From Batman to Conor McGregor, the world is filled with heroes for us to look up to. But as awe-inspiring as the achievements of these world-renowned figures may be, they’ll never compare to the deeds of your everyday office hero.
They may not come with utility or UFC belts, but finding a role-model at work can be like having your own personal career superhero. Someone to watch over you, show you how to win with honour, and protect you from villainous colleagues.
Role-models don’t necessarily have to do the same work as you, but finding one that does is particularly beneficial. So if you want someone to look up to, the most logical thing to do first is look up: who is ahead of you in the business, and who of them do you identify with the most? If you can find someone that you can look at and say “That’s who I want to be in five/ten years”, then you have one of the most important things you need for a successful career: a clear image of what you want to achieve.
The real benefit in finding yourself a role-model at work is not that you will you have a list of your goals, but that you will have a way to accomplish them. Whether you’re asking where to start or looking for help along the way, the expertise and personal experience your role-model can provide will help you stay on track, and achieve your goals sooner rather than later.
As well as providing you with both a clear image of what you need to accomplish, and the means to do so, role-models can inject a lot of extra drive and passion into your career. Research conducted by psychologist Dr. Gail Matthews found that you are 62% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, and 66% more likely if you tell someone what they are. This study in particular only accounts for motivating factors, meaning that it is not the help your role-model can provide that makes you more likely to succeed, it is simply the fact that they know that incentivises you to work harder.
This is supported by another study that specifically looked at the effect a role-model can have on entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurship and Role Models found that a third of entrepreneurs with role-models said they would not have started their business if it hadn’t been for their role-model, while a further 20% said they would have given up soon after. It’s clear that the right role-model can not only help your career, they can define it.
The goals and insights a role-model can provide will prove invaluable throughout your career, but you may find that what you really come to appreciate are the pitfalls they protect you from. Whether they save you hours of unnecessary work by showing you a shortcut, or catch a mistake that would have made you look like a fool, a good role-model will always have your back. They may not be able to save you from everything, but they will save you from everything they can, and it won’t take you long to realise just how much they can help.
Finding a role-model is a very personal experience, and one that can only occur naturally. In order to really experience the benefits a role-model can bring, you need to truly respect that person. It might seem strange to think of the people you see every day as potential role-models, but that’s exactly what they are: potential role-models; personalised heroes waiting for their signal in the sky. All you need to do is find yours, and let them know you want help.
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