Want to be the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Sir Richard Branson?

Do you?

Really?

Who cares??

I mean it…who really cares?

I know our culture cares…and I realize our media encourages us to care as well.

But really…are these folks the only meaningful measures of success in our world?

Really?

I understand the seductiveness of our culture’s invitation. Who wouldn’t want to be worth billions of dollars? Who wouldn’t want to live the illusion of having the world by the tail?!

To say no to this…well, you’d be crazy!

I’m not saying we should say “no.”

I’m only asking the question “who cares to give their whole life in pursuit of this picture…this view of what it means to be successful?”

I don’t.

Do you?

Really?

Who do you really want to celebrate and admire? When I set a vision for my life, whom do I want to emulate?

Who do you pick…really?

For me…it won’t be these great guys [and they are truly outstanding humans!]

Let me explain.

Here’s one of my heroes. I wish our culture celebrated them more often. I wish we gave these folks more power and prestige.

This human deserves our recognition…she deserves my attention.

This hero is my partner: Paula.

Let me give you some examples in an attempt to describe why I’m making this point.

For the past 30 years she has:

  • been awoken from a sound sleep 3–4 times a night for years to feed and attend to our small children
  • traveled all over America and the world — moving and relocating several times — for the sake of my professional career [requiring her to break close relationships and make new ones, move in and out of numerous homes and communities…continuously]
  • been the COO of our family for all the internal logistics enabling us all to survive day to day [schooling, cooking, grocery shopping, playing, bill paying, transporting kids to activities, etc, etc.] — often with little to no help from me since I was traveling and/or working
  • been present, steady and consistent in the most boring, routine day to day of life’s activities — without complaining, bitching or making everyone around her “pay”
  • consistently put the needs of our family ahead of her personal needs
  • put the needs of me and my narcissistic business goals ahead of her personal comfort and wishes
  • homeschooled our kids so they received a solid foundation of the basics [since we moved and traveled so often]
  • said “yes” to my entrepreneurial pursuits…even though most of them failed and left us financially struggling
  • never stopped consistently believing in and supporting me and my dreams
  • included herself as a partner with me in each adventure…speaking her mind and sharing with me her own life’s adventure
  • held numerous non-paying jobs in community based activities (schools, theaters, churches, etc.)
  • helped our adult children transition from home to college — helping them find, prepare, enroll and move into a higher-educational adventure
  • honored her own personal interests becoming a massage therapist, holistic kinesiologist, pianist and artist [an example of her art work is included below — it is of our youngest 11 years ago]

The list could go on and on. She wasn’t paid for these activities.

She didn’t ask for recognition for performing them. She didn’t blog about them nor did she shout to her Facebook friends “look at me and how great I am!”

She quietly arose each day and went about her life’s business.

Period.

Of course, like all of us, she had her ups and downs..but she never stopped taking the next step…attending to the next need…showing up for the next challenge.

Gently serving both herself and others.

Her strength is amazing. Her courage and dedication rivals anything billionaires have thrown their way. I’ll walk alongside with her into any life situation — good or bad; simple or complex; easy or hard…doesn’t matter.

You’ll probably never meet her. You’ll never read a story about her — unless one of my business ideas hits it really big and we’re rich and famous! You’ll probably never find her on the cover of Time. But she doesn’t care about that…nor do I.

She’s not alone in this world. There are millions of humans like Paula arising each day to quietly live, serve and support themselves and others. They too don’t get the big headlines.

You’ll not see these quiet heroes in People Magazine or talked about in the Wall Street Journal — but these heroes are found every where! You’ll find them serving all sorts of different roles in our communities: moms, dads, single women, single men, librarians, school teachers, entrepreneurs, executives, factory workers, public servants, firemen, clergy, and on and on.

They are everywhere! They are our true heroes! These are the ones to be admired. These are the ones who need to be truly recognized for their greatness.

I’m glad we have the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the this world. We are blessed for their talent and contribution to our society!

But I’m counting on the quiet heroes like Paula. She’s the image I hold in my mind when I think about success.

I wonder if I have the strength and courage to grow into her greatness?