When you have a tough decision to make, who do you ask for advice? Who do you imagine would make the right choice in your shoes? Positive role models aren’t just for kids. Every day people guide us through their actions, profound words and achievements. Who are these role models and what qualities do they possess that result in admiration by others? Can you be a positive role model?

Qualities of a Positive Role Model
As adults, we often seek positive role models in people who have unique qualities we’d like to possess. By examining these people’s behaviour, words and accomplishments, we determine those characteristics that we value most.

– Genuine – This is the ability to relate to others, even those very different from you, in their reality. This quality overflows from major world caregivers, such as Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Their greatness comes not from trying to be significant, but by seeing the significance in others.

– Confident – Demonstrating strength and confidence draws admirers. We all want to believe that we don’t need others to define or validate us, but for many people, self confidence is elusive. People who exhibit great certainty in their position in this world are appealing and attractive. In the modern world, confidence replaces the bravery of the ancient world.

– Humble– The wisdom to know that there will always be someone smarter, faster, more attractive or more successful than you demonstrates maturity. Giving credit to those who helped you achieve your goals keeps you believable. “No man is an island,” said John Donne, a clergyman and poet, 350 years ago. That statement couldn’t be truer today. Role models understand that no one acquires greatness alone.

– Careful Listener – People who listen more and talk less naturally appear wiser. They become the people that others turn to because they exhibit self control and a desire to understand. Think of someone you know who listens well. What is your impression of this person? Consider how you feel when someone really listens to you.

– Overcome Great Odds – The ability to persevere causes a person to be outstanding. Anyone who overcomes great odds, resulting in a stronger character, is a person to emulate. We all struggle with different areas of our lives. Yet, it’s not the struggle that ends up being important but rather our response to the challenge.

– Successful – Its often said, “Be great what you do in this life, even if you’re the garbage collector, just be an expert at it and everyone will seek you out.” Although we all have different opinions of success, when we consider role models, we seek out those who demonstrate our viewpoint.

– Generous – According to Forbes, Oprah Winfrey was the first black woman to be titled a billionaire. She gives hope, financial support and fights for the rights of others in need when she simply could be a highly successful entrepreneur and talk show host. Role model candidates understand that their quality of life improves when they help those in need. Bono, nominated for three Nobel Peace prizes for his international work fighting poverty could be living the rock star life. He has a larger world view than the average person, saying “The attention of the world might sometimes be elsewhere, but history is watching. It’s taking notes. And it’s going to hold us to account, each of us.” Bono understands the responsibilities that come with being a role model.

Can I Be a Role Model?

Everyone has the capability to become a role model. You may already play that role for someone and not even know it. You don’t have to be famous, a brilliant scientist or a published author to be a role model for other adults. Efforts that you can make toward becoming a role model include:

1. Be Real – It’s tempting at times to behave the way we think others want to see us. Being yourself is risky, as there is always a chance of rejection, but wouldn’t you rather be assured that the people you are attracting find the real you interesting?

2. Be Available – Isolating yourself from the world can feel safer, but it also prevents you from important interaction with your fellow man. Have lunch with colleagues rather than eating at your desk, help a friend move and make sure that the majority of your social interaction doesn’t occur on the computer.

3. Be Involved – Doing charitable work, joining a church or teaching a class all offer opportunities for you to get involved in larger projects and organizations. Choose volunteer work that has a personal connection for you or allows you to use your gifts and abilities for the good of those in need.

4. Be a Listener – Sometimes people just need an ear. They don’t need you to solve the problem or offer advice. You learn a lot about someone simply by listening. The more you listen now, the greater the likelihood of you being listened to later when your advice or assistance is seriously needed.

5. Be Encouraging – Direct people to a more positive outlook. Emphasise their strengths and abilities to overcome challenges.

6. Give Others Credit – When working with others, always point out the efforts of your coworkers, whether it’s a volunteer project or your profession.

If someone advises you well, gives you a valuable lead or simply encourages you to move in the right direction, credit that person with a portion of your success.

7. Be Good to Yourself – It’s difficult to be available to others when you’re not taking care of yourself. Model a healthy lifestyle by working out, eating right, having a spiritual life and not worrying about situations you can’t control.

Role models don’t have to be rock stars, professional athletes or famous authors. They live on your street, share a cab with you and grew up in your family.