Learning from people you admire

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In a time of change it becomes increasingly important to be able to take decisions without knowing how things are going to turn out.

This skill not only stops us getting stuck it also brings us more energy to move forward.

One way to do this is by learning from people you admire.

You can do this in three steps.

Step One: Role Models

Choose between one and three people you have never met but whom you admire greatly: role models who taught you something important even though you never met them. (They could be people who are still alive or people from the past.)

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

  1. Who do you admire, even though you never met them?
  2. What are the values you admire in them?
  3. What flaws or weaknesses did they have or do they have?
  4. What, despite those flaws, have they achieved that you admire them for?

If you discuss this with someone you trust they will be able to help you draw out and uncover what matters most to you by asking open questions such as: “Why? What do you mean by that? Can you give me an example?”

Step Two: People Who Shaped You

Choose between one and three friends, mentors, leaders, teachers, or managers who you have known in real life and who taught you something that has helped to shape 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 achieve that you admire them for?

Step Three: Take Note

Compare your answers. What stands out to you?

  • Noticing the qualities, loves, and achievements you admire in others will help you find the way forward that most inspires you.
  • Noticing what you think of as flaws and weaknesses shows you you what you want to avoid — and the opposites of those qualities show you what you value instead.
  • Most importantly, even the people we most admire are not perfect, yet they still manage to achieve something worthwhile. If they can do this, so can we. We don’t need to wait to be perfect to start to do what matters most to us.

Would you like to become better at taking decisions in times of change?

Who do you most admire? Who could you discuss your answers to these questions with?


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

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Photo By liladepo via StockPholio.net

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