Hero’s Journey Stages: Embarking On Your Journey To Be a Creator
Welcome to Creator.org, a website dedicated to helping you on your journey to become a creator. The word creator can take many forms, but here, it means anyone who through their choices and actions takes control of their destiny. This may mean creating a YouTube channel, growing a social media presence, or starting a business. But one thread connects all of these things… Entrepreneurship.
And make no mistake: Entrepreneurship is a journey. And it is our mission to support you on this journey.
Life is filled with metaphors about going on a journey. In mythology, embarking on this journey is known as answering the “call to adventure.” In the concept of The Hero’s Journey, the hero leaves his or her normal life behind to embark on journey filled with trials and tribulations.
Different generations have their different heroes in popular culture. For many it was Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. But for me, it was Link in The Legend of Zelda.
And when the journey has begun, there will be challenges. There will be struggles. But there always seems to be help along the way, common in the form of guides. In The Legend of Zelda, this often comes in the form of the Wise Owl who appears before Link during key points throughout his journey. Perhaps he provides new direction for him to take, perhaps words of encouragement, or news of some kind. Whatever the wisdom, it is wise for Link to listen.
The Hero’s Journey for Content Creators & Entrepreneurs
Being a Creator is no different than being a hero like Link. Every creator starts with a journey. They may not know it, but it’s something ongoing that shapes him or her for the path in store. For the purposes of this website and it’s goal, we will call this journey The Creator’s Journey.
The Creator’s Journey graphic above is a framework that I modeled after my own experience as an entrepreneur. For some, this journey will be brief and they will reach their goals quickly. For most, though, this journey will be long. It will be years, possibly ten or more. But if you make it that far into your journey, it will no doubt be worth it.
The Stages of The Creator’s Journey
The Creator’s Journey has four main stages:
- The Safe Zone
- Learn Stage
- Grow Stage
- Give Stage
Stage 1: The Safe Zone
We have all been in the safe zone at one point or another during our lives. For many people, this is the schooling or education phase of our lives. Or it may be after we go through the typical schooling system, maybe that’s high school, maybe that’s college, and then we get that job that we thought we always wanted.
At its core is the notion that this stage is predicated on what others think we should do, but not necessarily what we want to do. And in the case of getting that job that we thought we wanted, for many there will be that little ember in the belly of their stomach that wonders what else is out there, that knows there is more for them. The question then becomes, “will you answer the call?”
Stage 2: Learn Stage
When the ember in your belly becomes undeniable, you answer the call and step into the Learn Stage. The first stage “out in the wild,” this is where you get your hands dirty and experiment. This stage is called the Learn Stage for a reason: to learn as much as possible. The best way to learn is to get on the court and try things.
If you do get on the court and try things, then there is an almost certain point at which you will try things and fail. That is OK. Most people learn a lot more by trying and failing than by reading something in a book. But if you DO fail, you must LEARN from the experience. You must get back on the court, adapt, become better, and keep going.
One important distinction about failure. Failing is normal. But be aware of the stakes at play. To get to the next stage, you will fail often and learn, but you will never fail fatally. Failing fatally is exactly as it sounds. It puts so much stress on the creator or hero that he or she may be unable to continue the journey. While there is truth to the saying, “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” avoid making critical mistakes that you cannot come back from.
After spending considerable time in the Learn stage, you will get to a point where something begins to click. You will refine your position and focus in on what’s working.
Stage 3: Grow Stage
When you reach this “clicking” point, it’s time to double down. In start-up terminology, they call this “product market fit.” In the media realm, this would be more “content audience fit.” Regardless, something begins to actually work and you must keep pushing and build momentum.
This may be where you begin to drive revenue and earning an income. This might continue to grow, or it may steady out and push you to continue learning, just in a more advanced way.
Many motivational speakers and business gurus suggest that you try to move through your journey as quickly as possible. Some say “if you’re not trying to accomplish your ten year plan in six months, you’ll fail.” I firmly disagree with this. Do you need to act, make choices, and continue to push forward? Absolutely. But there is truth to the notion that things will happen in the right time if you let this germinate. I sat on this web domain Creator.org for three years after I purchased it because it did not feel like the right time. When the right time comes, you will know it.
Stage 4: Give Stage
Moving out of the Safe Zone and through the Learn and Grow stage can take years, if not a decade. For me, this took ten years. But it’s this journey through stages that teach you what you need to learn to pass through them. This is where you attain your own wisdom, and once you attain it, it is your responsibility (and your honor) to serve others by giving back to them, lending out your hand, and helping them through the stages of their own journey.
An important part of the Give Stage is that entrepreneurs and creators will ultimately come to learn the Giving isn’t exclusive to this final stage at all. It may be the pinnacle of the Creator’s journey, getting to the point where they have attained the wisdom and success they needed to then turn around and reach out their hand to help the next one up. But the concept of Giving is something that should be woven throughout the entire journey.
A Guide of mine once likened Giving to Miracle Grow. When you’re starting a business or a YouTube channel and you’re doing everything “right,” metaphorically planting good seeds in fertile soil and tending to the garden, Giving has the power to fuel growth in ways that may at times seem impossible.
So where are you on your journey?
Ambitious creators on their journey have a tendency to think they are further along than they are. And in fact, it may be an ever evolving path where there is no one single right answer. Yet, I do believe this has a great deal to do with intuition. Where do you feel you are at?
We can gain clues from things like timing. How long have you been on your journey?
One year? You are likely still in the Learn stage.
Three years? You may be entering the Grow stage.
Different people have different incubation times during each stage. It is also dependent on how large your mission is. Does your mission involve helping a hundred people or a million? How much wisdom do you need to attain and what skills do you need to develop and master to accomplish your mission?
All of these questions are worth exploring as you determine and continue to monitor you trajectory on your journey.
Always remember… You are on your journey. You are on your path. And you will succeed!