How leaders can use the Hero’s Journey framework for their career journeys and leadership brand stories.
🚀 The Hero’s Journey
The Hero’s Journey is a formula for storytelling that most movies, novels and plays follow. Supposedly the study of hero myth narratives dates back to 1871 but Joseph Campbell is the guy that is most famous for shaping this formula in a way that has stuck until today.
While it’s not one-size-fits-all, I do find that the framework works for the majority of stories we tend to stick. It always starts with the Hero having some kind of call to adventure and leaving his or her comfort zone. Then the hero is faced with different trials and failures, has transformative revelations and learnings, grows, changes, and returns back to his or her proverbial home as a more evolved person. Think of Star Wars or Lord of the Ring and you get the picture pretty quickly.
Now let’s move onto the more interesting part:
What does the Hero’s Journey look like through the lens of Leadership and Career Development?
#1 – Your Leadership Story
What has your career path looked like? If you’re like me, it has been full of ups, downs, and sideways lunges. The Hero’s Journey framework actually really works with my career journey. And chances are, it does for yours too.
As Millennials get older and more tenured in our careers, we are reaching a point where we’ve got quite a few stories and lessons to share. I mean this in the most positive way possible: Don’t underestimate how much others can learn from your authentic experiences and your ambiguous trajectory. Don’t even wait to share your story until you’ve reached full circle. What’s wrong with sharing it NOW, where you are, trusting that in the end you will come out of it stronger and better?
What is your leadership story? What would it look like to write it down and read it out loud? And to be real. We need more Real, Authentic, and Transparent stories about our unique career journeys and how they have shaped who we are as leaders.
#2 – Mentorship
It’s not by accident that the Hero’s Journey includes mentors. Mentors are a critical part of our development and ability to navigate change. Where would Frodo be without Gandalf the Grey?
In our careers, the same is true. Picking the right mentor to learn from is critical. Ideally, you would choose someone who has been through similar suffering that you’re facing before and come out of it on the other side. You would also need to ensure that person is committed to helping you and guiding you. If that person isn’t able to hold space for you on a regular basis, it’s hard to develop a true mentorship relationship.
The same goes towards being a mentor to someone else. Look around you: who do you see that could use some guidance that you could offer? What’s stopping you from proactively setting up a two-way mentorship opportunity? If you are able to carve out time to do this and have a genuine intention to commit, I guarantee it will bring more satisfaction to your day than anything else.
If you’re seeking a mentor right now and want to potentially connect with me, tell me more about it here.
💆🏻♀️ My Self-Care checklist score this week: 70%.