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When There’s No Turning Back: A Time for Exploration and Discovery

The Crossing of the Threshold is the third phase of the Heroic Journey of the Leader.* It occurs when you take concrete, intractable steps away from the way things are and toward the way things can be. It is your first step to relinquishing the status quo and creating change.

Once you cross the threshold from “where you are now” to “where you want to be” there are no do-overs. The die is cast, and there’s no turning back.

No matter how much conviction you have that you’re headed in the right direction and enthusiasm for the road ahead, it won’t help you in knowing how to navigate this new terrain. This is the perfect time for exploration, experimentation, and discovery.

The Threshold Crossing

I’ve seen leaders cross thresholds in all manner of way, for example:

  • Baby steps: Testing the water until it feels warm enough to dive in.
  • Full throttle: Flinging yourself forward as far as you can while still standing on two feet.
  • Graceful march: Standing tall and marching across the boundary from “here” to “there” with gravitas and grace.

But in the end, style is immaterial. Regardless of your process, my advice to you is to allow for a period of exploration, experimentation, learning, and reflection for you and your team as you cross the threshold into a new, better reality.

In the spirit of renowned crisis expert and Lead Positive Leader Robbie Vorhaus’ One Less, One More leadership strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Given the new path forward, what can I/we stop doing or let go of?
  • Given the new path forward, what can I/we start doing or envisioning?

One Less, One More is about giving yourself permission to go on an exploration beyond the known and the obvious right now in this moment. In this place of discovery, you can edit out what’s not working (one less) and take one step toward what you want to be true (one more). And with that one step, you cross the threshold.


*If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know all about the Heroic Journey of the leader. It begins when the Hero/Leader answers the Call to lead their team or organization on the path to positive transformational change and ends when they survive a Supreme Ordeal that teaches everyone involved how to operate on a new higher level that changes the very fabric of the organization for the better.

Embarking on a journey of heroic proportions takes practice. It involves honing your skills and modeling the behavior you want your followers to have on a daily basis. Over the next few weeks, I will be digging deeper into each phase of the Heroic Leadership Journey to coach you, the Hero/Leader, on how you can can live fully into each phase every day. For a primer on the phases of the Heroic Leadership Journey, read this.


Dr. Kathy Cramer

Kathryn D. Cramer, PH.D.
Founder and Managing Partner, The Cramer Institute