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Of heroes and leaders

‘When did you forget how to fly?’

If you believe what Kevin Brown says, then a hero is not an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. Rather he says, “To be a hero is to bring the best version of yourself [to a situation].”

Speaking at a recent event I attended, Brown asked audience members to think back to their childhoods. “When we are kids we have a beautiful way of seeing the world. Ask yourself this: When did you forget how to fly?”

He went on to say that the reason we admire the people we do is “because they have never lost their ability to decorate the box.” His idea of the box is the rules, procedures and what we “should do.”

Heroes, by Brown’s definition, are extraordinary people who choose not to be ordinary. He added that heroes help people with no strings attached; they are people who care about reputation and take 100% responsibility for their lives. “They ask the question: What can I do with what I have in order to create the best possible outcome?”

Heroes can be leaders and he defined a leader as someone who is committed to helping people be a better version of themselves. He warned the audience to be careful of the vision of people who work for them saying, “People will live up to or down to your vision of them.”

He added that a leader’s job is to see people as they can be and not necessarily as they are. He also suggested that if you are chasing satisfaction you stop doing so. “You don’t want satisfaction; what you want is enthusiasm.”

Brown ended his presentation talking about being careful not to let technology replace relationships. He bemoaned the fact that most organizations are content with just carving out their piece of the pie. “You don’t want to be a choice, you want to be the choice,” he said.  “People are seeking validation. We never outgrow this need. We want to know: do you see me, do you hear me and does what I say matter to you at all?”

He concluded,  “There is competition for every relationship and if you don't own the space, you leave the door open for someone else to move in.”

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