The 1 circle that rules them all: the 8 steps of every story in your life. Apply those 8 steps to master the art of storytelling.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

A. A short story.

It is Sunday morning. 11:30 am, somewhere in Toulouse, France.

I am in my pyjamas. I start brewing the coffee. Everything is almost set.

The jam is ready. I open the freezer to get some bread to toast.

No bread. It is Sunday. The “Boulangerie” will close at 12:00 pm.

It is already 11:45 am. I pick my car’s keys and rush to get my slice of bread.

I arrive at 11:59 am. There was one lady in front of me. She took the last bread.

Sorry, we have no more bread left.”, said the “boulangère.”

I take out my phone. I try to see if there are any other open stores.

There is none. I drove back home. Sad and hangry (angry and hungry.)

I pulled my cooking app on the phone. I search for bread.

I had all the ingredients at home. I baked my bread.

I tasted it. It was almost good. I forgot to add salt.

Still, I had my breakfast with bread and jam.

And now I know how to bake my bread.

I look at the mirror. I was still in my pajamas.

Shit, I forgot to change before going out.

We all have been there.

B The Hero’s journey: One single story.

Joseph Campbell is the man behind the book, The hero with a thousand faces.

Basically, in every Human story, the hero goes into a transformative world.

We all are heroes in our own life’s journey.

We all are eager to tell stories that resonate with people. Some of us are eager to share our journey to inspire other people.

Maybe you just want to write a book, an animated story, a Youtube video. If you want people to read, watch until the end, make sure to follow the steps of the hero’s journey.

Of course, you don’t always have to tick all the boxes.

In Campbel’s framework, there are 12 steps.

We will explore a condensed version in just 8 steps that are easy to remember.

C. YOU NEED to GO, SEARCH, FIND, TAKE, RETURN, CHANGE

The sentence above encompasses the 8 steps that are called a character’s arc.

If you have to take away one sentence, make it this one:

The sentence above is the answer to the quest for lost socks in the washing machine.

1. YOU: Establish the protagonist (s) of your story — Who is your hero? Describe their word as it is.

Me, waking up on Sunday morning and trying to have my breakfast as usual.

2. NEED: Something isn’t right — Something comes to change their routine. There is a perturbation to their ordinary life.

Me wanting some bread with jam. But no bread is to be found.

3. GO — Crossing the threshold — This is the call for adventure. Your hero is compelled to leave their ordinary world. They enter the chaotic world, the world of trials.

Me having to go to the bakery.

4. SEARCH: The road of trials — Your hero will face trials. He will fail at most of them.

Me going to the bakery for bread and failing to get one.

5. FIND: Meeting the goddess — Your hero finds what they are looking for. Well, kind of. They will find a version of their “want.”

Me finding the recipe for bread, not just bread.

6. TAKE: Paying the price — Your hero has to pay the price to get what they want. Everything worth having has a price tag, often not just money.

Me having to bake my bread and not just buying it.

7. RETURN: Bringing it home — Your hero brings back home their “want”. They have left the chaotic world and are back to their ordinary world, with a twist.

Me having my jam and bread for breakfast.

8. CHANGE: Master of both worlds — Your hero is back to their ordinary world. Yet, they have changed. They got what they needed. They know both worlds.

Me having acquired the skill to bake my bread. No need to go to the bakery anymore.

All those steps are summarized in the picture below:

Fig: The story circle, Credits Storybinder
Fig: The story circle, Credits Storybinder

Your story doesn’t have to tick all the 8 steps. Yet, it has to follow this journey in some shape or form.

If you want your stories to be worth telling, you better embrace the hero’s journey.

In this article, you have followed the same journey.

You were living in your ordinary world.

I called you in an adventure of learning the way to tell better stories.

You might have known some steps. But you discovered new ones.

You made an effort to read the article.

You are rewarded with the knowledge of the storytelling circle.

This tile, you have no price to pay for it. I am giving it to you for free.

Now you will return to your life with this technique up in your sleeve.

The next time you are in a social gathering and asked to tell more about yourself, you will remember the storytelling circle technique.

And your most boring activity like baking your bread will be the best story of that say.

Now I can go back to my pajamas.

I wish you a great day.

Are you ready to tell your life’s story?

How will your story be told to your grandchildren?

Are you ready to share your hero’s journey?

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📖 Griot 🧙🏿‍♂️Mentor 🦄 Intrapreneur 💪🏿 Entrepreneur