Who Are Your Heroes? Article by: Jim Rohrbach

You may have heard some people lament that there’s a shortage of heroes these days. I don’t know who’s saying this, but there are plenty of amazing people both past and present to inspire you for 10 lifetimes. Below are a few of my favorites — I’ve put a playful little twist on each. I hope I’m not too politically incorrect, and apologize in advance. Review my heroes, and then consider who are your heroes.

Four thousand or so years ago Abraham of the Old Testament showed his willingness to slay his own son out of faith. God was pleased and had him sacrifice a ram instead. This was the beginning of monotheism: the belief in one Supreme Being — starting with Judaism, then later Christianity and Islam. But what impressed me the most were Abraham’s sales skills: Imagine going to his fellow tribesmen and saying, “HEY — I’ve got this great new religion going, and all you’ve got to do is give up the tip of your foreskin and you’re IN!” Now THAT’S selling …

American statesman, inventor, scientist, businessman, printer, publisher — all true. And one of the first people to create his own personal development plan: Franklin picked 13 virtues he aspired to attain (temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility), then worked on each for a week four times a year — how’s that for “self-coaching”? And ya gotta raise a glass to a guy who said, “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Hill was born into poverty in rural Virginia and was known as a hellion growing up. Yet he became a journalist and got the opportunity to meet the Bill Gates of his time, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie took a liking to Hill and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “How would you like to take the next 20 years of your life to interview all of my successful friends [which included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and John D. Rockefeller], then write a book about what you learn from them? I’ll provide you with introductions to these guys, but I’m not going to pay you a penny.” Hill took only a moment to digest what he just heard: “Let’s see here — I’m going to go to work for the next 20 years for the richest man in the world for free …” Then he promptly accepted Carnegie’s proposal, which resulted in Think and Grow Rich, which many people (myself included) consider to be the greatest book ever written on the philosophy of success. My question: How would YOU have responded to Carnegie? (“Uh, Andy, good buddy … lemme think about that one for a few days. I’ll get back to you. Thanks for the Scotch …)

This might be an unfamiliar name to you. Brother Matthias was the head honcho at St. Mary’s Industrial School near Baltimore, Md., in the early part of the 20th century. The good Brother’s job was to provide guidance, support, and encouragement to hundreds of wayward boys. Among the most incorrigible was a kid named “Georgie,” whose parents were simply unable to handle him. Brother Matthias took a special interest in this boy and encouraged him to get involved with sports. Georgie ultimately excelled and went on to a legendary career as a professional baseball player. Georgie claimed later that Brother Matthias was the father he never had. Now why do I bring this humble man up? Imagine you’re at the Pearly Gates, and during your “Big Interview in the Sky” you had on your resume, “Mentored George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth” — do you like your chances of getting in “The Ultimate Hall of Fame?”

Staying in the baseball vein, how could anyone not love Mr. Cub? His sunny “let’s play two today” attitude allowed him to have 19 mostly stellar seasons with arguably the worst overall performing franchise in all of professional sports, the Chicago Cubs. Ernie won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award two years in a row (1958 – 59), both times with Cubs teams that lost more games than they won (!) — I doubt that feat will ever be repeated. Bottom line: He brought hope every day that despite your circumstances you could remain positive. This is how Ernie Banks created an iron-clad bond between me and millions of other Wrigley Field fans that will last a lifetime. (Unfortunately for us members of the mighty “Cub Nation,” it may take several lifetimes before the Cubbies win the World Series again …)

A master builder and deal maker, Trump is one of the greatest self-promoters since P.T. Barnum. Whether you like his blustery style or not, if you’ve studied his career, you’ll realize how big he dreams and how hard he works. And he’s more self-aware than you might think if you only saw him on his hit TV show The Apprentice — in one of his books he revealed what it was like to be on the bottom. He shared that during his “bust” years in the early 1990s, he was walking in the rain in Manhattan (he couldn’t afford a cab, much less a limo) to meet with a banker to somehow refinance his massive debt. He spotted a homeless man underneath an awning and mused, “I wonder if that guy realizes he’s worth eight billion dollars (that’s “billion” with a “b” folks …) more than me?”

“America’s Mayor” grew up in a Brooklyn working-class family. After graduating from law school, Rudy had a distinguished career as a public prosecutor in the 70s and 80s, convicting literally thousands of drug dealers, mobsters, corrupt government officials, and white-collar criminals. In 1993, he became New York City’s mayor and spearheaded an amazing turnaround in that city’s fortunes: Rudy spruced up the city boulevards and made Times Square safe again by jailing street thugs. He cut welfare rolls, reduced taxes, rooted out organized crime, created jobs, and stimulated tourism to record levels. As an “encore” (better than any on Broadway), he was the emotional rocklike anchor for our entire nation during the horror of 9/11. In fact Rudy G. is so good, I’d like to nominate him for office … not for president, but for mayor of Iraq — after the way he whipped NYC into shape, Baghdad would be a piece of cake!

There are dozens of others who have inspired me along the way. So who are YOUR heroes? Let me hear your stories of people who have helped you succeed. Don’t tell me there aren’t any — you just gotta poke around. After all, it’s hard to be a hero if you don’t have any.

Success Skills Coach Jim Rohrbach, “The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business,” coaches business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals on growing their clientele. He has helped hundreds of individuals to achieve their goals since he developed his first coaching program in 1982. To arrange a Free Consultation with Jim, go to www.SuccessSkills.com.