What is a role model to you? Who are your role models? These are important questions to consider in both your personal and business life.
We’re in the amazing city of Beijing, having just finished a conference in Shanghai, and after one of my presentations on The Science Intentional Trust, I was asked who my role models are. Let me share here the general discussion that followed.
When I think about the term role model, my framing is there is an inspirational and also aspirational component. What I mean is for the role models I have had and continue to have in my life, there is a ‘be like’ (wanting to emulate character traits) and a ‘do like’ (wanting to emulate actions and/or results) element to what constitutes a role model.
The key component to me is in the term ‘Role’. We have various life roles and as I reflect on the idea of role models in my life, my perception is no one person ‘stands out’. However, in the various life roles I have (husband, father, brother, son, friend, colleague, community member, and my various work-life roles), I have in the past and continue today to seek to learn from those who have experienced and show a level of mastery in thought, action and personal character, in the various life roles I have.
Some of my role models therefore are people I know. For example, my mum for parenting and patience; a friend who is an amazing father to his sons; many colleagues who have particular and individual skills, knowledge or attributes they’ve been able to master; my wife Liz as a role model for friendship, patience and love. And then there are those who I have and continue to learn so much through my ongoing research and study… some who I will probably never meet, and some who I hope to meet either on line or in person some day.
Most importantly, as I reflect on the topic of role models, for me is the birth of our first son Matthew (now almost 24 years old). I have no hesitation in saying the realisation of being a father, and the importance of wanting to model a ‘good life’ for our sons, to be a role model for them, has been a wonderful journey of challenge and discovery and continues to be to this very day.
Two Guiding Principles For Role Models
I am convinced that in one way or another, whether we like it or not, we are all potential role models for others. And among many guiding principles upon which I try to live my life by, two stand out when it comes to role models.
The first is my own Intentionomics platform principle – People Get Your Truth: Over time, your intentions, promises, actions and results will either promote you or expose you. And the second supports the first, and is an equally universal principle for ethical behaviour fitting of any role model. I’ve blogged about this in other articles, but it’s worth repeating here.
It’s the ‘Light Of Day’ ethical decision test, which asks you before making a decision or taking an action, whether you would make the decision or take the action if it were held up in the light of day for all to see?
It’s a great principle-based question isn’t it… and it’s very powerful in guiding ethical, moral (and legal) behaviour, in your personal and business life.
Dare I say it is a question some high profile personalities in sport, politics, and entertainment would do well to pay heed to… the only difference between high profile people and you and I, is that we’re more likely to read about them, hear about them or watch them because of their high profile.
To conclude this post on role models, let me simply ask you whether you are living a life where you’re consciously aware of and taking intentional action on being the role model you have the capacity and responsibility of being in both your personal and your business life?