Introduction

Calling All Heroes (Could This Mean You?)

Do you feel like something big is missing from your life? Do you feel trapped, bored, stuck in a meaningless routine? It may be you think you're too ordinary to ever do something special. Perhaps you're afraid that if you try, you'll fail.

The startling truth is this: Just about anyone can do great things, can live a life that's remarkable, purposeful, excellent, and yes, even heroic. If you want to be a hero, you can be.

How?

That's what this book is all about.

We—Father Robert Sirico (a priest) and Jeff Sandefer (an entrepreneur)— have been in your shoes. We have heard the whisper of a calling, yet turned away. We've struck out on epic challenges only to fail, sometimes miserably. But we've also picked ourselves up and tried again and have succeeded, sometimes spectacularly.

We've watched others make the journey as well. We've walked alongside saints and demons. We've seen what unchecked success can do to a soul.

We have since taught, led, and counseled hundreds of people who want meaningful lives, people who want to leave a mark on the world. And we've done so because we believe that heroes are not born, but made. The journey is never easy. If it were, it wouldn't be heroic—but it can be done.

Will you choose to do it? Will you decide to journey heroically, instead of spending your life merely marking time?

We hope so. Our world desperately needs heroic people—people who shape events, who act rather than watch, who are creative and brave. Such people are needed in every field, in every realm of life—not only in law enforcement and disaster response but also in science, education, business and finance, health care, the arts, journalism, agriculture, and—not least—in the home.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, you can learn to live heroically. You might not ever be called to save a child from a burning building, but you can become the sort of person who is willing to do that or other heroic deeds, and with the willingness will come the opportunities. You can choose a life that's meaningful. You can make a difference and succeed, and do so heroically.

How?

First, by contemplating the heroic journey. Read our own stories. Read the classic tales and poems we have chosen to illustrate the promises and perils of each step. Then, think about your own heroic journey by working through the "ask this" questions we provide at the end of each chapter. These questions are designed to help you apply each lesson to your own life.

Finally, move from thinking to acting by implementing the practical "try this" suggestions we make—suggestions we have followed ourselves in our quest to live heroically.

Will these simple steps work? Yes, if you're committed to becoming heroic. They will set your feet firmly on the path. They will open your eyes to the right direction. They will warn you of pitfalls, and teach you how to avoid them.

Simple steps like these work because the heroic path is, essentially, about making small choices that add up to a big life.

A life in which you make a difference—in yourself, in others, in the world.

A life in which you forgive yourself for your trespasses, knowing that you've learned from them, and in which you forgive the trespasses of others.

A life in which you close your eyes for the last time without regret, confident that you took the hours and days and years you were given and made something spectacular out of them.

Does that sound like something you want?

If so, this is the book for you. Welcome to your heroic journey.