The hero's journey

|   Brand Communication

Who is the hero of your story? Is it you or your company? Or is your client the center of attention and you are the mentor, that guides him?

The hero’s journey is part of the storytelling method. It was created by the American myth researcher Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987). He found out, that all races communicate with stories, that are very similar to one another, regardless of culture. The hero’s journey can be found in film and literature at every corner and can be adapted to your company’s history or for the client communication.

The important thing is:

Every story needs a hero, regardless if he has a positive or negative halo. Christopher Vogler summarized Campbells hero’s journey from 17 to 12 steps and combined it with the archetype-theory. They are part of the journey and the hero will come into contact with some of them along the way.


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"Wir müssen rechtzeitig das Leben loslassen, das wir geplant haben, um das Leben zu akzeptieren, das uns erwartet."

Joseph Campbell

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The structure


1. Ordinary world

Every human being takes part in the hero’s journey, some are just stuck in the first phase and don’t realize it yet. This first phase is always the known, where he fells at home and safe. Here lies his routine.

But every single person lives with a deficit, because something is amiss. No adventure and no highlights can be found in the everyday routine.

To begin your journey consciously, something has to happen, something has to change this routine. It can be the realization, that something important is missing or that something breaks, or you are forced to a change (loss of job i.e.). It rises the wish after fulfillment of the true potential.


2. Call to adventure

Change can only happen, if you are leaving your comfort zone behind. The call of change can get to you in different kind of ways and shapes, in every case, it will be a break with the known. You realize what possibilities lie ahead.


3. Refusal of the call

It is human nature to think of 100 reasons why you can’t do a specific thing, especially if it has to do with change. It is not easy to follow the call of adventure if you can’t foresee every outcome of change or the success rate of it. Habit will hold you back. It is accompanied by the voices of reason from your surroundings, that will try to talk you out of it. The motivation can be worry (parents) or even jealousy (friends/ enemies), because you are about to change the existing patterns.

But all it takes is one reason why.


4. Meeting the mentor

And that reason will be given to you by someone, you will meet sooner or late along the way. He will courage you to take the first step and leads you. This mentor will have the knowledge of both worlds – the ordinary and the new unknown one. He has advice and supports the growth of your personality. He doesn’t ask for anything in return.

But be aware: There will be people, who masquerade as a mentor, but will show their true face when they start collection favors for their help or will hold you down. Try to avoid those!


5. Crossing the first threshold

If you are on your way and have overcome the fear of the unknown the journey begins towards your new goals. Now you are at the point of no return.


6. Tests, allies and enemies

You have to go through different tests and overcome a lot of obstacles along the way. You will learn who is fully on your side and who is against your progress.

Alliances change, friends can turn out to be your enemy and enemies can become more helpful. The status quo changes and not everybody can cope with that. Friends might worry, that you get ahead and leave them behind. You are in a new orientation phase and not everybody understands that.


7. Approach to the inmost cave (Abyss)

This is the lowest point on the hero’s journey. You will meet your antagonist. Someone who is the exact opposite but has the same goal – your place in the new world.

You will learn what you fear the most (this fear will show itself to you clearly). But you can see the big picture and realize that you have to overcome this fear to move on: the inner enemy, worse than every real-life enemy could ever be. Everybody has a different inner fear (fear itself, incapability, good faith, self-doubt). In the deepest cave you will find a treasure – a way to fight this fear.


8. The ordeal

No story can be told without some sort of fight. This is yours, the fight with yourself. This is the breaking point, here it is determined, if you fight for your goals or if you are giving up. What will it be?

If you decide to fight, you will change the status quo without any opportunity to go back and change anything again. This is the moment people dread the most. Because it calls for the biggest change.


9. The reward

You decided to fight and won the battle. You will receive a reward – knowledge of the new world. This is the part of the movie with the happy end – a wedding or the drive-of into the sunset. But the journey is not over yet. Now it is time for living the new life you fought for.


10. The road back

But in order to love with it, you have to return home. Home in the ordinary world. It can be accompanied by a setback and the fate is almost turned around. But it only means, that you have to get rid of everything old in your life that is holding you back (it can also be people). This is a self-cleansing act.


11. The resurrection

Leave everything behind like a snake that gets rid of its old, used skin. You know now what you are worth and what you can do and act accordingly. You apply everything you learned on the journey and triumph over your fear.


12. Return with the elixir

The new knowledge has to be integrated into the everyday life. Every task is done, and the circle of the hero’s journey has closed. You reached the end of this story.


Start now

This is the full and ideal hero’s journey. But every person and every story are different, there can be variations in yours. The framework stays the same.

What role is your company’s? Are you your own hero or are you the mentor that guides a customer?

Contact us, if you need help formulating your story.

Hier finden Sie die 12 Schritte noch einmal kurz zusammengefasst als Download, um sie während dem Verfassen der Geschichte auf einen Blick zu haben.


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