I’m part of a Success Team that meets every week to discuss goals. We talk about those things in our core being that we want to be a part of our lives like: creativity, inspiration, connection, exploration, and nature. Each person has different core elements which make them happy. Our goals for work, relationships, and other aspects of life then are formed around these core elements.
This week our homework assignment was to pick a role model. This can be someone we know from among our family, friends or community, or a more famous person. The role model is someone who might have similar goals in terms of work or relationships or maybe they have something we aspire to. Their accomplishments may not be in our concept of what is possible for ourselves but we recognize that they are something to aspire towards.
I did a search for female role models and found lists of women most of whom I had never heard of before. I picked a few to learn a little more about their lives and what I found was quite interesting. I found they had wide ranging interests and held a variety of jobs before they became successful. I found that their field of success often occurred in when they were in their 40’s or 50’s. While some were in fields which were very old (writing), others were the first in their field to do something in a new way (television).
This is where I found inspiration. From the woman who had never cooked a day in her life until World War II where she developed a recipe for shark repellent for the military (Julia Child) to the Chanel model who became a lifestyle icon (Martha Stewart). I also looked further back into the 1800’s and read about women who were huge trailblazers. For me, the most impressive one was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who thought married women shouldn’t be treated as property. She also advocated that women should have employment and income rights, custody rights of their own children, the right to own property, the right to divorce, the right to use birth control, and of course, the right to vote. I hope when she looks at us from the afterlife that she is proud of where women in the U.S. are today. But I know she would also say we need to do more so that ALL women around the world have the same rights.
Sure, I could have looked at more recent examples of female role models like Oprah Winfrey who emptied chamberpots as a small child growing up in Mississippi and faced huge obstacles to be in television to Sally Ride and other female astronauts who seized the opportunity to see the Earth from space. All of these women and many others are important for the contributions they made to society and for inspiring the women who will come after them to follow in their footsteps.
Why have a role model?
Role models remind us that one person can make a difference in this world. Role models can come from all walks of life, from extreme poverty and oppression (Malala) to royalty (Princess Diana). Each can be a voice for others and effect change for the world.
“We need to encourage girls that their voice matters.
I think there are hundreds and thousands of Malalas out there.”
I challenge you to find a few role models for yourself. Your role models may look very different from mine. But reading about how others were able to lift themselves and others up to make a difference in the world can fill you with hope. Our world needs more hope.
Who is your role model?