The Relevance of The Hero’s Journey

Many ancient and indigenous cultures used mythology and stories to inform their people about life and meaning. The 20th century scholar, Joseph Campbell, spent his lifetime studying these stories and myths and posited that we need to know them and to create our own. Campbell called the structure of  these myths and stories The Hero’s Journey. He said that each of us is a hero and we are all meant to take this journey to self-realization. The stages of the hero’s journey include: the ordinary world, a call to adventure, refusal of the call, acceptance of the call, tests, allies and enemies, the supreme ordeal and return to the ordinary world. (Think: The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and hero-centered video games.)

You may ask, “What does this have to do with managing?” Your strength as a manager and leader correlates directly with your self-knowledge and awareness. Your unique talents and gifts are meant to be found and shared in the world. To find them, you embark on the hero’s journey.

Since learning of Campbell’s work, I see the hero’s journey as a powerful reference point in each of our lives. It contains the elements of: the unknown, mentors, each person having a unique purpose, challenges and difficulties and the opportunity to bring our gifts to the world. Are you the hero of your life?

photo: Antonio Veraldi,