Hero's Journey

Everyone has a call to adventure, a challenging quest, a mighty adversary, a secret treasure, and a lesson learned

Photo of Andrew James Ferris
Andrew James Ferris »
Digital Storyteller and Expedition Photographer at Innovation Bound

A deep dive on Joseph Campbell's work on The Hero's Journey and its many intersections with our modern lives and the stories we live.




What Is The Hero's Journey?

The Hero's Journey is best understood as a storytelling framework derived from ancient and modern literature by Joseph Campbell and detailed in his 1949 book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

You're The Hero!

Hero's Journey is a storytelling framework that seems to emerge from all kinds of stories from all kinds of cultures, but it also seems to have some use as a psychological framework for personal growth.

The Organizational Call To Adventure

Organizations seeking to be innovative must brave the unknown, and they have to make discoveries along the way. In this sense, Hero's Journey offers a double benefit, as a framework for exploring the unknown, and a learning approach.

Hero's Journey At All Scales

Hero's Journey is a parttern, first observed and codified by Joseph Campbell. In this clip, Andrew describes how that pattern can be observed and used at various scales and to varrying benefits.

Lion King Hero's Journey

In The Lion King, Simba (the hero) starts out in his ordinary world where Everything the light touches, is our kingdom. That is his ordinary world. Andrew and Costa follow the rest of the story through a Hero's Journey lens.

Rick & Morty Style

Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland use Hero's Journey for Rick and Morty. In fact, they've created their own simplified style of it, which Costa highlights here.

Myth-Generating Creatures

We as humans are myth-generating creatures, Andrew begins, and explains the power and relevance of stories in our cultures. Could it be that stories about fruitful psychological growth (Hero's Journeys) are the ones that survive, because the cultures that embrace those stories themselves survive? Or is it the other way around 😉

When The Hero Refuses

Hero's journeys typically have an ordinary world, in which the hero receives their call to adventure. Usually, they accept, but what happens when they don't? Andrew explains with the story of Jonah and the Whale. Namely, the ordinary world transforms into the wild world.

Let's Talk About Magic

Costa asks why hero's journeys have so much magic and supernatural phenomenon in them. Modern stories use metaphor to replace what used to be magic in myths, but perhaps there's something more going on.

Subjective VS Objective

Most of us can comprehend the objective world. Two plus two equals four. Cool. But what is truth in the subjective world and how does story come into it?

Cultural Ideas Systems

Andrew describes a hypothesis about cultural idea systems and what the Hero's Journey might be illuminating about how individual hero's journeys compound to drive cultural change.

A Connecting Force

Andrew places Hero's Journey at the center of a larger philosophy of connection and love. Could it be that our hero's journeys are bringing us all closer together?

A Good Story

Andrew talks about how story is a tool for behavior change and cultural understanding. Stories are a way cultures share, express, and connect with one another.

Packaged Wisdom

One beautiful thing you can do with stories is package and distribute a single piece of wisdom. At Innovation Bound we are doing this with a digital story we created called Remember The Cormorants.

Corporate Training Hero's Journeys

Really good corporate training programs guide their constituents through a hero's journey, at the very least implicitly. Training design should take this framework very seriously. We utilize this in our Innovation Tournaments.

The Freediver's Journey

Costa recounts his most recent hero's journey, becoming an instructor of the Freediving Instuctors International - Level 1 Freediver Course. For Innovation Bound adventures and expeditions check out: www.innovationbound.com/freediving.

Finding The Wild Within

There is now an executive course that's been designed! It's called Finding The Wild Within and you can learn more about it at www.innovationbound.com/finding-the-wild-within.

Sailing To Save The Oceans

We are partnering with a charity called Clean Oceans International (CleanOceansInternational.org) and a team of influencers to go on mission-based sailing expeditions combating plastic ocean pollution. More at: www.innovationbound.com/sailing-to-save-the-oceans.

Looking For Your Journeys

Andrew describes how you can engage hero's journeys in your own life. Critically, this can be done by looking out for resistance or for moments of challenge or fear. These are hints and an invitations to engage a hero's journey.

Hope, Choice, and Change

Andrew gives his closing remarks offering a message of hope. When it comes right down to it, the choices we make drive our stories forward, and at any point we can choose to twist the plot and change our lives.


Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces