Reflect for a moment on how you got where you are today; how your journey started.
Was there a teacher who motivated you to follow your dreams, or someone famous that influenced your choices? Or was it an object, a painting or a book, that revealed what your purpose in life should be?
Every life has a catalyst, each unique and playing a vital role. Something, whether it be a person, a subject or an idea, provided the mold you decided to fill.
Economist and professor at George Mason University, Tyler Cowen, put it best when he said that “most of us are not pure self-starters; most people need role models. They need coaches, exemplars, maybe some discipline or some rewards. We need to be motivated.”
Cowen has hit the tip of the iceberg.
Role models seem to be reduced to formative years, something a teenager or a person just starting their career should concern themselves with. What many fail to see is the importance of role models, no matter what phase of life.
Role models, whether active figures or someone who you aspire to be like, act as guides throughout our lives, reminding ourselves why we chose the path we did.
For example, one of my role models is the singer Pink.
She is unapologetically herself, and she doesn’t change because of another person, even if it affects her career. For her, being herself is more important than how many fans she has.
I chose her as a role model because she reminds me how important it is to stay true to myself.
One of my other role models is Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, better known by her pen-name Nellie Bly. She was a ground-breaking American journalist, starting her career in the late 1800s where she was performing what was seen as a man’s job before women were even allowed to vote. She wrote a variety of articles, including a piece about the asylum on Blackwell’s Island, where she went undercover as a patient in order to report on the asylum from a first-hand experience.
Seaman is one of my role models because she reminds me of my goals in life.
My ultimate goal as a journalist is to become either a foreign correspondent or an investigative journalist, both of which I hope will take me overseas. She shows me that it’s possible.
If you don’t have a role model, I encourage you to find one. Role models can become the figure that pushes you forward in life, as well as the person you fall back on when you’re knocked down.
These people should ignite a flame in you, not just a spark.
As singer and songwriter Carly Simon said, “We need role models who are going to break the mold.”