In the great myths of the world and in many stories as well, we see the playing out of a ‘Hero’s Journey’.
In literature, the template of the hero’s journey has long been marked as a key type of story that appeals to everyone. It’s also been stated that this template is something that we encounter in our own lives.
Learning about the hero’s journey and whether it is something we experience ourselves can lead to new insights. Looking at our own experiences through the lens of this mythological template can help us cope with challenges and push forward until we reach our goals.
Let’s explore more about this concept and how we can make use of it in more practical terms.
What is the ‘Hero’s Journey’?
The Hero’s Journey template is a story where a protagonist heads out into a strange world, experiences a dangerous crisis, and is victorious, and then returns home with wealth, knowledge, and experiences to share.
Very often, the hero of the story undergoes a transformation and experiences many internal and external struggles. As we follow the hero, we also learn valuable life lessons and gain wisdom.
You likely recognize this pattern in many movies, books, plays, and word-of-mouth stories. We see versions of this story in most cultures. Some examples include The Lord of the Rings, Moana, the Ramayana, and other great stories.
What is the significance of this journey? And why does it matter to us in a modern world where we try to juggle work, personal goals, and relationships? Let’s explore how understanding the Hero’s Journey can be enriching in our own lives.
The Hero’s Journey in our own lives
The story of the hero who goes off to other lands and battles monsters is meant to inspire us in our own lives. It serves as an inspiration teaching us to be patient, resilient, and to keep persevering. There’s also the expectation that after we pass through a great crisis or challenge, we return ‘home’ to a state of rest and peace with rewards.
So, how do we view the Hero’s Journey in our own life? I think that there are interesting parallels between the story and our personal growth. Here’s how.
Answer the call to adventure
Many stories begin with the protagonist being called to take part in an adventure. This call can be self-directed where the hero wants to gain fame and wealth. Or it can come from outside in the form of a challenge or a wrong that needs to be righted.
In our own lives, the ‘call’ can appear as the urge to do something different in life. For example, feeling stuck at your work and wanting to start a business can be the initial call in your life. In other cases, losing a job opportunity can be the challenge that forces people to look for alternative career paths.
Meet with a mentor
A person who’s on the Hero’s Journey has to do it on their own. But they’re assisted on the way by guides in the form of wise people, gods, and helpful creatures who test and aid good people.
Whatever change you’re on in your own life, remember that you don’t have to do it on your own.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur, reach out to a mentor. Or perhaps, you feel challenged in your financial life and feel lost, then look for an online community to support and guide you.
When you get help from other people, you’ll get knowledge you might not have gained otherwise. And you’ll find encouragement and easier ways to solve your problems.
Endure the ordeal
In stories, the hero has to fight monsters, cross a boiling ocean, and face terrible enemies. And sometimes in real life, it can feel that way too when you’re dealing with a difficult boss or an uncooperative partner.
When you’re trying to fit into a new job role or make money in your business or settle down in another city, you’re essentially at the ordeal stage of your hero’s journey.
This can be the toughest part of your experience and one where you’ll feel overwhelmed. It’s during this time that you need to find inner strength and resilience. And it’s a good idea to take the help of people around you and do your best to deal with your challenges.
Every difficulty you’ll face will get over at some point and the most important thing is to just see it through.
Claim your reward and return home
It’s only when the hero crosses the crisis stage that he receives his reward and can begin his journey home.
As difficult as it may seem to grow your own business or make healthy changes, it’s essential to be hopeful and keep pushing to see the results later.
To see improved health and mental fitness, you have to stick through and pursue a 30-day challenge to drink more water or run more. To find your first customer, you’ll need to pursue them on social media and other channels.
But at some point, the challenge gets over and you see better health, a growing business, and better relationships in life.
Being aware of this part of the Hero’s Journey is essential to stay motivated.
Real life can look like the narrative mechanism of the Hero’s Journey at times. It’s helpful to be aware of the story and to see if it applies to you.
Knowing that struggles are common to everyone and that it’s worth fighting through them will keep you resilient and focused.
And you don’t just get rewards like a new job, a successful business, or a happy relationship. You also transform from within and gain wisdom and confidence.