What do you have in common with Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games or Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings? They are characters in stories. More than that, they are the heroes of their stories.

If you're an entrepreneur, then you are the hero of your story.

In 1949, mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces, in which he outlined the common journey of the archetypal hero. Based on his writing, this short video from TED Ed, produced in 2012, explains Campbell's premise and outlines the 12 steps of his "Hero's Journey."

Mythical heroes are faced with a challenge, leave their comfort zones and rise above their own expectations to overcome the challenge and accomplish their goals.

While most entrepreners might not be saving the world with their ventures, there are parallels between their own paths and the "hero's journey."

  • Entrepreneurs identify a problem or a need within their own status quo.
  • They devise a plan to solve it.
  • They seek advice from mentors.
  • From finding investors to product development to dealing with competition, entrepreneurs face their own trials.
  • They also experience crises. There are times where they feel backed against a wall and out of options.
  • Some entrepreneurs fail while others move ahead, finding the "treasure" of bringing a successful product or service to market.

While the mythical hero gets to return home -- to some sort of the status quo he or she left behind -- you as the entrepreneur continue to push forward. You've created something where there was nothing before. You have to nurture this thing and plot its course for growth. People need and want your products. Employees rely on you to steer your company to greater success.

There's nothing easy about being an entrepreneur. It takes creativity, risk, courage, intelligence and even a little luck. That's why some of the greatest successes in business can sometimes read like the best adventure novel.