This is a guest post by Hulbert Lee, @hulbertlee.
Role models are great to give us inspiration or motivation. You may have some role models of your own right now. I know I have some of my own, and it still amazes me to this day the certain work ethics of famous people.
It leaves me in awe to wonder how famous comedians like Jay Leno can work through a day with only 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night, or how famous bloggers like Steve Pavlina can wake up at up 5:00 AM every day full of energy, or how famous wine-collectors like Gary Vaynerchuk can work 18 hours straight talking to people about wine. Doesn’t that get boring?
I used to think, “Wow, if I could be like them, my life would be great.” Then I hit a wall. Nothing significant happened to me for about a year, and I realized why. It felt great to have that role model spirit next to me at all times, but it was also weakening me at the same time. Ironic, huh? Not really… I know it sounds kind of counter-intuitive, so let me try me explain.
When you look up to someone all your life, someone that’s always there who gives you hope, courage, motivation, inspiration, excitement, desire, or what have you, what happens one day when they don’t have that same impact on you anymore? Who do you really become? Who are you? Are you nobody? Do you feel empty? I know I did… I wondered who the heck I was. I wasn’t a star. I wasn’t a celebrity. I wasn’t someone famous. I was just another person, among the billions of others out there.
I think too often, we gain confidence from people we will probably never meet in our lives called role models. Role models come in many different forms. Some sell you their ideas for $47 per month; others charge you $100 per hour session. Some can be found from audio tapes to self-help books or from videos to articles. This is all great. I’m not saying you can’t learn anything mind-blowing from them, but when you indulge yourself in the idea that you need a role model to improve your life, that’s when something’s wrong.
A while ago in his Kung Fu Panda article, Dragos mentioned role models as being catalysts, nothing more. I wholeheartedly agree. Role models are here to get us that extra nudge, but they are definitely not here to do our dirty work for us, nor do they define us. Ultimately, all of that comes down to us and nobody else. But that’s good news. I think all of us are capable of becoming whoever we want to be, but it comes down to whether or not you believe in yourself. Here is a strategy outline to become the greatest role model that you can be.
A. Raise Your Standards
Tony Robbins has always told people that to have lasting change we must raise our standards. He says that everybody goes through life with a “should list” – “I should take out the trash.” “I should get a job.” “I should interact with more people.” “I should start getting work done today.” We all know what happens to our shoulds; they end up getting pushed back further and further away from us until they are completely forgotten.
But what if we start changing our shoulds into musts? These are two completely different things. I should eat this vegetables right now is a lot different than I must eat this vegetable right now! Try saying it aloud to yourself and you’ll see a big difference. One is 50% chance I’ll do it. The other is 100% I’ll do it. To raise our standards, we have to start turning things that we should do into things that we must do.
B. Have a Belief System
All role models have a set of beliefs that make up who they are. Human beliefs have been one of the most powerful tools over the last two centuries. Even when something can’t be seen or when others strongly disagree with you, our beliefs are still as true and real to us as this article you are reading right now.
I’m sure you have seen people who have crazy beliefs do crazy things. But to them, it’s real. It’s as simple as that, and if you were to get inside their head, it might be real for you too. Write down a short list of what you would like to believe even if you aren’t it yet. It could be, “I am a hard working millionaire” or “I influence the world in creative ways.” Here are a few of mine:
1. I write articles that people want to read and share them with as many people as I can.
2. I work harder than anybody else expects me to.
3. I live in the present moment.
4. I realize that the more internal pain I feel, the stronger I become (I have this one because I struggle with OCD).
5. I love my family.
Gary VaynerchukÃs set of beliefs or rules that he followed were:
1. Love your family.
2. Work superhard.
3. Live your passion.
Write down a list of your beliefs and place them somewhere where you can see them every single day.
C. Envision What You Want to Achieve in Your Mind on a Constant Basis
In 1943, the world record for the mile was 4:02. This record stood for 11 years where almost everybody, including doctors, believed it was physically impossible for the human body to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Then came a guy named Roger Bannister. He didn’t have someone to look up to in terms of running because no one had ever run a mile in less than 4 minutes prior to him. He tried and tried to do this, but his physical body couldn’t get him past that mark.
Because he couldn’t physically achieve this task, he had to start doing it mentally. He started to envision himself beating the mile in under 4 minutes over and over again in his mind. After numerous tries, he ran the mile again and this time broke it. He became the first person in history to run a mile in under 4 minutes. The following year, the 4-minute barrier was broken 26 times.
The point here is you don’t need to wait for somebody to prove to you that something impossible can be done. If you envision it enough times in your mind, that is the only proof you’ll need.
D. Prepare Yourself to Be a Role Model to Tens of Thousands of Other People
It’s good that you’ve raised your standards, that you’ve set your beliefs, and that see you envisioning your new self played out in your mind, but it’s time to put all this to the test, because every day is a test. In fact, Everyday is an opportunity – an opportunity to prove to yourself that you are an example of the beliefs that you’ve set out for yourself.
Imagine for a second right now that one day you will have to be a role model to tens of thousands of other people. Are you going to be a cover up story, or are you going to be a person who can back up your beliefs with examples from your life experience? When you have the mentality that one day, you’ll have to be a role model to people who look up to you, then naturally you’ll create a burning desire within you to become the best role model you can be to other people.
You have to always remember role models – even the greatest ones – all started as average people. The only difference between them and other people who complain all day about how they are not getting the results they want is that they were able to raise their own standards and follow through with their beliefs. No one else could have made this happen for them except themselves.
My final tip to this role model strategy outline is to be wise with time. Don’t waste it because you’ll never get it back. Use every day as a measuring stick to figure out where you are right now and how far you need to go. I hope that by following some of these things, you won’t have to rely on a role model to be your unique, awesome self.
About the author: Hulbert Lee is a aspiring writer who writes about personal development and success at his blog, FromBottomUp. Make sure you sign up for his RSS to receive updates or follow him on Twitter.