Books

Leadership coach and author Robin Sharma shares tips on how to be an 'everyday hero' in today's world

The Canadian writer and former lawyer spoke with CBC Radio's Gill Deacon about his latest book, The Everyday Hero Manifesto, and how to be focused and heroic in daily life.

'It's a playbook for people to be hopeful in a toxic world'

Robin Sharma is the author of The Everyday Hero Manifesto. (Submitted by Robin Sharma, HarperCollins Canada)

Leadership expert and author Robin Sharma says he has thought a lot about what it takes to be a hero — and how to live more heroically in today's world.

The Canadian writer, executive coach and public speaker, best known for his bestselling book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, is back with the book The Everyday Hero Manifesto.

In The Everyday Hero Manifesto, Sharma shares his focused strategies for how to be more positive, productive and spiritual — and why it's important to help others in the process.

He recently spoke with CBC Radio's Here and Now host Gill Deacon about writing The Everyday Hero Manifesto.

What is your definition of what it means to be a hero? Robin Sharma is the author of the new book "The Everyday Hero Manifesto." He spoke with Gill Deacon about how we all have the potential to live more heroically.

What do you mean by 'an everyday hero'?

Our society has schooled us into thinking that heroes are cut from some kind of magnificent cloth that we don't have. 

We think of the Elon Musks or the Hedy Lamarrs or the MLKs, and The Everyday Hero Manifesto is really a handbook and a playbook for people going through a difficult time in the world to remember who they truly are. 

It's about living with more authenticity, being more creative and productive in a world where a lot of people are addicted to distraction.

 

It's about living with more authenticity, being more creative and productive in a world where a lot of people are addicted to distraction. It's about being a little braver, being a little kinder and getting that spark back like when we were in school and believed the world was ours.

What inspired you to write this book?

I've been teaching personal optimization, leadership and productivity for a quarter of a century. But while on a trip to South Africa five years ago, I visited Nelson Mandela's prison cell. My life changed in that moment. 

It had no bed, and he spent a total of 27 years of confinement in that cell. And yet, rather than emerging bitter and broken and angry, he emerged as Nelson Mandela. 

It's a playbook for people to be hopeful in a toxic world.

So I started studying heroism. I've worked with a lot of successful business people and sports celebrities in the world. I decided to take everything I've learned, and the methodology I've been teaching, and put it in this book.

I wrote it for 16 months during the pandemic. It's a playbook for people to be hopeful in a toxic world — to be productive versus playing with their phones all day — and to live with a greater sense of meaning in a world where a lot of us know we can live more.

What are some of the first steps to becoming an everyday hero, being our best selves and being more courageous?

I believe awareness is the DNA of transformation: When you become aware of how the healthiest people eat or live, you can model their behaviour. But the starting point is moving through the blocks to our primal heroes. 

Picasso once said, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." When we were little kids, we were intimate with our heroism. We didn't hate; we loved; we dreamed; we were passionate; we were vital. So we picked up these blocks and one of the biggest blocks is our fears.

When we were little kids, we were intimate with our heroism. We didn't hate; we loved; we dreamed; we were passionate; we were vital.

There's a chapter in The Everyday Hero Manifesto called "Hug the Monster." And this is one of the ways of reclaiming your heroism. Every day, metaphorically speaking, you walk down the steps to the cellar, you open up the closet and you hug your monster.

It's not easy to get through a time of suffering, whether it's illness, accident, bankruptcy or divorce. Look at what we're living right now, the pandemic, it's not easy. But what makes heroes is we turn suffering into strength, and we turn even tragedy into triumph.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now