By Jamie Kirk
People that tend to take on the crosses of others, not just for themselves are really special. These types of folks are the real heroes and she-roes. They take action without being told to do so. They typically don’t wait to be told what to do; they just do it. These types of people are proactive and sometimes even seek out how they can bring about change and positively impact the lives of others.
We tend to associate the work of a hero with names like Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks or Oskar Schindler. But we have heroes all around us. We interact with heroes every day. We eat with them, we shower with them, we privately discuss things with them, etc. – because each one of us is a hero in our own right.
Mind you; we will likely not get the name recognition. We will likely not get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame or have our image plastered on Mt. Rushmore. But we can make big differences in small ways. The way that we make a difference only matters in our heart. We have to believe that had we not put in the efforts, we will never get the chance to realize and appreciate the magnitude of them.
When I think of a hero, be it in the community or otherwise, my mind shifts to the fact that a hero sometimes has to place themselves in harm’s way. Heroes tend to “act first” and then sort out the impact. Heroes seek out the “what” to do, then figure out the “how.” So, when we are placing ourselves in a position to make a difference we have to do it without any motives, taking action from a selfless place and accepting that we may not even get told Thank You. But we have the right intention. For ourselves, our communities, our family, and our friends.
Being a hero means believing in something higher than yourself. Sacrificing, Listening, being crucified, being shamed in public and taking an unpopular stance are all attributes of a hero. It should feel good when you take on something bigger than yourself for the greater good. It should warm your heart to know that you are making a difference in the lives of others. Accepting that we each are a hero means that we are committed to changing the world through our own example without expecting a kind word or any word, for that matter. A hero offers up more than they thought they had to give. A hero acts on instinct and just respond from their heart of what needs to be done.
Every one of us has the potential to be great. Every one of us can love our neighbor regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status. Our ability to be a hero is when we seize those moments, overlook the differences and just do the right thing. We have to throw caution to the wind, focus on the good we can share, exploiting behaviors that are toxic, bigoted or just plain mean. A hero does not mind being the “bad guy/girl”; they are operating from a place of unparalleled goodness.
Lastly, heroes are most effective in a network. So, when you observe someone doing good work, join them in their pursuit of greatness. People need to believe; I didn’t say expect, that a village is in their corner. Take the focus off of you and help someone else carry the burden. Heroes need to feel that they are not alone.