How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

Home | Resources | About C.J. | Contact

The waiting place 

I've never been very good at waiting. When faced with a challenge of any sort, my natural tendency is to take action. This heroic quality has served me well in many situations, but it has also gotten me into a lot of trouble. Sometimes the best way to move forward is to sit tight for a bit until you can calm down, gather more information, carefully contemplate options, or receive guidance from a mentor or higher power.

Taking action when you really should be waiting may give you momentary satisfaction, but can send you careening down the wrong path. You may find yourself making commitments you will later regret, upsetting people you would prefer to have on your side, or otherwise getting in way over your head. I speak from experience. I have often thought that the epitaph on my tombstone should read, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Since my first response is typically to act, I have never learned to wait well. When circumstances (or a wiser voice) force me to wait, I can find it excruciatingly uncomfortable. This is the case now. For the past six weeks, I've been suffering from an unexplained neurological condition. (If you have noticed fewer postings on the Hero site, that's why.) It's not disabling, but extremely distracting -- sort of like someone constantly poking you to get your attention. It's one of those symptoms that might go away all by itself and never recur. Or it might be a sign of something more serious. So far, all the tests ordered by various doctors and specialists have come up negative. But the process of diagnosis requires an incredible amount of anxious waiting -- first for the new test to be scheduled, then for the results to come in, then to hear from the doctor to interpret the results and suggest what the next test should be. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

So what can a person born without the waiting gene do? I've decided to take this opportunity to learn more about waiting. In my planned chapter in the Hero book on "Listening for the Call," I am now picturing a section on waiting skills. Surfing for resources on this subject, I uncovered
"In Just a Minute: Teaching Students the Skill of Waiting" by Terrance Kwame-Ross. Several other resources also suggested that waiting was a life skill that children should learn in school. But what about us adults who were playing hooky the day they taught this one?

Then I found this reference in, of all places, a guide to dancing the Argentine tango: "Only when one person has the discipline to wait (ie. to commit to stand to one side) are the two people able to pass." Waiting = committing to stand to one side. At last, a concrete action to take about waiting! I can commit to stand to one side and allow all of this to pass. Our tango expert Stephen T. Chin-Bow makes it clear that this is not simply passive participation, but an important skill for followers to learn in order to dance well with leaders. And with this one hint, I have suddenly realized why I find waiting so hard. Chin-Bow says: "Some... do not have personalities to make good followers. A close friend of mine... will never learn to be a good follower... because she admits she has difficulty surrendering control and letting herself be led." He's got my number... and that of quite a few other heroes I know.

So waiting has emerged as an important skill that leaders can learn from followers. If the hero wishes to follow the right path, make considered decisions, and take appropriate action, sometimes the best thing to do is to step aside and let the dragon pass.


[grid::brand] What brand of hero are you? 

The blogging community is experimenting with something new today -- "grid blogging" -- where a large number of bloggers will be commenting on the same topic on a single day. The chosen topic is "the brand," and looking for a branding topic relevant to this blog, what occurred to me was that there are many brands of heroes. (Close enough?) Here are some that come to mind:

The Adventurer -- Perhaps the classic hero archetype, this hero sets out from his home in search of adventure. The Adventurer's original motives are not likely to be heroic; in fact they are quite often selfish. The Adventurer is looking for fun, personal fulfillment, and perhaps public acclaim. Along the way, however, the Adventurer does something heroic, which may even be accidental, and is forever changed by the heroic act.

The Altruist -- This hero is devoted from the start to the welfare of others, and sets out to take action on their behalf. Rarely intending to become a hero, the Altruist's dedication carries him into heroic territory in order to fulfill the chosen mission.

The Seeker -- Searching for something bigger than him or herself, the Seeker stumbles across an important act that simply must be done. The Seeker throws himself into the newly discovered task with an enthusiasm bordering on desperation, and becomes heroic in the process.

What other brands of hero can you think of? Which brand are you? Which brand would you like to be?


Home | Resources | About C.J. | Contact