Heroic Moment: The Extraordinary Power of Ritual & Stories


A long time ago, a group of people who were not much different from you had an idea. The idea was different, and dangerous. Ordinary people looked at the idea with skepticism, at best, and with suspicion and hostility, at worst.

If the idea was successful, it would create a long-lasting movement that would clothe the poor, feed the hungry, and provide comfort and medicine to the sick, not to mention providing life-changing experiences to the people within the movement.

If the idea failed, it would cause agonizing mental and physical injuries, or even death, to people inside and outside the movement.

But the idea itself was powerful, and these people were among the top one percent in the world.

Despite the risks, they did not begin with guidelines, policies, and procedures, but with a story. The story captured the direction and the power of the idea, so that others could grasp onto it and see it through.

They were the founders of fraternities and sororities, purpose and values-based organizations that I am proud to support.

Managers create guidelines, policies, and procedures to meet expectations, or ordinary outcomes. Heroes, on the other hand, create change. They get people to move. Heroes create movements.

People are drawn to movements; they want to do more than the status quo.

Some people may refer to this as "leadership," which can be an overused term, often confused with people in particular positions. Heroism, too, is about positions; it is about the positions you take when you stand for something meaningful. Something you value.

The choices we make every day are those positions that we stand for. They are our values.