The Hero’s Journey

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the for the experience of being alive” Joseph Campbell

I watched recently an amazing documentary called Finding Joe, about mythologist and philosopher Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. It’s a concept he developed that describes our evolutionary journey as human beings, where we have to face a challenge or fear in our life, which he describes as a call to adventure.

A lot of people tend to ignore their call – whether that’s through fear, or a belief that what they’re being called to is wrong for them. Nevertheless, if we ignore that inner calling to do or change it just keeps getting louder! It may seem like more things around you are going wrong or more of a struggle than usual.

Finally we decide enough is enough and step up to deal with the challenge, pain or fear. We step outside of our comfort zone and begin to shed our skin in order to evolve and grow.

This is something authors and film producers have harnessed over and over to make us relate to the hero’s journey they show us in their books and films. They move us because we see ourselves in the hero are all going through our own hero’s journey inside. We’ve all got a book or film that’s really had an impact on us: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, even Bridget Jones and Legally Blonde follow the hero’s journey cycle.

Knowing where you are on your own hero’s journey can be hugely reassuring us that it’s ok, there’s nothing wrong and that we will move through it. It’s why we go back to these stories in times of emotional upset.

What does the journey look like?

The hero’s journey follows a relatively straightforward cycle:

The Ordinary World – The beginning of the story where we meet our hero and identify with him or her.

The Call to Adventure – A challenge is proposed.

Refusal of the Call – The hero initially ignores or rejects this call because they are scared or feeling insecure for another reason.

Meeting the Mentor – Someone who helps the hero, giving them advice, inspiration, courage and confidence.

Crossing the Threshold – This is where the hero accepts their call to adventure and finally sets out on their journey.

Tests, Allies, Enemies – The hero learns who can and can’t be trusted.

Approach to the Innermost Cave – Preparing to face the challenge, perhaps needing to learn new skills or find out information to continue.

The Ordeal – The hero faces a life-or-death situation (either physically or psychologically).

Reward – Overcoming the challenge and earning a reward.

The Road Back – The hero must complete their journey and accept the road back to the ordinary world.

The Resurrection – One final test or transformation, the climax of the story.

Return with the Elixir – The triumphant hero returns to the ordinary world bearing an elixir such as treasure, love, freedom or knowledge. A defeated hero is doomed to repeat the lesson.

It’s easy to see these patterns in our favourite fiction, but it may be less easy to apply the journey to our lives. Which is where I come in.

I’ve used the Hero’s Journey concept with clients for years, as it helps us to realise that it is a natural part of our internal growth and evolution, allowing us to tap into the different versions of ourselves inside us and allowing us to be our best self and intentionally create the life of our dreams.

Reflecting on what road we’re on and at what stage of the hero’s journey allows us to lean into our growth with more ease and less resistance. Remember, the more we refuse ‘the call’, the louder the wake-up alarm will be!

Tapping into your future self and ideal version of yourself will reinforce what we choose our next evolution to be and self-actualise it, showing us clearly what steps are needed to move us forward.

How exciting is that?

If you want to move forward in your hero’s journey, create a vision board around your ideal future self. What does the next best version of you look and act like? Who is the person that you are growing into? Visualise this future version of you every single day and ask yourself “How do I need to show up differently to become this best version of me?”. What steps and what allies and mentors do you need to get there?

Think back over your life – can you remember times where you felt like you were at rock bottom? Where things felt so hard you found it hard to see another way or where you had to face a fear and somehow help came to see you through it? Reflect over how many times maybe this hero’s journey has played out in your life.

If you want to learn more about how to intentionally create the life of your dreams and tap into your ideal future self – come and join me at our next cacao journey where I guide you through this process – details are on the website here.

If you’d like to work with me 1-1 with this, book your free call to find out more HERE.

You can watch Finding Joe for free HERE – it’s well worth a watch if you’re excited to know what the next step of your journey is going to be!

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