Life is a collection of transformative journeys.
When I reflect on my own transformative journeys, I notice that there is a seasonality to each one. From personal endeavors to entrepreneurial ventures, each journey could fall under what I call “The Four Seasons.” Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, I created “The Four Seasons” framework to serve as a trail map for myself and others who are daring to answer their calls to adventure, or their journeys of transformation.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to serve as a guide for a number of artists, non-profit leaders, educators, entrepreneurs, and others through these Four Seasons. Through this framework, we bring clarity, enable courage, develop grit, and instill the generosity needed for their journey ahead. Each season, as shown below, is marked by a question to help move you through the cycle realizing, answering, and returning to your calling. Let’s take a deeper look.
WINTER: The Call
The transformative journey begins here in the world of the ordinary, the status quo. Then, in a single moment, you are disrupted by a call. This call might be an idea that illuminates new possibilities, or an experience that stirs the heart’s desire for change, or a still, small voice calling you forth. Sometimes, this call is born out of tragedy, loss, or a void. Regardless of its nature, the call will not go away. It will continue to gnaw at you until you stop what you are doing and give it the attention it requires of you.
As you explore this call, you arrive at the threshold from the old to the new. You may choose to step forth, but sometimes you are pushed across.
THE QUESTION: Will you answer the call?
SPRING: The Crisis
You step into this new and extraordinary world. Yet quickly, your anticipation and excitement are attacked by what Steven Pressfield calls, “The Resistance.” The Resistance is very strategic — It knows that we are our own worst enemy, so it attacks our identity. The Resistance is also brutally efficient. It simply sparks the fuel of doubt and allows our own voices to tend the fire of insecurity and uncertainty.
“Who do I think I am?”
“Am I an imposter? What if they find out?”
“Am I a leader? A creative? Qualified? Smart? Beautiful? Charismatic?”
This is when we rise up to the challenge. We clear the clutter and remove the noise. We choose to become the person we need to be.
THE QUESTION: “Am I?”
SUMMER: The Craft
In this season, you step into the “cave.” This is when the work intensifies and confidence grows. With each step deeper into this cave, you begin to identify the capabilities necessary to continue on this journey.
The mystery and uncertainty of the cave darkens your vision and path, so you learn to navigate, climb, and travel in darkness. With each step, your understanding of the nuances deepens. You read books, listen to podcasts, find a mentor, and attend trainings. You learn to innovate, inspire, write, lead, and build. And you discover that the best learning comes from trying. You add to your toolbox of skills.
However, the backpack you carry is preventing you to navigate through the narrows, so you meticulously remove the items that are not essential. You say “no” to unnecessary things in order to say “yes” to the journey.
THE QUESTION: “What are the capabilities and capacity I need?”
FALL: The Return
You battled your way through the cave. You may have slain a dragon or barely survived. You started a movement, wrote your first book, led a team through a project, became debt free, or maybe you discovered what not to do. Regardless of the situation, you discovered that the treasure is not the outcome. The true treasure is your transformation. You leveled up.
With a renewed strength of identity, capabilities, and capacities, you are a new you. You can now give this gift to the world. You bring a greater presence and value to every relationship, service and community. You deepen the meaning you bring to the work you, instead of extracting meaning from the work. Your ordinary world is transformed. It is now the new status quo, until you are disrupted once again by a call to another adventure.
THE QUESTION: “Now what?
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself,
and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,
I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and
I could indeed have changed the world.
– unknown monk”