Finding a Role Model

Is there something you want to have, do, be, feel or become? If so, who might have successfully walked that journey before you? Who are your role models? Would someone choose you?

It's helpful for each of us to have a connection with a role model, if not in real life, then in the realm of realistic visualization. This person might be someone you know or have studied, someone you admire from afar, or someone with whom you have an up-close personal connection. Above all, this person needs to possess the characteristics and behaviors you'd like to acquire.

Once you define this person, spend some time observing. Then ask yourself, how does she act? Achieve her goals? Communicate? Present herself? What impression does she give for her first impression? Who is in her network of connections? What are her sources for learning? How does she spend her time? It is this juncture of a role model's behaviors and choices and your needs that lead to a role model that serves you and your causes well.

Next, can you make an actual connection? As you reach out, it is most helpful if you can make a narrow request, one which honors the role model for her experiences and expertise, and one which respects her time.

I often receive requests and e-mails from those in my audiences stating, "I want to do what you do. How do I do it?" I certainly acknowledge those requests and then respond with appropriate comments, including a set of targeted questions. I let them know that once they have replied with written answers, I would be glad to have a conversation with them. This way, they must get beyond the emotion of "want" to the commitment and information of their expressed goal.

If you have the opportunity to actually meet with your role model, be prepared to ask your most important questions. Be willing to listen and learn. It's OK to take notes, and also to be silent for a bit as you process the information. You might ask, "What questions have I not asked that are really important to address?" Watch for cues that your time is up. Be sure to write a thank you note and share what you are currently doing with the information and insight you gained.

There are lots of people in this world willing to share an idea, help with a need, and honor a "student." Many times a one-time connection can turn into a long-time mentoring relationship. And don't forget, someone just might need you!

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at,

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related topics: farming, agriculture, succession

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