There are plenty of people to want to be like, but what if you are like me? Someone who has always seemed to have a foggy image of who I wanted to be when I grew up?
Like many little girls, I wanted to be like my Mother. I have always admired her many incredible qualities.
However, she was in an entirely different profession than I was, so aspiring to be like her professionally was not possible. She was a nurse and I have always been a business person. My Father was a businessman, but I still am not sure exactly what he did. He never talked about his work. So, wanting to be like someone who does not communicate about their work is difficult, but I absolutely wished to have his and my Mother’s work ethics, which were both impressive.
I believe it is natural to want to be like someone you admire, especially if it helps to motivate you in some way.
I wanted to be like my parents based on some of the aspects of how they modeled their behavior, and which I admired.
Over the years, as a business professional, I had few other females to look to as role models. They were not physically present throughout the majority of my career.
However, there have been a few women who significantly and positively influenced my career. One of them is Myra Hart. Myra was my first real boss when I was working at the corporate headquarters of Staples. This was at the time when Staples had only four stores and were in the process of taking the office supply industry through an enormous paradigm shift.
Myra was the only “C” level woman executive on the team, and she and co-founder Tom Stemberg were both newly-minted Harvard Business School graduates.
Myra was the only woman executive, so I carefully watched her style of interacting with the other executives, and how she led our Growth and Development team.
Since I did not have anyone to compare Myra’s management style to, I was able to, later on, model from her management style in the leadership roles I have had. There were a couple of other business women who influenced me and who I aspired to be like. As my management career progressed, I realized there wasn’t anyone else I wanted to model.
This was an epiphany, and made me realize I had to strike out on my own and simply make a commitment to be the best I could be at whatever I chose to pursue, including serving as an inspirational and motivational leader for others. I am on my way to do this as I write these words, so keep your eye out for me in places you might not expect to see me.
Having goals and finding people or things that inspire you are important tools, and can serve as your compass when you need them.
You may not be in a place right now where you have a person or something to inspire you, but keep on the lookout as most people can benefit from having one or both of these.
Something that kept me motivated was the ability to travel outside of the United States. I was able to start accomplishing this dream when I was in my early 30s, and have continued to leverage travel as an inspirational tool.
Here are six things to think about when trying to determine what can help you decide what you want to do professionally, or personally.
- Print, or cut out images that inspire you, or that you aspire to either possess, or be like in the future. Place them on a piece of poster board, and in a location, you can look at it every day, or on days when you need visual inspiration.
- Create a list of people you admire.
- Write down the characteristics of the people or things you want to be doing. Use this list as inspiration.
- Think about some of the qualities or characteristics you already possess which will help drive you towards who or what you aspire to be, or do. Chances are, you have more of them than you might think.
- Have you considered whether you might be someone that other people aspire to be like? Perhaps people have told you they admire you, your work or something you have a talent for.
- Set a realistic goal to work towards achieving what you want to do, and then keep yourself accountable. This takes discipline, but it will be worth the effort.
Now that you have some ideas about how to map out having someone or something to aspire achieving, don’t just give this lip service or put the idea up on a shelf, go out and start making it happen. As the saying goes, “there is no time like the present, and the present is now.”
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
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