How to choose a role model

- August 27, 2008 2 MIN READ

A role model is someone who inspires you, whose behaviour you want to emulate. They can be a wonderful source of support, particularly for those working on their own.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a role model.

Begin by reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses. To keep it simple, begin by choosing just one key quality to work on. Select an area you don’t feel is naturally a strength. It might be feeling confident in a social setting or having the ability to remain calm in a stressful situation.

Then look for someone who exudes that quality with real flair. Most of us tend to begin the search by looking for people who are publicly successful or have celebrity status. I generally find I’m more motivated to model people I have had the opportunity to get to know. Every day people, with every day challenges inspire me.

One of the most common mistakes people make when they look for a role model is to try to find someone who displays all of the character traits you value. Ultimately, you will have a number of role models. You’re unique, so don’t try to emulate just one person. Instead, hand pick the qualities you desire from a number of exceptional others.

Modelling is simply about adopting someone else’s behaviour. To do this successfully, you need to fine tune your observation skills. Watch for the small details. Notice the presence this person has as they walk into a room. Observe their body language. Pay attention to the language they use. Be alert to every nuance and carefully select one or two of these that you feel you might be able to display naturally.

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As much as it’s important to choose the right role model, it’s important to be selective about which behaviours you adopt. If you’re someone who is naturally quietly spoken with a generally calm manner, you should forget about trying to become a high powered motivational speaker. You’ll be more successful fine honing your skills in the areas that are a more natural fit. Look to someone like Cate Blanchett who has a beautifully calm aura and is sincere and genuine when she speaks.

Once you have carefully chosen the right role model and selected one area to focus on, begin by practicing that behaviour as frequently as you can. Don’t expect too much of yourself in the early days. Any change takes time. In fact, recent studies say that successful change can take up to seven attempts to master.

Finally, believe that you can do it. All of us have a number of different parts to our personality. We all have a bit of the fearful child and rebellious teenager in us but we also have the competent adult. For this exercise, draw on the confident business man or woman in you and imagine putting that person in control. Visualising yourself drawing on this part of your personality and adding the qualities of your role model can be a powerful influencing factor.

Adopt a role model this month. Emulate their behaviours and use positive self talk to enforce these new behaviours as your own.

Choosing a role model checklist:

  • Who do you know whose values are similar to yours?
  • Who do you respect for the choices they make?
  • How do you want people to think of you when they remember the way you walk into a room?
  • What is one quality that you see in someone else that you would like to adopt as your own?

If you have a role model, how has this helped you? If you haven’t, does the idea appeal?

Let us know.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"