002. Be the protagonist of your life!
The Hero’s Journey and You
In storytelling, there is a structure known as the Hero’s Journey.
Many of your favorite stories follow this structure!
The call to adventure is what kickstarts the story.
Harry receives a letter in the mail
Odysseus is asked to fight the Trojans
Luke finds that hologram thingy from Leia
The Hero’s Journey can also be mapped onto moments of growth and change in your life.
My call to adventure was during the pandemic, when I yearned to work on creative projects again. The seeds of doubt about my career were planted.
You’ll notice on the Hero’s Journey diagram that after the call is the refusal of the call.
Harry doesn’t believe he’s a wizard
Odysseus wants to stay with his family
Luke rejects Obi-Wan because he loves his farm chores (can you tell I haven’t actually watched Star Wars?)
For those who are thinking about quitting their jobs, Paul Millerd calls this The Last Stand.
I took a Last Stand.
I convinced myself that I was just tired of my current role.
But maybe – just maybe! – if I shifted to a different part of the company, I could make it work!
I transferred from software engineering to analytics.
I still quit a few months later.
Why does this refusal happen?
Because the status quo is safe!
For me, my known “stuck”-ness was more comfortable than the unknown risks that come with trying and potentially failing at something new.
The status quo left open the alternate universe where “I could do it if I tried”.
It’s easy to vent and complain about being stuck.
It even feels good!
…you know all of those hells you cast yourself into all the time?
Maybe you kind of like them, in a perverse way.
Maybe falling apart, or falling short, or disappointing yourself nourishes some dark part of you.1
But who wants to watch a movie where Harry stays under the stairs for the rest of his life?
In the next post, I’ll talk about some strategies that helped me finally take the leap.
Hopefully they’ll accelerate any refusals in your own life so you can get to the good stuff!
A ship in harbor is safe.
But that is not what ships are built for.
Until next time!
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