Where have all the Heros Gone?

Who is your hero? Who do you admire? Who do you wish you could be most like?

I remember when I moved to Arizona and was applying for a job at an elementary school for a job in the IT department that the two panel interviewers asked me a similar question. There was a long pause. What seemed like several minutes. Wow. I really don’t have an answer to this question. In the end I said my Dad as I really do admire what he has done and the risks he took and the life he was making for himself. I’d like to feel free enough and confident enough to take life by the horns the way he has. In many areas, he is one of the smartest people I’ve met. Whatever he doesn’t know, but has an interest in, he will figure out as he curious by nature.

But who else? Of course my Mom who seems to have this endless battery pack of energy insider of her. She also knows how to live her life to the fullest. She takes on new adventures and sees new sights whenever the mood strikes her. She meets strangers that immediately lover her and her relentless vigor. You can be around her for a few minutes and no matter what you were feeling you’ll feel so much better and enthusiastic. Not to mention she is drop dead gorgeous!

But who, outside my family inspires me? Who is my hero? Who do admire enough to want to follow in their footsteps? To this day I’ve been looking. I’ve done a half-baked search now and again, but now I’m on a mission. It’s time to discover and create people in my life that inspire me, that uplift me, that challenge me, that influence me in ways I would never imagined.

There are people I admire and in some ways wish to emulate. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. Back in school I wrote a report about him. I don’t remember why I picked him of all people we could write about, but I did. It was a long paper and I remember that the insights and research I did were definitely not reflected the paper. With the power of the Internet today it’s amazing how I can just Google MLK, Jr and I can listen to his “I Have A Dream” Speech.

He inspires me in the way of HOPE. No matter what our situation, no matter where we came from, no matter where we are in this moment, no matter how bad things look right now, no matter what the adversity, we can reach above it ALL, no matter how impossible it looks, we CAN fulfill our dreams no matter how daunting the task or BIG the dream.

He inspires me in the way he is CHARISMATIC. He has a way of telling a story so that you can imagine that he knows what your are going through, he feels or has your struggles, and he triggers the right button to move you in the right direction. He shows you the path, step-by-step, inch-by-inch, and he shows you in vivid colors where you’ll be or what you’ll achieve by taking a chance and following the plan. He moves me from point A to point Z with his insight.

He inspires me with his high MORAL standing. Read some of his quotes. When you read them you know he’s right. For example “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Or “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” One that I include on my coversheet to my resume “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” No matter what our calling, no matter the task at hand do it like there is no one better suited for the job. Be the best you can be. That is much more eloquent than saying I will do a great job for you and I will give it my all – better than anyone else, doesn’t it?

MLK, Jr. inspires me. He had the gift I most wish to possess. I want to understand others so well that I can feel like I’m living in their shoes, see what they see, and still develop a plan and be able to show them with all the colors, flavors, and charisma where they can go by following the plan. I want it to feel as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. I want it to be so obvious that, of course that’s what needs to happen. I want to be able to instill into others the motivation to see the vision and achieve their own dream.

Then there is John C Maxwell. With him, I’m not really clear if I admire him as a person and what he has accomplished in so much that I do like his vision, speeches, books, and leadership training. He has had great accomplishments, has written best sellers, makes a lot of money coaching people, and maintains a successful and endearing relationship with his wife. It’s not so much that he is my Hero (I don’t know him other than through the stories he tells in his books), but I know I can learn a lot from him. If I could be the person that he can take to that next level with encouragement and the right kind of education and process, I would want to meet him.

In my early years there was Fernando Flores. You can see a sample of his work through this article in Fast Company.  He changed the way I think, see, and listen.  He’s given me a greater understanding of myself and others.

But now I need someone up close and personal.  Someone right here and right now that will open my eyes to those things that I am blind.  Someone I can admire for who they’ve become, for what they stand for and for their accomplishments with others.  There’s a saying that goes something like “God’s gift to us is our potential.  My gift to God is what I do with that potential.”  I want to unleash my potential in a way so big that it affects the lives of many so that they too will unleash their gifts to the world.

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