August 30, 2019

Why your role model doesn't have all the answers



"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once. But don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own." ~ Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is one of our country's most beloved role models. Her advocacy, sense of style, willingness to speak authentically about a range of issues, and of course, her book (which took only 15 days to break the record for the most copies of any book sold in 2018), have made raving fans of millions of people.

Positive role models often embody characteristics we wish we had. Even when we know that role models are human and flawed, just like all of us, we find comfort in knowing there are people in the world whose work, behavior or abilities we can admire and even strive to emulate.

But I believe that in looking up to role models, we discount our own ability to influence others.

We look to role models to speak up, because they're celebrities (in one way or another), they have a bigger platform, they already have the attention of many, and they have the superpower of being able to bounce back from bad press or criticism. Sometimes it seems like speaking up is something "other people" do.

Maybe it takes the pressure off; if someone else is speaking up for change, you don't have to. It's easy to hide behind our role models, to share their quotes on Facebook, to give their books as gifts, to pay top dollar to hear them speak at events, and to continue to let them do all the advocacy and activism.

Michelle Obama impacts millions of people, but she doesn't resonate with everyone. None of us will resonate with everyone.

But what if you could impact 100 people with your message? What if you could impact ten people? What if you could change one person's life? 

What if you could be someone else's role model?

Guess what: You already are!

There are people who look up to you. Your message and your story are unique to you, and there are people who need to hear exactly what you have to say, in the unique way that you say it.

In fact, you might be advocating for the same important issues as a well-known celebrity or other known personalities or experts, and yet you have the opportunity to connect with individuals and your community on a personal level that a celebrity rarely gets.

Role models are often inspiring teachers and examples to us. But don't forget that you can also be a role model, and probably already are.

Don't wait for the someone else to speak up. Now is the time. You have the right message. And you are the right person for the people who need you. And believe me, people need you.

Michelle Obama said it herself in the quote above: "...don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."

Now, who are you going to go out and inspire?

If you desire to impact and influence your audiences in a bigger way through speaking up for change, there are still spots open in my new Speaking Up For Change: Engage, Inspire, Transform online program starting September 10.

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