What does success mean to you? It’s different for all of us. When you think of a successful person, who pops in your mind? Maybe you think of famous movie stars, with lots of wealth and glamorous lives. Or perhaps you think of CEOs or owners of companies. Or maybe someone who is very happy with their life comes to mind. Whatever success means to you, studying the lives of people you perceive as successful can lead you to find the drive you need to begin your journey.
The power of a positive role model
Research has found that parents have lots of influence on adolescent children in the realms of school and career planning. Parental support, and especially same-sex support, is important as children grow into adults. Children need parents who model ethical behaviour, and who teach them values and a sense of purpose.
One particular study found that adolescents who had role models were more likely to have a positive outcome. Role models were helpful, especially when children were exposed to negative adult behaviour from non-caregivers. The authors concluded that improving relationships between adults and adolescents should be encouraged (Hurd, 2009).
Adults can benefit from role models, too
While children undoubtedly benefit from having good parental support at home and positive role models, adults can benefit from role models too. Many people automatically think of someone famous or wealthy when they think of a role model. If you equate money with success, look at people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. They built companies from nothing and become billionaires.
Maybe success means the pursuit of science, or literature, or art. Look at Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, Jane Austen, or George Orwell. While none of these people were perfect, they did achieve success in their respective areas. Finding the spark, the drive that pushed these great thinkers and innovators on is crucial.
But you don’t have to emulate someone famous or historical. Role models come in all forms. There is no single straight and narrow path to success. We each have to seek the answer within ourselves. Positive role models can help us determine what we want, but the results are up to you.
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the results.”
Making sure you have the conditions for success has never been easier and developing your optimism, resilience, and determination can help you improve your leadership skills and therefore your chances for success.
The drive to innovate and imagine new things can be awakened in all of us. Finding a role model to learn from can be valuable in your professional and personal lives. Your success story is being written now, and you can ensure the best ending possible if you fill your tool bag with knowledge and insights from others who may have walked a similar path.
Hurd, N. M., Zimmerman, M. A., & Xue, Y. (2009). Negative adult influences and the protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(6), 777–789. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-008-9296-5