First of all, it's really an honor and a privilege for me to publish the story of one of the most amazing World Changers I've ever met. I met Tim 11 years ago during our freshman year in college (oh, how time flies) and he's been a good friend ever since. Tim was the president of their student organization and was awarded for his exceptional leadership and service. He was a model student and a standout leader. He has always been a very inspiring person. And now, his service has extended from the students and the university to the people in the country and in the whole world. Tim is a real hero and World Changer.
Tell us about what you do
According to global studies and supported by leading psychologists in the field, only 1 out of 10 will go out of his/her way and act on helping someone who is in duress or in dire need of assistance under a public environment. Psychologists call it the ‘bystander effect.’ It’s an alarming statistic. And it’s a matter I believe is worth addressing. To counter this phenomenon, let me share with you what I do:
I help inspire and educate people with other people’s stories of heroism. ☺ Simple as that.
How do you make money or achieve freedom doing this? If you're not making any money doing this, what do you do to support yourself? (Remember, you may not be making money doing the thing you love, but you may be making a difference in the lives of others.)
What a straightforward question! ☺ I make money by working full-time for a social enterprise. And you are right in acknowledging that we can still make impact despite not doing the things we love.
This is why we started Hero Of D Day (HODD), precisely for the purpose of making an intangible social impact by molding the minds (and hearts) of people who read our stories. Our aim is to feature simple and great acts of heroism and eventually inspire them to do the same for others.
In HODD, we believe in the concept of social ROI, wherein we measure our organization’s success via the number of people we directly and indirectly assist through our content. While it’s important for us to still get revenues to fund our organization’s operations, our ability to make social change through our stories is, and will always be, the end-all and be-all of our purpose.
How do you change the world doing this?
Creating impact via social media was foreign to us during the early 2000’s. With the rapid pace of technology and the Internet becoming an accessible tool for reaching diverse consumers and audiences, we at HODD believe it’s our responsibility to bring in positive and personal content to the industry and shape the people’s opinion on how it is to be a modern-day hero. Nowadays, you see lots of attention (via likes, shares, etc.) given to stories about scandals, rants, and even cat videos. While cats are cute and cuddly (I am a cat lover), our organization is resolute in pushing for stories of our own followers, because each of us has a story of a hero to share.
In HODD, we refer to it as ‘shared moments of impact’, when a contributor shares his/her story so people who read it can read and learn about a heroic act and hopefully the reader emulates the example of that act of heroism being shared. A change of perspective is created within, both on the part of the contributor and the reader. This is how our organization intends to change the world.
What did you do before this?
I had a business under trading commodities. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, you see. But my professional background involves Sales and Operations.
But with HODD, I’m in the business of selling the powerful truth that sharing stories of heroes can eventually mold a society of modern-day heroes.
How did know about this opportunity?
Social media has been a source of many inspirational stories about different people giving their own form of support for others. One of the founders spotted an opportunity and thought, ‘What better way to access these ‘heroes’ by collecting them in one place, and sharing them to others who want to be inspired through out their days?’
Just like the conceptualization of any idea, it began from very bootstrap and humble beginnings, as it was further developed by constant discussions with our co-founders, together with close friends and supporters of the cause, which eventually culminated into what HODD is now.
Who was your greatest inspiration or influencer?
Failing. When you fail, you tend to understand yourself better—what your strengths and weaknesses are, what motivates you to get up every day, what gives light and hope to your life.
And that’s when I remembered that while growing up, I enjoyed reading and watching about underdogs or heroes that come from impoverished or tough backgrounds, that's why HODD is very close to my heart and a culmination of who I am and what I believe is one of my life's missions – recognizing and showing gratitude to these underdogs, who are the real-life heroes we encounter in our lives.
What made you decide to finally take the leap?
My favorite movie is ‘Maverick’ starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. I’ve always admired how Brett Maverick, in the movie, would go through difficult situations and always find a way to make it work to his favor, even with a pointed gun to his head.
While it may not always turn out the way I want it to happen, I learn with every stumble I take. I’ve always romanticized living to my last breath and going out with guns ablazing. It’s how I want to lead my life, as if every opportunity will always be my last. The drive to contribute and succeed and live life like a maverick is what made me leap with HODD (and will continue to make me leap). ☺ Of course, it wouldn’t also happen without the people who believe in the cause—the HODD volunteers, fellow heroes, alliances, supporters, and directors.
What was the most difficult challenge you faced when you were starting out?
Convincing netizens that they can create social impact by just sharing a personal story. We all know how media has become a powerful tool in shaping the opinions of the public. Elections are won in twitter and facebook. Scandals are exposed via networking sites. Mass opinions are shaped with a like or a share or a comment.
But when it came to spreading good news, ‘the faith in humanity restored’ category of stories, no one seemed to be fully convinced that by just sharing their own personal stories of heroism, that they can make a difference in the lives of others, that it has to have panache and a life-threatening context attached to it. That’s why it was difficult to source stories from others during the first few months (and it still is an ongoing concern we’re trying to solve right now), but slowly, we’re learning the motivations of people in why they share their stories.
How do you cope up with your challenges?
We’re currently opening up various programs intended to source content from within, expanding our volunteer base so we can get more people to enjoin in HODD’s cause and find ways to make it more sustainable. Right now, we’re banking on the youth’s energy and refreshing ideas to also steer the org’s ability to realize its vision among the younger generations, as they’ll eventually be the leaders, game-changers, and shape-shifters of society.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from doing this?
When we see the heroes we feature and the contributors having that 'shared moment of impact': acknowledging the act through the story, being grateful for each other, and becoming mutually inspired to do the same for others—we learned that we can slowly create a society that identifies heroism as a norm, a society that becomes witnesses to happiness, and a society that believes we can be a hero through out the course of our days. Becoming a witness to these moments simply gives us a reason to keep on going.
When we can create this kind of impact through a simple story posted online, it fosters a habit among netizens to share relevant and sensible content within their social media circles rather than spreading reckless and non-value adding information. I still remember the words from one of our supporters, Father Xavier Alpasa, S.J., who talked about how we should utilize social media. To paraphrase, he says that 'social media and the internet are only tools for us to communicate with each other. It should not replace authentic human interaction. So while we're given these tools to enhance how we experience human interaction, we should still remember that these are just tools, and just like any other tool, we should learn how to properly use it and become responsible for it.'
Has the journey been worth it?
It’s only just beginning since we’re still a young organization. But I wouldn’t trade the journey that led us to start HODD for anything else. If we can help people save other people by continuing HODD, we’ll do it. It is the HODD directors, volunteers, fellow heroes, alliances, and partners’ contribution to the world. Of course it’s worth it. ☺
What's next for you?
Heroes don’t rest because there will always be someone in need of saving. Our aim as an organization is to continue spreading the message that we can be heroes in our own way. We’ll introduce various workshops and activities to our fellow heroes soon. Eventually, the hope is to reach a wider audience so we can spark a movement of creating a society of modern-day heroes.
Your advice to aspiring World Changers
Conquer your fears. When you’re scared or terrified, that’s when you have to continue and stay the course. You may stumble and fall, but the wounds you obtain are only testaments to hard work and perseverance. Everyone started from zero. Even heroes.
And when you do find your mission, hold on to it, never let it go, and live it.
How can they reach you or how can they join your revolution?
If you’re interested in sharing your story, just send a picture of your #heroofdday story, write down the story behind it and what did it make you feel, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. ☺
If you’re interested in becoming a bonafide HODD volunteer and meet other fellow heroes, please e-mail your interest to email@example.com and we’ll find a place for you that’ll suit your technical expertise and help you succeed within the organization.
Completely Optional: How much do you earn monthly or annually doing this?
Our currency in HODD is the number of heroes we feature and help along the way. I’d say we have a monthly net profit of 3 #heroofdday’s we actually help through the assistance and generous donations of our fellow heroes and partners. ☺ We’re expecting steady growth in social profit margins over the next few months, so hopefully we can gain more following to support the growth. ☺