All my life, I’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” Figuratively speaking if you eat junk food, your body is full of junk. While eating healthy seems logical, many people lack discipline and therefore their health suffers. Likewise, when it comes to your personal growth, choose wisely not only “what” you “feed” yourself, but “who” you allow to “feed” or influence you. Who are your heroes, voices and mentors?
Growing up, my heroes were people like my Boy Scout leaders, pastors, coaches, teachers, parents, grandparents and military leaders. These people sacrificed, put others before themselves and lived lives worth emulating. I’m often reminded of another type of hero, those that gave their lives and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I knew some of them personally, they were my friends and fellow Soldiers, they were true heroes! As an employer of young people, one of my interview questions is “who are your heroes?” I’m often shocked by their answers. Many name celebrities and people made famous by pop-culture or trends. Needless to say, I don’t hire these people. The erosion of respect for true leaders and heroes by many young people is disheartening.
I challenge you to ask yourself, what is your definition of a hero, who are your heroes, and are their lives worth emulating?
We live in a world today where we are inundated with “voices.” I find myself in “information overload” often and surrounded by a thousand voices on YouTube, Podcasts, blogs, email, text messages, and the many forms of social media. One helpful tool that I have established for myself is what I call my “voice filter.” I don’t let many voices in, if it’s not a positive message and helping me become a better father, husband, leader and friend, it literally has no place in my life, I don’t have time for it! I don’t watch TV (we don’t even have cable), I don’t spend hours surfing the internet or playing pointless games on my phone. I do post things on social media, but I rarely go back to see if anyone liked or commented on it. I almost never scroll through my news-feeds or look at my notifications. I am very intentional about limiting the voices that speak into my life.
As for mentors, unfortunately many people don’t actually have one. I personally have always had people who I consider to be my mentors. I use both my definition for a hero, a life worth emulating, and my voice filter, to find positive voices that will help me become a better father, husband, leader and friend when choosing my mentors. While heroes and voices may be people that you never meet, a mentor should be someone that you can meet with face-to-face (or at a minimum phone or facetime).
I challenge you to find a mentor with a life worth emulating and schedule a face-to-face meeting with them soon!