Pip Decks

Rags to Riches

What is the Rags to Riches story tactic?

Cinderella, Rocky or Steve Jobs - it's the same story. The rise to success from humble beginnings.

We love success stories because we hope to follow them. The moral of this optimistic tale is "you can do it!". It also makes a great sales story: you've got a problem, we can make things better. But you don't have to promise wealth to tell a Rags to Riches story. These tales are not about money - they're about value.

How to use Rags to Riches

Start the session by reminding everyone:

  • What your story is about 
  • Who the story is for, who it's about and who's telling it.

Use the What's It About [coming soon] and Three Whos tactics if you're not sure.

Mark out a Rags to Riches story arc and explain these three beats:

  1. Beginning - Hidden Value. The hero of the story is in a bad place (physically, emotionally or socially). But there is something inside them or their situation which is valuable, even though nobody else can see it. Think of Cinderella, a loving child treated badly; or Rocky, a small time boxer in slums of Philadelphia.

  2. Middle - Trigger and Struggle. Something happens that makes the hero want to change. Cinderella hears about the Ball, Rocky gets a shot at the Championship. They get outside help at first, but ultimately they're on their own.

  3. End - Deserved Recognition. Cinderella wants to find love, not just live in a fancy palace. Rocky actually loses his Championship fight (sorry, spoiler). But now everyone can see their hidden value: Cinderella is kind and loving, Rocky is a fighter. 

If this is YOUR story, what's your hidden value as an innovator? What made you want to change things? What recognition do you hope to get at the end?

If this is your USER's story, ask the same questions. And now ask, what role do I play in this story? (Hint: you might be the Fairy Godmother) Use the Hero and Guide tactic to develop this story further.


Read more: C.Booker, Seven Basic Plots

🤔 Confused? Enlightened?

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- Charles & Steve.

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