Change - The Path of the Everyday Hero

There has been a lot of change in my life recently, and through that process I have found myself reflecting on a fabulous model I came across a few years ago, when facilitating a change workshop. 

The concept is called ‘The Path of the Everyday Hero’ and is essentially a change curve – its source being a self-development book of the same name written by Lorna Catford and Michael Ray.

‘The Path’ as I will refer to it here on in, is a very positive model of the journey that people often take when in the face of change, and considering yourself in relation to ‘The Path’ can be very valuable.  Not everyone will follow the same path in the same way, and of course some change is exciting and coveted, whereas other change is frightening and unwanted. But ultimately in this model we are the ‘Everyday Hero’, read on to find out why.

Once you get to know the model, you will also notice that every Pixar movie hero follows these steps to some degree or another!

So, let me take you on a step by step journey on ‘The Path’; during which why not either reflect on some recent change in your life and see how it relates to you?  Or even think of your favourite animated film character and how the model relates to their journey…

Phase 1 – Innocence

Here you are in your current ‘normal day life’, no massive bumps in the track, you are pretty content and comfortable and often relatively naïve in that you are not anticipating anything significant ahead.

Phase 2 – The Call

Ring Ring - we all know that feeling when the phone rings in the middle of the night?  Or you get called into the Boss’s office?  The Call indicates some kind of ‘call to action’ or maybe an event or crisis – this is where it really starts, and is where shock, and lack of control or coping can feature.  Often it seems there is no solution or way out, and depending on what The Call actually is, can create either the feeling of wanting to go forward, to grow and develop in the face of it, or to stay right where you are, or yearn for that innocence before The Call.

Phase 3 – Initiation

Ok so this is when there is a degree of acceptance of The Call, at least partially or intermittently.  You make brave steps forward into the unknown, facing challenges, and starting to grow and develop as a result.  You may lack confidence at this stage, and still retreat back to the The Call and think ‘I wish it hadn’t happened’ or ‘I wish I could go back to before The Call happened’.  You will however counter these thoughts with tentative steps forward into the ‘new reality’.

Phase 4 – Allies

These are the people that help you out along the way – whether these are family or friends, existing colleagues or new.  They give you support and new insights maybe even words of wisdom, and these lift you and help you.  Solutions may come to you – often these have problems attached, so things are still bitter sweet.

Phase 5 – Breakthrough

This is a milestone indeed – you have acquired new knowledge and abilities, and discovered in yourself a new way of ‘being’.  You feel motivated; you have achieved something.  You recognise the change you have gone through and your own personal transformation.

Phase 6 – Celebration

This is your return to normal life (new normal) – you are a bit wiser, a bit stronger, have a bit more insight into yourself, and these things not only benefit you, but the others around you. 

Phew….. ohhhh.. is that the phone I can hear?!!


You can also see in the image at the top of this blog how this relates to the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Share your thoughts and reflections on The Path of the Everyday Hero in this discussion.

Can you relate to The Path in the face of a recent change in your life?

Which aspect of The Path resonates with you most?

Can you share a personal experience which relates to The Path?

Can you pick your favourite character from a film or book which relates to The Path?

Email me when people comment –

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  • Thanks Katheryn - i was looking for a different model with a more positive spin than grief or dying so will give this a go!


    • You're welcome Nic - and I agree - love how this model is so simply and positively framed.

  • I think this is a much better choice for looking at change than Kubler-Ross. Her work was on Dying!!

    I like this one a lot as it focuses on a positive outcome. The question is how does the HR or L&D professional, who has an understanding of this curve, use this understanding to manage an individuals or groups reaction to change.

    For me it is about being one step ahead and helping people to the allies stage as quick as possible, once people realise they are not alone  and others are in the same boat they start to form coping strategies, individually or collectively and this we where we com in, to encourage and support this. This then also gives us opportunity to reinforce and reward the new way of working post change. 

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