In the beginning, the hero goes about everyday life as an ordinary person in an ordinary world. But something isn’t right. They feel a certain unrest, like something is missing. This motivates them to make a change, even if they’re not sure what that might be exactly. In real life, this might be a job we are content with but that leaves us unfulfilled. It could be a relationship that is comfortable, but brings us little joy. Or it might be a passion that we’ve long ignored for no good reason. Something is nudging us toward the edge of our comfort zone. And it’s almost time we make a decision.
That decision is whether or not we will stick our necks out enough to pursue the calling. In the Hero’s Journey, the Initiation Stage is when the main character is pushed to the point where they have no choice but to set out on an adventure. This adventure occurs in a different “place”, the Special World. For us, this means we’ve decided to test ourselves by expanding into new areas and taking on new challenges. During the Initiation Stage we enter into a period of growth and development which will change us forever.
In the Hero’s Journey, the Return Stage is the result of their call to adventure and pursuit of greater meaning. The triumphant hero returns back to the Ordinary World a changed person. They have overcome hardships and have improved in the process. It is the happy ending. In real life, the “return” is not always as smooth or happy, but we’re fundamentally better than we were before. We’ve persevered. We’ve grown. We now see the world and our lives from a new perspective.