For the record, whilst I do understand that we are all role models in our own right – this particular subject makes me extremely nervous on a personal level.
Let me explain why, so that you too can be aware of it and then we will move forward on to the ‘understanding that we are all role models’.
Being a role model is not a difficult thing at all. We have all ‘looked up’ to people in our lives. We have all, at some point or another followed someone’s way of thinking or doing or looking. That in itself is a healthy thing and not bad at all. It’s when someone ‘hangs’ onto your every word and actually almost (if not in fact) ‘hero worships’ you or puts you onto the proverbial pedestal. This is where it actually goes pear shaped! You see at some point you are going to fall off that pedestal and when that happens there is usually a great deal of hurt and anger and animosity. You didn’t put yourself onto the pedestal and yet you are the person who gets blamed for falling off the damn thing! So now you know why I get very nervous when people want me to ‘mentor’ them, it actually makes me want to run in the other direction. For the South Africans amongst us – remember Hansie and all the emotion, disbelief and anger that came out of that one (myself included). Putting people onto a pedestal is not a good thing at all – they are after all . . . just people.
So now, let’s have a look at ‘Understanding That We are All Role Models’.
It’s often a really frightening thing to know that someone out there looks up to us as a role model. Can you imagine someone really wanting to be us, or wanting to live the life that we have. I often hear people saying things like “Nikki, I would love to have your energy” or “Nikki I would love to be able to Network the way you do.” My usual response is to either growl at them or if I am in a really good mood, explain that it is all in the choices that they make.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think that I am good enough for someone to want to emulate, or that I am not proud of my achievements. I also understand on some level that I do make a difference in the lives of many people – that’s a choice that I made many years ago – to make a difference, and for me that is very exciting as it opens up all sorts of opportunities for me. What scares me the most is that I consider myself a ‘work in progress’ and I am continually working on the person who I am and who I want to be. I cannot control how quickly (or slowly for that matter) I change or evolve and now I have to consider the people who are trying to keep up with me. The mind boggles!
What is equally if not more scary is that this is how people, supposedly intelligent people, follow other people into all sorts of disgusting, horrible and often even purely evil, avenues of life. Think about all the gangs, rip off artists and scammers, or cults and then what about the leaders of this world – people like Hitler and Robert Mugabe and Idi Amin. Believe it or not there are still those amongst us, yes they walk amongst us, who still think that these people are heroes.
On the flip side of the coin, this is also the avenue that we can make the most difference and how exciting is that. It also, in my opinion, makes us responsible for the way that some people see the world and how they will ultimately act in the world and how they will behave in the world and quite honestly that makes me feel really proud, especially because it is as a direct result of me . . . well just being me.
How incredible is that? It means that I, little old me, will have either a positive or a negative effect on someone in the world today. It makes me responsible for the way that I interact with people (oh dear, now that means I have just kicked my own rear end), it means that I have to be careful of the choices that I make today because someone else is watching what I am doing because what I do will influence what they say, or think or do.
Just writing this piece has made me realize just how much more aware I need to be, on the daily choices that I often make without even thinking.
This knowledge and awareness makes me understand that I can literally change the world, one person at a time, and that’s really cool. It’s a big responsibility and I still have no desire to step onto the pedestal, but it’s also really mind blowing to understand the power that I have and that you have too.
The question remains however – what are you going to do with your power today?