Last week, one of my (and millions of others) primary inspirations – Nelson Mandela – passed away at the age of 95, after living a full and meaningful life. It seemed an appropriate time to share this tool with you.

Whenever I hear one of my clients (or friends or family) get on the “who-cares-what-I-have-to-say” train, I immediately jump to this exercise, which I call The World Without Your Hero process:
  1. Think of your biggest inspiration. (I always, always give the example of Nelson Mandela – because he’s one of mine.)
  2. Describe why they move, embolden or motivate you. (Mandela faced so much hardship, so much hatred, so much difficulty in his life, but he managed somehow to stay on his path, to continue to speak up for what he believed in. In the end, he affected enormous change in his own life, his country, and the lives (and probably countries) of so many others.)
  3. What if that person – your hero – had not done what they did to inspire you? What if they had played small? Had stayed home? Had just shut up? (I’ll leave this to your imagination, but suffice it to say… everything would be very different without Mandela’s leadership and determination to make a difference.)
  4. What did steps 1 through 3 make you even more determined to do in your own life? (For me, this means speaking my truth, regardless of what others think; showing love and compassion even for those who drive me crazy; and living up to my full potential as a human being.)

So, whether or not Nelson Mandela is your inspiration, we can all take a moment to feel immense gratitude for his life and work. And we can use that same energy to light a fire of determination in ourselves, too.

And you?  I’d love to hear about your World Without Your Hero process results. Who inspires you? What did you learn? How did it make you feel? Share it with us by commenting below.