A hero isn’t someone who is fearless.
Rather, a hero is someone who feels fear and acts boldly in the face of it.
The purpose of this article is to call forth the hero in each reader, by shedding light on what might be stopping you and giving you practical ways to reframe things in your mind so you can get to the business of doing good.
Please know that as we discuss the term hero, I’m not referring to only super-heroes, or starting a company that sells for $500 million dollars, or even becoming the next Deepak Chopra.
For our purposes, let us define a hero as:
Someone who knows the good they’d like to do in the world, and shows up faithfully and daily to execute on that greater good.
But what if I don’t yet know what greater good I’d like to dedicate my waking hours?
This is a valid question, and I can only speak to my personal experience.
I’d suggest that you take a guess, and then start taking action on it.
ON SERVING YOUR MISSION OVER YOUR EGO
What I’ve found is that action (rather than endless thinking) is the thing that unlocks the next step of your journey. Our missions unfold to us through service of some good. The more we act in service, the more signals we get about how we can best serve.
Acting in the service of the greatest good you can do in the world is your mission. And doing so can help you:
- Live out your life in a way that feels totally satisfying to you
- Sleep deep sleep each night, knowing that you’ve done noble work
- Become a brighter, more sparkly person. The type of person about whom people say things like “They’ve got that special something”
That special something is passion + action. A person lives out the best version of their story
And something that might be holding you up on your journey to be this bright, sparkly person?
Your ego is the story of you that you tell yourself, about yourself.
It’s the ideal you hold in your head, about how you look, how you behave, what your skills and weaknesses are. Beyond that, it’s also what you’re scared of, and what you think will happen to you if these fears are realized.
The ego is the character that you’ve created for yourself. Or more accurately, it’s a caricature: not totally based in reality, but exaggerated in many ways, and minimized in other ways.
It’s important that other people’s opinions line up to the caricature of yourself you’ve created (or so you say to yourself).
Anything that doesn’t conform to this, leads to shutdown.
How you view yourself, and how you want the rest of the world to perceive you can be a limiting factor in doing the things you’d always dreamed of.
YOU ARE ONLY LIMITED BY THE STORY YOU TELL YOURSELF, ABOUT YOUSELF
What might this look like?
There are many subtle (and some not so subtle) ways where someone protecting their ego will abandon the good they can do in the world when there ego is threatened
Imagine something with me, for a moment. See if you see any truth in what I’m saying, in the way you’ve been experiencing the world.
Let’s say that you’ve always dreamed of getting a yoga teacher certification. It’s something you’ve always felt called to do. You can see yourself leading classes of people, and think to yourself “How beautiful and satisfying an experience it would be to help people in this way.”
it’s nice to dream.
There’s a teacher certification coming up. It’s a price that works within your financial situation.
You just can’t seem to book it, to pull the trigger.
Thoughts pop up for you that help you let yourself off the hook.
“I’d have to miss some quality family time.” or “I think next year really would be a better time to start.”
Choosing to go another way, due to reasons that you’ve sold yourself on, you decide that now isn’t the time to do the thing. “Maybe next year,” you think to yourself.
Can you look being the reasons you’ve concocted in your head, and see that something else might be going on?
Maybe your body image doesn’t currently line up with what you perceive as the right body type for a yoga teacher, so you feel shy or embarrassed to put on yoga clothes in front of a group of people you perceive will be more fit than you.
This might not even be a thought that rises to your conscious mind. Often these things are gears cranking beneath the surface of what is outwardly visible to you. You just think “no time,” and that’s the reason you tell the world.
Here’s the thing about your ego: it’s protecting you, and the story of how you want the world to think about you.
It believes that there is danger is exposes your body in yoga clothes to many other people on the path to teacher certification, so it protects you in the way it can --- keeping you doing the same thing you’ve always done. Because at least until this point, you’ve remained alive.
Now, rather than living in pursuit of something that excites you, and some greater good you can accomplish in the world, you’ve decided to keep everything status quo.
Your ego has won-out, over the service of your mission.
In order that you can transform the story of yourself, one can re-train their subconscious mind to perceive them in a different, new way.
One of the greatest things you can train your subconscious mind on, is how to take action in the face of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and all other emotional states that cause shutdown.
RE-TRAINING YOUR EGO IS POSSIBLE
Do this exercise with me now.
Get yourself to a quiet, safe place in your home.
Begin talking breaths in through your nose, and slowly exhaling through pursed lips.
Feel how good it feels to just be there, breathing.
Take yourself back to a time when things were going just right for you. Picture in your mind a time when you were winning, when something really special happened to you and for you.
Beyond the picutre by picture story in your head, recall the emotional experience that you were having. Reach backward into the past, and pull this emotional state to now, the present.
It can feel so good to recall positive emotional states.
Now, with this emotional state vividly happening right now in your mind and body, imagine yourself doing the scary thing, that leads to the service of the greater good in the world.
How lit up your face looks!
What are people saying to you/?
What wonderful, positive thoughts are running through your head.
Now rather than reaching into the past to pull in emotional states (which you notice is totally within your control), you are casting a line into the future, and pulling your desired version closer to you in the present.
You are dancing across time and space, and re-training your subconscious mind. The mind can learn to experience whatever emotions you train it to experience. And the only limiting factor to action on your mission is what actions you can take on it’s behalf.
Experiment with this exercise for at least 7 straight days, and more if you so choose. You cannot train out a lifetime of emotional pathways in the short span of one practice session.
Remember, that this is a call to heroic action. The taking of steps in service of fear and self-doubt, to do something that you’ve always dreamed of, and will leave the world a better place.
What will you choose today -- your mission, or your ego?