Little known heroes are hidden in the fabric of communities throughout this world. They operate in the smallest places and make the biggest difference. These little known heroes are the backbone of a community’s success…past, present, and future. The world would look a lot different if they didn’t exist.
I Planted the Flag on my writing journey on January 6, 2021. Seventy-eight weekly posts and more than 100,000 words later, I can easily find myself forgetting the purpose of this blog. Leadership and Main’s intended target was to reach leaders in local communities. No knock on our National and State leaders, we need leadership there, but most serve in the forefront. Local leaders like coaches, educators, public servants, pastors, small business owners, volunteers, and those serving in public safety serve faithfully each and every day with little fanfare.
Where Do You Find Little Known Heroes?
They are hard to notice, they do not stick out, you have to look very closely. Here is an exercise to get us started on increasing our abilities to find their location. Once we find them, we will learn how to identify them. For just a moment…think back to those people in your childhood, your formative years as a teenager, and your season as a young professional. Who were those little known heroes in your life and where did you find them?
Where did you find these leaders? Were they found on sports fields, in classrooms, churches, places of work, homes, or in volunteer service? Now that we have a sense of where we can find them, let’s look at eight ways you can identify them once we locate them. Here are the identifying marks of little known heroes.
Operate In Shadows
I can’t help but think of the movie, The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the movie, they find out all along that a little man behind a curtain was pulling the strings. They expected some big bad supernatural dude, but that is not what they found.
Too often, we look to celebrities, world leaders, and those in positions of status for our heroes. All along the heroes we need are found behind the curtain. They may not look like what the world thinks they should, but they are everything this world needs, and needs desperately. TheWizard of Oz had poor motives in the shadows of the curtain. The little known heroes amongst us are hidden behind the curtain of pure intentions and selfless motives.
With the help of some friends in the infancy of the blog, we came up with the following definition of Community Leadership. It is, “the ability and willingness to better others and the world you live in.” There are two words that make all the difference in this definition, “and willingness.” EVERYONE has the ABILITY to better others and the worlds they live in, but not everyone has the WILLINGNESS. That is the great differentiator.
Little known heroes put their yes on the table. A yes that doesn’t seek popularity, recognition, or validation. They enter the field of play seeking to make others better.
An Interceder is simply, “someone that has redirected your journey.” You meet them at critical intersections in your life and they are the GPS that leads you to your preferred destination. These are the people that walk into your life when everyone else walks out. Your world would not look the same if they had never entered it. You often wonder how your life would have turned out if they never interceded it. Little known heroes quietly intercede in the lives of others.
Believe In Others
Little known heroes are the ones that believe more in you than you believe in yourself, an ultimate form of leadership. They find their purpose in your success. Like a proud parent cheering on their child from the bleachers, they are constantly rooting for you to succeed. When the crowd’s applause goes silent, theirs’ never fades. They encourage you to keep playing the game, win or lose.
On a personal note/mission, I have always wanted to live my life in such a way that at my funeral, people will tell stories to my family of my investment in their lives that they (my family) knew nothing about. My hopes are that while it may be the first time my family heard it, it does not surprise them.
Little known heroes live past their physical death date, they make a generational impact. Their time on earth will (or has) come to an end, but their life will live on through others. The people they decided to invest in. These leaders will live on for generations to come through the stories of others.
These heroes go unnoticed because they expect nothing in return, absolutely nothing. This is counter to what the world teaches us. Most people seek self-glorification and recognition at every turn for the good they have done. Little known heroes serve unconditionally. They give with no strings attached. It is what makes them special.
Leaders who serve outside the spotlight love and care for people. Wherever you are or aren’t in your faith, the best definition of love can be found in the Bible. Corinthians 13, verses 4 through 7 says this:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I once read a book called Classic Christianity. The author, Bob George, puts the reader through an exercise of replacing the word love (and it) with their name. Try it for yourself, reread it, and replace the word love with your name. How are you doing? Little known heroes have their name etched in place of love each and every day.
In the movies, most heroes wear capes. Just to name a few, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman all wore capes. Whenever these heroes entered a battle with their evil nemesis, they emerged victorious, but their capes got tattered in the process.
Little known heroes can be identified by their tattered capes. Between a pandemic, season of social unrest, inflation, supply chain issues, and labor shortages the burden is heavy to bear. The burden they carry is generally not their own, but that of others. In spite of the weight of the worlds they live in, they continue to put their tattered cape on and conduct the orchestration of communities every day.
I was sitting on the recliner early this morning starting to write. My nephews slept over at our house last night. I was the first one up, but quickly joined by my five-year-old nephew Finn. He came and sat down on the couch across from me. At this point, I was stuck on the introduction. Figured kids always have unique perspectives, so I decided to ask him a question. I asked, “Finn what is a hero?” He said, “a superhero!” Not exactly what I was looking for, so I dove deeper. “Finn, what do heroes do? He said something simple, but profound, “they help people.”
Finn was right. People who use their ability and willingly help others while making their communities better are heroes. Remember this…communities are simply defined as, “a group of people.” Each of us lead groups of people daily…families, friends, and the organizations. When all is said and done, will we be known as little known heroes to those whose paths we crossed in this life? If someone read this post twenty years from now, closed their eyes, would you be the person they see?