A Hero’s Journey
(Changing the System)
What is a Hero’s Journey? Real heroes feel compelled to change the system. They offer radical change. It’s almost never easy for them. This includes their awakening and their experiences but real heroes want to change the world.
Not just for themselves.
Yes, there is the other kind of hero. The one desires to be in the limelight. These individuals are looking to be seen as great. They want to take credit for things that didn’t do. They want to be seen as important. But it is really you, the real hero, that is significant.
Begin listening now to this timing podcast about Real Heroes and how they change the world.
Thank you for joining us for this podcast episode 024 of
True Connections with Weston Jolly
In every story of a hero you’ll notice a familiar pattern that the hero breaks out of the status quo to see or experience something different. This affects and changes our main character so much so that they can’t go back. And when they do go back into society, everything seems different – maybe you could go as far to say that things seem wrong and they want to inspire change.
Being a hero for some people is an ambition. These individuals are looking to be eulogized and to be seen as great. People who strive to be a hero actually feed on the idea and perhaps the power of being the one who “saved the day.” They want to be seen as important.
Then there’s the other kind of hero. The everyday person who is championed as a hero who never thought of assuming the title. When the crown is placed upon their head they invariably say “I wasn’t trying to do anything heroic.” And this describes our two opposites.
In short, those who want to take all the glory of being a hero – whether they did anything or not -and those who were never looking to be a hero but something moved them to do something heroic. And it is here, that I want to appeal to you to do something heroic. This is quite the challenge because I know you don’t wake up with such ambitions.
I get it, I do, but real heroes all find themselves standing up and doing something that they feel compelled to do. And if you do feel strongly enough I feel confident that you’ll do the right thing. Not for personal recognition but just because it feels right. However, real heroes are often moved by their own personal experience.
They take their personal awakening and their new awareness and they do something. This very act defines the hero. Real heroes just are. They feel so strongly they can’t help doing something extraordinary.
This is you. You are extraordinary. Let me explain. This is hard sell because you aren’t trying to be a hero… but I really hope you’re listening because what I have to share is very important. If you’re called to make a change then I hope you’re truly with me. The hero’s story is in taking the action.
First, your life takes place because on every level you are choosing it. This can be hard to hear, especially if you’ve experienced traumatic events that seem to be outside of your control. But let me remind you that on a soul level you have chosen all of your experiences. The only other alternative is to believe that you aren’t empowered on some level and this leaves you forever subject to things outside your free-will choice.
I am not suggesting that you have all control. Nor would you want to be perfectly in control because it would be very boring. I am saying that on a soul level you are making decisions in the same way that you’re making physical decisions. When you understand this it’s kind of cool.
And if you really get where I’m going you’re already a hero. For clearly not all of your decisions that you’ve made on the soul or physical level have been the easiest. This one thought can become a lifelong stumbling block. That is questioning or getting hung on “why” you created this or that.
Heroes don’t necessarily take the easiest path. In fact, oftentimes it’s quite hard. I’m now thinking of ballet dancer in New York who jumped down on the subway track to pull a homeless man to safety. Why would anyone do something like this?
There were plenty of other people standing on the subway platform so what urged the dancer to make this life threatening decision? Why was it that only the ballet dancer took action? The answers to these questions are immensely personal. Maybe they’re spiritual.
Right now there is a desire to change. And every hero I know is willing to champion that change. Yes, there may be ridicule and attacks but I promise you it’s worth it. One day Rosa Parks, a single black woman in the mid 1950’s, determined that she wouldn’t relinquish her seat to a white while sitting on the bus. No doubt Rosa faced a lot of heat from the bus driver and the majority of the people on the bus. But she did it anyway.
Today there are people expressing things of their past that have been buried in very deep places for decades or more. Some of these experiences haven’t ever been shared before. There are a great number of women speaking up. This is exceptional.
It’s heroic to have experienced these things. It’s even more heroic to speak up. But speaking isn’t enough. There has to be a change.
This is what all heroes have in common. They come back to usher the change. The stories that we’re hearing today aren’t single incidents in isolation. They form a pretty ugly pattern.
But our heroes are willing to address this discomfort, first within but ultimately in letting it out for the whole world see. This isn’t easy as if you think it might be. Our heroes are moved to jump on the tracks to do something that defies common sense. Our heroes aren’t looking for votes, or even acceptance, in fact, like Rosa Parks, they’re being threatened.
This too is a familiar characteristic of a real hero. Somehow what they bring have to back to society is perceived as threatening; so, they have to face the crowd, the law and maybe even the whole system to invoke real change. It’s not easy swimming up stream.
When a whole bunch of heroes come forward denial of the thing, the experience, becomes increasingly difficult. I should state it this way, you’re not alone. The more you come forth in sharing your experiences you’ll always find that you’re not the only one. This can be comforting as much it is upsetting.
For example, I’m thinking of a whole elementary school that was abused by Catholic priests. (That is plural) I know of it because I’ve counseled more than a couple of the kids, who are now adults, who attended the same school. Somewhere around 50% of the kids were molested. This isn’t a small problem.
So, how is that the nuns of the school, parents and other members of the community didn’t know about it? It makes sense that an isolated incident might not be seen but what happens when it’s 50% or more? Well, there’s no denying the whole community is complicit. This is when it takes a true hero.
It doesn’t feel like being a hero to stand up and say I was abused. And you can imagine why. It might feel easier to say that you jumped off the subway platform to pull a homeless man off the tracks. That sounds brave and it is. But being the first, or the first in a group, to initiate awareness to something so personal as abuse, let alone sexual abuse, is tough.
In every case the hero is met with enormous challenges as they come back into society to make the change. Hero’s of this kind are always greeted with physical and emotional threats. Society doesn’t like hearing, seeing or believing what they have to say and generally they are treated as outcasts. Again the reason why “everyone” acts this way is because “everyone” doesn’t want to be held responsible – but they are.
I appeal to the hero in you not to just speak or to create awareness but to demand change. The change I’m encouraging isn’t to just remove the sign on the bus that designates where colored people can and can’t sit. I’m encouraging you to change the system. Changing the system is the path of a true hero.
It’s clear we need more heroes, like you, to participate in initiating new systems. Speaking up as a hero is much needed but it’s not enough. You have to do something further. And getting your interests represented may not be enough. This is limited, like giving money to a cause without necessarily getting involved.
In business, when a new technology or business idea completely disrupts an industry they are called disruptors. Clearly Apple’s iPhone completely radicalized the entire cell phone industry. Uber also completely destroyed how the cab industry worked. Elon Musk has targeted the some of the oldest monopolies in the world in his start-ups, with PayPal, Space X, and Tesla.
My point is real heroes don’t support adoptive change they radicalize it. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey have all completely changed the world with their contributions. A hero sees something different as a result of their perspective or their experience and they want to bring back radical change.
It’s hard to imagine being raped starting at 9 first by a cousin, then later by a family friend, then your mother’s boyfriend and then by your Uncle but all of this describes Oprah Winfrey’s upbringing. Oprah is beautiful example of being a hero because not only wouldn’t she stay quiet but she become also gave the world voice to talking about things that weren’t being talked about. The cool thing is Oprah isn’t trying to be a hero, she just is. The same as you are.
Maybe it’s time to speak up and get loud. Not to make noise or incremental change but radical change. Before I continue… how does this feel within you? Is this scary? Sure it can feel this way but there’s something about fully immersing yourself to change.
Staying quiet has robbed many people their lives. No matter what your experience there is a hero within you that wants to share to make things better. Not just for yourself, because that’s not what real hero’s do. The time is now.
You may seriously doubt that your experiences aren’t hero worthy but they are. Appreciate that on a soul level, some, if not all, of these tough experiences were chosen by you to bring forth change. Radical change. Radical change doesn’t mean going to war it really means staying steadfast to your vision.
When you understand that your experience gives you unique insight then you become a champion to make real change. It’s very common to want to change your cousin, a family friend or an uncle. But this isn’t the place to put your energy. Oprah could have remained perpetually stuck trying to understand her friends and family or make them understand but she didn’t. She went to change the world so kids can grow up without abuse.
If you’re getting this then the radical change is within you. This is why I consciously honor the hero in you to continue to come forward beyond the experiences and to change the system. Maybe you’re asking yourself how? How do I make the change in myself?
I’ll give a very recent example. For personal reasons, that will forever remain personal, Dr. Ford who recently testified before the Senate Committee determined that she could no longer be quiet about certain events of her past. I’m sure you can kind of understand how “easy it would have been” for her to remain quiet. This has prompted a commonly question, “Why now?” And if you’ve allowed yourself to get distracted by that question, you’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter, “why now?” What does matter is that something is terribly wrong and you and I have responsibility in that.
You see it is heroic for Dr. Ford to come forth to tell her story. She’s done her part. Anita Hill did her part back almost 30 years ago. “I’m not sure if I could have lived with myself if I had answered those questions any differently” Anita said of her own testimony of sexual harassment. I know everyone feels better when they do express. And to commit to changing the system.
This is my part and your part, as heroes of this kind, which means we have to be willing to make radical change. This isn’t about taking a side it’s about changing the system. Clearly there are a lot of things that are broken. We don’t need more talk, debate or laws we need to change the system.
Our kids should always feel safe at home and while going to school. We have to make changes that they do. It takes a hero to stand up and talk, I know because I talk to heroes, like you, each and every day. They’re talking and they’re also changing.
It’s not enough to join a movement to which there is no vision. All heroes have vision and that’s why they feel so strongly to bring forth the change. You have to have a vision. It’s in all heroes. You may ask, what vision?
Let me offer you a hint. There is a couple of sisters I’ve known for a long long time –who’ve grown up in the one of the toughest households you can imagine. There isn’t a kind of abuse that they haven’t endured on every level. Yet, they are truly heroes of mine. I say this because I’ve witnessed their growth.
Both are married and continuing to express love not only in their partnerships but in the way they give back. Based upon their own individual and collective experiences we could easily offer them an excuse if they’d grown up to be hardened criminals but they aren’t. They both have hearts of gold and at every opportunity whether it’s an animal, child, or person they give of themselves in ways that is impossible based upon their physical past.
These heroes have a vision of love. They will speak candidly of those things that happened once about a time, but they are mostly dedicated to dramatic change. They are focused passionately in love to make this world a better place. You’d never know about their background.
Both of these sisters enjoy a childlike joy in embracing love in spite of their hardships. They are heroes of mine. I know that they are heroes of yours too. If we are real heroes we are willing to make that change.
And the changes that we must make are radical. If you feel compelled to speak, let yourself be heard. If you are moved to change the way things are, make that change within and demand a radical change to the system. There are no set backs if you are holding your vision. It would be 13 years later that Rosa Parks message of not accommodating the old system would more finally begin to change the country. Heroes are not limited to a singular event. They tend to dig deep and can’t imagine not speaking or dedicating themselves to initiate change. It’s not a fight. It’s not for justice, heroes demand change way beyond their own personal stories.
And with that I dedicate this podcast to each of you who are indeed my hero
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