Someone asked me “Who are your role models?”, and to be honest, I had a hard time answering it. I couldn’t think of very many females of my generation (i.e., in their twenties) who I wanted to aspire to be like. The person who asked me the question was looking for examples of famous people.
I have had encounters with some famous people who I looked up to when I was a child, but when I met them in person years later, they were unfriendly and standoffish. I lost respect for them as the image they portray in the media is disconnected from the real version of themselves. There are many people that are the same onscreen as they are in person; those I respect and model after.
The reason I struggled with answering the question was because to me a role model doesn`t necessarily mean a famous person. Fame doesn’t equal success. There are many successful individuals who aren’t famous.
Dictionary.com defines a role model as “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others.” Personally, I think the term means so much more than that. People may look up to you as their role model, but I think it should not be looked at as a one-way role. You, in a position of leadership, should give back as relationships are two ways.
I wholeheartedly believe that when you are given such a powerful and influential position to others – you should value it. It’s important that if you have arrived at a successful point in your life, you should remember your past and think of the obstacles you went through to get there.
Some people have called me their role model; I am humbled and honoured, and this a big deal for me as I take that position seriously.
I used to think being a role model was tough. Being in this position, I felt like I had to do everything perfectly as others were watching me and I had to show them the way and teach them. I never had an older sister to help me and show me the way – and I have had to depend on role models. As an eldest daughter, I went through every major milestone (almost always) first, and therefore wanted to be a good example to my sisters.
Since the age of two and a half, I have been a sister. I have only for a very short period of time in my life (one where I don’t remember) not had important people who were younger than me to look out for. I have never had it any other way, so I don’t know really how NOT to think of others. As an eldest child, you are a leader and teach by example as your younger siblings are always watching and learning from you (either what to do or what not to do).
I am the eldest of three daughters, and I take the position of older sister quite seriously (you can ask my sisters). My beautiful sisters are always on my heart, and I want to empower them to be the best they can. It should be noted – that these two women are role models to me as well, as we learn from each other. Their strength, courage, and passion for humanity inspires me.
Two of the most important lessons I have learned on my journey are to persevere and to talk about issues. I am not perfect, have obstacles on my path, and make mistakes. I have also been a talker to them and would rather talk about issues than keep them inside.
Talking about difficult subjects, digging deep, and being real – can cause confrontation and sometimes disputes arise. I would rather have these disagreements and talk than say nothing. I am real with my sisters and they are with me. Sometimes their words hurt; but it’s important to talk than to be silent.
For years, I have been masking the process I have gone through and haven’t shared it with others. I was too focused on being the perfect version of myself that I lost the message. It takes courage to listen to your inner voice and speak up and for many years I didn’t have the strength to do so.
After a long process, I found my answer to the initial question. To me, my role models are individuals who have the courage to be real, to be vulnerable, to be themselves, and to share their journeys.
Thank you to my wonderful role models for helping me learn these important life lessons!