Using the Wheel of Life we have a clearer picture of where are at now regarding the key aspects of our life. Using the 100th Birthday Speech we have a clearer picture of where we want to be at regarding the most important aspects of our life. Now we need something that will help us get from where we at now to where we want to be.
There are several tools we that can help us. The Hero's Journey - a method based on the work of famed mythologist Joseph Campbell - is one of my favourites.
After detailed study of hundreds of myths and stories from around the world and through the ages from ancient to modern times, Joseph Campbell found that they all follow a similar pattern. Campbell calls the pattern, the monomyth.
Campbell found that anyone who set out on a journey of self improvement, whether in China, Europe, America, Australia or Africa, whether in medieval or modern times, goes through the Hero's Journey and follow the same stages.
Campbell said: “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
The Hero’s Journey is a wondrous tool that serves as a kind of mental road map that focuses your attention on your intention. The Hero’s Journey maps out your original vision (the intention which you set), your destination and the stages in the journey to get there.
The knowledge that our difficulties are not unique, that everyone seeking to upgrade themselves face the same transformational changes and pains is a source of strength.
As these are abstract/ mental milestones - not physical/ tangible milestones – it complements traditional goal setting. The hero’s journey speaks to us at the gut level while traditional goal setting addresses us at the head level.
Your being here to seek self improvement makes you a hero. This is your hero's journey.
CALL TO ADVENTURE
The hero in his comfortable but Ordinary World is presented with a problem, opportunity, challenge or adventure.
The Call could be something negative like being passed over for promotion or being retrenched. The Call could also be something positive like an opportunity to be a partner in an established business.
The Call can come in the form of a message, letter, phone call, conversation, dream, or an insight.
ACCEPTING THE CALLING.
The Call to Adventure comes to those who are open to it.
More often than not the Call we hear does not sound logical. It is a feeling that comes from deep inside us. The Call makes us feel ecstatic and yet makes us uncomfortable at the same time.
We have been conditioned not to trust our feelings and intuition, but give more credence to what seems logical, practical, and predictable.
But, think about it, which truly great achievement started as something logical, practical, and predictable?
It is entirely our choice whether to take the risk to change careers, invest our nest egg in a new business, or whether we really want to sacrifice our evenings and weekends to take that degree programme.
If we choose to answer the calling then we are embarked on our Hero's Journey.
What have you being called to do or to become? It is often useful to answer this in the form of a symbol or metaphor. E.g. I am being called to be a lighthouse for my children.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
The Hero Crosses the Threshold, to leave his unfulfilling Ordinary World and steps into the Special World.
With one foot in the Special World, the Hero is confronted by new sights and sounds, new learnings, surprises, adventures and experiences.
The Hero feels out of place, uncomfortable, inexperienced.
The Hero’s previous thoughts of the Special World are shaken by its realities.
The Hero begins to doubt himself, “What was I thinking to leave my Ordinary World behind?”
We’ve all been in situations like this.
The first obstacles the Hero meets are the Threshold Guardians.
Threshold Guardians are often emotional obstacles. It might be a feeling, a memory, a nightmare or anything that prevents the Hero from moving forward in his Hero’s Journey.
What is your threshold? What is the unknown territory, outside your comfort zone, that the crisis is forcing you into or you must enter into in order to deal with the challenge?
MEETING THE MENTOR
When the student is ready the teacher will appear.
The Mentor can appear in many forms. It could be a wise person, a good book, a long lost friend, a pet, an insight that comes to you unexpectedly, a traumatic event that is a wake up call.
The Mentor will give the Hero a great gift and this great gift is none other than the treasures that already exist inside the Hero all this time.
These are great gifts which the Hero always has. All that is needed is for a Mentor to make the Hero aware of them.
These gifts are qualities like love, compassion, strength, joy, confidence, persistence, courage, integrity, optimism, and so on.
Once you know your gifts, you can claim them and harness their great power to serve you.
Once you claim your gifts, you have the resources to overcome the demons that stop you like fear of the unknown, uncertainty, and need for security.
Who are your mentors?
What resources do you have or which you need to develop more fully in order to face the challenge?
FACING THE ORDEAL
The way to the hero’s prize is blocked by problems and adversaries that threaten to derail his journey.
This is the hero’s darkest moment. The hero confronts death or his greatest fear.
The hero’s own shortcomings, disadvantage, or lack of knowledge make the demons seem invincible. The cause looked like it was almost lost.
The hero persists, faces up to all his shortcomings courageously, takes on the demons squarely and triumphed.
What are the demons you must face?
HERO IS TRANSFORMED
Coming through the ordeal transforms the hero into someone wiser, more capable and powerful. In overcoming the ordeal the hero:
a. develops special skills, or
b. discovers special resources or tools.
HERO RECEIVES THE REWARD
The hero overcome great odds, fought his way through the ordeal, defeated his demons and finally seized the reward - the treasure which he had chosen when he first set his intention, when he accepted the calling that started his hero's journey.
HERO RETURNS WITH THE ELIXIR
The hero’s journey is not complete until he uplifted the community with what he learned, gained, and accomplished. Success in completing the task which he has been called is not complete until he shared what he gained with the people who need his gifts or with those who helped him to get to where he is.
What does what you share mean to the community?
Where are you on your Hero's Journey?