Your Hero’s Story Uncovered

The stages of your leadership journey
are predictable even if life isn’t.


“The hero’s journey has three parts: departure, initiation, and return.” Sandra Emma Shelley, Insideout Enneagram by Wendy Appel.

Part one – The Departure:

1.  The Call. Early signs may be restlessness, discontent, or longing for something unknown. Great journeys always begin painfully.

2.  Refusal of the Call. It takes time to summon the courage to leave. Life shrinks – pain increases – when we refuse the call.

3.  Aid. Watch for and welcome guides.

4.  Crossing the threshold. Getting unstuck begins with the courage to think differently.

5.  The belly of the whale. Your old self dies; the new you emerges.

Part two – The initiation:

6.  The road of trials.  Trails are your opportunity to progressively bring out the new you born in the whale’s belly.

7.  The ultimate boon.  You see things as they are not as you wish them to be.

Part three – The return:

New ways of thinking become compassionate, patient living. People who suffer well arise strengthened and softened.

8.  Refusal of the return. What if new patterns are rejected? Will they work?

9.  Rescue. Others rise up and call you to a life of effectiveness.

10.  Freedom. Living life as you are.

Journey to authenticity:

Jim Parker, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, was the first of many high profile leaders who told me, “Be yourself.” Warren Bennis put it this way, “Leadership is synonymous with becoming yourself.”

Insideout Enneagram by Wendy Appel is a new tool designed to help leaders live authentically with themselves and others. All great stories have a pattern, so does yours.


I started the hero’s journey many times but never found myself at the end of the cycle until recently.

Do you see parallels between the hero’s journey and your leadership story?


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