Where are you in your heroic journey?
We are who we are today because of our many years and experiences. Our journey might not have been particularly easy, but it has been an adventure. Our adventure continues.
Our setbacks and even failures have given us opportunities to develop grit, resilience, and tenacity. Encountering difficulty and learning to cope with whatever has been presented in our life has made us stronger and more masterful.
In the language of emotional intelligence, we have developed a strong foundation of self-regard that underpins our journey toward self-actualization. We never quite get there, but our ability to realize our potential capabilities and capacity nourishes optimism, joy, and the awe-some-ness of our journey.
If you reflect on your journey as your own hero1, you will recognize that it all began with a moment of insight you could not ignore. Or, perhaps, you needed a few nudges. This insight was a calling that prodded you further to put aside outmoded ways of being and face unknown challenges.
Can you remember that moment of insight?
To move forward into the unknown, the hero questions everything, including self.
At the core of your heroic journey is your acceptance of your true self. Acceptance comes through self-assessment, reflection, and oftentimes painful exploration of insufficiencies and deficiencies. Acceptance of your true self requires brutal honesty and a strong foundation of self-regard.
Self-Regard is the ability to respect and accept yourself – essentially liking the way you are. – The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success2
You like yourself “warts and all”. Respecting yourself fosters self-trust. Accepting yourself fosters self-love. The combination is a strong force for your commitment to make decisions that are in your own best interest. Thus, a healthy journey of resilience and well-being.
If you don’t recall any moments of insight followed by uncomfortable self-awareness and inquiry, you might think that you haven’t begun your journey. Know that denial can only last so long, retreat to the past is not an option, and stagnation leads to decay – eventually death. There is a better choice. Rather than struggling through resistance, you can be liberated by taking one step forward. And, then another.
Your Heroic Journey Guidebook
Your heroic journey doesn’t have a destination, per se. However, your steps forward toward self-actualization require careful attention, focus, and even vigilance to assess where you are and how to become your “best self”.
In The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights (Wiley, 2020)3, Doug Conant shares that many leaders (personal and professional) are blocked from embarking on their heroic journey because they are not living their own story.
“Your life story is your leadership story.” – Doug Conant
In their attempt to fulfill the expectations of the outside world, they “fail to reconcile the inside world, and remain stuck.”
To liberate your heroic journey, I encourage you to create what Doug Conant refers to an entourage of excellence4 to uncover your individual leadership stories (personal and professional) and bring those stories to life.
To get started, Conant suggests three steps:
Write your entire life story.
- Write by hand, rather than type to give you a better understanding of what you are writing
- If needed, start with a chronological outline. Then add in the minutiae: all the intricate details you can recall.
- Provide context. For example, what is your birth order, where were you born, what major events—near or far—were taking place, etc. When I add context to my story, I can “see” exactly how my sense of self came into being. This step provides validation of who you are and what’s your story.
Identify your points of light. These are the people who influenced in your life.
- What were/are their standards for you?
- How did they demonstrate care and affection for you?
- How do you practise or model this for others?
Reflect and connect.
- Explore your life story. Consider who and where you are at this moment.
- Then, ask yourself: “Am I living my story or a story someone else expects?”
- Inhabit your story heroically. Be a part of the story and not just a footnote.
Writing out your life story allows you to reflect deeply and lay the groundwork for intentionally envisioning, planning, and practising your heroic journey.
Where are you in your heroic journey? Please do share your story here at Amintro. Your story will add to the growing optimistic approach to disruption, transition, and being awesome at any age.
- Hero’s Journey – Wikipedia
- The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D.
- The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights (Wiley, 2020), Doug Conant with Amy Federman
- Entourage of ExcellenceTM– How to Build Your Leadership Entourage, ConantLeadership
Written by Patricia A. Muir, Maestro Quality Inc., THRIVE
Patricia’s signature program “THRIVE After 60” validates women’s choices and amplifies their voices as they remain professionally active after 60 and beyond. Visit her website at https://www.patriciamuir.com/
“Written by Patricia A. Muir, PCC. In my role as principal consultant and coach at Maestro Quality Inc. and founder of THRIVE Coaching Programs, I have worked with women entrepreneurs, executives, and highly skilled professionals who continue to enjoy their work after 60.”