Every Hero Has An Origin Story

by May 28, 2024Energy, Love, Work

I want to ask you a question. Who’s your hero? Or, who are some of your heroes?

My Dad is my hero. My wife, Stephanie, is also a hero to me. Jesus, my mom, a former pastor named Buddy Hoffman, Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, and Steve Jobs are other people I see as heroes.

Here’s another question for you. Whose hero are you? Asked another way, who makes you want to be heroic?

I want to be a hero to my wife and my boys. I also want to show up heroically for my neighbors, my community, and the world.

My Story’s Origin

I said my Dad is my hero and that I want to be a hero for my wife and boys. My dad always loved big and loved unconditionally. He was truly a radiant exemplar of how a father should love his family. But just when I was about to experience the joys and challenges of fatherhood, I lost him. My dad died from kidney cancer at the age of 60 just a few months before my oldest son was born. It was devastating. I felt lost and alone – for quite a few years – because my hero, the one I looked to the most for wisdom, affirmation, and unconditional love was no longer around. I floundered. I was becoming someone I would one day not recognize as myself. Where I had once been an easy-going, confident, extroverted young man, I became anxious, full of doubt, and increasingly introverted.

As life went on, there was a serious disconnect between what I said mattered to me (my values) and my actions. I always said I wanted to be the best husband and father I could be, and that my family was the most important thing to me. But I wasn’t making them a priority. They were often getting my leftovers after “working” long hours and being too tired to be fully present with them. Disconnect. When I was younger, I was athletic and stayed active but that had become something that was no longer a priority to me as the demands of marriage, fatherhood, career, etc. began to consume me. However, I wasn’t even meeting those demands very well. Disconnect. Seeing my dad die early made me talk about being healthier but I wasn’t taking action to make that a reality. I was overweight and pre-diabetic. Disconnect. I loved reading books as a boy and younger man, and I was still collecting books, but they were gathering dust on my bookshelves, or bedside table, just waiting to impart the wisdom they contained. I said I was an avid reader and “philosopher” but never made time to read. Disconnect.

The Hero Finds a Guide

Recognizing this disconnect took a few years. Gaining the wisdom and tools I needed to bounce back would eventually come but like most heroes, I needed a guide. Enter Brian Johnson, founder and CEO of Heroic Public Benefit Corporation. Brian is a modern-day philosopher (“More wisdom in less time” he likes to say.) with a gift for taking ancient wisdom and modern science from a wide variety of sources and putting it into a framework to help one go from theory (knowing something) to practice (doing something) to mastery (doing something with habitual consistency so that it’s part of your identity). And he has a vision to help 51% of the world’s population to be flourishing by the year 2051. Moonshot goal? Absolutely. But, as Robert Browning said, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

After being inspired by an email from Brian in late 2020 about the etymology and original meaning of the word H?r?, which means protector, or someone with strength for two, and his vision to use technology for good to help train, empower, and connect people to help them flourish, I decided to go looking for that easy-going, confident, extroverted man I used to be. I ultimately decided to join Heroic Coach, a scientifically validated 300-day training and certification program to help people become the best version of themselves. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This was my first step on this new journey.

The program teaches a lot of wisdom, but the real power is in the practice. Unlike many coaching programs, Heroic requires that you demonstrate putting the theory into practice to receive the certification. Wait! Hold on! You mean I can’t just archive all this great knowledge I’m gaining and then pull it out as a party trick to impress my friends and family? I have to actually do these things? Well, that might be more than I bargained for. As most heroes do, at some point, I questioned whether I had it in me to do the things that I knew would help me, especially when they were hard, or challenging. But, I knew that I was experiencing progress and I was “getting it” when several things happened. I was spending more time being present with my wife and kids while also getting more done and increasing my overall revenue. I developed a consistent habit of exercise, lost 35 pounds, and got healthier. And I read about 22 books in a little over 18 months.

Shut Down Complete

This is a practice I learned and began to implement. I work from home as a freelance website developer and for years I would “work” late. Sure, I might take time for family dinner, but after I finished mealtime I would go back to my desk to try and get more done. I say try because I never was very productive during the later, after-dinner hours. It was more about the appearance of working hard to build a business and bring in more revenue. But I was really just spinning my wheels, not focused, and not accomplishing anything that moved me closer to my goals. Shut Down Complete means setting a clearly defined time to stop working for the day and then, when the time comes, stop. The purpose is to shift from work to love and focus on being present with the family. Doing this consistently led to more time talking with my wife and kids, reading to my kids, playing games, watching fun shows…making memories. Interestingly enough, it also led to higher revenue and greater profitability for me and my business.

Rebound Days

In Heroic, we talk about consistency being a superpower. I began to learn that consistency isn’t the same as perfection. Perfectionism would often derail me but using the idea of Rebound Days helped me get back on track. Remembering that growth is full of ups and downs and zig zags and giving myself grace when days don’t go as planned helped me bounce back quicker than in the past. Seeing the rebound day as an opportunity to recommit to my protocol so that I don’t miss two days in a row became a powerful tool for me specifically in my energy. Exercise had been hit or miss, mostly miss, for me for many years. Missing one day would lead to two and then to a week and then, since I couldn’t be perfect, I would just stop. But I knew I was turning a corner when, after missing a couple of days of running because of freezing temperatures, I decided to go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and spend two hundred dollars plus on Under Armour Cold Gear so that I couldn’t use “It’s too cold,” as an excuse for not getting out for a run. I recognized that I needed to work on being more prepared for various weather conditions. I rebounded after a couple of misses and got in the habit of not letting one bad day lead to more. This also led to another real benefit for me. At my most recent annual physical, my blood work was all in range and my doctor said I was in the best shape I’d been since he’d been seeing me and to keep doing what I was doing.

Targeted Thinking

Targeted Thinking is another principle, or tool, that I put into practice. I knew I had all these books I wanted to read. I set a target. I asked myself what I needed to do. I decided I needed to commit to a daily habit of reading a minimum of 10 pages per day. Then, I took action and started reading 10 pages per day. I missed some days but would rebound so that I didn’t miss more than two. Some days I read more than the minimum of 10 pages. Before long, I had completed my first book. The second one followed and then the third, the fourth, etc. Within about 18 months, I had completed 22 books. I was an avid reader once again. Plus, a couple of those books were ones read to my youngest son. Quality time together and reading. Win, win.

The Call to Adventure

The lessons I’ve learned and the principles I’ve practiced because of Heroic have changed my life for the better. I want to help others experience positive change and become the best, most heroic versions of themselves. That’s why I’m sharing and that’s why I’m here.

Every Hero has an origin story. I’ve shared a bit of mine with you. What will yours be? It’s never too late. Let’s start writing it today.

As Brian says, “Today’s the day, hero. Day one. All in. Let’s go!!”

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