Where is the Power?
Be the Author – Power & Influence
At the heart of the heroic journey – your journey as a teenager – is the challenge to be the author of your life. It’s the journey from the dependency of childhood to the independence of young adulthood. And it is a long journey that plays out differently for everyone.
- It’s about influence, not control
- It’s about responsibility and choices
- It’s about taking charge vs. letting life happen to you
- Others will have scripts for you
Adapt the Strategies – And They Will Evolve as You Go
The teen heroic journey is “the” story of being a teenager, yet it plays out in a unique way for everyone. In a similar fashion the six strategies for managing the journey will need to be adapted and will look different for everyone.
Your strategies will also change to some degree as your journey unfolds and you progress and gain experience and the world around you changes. That’s just the way it works.
More than anything, the process of becoming the author of your life is what separates a teenager from a child.
The heroic journey is about entering the mystery of a new stage in life. You can’t control the experience, but if you take on the author role, you can exercise more and more influence and determine more and more of the outcomes.
Act – Confront the Barriers & Pitfalls
Being the author means acting. Each barrier and pitfall offers the opportunity to act and be the author – refusing to be stopped by the barrier or pitfall.
“I’m just a teenager. How much of an author can I really be?”
Underestimating the influence you can have in determining your experience is normal, but those doubts need to be challenged directly. It’s a risk and doesn’t always go smoothly or quickly, but becoming the author of your experience is at the heart of being a teenager on the journey to adulthood.
“Who am I to have a heroic code or plan for my life as a teenager?”
Not creating a code or a plan for yourself to guide behaviors might seem safe, but it isn’t because it leaves you more vulnerable to forces outside yourself. Codes are commitments and they can inspire and guide actions. This is you taking yourself seriously.
“Will people really support me? Am I worthy of their support?”
The simple answer is that, yes, you are worthy of support as you are on a tough journey to become an adult that can contribute to the world (in large or small ways). And, yes, most people will be willing to support you – particularly if you let them know how. Not everyone will be supportive, but you will probably be surprised to find out how many will be – if asked.
”I’m just not mastering all this stuff. I’m falling behind. I’m tired.”
Letting frustrations, setbacks or failures cause you to doubt yourself, get into self-destructive behaviors or drain the energy from your efforts is a common pitfall. It’s a long rollercoaster journey with lots of ups and downs.
That’s when it’s important to draw on your support network and your sources of energy, remember to “love the plateaus” on the path to mastery, and focus on building your resilience. Sometimes you just put one foot in front of the other to get through the tough times.
“I’m poor and have no resources. I live in a dangerous neighborhood/family. People are pulling me down.”
This is a scenario in which being the author is critical – although extremely difficult – because just letting life happen to you in a dangerous environment leaves you much too vulnerable.
Having a vision of a desired future and a heroic code, planning specific actions to move toward that future, engaging anyone who will support you – and then persevering – may not show big improvements for a long time or be a smooth path, but it is the path that offers the most possibility.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.Mark