I never gave much thought as to why I admired certain individuals and felt negatively towards others until I came across a book that suggested writing down all the people you looked up to – whether famous, dead, or alive. After I did the exercise, it really brought to light the kind of person I wanted to be in this world, and mimicking the values (or lack thereof) of a character on reality TV was not on my list!
Self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins studied and read about all the people he admired and began to fashion his actions and belief systems after them. Look at the huge success he has become today. In spite of being told to ‘just be yourself’, and ‘be true to yourself’, some of us could use a little guidance and/or mentorship along the road to being our personal best. Or maybe that person already exists under layers of disguise. Many people have built a mask and are not living a life true to their values because they are actually living their life for someone else. Maybe you’re maintaining a role that a child, parent, or spouse is demanding you to fill. Or maybe even a mean teacher you had forty years ago in school! What a waste of energy.
Imitating someone you admire is the greatest form of flattery when you aspire to be better than you were yesterday and not simply obeying your ego wish to be just like them. It’s very revealing when you read about the lives of those you admire and discover the reasons why. I had written down my parents, Princess Diana, Eckhart Tolle, my friends, and so on. Each person I had listed for different reasons, whether their generosity, crazy sense of humor, or ability to remain true to themselves. When you realize why you admire someone, it enriches your relationship to that person and makes you appreciate their unique gifts.
Mentorship need not be a close relationship with people you know. It can be feeling inspired to take part in a sport because of your favorite Olympic athlete. Perhaps you want to discover a way to serve your community because of a charitable group close to your heart.
Who makes you feel impassioned? Why? Who do you wish you could be for a day? Read about them, watch interviews, ask them their point of view and how they do the things you want to do more of. I finished a book by writer Natalie Goldberg, “Writing Down the Bones” and felt like I had discovered a soul mate. Mentors make us feel connected and less alone. Focus more of your energy on those you admire, and less on fame seeking ‘reality’ stars. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions – most people love to be asked about their lives and love to help – because it feels good!
If you’re feeling depressed or at your wit’s end, always remember the saying, “Fake it ‘til you make it”. It has worked for millions of successful people, just like you. Keep singing, “Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride” and keep grooving down that road to ideal self!