Social enterprises are revolutionary. They are creating a new paradigm to view business, and empowering all of us to be sustainable and profitable. The “doing good is good for business” revolution is sparking innovation, and heroes are emerging from every corner of the globe.
I dug a bit deeper and discovered that Hero was actually a female goddess, and the classic “Hero’s Journey” was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. You may remember dissecting Odyssey and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) in English class. Campbell’s essence of storytelling within the Hero’s Journey is so universal that it has inspired artists like Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, and movies like Aladdin, Lion King and Star Wars.
Starting any business is definitely an “odyssey.” A business with double impact (social + financial) or triple impact (social + environmental + financial) is even more of a challenge as you navigate the waters of building a human-centered organization and educating others about your revolutionary model. As you and your company evolve over time, it can be difficult to understand or communicate your vision for the future.
As a personal and professional coach, I know that the use of metaphors and storytelling makes it easier to not only understand yourself but also to share your personal vision with investors, partners and customers. I wondered what would happen if we used Campbell’s 12-step Hero’s Journey archetype (as updated by Christopher Vogler in 2007) to help my students.
I called on one of my personal heroes, Lily Sandler, hoping to see if this ancient archetype would work as a tool for plotting out our personal journeys as social entrepreneurs. I walked Lily through her Heroine’s Journey in hopes she would see herself as the hero of her own story, gain clarity around her current challenges, and start imagining the next chapter for herself and her business. It worked! The structure helped Lily to “learn about herself and imagine what she wanted next for her customers, herself and her company.”
As you read through her responses, imagine your story, the personal challenges and triumphs you have experienced along the way, and how each of them helped shape your revolution. Then fill in your own Hero’s Journey to gain a deeper understanding of what motivates you and clarity on what you want to focus on as your future story unfolds.
Background: Lily Sandler started BLAMtastic with her mom in 2007 when she was just 10 years old, and has since created a hybrid-model with their nonprofit BLAMtastic Legacy Fund to empower youth.
Moxie (n): the ability to be active; courage or determination
Download the free Hero’s Journey Entrepreneurial Worksheet. Use this exercise to reflect on your journey in business – understanding each triumph, challenge and lesson learned along the way will bring you clarity as you move forward in your mission.
Kristi Hemmer is a storyteller, sojourner, do-gooder and “moxie maker” with over 25 years of experience as a coach and counselor. Kristi founded AWE (Academy for Women’s Empowerment) in 2013, while traveling the globe to interview young people for her book on social entrepreneurship. Her high-energy, interactive approach to coaching helps her students (young and old) to reflect, build confidence, own their power, and unleash their possibility.