When you search the web for Hero’s Journey, you’ll find a multitude of detailed graphs and images about the classical build-up of stories. The same build-up in Cinderella, the same build-up in The Godfather, the same build-up in the Lord of the Rings – it’s almost boring. But it works. It works because we, the reader or viewer, love to identify with underdogs like Frodo who turn into heroes on their path to destiny. We just love the hero’s journey.
The Hero’s Journey, in a simplified way, always follows the same path. The protagonist, the underdog, leaves home and walks right into the unknown. There, he faces a challenge. He must then overcome a struggle (or conflict) in order to master the challenge. Once our protagonist has mastered the challenge, he becomes a better person through introspection (atonement, lesson/s learned). The underdog has turned into a hero who comes back home.
In the center I added Gandalf as a symbolic mentor. Heroes need mentors like roses need the rain. They all have mentors. Frodo has Gandalf, Michael Corleone has Don Corleone, and Luke Skywalker has Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As a corporate trainer I listen to tons of speeches. I listen to personal speeches; I listened to professional speeches. What could enhance almost all of them is a scent of the hero’s journey.
Challenge, struggle, introspection – I suggest that you become a CSI story investigator!
Think about your own your business life. All the years you’ve been active. All the projects you’ve managed. All the problems you solved. All the clients you served. All the clients you lost. All the fights you fought. All the battles you won. Think about your entire career.
Didn’t you face professional challenges? Didn’t you face struggles? Didn’t you learn important lessons?
Why don’t you investigate, dig deep and uncover your golden nuggets of storytelling. All your CSI stories will be great stories to share. All your CSI stories are great hero journeys to tell.
Here’s one of my personal CSI examples:
C = Challenge
(What was a major professional challenge?)
S = Struggle
(How did I overcome that professional challenge?)
I = Introspection
(What did I learn from it?)
|Starting my speaker’s business from the scratch at the age of 35 and with no income or savings.||Slow process. Pressure from all sides. Distraction. Partying. Disappointment. Frustration. Mentor. Focus. First book. First blue chip client.||Focus, listen, focus.|
So – what are you waiting for? Take a sheet of paper and collect your CSI stories. Share them with clients, share them in internal presentations, share them at talks at conferences.
People love to hear hero journeys. They love to hear YOUR hero journeys.