What makes a hero a hero?
What is it about someone that compels us to assign them with the “hero” label?
Why do we call Superman, Wonder Woman, and James Bond heroes?
Why do we feel so much awe and reverence for George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King, Jr.?
The first time I reflected on this was when my Dad died. I was writing a talk for his funeral and trying to figure out what to say.
You see, my Dad was not only my hero and my family’s hero, he was a hero to many. But I’d never really thought about why.
As I reflected on what made a hero a hero, and therefore what made my Dad a hero, I came up with 4 qualities they all possess:
- They’re always helping people.
- They beat the odds.
- They stand up for what they believe in, even when it’s hard.
- They have superpowers. (Maybe not the ability to fly or stop a train with one hand, but superpowers nonetheless. One of my Dad’s superpowers was his creativity in coming up with solutions. He could plan, build, and fix nearly anything, despite having no formal training as an architect or engineer.)
If I had to give that talk over again today, I think I’d add one more. And that’s the quote in the picture below.
Heroes make choices that reflect their hopes; not their fears.
It’s why Superman, Wonder Woman, and James Bond choose to fight the bad guy instead of running away.
It’s why George Washington voluntarily gave up his position after two terms, instead of clinging to his power and authority.
It’s why Harriet Tubman didn’t just kick back and relax after she escaped slavery, and went on to risk her freedom and her life to help others escape.
It’s why Susan B. Anthony risked being attacked, jailed, ridiculed and outcast for over 50 years in her quest for women’s suffrage, even though she would not live to see the fruits of her labor.
And it’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t let brutal physical and verbal attacks deter him from his quest to secure civil rights for Black Americans, and was even willing to lose his life for the cause.
We love each of these heroes…admire them…and aspire to be like them, because in the end, we all want to believe that we, too, in the face of mighty challenges, could be that person who has the strength to make choices and take action that reflect our hopes instead of our fears.
And that’s a worthy goal.
But here’s where I think our hero narrative fails us:
We’ve been conditioned to think about heroes, and our ability to be one, only in the context of “mighty challenges” that take the form of epic history-making battles.
But what about being the hero of your own life every single day?
Everyday, you face situations that ask you to choose between your hope or your fear.
==> “Should I launch this program in my business, or wait for when I know more…have a bigger list…the timing is better, etc.?”
==> “Should I have this hard conversation with my boss/employee/spouse/kid/friend/co-worker, or let it slide?”
==> “Should I raise my hand and offer the idea I have, or keep quiet in case it’s stupid?”
==> “Should I go for this opportunity, or wait until I feel more ready?”
==> “Should I report the undercurrent of anti-LGBT+ bigotry I’m noticing in my new company, or just wait and see if someone else says something?”
==> “Should I grandfather in my current clients at my existing pricing, or ask them to pay my new prices?”
==> “Should I say ‘I love you’, or wait until he/she/they say it first?”
It’s so easy to give into the fear monster when faced with these kinds of everyday questions.
Because here’s what our mind knows: even if we make the choice that reflects our hope, there’s no guarantee it’s all going to work out.
There’s no guarantee that the program will succeed…that people won’t think we’re stupid…that we won’t get fired…that our clients won’t leave…that we’ll get the ‘I love you’ return…or any other outcome we’re shooting for when we choose to act on our hope instead of our fear.
And yet heroes don’t choose their hope over their fear because they’re guaranteed the result they want.
They choose hope because it’s who they are. It’s what they value. It’s what they stand for. Even if it doesn’t work out.
Yes, you might fail. Yes, you might be disappointed. Yes, you might get fired…be wrong…get rejected…not belong…and all the other human experiences we hate to go through.
Your brain will tell you those are the worst things EVER and that you should avoid going within 100 yards of them like they’re the plague. It will tell you your odds aren’t good, so don’t take the chance.
But here’s the key word in all of them: they might happen.
When you don’t take the chance at all…when you choose your fear over your hope…you do get a guaranteed outcome, but is it really the one you want?
As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
So if what you want is a guaranteed outcome, it’s best to go with your fear.
But if you value your integrity, your dreams, and giving yourself a fighting chance to create the life and the world you want, then be the everyday hero of your own life and make choices that reflect your hope.
My bet is that you’ll beat the odds your brain is giving you most of the time.
P.S. Being the hero of your own life is hard. The brain manufactures some tough opponents, like fear, worry, and anxiety.
There’s also a lot to figure out as a hero. Being a hero doesn’t mean you run blindly toward your hope and let the chips fall where they may. To give yourself the best odds, you need to come up with a plan.
And when you meet challenges and obstacles on your path, which you most definitely will, you need to figure out how to overcome them so they don’t overcome you. It can feel exhausting, confusing, and overwhelming at times.
That’s where I come in.
As a certified Life Coach, my passion is helping women, just like you, go for the life they want. It’s a courageous path. It takes guts to walk that path. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to walk that path with a coach by your side, guiding you along the way.
And now is the perfect time to get the support you need! For the month of November, I’m offering 20% off my coaching packages. To get started, book a free Meet & Greet call with me here ===> https://soulfireshift.com/coaching