Falling on Your Face
I was moved by my conversation with my advisee last week. He teared up a little, I teared up a little, and then we both left homeroom and walked into our 9th grade science class together. I was present to a clarity, insight, and power that felt like spiritual truth vibrating between us.
Once in the classroom, I looked around at the other 15 freshmen in the room, at least a handful of whom were also struggling with their grades this semester.
I asked if someone could remind us what happened in Marvel’s Dr. Strange: a rich, powerful, arrogant, and highly skilled doctor nearly dies due to his own mistake. He then hits rock bottom physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Then, with support of masters who traveled that path before, he claws his way to a transformation. Dr. Strange becomes a hero.
I asked another student to remind us what happened in Iron Man: a rich, powerful, and arrogant weapons maker gets kidnapped and he sees first-hand the damage of his selfish ignorance. He nearly dies, hits rock bottom, and works harder than he ever worked before to achieve a transformation. Iron man becomes a hero.
Finally, Spider-Man: a sweet kid gets super-powers, but in a moment of anger and frustration becomes in some way responsible for his father-figure’s death. He’s isolated, emotionally torn apart, and hits rock bottom, but awakens through a transformation into a hero who chooses to never back down from a fight for good. Spider-Man becomes a hero.
I imagine that you might might think you know where this blog post is going and that, despite my best efforts, you may think the hero’s journey doesn’t apply to you.
It does. You are the hero in your story.
You fall on your face sometimes. It feels like rock bottom sometimes. You struggle, you question, you stress, you fear, and you screw up. You’re challenged by things you don’t think you should be challenged by, and you struggle more than you think you should. You’ve got what look like internal and external foes, and the internal ones are the toughest.
All heroes do.
But the fall-on-your-face or rock-bottom part of the story isn’t where the hero’s journey ends. It ends in transformation that leads to success.
No one watches movies or reads books to hang out in the rock bottom part of the story. We follow those stories to see and experience the transformations. That’s the inspiring part, the part that allows us to feel bigger, stronger, and more significant than we typically allow ourselves to feel.
Rock bottom is the hero’s access to transformation. Rock bottom is the hero’s opportunity to make a choice and to take meaningful action. We viewers don’t care about rock bottom - we care about how the hero responds to rock bottom.
Falling on your face is your access to transformation. Falling on your face is your opportunity to make a choice to get back up again, stronger, wiser, and more clear than you've ever been before.
Your friends, family, and society don't care that you've fallen on your face. They care about how you respond to falling on your face. They care about you getting back up.
Is the hero willing to seek support? Is the hero willing to be courageous, unbounded, and unrestrained? Is the hero willing to let go of an attachment to failure and fear and step into who she’s really called to be?
And it’s more than one challenge. A hero’s transformation is ongoing. You surpass the current challenge, the current resistance, and another one shows up in a week. That’s the nature of this journey.
You are the hero of the story of your life. Your rock bottoms and those times when you fall on your face, however big or small they might be, can be challenging and painful - but we’re never as stuck as we think.
Though all heroes need support, guidance, and education sometimes, don’t ever think the transformation comes from anywhere but from within you. No matter how supportive, no guide, teacher, coach, priest, or guru can get you across the finish line of this next transformation - you are the source of your own transformation.
And yes, it’s usually a whole lot easier with support.
In case you don’t know: besides teaching high school science in my day job, I coach adults to access ongoing transformation in their lives. If you’re experiencing a challenge and would like to transform it, or perhaps you’re simply feeling ready to level-up your impact, effectiveness, and enjoyment, reach out and schedule a free call.
I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Thanks so much for reading. And thanks for being a hero worthy of the title. ❤️