Week 17 – What is “The Hero’s Journey”?

For all of us there is always a burning desire that leads us.  I think it’s fair to say that at different phases in our life, that deep burning desire has changed from time to time.  So as we grow, learn, we make choices on this path of life.  We have had great successes and some not so successful learning moments.  Not knowing which is which would present a topic I would not be able to describe easily in this forum so I’m going to leave it with you if that the case.  If not read on.

Each of us has made decisions to complete a task, a life aspiration, or achieve a certain plateau in life by reason of need or sheer desire to stretch / (strain), our potential until it cries for mercy, (loosely paraphrased from Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World” ).

But the real question is why are we so driven to take this task on?

That question most will go through and complete the task without really ever identifying, the why? The how? or What the steps were so I can guide myself or others to so the same.  This last part of the last statement is what is most import to the business person who wants to duplicate their efforts in order to grow the potential of their business through the strength of others.  So I will be pulling quoted material from other sources who have I think explained this process far better than I would, or at least far more concisely.

A book was written that I think best describes the process I would like to discuss.  Joseph Campbell wrote a book called “A Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The book is about self-actualization and it has a approach that applies to everyone.

It’s mostly written with the analogy about myths and mythology and history of storys as experienced through different cultures and what they had in common, rather than what they didn’t. Campbell found a single story-telling pattern; however, the lessons in this book helps us identify and navigate the paths we take to better ourselves and the changes we experience in our lives.

If you want to get better at navigating change, as most of us struggle with these changes, learn what the “Hero’s journey” is. (Click on the Hyperlink here)

Campbell called this universal pattern the monomyth. The monomyth, or as we are learning it “THE HEROS JOURNEY”, (I like this title way more), it is basically every story you’ve ever heard, most of the movies you’ve ever seen — and it is present in all our lives.  I know as I learn to understand it, and master it, I will become a better person.

The video  I have attached is a retelling of the Hero’s journey and how it is used in modern Movie making. (but its really entertaining.  I’m sure its been seen by some; if you like it send it around, better yet send my blog post out to friends and friends of friends!)

The steps as outlined by Campbell:

The 12 Stages of The Hero’s Journey

1. Ordinary World:

This is where the Hero’s exists before his present story begins, their everyday life.

2. Call To Adventure

The Hero’s adventure begins when he receives a call to action; imply a phone call or conversation but whatever the call is.

3. Refusal Of The Call

Although the Hero may be eager to accept the quest, at this stage he will have fears that need overcoming. Second thoughts or even deep personal doubts as to whether or not he is up to the challenge. When this happens, the Hero will refuse the call and as a result may suffer somehow. (usually for most of us, it is loss something or financial challenges)

4. Meeting The Mentor

At this crucial turning point where the Hero desperately needs guidance he meets a mentor figure who gives him something he needs.

5. Crossing The Threshold

The Hero is now ready to act upon his call to adventure and truly begin his quest, whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional; either way he finally crosses the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies

Now finally out of his comfort zone the Hero is confronted with an ever more difficult series of challenges that test him in a variety of ways. Obstacles are thrown across his path; whether they be physical hurdles or people bent on thwarting his progress, the Hero must overcome each challenge he is presented with on the journey towards his ultimate goal.  The Hero needs to find out who can be trusted and who can’t.

7. Approach To The Inmost Cave

The inmost cave may represent many things in the Hero’s story such as an actual location in which lies a terrible danger or an inner conflict which up until now the Hero has not had to face.

8. Ordeal

The Supreme Ordeal is a test or a deep inner crisis that the Hero must face in order to survive.

9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)

After defeating the enemy and finally overcoming his greatest personal challenge, the Hero is ultimately transformed into a new state, emerging from battle as a stronger person and often with a prize.

10. The Road Back

This stage in the Hero’s journey represents a reverse echo of the Call to Adventure in which the Hero had to cross the first threshold.

11. Resurrection

This is the climax in which the Hero must have his final and most dangerous encounter with death (figuratively, in our world). For the business type, did the business survive profitably.  The final battle also represents something far greater than the Hero’s own existence with its outcome having far-reaching consequences to his Ordinary World and the lives of those he left behind

12. Return With The Elixir

This is the final stage of the Hero’s journey in which he returns home to his Ordinary World a changed man. He will have grown as a person, learned many things.  His return may bring fresh hope to those he left behind, a direct solution to their problems or perhaps a new perspective for everyone to consider.

A little dramatic description I will admit, but reading this gives me a great cathartic exhale, I think I’m finally able to kinda get it.  🙂

The Seven Characters:

  1. The Hero
  2. The Herald
  3. Mentor
  4. Threshold Guardians
  5. Trickster
  6. Shape-Shifter
  7. Shadow

If you’re a reader, I encourage you to read the book, go to the public library and borrow it, its free and you then a motivation to read it, because its due back in a week or two.  If your like me, pick a favourite movie, watch it again a note the “Hero’s Journey” the protagonist goes through.  Try to identify the different characters and if your competitive, (I know some of your are), make a contest with a simple wager (like a coffee), with a friend to see who can do it better.

Now that you know and are familiar with the steps in the “Hero’s Journey”, go and “sit”, think about your burning desire and try to find the characters in your life; where you are in your “Hero’s Journey”.  When you know where you are, and where you want to go, the choices are yours to make.  Make your success your destiny!




8 thoughts on “Week 17 – What is “The Hero’s Journey”?

  1. masterkeypamela

    OMG, Chris!!!!!! I just LOVE the video you found. I was really into Joseph Campbell years ago after I ran into a study of his on PBS because I studied Sanskrit at Harvard and read the Hero’s Journey then. (How’s that for a wormhole of a sentence and a thought?) Anywho, you made my night! Thank you.


    1. masterkeychrisstier Post author

      Glad I could make it fun. I saw this video and had to post it. A little riske I know, but I laughed quite hard watching it. Reading Campbell challenged me to finish it many years ago, (University), it was a little bit a a long read. However, I believe when it makes you giggle, (the video), you tend to remember it, where was that in University, 🙂
      Thanks for the kind words, Pamela.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. masterkeypamela

        My family and I are now following Glove and Boots. Your act of kindness by sharing their video has now opened up another connection between people who might have never met. Way to unconsciously Mastermind!


  2. Pingback: Week 19 – The Second Part…. | Master Key Chris Stier

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