We sometimes run into people we look upon as “heroes.” Occasionally, they are real heroes. The fire fighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running out. Or the mother who lifts a car off her trapped child. Someone becomes your hero when their performance goes way beyond what you could normally expect of the typical person.
Other times, our “hero” is just someone who does a job much better than we do. In this case, it is still someone we admire. Maybe we admire them so much we would like to be them. Each of us has a skill set that has made us successful in a personal and business environment. Yet identifying traits in others that would allow improved performance is a good thing. That kind of hero worship can show us ways we can incrementally become better at what we do. To remain static is to stop growing.
When I watch a highly effective instructor, I have a bit of “hero worship.” I want to be more like that person. When I first came to work at Langevin Learning Services, part of my orientation was observing an experienced instructor working through a session I would be delivering shortly. I developed an instant case of hero worship.
My mentor was really good. He knew the workshop and content from beginning to end. He held the class together well. His transitions were ultra-smooth. He could spin off the words of the participants and introduce new content in a seamless manner. He was an incredible facilitator!
I have a challenge remembering names. Consequently, one thing that really impressed me occurred during a social hour we had after the first day of the workshop. My mentor stood and addressed each of the twenty-three people in the class by name and then thanked the whole group for attending. Wow! That really set the bar high for performance.
I can never be that person. It’s simply outside of my capacity. However, I did learn the content thoroughly. I learned techniques to build group cohesiveness. I designed transition words and phrases specific to the content, and captured them on the pages of my teaching manual. Now that I know the content well, it’s easier for me to tie in remarks or questions from the group and segue to new parts of the workshop. However, it is very unlikely I will remember twenty-three new names by the end of the first day. Of course, I am better at learning names than I used to be.
Do I measure up to the standard my mentor set? Not really. But I guess that’s my point. It’s good to identify heroes. They allow us to recognize the qualities that make us admire them—even if we can’t be them. We are who we are. However, if we can keep our effective personal style and strengths, while integrating some of the traits of the exceptional people we encounter, it’s a good day. Your hero worship can lead you to become better.