Valerie Khoo


This is the personal blog of Valerie Khoo – artist, author and podcaster. Valerie is passionate about exploring the worlds of creativity and business. She is co-host of the popular podcasts ‘So you want to be a writer’ and ‘So you want to be a photographer’. Valerie is a mentor to artists, writers and business owners on how they can turn their passions into thriving professional practices. She is author of ‘Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business’. Valerie is also CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, one of the world’s leading centres for writing courses.

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  1. Michaela C

    I love this, Val. It’s unfair to the other person, too, to place those hero expectations on them. Hard thing to pull back from though. We love having heroes!
    Someone recently said to me that she was so admiring of her mentor and hero that she felt he was “stealing her power”. I think this is exactly what you’ve said – live your own life, be your own hero, don’t invest too much in admiration of someone else, in case you lose your power.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      True, we do love having heroes. I admire tonnes of people but put so few people up on that pedestal though. So I guess that’s why it was such a big shock for me.

  2. Mat Hill

    Well said Valerie. I have similar thoughts about religion. Various religions do good things. They are also used as an excuse to do bad things. Belief that there is something out there greater than oneself gives some people strength. But I actually think they’d be better off believing in themselves.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Totally. In a sense, you’re the only one you can rely on! More importantly, how the freaking hell are you?! It’s been years! I keep up with the photos of your kidlets on Facebook – they are gorgeous 🙂

  3. Kelly Exeter

    This is why I don’t have ‘heroes’ as such. Because I know that in the end, we are all ‘human’ and humans are deeply deeply flawed. When we put someone on a pedestal we expect them to be perfect. And then when we find out they’re not … too traumatic (as you have found!!)

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Honestly, I was surprised myself how traumatised I was. I’m no spring chicken so I’m used to my share of disappointment so my reaction really made me wonder …

  4. Valerie Khoo

    Okay, after an avalanche of emails, I need to clarify something. The man in question is NOT Tony Robbins and he’s NOT Darren Rowse.

    It’s pure coincidence that Tony posted something about “heroes” on the very same day (freaky!). And it’s pure coincidence that Darren dressed in a Superman costume for his keynote at World Domination Summit yesterday (double freaky).

    I’ve never met Tony but find him truly inspirational. And I’ve met Darren heaps of times and think he’s one of the most decent and genuine human beings on the planet.

    Okay, glad we cleared that up.

  5. Vivian@MOUSH

    It’s so crucial to draw a line in the sand for oneself with everyone in life – on one side of the line is the potential to be inspired by people and to learn and grow from other people’s wisdom, experience and knowledge, and on the other side of the line is the potential to revere people. One should strictly position oneself on the former side and steer clear from the latter side. For no reason other than there’s simply no wisdom in one human revering another. Indeed we are all here to live our own lives and to go through life trying to get closer and closer to being the best humans we can possibly be.

  6. John Matthew

    Although old enough to be his father – OK, maybe almost his grandfather – my latest inspirational hero is the young Ashton Agar who broke every record in the cricket book, becoming the highest scorer at number 11 in a test side and greatly contributing to the highest last wicket partnership in a sport where statistics are like grains of sand.

    But it was not the heroics alone that earned admiration from around the world, but it was the way this young, inexperienced 19 year-old conducted himself on the world stage. Unassuming, unruffled and competent in what is often referred to as the “cauldron of test cricket” and completely efficient in the way he went about scoring his 98 runs.

    And then there was the way he accepted his dismissal, heartbreakingly short of what would have been a remarkable test century in his first test appearance. A shrug of the shoulders and an almost reluctant acceptance of rapturous applause of the partisan English crowd. And that boyish grin. For indeed, while still being a boy, he performed in a way that could be a lesson for many an adult.

    In a world where humility is not always associated with our youth, Ashton Agar’s heroics ( as well as his undoubted ability) lead me to hope that this lad is an immediate role model.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Let’s hope he continues 🙂

  7. MetaBiz

    interesting to know . Keep up the fantastic work.