Calling all the Heroes

We all have dreams but sometimes the things that we wish to gain in our dreams are the things which we first need to lose completely.

What do I mean? Let me give an example.

A woman finds she is spending so much time at work and has not the time for her children.  On top of this, her work leaves her so tired that all she wants to do when she comes home is to relax.  She has no energy to spend quality time with them and is often too exhausted to even read them a bed-time story.  She knows that she can make just as much money (if not more) if she opens her own business.  Opening her own business will allow her to work when she chooses and the rest of her time she can spend with her children.

Of course, opening your own business doesn’t immediately mean your time is your own – in fact being a business owner usually means putting in many hours over many years. So, initially, this will mean the woman spends even less time with her children.  She won’t only be too tired to read them a bed-time story, she won’t even be there! With her business taking all her time, she won’t even get home until after the children have gone to bed.

After a few years of much work – and if all goes well – she will be earning the same money as before but with less hours and, thus, the chance to be with her children.

The Risk and the Trade-Off

In this scenario – and most others – there is a risk and there is a trade off! We have to give something up to get to what we really want and we have to risk what we have now in order to gain more.  More often than not, that which we have to risk and that which we have to give up completely is the very same thing; the very reason we do anything in the first place!

Often though, we don’t want to risk and we don’t want to give anything up.  We don’t want it to be this way. Our dreams are of becoming rich overnight with very little work, even less risk, and no trade off.  We want to have it all, right here, right now!

Is that laziness or greed? I don’t think so.  I think the culprit is more likely to be fear. We are frightened that we will completely lose the thing we are risking, or that by giving it up we will never get back even the little that we had!

Our fantasies are the end result and we want to be there without making the journey to get there because we are afraid of suffering, loss and of failure. And, sometimes, we are afraid that our dream won’t actually be the way we dream it to be.

So we are stuck at where we are, scared of making the journey.

However, it isn’t as hopeless as it may seem.

Our Fantastic Fantasies

If we look at our fantasies and the tales which capture our imagination throughout time, we will see that in some of the most well-know stories we really get swept along with the plot; actually believing ourselves to be the hero.

It is the story and the adventure that really grabs us and not the ending (although that should be good too!).

Story-lines almost always follow standard plots, usually with a quest to be overcome. A typical plot line has been dubbed ‘The Hero’s Journey’.  Jason and the Argonauts and Lord of the Rings are just two classic examples.  If we rely on our inner selves, the part of us we see when we read our favourite fantasies, we can see who we really are.  Who we really want ourselves to become.

Our fantasies are fantastic at showing us the way/

The Hero’s Journey

Let’s look at the stages of The Hero’s Journey and contrast them to our business woman and ultimately to us!

1)      The hero is uncomfortable about something which causes them or those they love considerable stress – she doesn’t spend time with her children.

2)      Something shakes up this feeling – possible the sadness in her children’s eyes when she says “Mummy’s too tired to read tonight” or the fact that she is undervalued at work – or both!

3)      The hero refuses the call – the woman is scared of leaving her job and the time it will take away from her children.

And that’s where most of us end it! This is our ‘stuck’ stage.  Doesn’t make much of a story does it?  Can’t see this capturing people’s imagination or making a hero out of anyone!

So what would happen if we carried on…

4)      The hero meets with a Mentor – Let’s assume the woman is invited to a party and has a chance meeting with Bob Geldof.  He tells her all about the obstacles to achieving Band Aid and how he overcame them.  The woman now feels that her business idea is a much less difficult task.

5)      The hero searches for inner courage…  and finds it – our woman begins her business.

It’s looking better already isn’t it?

What next?

6)      The hero meets allies and enemies – the woman finds that some of her old friends find her a threat and, thus, she loses old friendships.  However, marketing her business takes her into new arenas where she meets new friends.

7)      The hero and friends prepare for the major challenge – someone in the woman’s new network of allies give her an unexpected introduction to a major new client.

8)      The hero faces their worst fears – to be able to deal with the new client means that the woman will need to travel more and so be away from home and rarely see her children.  She agonises over this but has come too far now and accepts the client anyway.

9)      The hero gains their reward – the woman travels to and from the client and makes a lot of money.  She moves the children to a better home and a better school – but still doesn’t see them.

10)  The chase scene – the client wants the woman to catch a plane in order to complete an important deal the same day as her son receives an award.  The woman tries to do both.  She runs from one thing to another but if she is going to make the plane she will miss the award ceremony.  The taxi is at the door waiting to take her to the airport…

11)   The resurrection – the woman decides her children are the most important thing.  She tells the driver to take her to the ceremony and not the airport.  She loses the deal but remains a hero in her children’s eyes.

12)   The return home with the prize – in deciding to remain small the woman re-focuses her business and creates a niche.  This niche means she now has a steady stream of smaller clients all close to home.  The closeness to home creates her a long-term sustainable client-base that brings in enough money to keep them all happy, but gives her plenty of time to spend with her children… and her grandchildren..

She then writes a blog on the story which gains her lots of readers and let’s her help thousands of people – no, wait a minute, that’s my fantasy!!

I’m sure you’ll agree that is a much better story.  And, as you can see, it’s much more fun.  The struggle IS the winning and the winning is the journey and not just the end result.

I’ve just told you my dream.  I want to keep my blog up to date and to have a lot of people subscribe to it.  For that I have to give up my time and, most importantly, I cannot be afraid to give away secrets about my inner-self; the person I really am.

I’m ready for my journey. Are you ready for yours?

What are you willing to risk?  What will you give up in order to be a hero to yourself?

Leave me a comment to let me know.