In a time of change the ability to take decisions without knowing how things are going to turn out is becoming increasingly important.
One way to acquire this skill is by learning from people we 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 might still be alive or they could be people from history.)
For each person write down or (better) discuss with a close friend or partner:
- Who do you admire, even though you never met them?
- What are the values you admire in them?
- What flaws or weaknesses do they or did they have?
- 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
Now 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:
- Who is the person?
- What did he or she love that you loved them for loving?
- What were their flaws or weaknesses?
- What, despite those flaws, did they achieve that you admire them for?
Step Three: Notice What Matters for You
Now compare your answers. What stands out for you?
- Noticing what you admire in others shows you what you would like to become. This can help you find a way forward that inspires you.
- Noticing what you think of as flaws and weaknesses not only shows you what you want to avoid: the opposites of those qualities again show you who you want to become.
- Most importantly, it is important to realise that even the people we most admire are not perfect. And yet they still manage to achieve something worthwhile. If they can so can we.
We don’t need to wait to be perfect to start to do what matters most to us. All we need is to know what that is — and begin.
Would you like to become better at taking decisions in times of change?
Who do you most admire? Why? And who could you discuss that with?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)