“The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know. The hero journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity, always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find.”1
— Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey —
Have you ever got to a stage in your life, where you are ready to define who you are to yourself, to the world, and maybe even create a brand or persona for "why" and "what" you are doing?
From the depths of our souls to the patterns of behaviour we exhibit every day "our true character". Our sense of self is essentially an illusion or a persona we create for specific people, our jobs, our partners and even the world.
But who are we really? When we take all the masks off, we stand naked and bare, loving fully, with no walls down. Living in our truth and full expression? Who am I when no one is watching? How do I treat myself and others? What do I stand for and stand against? Ahhh... Deep questions that many of us avoid until the day we die.
So.....How do we get started with capturing "who I am", and "who you are", in this cycle of life? Whilst, being mindful that we evolve and grow, into different versions of the same person. In the same way, a husband and wife, need to fall in love and choose love over and over again with the same person. As they grow and evolve into new versions of themselves. As the layers strip away and each person blossoms and blooms into their own unique expression.
However, one thing stays the same throughout these cycles, our hearts and our soul. What we do, our jobs, our thoughts, our feelings. All of this is temporary. Our essence, our core, our values, our beliefs... Over time they become simpler and more defined as the diamond underneath reveals itself with every season of experience.
Essentially what we are unraveling is our Character.
- Who are you in good and challenging circumstances?
Character, not circumstances, makes the person. Booker T. Washington
- Who are you in times of inconvenience?
People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world but because they refuse to be changed by the world. Michael Josephson
- Who are you when you have everything?
Nearly All People Can Stand Adversity But If You Want To Test A Man's Character Give Him Power. Abraham Lincoln
- Who are you when no one is watching?
Personality is Who we are and what we do when everybody is watching. Character is Who we are and what we do when nobody is watching. Anonymous
- How do you respond to tough times?
Character, like a photograph develops in darkness. Yousuf Karsh
True Character is revealed when pressure is applied. Anonymous
- What are your true intentions?
Watch your intentions, for they reflect your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, for they become your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny and who you ultimately are. Anonymous
Who we really are, is our character when everything externally and in our mind is stripped away. Only then do we meet our true selves. Perhaps you can remember a moment, of deep pain, struggle, challenges, and chaos. Where your inner world and external reality were misaligned. Perhaps it sent you into a cycle? A heroes journey, as you are called to adventure, to learn the lessons from the pain and suffering, perhaps even experiencing a dark night of the soul, as we remind ourselves that we attract what we are, how we feel, and that ultimately we are the creator of it all.
15-Minutes of WHY Slam session with a friend
1. Organise a call with a dear friend... pick a truth-teller who loves you.
2. Let them know that you are going to be asking them a flurry of questions that "start with why". Inform them that it will take about 15 minutes, and in moments, it may feel clumsy and awkward, but it will deepen the friendship, and it will be a cool experience!
3. Once you are settled and ready, ask them the following questions—in whatever order, as many times as possible, in different ways. The repetition will help create depth.
Why are you friends with me?
Why is that important to you?
Why does that matter?
You can also add in these questions:
What is unique about me?
How does my friendship make you feel?
What is the thing you most value about me?
4. Let them answer; just listen. Write down as much as you can, and fight the urge to provide any input. Expect a swirl of emotions.
5. When you both feel complete, revisit your notes with them.
6. Distil your notes. Highlight key pieces. Commune with all that you learn; this will be a taste of your essence.
7. Add what you discover to your "WHO AM I" article.
8. Rinse and repeat. Complete this activity more than once.
When you organize this call, you can use otter.ai, so that you can focus on being present and let tech capture the transcribing for you.
6 Steps We Can Take After This Call
Step 1. Write your story (the real one)
From birth until now. Split it into 8-year cycles, one hero's journey after another. Share the trials, the tribulations, the lessons, and the learnings.
Step 2. Define who you are, for now.
If we don't define who we are in actions, words, and feelings. Then the world will filter who you are through their own lens. Be mindful that we all evolve and grow into new versions of ourselves every 8 years. We have new wisdom, new experiences, new learnings, new awareness, and new ways of living, being, and feeling.
How to turn who we are into a service or product?
Step 3. Define who you are for them?
Have you ever explored your "ikigai"? What do you love? What are you naturally good at? What does the world need, relative to what skills you have? What is the world willing to exchange value for? This can become our passion, vocation and genius. Something that can evolve over time.
Step 4. Create a Link Tree, with all these elements
Step 5. Create a Brand Guide
The end goal is to create a media kit, that others can use to help share your vision, mission, values, unique gifts, and value for the world.
Step 6. Go do and Be you, and ask for feedback along the way
Phone a friend, is a powerful tool to get an honest reflection on who we know ourselves to be and feel internally, versus who we are showing up as in the external reality. The people that have seen us in every season, every moment, the good, the bad, the lows, the heights, are often the ones that can really see us, feel us and already accept us as we are.
There are people that have known us for decades and new friends that have met us in our essence. If you find one or more people that truly see you, love you, and accept you in every season. Ask them what they see, feel, and think about you. Many of us are too afraid to ask but choose love > fear. And be open to anything that is reflected. Assume the best? What if it's better than anything you could have imagined? You may even find that your friends will ask you to be the same reflection for them.
Call To Action
Share the main takeaway from the call in the comments. For some accountability and perhaps to inspire someone else to do this too!