Day 3 : The Heroic Journey

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell

The Heroic Journey

Finding our Shakti and coming into our own power requires us to be tested: for our capacity to bear it and our worthiness to wield it. The stages of the awakening of Shakti are best described as a ‘Heroic Journey’. The concept of the Hero’s Journey, or the monomyth of Man, is the enduring legacy of Joseph Campbell, one of the most profound thinkers of recent times.

The Hero’s Journey is about coming of age, moving from innocence to maturity and individuation. It is about the process of coming into our own power and becoming the person we are meant to be – not the person we were conditioned to be by a parent, spouse, or sibling.

We are each the heroes and heroines of our own life story. We journey for self-mastery in order to be of selfless service to the world. If we succeed, we attain the ultimate twin rewards of freedom and fulfillment.

The heroic journey is a universal one that transcends history, geography, and culture. What we learn through the journey that we think is deeply personal to us is actually completely universal. It applies equally to our personal and professional lives, because in truth there is no difference between them; the person you are is the leader you are.

The journey is archetypal, meaning it displays a powerful ‘set pattern’ that seems to be driving individuals and their experience. Though our journeys may seem very different on the surface, they’re actually playing out universal patterns. There are recognizable stages and characters common to all journeys.

The ‘outer’ heroic journey is about fulfilling one’s higher purpose. It is achieved by a parallel ‘inner’ journey we make. Requiring extraordinary effort and demanding that we develop many new capacities. It is called a heroic journey because coming into our own and maturing into all that we can be takes great courage. When we journey, we cannot remain the person we were; we will arrive at journey’s end as a more potent and consequential being. Bearing the very gift or elixir needed by our world to renew and heal itself.


Today’s exercise is about getting in touch with experiences that you may not have thought much about. Events happen and you compartmentalize them without much examination because life pushes you inexorably forward; there is always the next project or the next deadline to meet in your personal or professional life. In this way, significant episodes in your life are left unprocessed, unacknowledged, and unhonored. It is important in the journey of life to stop and remember those important times where something significant occurred. It’s important to stop and feel gratitude and recognize that what you have accomplished is no small thing.

Think back to an ordeal you successfully overcame and its core stages. Ask yourself:

  • What was the crisis? How were you shaken out of your comfort zone?
  • Did you heed the call to action or refuse/resist it? Why?
  • How were you tested? Who were your allies (supporters) and enemies (challengers)?
  • What was your greatest fear? How did you overcome it?
  • What new capacities did you gain? How did you mature from the experience?
  • How have you shown up differently as a person since then? As a leader?
  • What are you offering the world as a result, and how has it changed for the better?

You may realize that you never framed your success stories in terms of the heroic journey. People go through many journeys but fail to recognize the transformational process they underwent. There is great value in making this conscious.

Once we understand how the journey tends to unfold, we can journey again and again with less fear and greater ease and effectiveness.(Excerpted from Shakti Leadership)

May your journeys ahead be conscious and joyous.

Nilima Bhat
Co-author – Shakti Leadership