It often feels like we’re alone as we go through our hero’s journey – particularly on the Path of Trials.
We have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us. – Joseph Campbell.
While your story is unique, it does follow the ageless steps that were traversed by literally every hero before you. It is this that really gives the model its power. If you accept that you are on a hero’s journey you can learn from other heroes because they’ve gone through the same steps. Just because your house has never been tornado-transported to Oz, it doesn’t mean Dorothy’s yellow brick road adventure can’t help you in your journey through graduate school.
For example, you’ve recently decided to start your own business. You received a Call to Adventure that took you away from your Mundane World, and now you’re standing at the Threshold – ready to cross. This is a nerve-wracking time, and it’s lonely because you feel like nobody could possibly understand. However, there are countless heroes who have crossed thresholds, and they have advice for you. When Luke Skywalker was about to leave Tatooine he was anxious, but he persevered and things turned out pretty well for him. Samwise Gamgee was nervous leaving the Shire, but he knew it was what needed to be done. The fact that they crossed despite their fears can offer you support as you quit your job to start this new, exciting, and scary business.
This doesn’t just apply to fictional heroes though. If you accept that everyone is on a hero’s journey, then the people around you can help – as can the heroes of history. They’ve accepted calls to adventure and gone through challenging times. They’ve left comfortable, yet boring, worlds in order to change. They know how you feel because they’ve gone through the same steps that you are now.
King Arthur understood this concept. His round table was created to help him through his journey. Sitting with him were knights and kings, Merlin the magician, and his wife, Guinevere. He knew that none of them had been king of England before, but they had all been through their own journeys with the same steps he would be going through. Their experiences would help him.
You should create your own Round Table.
I don’t want you to put a round table in your bedroom and have people sitting around it waiting for you to ask their advice. That would be sketchy. Instead, I want you to get a piece of paper (or cardstock, slate tablet, slab of granite, etc) and create your all-star Round Table. “All-star” means you can use anyone. You can have people that are fictional and real, people you know and people you don’t know, people that are living or dead. Anyone.
You have eight chairs to fill. Who are they going to be?
Place this Round Table somewhere prominent – your fridge, mirror, or ceiling will do. Any time you are struggling in your journey, ask them what they would do. Picture their response to the challenge. They are sitting at your table to assist you, so let them.
Quest Work: (what is this?) This should be obvious. Let us know who is sitting at your Round Table in the comments. Who are they and why did they get a seat?