Strong Roles Models Are the Key

Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to interact with strong role models from all levels, ages, ethnicities, and genders. As a result of each encounter, my horizons expanded and developed, with a depth of experience that I rely on today in my work and personal relationships. Role models let each of us see the traits we want as part of our own DNA.

When I look at my life, I recognize the special role models that have been key guideposts for my personal and professional life. From the early days of my grandmother schooling me on the ways of relationships and the importance of respect, to the strong aspirations expected by my educator parents, role models have set me on a path of embracing the teachings that everyday activities provide.

One of those activities was what I refer to today as “Debates at Dinner.” At the family dinner table, my parents would challenge me and my siblings on the current day’s activities. They would always take the opposite stance, to challenge our thinking and knowledge level. This prepared me to look beyond the obvious and ask questions that get to the core of the why, what, and how.

I believe if you look around, you will see examples of role models in a variety of areas—even those who exhibit behaviors you would not want to emulate. There can be as much value in learning which behaviors not to replicate as there is in learning which behaviors you wish to adopt. Identifying the attributes you desire in a coach or mentor, as you identify areas in which to focus, can be helpful, too.

Today, I look for role models from every walk of life. I recognize how incredibly lucky we are to have so many people with strong convictions, dedication, and a willingness to share themselves. The best role models exhibit one key attribute—they continue learning how to improve every day.