The first step on the path to living a”successful” life is to identify and follow your dreams. Yes, I put quotes around success because success means different things to different people. For one person it means having a lot of money, a nice car, dream vacations, for another it means being able to help others and having a standard of living that allows them to do this in comfort. So, it can mean many different things. What’s important is what it means to you. Not what society or other people tell you it should be, but what you, in your heart of hearts value. Having and working towards those values, those dreams, those aspirations are what will make you successful and what will allow you to remain true to your core, your inner self and act with integrity and congruence.
There are always obstacles to the achievement of your dreams. In fact, that’s the Hero’s Journey as so aptly described by the great mythologist Joseph Campbell. The hero or heroine must overcome many obstacles, grow and change, before successfully completing their quest and is ultimately changed by the experience. Think about books or movies, or sports figures, or your own journey, isn’t this true? That the path to greatness has obstacles and that you learn and grow in order to meet and overcome those obstacles? Consider the movies Star Wars or The Matrix, or choose your own movie or show. The heroes followed this process. When I was the Incident Commander leading a team in my community to stop a suicide contagion, an effort that was later recognized as a national best practice, there were huge obstacles and a great deal of pain and suffering before we were able to stop the contagion. So, the hero’s journey looks like this:
- Initial confusion or uncertainty
- Confrontation by dark forces / obstacles / challenges
- Difficulty seeing the light / purpose and vision for the future
- Often having or finding a wise mentor
- Seeking inward for strength
- Moment(s) of clarity
- Returning to the correct path or using the right strategy
- Overcoming obstacles through endurance and skill
- Successfully completing the quest
How is your life a hero’s journey? How does this help you in overcoming obstacles?
We all have the seeds of the hero within us even if we don’t feel this way. We have the seeds of greatness. Nurture those seeds, water them, protect them, grow them. Think about how you can do this and take action.