“If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
Did you ever have that one teacher, mentor, coach, partner or friend who pushed and prodded and believed in you? Maybe she encouraged you to try out for that team, seek that promotion, beat that diagnosis, overcome that grief or strive toward that goal? Did you find that, not only was what this individual did for you important, but equally as important were the words she shared with you?
My friend, so many people have deeply impacted my life by their words. One such individual was a young National Hockey League player named Gino Cavallini.
Gino first visited me when I was nine years old, in the hospital after I’d been burned on 100% of my body. He came back repeatedly over five months, always smiling, encouraging and bringing the perfect gift for a sick little boy (signed hockey sticks, pepperoni pizza, the entire St. Louis Blues team and even a seven foot tall stuffed bunny wearing a Blues sweater!).
Soon after I was released from the hospital, he called and asked if I could go to a hockey game as his guest. Unable to play due to his own injury, Gino picked me up, chauffeured me to the arena, walked me through the locker room and watched a game with me from the owner’s box. It was a night I’ll never forget!
On the drive home he asked if I wanted to learn to play hockey. I replied in a high-pitched voice, “Gino, I can’t skate. I can barely walk! And I could never hold a stick, anyway.”
He looked over at me and said, “Superstar, whatever you think and say about yourself becomes your reality. When you think or speak badly about yourself, you become it. But when you think or speak positively about yourself, you become it, too.”
My friend, we hunger and thirst for individuals in our lives who might step forward to encourage us, walk with us or carry us toward the possibility of our lives. We long for individuals capable of speaking boldly, acting courageously and impacting profoundly our lives through theirs.
Most heroes don’t wear capes or hockey uniforms. They seldom have massive following through social media or talk about themselves on television. No, most are single parents or time-challenged couples. They work as executives, sales people and coaches. They serve in boardrooms, showrooms and classrooms.
Your great opportunity, my friend, is to realize the truth that you are intended to be a hero for others. My encouragement before you grab your cape or hockey stick and race out the door is to realize this: your ability to positively impact others hinges on your own thoughts and your own words.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” As with any drug, our words can be either life-giving or life-depleting. Choose today to use your words to encourage others to take back their life, ignite their possibility and change their world.
And in wondering where to begin sharing heroic optimism with others, consider starting with the reflection in the mirror.
Click here for the short video I created a to help you be more aware of your thoughts and empowered to share heroic optimism.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you about “heroic optimism” and your life!
0 replies on “How Heroes Speak”
John- this was just the message I needed to read tonight. A good friend and hero to many-Alan Atnip -is fighting a courageous battle with cancer. I believe that you have met Alan and I know you made an impact on Him and his family. I have known Alan and his wife Kimberly for many, many years and just pray that their strengthens faith will get them through. Alan is a hero and your words were about what Alan has done each day. He has truly left a mark on us all:)
Hi Lorie, thank you for note. I am happy and humbled that my blog could offer some comfort for you last night. I am keeping Alan and his family in my thoughts and prayers tonight and asked the Rising Above community (via Facebook) to do the same – many have already begun offering their prayers too. I hope you’ll share your note with him too, Lorie! Letting him know that his heroic voice has touched you. Keep doing all the wonderful things that you do and enjoy your day.
I teach vocation training to “at risk” students. Typically, an18 year old black male whose family unit consists of a mother and several siblings. The father is not in the picture and a stable home life is non- existent. They have a terrible self image. Their literacy and numeracy. Levels are about 5th grade. I am always looking for motivational strategies to help them and to pump myself up because working with them is a constant struggle. I’ m going to use your strategy starting Monday morning. I’ll let you know how it turns out after a week or so.
BTW you went to DeSmet with my sons, Ron and Dan Bergman
Ben, brother, sorry for my delay. THANK YOU for your note and for the great work that you do each day. Please do let me know how it goes with your young men – I hope it adds joy and value to your days and theirs and look forward to hearing from you. And, of course, Go Spartans – I appreciate getting back to DeSmet every chance I can. I went a few weeks back and spoke to a group of men and their sons / students, my dad joined me. Great night.