Choosing your role model

27 May 2021

The tendency when growing up is to choose a hero – the one we want to be like. We’re not talking about Batman, Superman or Spiderman here – but real-life heroes: people had an impact on many lives, including our own. Popular answers are Steve Jobs, Mother Theresa, Malala Yousafzai and John Legend and what separates them from others is their personality, characteristics and certain qualities that make them admirable. Of course, there are those who look at their own mother and father or schoolteacher as their heroes. Others may choose not to have a role model, believing that it will allow for the individual to be unique. What makes someone a hero? What qualities do we chase in a role model?

Confidence & leadership

Think of some of the best leaders in the world – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sir Alex Ferguson. Their name, let alone what they’ve done in their respective field, connotes to great leadership skills and skills in general. Positivity, calmness and confidence go pretty well together – and that’s what people admire. The ability to stay calm and be confident enough to remain positive and come up with an innovative solution to your problem. We’re talking about a person who can lead and not boss around. You may be hesitant as you fear that you’re not the type to lead, that you’re a follower but are you sure about that? Look inside yourself and note the positive qualities that you have. Learn more about leaders. When you’re certain and aware of your positive skills, only then can you be confident about them and yourself, which in turn will inspire others. deVere CEO Nigel Green says that in order to be productive, you’ve got to “Get rid of the neg,” meaning avoid anything or anyone that is bringing you and the team down. A leader who is negative fails to become a role model. 

Be unique

Steve Jobs said, "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently - they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo…” Accept everything that’s happened to you – good or bad and learn from them. Remember that you are the result of everything that’s happened to you – own it – that is who you are. In the same way, why would you choose someone who isn’t proud of who s/he is and lie about who they are to be your role model?


Role models are often ones who show gratitude, who amid all their intelligence, creativity and even genius, are aware that the ones around them are helpful and want to drive them forward. Sir Alex Ferguson said that during his time at Manchester United, he would say something to anyone who passes by him in the corridor, whether it’s a “Good morning” or “How are you?” A good leader and role model doesn’t set themselves above the others – it’s all about the whole. 


We’re not just talking about educational knowledge – that is secondary. What’s important is knowledge about people, humanity, goodwill and leadership. They are the sort of teachers that help you grow, push you out of your comfort zone to that you fully develop your skills and reach your utmost potential. 

The road to finding your role model brings to mind a story that actor Matthew Mcconaughey said during his Oscar’s acceptance speech in 2014: “And to my hero. That's who I chase. When I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come and ask me 'Who's your hero?' I said, 'I thought about it and it's me in 10 years. So I turned 25, 10 years later, and that same person comes to me and goes, 'Are you a hero?' I said, 'Not even close!' She said why and I said, 'My hero is me at 35.' You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I'm never going to be my hero. I'm not going to obtain that and that's fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”