Learning from those you admire can put a profoundly effective tool in your treasure chest when you are working to become your best self. So, who do you admire?
What person comes first to mind? Is it a celebrity or historical figure? Perhaps it is an author whose books you have read or a poet whose words resonate highly. Maybe it is a philanthropist or entrepreneur whose success you want to model.
What is it about those people you admire? What do you truly know about them and their character? And what is it about admiring them that can help you?
It is often the case that we look outside our own circle to find people to admire.
I believe when it comes to looking for great character and powerful qualities, you are best to look closer to home first. Look at the people you know well, who are more like you than not. When you are striving to be the best version of you, it’s helpful to recognize the characteristics and behaviors that feel right to you. Who do you know that you want to be like?
Some of my clients tell me they struggle with what they need to do to become a better person. Do you ever wonder about this?
Who do you want to become?
If you’re like me and most of my clients, you want to be at your best as often as possible. You want to show up authentically and be proud of who you are. Do you desire to have others admire you for what you stand for and what you value most? Perhaps you would like to become a role model for others — especially for your daughters, nieces and other young women in your life (and the men and boys, too).
As you think about this, do you ever get confused about what changes you need to make so you can be a better person? This can become a murky journey, especially if you’re going through a major life transition, like divorce or loss of a loved one, at the same time that you want to up-level to be at your best.
These upside-down-times in life often cause us to second-guess our decisions, thoughts, and feelings. And we can easily be influenced by the opinions of others when our own convictions aren’t strong enough to hold us steady.
Let’s clear up the murkiness
Here’s an idea that might help you gain clarity and create a foundation for you to become the person you really want to be.
If you like to write or journal, this would be a great time to capture your responses to this question:
Who do you admire?
Often the people you admire have qualities you consider worthy and special. That’s what draws you to those people. You resonate with them and feel honored to be around them. Perhaps, you want to be more like them.
Start this exercise by making a list of the people you admire—stick close to home at first. If you run out of objects of your admiration in your own backyard, broaden your scope to include people you don’t know but you know something meaningful about.
Next, name the particular quality or characteristic of each of them.
Then start writing about that quality which resonates so highly with you. What is it? How does it make you feel when this person demonstrates that quality? What can you do to integrate that quality into your own being? When you imagine yourself with that quality, how do you feel about yourself?
Let me give you a quick example: my mother was one of the strongest, most loving woman I have known. Her heart was very big. She had her flaws (don’t we all), yet her big heart made up for them. I’ve learned to love BIG from my mom.
I have also admired Helen Keller for a very long time. I admire her for her resilience and perseverance under enormous challenges. By her behavior, she has taught me to look at things from a different perspective when I feel challenged. I’ve learned to stop and notice the situation that has me challenged. I now ask myself, “How can I turn this situation around and be more resourceful?” “How can I look at it from a different perspective and make it a teaching moment?” “What if it was my idea that this challenge happened? How would I react then?” Sometimes it requires just a very small shift for things to change.
Helen Keller also taught me to reach out for help when I need it, with these words: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” I now know that I can ask for help and not feel inadequate — instead, I feel empowered because I have brought an expert into my inner circle who can help me get the job (whatever it is) done better and more easily.
Who do you want to hang with?
Now, what would happen if you were to hang out with these people who demonstrate the qualities you admire? Could they become your role models? Perhaps even your mentors? What might you learn?
The easiest way to start acting and believing that these qualities you admire so much are true for you is to let some of it “rub off.” When you are around the people who live the qualities you admire, you get to adapt those qualities so they can apply to you. Once you’ve tried them on for size, it’s easier to start showing up wearing those qualities yourself, and soon they will become part of you. And they will fit like a glove!
When you turn admiration into a strategy that will help you become the best you possible, you have put a new tool into your own treasure chest.
Step Onto Your Bridge
When life-changing moments flip the world upside down, I create a bridge for women so they can turn chaos into calm, build resilience and learn to live a life guided by their own values and vision. If you’re ready to take the first step onto your bridge and explore how change can impact you and how to move through it with more dignity and grace, get my free ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.