You’ve probably heard of the hero’s journey (Joseph Campbell). It is the process we all go through when facing change, and the blueprint of nearly every movie you’ve ever seen. There’s a map and explanation of the Journey to your left. Think: Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz. Miss Gulch wants to take Toto, so Dorothy has to leave (1) the status quo. (2) There’s a tornado, and she lands in Oz, her call to adventure. (3) Many challenges ensue (follow the yellow brick road, learn the secrets of the ruby slippers, avoid the wicked witch, etc.) Then, (4) help arrives (Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion) and more challenges ensue (get the wicked witch’s broom, for example.) But this is the (5) stage of discovery. She learns more about Oz – her extraordinary world – and peeks behind the curtain at the “wizard.” She finds her magic elixir – “there’s no place like home” – and whisks back to (6) her own bedroom, to find a new normal. She’s somewhat changed, and life is good, rich, and wondrous again.
What I remembered recently is that the hero’s journey applies not just when writing great, believable stories, but also in our own lives!
I was flat on my back in a workshop, contemplating the Hero’s Journey, with my eyes closed, when I finally figured out what my problem was. I suddenly realized where I was stuck, and more importantly, I could see clearly how to get back to the Ordinary World with my magic elixir. I was stuck in that little spiral in (5) discovery. I mean who wouldn’t want to stay in Oz – especially once you got to the Emerald City. It is so much more comfortable than all the pain and confusion of the challenges. And when you consider the challenges that lie ahead? There’s still the witch’s broom to get, and the flying monkeys to face… I was staying in the spiral of discovery, and it was nice. I love learning, researching, writing and discovery. It was so much better than that confusion, pain and challenges I’d been facing for years. But you can’t stay in Oz forever.
In a nutshell, my hero’s journey – my call to adventure, challenges, help arriving and discovery had progressed as follows:
- Status Quo: I was a successful marketing strategist and trained brain, with 3 kids, a great husband in a NJ suburb.
- Call to Adventure: 9/11 happened and the economy tanked, and I suddenly had no business. My call to adventure was: I wanted to write; I had no clients; no income; uh-oh.
- Challenges: (and there were many!) I began writing – had two books published, Motherhood to Otherhood and RV There Yet? I began coaching and trying to figure out what could bring me back to an ordinary world, where I worked, supported my family and had flexibility. There was a lot of pain and confusion (not to mention debt, guilt and going without.)
- Help arrives: For me, it was in the form of a great, big generous coaching community in 2008 when I got certified as a life coach by Martha Beck, and in 2009 when I trained further with Eric Maisel and met a merry band of creativity coaches. Even more help and support came my way when I entered the Masters program for Creativity at SUNY/BSC.
- Discovery: I even found the magic elixir – a deep understanding of how creativity works (and sometimes doesn’t) and what a difference that can make in people’s lives. It can make creating and developing scripts, products, artworks and performances easier and more authentic, it can help you self-market with more joy and better results. It can even effect your parenting and leadership.
- New Normal: I’m not there yet. I’m just beginning to create my new normal, where, yes, I can continue to discover, but I’m ready to share the magic elixir.
TADA! I’ve been to the Extraordinary World, and I’m just now coming back to Ordinary World, somewhat changed, and hopeful. Creativity is my magic elixir. I’m a lifelong student of creativity, because understanding the creative process, product, personality and pressures has brought me great strength and great power to use my own creativity better, with more satisfaction and impact. My training is broad and unique – able to bring others the help they need to find greater self-knowledge about their own creativity and process.
Want some Magic Elixir? I’m so happy to give you some. Going forward, I’m specializing my coaching practice on creativity. I help people reignite and market their own creativity. If you would like to read more about it, click here and enter your email address to get my freebie. It’s a good start. I hope to help you learn more about yourself, your creative process and help you find your new normal.