Many people are stuck in their comfort zone, even if they are not happy. We know where we stand and what the people expect from us. And even if the unknown looks like it could be much better, we remain in the known.
Security and happiness are not the same. And happiness always requires a little courage.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we have planned so that we can have the life that is waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell)
Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, studied the power of stories in our culture and our lives. He developed the model of the hero’s journey, in which the hero passes through 17 stages. Many novels and feature films are based on the model. Christopher Vogler has taken Campell’s hero’s journey as a starting point and developed a model with 12 stages taken up, especially by screenwriters. Still, it also provides a path for one’s own real-life and promotes understanding of life.
Stage 1: The Starting Point
Where am I in life, professionally and privately? Am I satisfied?
Maybe you are working as a self-employed business consultant, live in your own house, and have savings and hobbies.
Stage 2: The Call Of Adventure
Something happens that upsets your life, a pain. That could be a breakup with your partner, unemployment, illness, etc. Or also the current Corona crisis. Maybe you don’t get any orders anymore, because the companies that usually hire you have put their projects on hold, you can’t pursue your hobbies anymore. Your insecurity and worries grow.
Stage 3: The Refusal
You realize that the tried and true isn’t so great after all, and the unknown beckons. But one refuses the uncertainty. You hope that it will work out. And you don’t want to change anything, because you don’t know if it will really be better.
Stage 4: The Journey Begins
Persuaded by an (inner) mentor, you let yourself go on the adventure and dare to take the step into the unknown.
As a business consultant, you might consider setting up another professional activity, e.g., reselling via an online store.
Stage 5: Crossing The First Threshold
You’ve left your comfort zone and finished with what you’ve done so far. Now there’s no turning back.
Your savings have gone into building the new business. You spend all your time on it.
Stage 6: Tests, Allies, And Enemies
Of course, not everything goes smoothly. You meet people who are supportive, but also those who are not. You remove obstacles and overcome problems. Sometimes you take a step back, but then you take several steps forward.
Maybe you have customers who don’t pay, administrative and legal challenges arise.
Stage 7: Meeting The Adversary
At some point, however, a huge problem comes up. You doubt your decision and don’t know what to do.
Maybe at some point, your store’s revenue breaks away, too, and you don’t know how to go on.
Stage 8: Overcoming The Opponent
Here you must not run away but face the challenge. With consistency, you overcome the problem.
You have optimized your marketing and sales strategy. The sales are running again.
Stage 9: The Reward
The way is clear. You have gained new insights, and life rewarded you richly. You want it to stay like this forever.
Stage 10: The Way Back
Due to inner motives or outer compulsion, you leave this new comfort zone and start your way back with new knowledge and insights.
Maybe you miss your former job, or former customers want your advice.
Stage 11: The Resurrection
On the way back, you will find dangers, but you can avoid them due to your personal growth.
You consider taking on consulting jobs again in addition to your online store. But there are problems too because the workload is too high. Through your further development along the way, however, you find a solution here as well.
Stage 12: The Return
Having arrived at the starting point, the hero shares his insights and knowledge with the world and helps others develop further.
“I don’t know whether things will get better if they are different. But I do know that things have to be different if they are to get better!” (Georg Christoph)
What does your hero’s journey look like? At what stage are you?