Maybe you’re ready for a career change, or you’ve been turned down for a promotion, or you feel stuck in a dead-end job. Whatever the cause, “BAM!” you’ve hit a wall. It’s a mid-career crisis.
It’s relatively common: It may be a mid-life thing, but it can happen early on, and it also strikes toward the end of one’s career. In that moment of stuckness, we are faced with three choices: go back, stand still and stagnate, or jump ahead to an uncertain future.
Welcome to the hero’s journey, a story which has been told and retold in many different ways in every culture throughout the world. Joseph Campbell wrote about this phenomenon in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he examines mythic figures such as Jonah, Odysseus, and King Arthur.
The hero’s journey begins with a call or a problem that we can’t ignore, but which requires we discard outmoded ways of being. To learn what we need to answer the call, we risk facing unknown challenges.
To refuse the hero’s call is to stagnate and die. To move forward we must change–but we don’t know exactly how. The hero engages in the serious work of self-assessment, reflection, and painful exploration of his insufficiencies and failings.
To undertake the hero’s journey is to question everything, but particularly one’s self. How can we accept ourselves in spite of our doubts and insecurities? How do we gain confidence to lead others knowing our weaknesses? The hero faces self-discovery with brutal honesty to become more authentic and real.
These questions are worth contemplating, even more so with a coach or mentor. That’s something I might be able to help you with. Contact me and let’s talk about how coaching can help you.
But wait, before you go, tell us about your “hero’s journey”. What worked for you? What can you recommend to your fellow readers? Leave a comment below.
Author: Cathy Shaughnessy
Cathy Shaughnessy is a PRISM award winning ICF Master Certified Coach and author of the book series The Really Competent Coach. Cathy coaches senior leaders, mentors credentialed coaches, trains fledgling coaches and helps organizations build strong coaching cultures.
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