It helps to have heroes!
I realize that not everyone has heroes. I count my lucky stars that I do. All my adult life, I’ve sought to identify people to inspire me, to challenge me, and to encourage me to do what I’ve not ever done but dream of doing.
One of those heroes was a man by the name of Buckminster Fuller. Bucky was called the ‘grandfather of the future’ by Time Magazine in 1964, when they placed his face on the cover of the magazine, and replaced his forehead with the geodesic dome that he invented.
What I love about Bucky is the story of his making a commitment to the future, of turning his every activity in life to a single purpose, what he called the ‘success of humanity.’ I was so inspired by his book Critical Path, which I read in 1992, that I reinvented my business and all my relationships in order to fulfill a commitment I made to myself while reading. The idea: Spend the rest of my life with the same objective in all my work. The success of humanity.
Bucky wasn’t the first person I admired so greatly. I had the good fortune, a few years before that, of being chosen by the Tom Peters Group to deliver Tom’s revolutionary training program, In Search of Excellence, to businesses around the world. I was delighted to be a part of this work, this project to change the way business is done. I believe that all of us who conducted Tom’s trainings shared this idea that we could transform the way organizations function, and in so doing, make a dramatic difference in the quality of life of the people in those organizations.
Tom fired me up. He inspired me to want to learn, to want to improve, to want to make a difference. And how? He showed me the connection between what I do with my life, and how I feel at the end of my life. He said one of his nightmares, before he changed his own life, was finding himself in a graveyard, and seeing the epitaph on his tombstone, that “He Made Budget.”
Both my reading of Bucky’s work and my work with Tom got me thinking about legacies, and the role they play as motivators for dramatic changes in our lives. Ever since, I’ve watched and listened, and I’ve learned that legacy isn’t about how old you are. It’s about your sense of place and timing, regardless of your age. I’ve come to the conclusion that all around us are good people wanting to be invited, activated and engaged in a greater good. I’m now certain that most people, both young and old, men and women, want to participate and contribute and be part of something greater than themselves. If you’re one of them, it helps to have heroes!
One more hero I can mention here isn’t even a real person. He’s the fictional SUPERMAN, a strange visitor from another planet. I like this guy so much I devote every Thursday to thinking how I can be more like him. No, I don’t have superspeed, superhearing, xray vision or the ability to fly (yet!) but I love the way Superman finds just enough strength in himself to face every challenge, and not a drop more.
So do you have heroes? I’d love to hear who inspires you! Please leave a comment below!