Be Your Own Success Hero


New Media Expo was exciting and extremely fulfilling this year. It’s fantastic to get a chance to see extremely successful friends and students as well as new student and audience members.

There was one aspect of the Expo that I hadn’t seen in the past. This might be because the Expo has grown so much or maybe it’s the amount of highly success bloggers and podcasters exploded to record numbers this year . Either way, what I saw was was a little disconcerting and I want to make sure none of our community falls into this trap.

Hero Worship


Hero worship is the excessive adulation of an individual. There is also an aspect of hero worship that makes it so that the hero is SPECIAL or has special abilities. This year, at NMX, I saw people expressing quite a bit of both.

I saw people throw their hands up in the air and slowly bring them down, then up, then down saying, “we’re not worthy” as they worshiped a certain podcaster we all know and love. I actually saw this a couple times!

I heard people talking about another speaker in reverent tones of how quickly rose through the ranks to the top position, as if it was magical or he had a superpower that assisted him with his meteoric rise.

I was also talking to a group of people when one of the group members shook my hand and said he loved my show. Another members said, “What show do you do?” I told him and his face lite up and he said, “WOW, I didn’t realize it was you. This is crazy, you’re awesome! Can I shake your hand?” He then left the group and went to his group of friends and I saw him point and they all seemed to be excited for their friend, like he’d just met a rock star or A level actor.

Now, if all of these behaviors simply came from a place of Admiration, great! I just wanted to make sure that people are aware of the dangers of hero worship and have the ability to avoid the trap and learn from people that are further along (the so called heroes) instead of seeing them as magical or super hero special.

Dangers of Hero Worship


When I got home from the Expo, I found that favorite philosopher, Stefan Molyneux, had discussed this hero worship a bit and I wanted to share that section with you. Listen from 2:14 to about 8:25.


Transcripts Click here

The big take away is that holding up someone as an idol or feeling hero worship can only happen if you diminishing yourself! I think it also saps one of their power to achieve the same thing, if that is their secret desire.

Worship ends the discussion. More times than not, worship ends with, “but I can’t do that, they are special.” We feel worship when we think we have no way of achieving what the person of interest has achieved.

So, if you have the desire to do achieve what Pat Flynn has achieved, hero worship will lead to feelings of, “I’m not good enough”, or “There’s no way I can do that!”

Avoid the Trap


I have no problem “looking up to” someones actions and achievements. The thing to remember is that they are just ahead of you, not magical or in possession of skills and special abilities that you cannot work on yourself. Admiration is give you a target to shoot for, minus the diminishing effects of hero worship.

Admiration can still lead to powerful questions, like;

  • What do I admire about this person? (…and how can I work on that myself?)
  • What specific steps did the person take to earn my admiration? (…so I can start taking those steps myself)
  • What skills did they have to acquire to get the success they have? (…so I can start learning about and practicing those skills)
  • What daily actions do they take that lead them to success? (…so I can start taking the same or similar steps)
  • You get the picture!

I’m glad to say that I felt very little hero worship from our community, as strange as that is to say. We seem to attract people that are ready to BE Pat Flynn’s and are willing to put in the work to achieve it and I love that.

Remember, as Stefan Molyneux said, “YOU are responsible for your life and success.” No one else is going to give you success and remember that the success that those you admire have comes from very specific actions and developed skills, not magic abilities or super powers. This means YOU CAN DO IT TO!

Listen Now!

Download the MP3 here


  1. Any questions, comments, or critiques? Please let me know!

  2. Great post Jeremy, and I think you touched upon a really great point when you mentioned the “I’m not good enough” types of feelings when we are put in those situations of meeting ‘heroes’. It’s quite sad and detrimental to the overall journey. I love giving people around me the “yes you can” type of motivation. Given some encouragement and tools, who knows what can be built?

    I once heard a story about the Police song “Roxanne” and how it was written in 20 minutes. Everyone thinks “Wow – how did they do that??”… but really it was several years of hard work writing, recording, and touring that led to the cumulative skill set to make that happen. But we like viewing it from the “20 minute” angle as it makes for a much more compelling story for sure!

    We’re all human. And as we rise up I think it’s important for all of us to keep sight of that and help others along too. That’s one thing (of many) that’s continually impressed me about the IBM & IBMA family. I feel you guys genuinely care.

    • Yeah, that is certainly a point to remember. These HEROES took tons of time and effort to get to where they are. Anyone can do that, if they pay the price of time and effort!

      Well, we certainly love what we do or we wouldn’t still be doing it after all these years!

  3. Thanks, Jeremy. I think our culture lends itself to this with all the sports and music heroes. Definitely a good reminder that the people we admire were once like us!

    I definitely appreciate the authenticity of you and Jason – it’s definitely what made me listen to your podcast and eventually join the Academy!

  4. Jeremy, I think you bring up a lot of great points. This “hero worship” reminds me of when I was a struggling musician. I had many music idols, I wanted to be like them and do what they did. I wanted to be a rock star. And I even penetrated the first line of defense at many a rock show (security) just to meet some of my favorite artists.

    But I always knew I could do what they were doing or better. It was years later when I landed my first full time music gig and realized I can be successful on another level. I didn’t need to be a rockstar. I just needed an income and I could live my passion for music.

    Internet business is the same way. I still try to break through the barriers of connecting with people like Pat Flynn, and of course You and Jason. I dig deep to find a connection between myself and others because I have learned that if I surround myself with people who are already successful I can do it too.

    Where the “hero worship” has applied to me is I forget to take action. I sit and have conversations and I interact with people, and share in the moments of life with them. However it’s important for me to go back and take action so that I can keep connecting that common thread with my “heroes.” Now I want to be a hero to my heroes! For me it’s not about hero worship. It’s about immersion. But we cannot let our minds let the belief of “I can’t do that” show up. We have got to take action and be a hero ourselves. Then our heroes become supportive friends, instead of an untouchable force that we envy.

    • Great point, I totally agree! When Pat Flynn started out, he was a beginner student and after years of hard work he is definitely a supportive friend! I love seeing people catching up and even surpassing me in this exciting journey!

    • Well said John. I am a huge fan of Pat Flynn and have followed his progress from back when he had just started his blog. I can admit that I have sort of idolized Pat since his success really took off. The difference between Pat and so many other Internet marketers is that Pat has and still does take massive amounts of ACTION every day. There, Pat’s secret is out….sorry Pat. One day I will get to meet Pat, Jeremy, and Jason. Not as people I idol, but as friends that I now share the same success with. We are all smart enough to do this and who knows, maybe someday soon we will be the one’s being idolized. There is a little life formula I am trying to live by these days (I think I learned this from Dean Graziosi’s book). Anyhow, it says: KNOWLEDGE + ACTION = RESULTS
      This is the secret to success in my opinion.

  5. I fell into this trap with many. For me it was the same trap as “the shiny and new”. I think it was after the podcast you guys did where you both bore it all concerning straying away from your true calling is when I unsubscribed to many of those so called heroes. I’ve only narrowed it down to the tried and true and those who I have taken their advice and it worked during different times of just in time learning. At best they are just virtual mentors and human on equal level that have learned something that I need to not repeat mistakes or reinvent the wheel.

  6. I admire Pat Flynn and what he has done. Worshipping? No. He just worked hard and he definitely deserves all the success the he has got. Why people diminish themselves by Worshipping someone just because he took the time to develop the skills he need and took action is beyond me.

  7. A few years ago I was on my first mini-retirement and living in the mountains of southern Spain. Volunteering and doing mostly contraction work.

    The man that I worked with had been born and raised in the mountains before it had become a Buddhist retreat center. His strength and stamina were beyond comprehension. He would worked harder, for longer, and was twice as strong as all of us.

    What pushed me through was recognizing that there was no reason I couldn’t do the same. His example pushed me day after exhausting day and I became stronger.

    Coming to this world of internet business I remind myself of this very lesson when I listen to IBM, SPI, or FA. If it’s possible that someone else has had this success then it just proves that you can do the same.

  8. Jeremy – I’ll add to what John, (above) alluded to. Hero worship can be a kind of avoidance for us not to take action for ourselves. It also falls into the perfection mode: “I can’t be as perfect as (hero)is, so why try?”.

    As a member of the Facebook Academy Mastermind Group, I can honestly say you guys keep it very real there. If anyone reading this is on the fence, the investment in the Academy is worth access to the Facebook group alone.

    • Keeping it real is a must for a coach, the last thing I’d want to do is have someone not take action cause they think I’m anything more then just a regular person with a system they can use too.

  9. Jeremy, what an awesome article. Thank you for posting this. I didn’t have the privilege of going to NMX but am planning to go next year. I have also noticed that there is a lot of hero worship happening in the whole world of podcasting and blogging, especially the last couple of years as both have gotten so much more popular. But as others have already pointed, we don’t see the years of intense labor, time and money spent, and sacrifices that went into getting these people where they are today. Like anyone else, they are human, but have worked very, very hard for their success.

    I appreciate what you guys are doing here at IBM, and love your podcast. :) Keep up the fantastic work.

  10. Gentlemen,

    This is such a great post. Having worked around big name actors, I’ve seen first-hand the “star-stuck” affliction that many people fall under.

    Although I personally have never been this way, I guess it’s just human nature.

    The key is, as you pointed out here, to not walk away thinking, “wow… that dudes awesome, I wish I was like that” but rather, “wow… that dudes awesome, and I’m just as capable as he is and I need to get to work”.

    It’s one thing to look up to someone and want to model their success, but when you allow it to stunt motivation and defame your own sense of accomplishment and what you’re striving for – you’re going nowhere.

    Thanks for the content,

    John Dennis

    • You are very welcome.

      As you may know, I worked in Hollywood around the big names as well. I was very keen on NOT treating them as gods or becoming start struck. I stayed true until I saw one guy. He wasn’t even acting in the show I was working on, he was watching his wife act. It was a TV movie she was in and he was just standing behind the scenes watching and I was totally start-struck. After he left, I came out of my star-struck faze and just shook my head… It was Michael J Fox (this was in like 1992), WTF… I guess the years of watching Family Ties and Back to the Future really got him into the star world for me!

  11. Excellent points, Jeremy. I really appreciate you pointing this out, because I think it’s way to easy to fall into this trap. It’s so true that we can end up devaluing ourselves and then never taking the actions we need to get our businesses going. I love your list of questions to turn hero worship into constructive action.

  12. Spot. Friggin’. On!

    I’ve seen this “hero worship” a lot in new media. Thankfully, when I’ve actually met these “heroes” (yourself included) they were humble, helpful, friendly, generous and genuinely interested in what I was doing and how they could help me. My opinion is that they are this way because they know the effort it really takes to produce good, high quality content every day…and they still struggle, just like we “heroes in waiting” do.

    Fantastic and timely post!

  13. Thanks for writing this Jeremy. This year was my first trip to NMX and the hero worship is concerning – it was obvious and a little silly. It makes it feel more like a fan convention than a professional conference. It detracts greatly when time is so short and it prevents conversation from happening.

    NMX was still a great conference and I’d go again, but it was distracting. Thanks for writing this.

  14. Hey guys!
    This one really hit me! Funny enough I wrote a blog not that long ago called ‘I have a hero. His name is Pat Flynn’. Before listening to this audioblog I thought this was fine & a way to show my admiration for what he is doing, how upfront he seems to be & never leaves that icky feeling like some online entrepreneurs.

    I never looked at the word hero as being he was better than me tho I do “look up” to him because he is higher on the trail than I but, I know I can and am walking that trail behind him in my own way. Because of stumbling upon his podcast I also found you 2 & must say I am chomping at the bit to start the IBM course especially now that I am getting physically ill on every work day.

    I am glad you have the word admiration and I believe it does suit better than hero. Why I’d didn’t think of the word I the 1st place is beyond me. I am ever so grateful to him for sharing his stuff (& you know how women can be about 1st’s lol) as it gave me hope & leading me to other great ppl to use as a guide & admire (of course you guys are so on that list!). I do however feel really bad about what titling it Hero might have done to Pat’s pressure levels as I did not mean to do it.

    Admittedly I have called myself a Flynn-addict but, now, thanks to this on-top of other things I am making myself “my own hero” & will just have guides/mentors for my journey. Knowing myself I would have never felt that you guys, Pat or other people were better than me, just further on their journey. I’m so glad there are honest people out there that care about the whole person & finding their SMP & not just how much $ they’ll make!! Thanks again! It’s always good to get a kick on the butt from time to time :)