The Hero’s Journey
Within each of us, in the collective unconscious, there lies a hero — an archetype that Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed lays dormant until called to action. Studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell built upon Jung’s work. In The Power of Myth, Mr. Campbell writes that no matter what the myth, the hero’s journey remains the same.
Your Career is the Hero’s Journey
All heroes must leave what is familiar, venture forth, do battle, and then return, forever changed, with new talents and gifts to share. For those of us in executive search, that means we deal with something far more important than recruiting metrics and candidate tracking systems: with each and every recruiting engagement, we bear witness to the hero’s journey.
First Comes the Call to Action
The hero’s journey begins with a call to action. For executive search, this would be the point at which a candidate is first given notice that everything is going to change. That step is often followed by a refusal of the call. A candidate may not be ready to make a move out of fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or a sense of duty or obligation.
Executive Recruiter, the Hero’s Guide
In the myth of The Hero’s Journey, once the hero has committed to the quest, a magical guide or helper appears. For our careers, that would be an executive search firm. The most gifted recruiters and executive search consultants naturally assume that role, helping usher candidates across the threshold to enter the world of the unknown — unknown possibilities.
Executive search done well is inspired. It helps executives who have worked hard to become the best of the best get the recognition they deserve. We introduce exceptional candidates to once-in-a-lifetime wealth-creation opportunities — that are so lucrative they lift a family up for generations. But beyond the material benefits — we are participants in a spiritual quest that involves forces far greater than any one of us, including Jung’s collective unconscious and Campbell’s monomyth. Campbell believes that discovering our own Hero’s Journey offers us the path to transcendence.
Joseph Campbell’s work lives on. A series of television interviews of the author by journalist Bill Moyers entitled The Power of Myth can still be viewed on Apple TV and YouTube.