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Daily Leadership Thought #113 – The Importance of Role Models

March 28, 2011

Free Cheerful senior businessman shaking hands with partner on street Stock Photo

Everyone needs positive role models in their life and this experience shouldn’t end with childhood.  As we go through our lives we will often stumble across uncharted territory.  There will be times when there are no easy answers or doing the right thing won’t be as easy as it sounds.  It is during moments like this we need to have something or someone to fall back on.   My belief is that the best life lessons come from experienced teachers and teaching isn’t limited to the classroom.

The individuals we turn to can be personal references from our own lives or historical figures.  I would recommend both.  The former may resonate more in a situational context because we’ve experienced these individuals in an up close and personal manner.  We know what they would do because we’ve seen them in action or can ask them for their advice if they are still accessible.  They also are more realistic and relevant guides to our everyday life.  I have one past boss who was a splendid example of strong character and sound judgment.  The latter group works more in a broader context.  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are legendary figures who are unique to any period and as a result their lives will be studied for many generations to come.  Their greatness may be hard to imitate, but it shines as an example of what’s possible, especially when dealing with larger issues.

Life is hard enough without making it up as we go along.  Role models make the path a little easier to navigate. All of us have people we can and should turn to for direction and inspiration.  I encourage you to reflect on who has been a positive force in your life to date and why?  What can you learn from them?  Write it down, continue to reach out to them if you can, and appreciate their presence in your life for the gift that it is (or was).  In addition, learn more about the lives of historical figures who inspire you – whoever that may be.   Why do they inspire you and how can you apply this knowledge to your own life experience?   Lastly, always keep in mind that you may be a role model to someone else.