The Fast Track To Success

At various times throughout my life, role models have helped me avoid painful mistakes and enabled me to achieve things quicker than others thought was possible. I want to show you how you gain the same benefits in your life.

A role model is someone you look up to; they’re someone who’s achieved things you want to achieve, or live their life in a way that you admire. They can be a fellow classmate, a parent or relative, a teacher, a local business owner or professional, or even a famous person you’ve never met.

Whether you have one or a handful, throughout your life these are the people you can turn to for advice, inspiration, and support. By sharing your ideas, problems and dreams with someone who’s been there and done that, solutions and techniques to help you gain the success you deserve will only be an email or phone call away.

When you think of a role model, you might immediately imagine a famous footballer or a Hollywood actress. But some of life’s most important role models can appear in our lives without warning, and have a real impact.

When I was at school I used to mess around in French, and as a result my grades were pretty rubbish. The teacher moved me to the front of the class, next to a girl called Kathryn. She spent every summer in France with her family and was great at French. She was an inspiration to me – and as a result I worked harder, paid more attention, and learned more. By the time exams came round in the summer, I’d improved my grades from an E to a B! Kathryn helped me do that.

But not all role models will miraculously appear next to you in French class. And now’s a great time in your life to go out looking for people who can mentor you through the journey of school, exams, and making choices about your future.

Local businesses – from creative agencies and shops to law firms and hospitals – are a great place to start. Is there a profession or hobby you’re passionate about? Then someone who’s already achieved in that field would make a great mentor. Send emails to prospective local role models asking them if they’d be happy to mentor you – perhaps suggest a weekly or monthly meeting.

If your role model lives in another city or country, they can still help. Write letters or emails to their place of work and ask if they’d be interested in an email mentorship, responding to your questions via the Internet and phone.

Remember, when you’re contacting people online, never give away personal information, and always tell a responsible adult about any face-to-face meetings, in case they have any concerns.

That’s not to say that you can’t have celebrity role models. I’m a huge admirer of former basketball player Michael Jordan, and even though I’ve never met him, I’ve read all his books, and learned important lessons from the decisions he’s made and work habits he mastered.

Who is your famous role model? Have a think about what qualities you look up to in them – is it just their looks, their money, and their fame, or is it their work ethic, their confidence, their life choices and their success that you respect?

When you admire someone, it’s easy to see them as super-human – an amazing person who could never put a foot wrong. But that’s just it – they are human, which means that while they might be hugely successful in their work life, have a loving family, or make great decisions, it doesn’t mean that they’ve never struggled, been lonely, or made a bad choice and regretted it. Remember, those imperfections are what make them real, and they’re lessons you can learn from too.

You can have different role models who inspire you in different ways. There’s no harm in looking a little closer to home – at your teachers, parents, and neighbours – to find great examples of confidence, success, intelligence, talent, and happiness that you can look up to and learn from.

That’s it from Unstoppable Teen for this month – we’ll be back in November discussing bullying.

Be unstoppable!

Kevin Mincher

“I think kids should have a mentor and a role model, but that they shouldn’t take one person’s opinion to be the final assessment or judgment about how life is supposed to be.”

Sean Paul

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Check out this discussion on The 4:01 Show about whether celebrities make good role models: Role Models

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