Saturday mornings were a special treat for me when I was growing up. That’s because they meant two things: no school and cartoons.
Today’s youth can’t relate in this age of always-on self-serve entertainment. But back in the day we didn’t have instant access to everything. If there was a show we liked, we had to wait for it to air. And for me, Saturday was that day.
One of my favorite shows was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I was a long-time Spider-Man fan going back to the first time I saw him on The Electric Company. In fact, Spider-Man was the first superhero I was ever introduced to.
So you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to see Spider-Man in action in his own cartoon.
That cartoon was responsible for introducing me to Spider-Man’s creator, Stan Lee. You see, Stan Lee narrated those shows himself and I began to look forward to hearing his familiar voice saying “ok, true-believers” almost as much as seeing Spider-Man’s action-packed adventures. I even tried my best to imitate that voice.
Stan Lee became my idol. I dreamed of what it would be like to create comics. One day, while I was a middle school student, I decided to try my hand at it. I’m no artist mind you, so my sketches were rough, but pretty soon I had a few concepts.
My first superhero was Phoenix Man. His powers were similar to Firestar—one of Spider-Man’s “amazing friends”. Like Firestar, he had the ability to shoot fire from his body. Unlike Firestar, my character needed a little assistance to achieve flight. He wore wings on his back that allowed him to direct the fire from his body, giving him rocket-like propulsion.
I created a “fabulous first issue” of “JC Comics” using blank sheets of paper and a pack of colored pencils. Phoenix Man was the featured hero.
Ashes to Ashes
I wish I still had that hand-drawn comic book, but like so many childhood memories, it got lost along the way. In fact, by all appearances, Phoenix Man died along with my dreams of being a comic book creator. But…when you channel a creature whose power lies in rising from ashes, you can never be counted out.
Phoenix Man would rise again.
Years later—April of 2016 in fact—I was in Phoenix, AZ and I woke up with this question on my mind. “What kind of Beast are you?” I intuited one answer to that question was “Phoenix”. I mean, all the signs pointed to it. I was in Phoenix, first of all. Second, I had one of the most vivid dreams of my life back in 2011 about the Spirit of the Phoenix. And finally, I had received a t-shirt in 2011 and a medallion in 2015 both with the symbol of the Phoenix on them.
On that morning, all of the numerous times Phoenix showed up in my life came to mind—except one. I had completely forgotten about Phoenix Man.
Nonetheless, I got excited about finding my Inner Beast. I made a video series about it and wrote a book, The Beast Code. Nearly a year of working on that project still didn’t jog my memory.
Finally, as I was working on my marketing strategy for promoting my book and my online community, Phoenix Man began to emerge from the smoldering embers of my childhood dreams.
The Return of the Phoenix
I realized that helping people find their Inner Beasts is really like helping them find their superpowers. So I began using the “find your superpower” language in my marketing.
Shortly after launching that campaign, I stood outside a movie theater captivated by the Justice League poster.
It was the way they incorporated each hero’s symbol that caught my eye. That’s when it hit me. Once people know their superpower, the only difference between them and a real superhero is a symbol.
So I decided to give these superheroes symbols. And what was the first symbol available for purchase? You guessed it!
Once I saw that symbol on a t-shirt, the memory of my childhood creation finally resurfaced in my consciousness. I remembered Phoenix Man.
A Dream Come True
More importantly, I remembered my childhood dream—to be like Stan Lee. And I suddenly realized my childhood dream had come true!
How am I like Stan Lee? Glad you asked.
Stan Lee creates superheroes in a fictional comic book and cinematic universe. I create superheroes in our real universe by helping them recognize the superpowers they already possess.
The dream I thought was dead and buried quietly resurrected itself through me. Now I get to live it.
Do you remember the dreams you had as a child? You know, before you had to “get practical”? If you’ve forgotten them, don’t worry. They’re still there. Don’t be surprised if they rise from the ashes.
“Before you learned that it was painful to dream because you could never get what you really wanted from life, you had a dream of who you would become, what you might do with your life when you grew up.
You have never given up on that dream. You have simply forgotten it.”
-Gerry Starnes, Author of Spirit Paths: The Quest for Authenticity
Ok true believers… Now it’s your turn to discover your superpower. Follow this link to take my 3-day video challenge. After you enter your email address, I’ll take you step-by-step through the process to discover what makes you superhuman.
Spirit Paths: The Quest for Authenticity by Gerry Starnes