Tonight I'm going to dinner with someone who has made a big impact on my life. One of my heros, if you will. It took me two flights and most of a day to travel to California for this meeting.
We've never met before – and since I'm an introvert, I'll naturally be a little nervous. But I'm really excited… in fact I couldn't really sleep last night.
The thing is, I don't think anyone ever gets sick of hearing about the impact they've made on someone else's life (at least I never get sick of hearing that!)
And that's why I flew half-way across the country – to tell my hero about the impact he made on my life. To say thanks… thanks for showing up in your life, thanks for doing the work, thanks for putting yourself out there, thanks for playing big, thanks for staying inspired, thanks for playing hurt, thanks for fighting your doubts and fears, thanks for battling resistance in your life every day.
We live in a world where the word “hero” almost sounds quaint. It seems like it comes from a different time. And everywhere we look, we see “fallen” heroes. Every time we open a newspaper or turn on the TV, there's another scandal about another “hero” who has fallen from grace…
But I don't think the idea of heroes is old-fashioned. And as far as those “falIen heroes”, well that's another discussion… but I think we need to forget about the idea of “perfect” heroes. I don't think you'll ever find one of those perfect heroes… but I still see heroes everywhere I look. I seem to be surrounded by them.
I don't care if they're starting a business, writing a screenplay, raising a child as a stay-at-home parent, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, creating a meditation practice, or taking care of an aging parent… I see people doing heroic stuff all the time.
So how do you become a true hero? Well, I've got a recipe for you. There are two things you have to do. One of them alone isn't enough – you have to do both of them. The good news is that they're both very simple to do. And, unfortunately, the bad news is that they're also very difficult.
First, you have to do the work. There ain't no way around this… you have to show up and do the work. Whatever “your” work is… however, you're going to make your impact… you gotta do the work. And then you have to keep doing it. You keep showing up day after day, and year after year… and you keep getting better. That means you have to turn off the TV, close down Facebook, forget your email, stop checking ESPN.com, shut down YouTube… and you have to do the work.
It's never easy, and there are no short cuts. If you see someone who makes it look easy, it's because they were doing a lot of hard work before you were watching them.
And then the second thing you have to do is even harder… you have to keep growing. You have to keep stepping up into a bigger vision of yourself. You have to keep stepping into a bigger future. You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. This is the deal – all of us are full of doubts and fears… we all have a little voice in the back of our head that wants us to retreat into our “safe zone”. That is the voice that holds us back. That is the voice that stops us from being great.
Make no mistake, that voice will be there with you… everyone's got that voice. And it's up to you to decide whether you will let it rob you of your power. Whether it will rob you of your greatness. You need to ignore that voice. All growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone.You can't have your biggest life if you stay in that comfort zone. You can't be a hero if you stay in that comfort zone.
And that's your recipe for your Hero's Journey. You need to show up. You need to do the work. And you need to keep playing a bigger game. And you need to keep doing it. If you do that day after day, year after year… then I'll tell you how to find a hero…
Go look in the mirror and you'll see a hero looking back at you.