Heroes are not just superpowers in comics, television or magazine covers. They are not always mystical, mysterious beings either. They are real people that live among us in our everyday lives.
Some are born and some are made but Heroes have one extraordinary thing in common. They go the “extra” mile to make the world a better place.
They step up when others step away and raise the bar quietly. They add value by focusing on solving the problem or challenge. Their good deeds often change lives and save lives.
Though we may not see them on the cover of the New York Times or the nightly cable news, their presence is often bigger and brighter even if often behind the scenes. They show up with fearlessness and authenticity frequently without a second thought.
Heroes do the “right” thing when put to the challenge and then go quietly into the night. The Everyday Hero doesn’t show up because there is a chance of five minutes fame. They show up because it is as natural to them as breathing.
Heroes have three powerful traits in common:
1. HEROES UNLEASH THEIR EMPATHY
They know how to tap into their understanding of others. They “get it” and don’t need a million reasons why or a detailed explanation. This is different from compassion or sympathy. If help is needed, they are there. End of story.
2. HEROES ARE RESILIENT
They are strong in mind, body and soul. A hero is the individual that stands up for what is right even when pressure mounts or difficulties abound. It’s the individual who takes a stand and doesn’t waiver. He or she sees the bigger picture and leaves others in a better place.
Shawn was a college friend of my daughter’s that was tragically diagnosed with a terminal illness last year. It is no surprise that before his early death, he spent many days of his life being a caring friend and volunteering his time to leave the world a better place. That was who he always was, a fine young man. That is the definition of a Hero.
3. HEROES LIVE MINDFULLY
Heroes often live in the moment. They create their purpose. They lead by example. Heroes understand the vital importance of giving back, lending a hand, sharing knowledge and understanding. They have a vision of a better world and work on creating it.
Everyday Heroes are not just found in the community or neighborhood streets. They can be in the workplace, our places of worship and our schools. They are not only the brave first responders and military but educators, counselors, students, mentors, administrators, staff and co-workers in our every day lives. They are the individuals that take that extra moment to acknowledge and listen to those they encounter. Heroes naturally have “unconditional positive regard” for others that the late therapist Carl Jung often spoke of.
“The Everyday Hero Leader knows the importance of being an empathic listener. By actively processing what they hear, conversations with others are not impersonal and perfunctory, they are genuine and individualized.”
Michael J. Smith, President, Berkeley College
Each of us often underestimate the power we are capable of.
Take entrepreneur and marketing expert Brian Sledge. He founded a creative marketing company and offers college students free advice to help them attain their goals. His focus of success includes giving back and passing it forward, going that extra mile to help others succeed.
Being an Everyday Hero can make all the difference in the world.
Being an everyday Hero not only helps others, but let’s be clear. It is also helps us make sense of a sometimes crazy, unsettling world. It gives us a foundation, purpose and meaning that is far beyond the accomplishment of a paycheck, a name recognition or an award that collects dust on a bookshelf.
Heroism is within the reach of EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. It is what makes a human and best of all, it is contagious. Start becoming an everyday Hero and you will soon find others hopping on your destination.
Why not take a moment each day and look at the world around you but this time from a different lens. Put down the phone, turn off the technology and look and listen. Create a lens that reflects your purpose and proves no matter how much “noise” is going on around you regarding trivial matters, unnecessary drama and destruction, you look beyond the distractions.
Walk towards your dreams by helping a few along the way. One act of everyday Heroism can have a global impact. It could be as simple as taking a moment out to help an elder cross the street or holding a door open for the person behind you. Maybe it’s sharing a quote, a suggestion, a moment of presence to another. Your act of kindness can create the domino effect that Thaddeus Bullard shares in his Ted Talk. Everyday Heroes include simple acts of kindness as they go about their day. Heroes gain respect because they show respect. We often reap what we sow.
If you have been searching for more purpose and meaning to your life, you may not have to look far. Unleash your Everyday Hero and you will become that extraordinary someone who changed the world, if only for a day.
Laney Zukerman is a best-selling author, coach, contributing editor and college educator.
Her books, Lessons for an Urban Goddess and The Urban Goddess Lesson are available on amazon.com