On being a hero

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I have a bit of a rant. If you’re not into rants, feel free to skip this post entirely.


To quote The Princess Bride, I do not think that word means what you think it means. It’s the trendy term in marketing today, along with its cousin, superhero, but it’s being used wrongly.

  • Being good at your marketing job does not make you a hero (or a superhero).
  • Hitting or exceeding your marketing performance numbers does not make you a hero.
  • Being popular in social media does not make you a hero.

What makes you a hero is when you display the will for self-sacrifice in the face of adversity.

  • When a firefighter rushes into a building to save a life, he or she is putting someone else’s life and safety ahead of their own. That is heroism.
  • When you are poor but still save up enough to donate to a worthy cause, you are putting your own well-being secondary to someone else’s. That is heroism.
  • When you stand up for someone else’s rights and lend your voice in cause of something unpopular, you are risking your reputation for theirs. That is heroism.

We have, as I’ve written in the past, more powers and capabilities than ever before as human beings. We are comic book legends today in terms of abilities. We can see distant places (YouTube), know the thoughts of people around us (social networks), change lives with small resources (micro-lending), change and persuade minds (marketing). We have the means. We have the opportunity. Do we have the motivation, the will to put the world before us?

Being a hero isn’t about a shiny badge for your blog or calling yourself (or anyone else) that in your marketing slide deck. It’s about having the means, motivation, and opportunity to use all of your abilities to make the world a better place than it is now, at your own expense. That’s why I call this blog Awaken Your Superhero. Awakening your superhero is about understanding and improving what you’re capable of so that when you choose to make that self-sacrifice, the impact you make is bigger. You can be ever more effective when you seek to make a difference, when you choose to put others before you, when you are ready to embody what heroism is truly about.

Are you legitimately a hero? Ask yourself that difficult, soul-searching question before you or anyone you work with puts that in your next marketing piece.

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One response to “On being a hero”

  1. And the truth is, most heroes won’t call themselves that. They are “just doing their job” or “just doing what was right.”

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