Transform Your life With the Hero’s Journey

7 Steps to Use Life’s Inciting Incidents for Transformation

Keri Mangis


Photo by Gabriel Bassino on Unsplash

Think about your favorite character from a book, television show, or movie.

What is it you love about them? Chances are, it’s not that they live a predictable life with few changes and challenges. It’s far more likely they resonate with you because they rise from the ashes of life’s most challenging events.

What Are Inciting Incidents?

Life’s most critical events are called inciting incidents, and no plot is complete without one (or two or three). An inciting incident is what turns a character inward for reflection, healing, and re-orientation. Because of the human tendency to run on autopilot more than 90% of the time, we need inciting incidents in our lives in order to change and grow.

Some examples of inciting incidents can include changes in relationship or work status; a physical move; a loss, death, or failure; or even just a transition from one stage of life to another. Other times, while nothing radical changes in our external environment, we hit an internal crisis connected to our spirituality or identity.

The Power of the Hero’s Journey

While we know and respect the value an inciting incident has for a fictional character, sometimes we’d rather stick with the status quo (or the devil that we know) than undergo the steps to turn that inciting incident into kindling for transformation.

But if we can see an inciting incident as a piece of a larger path, as laid out in Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, we can use it to vault into an entirely new life.

7 Steps to Transformation

The following are seven core steps on the journey to turning an inciting incident into an opportunity for transformation.

The Ordinary World



Keri Mangis

Keri Mangis is an award-winning author, teacher, and speaker.