The Three Types Of Role Models Everyone Needs In Their Career by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Whether they’re professional basketball players, esteemed scientists or billionaire investors, all high-achieving individuals have one thing in common: They all have role models.

A role model is more than just a person you look up to and admire. It’s someone who can help you unlock your potential by showing you what’s possible and providing examples of how you should — or shouldn’t — behave.

Regardless of your industry, if your goal is to take your career to the next level, having role models is essential. Role models offer the ultimate shortcut for leveling up your knowledge because you’re able to learn vicariously from the positive (and negative) experiences of people who’ve come before you.

Of course, the trickiest part when it comes to role models is identifying the right ones. And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you do here.

1. Positive Role Model

For most people, when they hear the word role model, they immediately conjure up images of a positive one — a successful person whose values and behavior are worthy of imitation. For aspiring basketball players, Michael Jordan and (for younger readers) Lebron James are the archetypes of positive role models. But even Michael Jordan, a legend, had his own positive role model in David Thompson.

But there’s more to consider than just success. How has someone achieved that success? A positive role model shouldn’t just be someone who accomplished what you want to accomplish; they should be someone who shares your values and who uses an approach you want to emulate.

As former U.S. Navy SEAL Officer Chris Fussell explained to Tim Ferriss, there are three levels of positive role models you can follow:

1. A peer who you think is better at the job than you are.

2. Someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did a year, or two, or three years ago, better than you did it.

3. Someone senior to you that you want to emulate.

To quote Fussell, “If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of and you’re constantly learning from, you’re going to be exponentially better than you are.”

2. Reverse Role Models

Not all role models have to be positive. The reality is having reverse role models is just as (if not more) important.

Reverse role models check a lot of the same boxes as positive role models: they’re successful, they’ve achieved something you want to achieve and they provide models of behavior you can follow to achieve the same thing. But their values are different. When you look at the behavior of a reverse role model, you realize that imitating their behavior would not be in your best interest.

My favorite example of someone who’s learned from having reverse role models is our company’s VP of Marketing, Dave Gerhardt. When Dave joined our organization, I was invited to a CMO dinner at some fancy restaurant in Cambridge, but I sent Dave to go in my place. He was hesitant and felt like maybe these CMOs would be way out of his league. But I pushed him to go.

After the dinner, I asked him what he thought. He told me about it, but I could tell he really didn’t want to say what was on his mind. Finally, I explained that the reason I sent him is that I wanted him to look at reverse role models. Those are all CMOs, but they’re also all muckety-mucks. They’re mostly interested in themselves and having their fancy CMO dinners. Sure, they’re all accomplished, but how much more do they actually know than him?

The answer: Not that much. And for Dave, being able to see what this elite level of marketers looked like helped him overcome impostor syndrome because he was able to recognize that even marketers in the upper echelons aren’t always as knowledgeable as they make themselves out to be.

By observing reverse role models, you’re able to see the status-quo approach for reaching the next level in your career, which in turn gives you the opportunity to figure out how you want to do things differently.

3. Anti-Role Models

Finally, the anti-role model. While it may sound similar to a reverse role model, there’s a clear distinction. An anti-role model is someone who has not achieved what you want to achieve, despite being on the same career path.

So, why study the people who have, thus far, failed at accomplishing their goal? Because the values and behaviors of those people will help you create guardrails for avoiding a similar fate.

This is the inversion principle — something billionaire investor Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s long-term business partner) is a big proponent of.

Anti-role models allow you to uncover (and avoid) the biggest blockers to success. And when it comes to advancing your career, those blockers often include “… sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, all the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities, and you will succeed.” Munger said. “Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.”


January 2, 2019 at 08:29AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbostoncouncil/2019/01/02/the-three-types-of-role-models-everyone-needs-in-their-career/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
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