The theme for TEDxRockCreekPark is “The Hero’s Journey.” It is a metaphor for what our life calls us to do and the path that journey takes us on. As I prepared for this event, I thought about the hero’s journey and considered what being a hero really meant. Experience has shown me that we each face dragons in our life journey. How we face these dragons, or if we face them at all, shape the path our journey takes and the kind of hero we will be.
When my daughter was a teenager, she had several experiences that left her questioning her purpose and her worth. She was not able to cope with the normal stresses of teenage life, nor was she able to productively participate in relationships that could help her. Finding a balance between the good and bad she was experiencing seemed impossible. For my daughter, the dragon was finding meaning in her life. For me, it was not being able to help my child who was clearly struggling and unhappy.
Dragons are the challenges, difficulties and fears we face in our personal and professional lives. There are as many different dragons as there are people. We each have our own and they are unique and individual to us. These challenges can be overwhelming and terrifying. They can leave us paralyzed, and confused as to what action we should take. But they can also be manageable and if we allow it, they are meaningful.
My daughter has since slayed her dragon and has found meaning, purpose and happiness in her journey. As a performance coach, I have seen how meeting challenges alter the course and shape us into the hero of our journey. I have watched individuals experience tremendous personal and professional growth after facing a dragon they thought was unbeatable. And I have seen the damage dragons can inflict when avoided or ignored. We all know these dragons on our life journey matter. Why and how much they matter is an individual question, as personal as the dragons.
On the course of my journey, I have slayed some of my own dragons and I have helped many others meet theirs. People have shown me that the ability to face personal dragons and succeed already exists inside each of us. I invite you to watch a short video on why I believe we can find our greatness by tapping into the power inside ourselves. And then join me and 22 other thought leaders, business leaders, film-makers, and musicians at TEDxRockCreekPark to consider the journey you are taking and the hero you want to be.