The Approach to the Inmost Cave is the final stage before the ultimate showdown with the Hero’s demons. The Hero is advancing at the threshold of the Inmost Cave where the demons lurk.
This stage is about the Approach - not about the Inmost Cave.
Why treat this separately? In much the same way as the Hero had to prepare to cross the first threshold into the Special World, this stage represents the Hero preparing to cross the second threshold into the Inmost Cave.
The Hero may have the capabilities and skills to overcome the demons but he will still fail, if he is not in the right mental state.
The Hero's mental state at the moment of truth - using the penalty shootout of a soccer match as an example - has a decisive impact on the outcome.
Resourceful states such as feeling confident and strong are pre-requisites of success while unresourceful states such as fear and confusion lay the ground for failure.
When a soccer player rushes towards the ball feeling anxious and thinking that he will blow the shot - he is greatly increasing his own chances of fumbling it.
When the player approaches the ball, only hoping for the best and does not actively manage his mental state, his chances doesn't increase much as he has not activated the mental resources to help him.
When the player steps up to the ball feeling confident and firmly believing that he will score, he greatly increases his chances of blasting the ball past the goalkeeper.
In confrontations between evenly matched opponents, whomever is in a more resourceful mental state wins.
The ability to efficiently manage their mental state differentiates between winners and losers.
The ability to manage our internal state is therefore one of the most important skills the Hero can have.
In Neuro-linguistic Programming or NLP, state management has a structure and process which anyone can learn.