Today I want to talk about a topic that I don't often see discussed a lot, and that's how to be a better role model. As we age we get to experience the privilege of witnessing life grow before us, whether it's through our nieces and nephews, through our roles as coaches, teachers, and leaders, or in that most special circumstance as a parent ourself.
This privilege brings with it the incredibly important responsibility of serving as a role model. It's not something we're taught to do in school and more often than not it's not something we even consider ourselves to be - and yet we are, every day to the people around us, whether they be subordinates, peers, or loved ones, we have the power to inspire everyone we meet. So without further ado, here are 6 ways you can be a better role model:
1. Be Yourself
Authenticity is one of the most admirable qualities about a person. The most important thing you can teach other's as a role model is for them to accept themselves as they are. Our uniqueness is what defines us and makes us special, embrace it, and inspire others to do the same.
2. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Speak with integrity, honesty, and truthfulness. Understand that your words hold power, and they can be wielded to build up or tear down others. Understand the responsibility that bestows upon you, and use your words to create good in the world.
3. Stand For Something
Be a person of conviction. Have an understanding of who you are and what values you hold sacred. Don't let the pursuit of anything superficial cloud this understanding, know your worth, and never sell yourself for anything less.
4. Be Respectful
Respect is earned. Being someone who appreciates those around you and sees the value in people goes a long way. Demonstrating selflessness and a non-prejudiced point of view is something other's notice and will admire about you. Respect must be shared, it's not just a one-way street.
5. Have Humility
Learn to apologize and accept accountability. Nobody's perfect, it's important to acknowledge you're not infallible. It is also important to understand that everyone you come across has something valuable to offer you; don't be dismissive and don't take others for granted, find their value.
6. Be Optimistic
Never underestimate yourself or backdown. When you're stuck, don't wallow, get creative, self-belief is an absolute necessity if you want to achieve big. Having faith in yourself, your team, your tribe, is the ultimate way to inspire those around you. Amazing things happen when you simply refuse to quit.
Think of the people in your life who have inspired you and been your role models. What qualities did they possess? What kind of things did they say? It's the tale of humankind as a species to continually inspire and learn from itself. Evolution requires that we be role models to future generations. In a year as bleak as 2020 we can be grateful that despite the darkness, it has helped illuminate leaders, revolutionaries, and role models the world over. Be a light to the people in your life, and keep living with Purpose!