act like a role model

You and I have a lot in common, you just don’t know it yet.

We both share one fierce responsibility, and it has nothing to do with status, age, money or religion. It’s not about where you live, the color of your skin or the langue you speak. We are both role models, to someone, somewhere in some fashion.

Here’s my truth:

I am not a famous athlete, startup billionaire or Hollywood actor. I don’t have millions of followers on my IG and Twitter account, a popular album, book or tv show.  You won’t find fancy cars, exotic places or over the top parties on my social media.

You will, however, find evidence to support that I am a father, a husband and someone who cares deeply about empowering others so that they can discover their passion, own their greatness and ignite the leader within.

My name is Joshua Miller, and I am a role model. I’m here to remind you that you too are a role model and it’s time to start acting like it.

Role Model: noun – A person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.

So many of the people we admire, we put on pedestals without even knowing much about them. We herald them as the best things since slice bread. Why is that?

The fact is – we perceive people in the fashion we want them to be and then we look for the evidence to mold our story (or in some cases fantasies) to make ourselves feel better about ourselves and inspire us to be better. There is nothing wrong with putting someone on a pedestal as long you don’t take yourself off of it. Remember, you are a role model to someone as well.

Being a parent has made me realize this more than ever – I am fiercely aware that it’s not my words but my actions that my kids notice and model. Since 80% of all communication is non-verbal, it’s easy to forget or think no one is watching us or listening to the words we say but this is simply false (especially in the workplace). It’s important to remember:

Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done.


Frank Sonnenberg summarized what I believe to be the best reminders possible when it comes to embodying the characteristics of a role model. I’ve added a few of my own plus my favorite quotes to inspire you along the way:

  • Think before you act. Every message (both verbal and physical) you send is critical and could be the tipping point for those around you and the choices they make. Don’t act impulsively – patience can be a great thing.

“Sometimes the most important work is not what you are paid for”

  • Stand for something. Good role models are objective and fair. Furthermore, they have the strength of their convictions. They believe what they say and say what they believe. Mark Twain may have said it best, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

“Be the role model you needed when you were younger”

  • Walk the talk. Ensure that your words and actions are consistent.

“Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it”

  • Aim high. Avoid the tendency to adjust the target downward just to accommodate mediocrity. Failure is okay, failing to try is not.

“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating”

  • Integrity matters. Good role models are open, honest, and trustworthy. Make sure to finish what you start and follow through on commitments.

“Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring”

  • Be respectful. Treat others as you want to be treated.

“Your child will follow your example, not your advice”

  • Believe in yourself. Be confident in who you are and what you represent. But balance that confidence with a healthy dose of humility.

“The world is change by your example, not your opinion”

  • Hold people accountable. Don’t accept bad behavior. Speak up against abuses. If you don’t condemn poor behavior, then you’re a co-conspirator. Life isn’t a spectator sport.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It’s the only thing”

  • Nobody’s perfect. Accept responsibility for your actions. When you make a mistake, admit fault and show you mean it by taking corrective action.

“If you can’t find a good role model, be one”

  • You’re judged by the company you keep. Surround yourself with people of high character and integrity as their energy and influence will be your own. Remember we are typically like the five people we spend the most time with.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

  • Demonstrate confidence. Adopt a positive and calm outlook on life. People don’t want to be around someone who is always unhappy or a victim in the face of uncertainty. Everyone likes a person who is happy with how far they have come, but continues to strive for bigger and better objectives.

“Excellence is not being the best, it’s doing your best”

  • Don’t be afraid to be unique. Whatever you choose to do with your life, be proud of the person you’ve become, even if that means accepting some ridicule. Standing out is not always a bad thing. Authenticity is priceless and contagious.

“Never settle for anything less than your best”

  • Show respect and concern for others. You may be driven, successful, and smart but whether you choose to show respect or not speaks volumes about how other people see you. Everyone notices if you are taking people for granted, not showing gratitude, or stepping on others to get ahead.

“Do what’s right, not what’s easiest”

  • Be knowledgeable and well rounded. Seek opportunities that will expand your mind and spirit. Be open and able to ask questions, learn, grow and challenge yourself. Lastly, never be the smartest person in the room.

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching”

  • Have humility and willingness to admit mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. When you make a bad choice, let those who are watching and learning from you know that you made a mistake and how you plan to correct it. By apologizing, admitting your mistake, and accepting accountability, you will be demonstrating an often overlooked part of being a role model.

The floor is yours: How important is it to have a role model?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

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