Why role models help you succeed
Role models are people you aspire to be like. They pop up at different times in your life, in
different situations – a sports person you want to emulate as you develop your footballing
skills, a favourite celebrity who has just spoken out on a topic you feel passionate about, a
politician or business leader. A positive experience you had with a careers coach, teacher or a
family friend could have motivated you to follow in their footsteps. Perhaps the fact that one
of your parents is a doctor has motivated you to get into medicine.
You might know your role model, then again, they might be someone you’ve never met, don’t
know and have only read about.
Having a role model at work can have a massive impact, helping you to recognise and develop traits, values and behaviours you would like to see in yourself. More general ‘life’ role models can be just as powerful, even if they are out of reach and aspirational.
Looking back over your formative years, what positive values and behaviours became an established part of your identity? Who influenced the formation of these values? What behaviour did you witness that shaped your beliefs and attitudes? It’s a fact that your development, behaviour and the values that you form early in life will have been influenced by key role models. Just reflect for a moment and pull some names into your consciousness. What was it you liked about these people?
Imagine your role model has just achieved an incredible goal. Perhaps winning a local election, succeeding on a key project or completing something for charity. Your heart fills with admiration. If your role model can do something like that – perhaps you can. By setting a high bar, like your role model, you lift your own intent and energy. And the more goals you hit, even just little ones, the more you believe that you can achieve loftier ambitions.
Having a growth mindset
Role models often appear to have what we would call a growth mindset. They see themselves clearly and believe in their capabilities. Of course, the truth of the matter might be quite different. Notwithstanding, if you want to learn and be the best you can be, a role model can give you that extra nudge to take a step forward. This doesn’t mean you have to aspire to be a brain surgeon. You might just aspire to be a brilliant cake maker – good for you! Finding role models with the same mindset (hello Mary Berry!) excites the soul. And when the soul gets excited – well it’s no surprise that you gravitate toward people who reflect your thoughts and feelings.
Just look at the advantages below and consider whether now might be the time to refresh your role model rolodex!
My role model:
- Provides me with a sense of self-confidence and belief
- Represents the same ethical and moral values that I want to uphold
- Started out where I’m starting from
- Helps me believe that from difficulty there is still possibility
- Motivates me to look ahead, identifying new horizons and development goals
- Has shaped my style and identity.
Of course, being authentic is key to a happy and healthy life, so it’s important that you also feel you can be yourself, as distinct from your role model. Aspiring to unrealistic goals (honestly do you really want to be Kim Kardashian?) can be unhealthy and get in the way of you living the life that was meant for you.
So, don’t be afraid, take the leap in the next step on your journey and go and seek out that role model who can help inspire you to greatness.