For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Nominating a Few Heroes”, I invite you to click here.
In my typical day of driving my life at 1000 miles per hour, I am blessed with the opportunity to share with and learn from many people.
Every person, whether they represent something we like or don’t like, provides us with an opportunity to marvel at the creativity of the human mind and the notion that unlimited potential exists in all of us.
Whether we choose to take action with our potential and whether we choose to leave a positive or negative legacy is up to us!
Given all of this potential, today’s world is complex and there are many people out there crying for help – perhaps one of them is us.
In this same world, there are many people who are answering the call, bringing their wonderful talents, strengths and compassion to bear to help in any way they can. Perhaps one of these people is you also! :-)
I’d like to nominate a few heroes today – people who have stepped up to make a difference in the world. I’d invite you to do the same if you have a moment – to publically thank people and to share with the world why you believe they are people we can learn from and model.
There are many people out there who deserve to be nominated. Obvious examples include people who put their life on the line every day for us in a number of services – the military, firemen, policemen, EMS, Search and Rescue, etc. There are others who serve, including doctors, nurses, politicians, volunteers and other community leaders. I am grateful to them for the freedom and safety that I feel blessed to enjoy because of their effort and passion.
However, today, I’d like to nominate some regular “Joes on the street”, who go about their business of making a difference in the lives of thousands of people without asking for recognition.
Without further ado, my nominees for “Hero of the Day” are as follows.
I met Mark quite recently via Twitter (http://www.twitter.com). He and I began experiencing a mutual resonance with the messages that we shared with the world and that resonance expanded into an opportunity for us to have a conversation about our respective passions.
Mark is a speaker, author, psychotherapist and life coach. His heart is gripped with helping people find a way to creating a more self-empowered life.
Mark’s life is also gripped with the need to help people overcome grief. His blog (http://livinginthemeantimes.typepad.com) has a wonderful tagline - “Encouragement for persistent, positive, purposeful living when times get tough!”.
His passion to help others led him to cofound the Journey of Hope Grief Support Center (http://www.johgriefsupport.org) in Plano, Texas. Their mission statement reads:
The mission of the Journey of Hope Grief Support Center is to provide support at no cost for children, teens, young adults and their families as they learn to mourn the death or impending death of their loved one in a safe, caring and nurturing environment.
After getting to know Mark, I have discovered him to have a heart of gold, dedicated to helping others, especially at those critical times that we all face when we wonder how we will endure a particular event or crisis in our life.
Mark doesn’t just think about ways to help people – he acts from his heart and makes a difference to people. He is instilling a legacy of hope and love for everyone who encounters him.
Many people send thoughts of support to others. Mark is an amazing example of how one can convert thoughts into action, manifesting tangible, measurable means of supporting people when they need help.
He is a model of converting compassionate thought into action that impacts people in a measurable, authentic, reinforcing way.
I have known Terry for about 15 years. I first came to know Terry while vacationing in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador and I attended an outdoor concert that he was presenting to children.
I was immediately struck by several things:
- His teddy bears – he has an amazing collection of them
- His playful and gentle spirit
- His obvious love for everyone he interacts with.
My oldest son practically wore out the cassette that we bought that day, insisting that Terry’s music be his “good night” music.
Over the years, I have had the blessed opportunity and privilege to interact with Terry on a more regular basis. As I got to know him, I was even more astounded at the width and breadth of his talents.
I have discovered that Terry (http://www.terryrielly.ca) is not only a talented children’s entertainer but is also a phenomenally talented composer, playwright and performer of what we adults would refer to as “deep” material in addition to the fun stuff.
I also discovered that his love of people and his passion for people to become more engaged with helping each other runs a lot deeper than I realized. His broad acceptance of everyone and his ability to interact with the youngest child, the most passionate human being or the most intelligent human being is indeed a rare gift.
If you want to know how to live a life built around creating love and respect in this world and finding a way to do it with a vocation that brings light to the world, then I would suggest you look to Terry as a fantastic role model of what a loving, compassionate human being looks like.
Leonard and I met over a chance encounter on the web (although Leonard and I agree that there is no such thing as chance).
He is a psychotherapist, author, licensed clinical social worker, educator and life coach. His website is here http://www.leonardszymczak.com.
I stumbled upon something that Leonard had written and as I often do when I see something I like, I dropped Leonard a note to compliment his work. He and I exchanged pleasantries after which I thought nothing more of the conversation. Many of us have conversations that are pleasant but not long-enduring.
A little while later, Leonard invited me to participate in a weekly editorial process to review and provide feedback on his new book. Leonard would send a chapter a week out to a select group of people and we would meet once a week via telephone to provide constructive feedback to Leonard.
It takes incredible courage and humility to accept comments from groups of people around the world and Leonard accepted all comments with gratitude and humor. This process, which I highly recommend to any author out there, provided me with some insight into who Leonard really is.
Leonard has an incredible life history, having lived in various places in the United States and Australia. He is a man dedicated to helping people throw off the millstone that weighs them down so that they may live the life that he believes every person is capable and deserving of.
His knowledge of overcoming challenge comes from personal experience. His own life story of overcoming orphanhood is powerful and inspiring.
When Leonard provides guidance to you, he is not speaking to you as an academic or a clinician. He is speaking to you from the context of someone who has experienced the same experiences as you. He has been there and when you interact with him, you feel it. He doesn’t just tell you things – an interaction with Leonard is a powerful, transparent, authentic mutual sharing.
He is soft-spoken yet direct. He is gentle yet his words carry power right to your soul. He is quick with laughter. He feels your pain because he has lived it also.
Most of all, he not only cares about every person he interacts with, he authentically loves each person he shares time with.
How many of your friends and acquaintances can you say that of – that when you interact with an individual, you are in fact the most important person in the world to that individual at that moment.
His book, tentatively titled “The Roadmap Home – Your GPS to Inner Peace” will be published soon. If you are seeking insight into a means of living a life that matters and to see insight into the mind of a man who demonstrates this every day, then I recommend you keep an eye out for this book.
I have often teased Leonard that if he lived next door, we would spend every spare minute in a coffee shop. When someone makes you feel that special and loved, you can’t help but want to spend time with them, learning from them.
My collective family, immediate and extended, are incredible heroes to me.
Many people who read my material or hear me speak often tell me how blessed my family is to have me in their life.
I think it is the other way around.
Living with me is not easy. My mind never stops (which often means my mouth doesn’t either) because I am consumed with ways to help people or correct wrongs that I perceive. I can’t sleep at night because my mind is a constant stream of ideas to help others. I once had a doctor offer me valium (which I politely declined) so that I could stop thinking for a bit every day.
My mind is very private and I don’t share or open up easily. I don’t do this with any specific intention behind it – it is just the way I am. It is pretty frustrating for someone who may be trying to help me with something.
My desire to find the good in people means that I sometimes don’t easily allow someone else to express a reservation about someone – which is not fair because this expression is often a necessary part of life.
I often have 100 projects in my mind at once. Imagine having a conversation with someone where that person’s subject du jour changes midstream during a conversation but the shift wasn’t made clear – leading to confusion and a possibly frustrating conversation. Why can’t they hurry up and invent ESP so that people can easily know when my mind has shifted to the next subject? :-)
I am impatient with people who don’t want to step up and manifest what they are capable of. I shouldn’t be but I am. After all, I reason, if people expect this of me, why can’t I expect the same in return. The world doesn’t necessarily agree and my family often experiences my frustration with this.
I don’t worry about things that other people feel are important and I fret over things that other people can ignore.
I don’t care what the world thinks I should be or how I should act. I need to be me – not something that someone else wants me to be. This is a bit of a radical model and if you have been raised differently, may make you a little uncomfortable (or REALLY uncomfortable).
I have embarked upon an exploration of faith that has exhausted many people who have tried to understand it or keep up with it. I have frightened clergy with my passion around faith exploration. :-)
I finally unloaded hundreds of books that filled every nook and cranny of our house – books that I haven’t read in 20+ years. That’s a lot of books to keep moving, stepping over, packing, unpacking, etc.
At the core of my manic, hyperactive execution is my passion for people – my passion for encouraging others to stand up and be the best they can – my passion to encourage others to share love with each other in an unconditional manner. I mused about passionate people here Blog: Check Your Passion and here Blog: A User's Guide to Passionate People.
My passion frightens people. As my new friend Anne W. so perfectly described to me yesterday when she explained to me why this is so:
We're drawn to passion like moths to a flame, but it scares the dickens out of us. The passion of another is too often taken as an implied criticism of self, and indictment for our inaction, our fear, our isolation, our laziness.
Despite my many flaws, my family embraces me and for that I am incredibly grateful. I am not perfect and I am not easy to deal with (yet alone to live with) and despite this, I am loved unconditionally.
I often wonder how I could live with myself – so when I see others who love me unconditionally for who I am, then I am grateful for the heroism I know is required to love me in this way.
I often joke that I would hate to be on the receiving end of my passion and yet they love me anyway. My family are heroes in my mind.
You are my final nomination. Your life is filled with fun and fear. You do your best to make a difference. You feel insecure on some days and confident (or over confident) on others.
You make mistakes – sometimes really big ones. You experience victories big and small.
You help others when you can. Sometimes you need to be helped by others.
Some days you are embarrassed or feel ashamed about something. Other times, you are incredibly proud of something you have accomplished.
You stand up for others when you can. You experience worry or anger when you see people being abused or mistreated.
Some of you are easily influenced while others are more independent.
You are home makers, business persons, employed, self-employed, unemployed, athletic, not athletic, world travelers, stay-at-home people, parents, children, married, single, divorced, widowed and contain varying degrees of externally-expressed and internally-incubated passion.
Above all, you are a human being who wants to love and to be loved. Some of you like to express it openly – others are more private about how you express or receive love.
Either way, you are a hero. You have overcome much and you have unlimited potential within you and before you.
You are in the process of crafting a phenomenal legacy to others. There is no need to compare legacies with others – it is not a talent competition.
What matters is that you leave a legacy – that you overcome that which challenges you and that you serve as a role model to someone else as you make a difference.
Thank you for being a hero.
Now – find someone else and nominate them.
Despite what some people would say, the world is filled with heroes. Let’s bring them out in the open and celebrate what makes them special.
Yours in service and servanthood.
For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Nominating a Few Heroes”, I invite you to click here.