Something happened recently that caused me to reflect on what some of my heroes had in common.I don’t mind admitting that I am a man who has heroes, lots of them. Maybe it is because I grew up without an obvious male role model throughout my most formative years. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I simply do have a number of heroes. Some are famous, most are not. In fact the number of non famous significantly outnumbers the famous.
One of the questions I ask new clients is “who are your role models” and “why?”. There is a subsidiary question which is “who are your business role models” and “why?”.The question helps me understand what is going on for the client. It also helps the client to clarify what is going on for him/herself. Who we admire can tell us a lot about our values; what we consider to be important and desirable.
Having a role model does not mean that we like or admire everything about that person, but it can give us valuable insight into what traits and behaviours we find align with our concept of what good looks like. My heroes include the rugby players Willie John McBride who captained the British Lions on their notorious tour to South Africa in 1974 and Martin Johnson who captained England to World Cup glory in 2003.
For me it is interesting to ponder what I admire about them. They were both highly successful leaders of men in an aggressive combative and skilful environment, who were calm and dignified under intense pressure. Another hero is Joey Dunlop, another quiet, immensely talented but supremely modest individual who has won the Isle of Man TT more than anyone else in History.
Don’t misunderstand me I am not always obsessively thinking about what they might do in any given situation but having role models does help me to calibrate my own behaviour with a known standard.Many of my heroes are people that you probably have never heard of. I meet them almost every day. The young autistic man I met at Christmas who delivered a simply wonderful speech at a charity ball and followed that up by singing to a room of 200 people while he played the piano; he is a hero to me.
The people I know who are bravely facing illnesses, they are my heroes. The people I work with who are doing everything that they can to be the best that they can be, they are my heroes. I think it is good to have heroes and to have role models. In a way they demonstrate humanity at its brilliant best. Who are yours, and why?
A great ambition for this New Year that we find ourselves in would be to consistently behave in a way that would allow us to be the hero or role model for somebody else.