Taking Charge of Self-Development and Growth
I wrote “The Transformational Odyssey” to help those individuals who are facing difficult life transitions, and who are attempting to successfully navigate tough life decisions and engage in deep self-discovery. Unlike other self-help books that attempt to provide readers with homespun advice for addressing difficult life challenges, “The Transformational Odyssey” shows readers how to take charge of their self-growth and development. It does this by providing several applied techniques for engaging in deep self-learning in a more profound and fundamentally life-changing way.
The title, “The Transformational Odyssey,” reflects the book’s integrative metaphor of transformational learning as a personal odyssey of self-discovery. The word, “odyssey,” connotes a long and sometimes arduous and meandering journey. Although an odyssey may present the traveler with unexpected trials and challenges, in the end, it may yield increased wisdom and knowledge. Building on this metaphor, The Transformational Odyssey introduces readers to eight passages that they inevitably will encounter during their own personal odysseys of self-discovery. Each of these passages involves a uniquely different learning challenge that, as it is successfully navigated, increases the reader’s capacity for self-growth.
Since different people learn in different ways, this book incorporates a variety of different learning methods, including actual cases, exercises, suggested actions, famous quotes, and metaphors. For those who would like to dig deeper on a given topic, at the end of each chapter there is a separate section on related cutting-edge research in the field of human psychology. The topics included in these sections cover such areas as mindfulness, meditation, narratives, and future selves.
Since I will be serving as the guide for your journey, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Knowing a bit about me will enable you to understand the background and experience that inform the approach I take to the subject of transformational growth. After completing my first graduate degree in counseling psychology, I spent the next few years working as a counselor, both for a state agency within a therapeutic treatment center for substance abusers, and in private practice, within the area of adult transition counseling. The next 30 years of my professional life were spent working in the corporate world, both as someone who was responsible for assessing and developing senior leaders, and as an executive coach. In my role as executive coach, I worked with executives who tended to get in the way of their own success, with high-potential leaders who were being groomed for broader leadership roles, and with professionals who were attempting to explore different career paths. Along the way, I obtained a second Master’s degree in organizational psychology, and then a doctorate in this discipline. I also wrote a couple of books (“The Transformational Odyssey” is my ninth), was fortunate enough to see my writing translated into several languages, and began to test my concepts about human development through the tough crucible of academic writing. (Nothing makes you more humble than watching the journal article you have painstakingly written being ripped to shreds by your peers in blind reviews.” Thirty-plus articles later, that process has helped me develop a more disciplined approach to my writing and thinking.
Eight years ago I decided to make a major career change and take on a new vocation, that of university professor. Since that time, I have never looked back. I love the incredible job satisfaction I get from my teaching, as well as the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and experience to my students. Part of this work has involved training hundreds of new coaches through our university’s Executive Coaching Certificate Program. Concurrently, I maintain a boutique consulting business in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, and life transition coaching, while continuing to teach, write, and consult with organizations. The helping roles of college instructor, counselor, coach, and leadership developer are all very different, but if you look at them through the broader lens of human potential, you can see that they all have something in common. In each case, they employ questions, conversational strategies, and developmental tools that help people look deeply inside themselves, with the aim of encouraging others to explore options for gaining greater satisfaction and fulfillment, in both their work and personal lives.
While no book can be all things to all people, I sincerely believe that if you are willing to not only read this book but also apply the tools and exercises that you will find here, you will be surprised at how far you can advance along the path of your own life journey. It is my heartfelt hope that you derive great value from “The Transformational Odyssey.” If my work is sufficient, it will make you think. If I have done a good job it will prompt you to action. If I have put my heart and soul into it, it will move your spirit…and that is the most that any writer can truly hope to achieve. With that in mind, let’s see where your journey takes you.
Excerpt from “The Transformational Odyssey” by Robert Barner, Ph.D. (Information Age Publishing, 2017). For more information, visit: http://www.infoagepub.com/products/The-Transformational-Odyssey
Robert Barner, Ph.D., is a university professor, executive coach, and author. He has written nine books, including “The Transformation Odyssey” (Information Age Publishing, 2017). He has a Master’s and doctorate degree in organizational psychology.