As the years go on, it’s possible to feel stuck or lost along the way. This is where a career transition roadmap can really be helpful. In fact, you can even take inspiration from The Hero’s Journey, a classic narrative structure that’s been used in various movies, books, and ancient myths. In this article, we’ll walk through each of the stages and how to apply them to your career.
Act I: The Ordinary World
The Ordinary World
This is the hero’s comfort zone, where they’re oblivious to all of the adventures they could go on.
Most people start out in this stage, working in jobs that don’t bring them any excitement or meaning. At this point, you may feel a desire to do something because of the disconnect between who you are and where you want to be.
The Call to Adventure
The hero encounters a life-changing event that disrupts their everyday life. They are then presented with a quest that they must complete, which necessitates venturing into the unknown.
Your call to adventure may be the threat of losing your job, the economy tanking, or your life partner needing to relocate for work. It could also be as simple as feeling like you’re not living up to your full potential.
Refusal of the Call
The hero refuses to accept the quest due to their personal fears or self-doubt.
In terms of career transitions, this is when you don’t feel ready to take the leap. As a result, you may come up with excuses, such as not having enough time, money, or confidence to pursue your dream job.
Meeting with the Mentor
Here, the hero crosses paths with a mentor who provides advice or inspiration to help with the journey.
In most cases, your mentor is someone that you look up to who guides you toward making sound career decisions. They could also come in the form of a spiritual life coach who can provide you with concrete insights and moral support.
Crossing the Threshold
The hero accepts the quest, leaving the Ordinary World and stepping into the Unknown. This is when you’ve set out to pursue your dream career.
Act II: The Special World
Test, Allies, and Enemies
The hero encounters several tests to overcome. Additionally, they must determine who they can and cannot trust along the way.
When it comes to your career, these setbacks can come in various forms. They may be financial struggles, conflicts with peers and co-workers, or skills you have yet to learn. You’ll also learn which connections are worth nurturing and which to let go.
The hero and his allies prepare to face a major challenge in the Unknown.
As you make your way toward your biggest test yet, your initial doubts and fears may resurface. This is usually the point when you need to reflect on your journey so far and on what lies ahead. By reminding yourself of your why, you’ll find the courage to keep going.
The hero faces their greatest fear, putting everything on the line to survive.
These are major life events that often have devastating consequences. But overcoming these ordeals allow you to be reborn, discovering your new self after you do everything in your power to succeed.
Having faced death, the hero is transformed into a stronger person and receives a ‘treasure’.
Your ‘treasure’ may come in the form of the wisdom and perspective you’ve gained through the years. It may also be a sense of meaning or a more solid personal identity.
Act III: (Return to) The Ordinary World
The Road Back
The hero must venture home with the reward to complete the adventure.
In your case, the challenge may be holding onto your new insights and integrating them into your daily life. You may also have to learn how to reconcile your reborn identity with your current circumstances.
Right before reaching home, the hero must overcome their final and most dangerous test yet, resolving the conflicts from the beginning of the journey.
Career transitions often entail internal and external resistance. You may grieve for your previous identity, resisting change as a result. But learning to accept and let go of who you used to be is essential to moving on with the next stage of your life.
Return with the ‘Elixir’
Finally, the hero returns home to the Ordinary World as a changed person. The ‘elixir’ can represent change, success, or proof of the journey they embarked on.
Once you’ve reached this stage, you’ve discovered and fulfilled your purpose in life. You’re able to bring the best version of yourself forward, helping others with your talents and skills.
When you view your career through the lens of the Hero’s Journey, you’ll come to understand that all of the setbacks were essential to your growth and development. Indeed, the fact that you overcame them is already proof that you’ve succeeded in your own way.