The Public Speaking Superhero’s Journey

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Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey is the mythological structure of how all these legends have been told. And usually what happens is the hero is called to be the hero and his first reaction is saying, “Hell no!” And he resists it and it’s only later that he, through all these trials and tribulations, eventually embraces his own heroism.

I think that we are all born heroes. But we’re not always born with the self-recognition of that hero within us.

~ Carma Spence

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The Public Speaking Superhero’s Journey

After speaking with so many speakers of all stripes, including people who speak as a part of their business or career and those who are professional speakers, I found that all of them had similarities in their journey to public speaking success. I call it the Public Speaking Superhero’s Journey. Where are you on the path?

Your Call to Adventure

Phase One: Your Call to Adventure

Perhaps you received a promotion or landed a new job and this new position requires you to give presentations. Perhaps you gave a speech in a class and realized that you wanted to do better than you are doing. Perhaps you joined a speaking club and the speaking bug has bitten you. Regardless of how you got to this turning point, you now realize that you need to improve your speaking skills and overcome any fear of speaking.

The Quest

Phase Two: The Quest

You are now working to improve your speaking skills. You’re reading up on the topic. You’ve joined a speaking club and are practicing your speaking skills. You are learning and you are growing. But you know that you are missing something and you start seeking a system that will take you from where you are to where you want to go with your speaking.

Vanquishing Mind Goblins

Phase Three: Vanquishing Mind Goblins

Along your journey to speaking success, you are going to encounter Mind Goblins. These are the voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough, that you’ll never be good enough. They ask you, “What are you thinking?” They encourage you to stop and go back to the status quo. They lie. Let’s vanquish those Goblins together!

The Golden Apple

Phase Four: The Golden Apple

Congratulations! Through your hard work, you’ve gotten to the point where fear no longer stops you in your tracks. You are able to gracefully give presentations in front of a room of people. You’ve got the basics of speaking mastered. Now what?

The Fork in the Road

Phase Five: The Fork in the Road

Here is where you meet the fork in the road. You can either stay where you are, which is just fine. You’ve got the skills you need to do well in school, have a decent career or promote your business. That’s the first path, and most people are quite happy choosing it.

The second path is taken by those intrepid few who’ve been seriously bitten by the speaking bug and now want to pursue a career as a professional speaker.

Neither road is inherently better than the other. However, one will be the right path for you.


Path One

People who chose the first path usually go into maintenance mode. If they’ve joined a speaking club, they may continue their membership for the camaraderie and continuing practice. They may continue to read up on current trends in speaking and presentation tools. They are more likely to invest time, rather than money, to keep their basic speaking skills sharp.

Path Two

People who chose the second path usually chose an area of their speaking they want to improve and then invest both time and money in improving that area. They are more likely to seek out opportunities to further their craft, hone their message and continuously improve. They also work on their business, learning and honing the skills they need to earn a living as a speaker.