The new Superman movie is out. It got me thinking that we seem to have an obsession with heroes – that people who achieve amazing things are something special, something that deserves great respect and reverence. We give them trophies, medals and awards. We write about them, follow them, interview them and have their pictures in magazines. We love winners. Winners are heroes.
But true heroes aren’t just those who take first place. True heroes live among us – they are the talented, quiet and decisive people who show up each day committed to being their best, doing their best, connected to their purpose and bringing their best to their world (and the people in it). Heroes can be our parents, partners, friends or employers. They can be our kids, or cousins or the employees at a store. They don’t what they do for applause – they do it because they have a personal standard of excellence (PSOE) that compels them to be great and to connect their greatness with their world. In my view, these are the heroes.
We each have the ability of being a hero in today’s world. We have the ability of learning and living what we do best. Frederick Buechner says it well, “Your vocation in live (I read this to say how you become a hero) is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” This is were you know yourself and bring that unique and special self to applications in today’s world that need what you do best. This is where you show up as a hero.
Here are some of my heroes:
- My father whose big heart always searched for those who needed something and was the first to find a way to help. It could be family or stranger, neighbor or employee – he was the first to raise his hand, volunteer or just show up and help someone who needed it.
- The extremely successful CEO who took me under his wing early in my career to share not only his business wisdom but his broad understanding of life, how to be successful and how to balance work a demanding career with a demanding household. His commitment to showing up as your best self is a lesson I still remember.
- My partner who brings a personal excellence to all he does, never swayed by what others say. He models confidence, courage and determination – always.
- The employee at the Panera store who not only took exceptional care with my order and food allergies, but gave the same level of care to the whomever came through the line. Entry level job, hero attitude.
The list goes on. There are many.
So, how do you become a hero? Here are my thoughts:
1. Always, regardless of the circumstances, be your best self. You choose how you show up to every event in life. Know what you are good at and passionate about and find ways to connect these to your world. Make greatness your personal standard. Inspire others to do their best and be their best.
2. Be there for others, honestly and without expectation. Heroes care about people – they care about others. Here are the four most powerful 4-word phrases we can say to another:
- I am really sorry.
- I really love you.
- How can I help?
- Tell me about it.
Say things and mean them. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Show up present and willing to your relationships. Be interested, connected and supportive. Remember there is an element of the divine in all of us – and everyone deserves our best attention.
3. Add value to everything you touch. In the workplace, we want our employees to add value and make a difference. This is the same definition for heroes. They watch for ways to show up, step up and stand out in life – they watch for places to add value – to change things for the good. They are always watching – hoping for the opportunity to do something amazing – not for the praise. But because doing the amazing is how they appreciate this great thing called life.
There are heroes among us. Not the celebrities – the regular people who choose not be regular in how they live their lives, add value to the world and respect others. They don’t look for fanfare or the spotlight – they just choose to make a difference in whatever way they can. Spot the heroes. Be a hero. Bring your best. Be there for others and add value to all you touch. Bring your greatness game.
Who are your heroes? And to whom are you a hero?