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

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

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Going the long way around 

Many years ago, at a challenging time in my life, I had a dream of accomplishing an important goal in San Francisco. At the time I envisioned that goal, I was stranded in Indianapolis with no job and no money. I eventually got to San Francisco, and accomplished my goal. But I had to get there by way of Toronto.

Now a quick glance at any map will tell you that Toronto is not on the way from Indianapolis to San Francisco. Since this chain of events took place in the middle of winter, going to Toronto was certainly not going to bring me any better weather. I didn't have a permit to work in Canada at the time I went there, so it wasn't going to be any easier to find a job, either.

But what did exist in Toronto was one person who I believed cared about me, and another person who I thought would give me some money. It turned out I was right on both counts. I got enough money to rent a room; with a place to stay, I found an under-the-table job; with someone nearby who cared about me, I stuck out the lousy job for six weeks and saved up enough money for a bus ticket to San Francisco.

Sometimes the only way to accomplish what you think is important is by going the long way around.

A friend of mine is stuck in his own personal Indianapolis right now. He has an important goal, one that could possibly impact the lives of many people for the better. And he's determined to reach his own version of San Francisco to get it done. But the problem is that he's afraid to leave his Indianapolis until he has the entire journey mapped out, paid for, and planned every step of the way. You see, he doesn't want to end up in Toronto by mistake.

I understand my friend's fear. None of us wants to make a mistake. It seems like it would be so much safer to plan and prepare for every little contingency before setting out. That way you can avoid making any mistakes, right? Ah, if only that were true!

In reality, leaving Indianapolis before he is completely ready might not be such a bad idea for my friend at all. At least he'll be on the road and moving. He'll learn some things; he'll meet some people; he'll find out what it's like to begin pursuing his goal instead of just dreaming about it. He'll work the bugs out of his plan with some road testing in the real world. He might even discover that some of his goal can be achieved before he ever gets to San Francisco.

When the only way you can figure out how to get from Indianapolis to San Francisco is by way of Toronto, then I say, go that way. If you go the long way around, you are still going. If you insist on staying put until you've planned every detail, you're not going anywhere.

The distance from Indianapolis to San Francisco is 2,272 miles. The distance traveled if you have to go by way of Toronto would be 3,193 miles instead. But the distance traveled if you don't go at all is zero. That doesn't sound like a journey worth planning to me.

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