Superhero Leadership: How You Can Make the World a Better Place At Your Funeral Home

I remember being so inspired after watching the modern day Batman movie (with Heath Ledger as the Joker, of course). I was inspired by the fact that an ordinary man, with no superpowers, was able to transform an entire city. 

Today, I want to talk about how you, a funeral professional, aren’t so different from a modern day superhero than you think. 

You, just like Batman, are an ordinary person and yet you are transforming lives, your community, and even your profession.

Today, in the name of Batman and all the everyday leaders doing extraordinary things, I’d like to offer 6 ways that funeral professionals can nurture their inner superhero and lead with resilience.


Superhero Tip #1: Create space for goodness to flourish

There are so many stories of people who started at 0 and with the power of a simple belief along with a little bit of faith, they created an entire movement, project, invention, or wave of change. One that inspired all it encountered. 

This is something that is entirely possible for each of us to do, in our everyday lives. In other words, the invitation is to create a space for inspiration and goodness to be easy, effortless, and the norm. Whether it’s a “Pay It Forward” project or a charity, you can lead with goodness in so many ways.


Superhero Tip #2: Remember that leadership is more than management

Sometimes leadership gets equated with forcing people to produce results. As if leadership is nothing more than creating elaborate reward-punishment systems to encourage performance. But that’s a very limited view of leadership, and it stifles the whole organization. Real leadership invites people on a shared mission to do something extraordinary together. 

Instead of divvying out endless lists of tasks, re-frame your work as a noble endeavor. Your hero’s quest. And all good heroes know that nobody accomplishes feats of greatness alone. 


Superhero Tip #3: Believe in yourself

As a funeral professional, you carry a lot on your shoulders and your heart, even during normal times. These days that weight may feel especially heavy. YOU are a superhero and people need your unique talents and passions now more than ever. But sometimes, these gifts and talents can get drowned in the mundane. 

Sometimes, when we get caught up in the details, we lose sight of the precious gifts we carry. But let me tell you, you’re doing a great disservice to everyone around you if you don’t stop and appreciate your gifts and what you’re capable of. Although it certainly helps, it’s not about relying solely on others to give us this reflection of gratitude, appreciation and faith. It’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you can count on yourself and your gifts to get through anything that comes your way.


Superhero Tip #4: Let the tough times to push you to be your best 

When you are committed to the goal of making a positive impact on the community, you have everything you need to succeed. In fact, the most difficult times may lead us to our most valuable breakthroughs. 

Look at the story of Annaleise Carr, a 13-year-old girl who found out she was too young to volunteer at a summer camp for sick children. But she was determined to help. So, she decided that she would swim across Lake Ontario (yes, all the way across it) to raise money for the camp. The swim would take about 16 hours to complete, and Annaleise hoped to raise about $30,000 – an ambitious number. 

The day of the swim, flanked by boats full of adults fretting about waves and weather, Annaleise forged ahead on her mission. By hour 16, she was nowhere near the other side. Everyone told her it would be fine if she quit; people would understand. She hadn’t raised much money anyway. However, she kept swimming. She was driven by her commitment to what she had set out to do. By hour 20, news crews started live coverage. 

Had she finished within the time it should’ve taken, her story would have remained a blurb on the back pages of the local paper. Instead, people became captivated with her tenacity. And the donations began pouring in. The endeavor ended up taking her more than 26 hours, and she raised over $200,000 for her cause. Pushing through the tough parts and staying focused on her mission made the difference. 


Superhero Tip #5: Befriend uncertainty

As we all continue to navigate our way through the uncharted territory of the COVID-19 pandemic,  think about what leadership looks like in this new landscape. How do you remain confident and instill optimism in your staff when you may be unsure of the future yourself?

It’s all about not giving up. You have to tap into all the passion and determination you already have to move forward boldly – even if you’re not totally sure what you may encounter along the way. When you are committed to the goal of making a positive impact on the community, you have everything you need to succeed.


Superhero Tip #6: Shine on, superstar

When we wonder at the stars, the light we’re seeing actually left its destination long ago. Funeral professionals are kinda like stars. You shine, illuminating and inspiring countless people, often without so much as a simple “thank you.” Just as the work you do often goes unappreciated, and you probably don’t get the recognition you deserve for walking families down a path of healing.

What you do can affect people for years to come in ways that they themselves may never even realize. You probably won’t ever hear the stories of all the positive ways you have affected the lives of those in your community, just as the stars themselves will never read the poems and love songs they inspired. 

So don’t lose sight of how meaningful and important what you do really is. You are creating space for people to heal and grow, and for goodness to thrive, even in the darkest times. 

Keep shining. 


What have been some of your darkest moments, or biggest breakthroughs navigating as a leader in the last year? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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