The New Year represents hope, resolution and change. A new year is a new chapter filled with potential and possibility. In 2013 – will we stick to our resolutions? Will we achieve our targets? Will we make the same mistakes as we have made in the past? Will we be able to build on our previous successes? Will we be prepared for unexpected obstacles? As I look ahead to 2013 I find much inspiration in the journeys of my Heroes; in their calling, their choices, their determination, their achievements and their obstacles.
“If you find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn’t lead anywhere” – Frank Clark
The Hero’s Journey is the basic storyline of all heroes and legends. The plot usually goes something like this. There is hero, except he/she doesn’t always know it. He lives in the ordinary world until he receives a ‘call’ to enter an unknown world. If the hero accepts the call he must face many obstacles. Initially the hero is alone but in time many new and unexpected helpers join him. Ultimately, the hero must survive a final challenge that will test him to the core. Upon success, the hero usually achieves a great gift or reward. The hero usually returns to his home with his newfound gift to share it with and benefit others. This is the basic journey of the Buddha, Gandhi, Luke Skywalker, Neo and even Bilbo Baggins.
I believe that we all get not just one but many such ‘calls to action’ during the course of our lifetime. These are moments that can define who we are, that give us an opportunity to use our talents, to follow our passions or to fulfill our purpose. Our calling can come in many different guises – an unexpected illness, losing your job, a new job opportunity, a dream, a new year’s resolution, a new hobby, a film, a book, etc. We are often caught off-guard by our calling, as we are rarely looking for it. Our missions usually find us.
Whilst we might not choose what happens to us, we absolutely can choose our response to any situation. Each of us has to decide for ourselves whether to ignore the call and stick to our routine life or whether to accept the call to enter an uncertain and risky world, with challenges, obstacles and ultimately ‘a reward/gift’ beyond our imagination.
If we accept the call we have to step way out of our comfort zone and welcome many adversities. We will have to face many challenges and trials head on. We will inevitably begin on these new paths alone. We will face our deepest fears and insecurities and learn to look at life in a way that we might not have done before. However, as we walk unexpected helpers, supporters, friends will come into our lives with assistance, guidance and support. They maybe people we know or people we have not even met yet but they will come from the most unexpected places. In following these new paths, in facing these adversities and in fulfilling these friendships we will be transformed and we’ll never be the same again.
I look forward to 2013 with much excitement, anxiety and hope. I have just started a new business, as a consultant and executive coach to the pensions and investment community. Lots of questions have been running through my mind in recent weeks – Am I doing the right thing? Where should I start? Will I find good clients? Will they be bring in an external consultant in this environment? Should I apply for a regular job instead?
The Hero’s journey inspires me to be brave, bold and not fear the unexpected. Instead, it pushes me to face my fears, to have faith in myself and to embrace adversity in order to achieve something extraordinary, maybe even to follow my calling and to fulfill my purpose.
“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course” – William Shakespeare
I wish you all the best in finding your calling, facing your fears and in all your adventures over the next 12 months.
Happy New Year!