When a Reinvention Isn’t a Transformation
Gauging Your Risktaking Competency for an Ever-Changing Workplace

The Practical Hero’s Journey: A Hybrid Blueprint for Your Personal Transformation

5A9B45B8-F5DD-4CDE-B7D3-E1D6D5A3BB96

Since reading Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces over two decades ago, his “mythological structure of the journey of the archetypal hero that he found in world myths” continues to fascinate me as a writer, learning producer, and emerging documentary filmmaker.
 
Given today’s global challenges it’s not too difficult to understand why so many people feel overwhelmed and incapable of seeking out their heroic nature, when just getting by each day can feel heroic.
 
But is it really that difficult to become a practical hero or heroine? Well, it does take effort to peel away the layers in order to understand a heroic journey capable of altering the arc of your life, but once you decide to show up like you mean it and walk through the transformational archway—you’re half-way there. 
 
Let’s begin by looking at two models: Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey and Chris Vogler’s 12 Stage Hero’s Journey from his book The Writer’s Journey based on Joseph Campbell’s seminal work on the hero’s story The Hero with a Thousand Faces
 
We’ll then look at how you could integrate these two models to address a reinvention situation with the ultimate goal of self-transformation—becoming a hero of your own life. 
 

The Heroine’s Journey

  1. Separation from the Feminine — Often a mother or prescribed feminine role.
     
  2. Identification with the Masculine and Gathering of Allies—Often entails choosing a path that is different than the role prescribed for her, deciding to gear up to "fight” an organization, role, or group that is limiting or entering some male/masculine-defined sphere. 
     
  3. Road or Trials and Meeting the Ogres and Dragons — Heroine encounters trials and meets people who try to dissuade her from pursuing her chosen path and/or destroy her (ogres and dragons or their metaphorical counterparts).
     
  4. Experiencing the Boon of Success —The Heroine overcomes obstacles. In The Hero’s Journey, this is normally where the hero’s tale ends.  
     
  5. Heroine Awakens to Feelings of Spiritual Aridity/Death — Success in this new way of life is either temporary, illusory, shallow, or requires a betrayal of self over time.
     
  6. Initiation and Descent to the Goddess — The heroine faces a crisis of some sort in which the new way is insufficient and falls into despair. All of her “masculine” strategies have failed her. 
     
  7. Heroine Urgently Yearns to Reconnect with the Feminine — The heroine cannot go back to her initial limited state or position.
     
  8. Heroine Heals the Mother/Daughter Split —The heroine reclaims some of her initial values, skills or attributes but views them from a new perspective. 
     
  9. Heroine Heals the Wounded Masculine Within — Heroine makes peace with the “masculine” approach to the world as it applies to herself. 
     
  10. Heroine Integrates the Masculine and Feminine — She faces the world or future with a new understanding of herself and the world/life. Heroine sees through binaries and can interact with a complex world that includes her but is larger than her personal lifetime or geographical/cultural milieu.
 

12 Stage Hero’s Journey 

The Writer’s Journey
  1. The Ordinary World —The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history.  Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.
     
  2. The Call to Adventure —Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.
     
  3. Refusal of the Call —The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly.  Alternately, another character (ed. work colleague or sibling, perhaps?) may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.
     
  4. Meeting with the Mentor —The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.
     
  5. Crossing the Threshold — The hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.
     
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies — The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.
     
  7. Approach — The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special World.
     
  8. The Ordeal — The hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear.  Out of the moment of death comes a new life (rebirth).
     
  9. The Reward — The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.
     
  10. The Road Back — The hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home.  
     
  11. The Resurrection — The hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level.  By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.
     
  12. Return with the Elixir — The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.
 

Creating a Hybrid Blueprint 

Although there are similarities between these two journey models, it’s The Heroine’s Journey that looks to move the female forward by bridging the gap between hard and soft power, while The Hero’s Journey looks to focus on The Hero achieving personal victory. It’s The Heroine who works twice as hard battling conflicts of the journey as she also struggles with the bias and prejudice of being a woman. 
 
As women we do deal with very different conflicts than men, which means that transforming the arc of our lives will look and feel different given the challenges unique to our gender. But what about a man incorporating stages of The Heroine’s Journey into The Hero’s Journey? This offers men a way to balance feminine/masculine power, thus taking the critical first steps needed in creating a hybrid blueprint. 
 

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward 

Midpoint of our online recession-proof reinvention course we have our learners go through the process of building and crafting an authentic change story—one that includes a hero / heroine activity. As you begin your change story you’re laying the foundation for a future transformation. It’s an exploratory process where you step back and dig into what has come before—expanding your peripheral vision—a crucial first step in adapting yourself for the unknown.

 

Reinvention with a Hybrid Hero in Mind 

Let’s take a look at how you might integrate The Heroine’s Journey and The 12 Stage Hero’s Journey for a reinvention situation that includes stepping up and taking more risks at work and in your career. We include journal activities at the end of each section for you to delve a bit deeper into each of the four acts.
 

ACT I

  • Separation from the Feminine — Often a mother or prescribed feminine role.

  • The Ordinary World — The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history.  Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.

  • The Call to Adventure — Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.

  • Refusal of the Call — The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly.  Alternately, another character  (ed: co-worker or sibling, perhaps?) may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.

  • Identification with the Masculine and Gathering of Allies — Often entails choosing a path that is different than the role prescribed for her, deciding to gear up to "fight” an organization, role, or group that is limiting or entering some male/masculine-defined sphere. 

  • Meeting with the Mentor —The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey.  Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.

 

ACT I Journal Activity 

Goals: Have a better understanding of what lies outside your comfort zone. List ways for tackling this challenge with the help of your advisors, mentors, and others in your support net(work).
 
  • In this ACT I activity you’ll want go deeper into understanding the WHY you’re uncomfortable stepping out of your comfort zone in assuming more personal risks at work and WHAT triggers this fear of the unknown?
    • Do you take on more risks in your personal life than you do at work? 
    • Do you consider yourself as more naturally risk averse or was this something that you developed as an adult?
    • Do you consider yourself a curious person? Why or why not?
  • Review your responses. What responses are you comfortable sharing with your support net when asking for their help and advisement. 
 

ACT II

  • Crossing the Threshold — The hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values.

  • Road or Trials and Meeting the Ogres and Dragons — Heroine encounters trials and meets people who try to dissuade her from pursuing her chosen path and/or destroy her (ogres and dragons or their metaphorical counterparts).

  • Tests, Allies, and Enemies — The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.

  • Approach — The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special World.

  • Experiencing the Boon of Success — The Heroine overcomes obstacles. 

  • Heroine Awakens to Feelings of Spiritual Aridity/Death — Success in this new way of life is either temporary, illusory, shallow, or requires a betrayal of self over time.
 

ACT II Journal Activity

Goal: You commit to raise the bar for yourself and develop a personal risktaking plan for tackling your immediate and short term challenges.
 
  • In this ACT II journal activity you’ll leverage the feedback and suggestions offered by your advisors for building out your personal action plan. Your plan should include a pivot strategy so that you’re prepared for potential surprises.

  • Any short term success needs to be more than superficial or temporary.  What steps will you take *now* in order to ensure that you’re able to adapt to the challenges of raising the bar for yourself?
 

ACT III

  • The Ordeal — The hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life.

  • Initiation and Descent to the Goddess — The heroine faces a crisis of some sort in which the new way is insufficient and falls into despair. All of her “masculine” strategies have failed her. 

  • The Reward — The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.

  • Heroine Urgently Yearns to Reconnect with the Feminine — The heroine cannot go back to her initial limited state or position.

  • The Road Back — The hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home.  

  • Heroine Heals the Mother/Daughter Split —The heroine reclaims some of her initial values, skills or attributes but views them from a new perspective. 

  • Heroine Heals the Wounded Masculine Within — Heroine makes peace with the “masculine” approach to the world as it applies to herself. 

  • Return with the Elixir — The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.
 

ACT III Journal Activity

Goal: Emotional preparation for the integration of The Heroine and The Hero journeys into a hybrid blueprint that you can leverage for future reinventions, but one that ultimately lays the foundation of your personal transformation.
 
  • In this ACT III journal activity you’ll document the process steps you’re taking to “slay your dragons”. What is happening to you—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually as you lean in to face your fears? 

 

ACT IV

  • Heroine integrates the Masculine and Feminine — She faces the world or future with a new understanding of herself and the world/life. Heroine sees through binaries and can interact with a complex world that includes her but is larger than her personal lifetime or geographical/cultural milieu.

  • The Resurrection — At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level.  By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.
 

ACT IV Journal Activity

Goal: The completion of your integrated hybrid blueprint for your reinvention situation.
 
  • In this ACT IV journal activity you’ll capture the experience of integrating your feminine and masculine energy (soft / hard powers). How does this strengthen trust in yourself and your ability to step outside what was once your comfort zone?

 

Join SC’s Renewal Cohort!

We’re in final preparations of our 4-month Seeding Change Renewal Cohort that kicks-off at the end of the month! Our participants will go deep into the practical aspects of creating a hybrid blueprint while altering the transformational arc of their lives in four acts. It all begins with the hero’s / heroine’s story.  
 
Join us for our final program of 2019 and get a jumpstart on completing the online courses that come bundled free of charge as part of this renewal cohort. Hurry! Registrations close September 15.
 
It’s an exciting time to begin or advance your personal transformation!
 

Comments