Who’s on your Hero List?  This question usually sparks great conversation at dinner with friends or on long car rides with the family.  Plus, it’s a great way to discover new people and learn new things.  This new column will appear on Five O’Clock Shadow at regular intervals, and each new Heros List will be written by a guest columnist from the community.  So, let’s get right to it.  I’ll go first.  Readers are always welcome to share thier heroes in the comments below.

This month’s List Maker is Todd Fulginiti, a Lancaster, Pa- based writer/owner at Five O’Clock Shadow (www.fiveoclockshadow.life), professional musician/entertainment agent (www.toddfulginiti.com) and retired public school music teacher.

Todd Fulginiti

Todd’s Hero List:

Adriene Mishler- yoga teacher; Yoga With Adriene and FWFG.com

Adrienne Mishler, online yoga teacher

When I finally hit YouTube and searched “yoga for total beginners”, one of Adriene’s videos came up.  It was only 20 minutes long so I decided to try it.  I was hooked immediately, and started hitting the mat nearly everyday. My family got used to hearing what they call my “yoga noises”;  the happy sounds associated with the feeling of stretching tense muscles, building strength, and an improving state of mind .  Adriene was cool and easy to follow, not the uninteresting, dreamy-voiced guide I was expecting.

I checked the views on her videos.  Most are in the millions!  Who is this woman?

Turns out Adriene Mishler is considered somewhat of an angel to those who follow her online yoga practice.  What started out as a way to provide free, online yoga content to viewers, has grown into to a massive yoga, health, and wellness studio.  All online. All free.  She does have a paid aspect you could opt into, but it’s not at all necessary. 

Adriene makes my Hero List because she’s created a vast amount of excellent content which she literally gives away for free.  Over time, that model has, ironically, enabled her to generate income; from online monetization, subscriptions, and other things.  But income is secondary to Adriene’s approach. She first creates something of value, something that will help people and make their lives better, then offers it to them with no strings attached. The income follows later.

It’s a very unbusinesslike business model, but it’s a truly beautiful one.

Check out Yoga With Adriene on Youtube and give yoga a try- it’s totally worth the effort! 

David Brooks- writer, author, columnists with The New York Times

David Brooks, writer

I look forward to Fridays, when David Brooks appears with Mark Shields on their long-running, political commentary spot on PBS Newshour.  I like Shields, but Brooks really caught my attention because of the way he ties what’s happening politically in the country to our collective personality as a people, and what that implies.  Brooks is supposed to be the more conservative-leaning balance to Shields, but as Trump and Trumpism have risen, Brooks remains where he always was, at the center of rational thinking and open minded-discussion.  

In his book, The Road To Character, Brooks highlights individuals who were focused on what he calls Adam II characteristics.  Adam II is more concerned with character and inner-life than the money-minded, superficially-focused Adam I.  

One of the central vocational questions Adam II asks is, ” What does the world need?”  According to Brooks, we should focus less on our individual vocational wishes and instead ask ourselves how our personal gifts can be put to use in a way that fulfills the community’s current needs.  It’s these Adam II-type approaches that lead to higher personal satisfaction and happiness.  It’s an Adriene Mishler-esque approach (see above) that devalues personal wealth and glory and emphasizes integrity and service.

Adam II never seems far from Brook’s mind on PBS Newshour, allowing his opinion to serve also as a model for how to approach problems both in and out of politics.   Though certainly not emotionless, he never seems rattled or thrown off course by drama.

Brooks is on my Hero List because he asks us to consider the gap between what our culture values and what our humanity truly craves. 

Check out David Brooks on his PBS Newshour segment, “Shields & Brooks”, or read one of his books.  I recommend The Road To Character.  

Nick Foles- NFL Quarterback, Chicago Bears

Nick Foles, NFL quarterback

Full disclosure- I’m a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan!  Just knowing that, you could probably guess any number of reasons why Foles would show up on my hero list.  But he’s not here because of the Philly Special, the Super Bowl, great playoff runs, or anything specific to football.  

Foles is on my Hero List because of his ability to keep things in perspective and focus on the task at hand.  After a truly wild career of soaring highs and dismal lows, Foles found himself back with his original team, the Eagles, backing up a young Carson Wentz.  When Foles took over following Wentz’s injury, playoff expectations were very high.   With everyone questioning his abilities, Foles played through some initial rough spots and emerged as a trusted leader who could deliver the biggest plays when they mattered the most.

His post game interviews revealed how he did this.  Foles was able to focus on each simple step in his complex tasks, taking one play at a time.  He was able to see the commonality between throwing passes in the Super Bowl and throwing them at practice.  Same thing, different stage.  He was also able to gain the respect of his teammates by letting them know that he cared for them first as people, and that football mistakes and miscues weren’t going to change that.  As big a deal as it can seem, football is just football. 

Foles is also a devoted family man who has dealt with his share of adversity.  All of this allowed him to keep things in their proper place in his mind.  He found ease (sukha as Adriene Mishler might say), and consequently, success.

Since his glorious second stint with the Eagles, Foles’ roller coaster career has landed him with the Jacksonville Jaguars and now the Chicago Bears. He seems unfazed by all of it. 

Check out Nick Foles in what is arguably the single greatest play in Philadelphia Eagles history.

Who’s on your hero list?  Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to Five O’Clock Shadow- that way you’ll get all our posts emailed to you for free and you’ll be sure to catch the next installment of Who’s On Your Hero List.

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