When Donald Miller wrote Blue Like Jazz it sold a gajillion copies. A filmmaker called and wanted to turn it into a movie. As they did Don figured out how to tell a better story. Since he’s a writter, he wrote A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story) about it.
According to Don, actually his roommate,
A story is a character who wants something and overcomes an obstacle to get it.
Now helping people, and companies, tell a better story is Don’s mission in life. In Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen he breaks story down like this:
Most of the time, when we read a story or watch a movie we identify with the character but, what about the guide.
My son, give me your heart
and let your eyes delight in my ways,
for an adulterous woman is a deep pit,
and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
Like a bandit she lies in wait
and multiplies the unfaithful among men. – Proverbs 23:26-28
Haymitch and Solomon
In the Hunger Games, Haymitch is the guide. He’s also a drunk. He isn’t dealing with is pain so his words carry a different weight. There is no winner of the hunger games, only survivors with scars.
We’ve all got baggage. A guide uses theirs to help the hero, even if they haven’t dealt with it.
Solomon, who wrote most of the Proverbs. He had 700 wives. 3,000 years ago marriage was very different. Spouses had to be at the same socio-economic level but, there was a loophole: concubines. Solomon had 300.
This didn’t happen in a vacuum, Solomon grew up with baggage around relationships. His dad had an affair with his mom. They were both married to other people. When dad found out she was pregnant, he ordered a hit on her husband. They lost that baby, then had Solomon.
It doesn’t take Freud to figure this one out. But, the fact Solomon had all these life experience adds weight to Saying 18.
Hey, You! Yes, You.
They very thing we often think disqualifies us, is often what makes us a great guide. Is there something you’ve been through that you’ve been running from or hiding? Maybe, just maybe that is what would make you a great guide.