Embark on Your Hero’s Journey

Have you ever noticed that a lot of movies are so predictable that you know what’s going to happen before it does?

You know what I’m talking about – the poor guy (or girl) has to struggle his whole life but somehow he rises to the top, manages to get the girl of his dreams, fight off all the bad guys, and lives happily ever after.

Introducing…The Hero’s Journey

The reason most of these plots sound familiar is because they typically follow what’s known as “The Hero’s Journey.”

This is a phrase coined by mythology expert Joseph Campbell (you know, he liked to study Perseus, Hercules, and all those guys.)

Campbell claimed that all myths used the same ideas, and that the heroes went through adventures that were alike.

For the most part, all myths had the same journey.

You can find a lot of modern examples of the Hero’s Journey in movies like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and the recent film Avatar.

Now on the point of this post…

YOU are on a Hero’s Journey

I feel that when you start an online business you’re basically undergoing your own form of a hero’s journey. Specifically, there are a number of phases that you must undertake to have success at the end.

Campbell talked about these different stages. In total there were twelve. But for the sake of simplicity I’m going to concentrate on the main three: Departure, Initiation, and Return.

We’re not going to find any wise old wizards or evil Jedi, but we can use these three stages of the Hero’s Journey as we strive to improve ourselves.


Think of departure as a beginning, the way you depart from the airport when you’re taking a flight out of town. We all start somewhere. Most of the time we’re a wide-eyed newbie with only the promise of something better. Maybe this is a conscious choice we made. Or the departure could be pushed upon us.

I’ve had friends get laid off from jobs who managed to turn themselves around, winding up more successful than they’d ever been before. They departed from their old line of work only because they were forced to, but they moved into a new and more profitable one — and it was the best thing that ever happened to them

I was like that at one point in my life, too. I’d gone through school and once I had my degree in my hands, it was time to wonder, “Ok, now what?”

Like a lot of people, I spent a few years in the standard 9 to 5 job…hating every minute of it. Eventually I felt enough is enough and started on path towards an online business. It wasn’t always easy, but the journey has made me a better person.

It’s probably time for your departure, too, even if you might not realize it yet.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting an online business, or leaving your job, or leaving your stale relationship, but you’re afraid of what may lie ahead.

It’s normal to fear the unknown. Change can be scary. It takes us out of our comfort zones!

Go ahead, take the plunge. You need to do what you feel is best for you – not what you feel that others expect of you.


The word initiation might make you think of some kind of induction into a club or organization. That’s not a bad way to think of things for this purpose.

One phase of the Initiation stage of the Hero’s Journey is often called “the road of trials.”

We’ve all heard of trials and tribulations, and we all go through them. They seem awful at the time, but keep in mind that things take effort to pay off in the long run – nothing worthwhile is easy!

You just heard me speak of friends who got laid off but wound up finding better, more profitable jobs.

That doesn’t mean they sat around eating chocolates while fighting off offers from CEO’s beating down their front doors. That isn’t how things happen. They had to get up off the couch, update their resumes, take a few classes, and find work for themselves.

In fact the truly successful people practically dedicate their entire life focusing on mastering one or two skills.

Sometimes people get so envious of others, moaning about their “good luck,” forgetting that successful people really do work for what they have. If you’ve decided to depart from one phase of your life, expect an initiation into the next phase – it might be a bumpy road, but it’ll be a path worth taking.


You might be wondering, why on earth would I want to return to my old ways if I have a successful online business or a bigger apartment or a better relationship?

That isn’t really what this means.

Once you depart from something that needs changed, and go through any type of initiation, eventually the high wears off and you return to being “yourself” again. You might have more money, or a better house, or a better job, but you’re still you.

The key here is to never forget your struggles … because what you just went through might happen again. Sure, you have that great new business, but things might change. You might encounter a huge obstacle or your life goals might change. In all likelihood, you might face a departure on another hero’s journey.

Final Thoughts…

The Hero’s Journey has always been a concept that’s fascinated me. When I was about 4, I imagined myself as a Jedi knight fighting the Empire. A few years later I pictured what it would like be a warrior in a Lord of the Rings novel. (Okay… I was pretty geeky kid.)

Obviously I can now separate reality from fiction, but I still have wild dreams about going on an epic journey.

I feel there’s nothing wrong with imagining a better life. In fact, I think your imagination is one of the best assets you possess.

So maybe right now you find yourself struggling with indecision about taking that first step on a departure. Perhaps you’re scared about what might happen.

My advice is simple…do it!

Yes, you’re going to face obstacles. And there will be points when you regret your decision. The important thing is you’re going after a dream. Keep thinking to yourself “what’s the worst that could happen.” Odds are your worst case scenario is probably not that bad.

Seriously…it’s not like you’re going to get eaten by a monster.

Take Action. Get Results.

9 thoughts on “Embark on Your Hero’s Journey”

  1. What an epic post! I’m with you on always being a fan of the hero’s journey, I just didn’t know the name of it til now. This post is actually quite inspiring. I hope others feel the same way and do something to start their own journey. Thanks for the great post!

  2. well Steve I’m not going to get all cheezy here….but from the short time I’ve known you through the blogosphere I have to say I admire your courage.

    Have you ever heard of or read any of Peter Jenkins? Well known explorer and author of modern times. Your desire reminds me of his (and mine). check him out and pick up a copy of his first two books ‘walk across america’. Best sellers for over 15+ yrs. Great inspiration. Peterjenkins.com dude…keep the spirit alive!

  3. there is nothing wrong with imagination, i watch my son all the time with his plastic swords when he was younger and how he act out all those great movies of his, awww to be a kid again. I think that is the problem, when we get older we forget sometimes to just sit and dream, relax our minds from the everyday. Great post.

  4. @Patrick- Yeah, the hero’s journey was something I learned about in college. I wrote a lot about it and related it to the modern example of Lord of the Rings (this was before the movies). Hopefully this post will give a little *nudge* to be people being on the fence.

    @Lee- Thanks a lot man. Means a lot to me. No I’ve never heard of Peter Jenkins. I just added him to my wish list on Amazon. It sucks there is not Kindle version…I would definitely want to read this book during my travels.

    @Butterfly- There’s definitely something to be said to having a “child-like wonderment” about the world. I do my best to realize many of my dreams, but like the rest of us, I get caught in the trap of the day-to-day existence.

  5. Steve,

    I loved reading this post from start to finish; it’s worth a further read at a later date. You’ve used a great analogy to get your message over very clearly. Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post.



  6. This is an excellent way to look at any endeavor worth undertaking. Everybody has their own frame of mind that motivates them the most to make it through the “initiation” phase. For those who have admired the epic journey of heroes (such as those mentioned in the post), this mindset can be what finally get them off their butt and making things happen in their life. My favorite source of inspiration for making the journey was Seth Godin’s “The Dip”. The most important thing is for people to find the mindset that works for them!

  7. Thanks Jon for your comment and stopping by. It really does come down to getting the motivation to get off your butt and take action in your life. Almost everyone wishes they could have something better, but they often fail to do anything about it. Btw, I liked “The Dip” and pretty much all of Seth Godin’s stuff. Have you read Tribes?

  8. This reminded me of so many of those ‘how to write a novel’ books and courses I’ve read over the years. In one, (can’t remember which) the author went on to expand on how the heroes journey stages could be broken down into ‘pulses’ and how those pulses actually correspond quite closely to cards of the major arcana in Torot. (At first the hero is the fool, or innocent, who takes the leap of faith, the magician is the departure etc etc)
    An no, I’m not calling you a fool. Far from it.
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Investing in Junk Coins by Keith Hamburger =-.

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