One day, I watched bemusedly as my 5-year-old grandson, Maxim, saved the world from an imaginary villain. He was busy rescuing humanity when I asked him, “Maxim, do you want to be a hero when you grow up
“No, Grandma,” he said. There was a pause. (Five-year-olds have such a wonderful sense of timing.) “I want to be a SUPERHERO.”
You can learn a lot from the children in your life. At that moment, Maxim revealed something important to me: Our culture has shifted. Today, it’s not enough to be a hero. Superhero is our new standard.
He’s not alone in this, of course. All of us are looking for the next level of achievement. You’ve probably picked up on this trend if you’re a lover of business or self-help books. Radical honesty rather than honesty. Unlimited memory rather than memory. Not just good, not just great, but unstoppable.
Maxim’s superhero enthusiasm shifted my opinion about what I might have previously considered verbal one-upsmanship — he made me realize that we need to adjust to new standards and expectations.
What would happen if we supersized our Toastmasters values of respect, integrity, excellence, and service? Would we appeal to a whole new generation? Would members take greater action? Would we be more inspired?
What if respect became radical respect— not just giving lip service to respect, but radical respect as a way of being, always! Imagine if you held that radical respect for yourself and for the people you are with, no matter who they are.
Integrity could become uncompromising integrity. Uncompromising is a blunt refusal to be compromised in any way, shape, or form.
Excellence could be profound excellence. Don’t just aim for excellence, but instead push further than you have been before and invite others to hold you accountable to that high standard.
Service could become heartfelt service. To me, heartfelt indicates service performed with an undercurrent of love and happiness. It’s selflessness without any suffering.
What adjectives resonate with you? What can you do with the slightest change to your perception? What actions will you take to elevate Toastmasters values to the next level?
I’m looking forward to reading your comments and hearing from you. Just like Maxim, we get to be the superheroes of our own journeys.