You may have heard of The Hero’s Journey – a story structure first identified by Joseph Campbell in which the hero leaves home, faces many challenges, receives help from unexpected friends, reaches a point of deep darkness, and then returns home, forever changed.
The Hero’s Journey is incredibly common in fiction. From Odysseus to Harry Potter, most recognizable heroes have followed this pattern.
But it doesn’t just have to be confined to novels. If you think hard, you may be able to discover your own hero’s journey and share that with your audience.
Forced to leave home: I lost my teaching job in 2011. I loved it and was devastated. For months, all I did was watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But then I decided to start working for myself and began the long process of learning how to be self employed.
Challenges: Getting clients, learning how to market myself, facing the loneliness of freelancing, and feeling the fear of no paycheck were some of the daunting challenges I’ve faced in working for myself. Of course, I continue to face them everyday.
Help from unexpected friends: My friend Danielle and I worked together for about a year. We supported and helped each other in working for ourselves. I also received mentorship from Wendy King, an incredible business coach I met at the Denver SBDC. And all of my mentors from afar – Pat Flynn, the guys at Internet Business Mastery, and Dan Miller – kept me motivated to keep going. I’ve also connected with unexpected allies through attending conferences and Meetup groups. My accountability partner, Josh, and I met at Pioneer Nation and talk every single week about our businesses.
Deep darkness: I can’t nail down a time of deep darkness, but I can tell you that I go into these dark places every few weeks, where I don’t know if I’ll reach the success I want as an entrepreneur.
Returning home: Even though I have no plans to return to the classroom, I am able to teach in other ways. I’ve started 101 Conversations, where I’m interviewing small business owners about how they build business relationships, and I plan to teach what I learn to other entrepreneurs. I’m also able to teach through private tutoring. There, I can teach on my own terms, and it’s really satisfying.
How I’ve changed along the way: When I was a teacher, I had a mental image of being on a lifeboat in the middle of a turbulent sea. I saw so many other teachers losing their jobs, and was infinitely grateful to hold onto mine. Because I felt that if I lost it, I wouldn’t know what to do. I’d be completely lost.
But through this journey, I’ve realized that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. Now I have the confidence that no matter where I am, as long as I have skills to offer and a way to connect with other people, I can make money and be successful. And that’s way better than being on a lifeboat.
So…back to you.
What’s your hero’s journey? How have you grown and changed in your life as a business owner? What challenges have you faces and who was there to help you along the way?
Follow the structure above to outline your story. And I’ll be putting mine into a more readable, engaging format in a future post, so stay tuned.