Recently I have faced a choice; endure a slow painful existence or embark on a hero’s journey. This is a deep change choice – keep doing what we’ve been doing or make a significant change.

The Calling

As deep change moments do, this one arose for me when I started reflecting on my life.

In high school, I considered going to college to study hotel and restaurant management but opted to study international business. Not knowing what I wanted to do after college, I took the LSAT and GMAT graduate school admission exams. I decided on a Master’s in Business instead of a law degree.

During grad school, I bartended, cooked, and waited tables almost every weekend, I loved it.

A Shadow Career

After graduation, I stopped. It was time for a real job and career. I moved to Chicago, where I lived with a roommate who’d also graduated from Thunderbird.

We loved to cook, to talk about food and drinks, to read about culinary, and to eat and drink. We even talked about going to culinary school. Still, family pressures, societal norms, student loans, and denial kept us on the business career path.

Today, I know that my calling was in shadow because I couldn’t see how food and international business could fit together. Of course, now it’s obvious.

Standard Measure of Success

By many measures, I’ve been leading a very successful life that has been full of privilege and opportunity. But with a son who is in culinary school, the pull of profound change intensified over the past year.

I have no doubt you’ve felt the pull of significant change too. Is there profound change is calling you? Hit Reply and let me know.


My interest has shifted from culinary to classic cocktails, so the decision for me is, keep doing what I’ve been doing or pursue becoming a craft cocktail bartender.

I’ve chosen the hero’s journey instead of staying the same. And it’s already been creating emotional turmoil for me. I’m scared and the Resistance, that Steven Pressfield talks of in the War of Art, is trying to keep me small.

4-Part Series

I’m going to use my journey to launch a 4-part series on:

  1. Deep Change
  2. Living a Life of Fulfillment
  3. Finding Your Calling
  4. Ultralearning

This will keep me accountable and I hope, fuel your passion too.

Deep Change is a term that I learned from Robert Quinn, who is the author of one of the most important books I’ve ever read – Deep Change, Discovering the Leader Within. Quinn writes,

“Incremental change usually does not disrupt our past patterns – it is an extension of our past. Most important – during incremental change, we feel we are in control.

Deep change requires new ways of thinking and behaving. It is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past, and generally irreversible. The deep change effort distorts existing patterns of action and involves taking risks.

Deep change means surrendering control.

Most of us build our identity around our knowledge and competence in employing certain known techniques or abilities. Making a deep change involves abandoning both and “walking naked into the land of uncertainty.” This is usually a terrifying choice, often involving a “dark night of the soul.”

But the price of not making a deep change is the choice of slow death, a meaningless and frustrating experience enmeshed in fear, anger, helplessness while moving surely toward what is most feared.”

Deep change is the hero’s journey.

What will you choose, a slow, painful death, or the hero’s journey?