The Willie Nelson song “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” was certainly true for the first 22 years of my life; it must have come from all those Louis L’Amour books. I had read everything he had written twice by that age.
What captivated my attention and imagination were the characters and the landscape. The plot was always about the same … the cowboy takes the high road and saves the day.
The characters were always loners with a past riddled with scars, emotional and physical. They had all seen some of the worst that life could dish out, and they had survived.
More importantly, their values and character had survived. L’Amour’s heroes were never bitter, cynical or evil. They were always authentic and stayed true to their core, no matter what the enticement to the dark side.
In my twenties, I met a different kind of Hero, one I never knew existed. This hero was much more complex and the storyline so vastly different from my favorite westerns.
This was a Spiritual Warrior and, yes, a Financial Warrior. These were people who came into my life, passing on to me a gift that had once been bestowed upon them.
They were part of that movement … the vision that you and I can become anyone or anything, do anything, and have anything we are “willing to deserve.”
This was a heady thing for me to hear. Up to that point in my life, I considered that what I would get in life was what life dished out somewhat randomly.
Although I had heard him speak at some local events, it was not until the Ramada Inn in Bakersfield, California, on August 3 and 4, 1977, that I truly saw this man’s vision and courage.
With his passion, he put the idea into my heart that I could intentionally become anyone I could imagine, and he promised to teach me how to do it. The idea was the epitome of inspiring. My mind, body and mojo rallied in unison toward this idea.
At the time, I was earning about $1,000 a month working 60 hours a week in a chicken factory. No college education, no clear values, no vision other than to keep from getting fired, no code, and no philosophies by which to live my life. I was 22.
So what does it mean to be Courageous? Simple, I think: to see danger, real or imagined, and have a personal cause with a greater value to you than the risk of harm.
So what do these Spiritual and Financial Warriors have to fear?
- Other people?
- The economy?
- Outer Space?
The Heroes I am talking about here are those who take on their own demons …those voices in their heads that paint a compelling picture of the perils of breaking out of the past.
In the animal kingdom, it’s just the caterpillar that turns into the butterfly. The transformation is inspiring but happens naturally and apparently without undue drama.
But in humans, there is a third player. Let’s call it our lizard brain … the part of us that fights to the death for things not to change, for us to be right, for us to be seen as the hero regardless of the shortcuts.
This is the part of our transformation that creates the scary storylines and presents them as facts, even though they are only phrased as rhetorical questions like, “What if I fail?”
Only about 3% of the human population in developed countries ever gets inspired enough and coached well enough to take on the lizard brain and seek extraordinary accomplishment … a break from their past storylines.
The percent that do so and keep their authenticity, their ethics, and their philosophies intact while doing so is more like 1 in 10,000.
And these are the givers, the coaches, and the leaders.
They’re the ones who overcome the voices in their heads, pursue their dreams and keep their integrity intact.
My vision for the leaders featured in all editions of “The Four Year Career®” is to choose people who exemplify this Hero Vision.
These are people you can count on to inspire your inner fire, and count on to coach you to take and stay on the high road.
I believe in you,
P.S. Comment below: Tell me what you thought as you read this blog? What questions do you have for me?
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