(Editor’s Note: For part 1 of this blog post, please go here)
Your Hero’s Journey is the leadership story of what lies ahead in the pursuit of your goals. It is the story of the future you seek come true—your leadership vision realized.
Last week, I discussed the first three phases of the Hero’s Journey: The Call, the Resistance, and the Threshold Crossing. In this post, we will explore the last three: The Journey, the Supreme Ordeal, and the Return Home. I also provide reflection questions to help you articulate your role as the hero of your Hero’s Journey.
As a reminder: The telling of your Hero’s Journey addresses your experience as the leader as well as the experiences of others in the pursuit of your goals, your mighty cause. You must craft it like you believe it and tell it like you have lived it.
Your emotion is what will move and touch listeners. They will feel what you feel. And when your team and other stakeholders are emotionally drawn in to you and to your cause, they will get on board.
As the leader-hero moves forward to answer his “call,” the journey is filled with blessings, tests and challenges, allies and enemies. Here is where you articulate the path forward complete with plausible windfalls and pitfalls encountered along the way to victory. Describe the hurdles so high and barriers so solid that only creativity and determination can prevail. Don’t forget to include the experiences of others—your allies, enemies, mentors, and detractors.
- How can I describe the forces working for and against my success? (Remember the Asset-Based Thinking five-to-one principle: Consider five positive forces for every negative one!)
- How can I honor and work with allies?
- How can I foster resilience in myself and others?
The Supreme Ordeal
Every hero encounters a profoundly dark moment, a time when the hero is at risk of losing everything. It is extremely valuable to your team and other stakeholders to hear you acknowledge the potentially dire circumstances that lie ahead and explain how they will be handled. Highlight the strengths you will tap into to overcome the Supreme Ordeal. This is the point of your leadership story when you show that you (and your team) are truly the heroes.
- How will we prevail against significant resistance and barriers?
- How have we demonstrated resolve in similarly challenging circumstances?
- How will we find the strength and determination to stay the course?
The Return Home
Having survived the darkest hour, the Hero takes possession of the “treasure” and returns home with “boons and elixirs” from the adventure. These treasures are the most important benefits of realizing your vision and the boons are the unexpected and timeless lessons you have learned on your journey.
- How will this experience change me, others, and the situation for the better?
- How will posterity remember us?
- How will we have fulfilled our destiny?
You may have noticed that the reflection questions for each step begin with the word “how.” Saying it with sizzle is about the how—how you describe how to get there and how you and your team will work together. The how questions help you to articulate at a high level what to expect from the journey—how it will feel, how it will unfold, and how it will be possible.
In crafting your Hero’s Journey the most important thing to remember is to see yourself, the leader, as the Hero and to imagine the significant contributions that others will make along the way. This is a mental dress rehearsal for the real adventure to come. It will prepare you to lead positive and for your team to step into the challenges with the fullest attention, intention, and effort.