June 30, 2021

What Happens When You Have to be the Hero of Your Own Story?

Featured image for “What Happens When You Have to be the Hero of Your Own Story?”

After a decade in motion and graphic design no mentor surfaced for me, I didn’t fit into cliques and battled sexism, and misogyny.

My first intern attempt right out of design school was for a company called The Orphanage. One of my professors from CCA knew the Creative Director and helped set up the interview. I was so nervous, broke and excited. I was called back for a second interview, the internship was for roto work, work I could have done with my eyes closed…after 4 men completed a intensive round of questioning/interviewing, they offered me the position of the secretary, with a possibility of moving up into an internship…

To give this some context, I graduated with honors, and my thesis won the Adobe Achievement Award. I had my work shown in the Guggenheim, and my thesis was picked up by ResFest and shown world wide…I was crestfallen.

This was the beginning of a long and winding road of obstacles…every time I was knocked down, I got up, and went after my goals harder. I did this until I was a burnt cinder of exhaustion…no mentor showed up, no magical stroke of luck, no door opened. I read every book I could get my hands on…listened to every podcast I could find, went to meet ups, talked to people successful in my field…

And then James Victore released one of his “Dangerous Ideas” podcast “The Right Way is the Hard Way” and reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey”. When I looked at the chart that defines all of the points a hero goes through in his journey, I realized that I have been looping between points 6–8…what part of me is identifying with this part of the journey that I can’t cross over to 9?

And then it hit me, I have to be my own hero…and stop waiting for the mentor, the opened door, the opportunity…I have to create all of these things myself as someone in charge of their own life.

With so much information available I find it’s easy to get lost in a sea of how to’s and ways to make it happen. But first, I think…you have to be your own hero. Without that…no advice will move you forward.

Where are you in your journey? How did you get there?