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Who Are Your Role Models?

Model: An example of imitation or emulation
Example: One who serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated?

  • Who are your role models?
  • What example are you leaving for others?

Let’s examine this together.

For the past 32 years, I have had the privilege of helping others discover and live their purpose. With that opportunity comes the responsibility of being an example, an inspiration, and a model for others.

I admit that many times, I would not have wanted others to model my behavior. I’m sure many of you can relate to that comment.

Here are two realities we must acknowledge.

1. Input equals output.

Whomever or whatever we are modeling is influencing our choices and behavior. That includes all input elements such as video games, movies, famous people and now all the negative 24/7 new channels. Any suggestion that those sources don’t drive behavior is preposterous.

2. Every day, you are modeling your example.

Whether or not you intend to do it, you are modeling behaviors. The fact is that what you are doing is much louder than anything that you might be saying with your words.

Years ago, I attended a private function with several individuals connected to the professional and personal development industry. All of us have worked with or for some of the biggest names in the business. During my 32 years as a member of the National Speakers Association, I have met many of the leaders in the industry.

We attendees agreed that for the most part, we did not want to model our lives after some of individuals who were famous in this group. Why? Their off-stage conduct was not compatible with the messages they present to their paying audiences. In fact, most of us said that once we got to know those people on a personal level, we chose to disengage our working relationship with them—we didn’t want to be associated with them.

We all make mistakes but we should acknowledge our shortcomings. That’s part of living an authentic life.

Unfortunately, some people relinquish their independence to become groupies following a person of influence or someone famous. Like lemmings over a cliff, they place the “luminaries” on a pedestal and blindly attempt to mimic their actions.

Don’t sacrifice the joy of living your own life by putting others above you.

Dysfunctional behavior applies equally to seemingly noble groups like radical environmentalists and other extremists who have committed to a good cause but have lost their way.

Who are your role models?

  • Have you chosen carefully?
  • Do you believe your current role models are worthy of your attention?
  • Are there other models who can guide you to the next level of your development?

If you are a parent, who is influencing your kids?

The sin of omission—of your responsibilities—is still the sin of omission. Saying the kids are only watching a music video, TV or constantly on social media is not okay.

What would others say about your example?

  • Does your personal conduct reflect behavior you want others to repeat and model?
  • Is your conduct congruent with what you teach—and declare to be your core values?
  • Are you proud of your conduct?

After writing over 4 million words of content and 500 articles, it would be wise to take my own advice. My greatest development opportunity is being attentive when I am not personally interested in the topic or person. I did not say this was easy but worth it. I can model being attentive for others? I am much better than I once was and that’s all we can ask of each other—that we are progressing.

You can learn from others and model them, but the bottom line is it’s your life.

That’s why it is so important to know yourself.

To help you on your journey to self-discovery, I recommend the following.

  1. To identify your natural preferences and strengths, complete the Personal Style Indicator (PSI).
  2. To clarify your core values, complete the Values Preference Indicator.

I wrote The Quest For Purpose to give individuals a self-guided road map for realizing their life purpose and for living a positive life—not a negative one.

Using those resources will help you play to your strengths!

Action Steps

Who is Your Role Model?

  1. Who are your role models? List those individuals now.
  2. Do you feel your current models represent who and what you want to become in life?
  3. Have you ever put a role model on a pedestal, thinking he or she was better than you are—and infallible? If your answer is Yes, what did that cost you in terms of independent thought and enjoyable living? If No, have you witnessed people who have put others’ needs ahead of their own? What has that cost them?
  4. You can place context on a role model. That means you can learn only what you want from them—and acknowledge there are some characteristics you don’t want to duplicate.
  5. As an example of a contextual role model, I appreciate what many professional athletes have achieved in their sport but have no interest in modeling their lack of moral compass, off court behavior or character traits.
  6. Who is your next potential role model? Before you choose a person or group, confirm what type of person or characteristics you are seeking.
  7. Are you satisfied with the example you are presenting to the people around you? Why? Why not?
  8. What could you do improve your example? List some items now. If you think there is nothing you can do to improve yourself, add humility to your list and start working on that.
  9. At an American Society for Training Development conference, New York Times Bestselling Author – Dr. Kenneth Blanchard spoke about leadership and the importance of modeling for every leader. He left us with this statement: “There is no place for EGOs in leadership.” What did Ken say EGO meant? Edging God Out.
  10. People living on purpose have their life’s directions built on their own personal strengths and desires, not those of others. Use The Quest For Purpose book to help you start living your life on purpose—as an example everyone can appreciate.
  11. As part of the clarification process and to help you connect to your passions, we recommend four specific assessments.

Make sure you have reason to be proud of your mentors—and ensure you can be proud of the example you are showing to others!

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!


Ken Keis

Coming soon new Wellness eCourse!

Dying To Live: Breakthrough Stress Reduction & Wellness Strategies

A full online learning experience and ecourse will be launched soon based on the Stress Indicator & Health Planner. This is based on our half day live workshop converted to the online format just for you.