When was the lasts time someone asked you who your role model was? And how does one even begin to answer that question?
In today's society, a role model might accidentally be that instagram model that makes you feel fat, the rich influencer you watch on Youtube, but wont ever meet, or a celebrity that created their own perfume line with the oodles of money they made off of you watching them. Here's what I am trying to say, role models are supposed to be people in your life that motivate and inspire you. Instead, we have replaced our role models with idols. Let's define the two and look at the differences.
Role Model: a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others
Idol: a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
Before we look at the differences, it's important to look at what YOU define these two terms as. For me, a role model is someone that has qualities that I aim to have and consistently work towards. One of my role models is a former boss that I had. He was such a great leader. He would always ask everyone how they were doing, actually listened, allowed us to create our own ideas and follow through with action plans that we thought would work whether he knew they would or not. He believed in his employees and it showed through his actions. I saw him as a role model because the behaviors he exhibited as a leader were behaviors that I wanted to imitate. This is an example of a true role model because I didn't want to change my physical self to be like him as much as I wanted to change my thought process and the way I approached other people in my life. Using his behaviors as a standard for the expectations I set for myself as a leader was a great way to get me to the next level. Now, I am a leader that has a great relationship with nearly all 100 employees in the building.
On the other hand, an idol is someone that I admire the work of, but I'm not really looking at their behaviors. For example, one of my idols is Matt Damon. I absolutely love all of his movies, his acting, and the characters he plays. However, I have always thought about how I might feel if I actually met him. Would he be as charming as he is on the big screen? Would he be as smart as he was in Good Will Hunting ? Would he be a great dad and compassionate, like he was in We bought a zoo? Would he be as brave and perseverant as he was in The Martian? The answer is, I'm not sure. When I think about what I am describing as the reason for why he is my idol, I am actually thinking of characters he has portrayed, not his actual behaviors in real life. This is how you can differentiate between an idol and a role model.
Matt Damon and Robin Williams in 1997's "Good Will Hunting"
Activity: Finding a Role Model, Not an Idol
Step one: Think about the job you want to have, the house you want to live in, what you want to go to school for, and how you measure your success. Write it out.
Step two: Think about all the people in your life that may fit the characteristics that you laid out in step one. Write all your potential candidates in list form. Remember, if you are thinking of an actor, are you thinking of a character they played or the actor themselves? The same principle can be applied for any celebrity that you may be choosing. Before you lock in on a person, ask yourself if you know anything more about their life than what social media has shown you. If the answer is no, either do some research or cross them off the list.
Step three: Pick the role model that is best for motivating you to be successful with the goals you visualized in step one. Make a vision board, if you have time! [make time....cuz vision boarding is fun]
Step four: If you've been on the fence about making a certain decision, fixing a problem in your life, or you've been lacking confidence, think about the role model you selected and what they would do if they were in your shoes right now! Journal about it.
Let us know if you chose to do the activity and who you chose for your role model! We'd love to hear from you!