Should You Meet Your Heroes?

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Thought Piece Series | 0 comments

My first experience with the idea of being a fan was when I was about 9 years old. My friends at school had those posters you can get as a pull out from magazines. Do you remember those? And if you remember the band, Five Star, it would be a miracle.

Throughout the years more bands came along, NKOTB, Take That. Spice Girls, and my friends would be diehard fans. I always felt a bit weird because I didn’t go crazy over them, didn’t hang posters on the wall, but I enjoyed the music.

So as I’ve never idolised anyone, I never understood that saying “don’t meet your heroes”. Well, not until I met Simon Sinek.

Back in 2018 I splashed out on a VIP ticket to the Forward Thinking Leadership conference hosted by Denk Producties. The VIP bit meant that you got to meet Simon after the main conference day.

I thought it would be pretty cool, and I was wrong. It was bloody brilliant.

The plan was for all people who had bought a VIP ticket to have a meet and greet with Simon, and get a picture taken with him. Each of us individually.

My heart sank.

Standing in line to have a photo taken with a stranger, where we would only have time for the most inane chatter for about 30 seconds, before having to make way for the next person.

Small talk is a thing I hate and am terrible at. And I don’t gush like a fan. It would have been so awkward.

So I was relieved when we were lead to an small area with rows of seats. And Simon told us about the photo opp plan, that he thoguth it was a waste of time and had cancelled that.

Instead he suggested we have a chance to talk.

It was lovely. I got to ask a question that was important to me, and had a meaningful, if brief, dialogue with him. And I had a little fangirl moment that surprised the heck out of me (you can read about it here).

And I understood that saying “don’t meet your heroes”.

If I had set him up as hero, idolised him, how could he ever match up to my imagination?

Instead I got to meet a fellow human being. One who is curious about people and passionate about sharing what he is learning.

And saved me from a situation where my randomly appearing social ineptness would have made an appearance and scarred us both. I admire people who can do small talk and make it pleasant but it is not a skill I possess.

I’m so glad he took that action. The experience is still a memory that makes me smile.

Never meet your heroes? I think I prefer the idea of not making heroes out of people we admire. Let’s keep them human and real, they are so much more beautiful that way.

What do you think?

confession: I did have a soul deep crush on Michael J Fox, and it’s been my secret until now. shhh don’t tell anyone.

This is part of my Thought Piece Series, where I explore topics related to leadership and provide both answers and questions. My intention is to start meaningful conversations that help us move forward. Want to connect? Click here.

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