Lexington, KY – There are times when fiction can be more telling than real life. That’s the case with the novel The Hero’s Choice: Living From the Inside Out, by Roger K. Allen. This book draws its characters and their stories with such compelling insight that the reader is eagerly drawn to the lessons in leadership, communication, management and life that it inspires.
This is an American dream story: Hal Stratton is a successful entrepreneur with a seemingly perfect family, large house and all the trappings of that dream. In a sudden turn of events, his life begins to fall apart. Without warning, the board of directors of the company he founded and built fires him as managing partner. To make matters worse, there are rumors he may have embezzled or misspent company funds.
At a loss to understand what has happened to him, Stratton lashes out in anger, self-pity and bitterness. He alienates his wife and family, as well as friends.
Hal Stratton is a character to whom we can all relate. His anger is the same frustration many workers have felt over changes in the workplace. His personal struggles are all too familiar to many of us, as changing circumstances in recent years, perhaps not as dramatic as Stratton’s, have nonetheless forced us to confront new realities.
These new realities force Stratton, as well as many of us, to re-examine life to determine what is important. To do so, he confronts his own behaviors and attitudes, seeing for the first time how his choices have led him to his current situation.
In frustration and anger over his situation, Stratton spends a night in the mountains alone with his thoughts. The next morning, he encounters a stranger who invites him for coffee. This stranger, a former successful businessman now retired to a mountain cabin, quickly becomes a mentor, helping Stratton to see his changed life in a new way.
The cabin’s fireplace is mantled with a plaque that says simply, “The Hero’s Choice.” When Stratton inquires as to its meaning, the response begins an internal journey that will change his life altogether.
The Hero’s Choice “means being willing to be responsible for ourselves, no matter what the situation,” Stratton is told. “It means giving up the impulse to act out our hurt and anger or fear in favor of choices consistent with our higher vision, what we really want for our life in the long run.”
This responsibility includes being willing to make four basic commitments. The first commitment is to be honest with yourself. Looking in the mirror, you must tell the whole truth about what you see.