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It’s About the Journey And The Destination: A Quick Guide to the Hero’s Journey Framework
One of the biggest film franchises across the globe was a critical flop. The original Star Wars film was ripped apart by critics, but still became a cult classic and continues to be an uber-successful franchise.
A classic story of a Hero’s Journey won the hearts of millions of moviegoers. The initial success of Star Wars wasn’t because of a marketing mastermind but because the story of a small-town boy, Luke Skywalker, beating the odds and creating an impact across the galaxy resonated with viewers.
Luke is a great example of the Hero’s Journey.
In the original Star Wars film, Luke is living a simple village existence, he receives a calling to leave Tatooine and become involved in a struggle on a greater scale.
Teamed up with the Rebel Alliance, he goes through a series of challenging tests where success, victory, and even survival is not guaranteed. Luke confronts terrible threats and dangers.
Through this experience, he improves, he learns, and he channels his talents and gifts. Fundamentally, as an individual, he is changed by his experience. Upon the defeat of this test, he is ready to share his newfound talents and gifts with the world.
We can all relate to the Hero’s Journey and apply this mythos to our own life.
You are on your own Hero’s Journey. If you look at any big struggle you have or are experiencing, the struggle is where you discovered or gained the gifts you now have and you move on throughout the world sharing those gifts.
What is the Hero’s Journey?
Mythologist Joseph Campbell was an academic who first identified and shared this pattern. In 1949 he published his book Hero With a Thousand Faces, in which he described the Hero’s Journey as the “monomyth”, an overarching myth found in societies across time and the globe.
There are three main stages of the Hero’s Journey.
The first is a departure or separation where the individual (hero) leaves a familiar place or way of being to embark on an adventure. A modern example of this could be leaving home to go to college or quitting a comfortable position you’ve held.
The next stage is sometimes referred to as ordeal or initiation. At this stage, the hero enters the unknown.
You head into an unfamiliar, uncertain space or location and experience challenges, struggles, and people as part of the new experience. This looks like moving into your college dorm or starting your new position at a startup. This is where you fight a dragon or duel with Darth Vader.
You face a test.
This is the experience where you typically acquire a gift. The result of the challenges you faced.
Often this can look like an internal change or a gaining of life skills. Moving across the country to go to college gave you a level of independence. Or working at a new startup helped you maximize your pitch.
This gift acquisition leads to the final stage – the return.
You can return home, literally or figuratively, with the gift or change you earned through your struggle ready to share it with the world or your community.
Your Hero’s Journey
This framework gives context, meaning, and purpose to your life experience- both struggle and success. Each stage in this process has value and propels your personal growth.
If you’re struggling you can remember you are in the initiation phase but you’re still a Hero. You’re a Hero at every stage, each stage is a part of your personal development.
You embark on your own Hero Journey, and I embark on mine.
The Hero’s Journey is a blueprint of a consistent human experience. You will have your own unique aspects to yours, but in many ways, we will be doing the same work on the same Hero’s Journey.
The events and learnings are different but the journey is the same.
About this Episode
Are you in the midst of an epic Hero’s Journey?
The answer is yes, we all are. The Hero’s Journey is an important construct in all of our lives and is present in cultures throughout the entire world.
Everyone experiences longer “macro” Hero’s Journeys in their lives, as well as many smaller “micro” Hero’s Journeys, whether it’s having a child, going to college, starting your own business, or switching jobs. No matter what the details are of your journey, all Hero’s Journeys follow the same formula.
Understanding and mapping out exactly where you are currently in your Hero’s Journey will help you move through the struggle more quickly to reach the return home where you can share your gifts with the world.
In this episode, David Shechtman, a talented coach and partner at Evolution, shares his Hero’s Journey expertise, gained from decades of studying the art and science of behavior change, including many deep dives with Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey dynamic.
David Shechtman is a talented coach and partner at Evolution with two decades of experience working with CEOs, high-potential leaders, and successful sales professionals on mastering Deep Change. His expertise comes from decades of studying the art and science of behavior change, including many deep dives into Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey dynamic.