“Who’ll be my role model now that my role model is gone?
[You Can Call Me Al, by Paul Simon]
We have started a new calendar year and it is only natural that we set goals, make resolutions, and promise our selves that we will become better at some aspect of our life. When we are children, we often put up posters of athletes, inventors, or entertainers we had adopted as “role models” to remind us when things got tough. I know many of you were part of the “Be like Mike” generation that revered a certain basketball legend.
You all woke up one day to find your role model was no longer at the top of his or her game. Or sadder yet, despite still having “game”, their behavior no longer inspired much devotion. It happens with such frequency, prominent people now publicly declare that they do not want to be “anyone’s role model.” For us older people, many of our role models have died.
No matter what profession you are in, no matter what job you have within your current organization, having a “role model” helps you improve. I am not talking about the blind devotion of an eleven year old super fan; frankly that is not a good idea for anyone. Real people have flaws; we are all real people.
Select those aspects of a role model that line up with your weaknesses. If you have trouble completing assignments on time, observe the habits of a co-worker who doesn’t. Perhaps you need sharpen up your report writing; your role model might be published in a trade magazine or the local newspaper.
Do not be surprised if a co-worker adopts you as a role model. A role model you can actually interact with is called a “mentor.” I will have some thoughts on both the mentor and the mentored in the new couple of blogs.