I think everyone should have heroes. Here are some of mine.
Willie Nelson is just a badass. Not only does he write great music (and you know I love Country Music), but he has been himself–with no apologies–his whole career. When I talk about social media I use the word transparent and I talk about embracing transparency. That’s Willie. Authentic. The man is the real deal.
Audrey was the epitome of a star. Talk about charisma! Her fans just ate her up. But what was so great about her was that as loyal as her fans were to her, she was just as loyal to them, even declining roles that she may have wanted because it would’t honor their vision of her. And she was tough inside all that sweet innocence. Do you know that as a girl in Holland she would ride her bike to the woods to take provisions to the resistance men? The German patrol never questioned her. Would you?
John Wayne had 142 leading roles as an actor, and still holds the record for leading roles even after his death. That just shows you how committed to his craft the man was. He went all in. And acting wasn’t even his first choice. He lost his athletic scholarship as a result of a body surfing accident and took up acting to pay his tuition to USC. He was obviously best known for his work in Westerns, but he was unbelievably versatile and powerful as an actor and a man. Steadfast and true to himself and yet open to life. That’s the kind of man I aim to be.
Some of my other heroes are Johnny Cash, Jimmy Hoffa, Albert Einstein and Jack Nickolson. What do you think makes them heroic? Why do you think I chose them? Who are your heroes? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
By now, everyone has heard of TOMS Shoes and their “One for One” mission to provide a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair they sell. When the company was founded in 2006, the idea of philanthropy mixed with a for-profit business was out of left field. But Blake Mycoskie (a former Amazing Race contender) was bound and determined to create a company that did good in addition to to being profitable.
As of 2012, TOMS has given away over one million pairs of shoes. While Blake’s original idea was to distribute shoes in Argentina (where he first got the idea for the company) TOMS has done shoe drops in Argentina, Ethiopia, South Africa and even the United States. In 2011, the TOMS Eyewear division was launched. For every pair of glasses sold, a child will receive either medical care, prescription eyewear or a sight-saving surgery.
The think that is the most striking about TOMS isn’t that they make funny shoes or that they build philanthropy into their business model or even that they give away a lot of stuff. The amazing thing is that they are constantly evolving. From adding more countries for their shoe drops, to creating a better and more eco-friendly product to expanding to vision services, TOMS has been a constant innovator in not only evolving a brand, but finding new and useful ways to give back. Every company should take a page from their book and find new and creative ways to give.
#1 Hang Out With Willy Nelson
Attend at least one major sporting event: the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the U.S. Open.
Throw a huge party and invite every one of your friends.
Swim with a dolphin.
Have your portrait painted.
Learn to speak a foreign language and make sure you use it.
Go skinny-dipping at midnight in the South of France.
Watch the launch of the space shuttle.
Spend a whole day eating junk food without feeling guilty.
Be an extra in a film.
Tell someone the story of your life, sparing no details.
Make love on a forest floor.
Make love on a train.
Learn to rollerblade.
Own a room with a view.
Brew your own beer.
Learn how to take a compliment.
Buy a round-the-world air ticket and a rucksack, and run away.
Grow a beard and leave it for at least a month.
Give your mother a dozen red roses and tell her you love her.
Be a member of the audience in a TV show.
Put your name down to be a passenger on the first tourist shuttle to the moon.
Send a message in a bottle.
Ride a camel into the desert.
Get to know your neighbors.
Plant a tree.
Learn not to say yes when you really mean no.
Write a fan letter to your all-time favorite hero or heroine.
Visit the Senate and the House of Representatives to see how Congress really works.
Learn to ballroom dance properly.
Eat jellied eels from a stall in London.
Be the boss.
Fall deeply in love — helplessly and unconditionally.
Ride the Trans-Siberian Express across Asia.
Sit on a jury.
Write the novel you know you have inside you.
Go to Walden Pond and read Thoreau while drifting in a canoe.
Stay out all night dancing and go to work the next day without having gone home (just once).
Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Be someone’s mentor.
Shower in a waterfall.
Ask for a raise.
Learn to play a musical instrument with some degree of skill.
Teach someone illiterate to read.
Blow all your savings and take a flight on the Concorde.
Spend a night in a haunted house — by yourself.
Write down your personal mission statement, follow it, and revise it from time to time.
See a lunar eclipse.
Spend New Year’s in an exotic location.
Get passionate about a cause and spend time helping it, instead of just thinking about it.
Sing a great song in front of an audience.
Ask someone you’ve only just met to go on a date.
Drive across America from coast to coast.
Make a complete and utter fool of yourself.
Own one very expensive but absolutely wonderful business suit.
Write your will.
Sleep under the stars.
Take a ride on the highest roller coaster in the country.
Learn how to complain effectively — and do it!
Go wild in Rio during Carnival.
Spend a whole day reading a great novel.
Forgive your parents.
Learn to juggle with three balls.
Drive the Autobahn.
Find a job you love.
Spend Christmas on the beach drinking pina coladas.
Overcome your fear of failure.
Raft through the Grand Canyon.
Donate money and put your name on something: a college scholarship, a bench in the park.
Buy your own house and then spend time making it into exactly what you want.
Grow a garden.
Spend three months getting your body into optimum shape.
Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.
Accept yourself for who you are.
Learn to use a microphone and give a speech in public.
Scuba dive off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Go up in a hot-air balloon.
Attend one really huge rock concert.
Kiss someone you’ve just met on a blind date.
Be able to handle: your tax forms, Jehovah’s Witnesses, your banker, telephone solicitors.
Give to a charity — anonymously.
Lose more money than you can afford at roulette in Vegas.
Let someone feed you peeled, seedless grapes.
Kiss the Blarney stone and develop the gift of gab.
Fart in a crowded space.
Make love on the kitchen floor.
Go deep sea fishing and eat your catch.
Create your own web site.
Visit the Holy Land.
Make yourself spend a half-day at a concentration camp and swear never to forget.
Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Create your Family Tree.
Catch a ball in the stands of a major league baseball stadium.
Make a hole-in-one.
Ski a double-black diamond run.
Learn to bartend.
Run a marathon.
Look into your child’s eyes, see yourself, and smile.
Reflect on your greatest weakness, and realize how it is your greatest strength.
Where is Appalachia?
I had the distinct pleasure a year or so ago of getting to meet the Patron and Paul Mitchell billionaire, John Paul DiJoria in Marina del Rey California just before road rally.
He was supposed to come and speak to a group of nurse that I was in for about 30 or 40 min. but he ended up staying almost 3 hours. What a hell of a guy.
The coolest thing about John Paul is a sense of charitable work, and what makes it even cooler is that he has most of his charitable work here at home in the US. Right now John Paul is involved in a giant project in Laurel Kentucky.
The 67-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist started to Grow Appalachia in 2009 with just $150,000. And last year alone the project helped 400 people raise hundred and 120,000 pounds of fresh produce.
This is among the poorest said communities in all of America. John Paul believes by helping people to grow their own food, though not only fill bellies, but restore confidence to a pretty beaten-down group people.
Melanie Gross, one of the recipients of the food, said” I was home every day filthy and money but it was worth it, you get a sense of pride by saying I did this.” Most of the participants agreed they would much rather grow their own food and stand in line at a food bank to receive handouts.
We met John Paul he tells the story I started his entire Paul Mitchell Empire was $700 out of the trunk of a car on Sunset strip he was actually living in the car at the time. Today Paul Mitchell does $900 million in annual revenues.
One of the big business lessons I learned from John Paul was surrounding the story of Patron. He never really invested a lot of money in that project even though today it’s made more money than Paul Mitchell
He said he bought the first thousand cases of Patron with the thought that if it didn’t sell he would this give away as gifts it was really good tequila.
” Most people want throw a bunch of money something right away before they know whether it’s going to work or not, I just never thought this way and it saved me a lot of money over the years” said JP.
If you want to learn more about John Paul’s foundation Grow Appalachia click the link here to go to his website.
You can donate as little as five dollars to Berea College help with the project, I did and I hope you’ll join me. Perry Belcher