Welcome to Epic Career Labs!

At Epic Career Labs, I help millennials increase their job security with E.P.I.C Transformations.

Arvindh Sundar

I have explained The E.P.I.C Transformation Map below – and it’s the key concept that ties everything together at Epic Career Labs. Read each section and feel free to ask me questions via my contact page, or in our communities.

After that, you should read the articles in the blog as well. They explore the concepts of The E.P.I.C Transformation Map and provide healthy, much needed motivation as well.

We have a small, strong and proud community of heroes here – and if it’s job security you’re looking for, you’d be right at home with us. I would love it if you could join us.

Start by getting on the email list.

Good luck!

The E.P.I.C Transformation Map

Find direction, get clarity and win at work using E.P.I.C Transformations.

Arvindh Sundar

At the heart of Epic Career Labs lies the important concept of E.P.I.C Transformations. Let’s see what that’s all about.

This is the E.P.I.C Transformation Map – a diagram that explains what an E.P.I.C Transformation is. I’ll explain it in more detail, but before that, we need to understand what The Monomyth is, as it is the central concept on which E.P.I.C Transformations are based.

What is the Monomyth?

Joseph Campbell, an American researcher, studied a lot of epics, stories and myths across different cultures and noticed an underlying pattern to these stories – and put that into a framework called the Monomyth.

Also called The Hero’s Journey, the Monomyth is a structure that supports a number of different epics across cultures, space and time. Now, to be honest, The Hero’s Journey is not the only way to tell a story. In fact there are MANY other ways to structure a story.

However, The Hero’s Journey has found widespread acceptance in our culture – cartoons, novels, movies, animation, religious texts – and even in the way we enable and develop ourselves. You can see this in The Matrix, Harry Potter – and my personal favourite – Kung Fu Panda.

The Hero’s Journey revolves around the journey of a Hero – as they travel from a broken world into an uncertain future, growing and changing in the process – and returning to their origins as a transformed person.

How does this relate to E.P.I.C Transformations?

I believe The Hero’s Journey is a metaphor for us to draw upon when we try to make change happen in our lives. The change could be at a personal level or on the professional front. Any time there is a transformation that’s needed, we can reframe the situation to broadly follow the structure of The Hero’s Journey – with you being the Hero.

At a high level, The Hero’s Journey involves a structure and a number of archetypes that we can map to most situations. In the beginning, the Hero exists in an ordinary, and possibly broken, world. One day, out of the Hero’s own actions or by circumstances outside their control, they receive a call to adventure.

Of course, this is a scary proposition, and most heroes initially refuse the call. They want to stay where they are – and continue the status quo. That’s when they meet a mentor – and mentors come in many shapes, sizes and forms! The mentor helps the Hero leave the ordinary world behind and cross the threshold into a special, magical world.

In this special world, the Hero faces a number of different trials and tribulations. But, they’re not alone. They meet new friends and make new allies – and new enemies. Eventually, the hero faces success and failure – and grows, becoming a new person in the process.

Finally, they survive the ordeal and return to their ordinary world, transformed and armed with the rewards of their experience. With this newfound knowledge they are in a powerful position, ready and able to change the world they live in.

That’s how it works in the Monomyth, and you can see many parallels between the Monomyth and the E.P.I.C Transformation map. Let’s explore The E.P.I.C Transformation Map better.

Understanding The E.P.I.C Transformation Map

The E.P.I.C Transformation Map has 4 phases, each containing 4 stages. The four stages are:

  1. Exist: Living in a broken world.
  2. Progress: Working on your foundation.
  3. Ignite: Doing what was once impossible.
  4. Champion: Guiding others through your E.P.I.C Transformation.

Every time a person undergoes an E.P.I.C Transformation, they will go through the four phases in The E.P.I.C Transformation Map.

Sometimes, multiple stages can happen simultaneously. They might happen explicitly or implicitly. Sometimes, multiple phases, such as the Progress and Ignite phases, can occur simultaneously as well. It’s also possible that sometimes, we are pushed through this E.P.I.C Transformation without any control or choice on our part.

Whatever be the situation, it’s important that we look at the E.P.I.C Transformation structure and understand the four phases and 16 stages so that we can unlock our own own potential to Find direction, get clarity and win at work.

The Exist Phase

The Exist Phase is where I find the majority of people to be. These are the people who exist in blissful ignorance. Sometimes, they may be facing minor difficulties, but nothing that is too big or daunting for them to take action. Some of them may be aware that there is something wrong in their life and in their careers, but they seem to plod on without getting too weighed down by anything. They may have also come face-to-face with some opportunities for improvement or upward mobility, but either due to their default method of operation or due to a lack of skill/interest, they have chosen to ignore it.

Whatever stage they are in, everybody in the Exist Phase are defined by one of the following attributes: blissful ignorance, feverish searching, internal unrest, Denial, And acceptance of their fate, denial of reality, ostrich in the sand outlook, escapism, complacency or a sense of low self-worth and self-esteem.

stages In the Exist Phase

  1. The Broken World: A status quo where the hero exists at odds with her world.
  2. The Call to Adventure: An opportunity presents itself.
  3. The Refusal of the Call: The hero refuses the opportunity due to internal or external reasons.
  4. The Chaos Within: The hero suffers from internal agony due to indecision and doubt.

Are you In The “Exist Phase”?

Personally, I have met MANY people in this phase, and I’ve put together a set of common attributes they share. Here they

  1. They have a desire for other people to like and admire them.
  2. They are often critical of themselves in private.
  3. They have a untapped potential, but they don’t know how to unlock it.
  4. They have some shortcomings in terms of their personalities, but, they are generally able to address their weaknesses to some degree.
  5. They have a distinct personality that they show off to the outside world, but they can be insecure on the inside.
  6. They occasionally doubt if they’ve made the right decision or done the right thing.
  7. They like to change things up every now and then and they feel trapped when faced with a lot of restrictions and limitations.
  8. They have had some past experience that is holding them back.
  9. They feel that some of their aspirations tend to be unrealistic.

As you read this, you may see that you have a lot in common with the people in this phase. That’s normal. In fact, believe it or not many of us will experience this phase numerous times in our lives. This is a good thing because it means that we are ready to transform ourselves in an epic manner.

The Progress Phase

Those of us who had decided to take action and move forward from the exist phase enter the progress phase. This phase is all about making progress and beginning our journey of transformation. In this phase, we are often held back by our old habits and ways of thinking. Luckily for us in this phase most of us have a mentor who can guide us in this journey of transformation.

This is the phase where we truly embark on an adventure. We leave our old world – the broken world behind and enter a special, magical place where everything is new and exciting. As we explore this world with the guidance of our mentor, we make new friends and meet old enemies. We undertake difficult tasks with high stakes. We push ourselves beyond what we thought was possible, fighting monsters every single day till we level up. And then, we come back the next day to pick up where we left off – continuing The Grind.

Stages In the Progress Phase

  1. Meeting the Mentor: The hero meets a mentor who knows the secret behind what the hero’s trying to do.
  2. The Adventure Begins: The hero enters a special world where old rules do not apply.
  3. Quests, Allies & Monsters: The hero makes new friends, meets old enemies and undertakes missions.
  4. The Grind: The hero continuously seeks to improve herself by pushing the limits of what she’s capable of.

Are you in the “Progress Phase”?

People in the progress phase are a Joy to work with and to see in action. They are there in the forefront, trying hard every single day, to improve themselves and become a better version of themselves. With the meeting of their mentor,The people in the progress phase have identified their shortcomings and instead of resorting to incremental improvement, they are revamping and rebuilding themselves from the ground up. They are not focused on improvement. Instead, they are working to transform themselves completely.

Shiney Objects & The Fear of Missing Out

Many times, in the progress phase, heroes face a significant challenge – which mentor to follow? I know this because I have faced this myself. As humans, we are excited by the latest and shiniest object to come our way. As a result, instead of sticking to one thing or to one Mentor or to one method, we tend to jump ship and try many different things – as many different things as possible. 

When you analyse the underlying cause, because usually the fear of missing out and the feeding of the dopamine levels of finding something new. In case you’re reading this far, here’s a quick tip for you: Motivation is just one part of the puzzle. Motivation, like a bath, is needed every day. Of course you don’t want to restrict yourself to just motivation. You want to tap in to the power of systems.

The Ignite Phase

Once we have started taking action, we realise that it has a compounding effect. Our earlier successes and the momentum that we have accumulated keeps us pushing forward. Like feedback from a microphone, it keeps building upon itself and starts getting bigger and bigger. We have been levelling up for awhile and now we start tackling bigger and more audacious projects. At this point when we look back upon our previous selves, we see that there is a distinct difference between who we were and who we are today.

The Ignite phase, along with the Progress phase, are two of The longest phases in E.P.I.C Transformations. In the Progress phase, we have The Grind – a cyclic approach to continuous improvement based on tackling projects of increasing difficulty. In truth, this stage of the Progress phase may never end. In the Ignite phase, we face a similar situation before we defeat the Big Boss.

Though we may meet the Big Boss early on in our journey of E.P.I.C Transformation, defeating that boss is not an easy task. It will require us to meet our innermost demons and vanquish them. It will require us to work closely with our mentor and our allies to defeat a legion of monsters and try repeatedly to defeat the big boss. Of course, at the end of all this, we get the loot.

Four Stages In the Ignite Phase

  1. Mini Boss Fights: The hero pits herself against particularly difficult projects to achieve key milestones.
  2. Meeting The Big Boss: The hero discovers the defining obstacle that she must defeat to attain mastery.
  3. Defeating The Big Boss: The hero, with the help of her mentor, friends and allies defeats the Big Boss.
  4. The Loot: The hero acquires many rewards for her effort and success, including a new identity.

Are you in the “Ignite Phase”?

People in the Ignite phase are often considered by many to be the vanguard or the tip of the spear that is moving the world forward. These are the people who dream and work towards achieving their lofty goals. They are usually driven and have a sense of focus that keeps them moving forward. Most of them are able to complete tasks that they thought were completely beyond them. However, for many of us, that is not the case.

Based on my experience, there is one crippling challenge that many people face in this situation and it often leads to their failure, best described by Santiago Ramón y Cajal in his book “Advice for a Young Investigator“.

People with this type of failure are characterized by noble and winning traits. They study a great deal, but love personal activities as well. They worship action and have mastered the techniques needed for their research. They are filled with sincere patriotism and long for the personal and national fame that comes with admirable conquests.

Yet their eagerness is rendered sterile by a fatal flaw. While they are confirmed gradualists in theory, they turn out to rely on luck in practice. As if believing in miracles, they want to start their careers with an extraordinary achievement. Perhaps they recall that Hertz, Mayer, Schwann, Roentgen, and Curie began their scientific careers with a great discovery, and aspire to jump from foot soldier to general in their first battle. They end up spending their lives planning and plotting, constructing and correcting, always submerged in feverish activity, always revising, hatching the great embryonic work—the outstanding, sweeping contribution. And, as the years go, by expectation fades, rivals whisper, and friends stretch their imaginations to justify the great man’s silence. Meanwhile, important monographs are raining down abroad on the subjects they have so painstakingly explored, fondled, and worn to a thread.

Of course, this is just one of many things that go wrong for somebody in the Ignite phase. Personally, I have found great solace and an understanding of how to deal with such situations from the book “The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book, Steven Pressfield puts forward the idea of the Resistance – a force determined to stop us from success. The Resistance is capable of morphing into any number of different things – including benign and beneficial things, to distract us from reaching our goals. Once we are aware of the existence of The Resistance, we can take the necessary actions to defeat it and achieve our goals. How? The short answer: Be a professional.

The Champion Phase

Many people assume that once you, as the hero, have defeated your Big Boss and collected your loot, your transformation is complete. However, that is not the truth. Getting the loot is a big achievement and it deserves to be celebrated. However, the Journey is not complete. The fruits of our labour, often in the form of wisdom, skills, knowledge and assets needs to be brought back from the magical world into the real world. However this journey is not without its own peril. During this road back, you Will be beset on all sides by forces within and without trying to stop you from succeeding.

In the Champion phase, heroes will often face several crises of faith as well as an eventual acceptance of who they are, followed by the birth of a new identity. But the power of momentum persists and people don’t stop with acquiring the knowledge for themselves. They establish a new normal for themselves and actively try to induct others into the fold.

But, they don’t stop there either. In the last stage of The E.P.I.C Transformation Map, they repeat the process all over again.

This is when the E.P.I.C Transformation is complete.

The Four Stages In the Champion Phase

  1. The Road Back: The hero tries to adapt to her old world with her new identity.
  2. The Crisis of Faith: The hero grapples with the status quo, and wonders if it’s all worth it.
  3. The New Normal: The hero assimilates her new identity with the world around her.
  4. Insert Coin To Continue: The hero begins her next E.P.I.C Transformation.

Are you in the champion Phase?

Are you? I would love to hear from you about your story. Get in touch with me.

Where to go from here?

You can: