Learning from people you admire

Silhouetted toy figuresIn times of change it becomes important to be able to take decisions based on little information and without knowing how things are going to turn out. This stops us getting stuck and brings us more energy to move forward.

As well as the tools and techniques of Chapters 1-3, Chapter 4 brings us four more approaches for choosing the best direction to move forward in.

The first is to learn from other people. It comes in two stages.

First, choose one to three people you have never met but who you admire greatly. These are role models who taught you something important even though you never met them. They might still be living or they could be people from the past.

For each one, write down or (better) discuss with a close friend or partner:

  1. Who do you admire?
  2. What are the values you admire in them?
  3. What flaws or weaknesses did or do they have?
  4. What, despite those flaws, did they manage to achieve that you admire them for?

Discussing this with someone you trust will enable them to draw out what is most important to you by asking open questions such as, “Why? What do you mean by that? Can you give an example?”

For the second part, choose one to three mentors, friends, leaders, teachers, or managers who you have known in real life and who have taught you something that helped to shape or guide you into the person you have become.

Again, either write down or discuss with a close friend or partner:

  1. Who is the person?
  2. What did he or she love that you loved them for loving?
  3. What were their flaws or weaknesses?
  4. What, despite those flaws, did they managed to achieve that you admire them for?

Both these sets of answers will be useful in Chapter 5 when you come to consider your purpose and values.

For now, reminding yourself of the qualities and achievements you admire in others will help you to choose a way forward for yourself. This builds on the work of Chapter 1 in showing you what is important to you, what you value. The direction you should face in.

Most importantly, it reminds us that even the people we most admire have flaws. But despite that, they still achieved something worthwhile. So can we. The only question is what we choose to do.

If you answered these questions who would you choose and why?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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