League of Everyday Heroes: Ellie Jacques, Part 2
Today in the League of Everyday Heroes, we continue our chat with Ellie to discuss her own Hero’s Journey. You can find part one of our chat with Ellie at theHero Town blog.
Could you tell us about one of your own Hero’s Journey experiences?
I was at the Hero Round Table in Brighton, when suddenly a wild Sylvia appeared! I had no room, so she let me crash in hers. We were both super tired but when Sylvia asked me to come help at the Hero Round Table in Geelong, I recognised it as a Call to Action. I knew I had to accept it so I could experience growth. When I arrived, I hit the Pit hard: it was a week full of pressure on my ability to deliver training with Zimbardo, which I hadn’t been doing for very long. I backslid into the Pit repeatedly, and my Central Challenge was me doubting my ultimate ability and the purpose of the work I did. The job offer back in Flint was the shining moment that put the pin in this journey. I realised that heroism education is very meaningful to a lot of people. I became an Agent of Change when I returned to Flint and shared a message of hope with the people there that I had mastered in Australia. Now I’ve returned to Australia in another Agent of Change state and I’m seeing that we really have leveled up in the last two years. This hero’s journey has really spanned the whole path of my moving forward.
How do you foster your own heroic imagination?
For me, the heroic imagination is about envisioning yourself doing things to improve situations. You have to be present, hone your skills, and constantly expand your limits. That means having your Batman ears up when you leave the house. A heroic imagination also means picturing what happens when youdon’tact.
How would you suggest someone become more heroic?
You need to practice and think about heroism as much as possible. It’s important to develop an awareness of your environment and have your superhero goggles on every time you go out. Learn about social psychology and how influences like the bystander effect can prevent heroic action. This helps you to overcome it when the moment calls for a hero. Finally, get a team! Allies are there to support you and provide resources when times get tough, so surround yourself with awesome people.
Could you share a story about a time you overcame the bystander effect to help someone?
I was at a cafe in Geelong and I noticed a baby sitting at a table nearby. She had picked up a coin and put it in her mouth, so I lunged over and scooped it out of her mouth. I got a lot of strange looks but it was worth it because the situation could have escalated very quickly.
Another time, I was sitting at home in Flint when I realised I could smell something burning. I rushed outside and I saw that a neighbour’s house was burning down. All the neighbours were just standing there, watching and talking. Immediately I was delegating tasks: you call 911, you get a hose, and you look after the kids. They were standing by, waiting for a script, waiting for direction. They needed someone to overcome the bystander effect to motivate help.
What about a time where you were paralysed by the bystander effect and did not help?
I was shopping at Woolworth’s on a really hot day. I was exhausted and stressed about my bike being stolen, because I’d forgotten my bike lock. As I was making my way through the checkout. I noticed an older woman in an electric scooter struggling to reach an item on the shelf. I literally just watched her for maybe fifteen full seconds. Eventually a guy stepped in, but I felt like such a jerk. It really drives home how important self care is. If you’re fried, you’re in no position to help others.
At the end of a full day, what is your go-to self care activity?
An extravagant bath, definitely. I love to be clean, wear soft pajamas, and just lie in bed listening to a podcast with the lights turned off. For me it’s about decreasing stimulation and putting myself in a slow, soft, soothing atmosphere. I also enjoy going for a run.
How have you used heroism to manage your health?
Every day and every way, all the time. Heroism is a lens for every aspect of my mental health, and I use coping skills for every kind of activity. From learning about heroism, I understand what resources of resilience are. I know when someone in my life is a mentor and what they add to my life. Social connectivity is so important to me. It also helped my self-knowledge, and I pay closer attention to what works or doesn’t work for me.
If you were to start a hero training school, what would the classes be?
I would definitely have a class that focuses on physical prowess and outdoor survival skills. Everyone has their own brand of physical skill, whether it’s swimming or running. Tangible skills, like First Aid, ASIST, CPR, and Mental Health First Aid would be mandatory. I would also include classes on emotional regulation and intelligence. Combating the bystander effect is an important one: my classes would troubleshoot and roleplay hundreds of potential scenarios. I’d have a class based on the hero’s journey which would be a space where people could talk openly about their challenges journal, engage in goal setting and draw out their own journey. It’s also important for people to learn how to learn in a productive and healthy way. Finally there would be a class on combating prejudice and discrimination. A major issue in our world is fearing other people and we need to learn how to overcome that.
If you could share a single message to everyone in the world, what would the message be and why?
If I had to share one message, it would be this:
You make a difference. Every single thing you do matters.
But would people believe it? You have to experience the feeling of making a difference to really believe it, I think. But if I could make people believe it, that’s what I would tell them.