If you’re a writer then you are familiar with the Hero’s Journey. It’s the basis for most, if not all, stories. The snarky Latina version is: “some dude goes on a quest and ends up learning about himself in the process.”
Granted I have issues with the “hero’s” version of this quest because women tend to be plot devices to keep the “hero” on track with his journey but that’s another conversation for later.
The essence is what matters. Someone embarks on a journey and as a result learns how to overcome unexpected challenges. In doing so, there are life lessons which serve to teach us about how to be better people. Or at least that’s what I like to think.
When I think of the entrepreneurial journey, I envision an optimistic person deciding to change the world by first changing their reality. This is admirable. To take on the challenge of wanting to elevate your status quo is amazing. I’m biased though, naturally.
Nothing prepares you for what you’re about to experience. There’s a ton of articles, training programs and videos that offer tips and suggestions on what you can do and how you can take your aha moment and transform it into a business.
Talk to any entrepreneur and they’ll say that there’s nothing which can come close to the realities of embarking on this wild ride of entrepreneurship.
I’ve remixed the hero’s journey and translated for what I’ve come to call the entrepreneurial journey.
Let’s use Susie as an example. Susie hates her day job. In her desk you will find a bottle of Tylenol at her desk and a picture of her boss on her dartboard. She pushes paper and spends half of her week in meaningless meetings about blah blah blah.
Susie LOVES what she does, just not where she’s at. She’d love nothing more than to start her own business. She has over 10 years experience so she has the goods but she’s stuck about what to do.
The hero’s journey is essentially broken up into 2 parts – THE KNOWN & THE UNKNOWN. Very much like in the entrepreneurship journey, there is what you THINK YOU KNOW and what ends up BEING TRUE FOR YOU.
What Susie KNOWS is that she wants to be in business for herself. She KNOWS she has the goods since her peers are always raving about how awesome she is.
What Susie DOESN’T KNOW is that she’s going to be one of countless others doing exactly what wants to do. She DOESN’T KNOW that she will have to work 10x as hard as she’s doing now and even then, that might not be enough to match the level of success she has right now.
1. The Call
When you get the call to be an entrepreneur, and yes I believe it’s a call. It might not be “ring ring, go be an entrepreneur” but it might sound more like an inner voice that says “you can do this your way” or “you don’t have to limit yourself by staying here.”
The call is rarely clear cut and it’s not the same for everyone. The call comes from within. Most entrepreneurs will know what I’m talking about. Usually the thought process starts with “what if…”
2. The Universe Responds
My story starts with me at a job I wasn’t over the moon about. I’m never happy at a traditional 9-5 job. There I was, at a decent agency job and going through the motions. Then one Sunday afternoon I was talking to a friend. A few months prior we were talking about goals for that new year. I mentioned that I wanted to be part-time so that I could spend some time focusing on my freelancing career. When she had asked me about how my goals were coming along I brushed it off and said I was still full-time, despite having wanted to be part-time by the time of our call.
My intentions were out there and I have very strong mojo.
The following Wednesday, I was let go at my job. I was given a solid severance package and left on good enough terms. The entire time I felt relieved and as I walked home, the conversation with my friend was all I could think about. I called her and said that the next time I make a wish I should be more specific.
Your story might be different. Once you’ve decided to take the call, you might find that people come into your life who are ideal to propel you forward in your journey. Once you put the intention out there…the universe conspires in your favor to bring you closer towards where you want to be. Click To Tweet
3. Leap of Faith
Whether you’ve been “let go” or decide to quit on your own, the leap of faith is that threshold that takes you from what you KNOW into what you DON’T KNOW. There’s a saying that goes:
“Leap and the net will appear.”
It sounds awesome and I would love to say that’s true. Sometimes you will leap and fall flat on your face. Sometimes you will leap and discover you have wings to help you soar.
Most of the time you will leap and during your descent must learn how to put together a parachute.
4. The Island of Misfit ‘Preneurs
As you start to navigate the unknown, you’re going to come across a bunch of new characters. Some of these people will be mentors who will help guide you along the way. Some won’t. They will suck your energy and deplete your enthusiasm. They’re called emotional vampires and the underworld of entrepreneurship is filled with many.
During this time, your own inner CRAP will start to show up and project itself in the people you attract. If you find yourself mingling with the same types of people, they’re often a reflection of you.
If you thought the journey was a simple trajectory, this is where you will learn that success is an inner job. This lesson can take you a few weeks to learn or a few years.
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”
This is also when you start to get tempted to go back to what’s familiar and comfortable. You’ll start to reconsider if this is for you. That steady paycheck starts looking like desirable. You will even negotiate with and convince yourself that it wasn’t that bad before. You will have become so disconnected from that empty feeling you had.
This is temporary. A lot of people quit right before it’s time. You’ll have many plot twists before you reach your “Oh $hit” moment.
5. Hell Yea Moment
This is when it all clicks; when it all comes together. You usually have this moment of clarity at 3am. All of your challenges and struggles come neatly together and you finally see the big picture. This could come in the form of understanding who your target audience is or realizing exactly what you want to be doing with your life.
This revelation ONLY comes with having gone through hell and back. All those sleepless nights are integral in this moment. It will appear as if the light came on. You might have a new monetization strategy or your 15 second pitch is now crystal clear.
Everything leading up this phase is the cocoon portion of your journey. It is only through your transformational revelation that you can emerge as a butterfly. You begin to use your newfound clarity for good. You’re applying what you learned about yourself, your brand and your business.
During this phase you’re on fire. You have wisdom that only comes with going through the trenches and you’re regarded as a sage by your peers. This is also the moment where you accept yourself as you are.
7. Full Circle
Once you’ve gone through the journey, you return to yourself with battle scares and enough stories to last a lifetime. You’ve returned back to yourself but you’re a changed person. You’re able to look at your life through a different lens. Once you’ve returned to what you KNOW, you’re able to step outside of yourself and reflect on your trajectory.
At this point you become an oracle for others or you choose to take on another journey, that is if you decide to take the call again.
Every journey is different so don’t assume that because you embarked on one that the next one will be the same. It won’t be. You’re a different person so your next entrepreneurial journey will present a whole new set of misfit ‘preneurs, challenges, temptations and revelations.
Just be sure to enjoy the scenery and take pictures!