Recognising our story in The Hero’s Journey!

The power of storytelling has been demonstrated across cultures and generations for hundreds of years, from biblical parables to folklore and, in commercial environments, using case studies to demonstrate the benefits of a service or product.

In the 1940s, respected American scholar, Joseph Campbell, introduced the concept of ‘The Hero’s Journey’, suggesting that narratives follow a common pattern that relate to personal and professional life. It has since been adopted by learning and development professionals as a tool to help employees and organisations recognise which stage of their journey they are travelling.

There are four key stages to The Hero’s Journey: The Call, The Departure, The Quest and The Return.

The Call is the moment when The Hero is living an ordinary day, looking for something more and something happens that gives them the push to take action.

The Departure is the moment in which the hero crosses from the familiar to the unknown and commits to The Quest. It is likely that they will receive support and encouragement during this phase from others, giving them the confidence to forge ahead.

The Quest is the adventure, replete with battles, challenges, high points and low points. The ‘big battle’ is the one that puts their self-limiting beliefs, fears, integrity and resilience to the ultimate test.

 The Return is ideally a triumphant one! The Hero has conquered internal and external battles and returns home wiser, stronger and with learning that can be shared for the greater good.

It’s a wonderful and well-recognised tale, but how does this relate to professional development and the corporate environment? Let us tell you a tale...

Daniel's Story

‘Daniel’ has lost his ‘mojo’! He’s gone from feeling excited about a role that has given him a great sense of achievement to being bored and disinterested. His days involve going through the motions as he considers what he’d like to do next – and his company has no idea that there is an issue. He’s sat waiting for ‘The Call’ – and when it comes, he’ll be off!

Daniel’s company invests in a learning and development programme designed to identify what motivates different people in its management teams. Using Motivational Maps™, Daniel’s profile highlights his dilemma, and indicates that he needs independence and innovation in his job to feel motivated and fulfilled.

Daniel’s company is about to embark on a complex new project, and decides to give Daniel responsibility for the strategy and piloting of the first phase. Daniel hears ‘The Call’ and sets out re-energised to build a team, blueprint and test strategy for the project. He has committed to ‘The Quest’.

Surveys suggest that the minimum cost of replacing a valuable staff member is £5,000, before taking into account the loss of experience and knowledge. By recognising Daniel’s dissatisfaction and taking action, the company has retained an experienced professional that they can rely on to take the project through to the next stage.

Take a look around your own organisation? At what stage of The Hero’s Journey is each of your staff?

HT Training and Coaching can help you identify what motivates and inspires each of your team members using a range of tools including Motivational Maps™.

Contact us to find out more about our new programme: ‘Re-ignite team mojo using Motivational Maps™. The programme is designed for managers who want to learn how to create environments that motivate high performance.

The programme includes:  

  • full day management Motivational Maps™ workshop for up to 12 delegates; 
  • a Motivational Maps™ evaluator for each delegate (usually £40 each);
  • one-to-one coaching and support.

To find out more email

by Anna,