I’ve seen many movies depicting someone in distress and a hero swooping in to “save the day.” Ah…the glamor of being a superhero. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help thinking about whether, given the same circumstances, I would run to the rescue. I’d like to think I would, but, realistically, it might not be the case.
Being honest, I’m not sure I’m up to some of those heroic stunts. I don’t have a stunt double or special effects to protect me. Without a script, I’d be on the sidelines trying to figure out what to do and weighing all the pros and cons. Let’s face it, I don’t have a life or job where I encounter these situations. Add on top of it the fact that I work from home and the probability dramatically decreases.
Okay, so maybe I’m not the superhero type by Hollywood’s standards. Most of us probably aren’t. But are those everyday situations? As I think about the “superheroes” I’ve encountered, people who act selflessly in everyday situations are who come to mind.
For example, in my encounter with an oncology nurse, I asked her, “How do you do it? How do you remain so upbeat, positive, and strong knowing that a good many of your patients you may not see again?” She said, “I am the one who is blessed. If I can make one moment better for the person, that’s everything.” Wow!
Another example takes me back to high school. I had an amazing social studies teacher who created an afterschool program called S.O.S. The acronym stood for Service Over Self. It was a club and participation was voluntary.
Mr. K. gathered and organized all kinds of community service opportunities. This gave participants choices. Each individual chose the option(s) that fit their passions, skill, and time best. 300 hours, or more, of annual service made it eligible as a Social Studies class. The actual grade resulted from attendance/commitment and feedback from the recipient(s).
Services I chose included:
- volunteering at the hospital as a candy striper (cheerie aide, as this hospital called it)
- helping a financially challenged mom conduct physical therapy exercises with her handicapped child
- hosting and working at our high school’s annual special Olympics
- fall and spring clean-up at the homes of elderly people in the community.
I learned a lot about service and the multitude of opportunities out there to help. I also learned that we never know what path others are walking or what they may need. Being successful, or doing good, for ourselves can be effective to an extent. But, real greatness comes with doing good for others. It’s about action not rhetoric.
In Stephen R. Covey’s book, The Eight Habit; from Effectiveness to Greatness, he shares the secret of primary greatness. It’s respect for all people, service above self, contribution, servant leadership, sacrifice. It’s not about title or wealth. It’s about the acts you do for others. In other words, it’s S.O.S. – service over self.
Greatness is your destiny if exercise your superhero S.O.S powers. What’s your best opportunity for that today?