As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to lose sight of your role as the hero in your story. You get bogged down in client expectations, busy schedules, and deadlines to the point that you forget that only you have full control over your business. You hold the power to set expectations, establish boundaries, accept or decline new opportunities, and structure your business however it works for you.
The idea of the hero’s journey is a tale as old as time, with origins in ancient stories like Beowulf and The Odyssey. However, it’s just as prevalent today in movies, TV, and literature. Every story needs a hero for the audience to cheer on—and, in your business, that hero is you!
While there are several iterations of the hero’s journey, it generally falls into three stages:
- Departure: The hero is spurred into action and prepares to start their quest.
- Initiation: The hero is faced with challenges that get increasingly more difficult, and they must find a solution to get closer to their goal.
- Return: The hero accomplishes their goal and returns home with the answers they set out for initially.
This might seem like an obvious structure for stories like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and even your favorite Netflix series. But, how does it apply to your business?
As the hero in your brand narrative, your “quest” is business growth—however, it fits into your goals, be it increased revenue, more partnerships, or a larger support team. You depart on your journey to reach these goals, but naturally, it can’t happen overnight!
Take note that the hero always returns home with the answer at the end of the story. You may face challenges along the way, but if you commit to overcoming them as a hero does, you will reach the goal you’ve set for yourself.
Now, there will be villains along the way. But, unlike a typical story, it usually isn’t a person out to get you, but rather the ways that we hold ourselves back in business. Here are a few common pitfalls that may arise in each stage:
Departure: You refuse the call to action. You decide it’s not worth your time or that you’re “not ready” for it. You decide not to take the first step towards the future you dream about for your business.
Initiation: You don’t find the right mentor. Think about it: Luke had Obi-Wan, Harry had Dumbledore, and Frodo had Gandalf. The only way to find your guide is to put yourself out there and be open about what you want in business and life.
Return: You lose the answers on the way home. Maybe not physically, but you don’t take the extra step to apply the lessons you’ve learned to your business. You know what needs to happen, but you don’t take the time to do it, so you remain in stagnancy.
Overcoming your inner villains is hard work, but it’s worth it to build a business that you are proud to share! If you’re ready to get unstuck, try one or two of these exercises to open up your mind and make the mental shifts you need to find success.
Writing is a powerful tool for unlocking the untouched corners of your mind, as it pairs mental and physical activities that help us to process emotions, cultivate creativity, and commit ideas to memory. I recommend trying two forms of writing: journal prompts and free-form writing.
While journal prompts allow you to dig into a specific topic with intention and purpose, free-form writing allows you to clear out the clutter in your mind and free up your mental energy for more impactful uses. All you have to do is let your thoughts flow out of your pen and feel the ease of letting go.
Here are a few journal prompts to start:
- What would my life and business look like if I had already removed the main obstacle keeping me from my personal and professional goals?
- If I had all the money in the world, what would I do? How would I live?
- What are the things left unsaid that I haven’t felt the freedom to express in the open?
- When I pass from this body, what do I want to be included in my obituary?
A daily journaling practice can help you get closer to your goals by turning your lofty ideas into real, actionable words on paper. How will you bring them to life?
A lot of entrepreneurs hold themselves to unrealistic expectations. When they inevitably don’t measure up to them, it can ding their confidence and make them feel unworthy. But those feelings don’t help anyone!
If you want to move forward in your business, you need to let go of the grudges you hold against yourself from the past. Forget about the missed opportunities, the clients you let down, and the moments you were not at your best. Instead, forgive yourself for self-judgment and the words you’ve told yourself in frustration. This exercise makes for a powerful meditation session.
You have everything you need to succeed. But, before you can tune into your inner wisdom, you have to release the pent-up emotions and baggage you carry throughout your business. Freedom comes from forgiveness.
Goal Setting for Abundance
You may have previously worked through some goal-setting activities, but I encourage you to revisit it with more intention this time. It’s not just about writing down some idealistic numbers on a sticky note and putting it in your office.
Set aside some time to review your goals, breaking down each into the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. Do you need to grow your email list? Increase your pricing? Book more clients per month? Get crystal clear on how you will get to your destination.
Then, sit with those goals and think about how it will feel to accomplish each of them. Feel it within—the excitement of hitting your revenue goals or the pride that comes with a social media strategy that sells.
Write down those feelings next to each goal, describing them as best as possible. For example, “safe, secure, and fulfilled” is more meaningful than “happy, good.” Get to the core of your emotions and use those deep feelings to drive you towards your goals.
A successful hero’s journey is within reach for everyone, but it requires you to be intentional about your experience. You can’t skate through life and business and expect everything to fall into place. Instead, be open to learning lessons along the way and always remember to appreciate where you’ve come from.
If the only thing holding you back from progressing through your hero’s journey is your own mindset, the good news is that YOU have the power to change the narrative.