Why the Hero’s Journey is Never Easy
“Why can’t life just be easy?” I said to my mom. “I oftentimes feel like I keep coming up against the same wall, slamming into it, and then running further back so I can get a better chance to scale over the dang thing.”
“Well at least you know the walls you want to leap over, some people don’t even have that.”
Her words weren’t comforting. It seemed that no matter how many hours I put into my new company, or how many attempts I made to create a brand and a community where people could have a safe space to find the support and knowledge to achieve their dreams, I was constantly hitting a wall.
At one point I spoke with an attorney about financial problems, and she said, “Most people hit this because of overspending, you just had a run of people you couldn’t trust, and some bad luck.”
I wasn’t someone you’d ever call unlucky. In fact most people believe that when I was born I was given an extra magic wand that allowed me to call up anything at any time. This felt true, for most of the goals and experiences I achieved while I followed my list of 101 dreams.
While I was going after my list, people would email me offering their homes if I would do one of my dreams with them, because they too had the dream and didn’t have the courage to do it alone.
I’d meet strangers who somehow did the activity I was looking to try and offered to bring me along. All I needed to do to make my dreams come true, well except writing a novel, was to be open to it coming to me.
Then I chose to build a company.
Building a business has been the hardest challenge of my life. There have been more times than I care to admit that I’ve wanted to quit. Bankruptcy fear has been a constant on my mind while I’ve tried to cover all the overhead and mistakes, along with what the lawyer called “bad luck” that has followed me on this journey.
Without the company, my personal finances were always in perfect order as I aligned them with my dreams and built my net worth. Then I started the business and even advisors explained that debt was part of the game plan.
There are days when I can see the entire vision, and as I get lost in the dream, I feel that there’s no way that I can quit. There has to be a reason I’ve taken this path.
Then there are the days when I realize, that if I traded all the hours I’ve worked in the past three years and had simply worked at Starbucks or driven Uber, I would’ve had less stress, enjoyed life more, and also would‘ve been financially solvent.
At times when I felt my lowest, wondering if I could keep going, I get reminded of the hero’s journey.
In every epic novel or movie, the hero is a regular person, living a regular life. For the most part they are satisfied with where they are. Then something happens, and their easy life is disrupted — usually by tragedy or the need to help someone else.
Once the hero takes the journey, they begin to see their weaknesses. Everything they encounter makes them want to turn around, to seek refuge in the past. They battle injuries, failure, and lack of strength.
As we watch the hero’s journey on television or follow it in books, we believe in the hero even though they don’t believe in themselves. We sit at the edge of our seat, our hearts fully on the journey with them, as we see them fail so hard it seems all is lost, and we wait wondering how they will rise.
I have to say, there are times when I felt this way — out of energy, out of money, out of strength, and wondering why I’m once again, standing up after hitting that wall, and backing up even further to see if I can run fast enough, jump high enough to scale the wall this time.
Through it all, every time I’ve wanted to quit, an elixir it seems, another piece in the puzzle of making it work, comes to me, as if I were on a treasure hunt for all the parts I need.
Maybe this is why whenever we start something new, we have to take the hero’s journey. There’s a process that builds us, that teaches us the knowledge we need, that shows us our strength and even our weaknesses, so that we can grow. We find out what we are made of, as we build our wings to soar.
Without the hero’s journey — the failures and the struggles — we can’t become the person who’s inside, and find the path that will lead us maybe even not to success, but to a better understanding of ourselves.