When I was younger, one of the questions they used to ask frequently either in schools or when you’re filling that “goodbye book” everybody used to fill back then (I think it was called slung book or something, forgive me if I’m wrong) was “Who is your Role Model?”. My curious self always wondered what anybody’s business was with whom my mentor was and I remembered having different answers every time the question was asked. I had Ben Carson, Pastor Adeboye, My Dad, and My Mum and so on at different points in time. I’m sure of one thing though: My Dad had the highest number of occurrences then; I’ve always wanted to be (partially) like him and I still want to be like him today.
As I grew older; I came to realize that there’s a major difference between whom you admire and who you want to be like. I might admire and get inspiration from someone who isn’t my role model. Let’s break it down in the most basic way we can:
A role is a function or a position
A model is a standard or example for imitation or comparison.
Admire: to regard something (someone, a quality, etc.) with respect or warm approval.
Therefore, a role model is the standard in a function or a position.
This is how I understand it: I might appreciate some qualities about a person, but it doesn’t mean I want to be like the person. For instance (and this is not personal in any way), I appreciate some qualities about Beyoncé- her voice, her ability to hold it all together and of course, her figure, but I do not want to be her or want to be like her simply because she doesn’t fit into the picture of how I see myself. On the flip side, I’d look at Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and think “hmm, that’s a great woman that I can fashion some parts of my life after”
If you call somebody your role model, following the definition above, the person should presently be or should have been in a position where you know that you can fit into with little or no adjustments; so it will be easier and more appropriate for me (as a techie) to call Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) a model than to call Victoria Azerenka (Tennis).
Also, I have come to discover that it is almost impossible to have one role model- professionally, spiritually or personally except God is your model. God is the only one that cut it perfectly; every other person comes with baggage and the ability to be able to separate the baggage from the exceptional qualities is what makes you the better person. You definitely have someone you aspire to be like personally, another professionally, another martially and the list goes on because of certain qualities that have that you see yourself being able to emulate. Combine all of that together with your own baggage, and you have a total package. (Did you notice I just rhymed? :D) If you have just one model, you have to be a really blessed person.
I found an article on Forbes recently talking about mentorship amongst female professionals and different people had different things to say about how the women already at the top (Generation X) do not properly mentor the younger generation (Generation Y). This one stood out for me:
“I recently spoke with a female leader I admire about work/personal life balance. She explained to me that she has given all of her energy and time to her professional life, and in retrospect, at 65 years old, she wishes that she had allowed for more balance with other areas of her life. This conversation affirmed me in my personal search for balance and my own recognition that I seek professional mentors who share my values. I do not want to live to work – I want to work to live. I want to succeed at work and contribute to my work place and community. I want the time I spend working to be meaningful, but I also want plenty of time to pursue passions outside of work such as volunteering, having a family and traveling. If I found a mentor who did not share those values, their advice would have only limited value to me.”
This leads me to the question:
What do you personally look for in a role model or mentor, both professionally, personally and in other ways?
- Forgive all the tech names. Err…I’m techie.
- There’s a slight difference between a mentor and a role model. I have used them to mean the same thing here.
- Big birthday shout out to Toinlicious. Wish you many more years in good health and prosperity. God bless you!
- Thank God It’s (almost) Friday. J
- Shout out to my two new followers. Thank you guys J