March 23, 2011
This week, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, Goodyear presented the 2011 Highway Hero award to Mike Schiotis of Spring Hill, Tenn. Mike was among four finalists nominated for the award which, since 1983, has recognized professional truck drivers in North America for extraordinary acts of courage and kindness.
This year, each of the finalists placed themselves in harm’s way to save the life of another human being. Putting the well-being of others ahead of their own, these drivers all made a choice to make it about someone else. Mike Schiotis, and his fellow Highway Hero nominees, proved that courage and selflessness go hand in hand.
That’s the point for the week.
To me, courage is quite simply a willingness to set the interests of someone or something else ahead of our own, and to act accordingly in any situation.
Whether a trucker standing between a motorist and a gunman, or a firefighter rushing into a burning building, those we call heroes share one fundamental trait in common – it isn’t about them. It’s about the greater good and a recognition that in the scope of that, the achievement of our own personal happiness is at once insignificant and paradoxically connected to the happiness of others.
Being a hero isn’t about what you do. It’s about who you are.
That’s why – almost universally – you will hear those described as heroes by someone else decry that status by using words such as, “I’m no hero.” It’s because in their own personal economy, they aren’t. In any act of heroism, the valiant, to their way of thinking, are simply doing the right thing – what, in their view, anyone would do if given the chance.
But the fact is, not everyone will. Courage, and acts of bravery, are reserved for those who choose it. Heroes aren’t born. They are made, through one choice after another to make it about somebody other than ourselves and to always travel down the road of right.
When any one of us checks our own desires at the door of each brand new day, the world around us will become that much better, for no other reason that the good guys, like Mike Schiotis, will have two more hands pulling on their side of the rope.
Be like Mike.
Be selfless. Be courageous.
If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. To purchase a copy of Phillip’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, London, please follow this LINK. “Letters” is based on 85 story-backed lessons Phillip used while leading actual teams to accomplish extraordinary things. It is an outstanding resource for those who wish to commit to becoming the sort of leader that people WANT to follow.
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