“Heroes are people who take risks for the right reasons. Real art is a heroic act.”
– Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
“This meant I had to confront my past. So I started learning what it meant to be the child of an alcoholic, what it meant to be codependent, and how playing the hero –taking responsibility for others’ needs instead of my own— had shaped my professional development.” [emphasis mine]
– Kathleen DesMaisons, Potatoes Not Prozac
The Ordeal. By definition, the toughest point in the Journey. In every Hero’s Journey, the ordeal is the Hero’s turning point. The Ordeal is the stage in which you confront yourself. The Ordeal is the stage that, no matter how many allies and supportive mentors you have, you will go through alone.
For most Journeys, the Ordeal comes down to a moment where you shift from roles you play (including playing the hero) to your authentic self.
So how do you do that? For me it was the moment I let everyone see the “me” I hid from everyone. It was the moment where I wanted my goal more than I was afraid of what others would think about me. I put my deepest shame out for everyone to see.
As you go through the Tests and Trials of your Journey, you should start to notice a pattern: your Journey is moving you inexorably toward the Ordeal and that ultimate confrontation. Your Tests may start chipping away at the edges of the costumes your roles require. Your mask may start to slip more and more often.
Everyone’s Journey is like tennis (baseball?): it takes as long as it takes. My best advice is to start pulling that tape up, take the wig off, peel off the body armor! The sooner you do that, the faster you will achieve your goal and complete Your Hero’s Journey.