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The Hero’s Journey *

Journeys need maps

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The hero’s journey requires a full stop at the station called “victimhood.”

Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.

Erica Jong

I felt sucker punched when I read Erica Jong’s quotation. Our egos have a lot invested in feeling victimized. And we live in a society that encourages us to be victims of the people and circumstances that surround us. Juxtapose Jong’s statement with another one I recently read in Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, a Jungian psychiatrist, who says, “In every crisis, a woman is tempted to become the victim instead of staying the heroine” (p.290).  How does this happen? Why do we do it?

Victimhood

A victim is one who blames others (people, fate) or circumstances for their situation. External things happen to them so there’s a sense of not having control. Victims respond in various ways including abdicating personal responsibility, becoming paralyzed or panic stricken, or detaching/avoiding through substance use. In essence, victims face difficulty in taking ownership of their current situation. Let’s face it. The victim narrative doesn’t feel good. It makes us small and restricted. How do we shift the narrative from victim to hero?

The heroine takes life in her own hands, as Jong identifies. She plays an active not passive role in her own narrative. So why don’t we just do it instead of wallowing in victimhood?

Speaking for myself, I know I’ve been passive (“receptive”) and afraid to ask for what I want.  I have been conditioned and rewarded for pleasing others. I’m a recovering perfectionist (see my blog on this topic for more info). Hmm, did you notice the use of the passive voice not active in this paragraph?  Separately and collectively, they create a sense that I’m defined by things around me (external) instead of “I define myself” (internal).

Compass resting on soil (stay grounded)
Photo by Dunamis Church on Unsplash

We live in a society that encourages and infantilizes victims by keeping them trapped in the victim cycle. In consequence, we lack ownership or agency in our own lives. No wonder we feel terrified! If I lack agency/choice, then I’m rudderless, always responding to external winds not my own internal compass.

Shifting the Narrative from Victim to Heroine

Bolen advised we shift the narrative by being true to ourselves (our personal values) until something “unexpectedly comes to our aid” (p. 290). In other words, wait for something to shift within by gently focusing on the solution not the problem. Accept you feel fearful and still choose love instead. Wait for new insight by praying, meditating, journaling and the answer will come from your inner compass, what we refer to as the Leader Within in coaching. You’ll see you have choices, you’re not in an either/or situation which is typically how we feel in victim mode.

So often we get stuck in an emotion like fear and become paralyzed. I think that happens sometimes because we push away the emotion instead of just “feeling” it. How can we let go of an emotion we haven’t experienced? Choosing love means allowing yourself to see things differently. It means choosing hope. You acknowledge a better path exists even if you haven’t found it yet.

Choosing Love

Take a moment to honour the victim in ourselves. The victim cries out for compassion, understanding, sympathy. Ultimately, it wants our attention. Let’s tell our victim it has our attention, and we can choose to see things a different way, through the lens of love not fear. That’s how we move forward on the hero’s journey.

*in this blog, I’ve used hero and heroine interchangeably. Deliberately. Because life’s journey is undertaken by both men and women.

Header Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

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AG

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VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS