You are ambitious and have big dreams. You also have a big heart. You’re smart - not just intellectually but from lived experience. Some of you are more introverted, others of you are more extraverted, but you all have a fire inside that can (and has) moved mountains. You never stop at what is, but instead, go for what could be. You are the one who has to say something; who must go for it; and who can’t help but act when called to do so. You are a passionate seeker and you’ve got a mission, whether you know what it is or not.
You’ve been like this ever since you can remember.
The outside world believes that you do what you set your mind to and because you have the heart, smarts and will to succeed – you often do. But on the inside, you put so much pressure on yourself to perform, that you struggle to keep it together, making the journey toward your dreams less fulfilling and harder to achieve.
You may confuse big dreams and overthinking with the doing of those dreams, making it impossible to actually start. Or, you may have no problem starting, but become overwhelmed and lose focus, making it hard to complete. Or, you start strong and stay focused, but lose touch with the big picture along the way, feeling more burdened by your dream than joy and fulfillment.
You already know this about yourself: That you are the type of person who must follow your dreams and aspirations. You may even know that the thing that drives you forward can become the thing that holds you back. The drive that earns you that impossible-to-get new job, can become the drive that punishes you for not getting a promotion the following year. The passion that fuels the launch of a visionary project, can become the passion that turns you into an authoritarian leader.
But what you may not realize is that you don’t have to push yourself so hard to succeed. You don’t have to go through hell to achieve your dreams and ambitions.
There is another way.
This site provides inspiration and resources for wherever you may be in your journey. Information is organized according to the three main phases of the heroes journey as conceived by the late Joseph Campbell. Considered the world’s authority of the hero archtype, Campbell described the heroes journey in three phases:
I. Departure/Separation from ordinary life (eg., Adventure)
II. Initiation/Trials along the way (eg., Communication & Creativity)
III. Return from the adventure back to ordinary life (eg., Beginning & Ending)
Each phase has different challenges that call upon a variety of strengths. But so to, does each phase trigger fears and insecurities. Phase I, for example, brings questions of Where to begin? When to start? How to find the resources? Phase II, has questions about How to overcome obstacles? Who to ask for support? How to persevere? In Phase III, questions might be, What does all of this mean? How best to share what’s been discovered? What to do next?
Under Inspiration, you'll find stories that explore different aspects of starting, persevering and returning. They include anecdotes of what’s worked but also what hasn’t worked. The category of Adventure corresponds with Campbell’s Stage I Departure. The categories of Communication and Creativity correspond with Stage II Initiation. And the category Beginning and Ending corresponds with Stage III Return.
Under Resources, you'll find ways to try on and experiment ideas related to each of the three phases in Campbell’s heroes journey.
And finally, in the section Heroes Among Us, I share stories and interviews of amazing human beings who are making a difference in big and small ways all around the world.
When I was young I learned how to overcome fear and insecurity by going on adventures and trying things that were new and unfamiliar. After a while I learned to associate going for my dreams with difficulty and struggle. (It didn’t help that my dad’s British based authoritarianism and mom’s struggling-artist approach was already in my blood and upbringing).
By the time I was a young adult, the thought of someone achieving their goals without suffering or hardship was not only totally foreign to me, it pissed me off! In my mind, such people were not to be trusted. I judged them. Worse still, I couldn’t imagine achieving my goals with ease. In fact, I didn't know how. I had spent years doing things the hard way.
At the same time, I experienced plenty of joy, I was no stranger to lightness, I loved and was loved, I felt connected and recognized connection even if it illuded me at times.
This taste of two opposing realities inside, while unbearable as a child, and confusing as a teenager, gave me a certain kind of strength as a young adult. This strength gave me the courage to challenge my certainties – the ones that had outlived their usefulness. (eg., I have to prove I'm perfect to be loved; failure isn’t an option; if you cry or don’t know something you’re weak).
It may sound strange but I overcame my all-or-nothing/do-or-die approach to goal acheivment and following my dreams, by learning how to rebel against these long-held but outdated certainties.
Stranger still, the more I rebelled against these certainties, the easier it became to listen to the voice inside. The real voice inside. Not the one of my parents or my friends and enemies or even society. And the more I did this, the more I could connect with what I really wanted, no matter the situation.
It's because of this that I believe that success is measured by one's abilty to understand things from a heart perspective and to then be able to do what that understanding demands.
You can learn more about me including my manifesto and credentials here.
But in today’s loud world with the constant push to be the best, the strongest, the most at anything (eg., the most artistic, the most innovative, the most successful, even the most self-sacrificing, and the most self-ritious qualify), it’s increasingly difficult to protect this quality of listening and being, instead of falling prey to proving and over-doing.
But what do we call a person who has the courage to go for their dreams and in doing so, make the world a happier place? The terms Hero or Heroine won’t do because they are too strongly associated with war and the attitude of winner-takes-all. And any kind of humanity-centric meaning that’s survived has been trampled by consumers running to purchase and watch Marvel Comics’ interpretation of heroes as super-humans with otherworldly strengths.
History shows that true heroes fly under the radar – they are not the flashy, sexy, gun-toting, take-no-prisoners, all good/all bad – kind of hero (or anti-hero) portrayed by the military or in movies. They care less about whether the world acknowledges them for doing great things. They care more about doing good enough things – large and small.
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