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Can't Talk | March 23, 2019

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On Being A Role Model

On Being A Role Model
  • On July 22, 2016

I had, and still have, amazing mentors all throughout my life. I’m at the age and life place where I’ve been thinking more about what it means to be a mentor and a teacher. I certainly know how valuable mentors were for me when I desperately needed them. I’d like to pay their kindness forward. I believe we change the world one person at a time, like an awesomeness virus. I am dedicated to continuing to try to spread awesomeness as far as I can.

I keep trying to figure out what all my best role models had in common, so I can be a good one myself. I think I’ve distilled it down to a few key elements I can use when I get the opportunity to act as mentor myself.

  1. All of my role models were both kind and exacting. Everyone from my beloved dance teacher to my very favorite English teacher to my current mentor/coach held me to a high standard of excellence while, at the same time, never shaming me for struggling. It was like they knew when I was half-assing and when I was trying my best and offered support but not coddling.
  2. They saw me. They didn’t try to make me into someone I wasn’t; they noticed my natural abilities and helped me shape them into something stronger.
  3. They took extra time with me when they supposed to be off the clock.
  4. They listened and expressed empathy rather than pity or sympathy. I felt like I could one day be like them rather than feeling like they were lofty and above me.
  5. They were vulnerable and honest enough that I could spot them as valuable role models. I knew I wanted to gain qualities they already possessed.
  6. They spotted my passion and supported my goals.
  7. They made me feel valuable and important to the world. That I could make a difference for others. That without me the world would be less cool.

I truly believe that reaching out to younger people, whether in our careers or families or otherwise, can make a vast difference in the world. Be a mentor to someone, so we can all make this world a kinder place, together.

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