If you’ve followed along with our work in the last few years, you’ll know that we three are madly in love with the concept of the Hero’s Journey. Watching it play out in our own lives, and in our businesses, is something we’ve been doing since before we even read Joseph Campbell’s work all those many years ago (it’s been awhile since Uni, but who’s countin’ the years?!?)
You’ve no doubt heard Stella talk about the Hero’s Journey from the perspective of Marketing…being sure to speak to your prospective clients like the Heroes that they are (not like they’re broken, washed-out, or otherwise “not quite right.”) It’s been a favourite topic of ours and Stella strives to write from that place only (no more “touching people’s pain” but instead, touching their inner strength) on every copywriting project we take on.
But there are more ways that the Hero’s Journey shows up in our work, not just in our Marketing. And one of these ways I find infinitely fun — and incredibly useful! — to ponder and discuss with our clients is this:
Where do YOU show up in your Client’s Journey?
I am a gal who sees things (in more ways than one!), and when I look at the Hero’s Journey, I see in my mind’s eye a very literal “Couch of Comfort.” I imagine that Couch to be quite lovely and plush and, for some reason, red in colour. I see our Hero leaving this Couch, having heeded the Inciting Incident, stepping outside, and then I see that the landscape immediately shifts. I see mountains in the background, dirt beneath our Hero’s feet, sneakers, and backpack on the ground. I imagine our Hero looking at these items, pondering if s/he will put them on. Wondering, as s/he approaches The Threshold, which I see in my mind as a line drawn on the dirt path by Someone’s sneaker-clad foot (whose, I do not know), if s/he is Ready to cross over this line and begin the next Journey
And I imagine in my mind a Person standing just before that Threshold, slightly off to the side of the path, just standing there, not skulking or anything, just quietly observing. Watching. Waiting.
When our Hero lifts their head, and looks towards this Person, this Person steps forward and offers the Gift they’ve held in their hands to our Hero. It is our Hero’s Light Saber, their Magical Wand, their Ring. Whatever this Gift is, it is The Thing which they will most need on their Journey, the Thing that will ensure their safety and (ultimately) their success on their upcoming Journey.
Our Hero pauses as s/he thanks this Person, then turns and looks again at that Threshold.
“Yoo-hoo,” s/he hears. “Psst…over here!”
Someone comes into view on the Path ahead, that Path that lay just beyond the Threshold, the path that our Hero can see, but has not yet stepped upon.
This new Person is waving at our Hero. “Come on,” s/he says, waving. “You got this. And it’s super-cool over here on the other side of the Threshold. You’ll LOVE it.” The voice sounds familiar. There is an energy to it that smacks of the energy surrounding the Inciting Incident, that Thing that got our Hero off the Couch of Comfort a few moments before. It just feels…right, somehow, to wave back and smile. “I know that Person…this feels RIGHT to me,” thinks our Hero.
And our Hero looks at their Magical Gift, laces up those sneakers, dons that backpack, and crosses that Threshold.
It is a monumental moment. I believe that a hush fills the Universe for just a split second every single time one of us makes this move.
Then our Hero begins to Walk.
Alongside the path from time to time our Hero sees what s/he comes to think of as Helpers. These folks are there, just hanging out on the sidelines, passing out water bottles, snacks, words of encouragement. Some make maps. Some sell trinkets. Some have chairs set up for our Hero to rest upon. Sometimes our Hero stops to chat. Sometimes s/he purchases something from a Helper. And sometimes? Sometimes s/he invites the Helper to come along with them for a time, to walk alongside them on the Journey.
Helpers are there when our Hero enters the Belly of the Beast. Some stop at the entrance and hand our Hero a torch to take. Some walk alongside our Hero into the depths. Helpers hold lanterns in the Deep Darkness. Helpers whisper, “You can do this!” Helpers offer respite on another Couch, deep in the Belly, for sometimes our Hero must rest even in the Darkness. Some pass our Hero a drink. And some Helpers position themselves just beyond the Outer Gates of the Belly and shout encouragement while burning their lights 24/7 to help our Hero find their way to the Other Side.
And when our Hero exits that Belly of the Beast, who is there to greet our Hero?
Helpers with warm smiles. With blankets to help our Hero recover from the chill of the Darkness. Helpers who know where to get the best coffee in town. Helpers who walk quietly, allowing our Hero to acclimate in this new place in which our Hero has landed.
And, when our Hero is ready for them, Helpers appear, ready to guide our Hero Home.
I see this visually in my mind as if I watched it every single day of my own life and indeed I suppose I have.
And so, dear one, have you, for those of us who work in the service of other Heroes? We do Our Best Work along that Path!
Some of us are part of the Inciting Incident. Sometimes it is our Call, our words of “It’s super-cool over here!” that cause our Hero to don that pack and cross that Threshold. We are the writers. The bloggers. The vloggers. Sometimes we rant. Sometimes we wax philosophical. Sometimes we just Are. We are the ones who Inspire and Excite. We tantalize and tempt, through our joy, our Hero to rise up to their next level of greatness and Journey forth from the Couch of Comfort.
And some of us?
Some of us are the Giver of The Magical Gift. We read our Hero’s hands and tell them things that they need to know about themselves that will serve them well. We give to them a pen. A crystal. A healing that rocks their world. Whatever our Gift, we give it, and bid our Hero adieu.
And the rest of us?
We are the Helpers.
And some of us Help in the beginning of the Journey, when our Hero has just crossed that Threshold. We love the newness of the adventure. We pride ourselves on knowing how it feels for our Hero to find themselves in this new, unfamiliar place. We are “map-makers,” and “water-givers.” We love the thrill of hearing our Hero’s story of receiving their Magical Gift. We will look at it with awe and reverence, and ask them all about their Inciting Incident because we just HAVE to know all about it — this is the stuff that fills us with joy!
And some of us do our very best work in the Belly of that Beast. We are skilled with Knowing. We thrive on going deep with our clients. We hold space like nobody’s business. This is our Thing, to be a Light in the Darkness, to provide that ear, to hold that hand, to be that shoulder. Quietly. Reverently. Solidly.
And there are those of us who position ourselves directly at the Outer Gates of the Belly. We are there with the warm blankets, the soft smiles, the “You’ve been through Hell, Dear One, but I’ve got you now. It’s going to be okay” emanating from our Beings. We help people acclimate. We find them a cup of tea. And we begin to show them the wonders of the new land, slowly, gently, remembering, always, what they’ve just been through.
And when our Hero has found their feet again, there are those of us Helpers who are ready to walk our Hero Home. We advise. We mentor. We say things like, “Look, you’re a different person now. This is going to be weird to go back Home, but I’ll help you make a plan to ease your transition.” And the closer we get to our Hero’s Home, the more excited we get. We know that our Hero is ready. We know we’ve helped our Hero feel good and strong in who they are NOW, We know that our Hero is prepared to go Home, new, changed, different, but ready.
Some of us Helpers simply meet our Hero for a moment in time. Some of us like to walk for a bit alongside of them. Some of us do our Best Work in one segment of the Journey, and some of us have walked with Heroes from Beginning to End, several times over. But make no mistake, Helpers all are we.
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.