25 Ways to Unleash the Quiet Hero in You

by Alli Polin on October 21, 2014

25 ways to unleash the hero in you

Tonight after dinner,  I cuddled with my son as he read to me as a part of his bedtime routine.  When he was done, he looked up at me and told me I’m his hero.  All I did was close my laptop, put my arm around him and listen, but to him, it really mattered.  His sweet words tell me that there  are hidden, quiet heroes everywhere.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see the quiet heroes around you in your neighbors, friends and colleagues.

In the news we’ll often see stories about significant heroic acts:

  • Man runs into a burning building to save a family.
  • A group of people help someone off of the subway tracks, after an accidental fall, before the next train arrives.
  • Firefighters, police and active duty military are heroes, by choice, on a daily basis.

There is always an element of bravery, courage and selflessness.

What about the small acts that happen every day?  Can they be heroic too, in their own quiet way?  

Merriam Webster defines a hero as:


noun \ˈhir-(ˌ)ō\
: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired

What  love about this definition is that all it takes to be someone’s hero is to be admired for what you do and how you do it.

HOW matters.  If you do a good, even heroic deed, making a connection human to human, you’re going to make a difference.  If you’re driven by ego or a desire to prove your superiority, you’ll be missing the hero boat.  Simple as that.

WHAT you do matters far less than the how in my opinion.  There are countless ways you can help, lend a hand, and be a hero.

A hero is someone other people look up to, who do what’s right, and care immensely about others. Is that you?

None of the actions on the list below are guaranteed to make you a hero, but they will show others that you care and people matter.  I think most heroes would agree, that when we stop worrying about ourselves, the hero within is set free. 

25 Ways To Be A Quiet Hero Today

  1. Hold the door for the Mom pushing a stroller and kids trailing behind
  2. Listen (and close your phone, iPad, laptop and all other electronics)
  3. Join in the search the next time someone loses their keys
  4. Speak up when you see a bully in action (there are a few in every office)
  5. Rearrange your meetings to meet your significant other for lunch
  6. Clear your schedule to see your child’s sports/music/assembly
  7. You see someone fumbling for change in the checkout line and you have it, give it to them
  8. Pay for the meal of the person behind you.
  9. Smile at someone homeless on the street and say hello instead of averting your eyes
  10. Don’t give the homeless person a dollar, buy them a meal instead
  11. Volunteer your time
  12. Raise money for a charity that matters to you and is close to your heart
  13. Be a Secret Santa for a family that needs help this holiday season
  14. Offer to babysit when your neighbor needs to run out to the market
  15. Give to donorschoose.org and help entire classrooms have what they need to learn
  16. Deliver dinner to someone in your community, church, or social group that just had a baby
  17. Fill in for your colleague at work when they’re feeling sick or need to go to an appointment
  18. Offer to help when you see someone struggling
  19. Pick up milk on the way home so your family can have cereal for breakfast
  20. Help promote someone’s book or program on Social Media
  21. Stick around for after school sports to lend a hand
  22. Get groceries for your sick neighbor – you’re headed to the store anyway
  23. When you see a child at an event who looks lost, help them instead of assuming someone else will
  24. Give blood
  25. What will you do today?

You don’t have to make the front page of the newspaper to be a hero.  I’m willing to be a large sum of money that I will never be on CNN’s top list of heroes, but I’m still a hero to my son.  I’m certain that you’re someone’s hero too.

Tell me, what’s your number 25?  What will you do today to join the rank of the quiet heroes everywhere?

If you want to step up in a bigger way but are caught up in where to start, check out my eCourse: Get Unstuck and Choose to Move  The world needs you… you’re born to be someone’s hero. 


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha Hall October 21, 2014 at 7:25 am

Excellent post Alli.

When we have a heart that genuinely cares about people, finding something to do isn’t difficult. We simply do it!

I love the simplicity of the special moment you had with your son. Parenting is one of the biggest roles we have on the planet. Our words and actions are life and death to our kids. We hold a lot of power in that position.

And nothing is more powerful then a loving heart that genuinely cares for people.



Alli Polin October 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Love the way you put it, Samantha. Without thinking (or over thinking) we just do it. YES.

Here’s to always leading with a loving heart 🙂


Jon Mertz October 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

Essential keys to be an every day hero, Alli! My add would be to take the time to really listen to a colleague and provide relevant, practical advice to match their challenges, opportunities, and goals. When we take time to dedicate attention to helping another person in their career development, we spend our time well…. and be a quiet hero.

Appreciate the reminders here and encouragement to do small things for a big impact. Thank you. Jon


Alli Polin October 22, 2014 at 11:20 pm

It’s huge, Jon! I can remember all of the people who did that for me in my life… it’s a gift to be able to pay it forward.

Great addition! Thanks!


Terri Klass October 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

Love your post and your list of 25 simple and powerful ways to be a hero!

I would also add two things:
-Sharing our gifts with others in a caring way can be profound for both you and the other person.
-Just validate another person’s perspective can be so impactful. Sometimes we just need someone to say it is ok to feel that way.

You made me want to reach out today and make a difference in someone’s life. Thanks for always making me stretch a bit, Alli!


Alli Polin October 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Terri – Validation… it’s a huge gift to give someone. It tells them that they’re heard and truly seen. I’ve had times when I felt like pulling my hair out in frustration and felt like I could finally release the tension when someone said to me “I understand. You’re not crazy.”

You do make a difference in people’s lives every day, Terri. I’m so glad you’re a part of mine.


Tom Rhodes October 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm


Great post. The people who do things for others without thought of bring celebrated are the real heroes. The ones who say it is not about me that it’s about the other person. We need more of those type of people.



Alli Polin October 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Hero is a word that feels impossible to BE, but we all have opportunities to make choices that have a huge impact on others every day.

When someone’s in need, hero’s give selflessly… maybe that’s the super power of an everyday quiet hero: Caring.

Thanks for your insights, Tom!


Joy Guthrie October 21, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Really great post Alli! It wouldn’t be quiet if I told. So, I’ll just keep #25 to myself. 🙂


Alli Polin October 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Love that! Hope you put it into action too!

Thanks so much, Joy.


Karin Hurt October 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

It’s so true. What we do when no one is looking can really make a difference in someone’s day. I find it useful to really work to ask the right questions that help people consider new perspectives. It costs nothing and can really make a difference.


Alli Polin October 24, 2014 at 5:09 am

Right on, Karin! Powerful questions help people shift without us telling them what to do next. They own it and we have the pleasure of watching them grow.


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