Stepping Stones from A-Z with Juliet: A Hero’s Journey (Episode 307) ⋆ Mama Says Namaste

Stepping Stones from A-Z with Juliet: A Hero’s Journey (Episode 307)

What is a hero's journey? How do you go from not knowing something to being awesome? This was another podcast episode entirely prompted by my ten-year-old, Juliet, and completely unscripted. She chose our focus today - stepping stones - and not jumping from A to Z without doing the hard work. 

She says,  "I have definitely seen in my life how I've tried to jump from zero to 100, which has not worked. So I want to know a little bit about this hero's journey."

As she addressed aspects of our lives, like marriage, parenting, and work, it was so cool to break down how you can move forward, and how even the struggles can be those powerful stepping stones in our lives. 

Before you jump from A to Z, get super clear on your Y.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Pandora, Audible, SpotifyStitcherGoogle PlayTuneInYouTubeiHeartRadio,, Gaana or your RSS Feed 

The Hero's Journey

Sometimes we don't get to plot everything out perfectly, crafting the next step of growth in a wonderfully manageable way. Sometimes the struggle is the true stepping stone to growth. 

A "Hero's Journey", by definition, is a common template of stories that basically involve a hero that goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and then comes home changed or transformed. 

And there's a man named Joseph Campbell who's really taken this as an education model in life. If you want to dig deep into what a true hero's journey is, check out this incredible documentary:

The process of struggle can help get us to discovery. As we gain confidence through our struggle, it helps us to gain new insights. 

Oftentimes we want to go straight to the end. Yet where the real growth happens is through our effort. It's the willingness to push through, persevere, and keep practicing even when we aren't great at something. 

And sometimes it doesn't seem so fun, like having to practice writing your B's 5000 times because your brain has automatically (and accidentally) made it a D. You've got to practice and practice and practice, practice until you get it correct, and reprogram your brain - and it takes a while to make that happen. 

Stepping Stones Aren't Always Planned

And so with work, parenting, marriage, etc., there are little steps you can do that help you to build up your competence in something. Sometimes those stepping stones are a choice - like choosing to build up a new healthy habit. And sometimes, those stepping stones happen whether you like them or not, like an ultimatum from a partner that something has to give. 

There are times when we have to make decisions and we have to grow under pressure where we don't really have another option. Sometimes that's us working in survival mode and we just react and respond and do the best that we can with what we know at the time.

When it comes to wanting to be seen as credible or competent, or whether you're wanting to really gain your confidence, a lot of times it just requires hard work. You have to be patient - it's a process.  When Mozart sat down at the piano, even with his amazing gifts and talents, he had to practice. He lived at the piano, working through tunes. 

Sometimes your stepping stone is simply the struggle. When something hasn't gone right, it's a growth opportunity. 

Life Keeps Going

Another question Juliet had for me on the podcast was about making time for these stepping stones. She asked, "How do you make time for those stepping stones when sometimes life can be a really fast-moving, hard to make space for kind of place and it's hard to not just try to jump straight to Z and just be done?"

Well, for one, it's not always easy to just jump to Z. If Z is riding a bike, for example, you aren't just born and you can make it happen. You have to first learn how to balance and then to walk, and then actually get on the bike and make it go while balancing. You have to make space for practice. 

Here is another video we've referenced a lot in our family:

Anything that is a really big priority in your life becomes a big rock. All of the little things are just reactions to life and all the nitty gritty, those things are the sand. If we fill our lives with all of the sand, the rocks don't fit.

Yet if we start with our big rocks every day - the big rocks being our top priorities - then the sand fills in the gaps. 

Self-Imposed Stepping Stones

Any time I can pinpoint a desire, I can identify stepping stones. For example, I need to work on my drawing so it meets the needs and expectations of my client. I need to practice that choreography so I get the dance moves correct. I need to work on my stamina so I can run/bike/walk a little further.

The reality of it is, there are times you muscle through a situation that's not ideal, or the most fun, as you're building up your skill, stamina, and strength. 

We can really feel insecure on our way to confidence, as so many things take true practice - you have to choose to try, try again. Sometimes it's mind over matter - to just move forward with determination to keep on trying even when you don't feel like it. 

Sometimes you have to choose to see something as a stepping stone instead of a road block. What does it make possible in your life?

Don't Skip Letters

If you want to be awesome at Z, you have got to first master A. Keep building on it. Just like reading, you can't pick up a book and immediately understand it. Start with A. Learn every letter required for your task. And keep building on what you know. 

Again, it's that mindset. What does this make possible when things don't go your way? Instead of forcing something, what does it make possible? How can you learn and grow? What can you build on from here?

When we start to look at life through those lenses, it completely shifts not only our perspective but our approach and actions from it. Move away from things like, "Why is this always happening to me?" Or, "I can't believe she did that to me."

Shift it to, "What does this make possible? Did she really mean to do this to me?"

It puts you in the driver's seat to choose what you can do from there. It doesn't matter whether it rained on your parade or whether that person was mean. What matters is what are you going to choose to do from there. And that's a growth mindset.

The best way to muscle through the stepping stones, no matter how they hit you, is to have a growth mindset. If you don't, it's going to be hard. You get stuck along the way with, why is this happening to me? And whenever anytime you hear that, know that it's on repeat for a reason. You're stuck on why. What's your lesson?

 It's okay to say, this is crappy. I'm mad, I'm sad, I'm frustrated. However, if you sit in it, you're not going to move. Don't get stuck in the muck - keep moving forward to Z. As Jules states, don't get stuck at Y when you can make it to Z.

Start with the First Step

Start with just one day. Start with just five minutes. You want to start small and build. That's how you get to those end goals. Don't choose to omit sugar for a full year and then beat yourself up for the birthday cake you had. Take it a day at a time. Choose to not eat sugar for this meal.Then this day. Then another. You'll look back on those little steps and see the big picture on how long versus simply feeling like it's looming before you. 

If I know that I want to do 30 books a year, then I know I need to work back to say, okay, what do I need to do today? I experimented with this last year, and did an hour of reading in the mornings, at least five days out of the week. And in doing that, I accomplished reading over 30 books last year.

So I know that I can do it if I simply work back to 1 hour a day. When you simply work back to the beginning, the minimum, the starting point, and then you work on with that, it's amazing how the momentum can grow.

There Will Always Be Another Step

Yes, there will always be another step. As long as you are alive, you are on the most epic hero's journey of all - your life and your legacy. It doesn't stop as long as you are on this planet. On the podcast, Jules acknowledged that even retirement doesn't stop the steps - your whole life is a hero's journey.

Big and Little Steps

Sometimes your goals are tangible and achievable in this lifetime. You want to make X amount in your business, graduate high school, pass this course...

We have a lot of little goals along our journey, and we also have some big things we can aim for. I know part of my hero's journey is to spread light from within, which means I'm responsible for being my own light and then sharing that with others in a way that helps them to bring out their own light in their hero's journey.


Juliet shared about how visualizing what she wants can really help. When you can see it in your mind, it can make it easier to attain in real life. So as you're identifying your goals and dreams, work backward to see what stepping stones it takes to get there. How can you grow in each step you take, and, when the inevitable curveballs come your way, what does it make possible?

It's not simply about visualizing it and it will appear. That was my frustration with the movie that was such a big deal, The Secret - it's not simply visualizing without acting on hard work and preparing for when that opportunity arrives. 

Your Challenge:

What is your "Z" - your next goal or dream, and your life legacy? 

What are the stepping stones that are going to continue to move you closer to this?

There are so many beautiful growth opportunities in our lives. We are all on our own hero's journeys. Often our best lessons come through the struggle, frustration, and overwhelm as we move out of our comfort zones and learn something new. 

It's okay to ask for help. Oftentimes we are so close to a situation we don't see the blind spots. Having an outside perspective that isn't as emotionally connected to the situation at hand can be a complete game-changer in discovering a new insight or perspective. 

There are other people that are going to have different strengths than you do and see things in different ways. And that's the beauty of this world - we can grow even better together.

Look at how you can support and encourage one another and celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.

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Ashley Logsdon

Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Join the Mama Says Namaste Facebook Group

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