From Admiration to Motivation
Have you ever been inspired by a chef, singer or home decorator you saw on TV? Seeing people we admire in action often motivates us to try out new ideas on our own.
For me it’s cooking shows. When I see a chef prepare an interesting dish, I jot down the recipe. When I try it the first time in my own kitchen, I follow the recipe down to the detail.
Yet the next time, I’ll make a little change to put my own spin on the dish. I might swap one spice for another, add a different herb, or swap out the meat with my own favorite vegetable. Sometimes I’ll incorporate a new flavor or ingredient from a slightly different recipe I find for the same dish online. Before long, I’ve come up with a recipe I can call my own!
We all learn by modeling people we admire. We see what they do. We try it ourselves. And adapt it to make it our own.
It’s not limited to celebrities. We can model anyone we hold in high regard, such as colleagues, community or workplace leaders, family members or friends. Their effective behaviors, traits, values or skills can powerfully motivate us to become the best version of ourselves, too.
The three Power Challenges below can help you use modeling as an intentional growth strategy. As you observe others and incorporate aspects that work for you, you’ll find yourself becoming the best version of YOU!
Power Challenge 1: Observe Effective People
Develop a habit of intentionally observing people you like and respect. What makes them so effective in their work or interactions with others? Is it the way they speak to people? Or listen? Is it their confidence? Their compassion?
When you admire someone, don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to them in a negative way. Instead, study what they do and how they do it.
Related: Is Your Definition of Success Holding You Back?
To observe others, pretend you’re a “fly on the wall.” Watch. Listen. Suspend any judgment — about yourself or the person you’re observing. Stay curious. Let yourself be surprised. With an open mind and fresh perspective, you might pick up on things you never noticed!
- What does the person say? When do they say it? And how?
- What are their behaviors?
- What is their body language?
- How do you see them living or expressing their core values? (What are their core values? Can you tell?)
- What valuable skills have they developed?
Focus on the “what” and the “how” without critiquing. Observing without self-judgment increases your learning.
Record some of your observations in a journal. Compile an ongoing list of actions and qualities you find impressive or effective. Use your notes as if you were an actor studying for a big role in a movie. The difference is that you’re rehearsing for a real-life role — your best self!
Power Challenge 2: Learn by Modeling
Becoming the best version of your most authentic self begins by modeling others. That might seem counterintuitive. You wonder, “Shouldn’t I be original?”
“Through others, we become ourselves.”—Lev S. Vygotsky
Think about it this way. You’ve probably been modeling others your whole life. How else would you have learned to walk, talk and relate to others?
Modeling is a very natural way to learn. Especially when you do it with the intention to grow.
For example, perhaps you appreciate the way a colleague leads staff meetings. Or you notice a peer’s kindness toward others. Or maybe you see how your friend tactfully sets personal boundaries. These behaviors and qualities you admire can be modeled as you become a stronger leader, a kinder peer or more respectful friend.
Opportunities are all around you for modeling soft skills as well as tactical strategies. Allow yourself to become aware of your personal and professional role models and seize every opportunity to learn from them.
Focus on what your role models do well. Study them carefully — from the favorite chef on a cooking show… to your colleague who easily influences her peers. Then try their methods, whether you’re preparing a special meal for family or introducing your own quality improvement idea to your peers.
Power Challenge 3: Incorporate. Don’t Imitate.
Modeling doesn’t mean trying to BE someone else. You should always be you. As you work on becoming a better version of yourself, remember the importance of authenticity. Trying to become an exact copy of someone else defeats the purpose!
Use your observations as a “menu.” Make intentional choices.
In developing the best version of yourself, you’re not emulating everything about a single person you admire. You’re picking and choosing specific actions and qualities. And, you’re drawing different best practices from multiple people. Then you incorporate your selections into your own way of conducting yourself.
When you first model a behavior, trait, value or skill, it might feel a little parrot-like. Don’t worry. You learn by doing. And then, little by little, you start to become more discerning. What aspects of a behavior or trait feel true to you? Ask yourself this question regularly. Then make your adjustments.
“When admiring other people’s gardens, don’t forget to tend to your own flowers.” — Sanober Khan
For example, have you ever noticed how some contestants on music reality TV shows such as The Voice or American Idol sing a song exactly like the original artist that they’re covering? Their performance feels like a copy of the original.
Other contestants take a different approach. They change aspects of the original song. They tweak the tempo, alter the instrumentation or add in their own little vocal embellishments. They make their version uniquely their own.
As in life, imitators fade into the background. But the ones who add their own flair? They stand out as the most talented, authentic and memorable.
Admiration Fuels Motivation
Personal growth is a process. One that’s a cumulative result of many small steps. Noticing what you admire in others can be a powerful step, motivating you to acquire new skills or approach things just a little differently.
As you learn and grow, you’ll be incorporating lots of different behaviors, traits, values or skills you’ve observed in others. You won’t be an imitation of any one person. You’ll be the best version of YOU!
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Carla inspires leaders and team members — and provides real-world tips to become the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.