That Change You Fear Might Be Your Hero’s Journey

April 10, 2021

minute READ 

One idea that deeply resonates with me is the hero’s journey. Here’s how the late mythologist Joseph Campbell described it:

“The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us;…”


From time to time, we are called to change in ways that feel scary or even impossible. Here are just some examples of what that can look like:

  • getting a new degree,
  • leaving a job,
  • starting your business,
  • expressing yourself creatively,
  • sharing your gifts with the world,
  • leaving a bad relationship,
  • committing to a new relationship,
  • becoming a parent,

etc.

Basically, the main criteria for a hero’s journey is that the impending change freaks you out and that you don't know if you can do it — and that differs from person to person. For instance, while the idea of starting a business might lead to sleepless nights for one person, someone else may feel completely calm about it. Only in the first scenario are we dealing with a potential hero’s journey.

Why this is so hard

Being called on a hero’s journey is hard. For me, I always think of that time when I handed in my resignation at work. The person I had to give it to was very nice and not at all scary — but that didn’t stop me from shaking like a leaf and feeling like I was about to confront an oversized, fire-breathing lizard (aka dragon).

Chances are that you’ve experienced this call to change in the past. Even right now, you might sense your desire pulling you toward something that you deeply want. At the same time, you may be feeling terrified of moving in that direction.

If that’s the case, know that there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. In fact, it wouldn’t be a hero’s journey if you didn’t experience fear. All of what you’re feeling… doubt, resistance, uncertainty… is part of your adventure. It’s what makes you a hero.

What should you do if you are being called on a hero’s journey?

Here are a few pieces of advice:

  • Rule #1: Don’t ignore the call.
  • Rule #2: See Rule #1.
  • Rule #3: Get help. Every hero needs allies and a mentor.
  • Rule #4: Don’t let your doubt stop you. You can slay (or befriend) the dragon.

Whenever you hear the call, you’re standing at a threshold. You can stay in the safe castle, or decide to venture into the wild.

Which one will it be?

Want more support on your hero's journey? 

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About the author

Bere is the founder of Leader for Good. She's a former lawyer and academic who moved from Germany to the United States where she started her own business. Today, Bere loves helping her coaching clients and students connect with their passion and purpose. You can find out more about her coaching business at www.workyoulovecoach.com.

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