How to Lead with Your Heart: The Hero’s Journey

How to Lead with Your Heart: The Hero’s Journey

What Is a Hero’s Journey?

Before we begin to hear Maria’s hero story, let’s take a quick overview of what a hero’s journey is. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called The Hero With a Thousand Faces. It summarizes the phases a hero makes in his or her journey. There are 3 phases, each of which includes several stages to a Phase. Those phases are 1) Separation or Departure, 2) Trials and Victories, and 3) Return and Reintegration with Society. (Campbell. Pg.36)

Separation or Departure is where you either choose to leave or are forced to leave life the way it has been running. Think of it as casting away from the shore. These departures take many shapes. For example, it could be the loss of a job, a career change, or a divorce. These life circumstances of Separation and Departure bring with them a lot of trepidation to those who must undergo the hero’s journey.

Sooner or later, everyone will face their own hero journey in one’s personal life and work life. Many times they are intertwined. Have you ever had such a situation? Recently, one of my clients has traveled through the first two phases and is ready to move into the third phase, which is the coming home to a new way of work.

Maria’s Story

Maria is the owner of a highly successful daycare facility. She has traversed the hero’s journey for several years in launching her business. Now that she is successful and the business is running well, she finds she no longer wants to be involved with the day-to-day operations of her thriving business. Maria is still passionate about the services her daycare facility offers but is seeking a change. She sees several options that would allow her to move out of the day-to-day operations and has had trouble deciding which option to choose. One option is for her to sell the business outright. A second option is to take on a business partner who will handle the day-to-day operations, and she can be available for consultation with broad oversight only. The third option is to staff it for the day-to-day control but work on franchising the unique business model that has been so successful in her current one-location setting.

To complicate the decision-making process a bit more, Maria is now engaged to a wonderful man who lives in a state hundreds of miles away. He has his medical practice in his hometown along with shared parenting duties over the children of his first marriage. Moving for him is not an option. Moving for Maria is not an option as long as she has day-to-day operational responsibility for her business. She has hired managers in the past year, only to find that they do not work out. It has been difficult finding someone with the right set of skills and the same passion for the business that she has. She knows she will want to move after the wedding and not maintain a long-distance marriage.

The wedding date has been set, and Maria finds herself in a quandary with her business. The more she thinks through the various options and tries to forge ahead, the more lost and unsure she feels. She reached out to SoLwork for coaching assistance to help move forward.

What is the Challenge for the Hero?

Maria has faced what is I call the “Foggy Seas of Transition.” No one direction seems more right to head down than do any of the other business options that she has available. She is uncomfortable with her indecision and wants to take action. In this part of the journey, it is not an activity that will bring about the best results. This part of the transition is where creative solutions can evolve if one is quiet and still enough to listen to their heart’s message on the direction and next steps to head.

The Outcome

Maria was tempted to take on a business partner by developing her existing business into a franchise. Once she had clarity, she decided to sell the business. It freed her to move to where her future husband lived and allowed her time to adjust to her new life and marriage. Once settled, she can revisit the idea of franchising her business model for daycare under a different name. Maria felt great relief to finally see her way clear so that she could move forward once again. She truly led from her heart to gain clarity in direction. After months of being in the fog, she feels she has truly made the best choice for her, for her current business and its staff. Maria is currently living a very fulfilling and happy married life. She feels she chose wisely and from her heart center. All components for her and her business, though not always easy to execute, did work out beautifully.

Disclosure: This is a true story of success. However, the names of my clients have been changed to protect their privacy. 

“Career and Life Coaching with Maureen has changed my life. I was at a standstill for many years working a corporate job that was not fulfilling and wasn’t a good fit for me.  After taking the plunge and opening up my new business I was so overwhelmed and had a hard time making decisions and organizing my priorities.  I have seen big results since I started working with Maureen!  My confidence has increased in making decisions and I have been able to move forward. I never imagined the changes that working with a career coach would bring to my professional and my personal life.  It was a great experience but also a necessary one to make things happen in my life. I can’t thank her enough.”

Maria

Divorce and Career Changes? A Gift Is Waiting for You.

Divorce and Career Changes? A Gift Is Waiting for You.

The Gift and Opportunity

If you find yourself in life transition, such as divorce, there is a unique gift and opportunity for you to seize. You have been handed a new artist’s canvas to create that new life for yourself. Whenever there is a loss, there is grief and some pain associated with it. When we are in pain, we sometimes rush headlong into something to relieve or remove that pain. WARNING: Without going through a reflective period and healing from our pain, we may miss the opportunity to find your gift in the situation.

You might find divorce is requiring a career change for you. Maybe you have been out of the workforce to raise the family but suddenly must become self-sufficient. Perhaps you need to shift from part-time to full-time employment status. Now you are faced with two challenges at once, adapting to being single and looking for work. Believe it or not, there is still a gift waiting for you.

Once you have spent time grieving your loss, it is then time to start anew. Don your painter’s smock, pick up your paint palette and brushes, and start to paint the work and life of your dreams! Whether you paint, journal, craft vision boards, soul collage images, whatever tool it may be, get started!

My Gift Story

I found myself divorced after 25 years of marriage and was unemployed. I know how seemingly daunting it may appear to those who find themselves in that situation. It took me the divorce, and a couple of job transitions to figure out there was a gift. The time and opportunity for me if I chose to take it and use it. Once I decided to really paint the picture of what I wanted for MY LIFE and career, I set to work. It was creative, fun, but not without its stresses. Since “painting” my dreams and goals, I have found myself marching toward and reaching those destinations I painted. I now have a life I love, a second marriage that is wonderful, and work that is my soul’s passion. Like most artists, once I saw the value in ‘painting’ my dreams, I continue to pick up blank canvases and start painting new ideas for my life. Without my divorce and career issues, I would never have discovered the power in creating and building what want out of my life.

Painting from the HeART

If you find yourself in the place of divorce and/or career change, there is no time like the present to set your intentions of living what you dream. When painting, be sure you are painting a glorious picture. Avoid dark or negative thoughts as you “paint” and build your new life. The bigger message is not to lose hope but to build a wonderful life for yourself, even if you cannot figure out just yet how to make it happen.

Your finished canvas should be your targeted goal, your ideal dream. Unless a goal is set, it is difficult to obtain it! Once set, a goal takes on a life of its own. The timing and the details (who, what, where, etc.) of its arrival are rarely in our direct control. By holding the vision, the goal, the dream before us, however, our persistence will lead to its delivery. Your faith truly can move mountains. I have seen it work in my life. If I can do it, I know you can too!

While you are in transition, I invite you to take the time given you – it truly is a gift there for your taking. Don your painter’s smock, open your mind, and creatively paint your dream life. Make it not only a Work of Art but create that Work of HeART. Set the intention to live your dream and be open to the flow and timing in your journey to get there. Follow your HeART, and you will live a full and wonderful life.

Career Transition – Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and Hero’s Journey

Career Transition – Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and Hero’s Journey

What Is a Hero’s Journey?

Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ is a metaphor for those in career transition, either losing or seeking new career positions. Dorothy’s journey through OZ back to Kansas is not unlike the hero’s journey described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. (Campbell. 1949). Read on for more about the career transition journey. Discover how a career coach, like Glinda, the Good Witch, can assist along the journey.

We will use Campbell’s three phases of the Hero’s journey, 1) Departure, 2) Trials, and 3) Return and Reintegration with Dorothy as our hero. We’ll use the same phases for one in career transition to describe the journey one will undergo till landing the next position. See how a career coach, aka Glinda, can serve in each phase.

Phase 1 – Departure

Dorothy finds herself swept up in a tornado and landing in the strange new world of OZ. Although overwhelmed and a bit scared, Dorothy looks for the positive and becomes curious about the new sights, sounds and people she encounters. Dorothy focuses on what is front of her (the Now) but never loses sight of her goal to land back home. It is the attitude that allows Dorothy to move forward, just as it would someone in career transition.

Dorothy in this stage of her journey meets the Good Witch, Glinda. In Munchkinland she doesn’t know where to start in her quest to return home. Glinda coaches her to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” toward the Emerald City. For those in career transition, three coaching benefits exist at this stage: 1) To move from the past (longing for what once was); 2) Dispel negative emotion, such as anger or depression; and 3) Creating a sense of curiosity about this new foreign land.

Phase 2 – Trials

Dorothy forges friends along the way in the forms of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Together they march toward OZ to obtain the goals they individually seek. All four characters embody traits the Job Seeker needs along their own hero’s journey. Dorothy is the leader – holding vision to guide them on their way. Scarecrow uses his brain to make decisions at key junctures in the journey (aka forks in the yellow brick road or solving problems in the poppy fields). Tin Man brings his heart to the journey, caring and nurturing the group along the way. Cowardly Lion demonstrates great courage to see the journey through to the end. Together, their traits and strengths are needed to face their many trials so they can move to victory.

The Job Seeker needs these same traits as the hero on their own journey. As leader of your life and work – you must determine your end goal and hold that vision. You need to use your brain to create your job search strategy. The search holds its own trials and stressors, so you must find heart to nurture yourself along the way. Finally, you will need to drawn on courage as you face the fears and stresses that journey brings.

Dorothy has Glinda supporting her throughout the journey. Sometimes it was to support Dorothy in challenges (making it snow in the poppy fields). Sometimes it was to provide needed wisdom when Dorothy felt lost along the way (telling her to follow the Yellow Brick Road). Like Glinda, a coach helps you draw upon your strengths and on those around you. If you lose momentum or give up (Dorothy in the poppy fields), a coach can cheer you on and offer a solution to move you forward again. A career coach supports and sheds light even in the darkest of forests along your journey.

Phase 3 – Return and Reintegration

Dorothy obtains victory, returning the Wicked Witch’s broomstick to Emerald City. Dorothy is ready to return to Kansas and the Wizard promises to take her home in his hot air balloon. At the last minute, Dorothy is left behind, crestfallen as she watches the Wizard leave; her return seemingly impossible.

Glinda arrives to coach Dorothy through this one last trial. Like any good coach, Glinda guides Dorothy to find the wisdom within herself to end her journey. However, it took Glinda’s aid and the challenges of our hero’s journey for Dorothy to find the answer within. Only then can Dorothy go home. Like Glinda, a career coach will provide that same probing and illumination for the Job Seeker Hero.

There is one more way that coaching can assist. Completing the journey to ‘home’, Dorothy and the Job Seeker Hero are changed but must reintegrate into their worlds. The Hero is a very different person than the one that was uprooted at the start of the journey. Dorothy will still face with Miss Gulch, the challenge that led to the start of the journey to begin with. A coaching guidance would be helpful to Dorothy as she readjusts to a new view of her world.

The Job Seeker Hero will also face new challenges in their changed world of work. It might be assistance in negotiating the best terms of employment before the first day of work. It could be guidance in adapting to the new work environment and culture. Or it could be dealing with the same work-related issues that existed before or may have even lead to start of the original journey, like mean Miss Gulch for Dorothy. All are reasons for using a career coach in this new phase of the hero’s journey in the world of work.

Summary

If you find yourself in some sort of career transition, career coaches can serve as a Glinda – letting you choose the path along your own yellow brick road, steering you to your heart’s desire. A skilled career coach provides:

  • Assistance in formulating the vision (Goal for the journey)
  • Support in implementing the vision (Glinda)
  • Offering solutions when stuck in the journey (Scarecrow)
  • Heart – emotional support (Tin Man)
  • Courage – to reach the end (Lion)

When a career coach shortens the process by one week, a month or more, what is the income lost to you if you choose to walk your path alone? How well would Dorothy have found her way home without Glinda, Scarecrow, Tin Man, or the Lion? Changes are the journey would have been much longer and much more stressful. If you find yourself along the Career Transition path, we wish you safe passage and strength along the way. Just know that you don’t have to walk alone.

How Does Your Garden Grow?  Are You Cultivating the Business of You?

How Does Your Garden Grow? Are You Cultivating the Business of You?

I have a love for gardening.  I vividly remember my first few years of planting a vegetable patch, for which I had no experience.  I had little money and the cost of the seed packets was a long stretch for our poor budget.  I needed those seeds to sprout and produce food to feed my family of four.  Boy, was I ever nervous!  I was so worried the seeds would not germinate. I was afraid I had blown money that could have bought us two weeks of groceries.  The pressure I put on myself, it turns out, wasn’t necessary.

I discovered I was growing my spiritual side along with my vegetable garden.  It took faith that the seeds I sowed would germinate, grow and allow me to reap the bounty of my hard work.  It took letting go (I couldn’t control the sprouting of those seeds) and turning it over to some Higher Power.  However this didn’t mean I would be doing nothing!  I still had to buy the seeds, plant them, water them, cultivate weeds, fertilize my plants and pick off pests should they arrive to munch on my crop.  I had to learn to trust my instincts and intuition that I would know what to do at the right time in my garden.  I had to let go to a Higher Power all that which was not in my direct control.

The results?  Every year I fed my family with organically grown vegetables for the fraction of the cost of grocery store produce.  Yes, I sometimes had a small crop failure, but because I planted variety, I always had plenty of food each year to feed us throughout the year.  It wasn’t just my plants that grew from gardening; I grew!  I grew in confidence and in belief of small miracles; I grew in faith.  It sure made it easier to buy those seeds with each successful year!

“…for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

What does this have to do with the business of you?  The Business of You (your work and your life) is your garden.  It requires acquiring the seeds (such as education, developing skills, generating a business idea), planting them and growing these seeds into a viable business-of-you that sustains you throughout your years.  Your harvest will be the life well lived, the income, benefits, recognition, etc. that you earn from the seeds (ideas, skills and knowledge) you plant.  Do you have a vision for a garden, for that Business of You?   Have you planted your seeds and started to grow them?  Do you have faith that your business garden will develop with time and attention from you?  Do you have faith in a Higher Power that can sustain you in times of doubt?

Lessons From The King’s Speech

Lessons From The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is a nicely done, easy- to-watch movie starring Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, the Australian “coach” who worked with King George to overcome a stuttering speech impairment.  Being a career coach, I am love to find coaches that come from a place of caring about the client as a person while focusing on getting results for their clients.  I found such a relationship in The King’s Speech  where the coach, Lionel Logue demonstrates how working from the heart can get results were other professionals might fail.  King George in the movie worked with many therapists who tried to ‘cure’ his speech impediment or stammer, but he only found success with Lionel.  It is only when Lionel Logue inquired and genuinely cares about his client as a person, that progress is made on the speech impairment.  From the movie, I identified twelve strengths in this coaching relationship that made it possible to get results for the King.

What Is Different in the Coaching Relationship in The King’s Speech?       

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Here are some of the things I observed in the movie:

  • The coach and client maintained a relationship of peers or equals in the sessions
  • Lionel never judged King George for his area of weakness nor for the pace of the client’s progress
  • King George set aside protocol and norms and shared personal stories and information with his coach. By being open and transparent, his coach is able to delve into the core of the issue and work the client to improvement
  • Both parties ended up bringing their whole, authentic beings to the relationship as well as holding heartfelt concern for each other

Six Strengths A Coach Brings to the Coaching Relationship (aka Lionel Logue)

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  • Coach treats the client as a peer and insists on keeping the relationship that way
  • Coach never forces his client to do anything his client doesn’t wish to do
  • Coach has faith in his client and cheered him on
  • Coach keeps the sessions highly confidential – not even his wife knows of the arrangement
  • Coach perserveres with his client
  • Coach reaches out to understand his client as an individual and develops a program tailored to that individual.

Six Strengths A Client to the Coaching Relationship (aka King George)

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  • Client has a strong motivation to make a change
  • Client is willing to do hard work to overcome his obstacle
  • Client sees a bigger benefit beyond the issues (i.e. leading his nation) and willing to push himself for that benefit
  • Client takes responsibility for his actions and the work that was his to do – including paying back the shilling lost on a bet with Lionel
  • Client perserveres and pushes through his barriers and breaking points
  • Client, against his initial desire, is open and shares his personal stories with his coach, which brings both of them to a level of understanding of what they are dealing with and what the possible triggers are for the stammering behavior.

What Benefits Does Such a Coaching Relationship Bring?

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Like all great coaching relationships, the benefits extend beyond the obvious improvement in The King’s Speech.  For the King, he sees improvements in his speech, a more comfortable relationship with his wife and family, stronger relationships with those he worked with, and in this special case, benefits of clear communications for a whole nation.  Coaching can bring improvements beyond the original reason for seeking a Coaching Relationship, no matter who you are.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  It is a great example of strong leadership on the part of King George – to reach for a solution to his problems, no matter how unconventional.  He steps up to leading his country when it is not something he seeks nor desires.  He goes to great lengths to make sure he is the very best he can be in that role.  The movie is also a great example of strong coach, in the form of Lionel.  In the movie, you can see the leadership, strength, creativity, and belief in his client that Lionel, the coach, holds in the relationship. The story line is easy to follow and the ending will make anyone feel good upon leaving the theater.

If you find yourself entering a coaching relationship, take note of the strengths exhibited in the movie, The King’s Speech, as outlined above.  Make sure the chemistry between you and your coach is one of caring and accountability.  If you don’t get along with your coach, you may not find the type of success that King George is able to obtain with Lionel.  Be prepared to be vunerable and to perservere when you hit a breaking down point or barrier.  Hold your coach to being highly confidential in all that is discussed between you, unless you give expressed permission for the coach to share your story with others.

Let me hear your thoughts!  Did you experience something similar to what King George VI experiences with Lionel?  Was your coaching experience and relationship less than satisfactory?  What from your perspective makes for a great coaching relationship for you?  Would you seek coaching services again based on your experiences?  Let others learn from your experiences by commenting on this blog.