“A HERO’S JOURNEY” Mangling the Tango

Wendy Quinn February 2019

It would be fair to say that 2017 did not turn out the way that I planned. Strangely what eventuated worked out better than I could have ever imagined for myself. This was however, not before living through a deeply anguishing time. A ‘dark night of the soul’.
Let me share my story with you.
But first, let me tell you about The Hero’s Journey. It’s an archetypal pattern for all good story, and has become an important guide in my life over many years.

Part One: Early Encounters with The Hero’s Journey
Professor Joseph Campbell, a former Harvard University academic who died in 1987, spent over 30 years researching myths and legends in cultures all around the world, before accidently writing a best-selling book. The Hero with a Thousand Faces was first published in 1949. Campbell reached the profound conclusion that all myths and legends around the world, and indeed all good stories, follow the same archetypal pattern – that of a hero on a quest.
Typically, the Hero goes out into the world and battles with demons and enemies – internal and external – to achieve great deeds, before returning to normal life. The Hero however can never quite return to normal life, as they are forever changed or transformed by their experiences.
The pattern can be distilled to as few as three main stages – life, death and resurrection. But the model can also be expanded to provide more detail, as in Christopher Vogler’s practical guide to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, describes twelve stages (2):



Opinion Piece: Collaboration to Harvest  Collective Wisdom

by Wendy Quinn

The Agency Strategy was underpinned by 5 Principles that were expressed in Plain English and disseminated widely via every means possible.  This included posters that mysteriously appeared in every meeting room in the Department and small business card summaries with liberal use of easily identified artwork.

The Five Principles being:

  • Work together in a spirit of cooperation: This meant everyone staying engaged with the process and the conversations until there were solutions no matter how long it took, not walking away, contributing time, energy and resources when needed.
  • Intervene as early as possible: Not waiting until a small issue became an inevitably larger one and looking for system solutions that address root causes.
  • Keep the client and their world at the centre: Maintaining a practical, solution-finding ,  creative problem-solving approach even if it meant that a few rules needed to be broken and rigid service systems bent.
  • Find solutions that are fair, creative and affordable: Applying an ethical and imaginative filter  and wherever possible working with available resources.

Design understandable processes:  Coming up with solutions that make sense to everyone using language that everyone can understand.



‘If I had a Hammer?

A new framework for achieving change in organisations. 

Wendy Quinn


Do you know the old saying  that  ‘If you have a hammer ; You see nails?’  Well I think that I have encountered the truth of that saying over the last 12 months.  My ‘hammer’ is  the Leadership for Transformation Framework(Quinn 2015 ).  This framework developed from my research into transformational leadership over the last few years to support the establishment of a tertiary level course on transformational leadership in 2014.  Since concluding that work, everywhere I go I keep seeing the need for transformation within people and organisations and the fundamental importance of transforming leadership to enable this to happen.   It doesn’t matter what the presenting issue is; I see an opportunity for leadership for transformation.

Christian Counsellors Assn Aust.  (Tas) CONFERENCE  5th April 2008

Building Bridges - Breaking Down Walls


“Lighting The Way for Others: The Rhythm of Compassion”


This morning I would like to invite you to explore two key questions (the first one has a second part so you could even say three questions) and then to take part in a metaphorical meditation related to these questions.


The first question being:


Are counsellors leaders? ? ?


And if so;        What sort of leadership should this be? ? ?


This relates to the first metaphor in the title of my address “Lighting the way for others”


The third question being:


How is it possible to live a sustainable life when working in the hard places of life?  ?  ?

Constantly confronted with the universality of human suffering, but able to respond with wisdom and compassion and not to become overwhelmed and burnt out.

This relates to my second metaphor :“The  rhythm of compassion”


‘ Confession, Discovery & Revelation’

by Wendy Quinn


‘Transformation’ is one of the most profoundly interesting words I know.  Transformation literally means ‘to cross shape or borders’.  But a transformer to my sons as children was a car or truck that magically changes shape to become a machine with extraordinary powers. In electronics a transformer converts lethal current into power.  In geology transformation is demonstrated in metamorphic rocks formed under extreme pressure or heat. An example being the formation of marble from limestone. In biology transformation occurs in the lifecycle of many animals and plants, including frogs, butterflies and oak trees.  Transformation in the psycho-spiritual world involves a changed state of being.  Usually due to states of extreme pain, suffering or intensive meditation. Hobart artist Roger Imms expresses the transformational experience of a lung transplant through metaphor in his painting ‘Transformation, Baptism’ (Figure 1.)


WWW LEADERSHIP ADVICE (things I have learned over time)

  1. Without Vision the People Perish; ( the why is often more important than the what and the how).
  2. Leadership ought to be a noble thing- linked to the spirit but it isn’t always;
    ‘A leader is someone with an unusual capacity to project their light or project their shadow onto other people’ .
  3. Be a transformer not a conductor of negativity, pain and anxiety. If you don’t know how to transform the lethal current you will always pass it on.
  4. ‘Leadership cannot be taught it can only be learned.’  It is both science and art. You should never stop learning. Know that you are never too old or too senior to learn.
  5. True leadership begins first with the motivation to serve others.
  6. The opportunities for leadership are all around us; the capacity for leadership is deep within.
  7. Leaders are the “Custodians of Hope”.
  8. “If you are leading and no-one is following; you are just taking a walk!”
  9. Focus on the Important but Non-urgent things. The important and urgent things have a way of taking over.  First build in the rocks and pebbles and there will strangely always be enough room for the dirt and sand.
  10. “The enemy of the good is the perfect”; Go for good not perfect!