One of my family heroes died in January. A true hero of character and someone who honestly lived his values. Because I process by talking or writing, this got me thinking about the word “hero.” Sometimes, it’s a real positive, as it was with him. It can also have a negative connotation, such as if you’ve ever heard or said this: “He is being such a hero, doing it all on his own.” Or you might hear: “Don’t be such a hero.”
In my client work, occasionally, I will say something like: “Is this is a time to let go of being a hero?” “How could reaching out to that great network you have help you here, do you think? ” Or I’ll ask “What support or resources did you call on to get that done, so you got away from being the heroic one this time?” “And how did that feel?”
I want to talk to you here about both types of heroes, and why it matters. As you read, think about your work and about your home life.
- Ask where you might be intentionally trying to be a hero.
- Ask someone who perceives you as a hero, even though you’re not trying to be one.
- What makes them say each of these comments?
Do You TRY to be a Hero at Work/at Home?
When you consciously set out to be a hero to everyone, do you know what you’re really doing? You’re asking other people to approve your actions. And to validate you, the person you are. Self confidence and self esteem are exclusively built and grown from your feelings about yourself; what other people say is fleeting and you won’t feel it. It won’t last long.
When others call you a hero, as in “Don’t be such a hero,” or “He’s such a hero all the time,” or referencing the comments and questions I make, then that’s about not working solo. It’s about others seeing you’re drowning as you try to do it all yourself, wanting to help, or seeing you are overloaded as you try to be the hero. Things slip through the cracks. You forget to do things. You do them half way and don’t complete all that’s on your plate. And that all creates chaos for those around you who need to deal with the inconsistencies, or follow up with you to finish. And I’d wager it is not how you want to be seen by others. It is not being the kind of hero you thought you were being.
Self confidence and self-esteem can be built up through practical strategies, according to psychologist Dr. Ari Tuckman. When you start work on new habits and routines to manage your day more productively, you are already being courageous and taking a stand for yourself, your work or your family life.
And then, when you start to see that your new ways of managing your schedule and responsibilities is a system that really is working this time, you feel better about yourself. Why is that? You realize you can make change. You can keep commitments to yourself. And that feeds into the confidence and esteem. YOU are the one doing the work and you are starting to believe it’s true. That’s a far different feeling and belief from someone else complimenting you.
It is all in your intentions. So ask yourself: is it about you and what you want [your ego] or the goal and the purpose?
Reaching out IS Being a Hero
Instead of being THAT kind of non-hero hero, the solution is to reach out. I’m not going to say “Ask for help,” because many people think this means “I have failed and can’t do it alone.”
Try this mindset instead.
Delegation is a muscle that needs an attentive workout. The first few times you try delegating may not be as perfect as you envisioned because this does take practice. You didn’t learn to drive, or program, or market in one try. You practiced and got better as you did.
Delegating and outsourcing allow you to do what you know are so incredibly good at. And the work you delegate or outsource? It allows another person to do what he or she is really awesome at, so you both contribute. How good is that?
Or try this mindset instead.
Are you truly the expert, the best you are aware of, at every single aspect of the role you play, whether it’s running the household, running your business, managing your family, or managing your team?
You’re not. No one person can keep up with the skills and expertise, nor the psychology and people related skills for all the pieces of your job or business or household.
Let it go. This is the source of many people’s stress, as you try to keep up. Always running. Never quite arriving.
People enjoy being included. They enjoy being asked their opinions. Have the patience to teach them and wait for them to catch up to where they can contribute.
Be the teacher and spread that good knowledge and skills you’ve acquired to others. Let yourself begin to think up other goals and skills you’d like to move onto. If you don’t know what they are, ask people you work with or try an experiment and see what happens. Reach out.
When You Didn’t KNOW You Were A Hero
When you are called a hero by others, even though you weren’t trying to be one, AND they say this with admiration, then this is about character. Like so many other things in life, it’s not about how it looks from the outside. The inside is what is important. It may look sometimes like it’s the actions. Underneath that is courage, strength and other traits it took to take the actions you witness. It’s an inside job again.
Back to my father-in-law, since we are talking about heroes. We call him this not to put him on a pedestal. He is a hero because of the lessons we learned from him about courage, faith, learning from others, curiosity, resilience and strength. This is the way he lived his life. He didn’t talk about it or particularly intend to show off any of these traits. He lived them, humbly.
This is the way he walked the path towards his death. This is what he leaves with us, so that when we are crying and devastated by the loss of his physical presence from our lives, we will try each time to remember our hero’s traits. We will realize that the more we loved, the more it hurts to let go. At the same time, we will each try our best to live up to our hero’s way of being with family, creating strong ties, being open, curious and generous with friends and strangers, fighting and rebounding so many times with a strong, positive attitude towards his medical challenges, and most of all, how he stood up for himself and his family.
Heroes live on because of what they teach us about how to create meaning in our lives.
Heroes live on when we strive to incorporate or build upon the traits they showed us.
It’s about who you are, not what you do. Teach and mentor the “who,” whether you’re a team leader or manager at work, building a team of any kind, or managing your family life.
Teach the traits. The rest will take care of itself.
If you need some one-on-one work on where you’d rather stop being a hero, please call, text, or message me. One month and three month coaching packages available.
603.554.1948 – land line.
603.765.9267 – cell/text.