Who is your role model? Sidney Crosby, ‘The Rock’, Steve Jobs, your grandmother? Maybe a teacher or a minister played a significant role in providing guidance or inspiration at some time during your life. What needs to occur for you to recognize that you even have one? Do you need to be provided with a continued access to someone who purposefully influences you in a certain way that changes the course of your life, or can it be anonymous? I have never met Steve Jobs or your grandmother so does that eliminate them from impacting me?
Clearly, I need to do some research to better understand this relationship.If you google a list of the most common role models, the person at the top of the list will likely be either Jesus Christ or Taylor Swift. That information effectively ended my research. Perhaps I am not the only one who is confused.
There was a time when I believed that I never had any role models. No one came to mind when it came to life changing influences. Then I began to realize that I was looking at the whole thing the wrong way. Instead of asking who my role models were, I asked myself ‘Who wasn’t?’ My parents, siblings, friends, neighbours and co-workers all lived their lives in concert with mine as they moved in and out of my day to day life. Their comments, actions and feelings intertwined to create a constant stream of existence that only required my awareness to have it become a part of my reality. If I’m paying attention, I can watch, listen and learn. Subtle smiles that lift a heart and words of encouragement, love, anger and indifference all coalesce to provide a vast array of possible human interactions. I can observe the effects of humanity as they unfold all around me. Effects that can be mortally destructive, generously up-lifting and every possibility in-between. If I merely become an observer, the simplicity of recognizing the actions that create responses I would wish to duplicate, allows me to pick and choose my own favoured actions, works and feelings.
We all do this on some subconscious level as we live our lives and spontaneously act and react to whatever crosses our path. Imagine taking a purposeful approach to consciously cataloging what we observe and determining to add positivity to our repertoire and delete those that are undesirable.
While we are busy trying to identify that one significant person who is destined to be our magnanimous role model, we are missing out on the fact that we have unknowingly just walked past fifty potential ones.
If you are willing to accept this concept then there is something else that you need to understand. Every moment of every day that you spend with or near another person, you too are a potential role model for them. How you carry yourself has the potential to influence how they behave from that moment forward. Certainly our children, in their formative years, look to us as walking textbooks on how to behave, but it’s not only them. Whether we realize it or not, our words and behaviors effect everyone we come into contact with and we can’t just delete a phrase or an action and ask for a do-over.
My question at the beginning was, ‘Are you a role model?’
I believe the answer to that question is a definitive ‘YES.’ The real question is, ‘Are you a good role model?’