When I think of my life and who my heroes were, the people that come to mind rarely are those with celebrity. Oh, I admit, that Oprah does hold a special place for me as I’m sure she does for many, but hers is not the name that comes to me as hero. I think of Sister Mendonca, my fifth grade teacher, who had the kindest and most loving heart. Who managed to help a gawky young girl feel a little less self-conscious and even a bit of pride about her good grades. She was a bright light in my life at the time and I wanted to be like her. She made some tough times a bit easier to bear and I regret never being able to tell her how much her love and support meant to me. I can only hope that she knew.
Now in middle age, I look back and think of my father as another hero. This choice comes as a bit of a surprise at first, but it is a good choice nonetheless. My father taught me a great deal through example about having a work ethic, about being a man of his word and about generosity and integrity. He was a tough man, a simple man but he modeled some of the most important principles in life for which I am very grateful. The person I am today, the best parts of me, are all as a result of having him as my father.
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I sometimes sit across from my clients and look into the eyes that look back at me with so much respect. I wonder, am I a hero for them? If there is the remote possibility of that ever being true, I hope I can be for my clients what my heroes have been for me. They were not famous but yet in very humble and unassuming ways gave me so much.
I am glad that I went to this game last night. One never knows the lessons that await in the most unexpected places. For me, it was a way to remember that greatness comes in all forms. I encourage you to look at your life and seek out your heroes. They may be sitting right across from you at work, the mother who is working full time and supporting her children on her own, or it may be the crossing guard who tenderly watches over your children each day. Heroes are not only those we see on our TV screens. They often go unnoticed, flying under the radar with little or no awareness of their own magnificence, but they are heroes nonetheless.
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Let them know what they mean to you and how they have impacted your life. Emulate your heroes, taking their simple but profound examples into who you are as a person with the knowledge that you will be somehow better for it. And then, think about how you can be a hero for someone else and do it. Make the effort to touch someone’s life. You may never have the satisfaction of knowing the outcome, but I assure you that simply by setting your intention, you will change a life in unexpected ways. Unleash the hero within you. I assure you it’s there, ready and waiting to get into the heat of the game.