A Coaching Model By Hélène Dumais, Human Performance Coach, CANADA
Human To Hero
In today’s virtual and capitalist society, superheroes have become an attractive and marketable concept. The makeup of superheroes is to have superpowers beyond the scope of what is humanly possible, therefore, making it impossible for a human to ever become one. Superheroes only supply us with entertainment and some motivation. But if we drop the super, can we be heroes, using our natural human potential, and create real lasting changes and high performance in our lives?
Our Own Hero’s Journey
Beneath each human, should we choose to tap into and realize our full potential, lies a hero waiting to rise. To become one we must first embrace that being human is already being perfect, strong, confident, and powerful. We just need to peel ourselves to that heroic wholesomeness.
Easier said than done, for this task requires courage. Aristotle said,
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
Courage is the primary driver for any action. It is the willingness to choose to confront fear, pain, doute, challenging situations… the known and the unknown.
Courage is exploring from a blank canvas; allowing ourselves to dream big. And then to dream bigger. In business, Jim Collins termed this a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), a bold mission inspiring progress by challenging employees to think and act differently. JFK’s 1961 proclamation to land a man on the moon was a BHAG. The innovative company Cirque du Soleil also began as one.
If our aim is the stars, what then is our launching platform? Our current reality is. By assessing it, we want to take full responsibility for our whole life, for what is and what is not. We can only implement new possibilities and solutions if we first own everything our life is made of. By choosing to be the main actor in our life and not a spectator of it, we can design our path to accomplish big dreams and BHAGs. We can become heroes by writing our own Hero’s Journey* in which courage remains a vital ingredient to progress and succeed.
The Call to Adventure
Just like postecstatic growth and post-ecstatic growth in psychology can be seen as two sides of the same coin, the Call for Adventure stage of our inner hero journey can be triggered either by disempowerment, a feeling of being stuck, or by the aspiration for more, to reach the next level. For high achievers in sports, politics, and business, it can be manifested as wanting to get rid of performance anxiety or a desire to win a race and to pioneer.
My Human-to-Hero™ coaching model does not work like a coaching tool where the latter is designed to replace the former. It is rather designed to bring forward the powers of being human. We emphasize being authentic, vulnerable, and truthful, recognizing the beautiful complexity of human beings. Through this model, we can peel away the layers we have added throughout our lives, revealing our natural wholeness and awesomeness, allowing us to become the heroes we can be. Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
Let the hero transpire through being human by creating, with humility, accomplishments representing our will to live, to work hard in positive ways, to grow, and to make a difference.
Meeting the Guide
The characters of Yoda in Star Wars, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, Morpheus in The Matrix, and M in James Bond, all represent The Guide the hero gets help from to advance on his quest. In our Human-to-Hero™ Journey, a professional coach holds this role to guide us by walking beside us – and not for us – from beginning to end, and beyond.
The Unknown & Limitless World
The middle part of the Hero’s Journey, where the hero is tested and must confront challenges, foes, and inner conflicts in order to progress, is where we do the work. Identifying our strengths and weaknesses, testing our core beliefs, naming our resistance, decoding our inauthenticities, and addressing how our perspectives and judgments have been limiting what is really possible for us. We take the courage to shed our protective shield and commit to being our true self – our heroic self – recognizing that keeping it has cost us more than it has served us. An old friend once said,
True Freedom is freedom from need.
Dissociating ourselves from thoughts, feelings, and physical experiences leads to insights, transformation, and empowerment. We are not our thoughts and beliefs but we are our exponential potential if we choose to reveal it. On this transformational journey, we must trust the process which means trusting ourselves. We must also practice open communication, a prerequisite and a requirement for transformation to live and exist.
In fiction or in reality, this phase of our journey often culminates in a major victory – having gained clarity, self-knowledge, new mindsets, and autonomy – after which the hero is transformed and ready to embark on the final stage of his odyssey.
The Home Run
The Home Run represents a new start to express our newly uncovered potential, enrolling others in our updated version of ourselves. It takes courage and integrity to wield our new abilities: being, thinking, and acting in boundless ways. As success is born in the process, choosing adventure, setting out the rules of the game we want to play, and falling in love with the process are keys.
As we complete our Human-to-Hero™ Journey once, we come to understand that it has no distinct beginning or end, but that it is rather an infinite loop… of opportunities… of possibilities!
Heroes Are Human
In the end, real heroes are human, and every human has a hero within. It is in their alliance that stands, not a superpower, but a limitless power. Heroes work with purpose, driven by the pursuit of change, transformation, growth, and results. They understand that these must occur within ourselves before they can arise in the world around us. Heroes don’t keep score, they are compassionate, and they fight until they succeed. Heroes simply refuse to live an unlived life. Heroes don’t lose, neither do they win. Heroes make a difference; a win that is undefeatable. Instead of an “S” for Superhero on the suit, there should be an “H” for Hero… and for Human.
I coach the heroes of this world so they can perform at their best on and off the course. Some of them are not ready to see it or don’t know they are heroes, but it is their path. Before earning their respective nicknames of “The Greatest”, “MJ” and “Pelé”, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Edson Arantes do Nascimento were those quiet humans who then let their inner heroes speak.
My clients and I live by my maxim
A dream is like a phone without an answering machine. It will keep ringing until you pick it up.
What do you need, besides the courage you already have, to pick up the phone for yourself?
My name is Hélène Dumais, and I am a human performance coach.
* Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.
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Winslow, Kristie. (9 December 2022). The Monomyth (The Hero’s Journey).
Wikipedia. (4 January 2023). Hero’s journey.
Collins, Jim., & I. Porras, Jerry. (2023). BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
Mangelsdorf, Judith., & Eid, Michael. (23 June 2015). What makes a thriver? Unifying the concepts of posttraumatic and postecstatic growth. Frontiers in Psychology.