The biggest realization that came out of 9/11 for me was that nobody was coming to save me (us). I mean this in a gazillion ways. My company’s HR department couldn’t care less about my career development. No one at all would ultimately be responsible for my happiness, but myself. All of this came crashing into reality for me because of 9/11. And since then, I forget the lesson quite often. But just lately, I’ve had reason to think about it again, for my own purposes, and based on two recent conversations.
You Are Your Own Superhero
We’ve already agreed that you know what to do. We realize that part of what we have to do involves getting stronger with our choices. We know that letting the emotions and thoughts of others affect how we see ourselves is a problem and that we have to get untangled. We’ve thought about how important discipline is to our world. We know that we have to say no faster. So what’s left?
You are your own superhero. No one has to save you. You don’t have to say “if only.” You just have to do the work. Do you need to make more money? Then start working on that. Do you need to lose weight or get healthy? Today’s the day.
Superheroes are part of a very powerful mythology that says this: you’re not strong enough, so some outside force will have to come and help you.
That is, unless YOU are the superhero. Right? Mmmmmm. Isn’t that neato?
Pick Out Your Cape and Tights!
What kind of superhero do you need in your own life right now? You probably need the kind of superhero that knows how to do things right. Competence matters. Learn how to be a better builder. You need a brave hero who can face the waves. You need to be the kind of hero that knows that there really are no enemies. And frankly, you need a practical hero who can help you find time.
But that’s all inside you. You know what to do. Yes, sometimes part of “what to do” involves reaching out. Community is a very powerful resource and going it alone can stink. But you have to approach this like a superhero. Let’s talk about that.
The Superhero Approach
First off, realize that superheroes mess up all the time. Superman used to drop airplane parts all over the place while trying to safely land people. Batman has all kinds of angst that he hasn’t quite dealt with in therapy. Green Lantern? His weakness is the color yellow. Anyone with a Livestrong armband can beat him. Aquaman? The dude’s only power is that he can talk to fish. Fish, I’m guessing, aren’t that interesting.
However, superheroes do their very best. They realize that they are the only ones who are going to answer the call. YOU are the only one who will answer the call to save yourself. They pick themselves up after every failure. They rethink things as fast as they can. They seek the next best approach if Plan A fails (and it always does).
Superheroes don’t stand around to take praise. Praise is just as poisonous as criticism. Forget that. Just do the job and get back to your secret identity.
Superheroes don’t worry too much about belonging. They’re too busy working on what needs doing. There are some exceptions:
Aquaman never fits in with the other superheroes very well.
You don’t have to wait for someone to save you. You’re the hero. Do it. Pick up the challenge and bring yourself to what has to happen next.
Just a Hair More About Superheroes
Ani Difranco has a song that resonates with this:
Can’t see the video? Click Here
And then beyond that? It’s yours to tackle. You’re the superhero, after all.