By Eric Lyleson
Joseph Campbell described various stages of a hero’s journey. All of us can learn to be more fearless and heroic in the ways we address the opportunities and challenges that present themselves in our lives.
By answering a question or two from each of the categories below you can help yourself be mentally and emotionally prepared to achieve your potential while responding creatively and wisely to difficulties.
You may find it useful to go through the entire list in one sitting, contemplate on question for a day. Or work through the different phases over a few weeks or even several months time. The questions that are most useful are either the ones that you are intuitively drawn to and those that seem to be out of your usual frame of reference and expand your awareness out of your comfort zone.
The Ordinary World - How to maintain stability?
1. Describe your ordinary world.
2. What are your routines?
3. What helps you maintain a sense of security and/or stability?
4. How do you try to cope with stress and difficulties?
5. Who and what helps you feel stable and/or comfortable?
6. What do you avoid because it feels too stressful, difficult or unusual for yourself or your family or friends?
7. What do you appreciate?
8. What is working?
9. What don’t you want to change yet? Why?
10. What do you want to come back to?
The Call to Adventure - What’s not right? What's the ideal?
1. What are signs (calls to adventure) that tell you something needs to change?
2. What is frustrating or unfair about your circumstances?
3. How do you try to cope with those frustrations or injustices?
4. What’s not working for you in your life?
5. What do you wish would just go away?
6. What have you done to try to fix things?
7. If a miracle could happen, what would you ideally hope for?
8. How is your life at the time not matching up to how you ideally would like it to be?
9. What are you most critical of about yourself? About others?
10. What problems or mistakes are most difficult for you to admit to yourself?
11. What concerns are important for you to take more seriously?
12. What happens when you try to do the ‘right thing’?
13. What do you need to focus on in order to get you out of your rut?
14. Who is it easiest to express your anger, frustration or disappointment to?
Refusal of the Call - What’s needed?
1. What is Life trying to get you to embrace that you have been trying to avoid?
2. What would help you to deal with your frustrations and begin moving towards your ideals?
3. What self-limiting patterns are you reluctant to change?
4. Who is it easy to ask for help? Who is it hardest?
5. How has pride or fear of embarrassment stopped you from admitting you need help?
6. Whose permission do you think you need before you can do what you want to do with your life?
7. How do you balance what you need in relation to what parents and friends expect of you?
8. Whose have you tried to change, rather than your own? Has it been benficial?
9. How does your dependence on others help or hinder you taking the necessary steps to making the most of your situation?
10. How did others’ dependence on you, help or hinder you taking the necessary steps?
11. What are three reasons why you shouldn’t begin attending to the difficulties in your life with more care and effort?
12. Who wants to support you in making the changes you want to make?
13. How would you like to be more independent and what responsibilities come with that?
Meeting with the Mentor & Crossing the First Threshold - How to begin?
1. Who are your mentors? What do they help you learn?
2. Who are your tor-mentors? What do they help you learn?
3. If you were guaranteed success what would you do?
4. What is the first step you will take (or have taken) to in order move toward your goal?
5. How willing are you to let others show you the way or do you need to figure it out all yourself?
6. What talent or ability of yours would like to have a chance to prove itself?
7. What life experiences remind you that you have the inner strength to make the most of any opportunities or challenges?
8. How would you like to be living in five years time? What is that future self doing? How does he feel about himself? If that future self could talk to you now what advice or encouragement would he have for you now?
9. Who inspires you the most? Why?
10. Who would you like to emulate? In what way?
11. What can you tell yourself to help motivate you out of your comfort zone?
12. Who, if anyone, do you hope would notice and appreciate your efforts?
13. What will you need to ignore or disregard to get the ball rolling?
14. What sort of promises or oaths do you need to make to yourself and/or others?
Tests, Allies and Enemies - What gets in the way? What do I really want?
1. What difficulties, flaws, inadequacies or insecurities have, or could, tempt you to give up on your aspirations?
2. What is lacking in your life that if only you had it, then you could follow your deepest desire? What difference would it make to have it?
3. Who tries to lead you astray from what is most important for you to do?
4. Who or what helps you to remain true to your deeper calling?
5. How do you attend to your weaknesses? How could you improve on this?
6. What past grievances haven’t you forgiven yourself or others for yet?
7. What deeper longings or desires do you become aware of in difficult times?
8. What dreams help to propel you forward in spite of the difficulties?
9. What do you envy about aspects of other people’s lives that remind you of what you value?
10. How are you unique? How does that inspire you to make the most of your life?
11. How are your feelings about mundane day-to-day activities changing?
12. How does feeling sad or disappointed help you do the soul searching needed to tune into your deeper calling?
Approach to the Inmost Cave - Why I am going through this? What do I need to learn?
1. What mistakes have you made? What are they teaching you?
2. What keeps you going through difficult times?
3. What is important to have space from in order to put things in perspective?
4. Where can you retreat to when you need time to make sense of things?
5. How would a scientist viewing you from a detached perspective describe this transition you’re going through?
6. What you believe that keeps you going, or helps you make sense of the challenges in your life?
7. What is most essential and what is expendable in your life?
8. What do you need to know more about or know how to do better that would help you face your fears?
9. Who or what is it important to emotionally detach yourself from?
10. How does not taking things personally help to put things into perspective?
11. How can you maintain some sense of predictability in this time of change?
12. How could getting clearer boundaries between the various domains of your life help you feel more organized or in control?
13. When you observe your thoughts rationally, which ones support you and which ones weaken you?
Ordeal - What do I remain faithful to and what do I need to let go of?
1. What from your old lifestyle is most frightening to face or let go of?
2. What is difficult for you to accept about yourself and the world we live?
3. What have been your greatest fears and doubts?
4. What could help you to face your fears or to find the courage to follow your heart?
5. How about listing your worries and then brainstorm ideas for what could help you avoid or prepare for those possible challenges?
6. What authorities, institutions, or rules have you tended to be in conflict with or questioning?
7. Which of your loyalties support your being true to yourself and which seemed to hold you back?
8. Who do you need to reach out to and whom do you need to walk away from at this time?
9. Whose approval or friendship did you feel you might risk losing in order to be true to yourself?
10. What beliefs are you questioning or feel confused about?
11. Who else is going through similar challenges in their life? How might this be part of some bigger trend?
12. Who is having (or could have) less control over you as you find more faith in yourself?
Reward (Seizing the Sword) - What’s next? How do I enjoy what I have realized?
1. Can you give yourself permission to act more spontaneously or seize a promising opportunity?
2. What new possibilities are you becoming are of and how can you begin exploring them?
3. What new ideas and insights are expanding your perception of what was possible for you?
4. Where could you go, who would you like to meet or what could you read that might help open up more new possibilities for you?
5. What are you ready to free yourself from? So you can be freer to do what?
6. What sort of options are you considering before committing to a new path?
7. How might keeping your options open assist you at this time?
8. What sorts of plans or fantasies boost your optimism?
9. What can help you avoid being pulled back into old habits?
10. What responsibilities could take a break from in order to make space for some new discoveries?
11. Are you willing to take a leap of faith and let luck or grace help you follow your bliss?
12. What sorts of things that you previously judged negatively are you seeing in a more positive light?
13. How does feeling you deserve something better influence your choices?
The Road Back & Resurrection - What do I want to master or manifest?
1. Of all the new things you have been exploring what are you ready to commit yourself to?
2. What are you ready to claim as your own, even if it means fighting for it?
3. What new rules are you making for yourself in order to reach your objectives?
4. What are you choosing in order to make the most of your life?
5. What in you drives you to really go for it?
6. How will you need to discipline yourself in order to accomplish your objectives?
7. How might you need to guard your time and space in order to get to where you want to go?
8. In what way is your self-concept changing?
9. What sort of person are you beginning to think of yourself as?
10. How is the way you identify yourself changing? What sort of a difference is it making taking on a new title (mother, father, student, job title, husband, wife, adult, spiritual seeker, etc)?
11. Whose opinions or feelings might you need to dismiss (at least for a period of time) so that you can have a chance at manifesting your dream or desire?
12. How might your willpower and determination help you override some personal needs or weaknesses in order to rise to the challenge?
13. How will you protect your gains?
Return with the Elixir - How do I consolidate my efforts and maintain the changes in my life?
1. Who else will benefit from what you’re putting into practice?
2. Who supports you in this new way of life?
3. What adjustments could they make to support you?
4. What new habits or routines are you establishing in order to consolidate your efforts?
5. What is taking less conscious effort, as it becomes more part of your routine?
6. How is your environment changing in response to, or to support this new way of life?
7. What adjustments are you making in order to fit in with people who are important to you?
8. How do you help things keep rolling along harmoniously?
9. What conflicts of interest do you need to mediate in order to maintain stability?
10. In what direction is the momentum of what you have started taking you?