I got an intriguing response from yesterday’s newsletter about heroes I wanted to share with you today. I’ve never considered this perspective before and ending up spending a lot of time digging into articles on this topic.

“My design hero is Future Me. The designer that stuck with this, continued to learn, took challenges as opportunities, and isn’t afraid to fail or look ‘foolish’ in front of people in creative industries."

- Laneen (@sublationstudio)

I was stunned.

I immediately sent them a message to ask if I could share it with you all. How had I never even considered this before? Laneen really hit the nail on the head with this one.

The ability to reflect on your own journey, successes and failures could be more important than idolising someone else for what they’ve achieved. Without looking inward you may never find the answers you’re looking for.

“...isn’t afraid to fail or look ‘foolish’" really struck a chord with me as well.

I feel like with social media, more so than ever, we constantly try to impress our peers or expect praise for no reason. Rather than experimenting and pushing boundaries regardless of what anyone else thinks.

As you establish your own path, you can see where you’ve come from and how much you’ve grown. Giving you confidence now and empowering you to value your future self just as much as anyone else you look up to.

I dug a little deeper into google on topics about “being your own hero” and some articles I got back were very insightful. I rarely put articles in my Pocket app but these are ones you’ll definitely want to read later.

“You can’t always wait for someone else to save you.”

- HuffPost

After reading this, I felt like someone had slapped me around the face with an alarm clock. It hurt to realise I can’t just use someone else’s story to plan my success. I can’t expect someone else to stand up for my ideas or solve my problems.

Whilst someone else’s path and success may be inspiring, you can never fully copy them. You can never completely use their ideas or direction to build your own mountain. There will always come a breaking point where you have to make your own choices and stand up for what you believe in.

Taking full ownership of every decision will allow you to be proud of who you are now and will be in the future.

Another great quote, “We deify, as if there is a single defining idea of how innovation works, what makes a leader great, or how success happens.”

- Harvard Business Review

If we think of those who inspire us as heroes, that’s only one step aware from making them gods. Then it’s one step to making their words and teachings law when there are really a million different paths we could take.

So, maybe I was looking in the wrong direction yesterday and my perspective needed shifting a little.

Using the word “hero” to describe those who inspire us could diminish what you have done and are capable of. Hiding your own achievements and skills in a locked box and blindly following someone else.

It’s just too big a word to use to describe those we admire. We can be our own hero and be inspired by others but, you can’t wait for someone else to save you.

In this sense, we should reserve only myths and legends for viewing other people as heroes. They’re a storytelling piece, not the narrative you should live by.

But, admiring other people’s work at arm’s length will be the thing to help you grow faster, especially when you can see yourself as a hero pulling ideas and inspiration from multiple sources.

Do you agree with this idea? Could you be your own hero?

DM me on twitter or instagram @cfowlerdesign with your thoughts!

And big thanks to Laneen for sharing their perspective!