When we think of Leadership and Leadership Development, it is rare to think of a leader as a hero, particularly, in contemporary times.
Unfortunately, the leaders we see are often the anti-hero; men and women who lack the real characteristics–and character–that our world so desperately needs.
While it’s easy to be an anti-hero, becoming a true hero is a more challenging path.
The great writer and visionary Joseph Campbell outlined the journey we must take if we are to become heroes in his classic work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
I can hear you already saying “So what? What does that have to do with me?”
I’ll tell you what it has to do with you… and with all of us.
As I just stated Leadership (generally speaking is in a sad state). Only those who have embraced the hero’s journey will become the new face of leadership.
Let me explain. In his, work Campbell describes the many stages one must pass through on the “heroic journey.”
The hero usually starts off as an ordinary human being, living in his or her ordinary world; playing the role they were given by those in authority. This future hero/heroine often refuses to believe they are directed by anyone other than themselves. But then their ordinary world is shaken. Something catalytic, oftentimes tragic, happens to our future hero/heroine. This world-rocking event may come from some outside event or it may happen inside of themselves, but however it comes, it’s a major game changer.
This event becomes “the call” to enter an adventure into the none-ordinary world, where the heroine/hero will have to question everything they held “real.”
This is the call to a deep adventure that only those with the willingness to embrace the child-like and expansive trait of curiosity can take.
If the heroine/hero accepts the call to enter a new, strange reality, they must face a series of tasks and tests. At times it will be important for our adventurer to face these tests alone. Other times there may have assistance. But they will have to face the challenges one way or the other. Before the trials are over, the adventurer will doubt their capability and sorely miss the place they came from. They will long to go back to their ordinary world, the world they left behind.
At the most intense parts of the journey, the hero/heroine will be stripped naked of all their armor and, as a result, be forced to examine their most fundamental truths (beliefs) about who they are,
the purpose of their life, and the world they have lived in. It is in this moment that the hero/heroine will most likely perceive that their very life is threatened. This often elicits the most basic elements of our adventurer. (At this point, they will likely have a breakdown that precedes the breakthrough our hero/heroine needs.)
If the adventurer survives, (does not turn away and runs back to the familiar), she or he is gifted a great prize. This often results in the discovery of important and previously unknown knowledge and self-knowledge.
Now the heroine/hero must decide whether to return with the prize to the world/reality from which they came. Returning will in and of itself be fraught with new challenges, all of which will give the adventurer the opportunity to deny what has happened and thus throw away the prize and reject the knowledge and self-knowledge they have been given.
However, if the heroine/hero is successful in returning to the ordinary world, the prize and self-knowledge may be used to improve the world from which she or he came.
What’s fascinating to realize is that a real “hero’s journey” isn’t undertaken to gain external accolades (even though they are most often a wonderful by-product), but rather for something far more rewarding…
The new leaders of the world, whether in business, community, country or the world are hearing the call to enter into the hero/heroine’s journey.
Those who have embraced this journey are already beginning to change the face of business.
As difficult as it may sometimes seem, these new leaders will hold true to the path, knowing that real treasure is always hidden in the darkest place. It is in this dark place, the place you inherently fear to go in case you never come back, that everything that will give your life and your organization meaning awaits.
I know this to be true because I am a fellow traveler of this path.
I have journeyed there; I have faced the dragon that can not be slain, but merely tamed. I have also had the honor of guiding many others on their own heroic journey.
Why should you undertake such a journey if you have all you want if you have many things that others envy?
Because somewhere within you, you know that “everything” just isn’t enough.
You know deep inside that you must enter the path that is the hero/heroine’s journey in order for your life to have the deep meaning you wanted it to have. And you realize you must do this because intuitively you know that if you don’t, you will end up living a life without true importance, without true purpose, without true fulfillment.
Remember, a Full Monty, Authentic Leader is not without fear. However, the full Monty Leader’s vision is always going to be greater than his or her fear.
So it comes down to this: You will become the hero of your own life the moment you can own that in any way at all, you have been playing the victim of it.
Do you have the courage to be a Full Monty leader, to go in and claim that treasure on your own heroic journey?
To find out more about becoming a Full Monty Leader and building a Fiercely Loyal Army of Full Monty Leaders in your organization, go here NOW: http://FullMontyLeadership.com
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