Cafe Witness

Monday, March 12, 2007

Be the Hero

As I mentioned previously, there seems to be a worldwide subconscious need for "heroes" these days. Times are tough, positivity is waning and people in power seem ignorant to our needs. Everyone is looking for someone to believe in.

Why not be your own hero?

Reality Check

Every so often, when I seem overwhelmed, landlocked or depressed, I'll ask myself, "What would the ideal me do in this situation?"

It's the agnostic's equivalent of "What Would Jesus Do?" It also addresses the same issue: if I were perfect, what would I do in this situation?

Well, I'm not perfect. But I CAN improve. And, realistically, I CAN be a much better person than the one I am now.

So what would the version of me that I can look up to, the version that I would want to be around, the version I (were I seeing myself through the eyes of others) would want for a boyfriend, a son, a dad, a friend... what would THAT version of me do?

Find Your Superpower

Yes, it's geeky, but the analogy applies: all of us have a skill or two that sets us apart from everyone else we know.

Think about your own friends. Ask around. Who are the "experts" at certain things? Or, more accurately, when you think of a person, what do you immediately think of in conjunction WITH that person?

For example, in my mind, Chris Brogan is synonymous with "connectivity." Chris is a community developer, he's a bridge builder, he's a people person. That's his superpower.

Likewise, Christopher Penn is the MacGyver of finance; he could probably find a way to monetize your bathroom if you gave him ten minutes and a paperclip. That's his "mutant ability."

And iJustine is the closest thing I've seen to the apex of the perfect geek storm: equal parts attractive, self-deprecating, nerd and dork. As such, life just falls into her lap. She doesn't control it; things just happen to her. She's a web magnet -- that's her "special ability."

Me? I'm not sure I know what my ability is, but I have a few guesses. (Quite often, these elements are best observed by others who don't see the "alter ego" of the individual every day, and aren't distracted by both the pros AND the cons...)

Take Action

Of course, knowing what your superpower is doesn't help if you don't use it. And, since no one wants to take meaningless action, you won't feel fulfilled until you move toward something you're passionate about.

- Is there a cause you feel strongly about? How can you use your abilities to help that cause succeed?

- Is there a flaw in your current business that you feel needs to be repaired? How can you fix it?

- Is there a brand new business or organization you feel needs to be built? How can you create it?

- Is there a specific person you know of who needs help? What can you do to assist them?

Once you identify the one thing you're most passionate about AT THIS MOMENT, decide what action needs to be taken next to solve the problem. Even if it's just a 10 % action, it's better than no action at all.

Form a Team

Have you ever noticed that Captain America, Spider-Man and Batman can handle just about anything on their own, until a problem becomes so gigantic that they actually need help?

Terrorists? Drug dealers? Stilt-Man? No problem.

But when alien armadas, natural disasters and pissed-off gods come to town, very few heroes can stand on their own. That's why we have The Avengers, The X-Men and The Justice League.

Since new media, at its heart, is all about community, it helps to build connections you can call on when the going gets tough. When a problem is larger than you can easily handle on your own, what other skills (that you don't possess) would help you solve that problem faster? How quickly can you get the word out?

Seek out others who are using their skills to accomplish greater things. Ask what you can do to help. Join forces. Win bigger.

All Change Starts With You

Obviously The Avengers don't come knocking door-to-door, asking if any two-bit hero off the street wants to join. They need to know a person is serious about getting the job done in the first place.

That means you need to take action. Even one small step, and then another, until you're no longer walking; you're running. After that, the rest comes naturally:

Run until you can fly.

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