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How to choose your top model

A useful step along the path to personal success is finding a role model to emulate. If there is someone doing what we want to do or living life how we would like to live it, it can be immeasurably helpful to find out how they got to where they are now. It's easier to learn from another person's mistakes and mastery, than reinvent the wheel ourselves.

Role models can come in the form of people we don't know personally but admire, or can be an acquaintance or even a friend. We might be interested in everything they do and have achieved or be drawn to just one aspect of their success, seeking to improve in that one area ourselves.

Identifying a role model can come with its challenges. It is tempting to compare someone else's end results with where we are on our journey (possibly at the beginning).

This is the fastest way to feel defeated before we start, and is entirely unproductive.

Often our chosen role models are older, or have been in the game — whichever game that is — longer than we have. We discount their background of hard work; gaining experience; the trials and tribulations they may have faced to get to where they are. Publicised success stories tend to gloss over these gory details.

Another temptation is to want to be that other person, because we admire them so much or crave what they have. Realising that we will never actually be them can leave us feeling frustrated and hopeless. What we are doing, though, is discounting all that we already are and have. We can only ever be ourselves — but that's not to say we can't achieve similar goals. We can emulate, but with our version of that success, incorporating the skills, talents, preferences and experience that's already a part of us.

We can learn from our role models by studying their path to success. What learning did they do?

What experiences did they have? What worked well for them; what didn't? We can discover this through biographies/autobiographies/published works — if they are well known. If possible, why not try and ask them?

Isn't it flattering to be approached by an admirer, and wouldn't most of us be willing to help someone if we could? Be it friend or celebrity, there's no harm in trying.

What can be most helpful to glean from a role model is not just their procedure, but also their process.

What did they do to achieve their results and who they were being? What did they tell themselves? How did they approach the challenges, setbacks and wins? What values did they hold? What did they focus on? Our results not only depend on what we do, but how we do it. Discovering the core elements of another's achievements and modelling them and/or adapting them to our own needs, can provide us with the tools and keys to our own success.

Is there room for a top model on your path? Who might you be a model for?

Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488,

Keeping it real: inspirational women such as bestselling author Gabby Bernstein, above, or Oprah Winfrey are helpful role models because they don't gloss over the gory details of the trials and tribulations they've faced to get to where they are

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Published February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 22, 2017 at 7:36 am)

How to choose your top model

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