phoenix alchemy

The Hero’s Journey as a Model

While the idea of the Hero’s Journey might seem unfamiliar to many people, it is actually a recurring theme which appears throughout human history from the earliest literature through to the present day. The Hero’s Journey is a commonly used framework which underpins many well known stories such as the Harry Potter series as well as Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies.

These notes give an outline of how the stages of the hero’s journey are used to help clients to develop their approach to an important goal that they are striving towards. During workshops, movie scenes are used to illustrate the essence of the individual stages of the hero’s journey and thereby help participants to engage with each stage.

Stage 1: The Ordinary World

This stage is about each participant taking stock of their current circumstances. This will include looking at significant influences and learning that you have had in your life so far as well as considering change that you would like to make in some area of your life. This stage is just about recognising and acknowledging so that participants have a clear sense of the point from which they are seeking to embark on their own individual heroic journeys.

Stage 2: The Call to Adventure

This is the stage at which each participant asks “what is my call to adventure?” This is about the direction that you would most like to go. Participants may choose to consider this question in relation to a leadership role in work, in the community, in their family or indeed in relation to an overarching goal that they have in their lives. At this stage, you cast aside thoughts of limitation and tune into what it is that truly engages and enthuses you.

Stage 3: Refusing the Call

In the classic hero’s journey it is recognised that initially, the hero often refuses the call to adventure. This can be for a variety of reasons. This stage will give participants a chance to reflect on what it is that holds them back from pursuing their own calls to adventure.

Stage 4: Meeting Helpers, Guides & Mentors

The hero’s journey includes the acknowledgement that the hero requires some sort of support along the way. Thus in this stage, participants will look at the network of relationships that they have in their lives and how these relationships can provide them with a good mix of support, challenge and inspiration.

Stage 5: Crossing the Threshold

This is a key moment in that now the hero is ready to cross the threshold and set off to answer the call to adventure. As the saying goes – “the moment one commits, providence moves too”! Thus this stage is about moving beyond doubt and committing to the journey.

Stage 6: Trail of Trials & Helpers

Having committed yourself and crossed the threshold, this is about the challenges to be faced and the help required along the way.

Stage 7: The Reward

Along the hero’s journey, the hero strives towards a particular reward. Thus at this stage, the participants will visualise themselves attaining that reward.

Stage 8: Returning with the Elixir

The hero’s journey is rounded off with the hero returning to the world from which he/she set off. This stage is about the difference that the hero can make to those around them. Thus this stage might involve consideration of work colleagues or direct reports, family members or members of your community or indeed all of these groups. This will be for each participant to decide depending on the nature of the call to adventure that they have been working on during the workshop.

Interested in talking further about this approach?

This format can also be adapted for a range of uses including management team sessions, change management work and community group work. Please contact us if you'd like to find out more about The Hero's Journey.