Do you have a role model?
People love role models. We seek them out according to what inspires us. It is a common phenomenon with the human species; the desire to measure oneself using another person’s yardstick!
The University of Phoenix conducted a 2,000 person survey to evaluate the popularity of role models. They found that 74% of the respondents had from 1 to 4 different role models to pattern various behaviors from. The study also found that contrary to the popular belief of role models being athletes, celebrities and other public figures, a significant number of people choose someone in their immediate circle: a family member, community leader or educator.
Role model adoption tends to be clustered among the young: 20 to 30-ish age range. It seems natural that people at the beginning of their adult lives would look for examples to emulate. Sadly, our society’s most revered institutions have recently fallen short in the role model department.
Could You Be a Role Model?
Have you become disenchanted with finding a role model? Why not become one yourself? It only seems reasonable that for every person in search of a role model, a role model should be available! Besides, nothing is more satisfying and contributes to the great good like knowing your way of handling life is a valuable learning experience for someone else.
If you have never considered yourself a role model don’t worry, most sought after role models don’t look at themselves this way either. In fact, many considered to be role models may never actually to told that their professional presence and character is being emulated by others.
Role Models Live by a Code of Conduct
All that is required to be considered a role model is being clear and confident about the principles and behaviors that govern your daily life. Years ago, at a former company I worked for, I was introduced to the idea of having a ‘Personal Code of Conduct’. At the time, it seemed a little too academic lacking any real practical use. As I became an entrepreneur, opening and building a successful executive coaching business, I realized the wisdom of having a set of thinking and behavioral principals that would guide my every action and interaction. This became so important to me that I eventually wrote a book about it!
Since people who seek out role models may never have a close, intimate relationship with these folks. They tend to rely on sensory observations like listening, watching or congruity; the feeling that the role model is genuine and sincere in their choice of life and professional practices.
To establish your own ‘Code of Conduct’, do the following:
2. Create a list of principles that you live by that support your core beliefs and define your character.
Behavior principles worth listing might be:
There are many more attributes you could add to this list. I suggest keeping yours to no more than 12.
3. Commit your list of principles to paper. Create something that is portable. If you carry it with you, you will never be without the guidance you have established for yourself. If you meet someone who is seeking your guidance, give them a copy of what you subscribe to.
Living by Example is What Makes Great Role Models
Whatever you come up with should be easy to identify with, not necessarily easy to keep. People who have selected you as a role model want to learn how to act and behavior when times are challenging, and your beliefs will override any list of politically correct best practices every time.
Adopting a ‘Code of Conduct’ will have other benefits that can improve your career, your family life and your ability to impact your community at large. It will free you from the burden of decision making as you navigate any number of challenges that the world throws at you. Above all, realize that your new ‘Code of Conduct’ does not require perfection, only an adherence to being your best self.
Want to make a huge impact on the lives of the people around you? Be a role model!
About the Author
Steve Smith is President and Founder of GrowthSource Coaching headquartered in Lake Forest, CA. He is an accomplished leadership, management and organizational enhancement coach who brings over 40 years of business building experience to every client relationship.