Choices May 2001
an e-newsletter for deliberately living people

May 2001
Volume II, Issue 5

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."  - Helen Keller


Note from Erica
Tests, Allies, and Enemies
Action Guide

Note from Erica

The poet, John Donne, tells us "No man is an island, entire of itself...."  In the midst of our journey and trials, we may feel lonely, but we are never truly alone.  We are all very much affected by the society that we gather around us.  They inspire, cajole, annoy, and motivate us on our pathway to self-knowledge.  This month's e-newsletter takes a look at how society shapes the hero and prepares her to complete the adventure.  I invite you to take a look at how others (allies or enemies) have molded you and prepared you for your own adventure(s).

Tests, Allies and Enemies: Experimenting with Change

Are you the hero of your own life, or the supporting character of someone else's story?  Who makes the choices in your life?  Whose life are you living?

Tests, Allies and Enemies is the sixth stage of the Hero's Journey.  The Hero has made the commitment to the journey by crossing the threshold.  She now finds herself in a new world with new rules.  She is a freshman all over again and must learn the new terrain before venturing forward.  The hero has many resources from which to gather knowledge and support.  She may rely on the warnings, past experiences, or hints from the new society she meets at the proverbial watering hole.  She may befriend them and build a team to help her through the next few steps or walk away with just their knowledge.  She might get a bigger picture of the adventure from the threats of the henchmen sent by the Shadow to warn her of the risks should she proceed.  She will more than likely learn more about herself as she succeeds or fails with trial after trial.  Tests, Allies and Enemies exist to make the hero strong, determined, and self assured.  The hero may have her own adventure to complete, but it cannot happen without the help of the new society who owns the pieces to her puzzle.

Next month:  Approach to the Inmost Cave: Preparing for Change

Action Guide

Take a quiet moment to answer the following questions:
  1. Many heroes meet the new society at the proverbial “watering hole.”  Where do the experts meet in your new world?
  2. Considering that every expert has public and private reason for sharing information with the newcomer, how do you evaluate the source?
  3. Some heroes go it alone in experimenting with change.  Others gather a team to prepare for the ordeal.  Would you rather rely on yourself alone?  Who is your support group?
  4. At this stage of the journey, heroes can meet or become better acquainted with the following characters:  allies, the trickster (sidekick), shapeshifter (the illusive friend or foe), the shadow and his henchmen.  How do these roles shape your development as the hero?
  5. Tests can be faced be interacting with the new world and the people in it.  Where are you tested?
  6. Who or what are the ogres in your adventure?  How do you face or avoid them?  How do you want to face them?
  7. Is there any difference between a hero and a monster?
  8. Tests are to the ordeal as pop quizzes are to the final.  Why do humans experiment with change before attempting to actually do it?
  9. What do you learn through experiencing (tests) versus reading and gathering information?
  10. “If you want to put in terms of intentions, the trials are designed to see to it that the intending hero should really be a hero.” (Joseph Campbell)  How do you exhibit your worthiness to transform?

Extra credit:

Write a thank you note in your journal to the past henchmen (enemies) in your life.  What did they teach you?  How did they help you become the hero you are today?


What are your favorite hero stories?  Send your answers to
What is the meaning of your life?  What is your purpose?  How can you be a better you?
Let's find the answers together.  Call me for a free coaching session at 408-739-2975.


Dream experts, Dr. Ron Masa & Billie Ortiz, lead the TeleDream Group: an inspiring weekly dream group that meets by telephone.  Want to know what your dreams mean?  Check out their site and tell them Erica sent you:

Work and Family - Allies or Enemies? by Stewart D. Friedman, Jeffrey H. Greenhaus

104 Activities That Build: Self-esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-discovery, and Coping Skills by Alanna E. Jones

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(c) 2001, Erica Wang, Coach.  All rights reserved.