Skip to main content

So it's a risky thing to meet one of your heroes. In fact, it can been pretty scary.

Lots of weighty expectations hang in the air. What will they be like? Will they live up to your expectations? Or will you walk away disappointed? Will you lose one of your heroes?

So last November I was sitting in the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. I was about to get on a plane and fly home to Colorado. I had just gotten a chance to spend several hours with Paulo Coelho. Now Paulo is another hero of mine, and one day I will write about having dinner with him… but he's not who this post is about.

In any case, meeting Paulo was really cool, and it inspired me. And as I sat there on the runway in Geneva, I thought to myself “OK, that was awesome – now it's time to meet Pressfield”…

You see, Steven Pressfield is another author who has made a big impact on my life. Many entrepreneurs are familiar with his incredible book “The War of Art”… and I love love love that book, but it just barely scratches the surface of his work. His fiction is equally amazing, and a personal favorite of mine is “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (I know it's cliche, but you should skip the movie and read the book).

So after meeting Paulo Coehlo, I decided it was time to figure out some way to have dinner with Steven. I didn't know how it would happen, but I knew there would be a way… I learned long ago that I'm pretty good at “manifesting” things. So I figured I had a good chance of meeting him, but I had no idea it would happen so fast…

You see, just a few weeks later I got a surprise package from my friend Victoria Labalme. In it was a personally signed copy of “The War of Art” and a note to me from Steven Pressfield!

Steven Pressfield and Jeff Walker

With Steven Pressfield in his home...

It turns out Victoria had heard me mention “The War of Art” when I was speaking on stage, and she just happened to be a close personal friend of Steven. And to make a long story short, it was only a matter of a few weeks before I was on a plane to Los Angeles to got to dinner with Steven, Victoria, and Victoria's husband.

And there we are – back to me nervously wondering what it would be like to meet one of my heroes… and whether it would live up to my expectations.

Well, I don't know if I just have great taste when it comes to “hero selection”, but I haven't been disappointed yet. It was a wonderful meeting. Steve was gracious, kind, engaged, and funny. In fact, dinner was too short, so we quickly made plans for breakfast… and then breakfast evolved into spending the entire morning together.

The thing that stuck out the most for me was how wonderfully curious Steve was, and what great questions he asked… he kept asking me about me and my life. And his insightful questions kept pushing me to make distinctions I had never thought about before.

In Steve's office, looking at a diagram for his next book

I've long felt that asking great questions (and then having the good sense to shut up and really listen to the answers) is one of the most powerful skills that anyone can have… and Steve truly is a master at it. There is incredible knowledge and wisdom that is bottled up in the people surrounding us, and for the most part we walk around oblivious to it. Our lives are hugely enriched when we wake up and tap into that innate wisdom in the people surrounding us. It was inspirational to mentally step outside myself and “watch” Steve ask great question after great question.

Another thing I've noticed about people who lead inspired lives – they're always looking to grow. They're always striving to make their “art” better (no matter if their art is writing, building a business, or making a better cheesecake). And they're always trying to “level up” and play a bigger game.

In other words, as my coach Dan Sullivan says, their future is always bigger than their past. And, of course, Steven Pressfield fit that description perfectly… he really wasn't interested in talking about his past work. He was far more interested in talking about his current and future projects. And truth be told, he was most interested in talking about the people around him.

(Funny story… during our conversation, I mentioned something that one of the principle characters in Steve's amazing “Gates of Fire” did. But I couldn't recall the character's name – even though I've read the book at least two or three times. As I was making my point, I said “sorry, but I can't remember the character's name”… and Steve quickly interrupted me and said with a smile “Either can I”.)

My signed copy of "The Ware of Art"

Steve graciously signed my copy of "The War of Art"

Our time together flew by all too quickly, and soon I had to head out to catch my flight home. But I left inspired. I left happy to have met an inspired, driven, and gentle soul. And best of all, I left with a new friendship.

P.S. I'm on a roll now… anyone want to introduce me to Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, or the Dalai Lama?  🙂

P.P.S. Who would you love to have dinner with? And why?

Similar articles

Lights, Camera, Impact! How Elliott Connie Served His Way to a Million-Dollar Business and His Own Network TV Show

“Unbelievably surreal.” That’s how Elliott Connie describes his business journey. And it’s easy to see…

How to Win at Content

There’s just no way around it – when you’re in this business, you have to…

How To “Failure-Proof” Yourself

There’s a reason successful entrepreneurs are really into personal development…  When you’re in the business…

70 Replies to “The Fear of Heroes (and Meeting Mine)”

  1. That is inspirational Jeff, thanks for sharing the whole story. I am adding it to my life goals list.

  2. Awesome Jeff,
    I was def curious who your big hero was. And yes you do choose well! Love the pics and super happy you had the opportunity to spend time with your hero! 🙂

  3. Jeff,

    Thank you so much for sharing. While at PLF in Phoenix, you had suggested everyone needs to read the Alchemist. I did so on my way home, since then I have read it to my children and my wife. I loved the book thank you so much! I guess I’m off to buy the War of Art. Hope all is well with you and your not freezing to death in Colorado, I know here in Utah we have had a very mild winter.

    Take care my friend,

    Darin Bushman

  4. Awesome Jeff!

    I will definitely have to check his books out.

    You should also do a post on how you manifest things.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  5. Rick McFarland


    I am one of those fortunate few who has met and shared time with many of my greatest heroes. and luckily right now I am in his mastermind group. as I believe we gravitate towards like minded and spirit in people. and it is so very cool
    thanks Jeff for making you approachable and available. time for that book man. your book
    or maybe knock off the rest of the guys in that list and that will give you more chapters. lol

  6. Nice one. I’ll love to have dinner with Richard branson who happens to be my ‘weird’ business hero!

    He’s such a great guy and I will always like him. He’s a master when it comes to business in a bare way. He’s someone anybody will like to meet and he’s always full of life and always having fun!

    And Jeff, yeah you! I’ll like to meet with you too for dinner. You’re a leader who happens to be the most long lasting guy I’ve been following online since I first got to know about you.

  7. Thank`s Jeff for all!
    I like all what You do. I read, listen and see about You Life, Business, Hobby. I need that Hero as You.
    Goodluck n Success!
    Aleksandr Goldobin
    Russia, Perm region

  8. Thanks Jeff. I was wondering who it was going to be. Now I will have another book or two the leaning tower of Pisa that is my night stand. Inspiring post.

  9. Jeff, to still ourselves to learn from others is a great opportunity for an exciting life joutrney. Controlling that desire to talk is a western culture challenge. There are heros all around us if we become still and listen. Thanks for the great sharing.

    Patricia Leonard

  10. “Avery Aames” – I won her Cheese Shop Mystery series book, “The Long Quiche Goodbye” in an online drawing.

    Sola Olu – who wrote “A Summer Called Angel” about her experiences with pre-eclampsia and preemie babies. I went through similar experiences, but nowhere near to her degree.

  11. I set the goal of meeting the Dali Lama. Less than a year later I was invited to have lunch with him and got to shake his hand.
    The power of intention and manifesting that intention is an art everyone has. Unfortunately, the ability has been trained out of us by our “enlightened” society.
    It’s part of my mission to re-acquaint people with that part of them they have forgotten.
    Thanks for encouraging people to dream and realize that dream

  12. Rich Grimshaw


    This is a great story, Jeff. I was warmed to hear that you both enjoyed each other’s company. You made me aware that I don’t believe I’ve thought much about personal heroes. Perhaps there is something there for me to dwell on. Thanks.

  13. too cool, I am sure you had goose bumps the whole time what a story. I have a few heroes and thanks to this post will now intend to meet soon thanks for sharing.

  14. Kevin Wiley


    Jeff, thank you for an excellent post. I could feel your excitement and admiration as I read your story. My choices are not yet on my Hero list but getting close. I would love to have lunch or casual meeting with Vishen Lakhiani. I have only recently been introduced to his site and a few video’s but I am really impressed so far. My second choice would be Kim Roach. I respect he marketing ethics and values very much. She definelty works outside the box and would love to meet the person behind all that creativity.
    Thanks to you, I am going to put those two on my list.

  15. Jeff,
    I was lucky enough to meet two of my Internet Marketing heroes (you & Jeff Johnson) at the AZ Mastermind meeting in Feb.2012. The event was small enough that I got a chance to learn from both you & Jeff as well as interact with you during lunch & dinner.

    One of my professional speaking heroes is Les Brown and I finally met him on Friday. It was at a National Speakers Association event in New York City and I was able to sit in the front row plus have lunch with him too. Meeting him inspired me to take my speaking to a new level just as meeting you did with my internet marketing !

    Thank you for writing such an inspirational blog post about meeting your Hero … and thanks for being a hero to so many of your customers !

    Dave Wheeler

    • @Dave: get this… I got the chance to meet Les and have lunch with him before I even knew who he was! He just struck me as a really cool guy… then the next day I saw him speak, and I was blown away.

  16. Jeff,

    I loved your blog! It deeply touched my heart because…my hero is my father, whom I lost when I was 12 years old. He is actually my inspiration. It is because of his death, that I started my own journey in helping others going through losses and help them, transform them!

    As I reflect on whom I would like to have dinner with…well, I would say with any person who has had a difficult transition in their lives and have been able to bounce back stronger, with more meaning and more love in their hearts.

    I wish you a beautiful day,

    Ligia M. Houben

  17. Hello Jeff,

    Love the writing and insight you provide.

    It’s hard to figure out who I would like to meet, as the list would be quite long. However, I can identify at least a couple of people:

    1. Sir Richard Branson – Having read a number of his book, I am intrigued in his approach to business, supporting the global community and life in general.
    2. Dan Kennedy – I’ve be endlessly impressed with how Dan approaches business and his superb insight into calculated marketing.

    As I said, the list could go on, but that is for a time when per chance we meet.

    • @Dan: I’ve had a few chances to meet Richard Branson, but the timing has never worked out for me. I really hope I get another chance.

      And Dan Kennedy… yeah, the guy is a legend. I’ve met him a few times, and I even sat on a couch with him and answered questions with him in front of a room of his really high end clients.

  18. Jeff,
    I feel very grateful for your sharing. And especially love this concept – “There is incredible knowledge and wisdom that is bottled up in the people surrounding us….. Our lives are hugely enriched when we wake up and tap into that innate wisdom in the people surrounding us.”
    You talk about having models and mentors; and here you are modeling and mentoring. Putting in the work – being in alignment with your mission.
    I’m touched, inspired and working hard.
    As one introvert to another, I thank you for continuing to lead the way.

  19. Hello fellow Coloradoan,
    Funny, I can’t recall actually when or why I was seduced into entering my name and email into one of your past opt-in boxes, but today as I was reading your story with a warm smile I was so happy I had. I could feel your innocent awe of meeting Steve as well as the honor. Mostly I sensed that somehow you know you also stand shoulder to shoulder with these individuals you meet in your missions to support this world. Powerful. But that still wasn’t what lit me up the most. It’s the magical game you play of manifesting these introductions into your life. I too have had that fun phenomenon in my midst. My work (play)is in the arena of Music & Archetypes,so it seems to be musicians and masters within the world of archetypes that magically land across from me at lunch or, in a more bizarre fashion, I run into them at such offbeat places as a westside yard sale in Colorado Springs. (fyi…these synchronistic meetings are the work of the Magician Archetype !)

    I agree with Hoo Kang (comment above) It would be fun to hear about your manifesting process!

    Dinner? Well,it’s probably a given Joseph Campbell and Steve Goodman are off the “available tonight list.” So my unevolved choice would be Don Novello.( Played Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live) Can you imagine trying to eat a stir fry in the midst of that dialogue? 😉 Next, Emmy Lou Harris, and producer, Lawrence Kasdan. I’d like the honor of Emmy Lou as a guest artist for a future TUNED-IN Workshop, and intend for Lawrence to produce one of my screenplays. Bring it on.

    This was fun. Thanks for triggering it. I’ll see what I can do re: Bruce. Hope to run into you, Mr. Colorado, at a neighborhood yard sale…

    • @Molly: I can’t remember exactly how many times Joseph Campbell’s name came up in my time with Steven, but I can say for sure that it was more than once.

      And re: Bruce… please know that my ONLY intentions in meeting Bruce would be 1) to thank him for his prodigious work and for the joy and meaning that his work has brought to me… and 2) to find some way to add value to his life (and I have a few ideas… after all, I’ve got some skilz when it comes to getting your message out into the world. 🙂

  20. This is so timely because we’re reading “The War of Art” right now as a family and loving it’s message! I would love to meet Tony Robbins, Tara Marino and/or Graham Cooke. They’ve all touched my life in some way, shape or form with the messages they deliver. Congrats on your meetings – how cool is that?! I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you get to meet Bruce, Keith and the Dalai Lama!

    • @Pat: I got the chance to meet Tony a few years ago (you can read the story here: ) … and that was the first time I experienced that fear about meeting a hero. I was worried that I would be let down, I was worried about all kinds of things (and I’m not a worrier). But within about 30 seconds all my fears were laid to rest – he was incredibly charming, and it was immediately clear that the guy just wants to help as many people as he can.

      And Tara Marino – I’m proud to say she’s a client of mine from several years ago… another amazing person who is really mission-driven to help a lot of people.

  21. Cool post. The war of art has really helped me tremendously. With two authors as heroes, are we going to see a Jeff Walker book soon? I hope so.

    I’d love to meet Richard Branson…

    All the best,


    PS. The PLF formula has been instrumental in helping me launch two Amazon best selling books – one a #1 best seller in the Web-Marketing category. I’m so glad I bought PLF. thanks for making it.

  22. I love how your posts about meeting your heroes caused me to think about who my heroes are. While some are still living, I found that I wasn’t really moved to want to spend ‘face time’ with any of them. It just wasn’t pulling me at this time. However, I realized that there are some people I find myself thinking I would like to be able to spend a bit of quality time with, and it turns out they aren’t rich, famous types. They are a few people we met at PLF Live whom we have kept in touch with, and who have made contributions in some fashion to our viewpoint, our life and our business. They are my ‘heroes’, because of their generosity with their time and talent, their marvelous good will and their perseverance in the pursuit of their goals. Thanks for making me realize this. Because, actually, it should be pretty easy to have dinner with each of them, even though each is thousands of miles from us now. We just need to attend PLF Live this fall and reconnect with them. 🙂

    • @Maggie: great points. I met a hero a few days ago… he was driving a taxi in Seattle, and he was taking my wife and I to dinner. He had an amazing story.

      I’m so glad you made so many meaningful connections at PLF Live – that room was jam packed with heroes!

  23. Dinner? Why with Jeff Walker of course!
    Learning how you “manifest” so much success into your life

  24. Great post Jeff! It’s amazing thing to meet people we admire. I’ve been fortunate to meet Jack Canfield briefly, and see Richard Branson speak (though I’d much rather have breakfast with him).

    I’m pumped to meet a friend of yours Brendon Burchard in May at Expert’s Academy too.

    It’s always a great thing to see a leader like you tell people about the people you admire. It makes you more human and relateabke to us than you already are.

    • @Mark: I’m sure I’ll be meeting Jack Canfield soon… I’ve only heard the greatest things about him. And yeah… Brendon, he’s amazing.

  25. Hi Jeff (again), That darn Joseph Campbell finds a way to weave himself into the grandest of dialogues, doesn’t he? When studying at Pacifica Graduate Institute the magic of his spirit seemed to light up every corner of the campus. I did get that your purpose of meeting Bruce was deeper than telling him you had all of his albums. He deserves your input. And your words are timely, so do I. Confession: forward progress with impacting the masses re: how exactly Motown, Bach and Andrea Bocelli help shape your behavior, perspective, health and spirit came crashing down yesterday with the decline of counted-on grant funding. Gave myself 24 hours to lick my wounds. Time to kick it into gear.

  26. Steven Pressfield? I never would have guessed. Most of my friends would never guess that I would make the same choice. “Gates of Fire” set my mind on fire when it came out in 1998, and he is the standard by which I now measure all historical fiction (my training is as an historian). “Turning Pro” and “Do The Work” sit on the corner of my desk – marked up and waiting to be re-read for the umpteenth time. My greatest fear in meeting this hero is not that he would fail to live up to my expectations, but rather that I would not be worthy of the meeting. I’m stilling learning to do the work…properly. Still in the process of turning pro.

    Good for you for taking the leap. Because you have clearly done the work.

  27. I have often thought about that “one” contemporary person I would like to meet and have dinner with…and as with you, so many names and so little time…Jeff, Brendon, Napoleon, Zig, Paulo, Frank, Matt…it’s a tough call but alas I am almost 17 years late.

    Augustine Mandino is his name but we all know him as Og. His first book has and does influence me more than any other modern book: The Greatest Salesman in the World.

    This single modern book has done more to shape and mold my adult life than any other. I keep dozens of copies so I may give them out to folks I meet along the bumpy road of life.

    I do admit to being a little jealous of both you and Brendon, having both met Paulo Coelho. I lived in Brazil for years and happened to read O Alquimista when I was there. It was later translated into The Alchemist.

    This list could go on but thank you for the topic. Now on to the next right thing.

    David Rodwell

  28. Steven Pressfield is great! I’ve read four of his books and can’t wait to meet more. I’d love to sit down with him sometime.
    I hear the Dalai Lama is a very impressive person to meet also. People say it’s life-changing just shaking hands with him.

  29. Hannah Rose


    Well! The mystery person is revealed!

    Have had The War of Art on my list ince I hear Barbara Winter talking about i, a couple of years ago. If she liked it, and you like it, there must be something in his thinking that resonates with people moving ahead.

    Who would I like to have dinner with?(Thanks for asking!) You, Brendon Burchard, Mike Koenigs, Steve Harrison, Steve Coxsey (, Liz Klein (talentlegends. com), Chris Guillebeau, Barrbara Winter—-and the families that help to make each person who they are! Have to be a pretty big table!

    Which reminds me it has been my dream about ten years now, to build not only my own unique dwelling, but also a dining hall–where I get to say who comes to dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights. So I should find a way to play hostess to all of you. (How many are we talking?)

  30. That was awesome, Jeff. He’s one of my heros too – his book is one of the top five that changed my life. I keep it on my desk for constant visual reference.

    And I can introduce you to HHDL – he’s my golfing buddy. 🙂

  31. Love this and for an additional dimension in Napoleon Hill’s Book, Think and Grow Rich, he introduces the event of meeting regularly with his committee of heros that have passed away. He had several people on his committee, one I remember was Abraham Lincoln. He would converse with them almost every evening for about 45 minutes. He said it had a profound impact on his life. I decided to try it and I have four people on my committee and I seat them around my dining room table and we have most interesting conversations. This might sound crazy but I guess I am in good company with Napoleon Hill. Try it, it is amazing.

  32. What a warm and delightful way to start the day – reading your blog (instead of getting on with ‘The War of Art’.) But it was worth it. Thank you!
    You don’t look old enough Jeff, to be that familiar with Joseph Campbell – The famous words ‘follow your bliss’.
    Because we are talking about art I would go for Robert Fritz – Life as Art, The Path of Least Resistance. You would love him I think. He lives in beautiful New England.
    Then Professor Mohamad Yunus of The Grameen Bank. I just so want to apply those general principles to entrepreneurial support systems – somehow. Then Ricardo Semler who wrote Maverick – about the win-win community he created.
    I had better get to work – I am getting carried away……

  33. Hey Jeff,
    Thank you for sharing! I saw him interviewed with Marie Forleo and fell in love with him. He seems just as you describe him!

    I would love to have dinner with Bono, the Dalai Lama, you, Brendon Burchard, Tim Ferris, Abraham Lincoln, Eddie Izzard, All of the Beatles, (together or separately!), Ghandi, Ralph Waldo Emerson (a distant relative of mine,) … I could go on and on. I’ve got LOTS of heroes.
    Set a table!

  34. Hi Jeff!

    I am actually in the same boat as you and Les… With you!

    I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with you at Ed and Franks gig in San Diego in 2005/6, when I was kind of ‘humouring’ the whole internet marketing thing… We talked about rock climbing and white water rafting more than marketing, but then you began asking questions about my passions, and I shared a little about a book I was writing about preparing ballet students for pointe work…

    Your honest belief that this was something that could actually go somewhere led to me taking it all a bit more seriously, which in turn has lead to me producing over 10 books, hours of online video, 2 dvds, multiple international and national workshops and the opportunity to help millions of dancers all over the world prevent and recover from injury.

    I’m just about to lunch a new DVD called “Will I ever Dance Again..?” which is so beautiful – we have come a long way since those early beginnings! I will be going through all of the PLF notes again to maximise the number of people that I can share this information with.

    So thank you for being my hero before I even knew it 😉

    Warmest wishes from Sydney Australia, and yes – still up for that Kayaking trip whenever you are free!

    • @Lisa: I’ve had a lot of people leave really nice comments on this blog, but your comment goes right up near the very top of my favorites… for three reasons:

      1. It’s always to nice to hear I treated someone graciously, and that I made a big impact on their life… when I had absolutely no idea.
      2. OK, I’ll admit it – it sounds like I made a really good call… and it’s nice to hear I got that one right. 🙂
      3. That YOU actually went home and did the work! And you’ve now positively impacted so many lives… helping athletes who are struggling with pain and injury. How awesome is that!?!?!

      Thank you for this… you’ve made a very good day even better.

  35. Dinner? You. I’ll even pay. I want to hear about your early marketing to do with investments – and why you did not continue. I’ll even give you my latest book!

  36. Hahaha – Thanks Jeff. Glad to hear I made your day 😉

    I will never forget the look on all of the other guys faces, who were all there because you were a guru, who all wanted to bug you for marketing tips, while this random girl from Australia monopolised your time on things completely unrelated!

    I had honestly not taken the whole thing seriously at all… Thinking that it was just Sarkis buying into a ‘Get Rich Quick’ scheme – but have since found that you can use what you teach to leverage anything that you want. If you want to make money then great, if you want to transform lives – even better.

    But yes, you are right, you must do the work… I have spent countless late nights and long days trying to balance the running of a Physiotherapy Practice and the online business, and it has had its downfalls… but ultimately if you are committed to making something happen, and to putting in the grunt, then anything is possible.

    Thanks for everything 🙂


  37. Natalia Izotova


    It’s been a little bit more than a year since I came across Brendon Burchard’s and your work in the Internet. Since then I completely fell in love in how passionate and authentic you both are about the things you do in life. And meeting both of you and having dinner is on my wish list for a couple of months. Now, as I purchased Elite Coaching Program by Brendon Burchard (via your link, by the way:))) I feel I am coming closer to my desire to meet you and Brendon in May 2013 or in the fall. I live faraway from the US – in Irkutsk, Russia. Anyway, I hope everything will work out and I will manifest my dream. Thank you for everything you do. You are awesome!

  38. Michael Theberge


    I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet several of my heroes. I attended Musician’s Institute inn ’92 and met my childhood idol Paul Gilbert. He was just the coolest guy you could ever meet. I got to meet Billy Sheehan at the same time and he was just as cool. Not only are these guys phenomenal musicians, but they are fantastic story tellers too.

    The online marketing scene is a new venture for me and I have a whole slew of new heroes I would like to meet:

    Tony Robbins
    Frank Kern
    Eben Pagan
    …and you, Jeff Wallker. 🙂

    Frank and Eben both play guitar so I can smell a jam session brewing in the future.

    Thanks for the great info that you provide. I have taken the lessons I have learned from you, Frank, Tony, Eben, and several others that I have not mentioned and am applying them. I spent a great deal of time searching for my niche and developing my website and now I am starting the process of building a list. You guys have opened my eyes to a whole new way to make a living.

  39. Katherine Peter


    Hello Jeff,

    I was totally blown away by your personal “hero’s journey” – thank you so much for sharing your experience… I’m a firm believer that “there are no coincidences” in life.

    I LOVED meeting one of my heros, Mr. Chuck Jones (Looney Tunes, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, etc.) back in the 90’s. He shared some hilarious anecdotes over drinks and was just as gracious as can be. I also met film director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) back when he was an unknown Kiwi who just loved making films – and did so on a shoestring (proof positive that following your dreams can yield big results!)

    I would be so pleased to connect with another hero, mathematician and science fiction author Vernor Vinge (talk about imagination!) and also with Dan Sullivan, with you yourself Jeff and with Anita Moorjani.

    I attended PLF Live in October and I can’t thank you enough for the inspiration and the opportunities that it opened up for me Jeff. It was truly a turning point in my life. Product Launch #1 is in the works!

    Can’t wait to hear about your visit with Paulo…

    Warm wishes from Ontario, Canada,

    Katherine 🙂

  40. Hey Jeff,
    Very cool story..Really makes a person stop and think..heroes..who they are and how they can change a persons changes everyday for many who stand by their heroes, very inspiring.

  41. Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, or the Dalai Lama? cool and all…but they couldn’t ride a moutainbike out of a wet paper sack….howz about Marla Streb? the DIVA of Downhill. you mean to tell me you were in Switzerland and didnt mountainbike?? We should take you on the trek we did ASAP. Chateau D’Ax, Switzerland to France on mountainbikes… Marla just wanted her passport stamped with France…good enough for me what the hell. google the distance we did this before smart phones and gps… ended up being a 13hr day trip (although she said she *thought* it was at most a few hours topps) …on road and off road….we dont need no stinkin maps or smart phones.. no sprekin zee dutch or Française … nada… a couple of bucks in our jersey pockets, two water bottles each and and my AMEX card… with a mission to get to France on bike with no map or directions. and absolutely NO tequila involved…this time. do you know how hard it is to find good (any) tequila in Switzerland…impossible…almost.

  42. …. ponder this and tell me you Marla Streb is not a hero …

    (Marla) What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done on a bike?

    I barely remember this, but I coasted down a sidewalk in Fruita, CO once at about 30mph with my calves on the handlebars (instead of my hands). The resulting crash was sudden, epic, and haunts me every time I look at my butt in the mirror. Personally, I was not scared (Red Bull + tequila), but others mentioned that it was the scariest thing they’ve ever seen. Scary perhaps, but I’ve done dumber. (And if this wasn’t the answer to the previous question…)

    (Marla) What led you to race the DH at Snowshoe, West Virginia in 2002 with no protection?

    Again, I’m not the brightest firefly in the jar…so I probably thought that I could save a tenth of a second by dressing like a speed skater.

    (Marla) Not to sound cliché, but—how do you balance motherhood, work and fun?

    The work part is impossible with young kids, so now I drag my “night person” body out of bed at 4 a.m. for work. When I was seriously training, I just dragged my kids behind me in the Chariot trailer and climbed 3,000ft. up somewhere. For fun? Luckily, I got a lot out of my system in the 42 years before I decided to have kids, especially the last 16 years of racing around the world, surrounded by fit, young men. So at this point, hanging with the kids is my way of having “fun.”

  43. Hey Jeff did you get into Steven’s new book, TURNING PRO? It’s a nice follow up to War of Art. Both have been read too many times to count. Thanks for sharing the rest of the story.

  44. Helena Cullen


    Thanks for your post Jeff. It served as a reminder for me to look for the heroes I meet everyday. Currently my hero is my friend Mike who at 37, and just last month, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease. To see him handle the news that his world as he knew it has just been turned upside down with such bravery and grace has been truly inspiring. He has reminded me what really matters in this life and even better, he has acted as a catalyst for me to step up and play a bigger game. I have set myself the challenge to take a step each day towards finding my life’s purpose and acting on the tips I get, and it seems to be working! As for meeting a long term hero, Nelson Mandela is top of my list. Thank you to all heroes – sung and unsung – wherever you may be!

  45. Meeting Heroes,

    In 94′ I was inspired to read ‘Frogs into Princes’ – it changed my life and set me on a new path. In 2002 I met with Dr. John Grinder as an Asaistant on one of his courses.

    ‘John taught Anthony Robbins and helped set him on the path to where he founded the firewalk.’

    In 2003 I got to have breakfast with John in Sydney to meet Prof. Alan Snyder.

    Meeting John in 2002 was cool but not the Hero moment. Having breakfast was. I remember that moment because this was personal. We then spent a short time working together on a project.

    Not only does it become an inspirational moment to meet your hero, but when they live up to your expectations and more do you realise that who they represent is what they teach.

    A congruent hero is a moment of change.

    I learnt much from that encounter, most of all – be what you teach.


    • @Rob: that is so well put… “Not only does it become an inspirational moment to meet your hero, but when they live up to your expectations and more do you realise that who they represent is what they teach. A congruent hero is a moment of change. I learnt much from that encounter, most of all – be what you teach.”


  46. My life took a dramatic turn by the book I read almost 20 years ago. The book “Your Erroneous Zones” of Wayne Dyer has triggered my search for better my life by tapping into vast reservoir of knowledge available in books – self help, psychology, neuro-science and spiritual texts.

    I am now writing my first book “The First Creation – An Unspoken Strategy Of High Achievers” which is being dedicated to my guru “Wayne Dyer”. I would really appreciate if anyone can give me pointers to meet and have dinner with Wayne Dyer, who literally transformed my life to become the most sought after software engineer, motivational speaker and seminar leader.

  47. Hi Jeff, I hope you are doing fine. I totally loved this post you made because I love visualizations and I actually have my dream board with all my projects for this year and all the people that I want to know….and guess who is one of my heroes in that board? Yup, you are. I set the goal to meet you before December 31st 2013, I wish I could send you the picture of my Vision Board but I don’t know how to attach pictures here. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  48. Rob Ballentine



    Thanks for your kind comment. 🙂

    Wasn’t it Gandhi who said “I am my message”?


  49. Thanks for sharing such a personal moment. Someone said (I can’t remember who) that “books have been my mentors.” And then the mentor comes alive when you meet the author. Very cool. Sign me up for dinner with Eugene Peterson.

  50. Ralph Watkins


    What an outstanding post, Jeff. Thank you!

    Brushes with greatness are a curious thing. I once broke rank in an honor guard to shake hands with Margaret Thatcher and on another occasion, I punched Don Shula in the chest (both of these were pretty “spur of the moment”).

    Dinner? If it were possible, it would be either of my parents or my older brother Steve. All are at home in Glory, and all have made a lasting and profound impact on my life.

    Or course, if you were available, I’d certainly book the date. 🙂 In a 30 second conversation in Scottsdale that you probably don’t remember, you told me that I didn’t have to carry around the burden of massive losses from a past business failure. I took you words to heart and, with the help of Maxwell Maltz’s groundbreaking book Psycho Cybernetics, the fog has lifted (mostly) and I’m having a marvelous time as my wife’s marketing manager helping her launch her nutritional supplement business online.

    Btw, because of this post, I just picked up the three Pressfield books you referenced from I’ve connected with your other recommendations, Autobiography of Mark Twain, etc.

    Thanks for making/keeping it about more than the money.


  51. Great story Jeff, thanks for introducing a couple of names that I haven’t researched, but will.

    As for who are the inspiring people to meet, one personal hero of mine is Will Smith, who starred in movie version “The Legend of Bagger Vance”.

    Not only is his success almost unprecedented, but that has come through a very positive strategy of success & outstanding work ethic, and, he’s a great dude.

    “Will Smith shares his secrets of success” is one of the most watched Youtube videos out there.

    • @William: totally agree about Will Smith – I’ve seen several of his videos, and they are really great. I absolutely love his message and his passion.

  52. Hahaha, I love the way you end this article, Jeff! You made me laugh and I live for having fun. You are one of my heroes and one day I will meet you over dinner. That’s a promise, because I happen to be a very good “manifestor”, too. 😉 MW

Your Email address will not be published.

By submitting this form you agree to our terms and conditions and our Privacy Policy.