The hero's journey

The hero’s journey

In Insight and Experience by Craig Fallshaw1 Comment

Craig tells us that the hero is the one who takes action amid adversity. Based on his own personal and business experience, he shares his astute pointers to arm us with the ability to take that action when everything seems too hard.


It’s all about the journey, the odyssey, what happens along the way…

I mean, what would you do if you ever got there anyway – wherever there is? I don’t think I would know what to do.

The book I am reading at the moment gave me a gem of wisdom this morning: “Be grateful for what you have while you work for what you want.”

Sit with that for a minute; it’s pretty profound.

For me, the concept of the journey is all about learning to be in the moment. We are all the product of programming, learned and unconscious responses to ordinary moments of our day that can either generate negative emotions that drain us of energy, or fill us with joy and hope. I am still learning not to let offhand criticism reach in and bring out my deepest insecurities (we all have them). I am learning every day to not let the guy in the traffic, who doesn’t know the road rules and then flashes his lights at me when he is in the wrong, make me mad and reactive.

I have gone through a lot evolving from the little fat kid who wasn’t good at sport, and from a broken home, to where I am now, thanks in part to the practitioners and guides I have met along the way. Each one was there for a different phase of my evolution and each one had a profound effect on me and my ability to basically be a grown-up and not live in a constantly highly reactive state.

Here is the other thing about being highly reactive – it makes you a really, really bad communicator. I’m pretty sure there is a direct correlation between the two things.

Case in point: some 15 years ago I was working in sales. My boss was a guy who wasn’t really into saying stuff or feelings that much. Me – words of affirmation are my primary love language. (If you haven’t read Dr Gary Chapman’s ‘Five Love Languages’, do it!) While constantly striving for praise, I found that I was extremely reactive, constantly pissed off with the world, the staff who reported to me, my now ex-wife and life in general.

It was untenable. I was known as the phone smasher for my propensity to break my Nokia 2110 against the filing cabinets in the office in a rage when I didn’t get some outcome I was after for a customer.

What changed?

I did. I met a guide, a teacher, a practitioner who amongst many other things taught me what seems now a simple lesson – If you don’t clearly communicate the desired outcome to those around you, you are highly unlikely to get it.

I have my own business now and still need to remind myself sometimes, but generally my modus operandi is: this is the outcome we are after. So don’t delegate the task. Delegate the outcome.

Life isn’t easy all the time, but no one said you had to do it alone. So get some help.

Go back to your village a hero

The concept of the hero’s journey is expressed with a fitting analogy, quite literally… leave the village; fight the dragons; return triumphant.

Think Odysseus, the Homeric hero who fought against untold odds (vengeful gods in his case) – someone who took action in adversity.

That needs to be you – take action in adversity!

The goal is to live authentically, and be outwardly aligned with your core beliefs and values, rather than living unauthentically and being constantly reactive (imagine not losing all that energy and creativity on the inner turmoil of disconnect).

Stressors will always be there, especially in this day and age where we are constantly assailed by a veritable avalanche of inputs. Sometimes we cannot control them, but what we can control is the way that we react to them.

The hero is the one who takes action amid adversity.

The hero's journey 2

Photo supplied by Craig Fallshaw

Take my word for it: I know about stressors. I’m penning this on a plane on the way back from a week in Oslo learning about the latest innovations in the vitamin industry from true visionaries, who can see the future and brace for it, and yet while I am buzzing on all that energy and excitement about what is to come with the new projects we have begun, the stressors are still in my mind as I clear emails and think about how much there is to do in the week to come: staff issues, customers who need to be made happy (often a complex task in our game) and I know one of my core values – customer service – will be offended. I am ordering in my head the most important things to get done and how I can manage the ‘pings’.

Now this is the good bit – these are the nuggets of gold
If you sift anything of value out of my article, sift this:

Nugget number one: Pings are stressors or, more precisely, your reaction to them, which put your body automatically into defensive mode, fight or flight. It’s a handy tool to have if you are being chased by a tiger, but here is the thing to know – when you have a ping set off, and go into this defensive mode, you can’t do all the really cool stuff like being creative that makes life, or your job, fun.

Nugget number two: Pings occur when one of your core values has been assaulted. It’s that simple.

I know my core values are family, being of service and having security. They are all related.

Let me give you a practical example that happens to me in my business. I make a promise to a customer and we don’t deliver on it… the team knows, my customer knows… and everybody knows that I and my business strive to provide the best class in my industry. It’s my thing. It makes me tick. It’s a core value.

When that core value is assaulted, i.e. we let someone down, my go-to used to be anger. It would piss me off no end that it had happened.

Now everyone around me knows (because I communicated) that this is my core value and that of my business (so I am more likely to get the outcome). I know that letting down a customer and assaulting my core value of customer service is a massive ping for me.

How does that help to know? Well, knowing what the real pings are for you is half the battle. It helps you reframe the ping. So instead of getting really angry, which was my old go-to, I reframe that as, ‘Wow, that sucked. How can we do it better?’

The hero's journey

Photo supplied by Craig Fallshaw

And so, dear reader, as I drift here floating in a tin can, high above the world (couldn’t resist that one) let me give you the executive summary:

Communicate the outcomes you want clearly and often to those around you and you are more likely to get them.
Know what your core values are – write them on a card and carry them around.
Know what will ping you – remember that pings waste your precious magic energy that lets you do the really cool fun stuff; so know them, reframe them and go back to the village a hero.

About the author

Craig Fallshaw

Craig Fallshaw, founder of Complementary Medicines Group, comes from a long line of Australian natural products manufacturers. His industry career, spanning more than 25 years, began in the family business, a contract manufacturer founded by his grandfather in 1972. Craig, from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is a keen photographer and loves employing his drone to photograph otherwise inaccessible places. Email Craig at

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  1. Really like the concept of delegating the outcome rather than the task in order to improve communication. I will probably focus on delegating both – the task in the context of the desired outcome. Thanks Craig.

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