauty to a world in desperate need of all that, then you will benefit from a deeper understanding of who the Hero is. It will help you discern the truly heroic within yourself and within others. And that, my friend is what will give substance to your truth and depth to your beauty. Moreover, you and I both know that the world does not need only better storytellers, but better stories and even better heroes. We don’t need to be razzled and dazzled by pretty words, but shaken and stirred by the power of story.
Being a better leader
If your ambition is to be successful as a leader, then the real question is not, how to become a better storyteller. The real question is how to be a Hero? How to unlock and unleash the truly heroic within yourself and, more importantly, within those you lead and serve. After all, as a leader, your job is to get the most out of your teams and the best out of your people. And we both know, the world is in need of better leaders. We certainly don’t need any more eloquence from our leaders. We don’t need you to regale us with your stories, or wow us with your executive presence, or shock us with your power and might. As a matter of fact, the Hero we have been talking about is not measured by how mighty he rules and how much he conquers. On the contrary. Our hero is measured by how humbly he serves and how much he sacrifices.
We need our leaders to do the right thing for the right reason.
Why? Because it is a jungle out there.
And on that note, for now, I leave you with this song by Randy Newman:
It’s a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
Well, I do
Hey! Who’s in charge here?
It’s a jungle out there
Poison in the very air we breathe
You know what’s in the water that you drink?
Well I do, and it’s amazing
People think I’m crazy, ’cause I worry all the time
If you paid attention, you’d be worried too
You better pay attention
Or this world you love so much might just kill you
I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so!
‘Cause it’s a jungle out there
It’s a jungle out there!