*Brief little side note before you dig into this: This piece is going to reference a great deal of work from the mythologist Joseph Campbell, who is widely known for The Hero’s Journey. And while I can proudly say I’m a gigantic Campbell nerd, John Romaniello is a true Campbell expert who has written on the topic a million times over.
It would be folly of me to try and explain the importance of The Hero’s Journey when you can just click over and read it from one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic. So go read what he’s got to say, and come back.
THE CALL TO ADVENTURE.
I think the first message I got about it was in April.
My friend and mentor John Romaniello messaged me after we had just spent the weekend in Kansas City at The Fitness Summit
drinking entirely too much eating vegetables and doing cardio, and told me I needed to move to New York. I’m pretty sure I responded with something like, “Yeah bro. I’d love to. I’ll check it out when we’re there in June for the next #RFSMastermind.” and that was that.
THE REFUSAL OF THE CALL.
In my head, I was thinking, “Dude, not all of us are New York Times Best Sellers. Not all of us run 7-figure businesses. We can’t just all up and decide we should move to New York.”
Even as I ran that internal monologue, I knew it was bullshit. I was wrapping myself in the comfortable blanket of delusion and excuses because it felt warm and safe. I had an apartment in Atlanta, and I didn’t plan on living there forever, but I definitely didn’t plan on just packing up and moving to New York.
In hindsight, there are a number of moments we have in our life that we look back on as the harbinger of change. Moments, that, without them showing up and without our responding, our life would be markedly different.
It’s with these moments that we find ourselves at a pivotal point in The Hero’s Journey and we cross a threshold. We leave our old world behind and enter a new world, seemingly as a new person.
These moments happen all throughout life. They can be small moments like starting Kindergarten or huge moments that dramatically shift the course of your life forever, like having sex for the first time or reading your first Hemingway novel. It’s never one singular moment. Instead, your life is full of thresholds, and they come in all sizes.
And today I’m going to tell you about my own threshold crossing, which is always terrifying in its own right. And honestly, that’s the main reason I’m writing this. The Hero’s Journey is a passion of mine, and it’s how I’ve come to view every situation in my life. So writing about it in this vein is not only cathartic but hopefully, it can help at least one person figure out where they are in their own Hero’s Journey.
I’m sitting at the airport right now, waiting for a one-way flight to New York City.
This is my threshold, and today I’m finally crossing it. But, like most journeys, I’ve contemplated crossing it for a long time, and during that time, refused to cross it at multiple points.
For roughly the past 16 months I’ve more or less known that at some point I was going to move to New York. Working as a writer and a trainer, it felt natural. I have a ton of friends who live there, I can expand my network there.
But, being a small-town Texas kid the idea also freaked me out. Sure, I lived in Atlanta, hardly a small city. New York is an entirely different beast. And while one part of me loves the old cliche about New York, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” there’s another part of me that wonders, “what if I fail?”
We all refuse the call.
Just like in any great story, every single hero receives a call to adventure. It’s Obi-Wan trying to get Luke to accompany him to save the galaxy. It’s Gandalf and the Dwarves trying to get Bilbo to join their party. Or maybe it’s John Romaniello telling me I need to move to New York and Chris Coulson providing the kick in my ass when I need it.
If you’ve watched any great movie, read any book, or fallen in love with any good TV series, you know that the hero doesn’t immediately just hop up and go on their merry way.
No, they refuse the call. Which is pivotal to the story as well. Luke says he needs to stay on the farm. Bilbo doesn’t want to leave the Shire. And I wasn’t sure if I could afford it, the time wouldn’t be right, or any number of excuses.
But in the course of becoming the Hero of our own life, we have to accept that call. We have to then, in turn, cross the threshold. We have to leave the world that we know and love behind, and go out into the dark and cold. To leave comfort and safety in order to find a new version of ourselves.
That’s where growth happens, sure. But really, that’s where we become a Hero. Crossing that threshold into the unknown world requires a leap of faith. We’re all doing something that scares usMaking a move that can shake us down to the very fiber of our being and force us to give ourselves a long hard look in the mirror, and question if everything we thought we knew about ourselves is actually true.
In those moments, that’s when we really find our inner Hero. That’s where we discover the strength to become the Hero of our life.
New York is my next threshold.
I don’t want this post to make it seem like I’m having massive anxiety attacks about moving to New York. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m beyond excited to move to a new city and take a highly sought after position as Trainer-In-Residence at one of the most famous gyms in the world, Mark Fisher Fitness.
Even more, I’m happy to be able to work with someone that I can call my soul brother, Mark Fisher.
On top of that, I’m will be surrounded by a number of people who push me to be better. Fellow members of the #RFSMastermind, other writers, trainers, creatives, and great friends in general.
But even beyond the people and the environment, I’m enamored with the idea of falling in love with a new city. Going off and exploring new places, learning new things, and meeting new people. All of which is undoubtedly going to create a breeding ground for unprecedented growth in every meaningful aspect of my life.
So yeah, this move is a great life choice.
But just like any big move, there’s also some nervousness. Some bit of worry about dealing with the unknown. Especially when you’re going to be couch surfing for an undetermined period of time.
And that’s the best part. It’s exactly what the Special World is supposed to be like.
In the journey of your own life, you’re not going to know what the Special World is like before you go because you haven’t been there. You won’t know what married life is like until you’re there. Nor will you know what life is like after losing 80lbs until you’ve done it.
You can imagine it all you want, but it’s the Special World for a reason.
You have to quit refusing the call that you know keeps coming back. It might be the little voice that tells you to lose weight. Or it might be that you need to make amends with someone. I don’t give a fuck what your call is, I just care that you finally accept it.
And once you do, I only care that you cross the threshold with me. That way we can hold each other in the fetal position and talk about our worries and concerns. And then stand up and slay the motherfucking dragon in our way to becoming the Hero of our lives.