Category: Superhero Spirit


Being a superhero can easily become a full-time job. If you don’t watch it, you can find yourself spending so much time-saving the world that you ignore the ones who love you most. Like Peter Parker flaking out on Mary Jane and Batman losing girl after girl, a hero who doesn’t make home a priority ends up a tortured soul. Saving the world is a noble thing, but taking care of your obligations and honoring the ones that matter most to you is nobler.

To keep family and friends a priority and still meet your superhero obligations, follow a few guidelines:

  1. First Come First Serve: The first one to ask you for your time should get it. So, if you already have plans with your wife and the charity you volunteer for needs help they’ll just have to wait until next time. Of course, emergencies take precedence and sometimes things happen, just make sure you don’t always have an excuse for not spending times with the ones you love.
  2. Keep Your Obligations to a Manageable Number: The more you put on your plate, the harder it is to keep up with everything. To keep from going insane and to make sure you can always meet your obligations only commit to a few (this way you also ensure you have some time for yourself).
  3. Learn to Say No: This is an exceptionally difficult thing for some people, but a true superhero masters the art of saying no. At first it may be hard, and you may think people hate you for it, but in the end you will see that they appreciate your honesty and your commitment to keeping your priorities straight.
  4. Reflect: It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, which is why you need to stop every once in a while and take stock of what matters most, compare it to your daily activities, and make sure that the choices you make are in-line with your values.

Remember, the best thing you can do for the world is to love and cherish the ones close to you. A good world starts with a happy family, strong friendships, and safe communities. That’s why superheroes know that the first rule of being a superhero is to put loved ones first.

Advertisements

Trust is a rare thing nowadays. Who can blame us with government and corporate corruption, scams preying on the elderly and unemployed, and crime television showing the worst for the worst in our society. What we don’t see are the millions of good, honest people who deserve trust and respect in return. It’s time to start rebuilding a culture of trust, but before you can learn to trust someone else you must first learn to trust in yourself.

You may not think its important but it is. A person who doesn’t believe in their own abilities cannot believe in someone else. Unfortunately, not everyone has a support system, a person or group who believes in their abilities and supports them in the journey to reach their potential. You have to believe in yourself if you ever want to have the life you want and if you ever expect someone else to trust you.

Start today by learning to:

  • Trust in Your Abilities: Each of us has a unique set of skills and talents. No two artists paint the same way, no two business men approach business the same way. What you have no one else has and no one else can give what you can give. Trust in your ability to provide something wonderful to the world.
  • Trust in Your Heart: You know what’s best for you. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Trust in your heart to tell which path to take.
  • Trust in Your Power to Learn and do Better: We all make mistakes, but even a terrible mistake isn’t the end of us. Trust in your ability to learn from your mistake and to use that knowledge to improve and do better next time.
  • Trust in Your Value: You matter. Despite your faults, mistakes, or even if anyone else recognizes it you matter. Trust that you bring value to this world, significant value, that cannot be replaced.

There will be times when your belief in yourself falters. You will have to remind yourself of your abilities, your heart, your ability to improve, and your value but you must if you ever want to achieve the superhero life.

We’ve all been there. Those moments when your behavior or performance is less than stellar. When you strut across an open bar not realizing your skirt is tucked into your underwear. When you attempt a feat of athletic skill only to end up in a firm faceplant on a gravel road while the Adonis or Aphrodite of your dreams looks on. The reply all button on a private email, the off color comment, the costly mistake on your quarterly report. Yeah, we’ve all been there.

What sets the hero apart is how they react to those less than heroic moments. No two heroes handle a bad situation the same way, and what works best for you depends on your comfort level and the severity of your infraction, but for those moments you don’t know what to do here are a few ideas:

  • Take a Bow: Make light of the situation and accept the sarcastic and well deserved applause. Whether you like it or not, your mistake just made someone’s day. Might as well take credit.
  • Assume Responsibility: Heroes aren’t perfect. In fact, it’s the imperfections that we love most. When you screw up–and yes you will on many occasions–accept responsibility and do everything in your power to rectify the situation. We respect those who falter and remedy the situation with grace more than the perfect specimen who never makes a mistake.
  • Move On: When something goes wrong, don’t dwell on the situation. Obsessing only makes things worse and keeps you from moving forward to bigger and better things.
  • Learn From It: We don’t learn from our success. We learn from our failures. Assess the situation with an objective eye and see which insights can be gleaned from your misstep.

Above all, take your bad moments with grace and keep plowing ahead. We can’t be perfect all the time and lets face it. Perfect is boring, and heroes don’t do boring.

Superheroes have a bad habit of over-extending themselves. They want to do great things. They want to save the world–and they want to do it all by 5 o’clock on Friday. Problem is, they burn out by 3 o’clock on Thursday and hate themselves for not being able to do it.

Guess what–you can say no!

But I feel so guilty.

I know,me too, but you can say no. Here are a few tips to help you avoid burning that candle at both ends:

  • Know your limitations: Face it, there are some things you’re just not good at. Yes it great to challenge yourself and try new things, but if its outside of your area of expertise, politely decline. Even better–suggest someone from your hero network who is better qualified.
  • Be realistic about your time: There are only 24 hours in a day, only 7 days in a week. Even if you have a time machine you have to sleep eventually, and eat, and spend time with friends and family–you get the picture. If you don’t have time, you don’t have time–period.
  • Stick to what matters most to you: There are millions of worthy causes out there all in need of great volunteers like you. Only get yourself involved in the ones that truly speak to your heart and passions. It’s okay not to actively engage in every cause. In fact, fully engaging in one cause has a greater impact then half-assing several. Plus, you’ll be better able to fulfill your obligations, which will make your fellow heroes appreciate you more!
  • Just say no!: Reminisce with this catchy slogan and save yourself from over-committing by finding the power to just say it–NO!

“Stop trying to be so ordinary

Be strong and be brave

And begin your story.”

— “So Ordinary” by Ryan Star

Superheroes are much more than characters on the Technicolor pages of a graphic novel. There are real superheroes – everyday angels who spread light in large and small ways. They stand up for others in need. They help us believe again when we’ve lost hope. In the end, they change the world.

And you want to know a secret? They are no different from you or I. Really! You have that same essence of bravery, love, empathy, and empowerment flowing through your veins.

True…it’s not always easy with the pressures of family, friends, and society to embrace our inner awesomeness. Most of us make the mistake of trying to live our lives from the outside in. We focus on appearances, fitting in, and trying to make others happy. We focus so hard on avoiding losing love that we shut down our inner light. It’s the exact opposite of what we must do to live a full life and connect with our inner superhero.

To live the life we are truly destined for, we must start from within. Your experiences, your inner wisdom, your gifts are there for a reason. You are not on this Earth only for yourself. You’re here to better the world and be of service to others. Short changing yourself robs the world of something very precious.

But we can’t manage to do great things until we see ourselves as great. Unless we believe in our potential, we won’t fly. We’ll sit on the edge of the ledge, gazing out over a beautiful valley, feeling the sun’s warmth and tempting kiss of the breeze. We’ll ache for the experience that is calling us, all the while missing out on it.

We find the faith to leap by connecting to the divinity within us. So how do we begin to do that?

Meditate

Meditation calms your whole being. It centers you firmly in the present moment. This practice of relaxing the body and quieting the mind allows you to connect to the energies of love, peace, and creativity.

Fears don’t exist in the present moment. They are worries based on potential futures. Fears lose their power when you are able to stay hooked into the blessings held in the Now.

Take responsibility

You’re the co-creator of your life. You choose your perspective on situations. You decide to take a chance or to stay in the status quo.

To change your life, change yourself. Begin with your thoughts. Watch their positivity or negativity. Be aware of self-judgment and negative self-talk. When you catch those kinds of thoughts, replace them with a positive thought that connects you with the kind of life you wish to manifest.

And always realize you can choose to see the blessing or pain in any situation. You can act to change things if you are not experiencing life in the way you desire. You are not the victim in your life…you’re the hero or heroine of it.

Laugh

Joy is one of the highest vibrations in life. When we experience it, our heart opens. Our body releases stress and relaxes. We become caught up in the love of life; and that is a powerful place to be.

Stepping out of your comfort zone becomes easier if you can just laugh at yourself and enjoy the experience – even when things don’t go “perfectly.” It eases the pressure. It allows for a loving acceptance of imperfections as you grow. So let yourself have fun!

See the humanity in others

If you’re not feeling especially happy with yourself and your life, it can be easy to envy others. We see things in their life like a job, good mate, nice home, and fall into a sense of lack about our own lives.

But no one is perfect and neither is their life. They all have challenges, fears, weaknesses, strengths, joys, and sorrows. Imagine being fully in their life with all the personal history, challenges, and responsibilities. Their life won’t seem so easy or perfect when you allow yourself to see the bigger picture.

And you know what is fabulous about that? It means that, like the people you admire, you can be powerful and make a difference. It doesn’t take perfection. It takes a willingness to act from the heart and stand in your truth.

So enough with the playing small. Stop trying to be so ordinary. You’re much more than that. Be unapologetically alive today. Be brave. Try again and again. Love fiercely. Allow the amazing light within you to radiate.

You just might surprise yourself and discover there is a superhero lurking within.

Thanks Lark N. for your wonderful guest post. I hope everyone is just as inspired as I am by your words!

Diaz: What motivated you to start Tiny Buddha?

Deschene: I was looking for a way to work on the web meaningfully. As a freelance writer, I spent a lot of time writing and editing for websites that didn’t really matter to me. There had to be some way to connect technology and mindfulness instead of letting technology pull me further away from myself.

Also, I wanted to help people become happier, more self aware and more peaceful. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to understand how to be happy, and yet most of my searching has made it more elusive. I have come to realize that joy exists only in this moment, exactly as it is, because life never takes place anywhere else. There is nowhere to get to; there’s only the challenge of being.

Diaz: What is the purpose of Tiny Buddha?

Deschene: My main goal with Tiny Buddha is to help people act on what they’ve learned. Oftentimes we read or learn something, and as poignant or insightful as it may seem, it doesn’t motivate change if we haven’t experienced it directly. Even when we have experience it directly, sometimes we either don’t know how or simply don’t make the effort to put it into practice.

I hope Tiny Buddha reminds people of the endless possibilities available to us in this moment; and empowers them to observe and quiet the thoughts, fears, and beliefs that stand in the way.

Diaz: What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your project off the ground?

Deschene: Tiny Buddha started on Twitter as a daily quote, and there really weren’t any challenges there. People enjoyed the quotes and shared them, which allowed the follower base to grow organically over time.

Starting the website was a different story. It’s not the usual order of things to start a Twitter account and leverage that into a website. It usually goes the other way around. For a year and a half, people who followed @tinybuddha received just a daily quote. Many people weren’t happy to see links popping up on their stream.

I received a lot of criticism through email in the first month, partly because it was new, and partly because I was learning as I went. A close friend even suggested I might want to stick to Twitter. I didn’t want that to be an option because all my heart was wrapped up in the project, so I just kept going.

Over time, a lot of people who didn’t love the site have un-followed on Twitter, but many more who do enjoy it took their place. I have learned I don’t have to please everyone. I just need to do what feels right and allow people to think and do what they will. I don’t need to change the world. I just need to my best within my sphere of influence.

Diaz: What was the greatest success?

Deschene: The greatest success is making a meaningful difference for people. I don’t get many critical emails anymore. Instead I get a lot of personal emails from people who, like me, have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and helplessness—and, like me, still do at times.

When someone opens up to me about positive changes they’re making, both in thoughts and actions, I feel like I have reached the pinnacle of success.

Diaz: On your blog, you talk about Tiny Buddha being a community to share wisdom. What does wisdom mean to you?

Deschene: Wisdom, to me, is more about unlearning than learning. It’s about letting go, staying open, and living mindfully in the present without regretting the past or fearing the future.

It’s about being—and accepting that sometimes you will get in your own way. We’re human. We’re meant to make mistakes. Wisdom isn’t about perfection; it’s about accepting life and ourselves, imperfections and all, and finding the courage to let ourselves be.

Diaz: We live in the information age. Do you think we as a society are wiser?

Deschene: I don’t feel the need to make that judgment. If I did, it would be a sweeping generalization pointing fingers in every direction outside myself. That’s not how I choose to operate. I’m not really looking to change the world; I’m looking to tune into myself next to other people who want to do the same.

I can tell you this much: we’re doing better than we think. Progress always presents new challenges, but it also provides new opportunities. I see people seizing them every day, in front of my eyes and on my computer screen. If we keep focusing on ways to stay present in a tech-driven world, we will continue to leverage technology for good.

Diaz: How should people use the information provided on Tiny Buddha?

Deschene: It’s different for everyone, and I welcome that. People should use the information however it makes sense to them. We’re all at different places, with different experiences, different challenges, different internal blocks, and different sensibilities.

All I hope is that people keep stay open to new ideas, take time to simply be with themselves and learn to trust their own intuition. We’re always looking for authorities in life—people to tell us what to do so we can trust we’re doing the right thing.

I am not that person. No one who writes for Tiny Buddha is. We need to learn to tune into ourselves, even if it feels like a heap of responsibility. The future is uncertain no matter how well we follow someone else’s plan. We may as well chart our own.

Diaz: What do you see for the future of Tiny Buddha?

Deschene: I am now working on my first book, which explores life’s hardest questions and how we can live happily and powerfully in the uncertainty. It will be published by Red Wheel/Weiser and available in stores next fall.

Since Tiny Buddha started on Twitter, I’m using the site to get readers involved in the process. Anyone who wants to answer one the questions for inclusion in the book (by tweeting with a hashtag) can read more about that here.

Beyond that, I am working a site redesign with Joshua Denney, a talented web strategist who has worked with me since the site launched. Next year, I expect to see a lot of developments on the site, potentially including eBooks and eCourses.

Diaz: How can people help Tiny Buddha?

Deschene: One thing people can do is help spread the word about the book. I have received hundreds of responses so far, and I hope to receive more insights before September 15th. There are many other ways to support the site—sharing it with friends or donating, for example. You can read more about that here.

Diaz: What would you tell someone else staring over the cliff, contemplating making the leap into a new life?

Deschene: You don’t need to stare over a cliff to make a new life. Usually all you need to do is take one step forward right where you are. That can sometimes feel even scarier because it means sinking into the moment and working within it instead of trying to escape it. Your new life isn’t a huge plummet away; it unfolds from this very moment and place.

It only takes one person to make a difference.

Too often we wait around for someone else to be the first. We let injustice and hatred continue because we don’t want to be the one to stick out our neck and absorb the first blow. We’re afraid of what might happen, that no one will be there to support us, that we may endure negative repercussions in return. You know what else might happen?

You might succeed.

You might stop that ranting asshole who never knew how much he tormented others. You may inspire a woman to leave an abusive relationship. You just may save a life. Doesn’t that make it worth it?

Here’s my favorite it takes only one story. If you ever think you can’t stand up and make a difference, just stop and think about this guy. I have for over twenty years. If one man can stop a tank, imagine what you could do.

There is a thin line between heroes and villains. Oftentimes heroes and villains share common experiences and similar backgrounds and challenges. We are inherently good–look at any child, they want to be good. Ultimately, what makes person a villain or a hero comes down to a matter of choice.

Day in and day out we are faced with thousands of small choices, each one compounding into a series of consequences–both good and bad–that affect your life. Much of what affects our lives happens outside of our control–dealing with poverty, childhood abuse, layoffs, recessions, traffic, etc. You can choose to be ruled by those circumstance, or you can recognize the effect of your environment on your life and use it as a tool to rise above it.

When faced with a choice, the hero will:

  • Stick to their ethics, even when it’s not popular or no one is looking.
  • Resolve to rise above their circumstances to become something better than what made them.
  • Think of others when acting (though they will still be prone to selfish acts–there is no perfection here).
  • Avoid causing harm to others or oneself.

We’re not perfect, and often we falter, but for the most part we can decide if we want to take the path of the villain and cause harm, damage, and steal from others and ourselves or if we would rather take the path of the hero, moving with an understanding of the impact of our actions, striving to make things better, and showing concern for others.Like my mission states:

I choose to be a hero. What about you?

As you are aware, my mission is to help people achieve superhero status. There are many reasons why I want people to find the superhero within them and I felt that it was necessary for me to share those with you.

Reason #1: There is too much injustice.

  • Every day people are murdered for blood diamonds, sold into the sex slave trade, abused, neglected, and taken advantage of.
  • There is female genital mutilation and bride burning.
  • In parts of Africa, girls as young as 8 are married off to men three times their age. As soon as they menstruate they are raped by their husbands, then cast aside when childbirth rips apart their bladder.
  • People are starving. In the U.S. alone, over 25 million Americans go hungry every day–14 million of them are children. I know because I used to be one of the many who, despite working a full-time job, couldn’t afford to put food on the table.
  • Many people are homeless–40% of the American homeless are children.
  • Domestic violence continues–again, I have also been a victim.
  • In the U.S. alone, 1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual assault–most often at the hands of someone they know.

All of this breaks my heart, and I want to right every single last injustice, but I am just one person. How can I have the biggest impact? By empowering others to give voice to those who are wronged, to draw light to these issues, and to inspire people to become involved in the solution (By the way, if you question these facts I can get you information and statistics on all of these, it just would be too many hyperlinks for one little post to share them all here).

Reason #2: I want you to have a big life.

Too many people scrape by, miserable, alone, full of regret. My friend Lark Neville wrote a great post on why so many people don’t go after the life they want. It’s so easy to come up with excuses. It’s even harder to take that first step toward a new life. I want everyone to:

  • Love with their heart wide open
  • Chase their secret passion, no matter how crazy
  • See the world
  • Be recognized for their uniqueness and value
  • See nothing but possibility in this world

To do that, I have to live a big life and go after what I want and showcase others who have done the same. I am not saying a life without challenges–I’m saying achieving a big life in spite of challenges.

Reason#3 I choose not to be a victim

I’ve had a pretty challenging life. I’ve been physically and emotionally abused, lived through poverty, and dealt with the challenges inherent with being a single par

ent. I could let my circumstances rule me, but I decided to change my future, first by getting an education, then by training to become physically stronger. Beating the victim mentality is a constant struggle, but I know I’m not the only one. I want every person facing injustice and hardship to know that they can change their life. They just have to find a reason to change, to grow, and to fight back. My daughter was my reason. She deserves a strong mother, a solid role model, to show her that she can have a rewarding and healthy life and that she is worthy and able to  demand such a life.

We all can demand such a life. I hope one day we all can achieve it.

Bravery

I was watching a man sitting by himself at the cafe reading books on self-help and health. It set off a deep emotional trigger and got me thinking. No one else may have noticed it, but sitting by himself, taking notes, assessing his behavior, and faithfully learning and applying the material in those books, he was taking a big step toward changing his life. That’s bravery.

I admired him. I admire everyone who takes that terrifying first step when they know for a fact (because of their negative internal dialogue) that they are going to fail. I’ve been there. I’ve walked into the gym, overweight, alone, no clue as to what I am doing while the snooty little bitch behind the counter makes faces at me. Even after I got into fitness and became a gym rat, I never lost my admiration for the newbie. The size 2 fitness model doesn’t impress me. The person daring to change their habits, suffering through cravings and feelings of worthlessness but getting out there anyway–now that impresses me.

The person who is 5, 10, 30 years older than the average college student but who shows up to class, puts up with the stares and snickering, sacrifices time away from their children–that impresses me. The career change at age 50. The woman who leaves the abusive relationship. The person who decides its okay to be uncool–that bravery.

We put too much stock in admiring the people to whom things come easy. I’ve never had that luxury. I’ve been a human punching bag, I was a single parent going to college, I had to fight my cravings for chocolate cake while battling a score 0f 34% body fat. I know that the first step is the hardest, and requires the most courage.

So to all of you out there contemplating that first step, struggling while you’re changing habits, terrified to try something new, know that I support you 150%. I know its hard, and sometimes you feel like giving up, but don’t. Even if you lapse, and give in to that craving or those negative feelings, know that its okay. It’s a daily battle, but one worth fighting, no matter what your goals. You deserve a full life. Here’s to finding it!