Change leadership starts within, requiring a commitment to self-transformation. Are there conditions that make this kind of inner work especially effective? What activities are most powerful for genuine inner transformation? Is this something that happens alone, isolated in the interior of one’s private world, or is it best done in a community? If so, what kind of community? Is there a template?
To better understand I spoke recently with Michael Mervosh, a licensed psychologist who provides supportive, transformational experiences for those seeking inner change. His program, called the Hero’s Journey, assists people in altering the course of their lives. His work is about leading change within. Here is some of what he said when we spoke:
“I began offering The Hero’s Journey to help people experience a transition in their interior world. You can use your will and desire to try and make real change happen inside, but I have found that it is more effective to do this work in an environment that awakens the powerful positive forces we all have inside. In the Hero’s Journey, we work in an atmosphere that rouses these constructive states.
“Several important elements create this environment. First, there is nature, a wonderful reflecting mirror. The vast beauty of the wilderness has tremendous power to awaken an awareness of the vast, beautiful interior of the soul. What people see in the natural world is a reflection of what is inside them.
“Second, to have this kind of experience you must be in the company of others who are on a similar journey. This includes not only the other participants in the Hero’s Journey, but in the presence of embodied and enlivened facilitators as well.
“As leaders or guides we focus on the present moment as it arises in a participant’s experience, so that our attention can be of service to them as a galvanizing force for their interior worlds. This is very different than telling somebody what to do and giving advice, even it if is very good advice.
“It requires a meaningful framework for change that acknowledges that there is inherent in every person an existing healthy process of growth, waiting to be unfolded. I see myself as an advocate for this health-producing process, working to help people follow their own path and reach beyond limiting points-of-view and behaviors. I experience this as a palpable ‘felt-sense’ of another’s true nature.
“The center of the Hero’s Journey, the central influence is the work of Joseph Campbell. He spoke of the archetypal mythic dimension. It provides a universal framework for understanding human development and meaning-making. Campbell’s work is drawn from studying all religions and cultures across the span of time. It is my experience that the mythic dimension is a real state of awareness, something palpable, felt, and not some abstract concept.
“We are here on this earth to be alive, enlivened, to have a spiritual life, to be fully engaged. Self-directed inner change is about tapping into what you love and developing a practice that centers on this. It is best done in community, with others who value you and can understand the struggles required to achieve real breakthroughs.
“Inner transformation is not trivial. It is an awesome experience that changes lives. The outer effect is often dramatic, helping people to navigate especially trying circumstances, overwhelming challenges, and significant changes in circumstance. It is a way for people who are leaders of their own lives to stay on the growing edge of what they are becoming."
Michael Mervosh and the Hero’s Journey can be reached online at Hero’s Journey Programs.
Joseph Campbell's work can be accessed through the Joseph Campbell Foundation.
- Seth Kahan, VisionaryLeadership.com