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Watch the Journey

278 - The Hero's Two Journeys

278 - The Hero's Two Journeys

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Holy crap! Look what I figured out over the last four days.

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So as I was, yesterday as I came to the office I started geeking out, so I mapped out on a whiteboard and showed the whole thing to a bunch of guys on my team. I was explaining it all to them and then everyone was kind of like, “Give me an example of this journey of transformation.” And I was thinking and all the sudden it popped in my head and I remember this story of Cars.


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Hey everyone it is a beautiful snowy, snowy day. I love the snow, it’s so much fun. I hope you guys are having a good time wherever you’re at in the world. Some of you guys are probably super hot, on a beach hanging out, which is cool. For me, I’m here driving in the snow. It’s about 12:30 in the afternoon, I’m going in late because I’ve been writing, trying to get the book done. So I’ve been spending a lot of time at home locked away. I’m trying to get things done without people around me, and then I have to go and share the ideas because it gets the energy of everyone in our office, gets me fired up and gets me motivated to keep writing and creating.

But it’s kind of fun, the last three days, I was supposed to have the book done last week. Last 3 almost 4 days now, I’ve been focusing on the one chapter and it’s the epiphany bridge and if you listen to the podcast you hear me talk about the epiphany bridge and as I’m explaining it……it’s tough because when you explain things live there’s an easy way to do it. You guys have probably heard me explain the epiphany bridge on the podcast and I think most people probably got it. But as you’re writing there’s a lot of things you have to fill in because your audience may not have the context.

When you guys are hanging out with me, we have context, we know…..there’s understanding you have when I share something it’s like, “Oh that’s how it fits in the context of all the stuff Russell’s been sharing with me.” But a book there’s a vacuum where someone could be getting off a book shelf and have no idea who you are. There’s more filling in between the lines you have to do.

So the epiphany bridge, I could explain it easily, but to get the full impact that I need, I need more. I spent the first night, I can’t remember if I told you or not, but I spent three hours studying the story just to get back into that state of how you actually tell a good story. What’s the structure?

And I think I mentioned there’s a really good audio called the Hero’s Two Journeys, by Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler teach the story. And Michael Hauge is like a consultant for script writer in Hollywood, and Chris Vogler does similar stuff for novelists. I kind of resonated a lot more with Michael Hauge, in fact Michael came and spoke at one of our events.

Dayton Smith and I a couple of years ago taught this concept called the Hero’s two journeys. And it’s cool because I listened to the audio of it, and he spoke at our event. And he was, it was super awesome to see the story. You look at all movies and all books, they follow a very similar story structure, so that was fascinating back then, but I didn’t really know how to apply it. I’m not doing Hollywood productions or Hollywood movies, so how to this apply to our world? That was probably 5 or 6 years ago that he spoke at our event. It’s been kind of up in the air for me for a long time.

This week as I’ve gone back through it, and I’ve been looking at it and listening to it through a different lens. I have a structure with my epiphany bridge story, is it the same as the hero’s two journeys? Is it different? What things am I missing that I should be bringing over? And it turned into this 4 day geek out session on Story, which has been so much fun. But now that it’s happening, I’m seeing this clear picture of……it’s amazing.

I’m going to give Mike Hauge credit for a lot of this stuff because I’m learning it again through him and I’m trying to tweak it in a way that fits into my lens that I view the world through. But some cool things, and I’ll share a couple of them and then I’ll be out of…probably wont have time to go through all of them.

The cool thing is first off, talk about every good story, there’s three core components. There’s a character, then the desire of the character, where he’s ggoing, the physical desire ( I need to go over there) then there’s the conflict. So if you have those three you have a story.

You have a character, little red riding hood. She has a desire, I want to take my grandma a bag of goodies. Then the conflict, the big bad wolf wants to eat her along the way. And that’s the story and if you have those three elements, you’ve got the story. The three core things.

What’s interesting is that typically as marketers, we look at the desire is where we try to create desire in people’s minds. I want the big house or car or wherever this thing you want to get to is. I want to lose weight….we try to create desire in that. But what’s interesting is in the story desire is not created by the desire, emotion is not created by the desire. The Desire, the emotion we want in a story, the emotion comes from the conflict. That’s what people actually care about it. If there’s no conflict people won’t care about the story.

If my story is that I woke up and drove to the office, there’s no conflict there, nobody cares, it’s boring. So the conflict is what creates emotion, which makes the story actually interesting. There’s kind of that.

We talk about characters, always the back story, and I’ve kind of pulled out, there’s about 5 or 6 ways you can build rapport with it, and with a character. In a movie they try to do those things prior to……it’s the first ten percent of the movie, so prior to the attractive character, or the character, or hero, whatever you want to call it, leaving on this journey. So you try to build rapport and usually it’s happening in one spot.

And about ten percent into the movie there’s this thing that happens that usually physically they leave the location that they’re at and go somewhere else. Frodo leaves the shire and he goes on this journey. What happens is there’s always this visible desire we have called the Journey of accomplishment, the hero’s first journey, the journey of accomplishment. I need to accomplish this thing. I gotta take the ring to Mordor and throw it in this lava pit. Every story’s got that. There’s this journey. That’s the journey we’re all watching and we’re visible and we’re aware and going with this character on this journey trying to help them achieve.

But then there’s also this second journey, that’s why he calls it the hero’s two journeys. And the second journey is not visible to the naked eye. We don’t see it. Frodo’s got to become a man, we don’t see that piece of it. All we see is the desire of where they’re trying to get to. And then the conflict that’s happening along the way.

So that’s what’s fascinating, there’s this second journey happening, and that second journey is the journey of transformation. The first journey is the journey of accomplishment, second journey is the journey of transformation, them becoming a different person.

So if you look at the back story of the story, what’s happening is that we’re creating an identity that this character believes about themselves. It’s all their old beliefs or all their current beliefs. They believe this and this and all these things that are important and have created their identity. And then they go on this journey of accomplishment and during the process they have this journey of transformation where this identity of who they think they are breaks away and these old beliefs fall off and then these new beliefs are born and it shifts from their identity to their essence.

And essence is the key. That’s where we want to get to, that essence of who we actually are and having the hero discover that during this journey. What’s interesting is that in good stories the hero will accomplish the thing that they wanted to, that they went on this journey of accomplishment, they accomplish that thing. But then usually it doesn’t matter. They throw it away or they don’t care because the real journey was this journey of transformation, where the character became something more.

So as I was, yesterday as I came to the office I started geeking out, so I mapped out on a whiteboard and showed the whole thing to a bunch of guys on my team. I was explaining it all to them and then everyone was kind of like, “Give me an example of this journey of transformation.” And I was thinking and all the sudden it popped in my head and I remember this story of Cars.

So Cars is, we just watched it on the Disney Cruise with my kids like 25 times, so it’s top of my brain right now. Lightning McQueen is this hero. There’s this back story, we hear all this stuff, he almost wins the Piston cup, there’s a three-way tie, so now they’re gonna race. So now he’s got to leave, he’s physically leaving this spot.

During the back story we understood his identity, what’s important. He’s a rookie, He’s in line to win the piston cup, blah, blah. We also see his character flaws, we find out before he leaves on his journey that he doesn’t have any friends, even Harv, his manager, he thinks is his friend isn’t actually his friend, he doesn’t even like him.

He’s getting in this car and we realize that he’s actually…there’s this pain that he has and he doesn’t know who he is. He’s going to win this thing and that’s his identity. He has to win the Piston cup or else he’s a failure in life. He’s gonna be the first rookie ever, so he jumps into the……Harv, they start on this physical journey. Leaving the current location for somewhere else. The desire for him is to go to California to win the Piston cup. That’s the visual goal we all see. Then what happens, Harv falls asleep, he falls out of the car, gets stuck in Radiator Spring and that introduces conflict. And all this conflict starts happening. And through this conflict he becomes a different person.

Then what happens is the end of the story he gets the ability to go accomplish his desires. So he leaves Radiator Springs, he goes to the race, gets in the thing, doing this race and has this opportunity to win. He’s out there racing the track and goes through and it comes down to the last minutes of the race. He’s going through and passes everybody and he’s in the front and he has become the victor, he’s gonna win. His desires that he’s been trying to accomplish this entire movie, the whole journey of accomplishment is now his, he owns it. And then all the sudden Chick Hicks hits the King’s wheel and the king flips up, boom, boom, boom, car wrecks. Smashes everything and he looks up and as he’s about to cross the finish line he looks up and sees in the monitor he sees the King destroyed.

And he remembers the story about Doc and him being destroyed and all the sudden he realizes in that moment, he changes. And he realizes that this journey of accomplishment, things he’s trying to accomplish, does not actually matter. And he throws it away, slams on his breaks and stops an inch in front of the finish line and he sits there and Chick Hicks flies past him and wins the race. And then what does he do? He backs up, goes back and finds the King, goes behind him and he starts pushing the King to the finish line. The King says something to him. He says, “What are you doing, Rookie? You realize you just threw away the Piston Cup?” and then this is where we had this glimpse of the transformation Lightning McQueen had. He said, “You know an old race car once told me, all it is, is an empty cup.” And he pushes the king through the finish line and the story…..the hero’s second journey, that transformation, he accomplished it. He became somebody more. Something different, something better.

Isn’t that amazing. And it’s like, that is the story line for movies. It’s the hero’s two journeys. And when you see it, it starts becoming so clear that all these, every movie there’s this external journey, the external desire they are going for, but then there’s this internal journey that happens and I want you to think about this for yourself. Because, we’ll get more when you get the book, it’ll explain how this fits into the epiphany bridge and all that stuff.

But for a lot of us, that’s our life. We all get into whatever we’re doing because we have this thing. I got into wrestling because I wanted to be, at first a state champ, I wanted to be a national champ. Here’s my journey of achievement. That was all I lived, thought about. That was the only thing that mattered. I went on this journey and hit my state champ, I became an All American and went to college and my last goal was to become an All American in college. My whole life, everything rode on this journey, I was going on this thing, and I didn’t hit it. I fell short, I didn’t even qualify for the national tournament my senior year, fell short. And it was over.

And I didn’t get my thing that I’d been trying to achieve. But then for me as a person, I stepped back and I looked and I said, “What happened in the last 12 years of me pursuing this dream?” what was the journey of transformation for me? Who did I become because of that? If I didn’t go on this journey, even though I didn’t hit my desire, even if I would have hit my desire, what was put in my path? Who did I meet? How did I change who I am? How did I become someone different, someone better because of that?

If I hadn’t gone on that journey where would I be today? It would have been a whole different trajectory. But the journey of transformation happened because I was chasing that desire. So let’s get into business, want to make money, that’s the desire but then what happens along the way? Holy cow, you feel, you realize and this is true for me, you realize that the things you create actually have an impact on people and it can change their life. And suddenly it shifts from I need to make money to how can I have an impact? A transformation, that’s the switch.

That’s why there’s so many people who go through weight loss, this desire to lose weight and in the process they’ve learned something about themselves. And they have so much passion about it and they want to share it with other people and that’s why they become trainers and coaches and experts and all these crazy things.

It’s so fascinating. It’s in movies, in life. All over the place, the hero’s two journeys. It’s excited. So that’s what I got for you guys to you. I’m almost to the office. I have more that I want to share, but I’ll have to save it for another podcast. Maybe I’ll do it on the drive home tonight because I have the paper right here. The next thing I’m looking at is the conflict. How do you break down the actual conflict that’s happening inside of this story. The hero’s, after he’s left home, he’s going through this thing, what are the levels of the conflict. I actually have it sketched out right here; it’ll be in the new book. I’m calling it the Five Turning Points of Conflict, and it’s awesome. So maybe I’ll share that tonight or whenever the next podcast comes out. Least that’s the game plan. If not, then go read my book because it will be in there for sure.

I hope that is exciting for you guys, gets you a little pumped up about story and thinking through that as you’re telling your stories. Because the end of the day no one really cares if the hero achieves the accomplishment. The audience cares that the hero becomes something and gets the journey of achievement, or the journey of transformation. That’s what we actually root for. That’s how we fall in love with characters. Rocky part 1, Rocky didn’t win. But who did he become? That’s why we love Rocky. Alright, I’m at the office, guys. Appreciate you all, have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you guys probably later on tonight. Alright, bye.


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