When I was growing up I was a Jay Novacek fan. In my 10-year old mind, he was a cool guy who played for the Dallas Cowboys and was a real cowboy. Since my real father was a real life cowboy, and he was out of the picture, I looked up to Jay.
One day, I got a flyer at school from the FFA. There was a horse show going down in McKinney and Jay Novacek was the guest of honor. He would be riding horses, signing autographs and other stuff like that. I talked my stepdad into taking me and I was determined to get Jay’s autograph and meet him.
When I arrived at the horse show, I spotted Jay almost immediately. He was sitting on top of a beautiful painted horse. I walked over to meet him. When I got next to the horse, he asked me to move away. At the time, it really hurt my 10-year old feelings. All Jay wanted was for me to be safe and not get hurt by his horse. My hero had hurt my feelings (on accident.)
Flash forward to 2013, and I’m all grown up. I had arrived at a point in my life where I was able to meet and hangout with some legendary marketers, speakers etc. These were guys and girls who I’d been following online for a few years. I looked up to them in an iconic way.
It’s a bad idea to meet your heroes in person
When I finally got to meet some of them, after going to different conferences as a speaker and hanging out in the green rooms backstage, I came to a realization. They were just normal people. They were shorter/taller than me, their breath stank, they were larger/smaller and dressed in the same type of clothes as I did. They were just regular humans, like me.
When we have heroes and idols, we have someone to look up to. They are almost mythical in our imagination. When we think of them, we don’t think of how short they might be or how they might sweat profusely. Seeing a hero through their profile picture is a lot different than shaking their hand.
What’s worse is when you meet someone who’s not what you expected. There’s no shortage of people who act one way online, yet who are completely different in real life. Talk about a let down. I remember meeting a famous internet marketer I had looked up to for 3-4 years. He was totally different in person. He actually told me that was just his online persona. Like he was an actor. As if I was a fan of the Terminator, but had just met Arnold the human, not Arnold the robot.
The reason I say it’s a bad idea to meet your heroes in person, is that we need someone to look up to. If we normalize those whom we look up to, there will be no one left to look up to. We need hope and heroes. It’s in our nature as humans.
Before you meet any of your heroes consider the consequences
We don’t think about our heroes “normal” lives
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