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Your Own Role Model

Looking up to a role model is a natural part of the human experience. It comes most easily when we’re children. What little boy growing up in the ‘50s didn’t want to hit a baseball like Mickey Mantle or throw a spiral like Johnny Unitas? Then there are the role models closer to home; maybe you hoped one day to be as strong as your dad or as fast as your big brother. Looking up to a role model gives us something to strive for and a belief that we can be better. But you can only take this so far.

We all do it from time to time. We compare ourselves to someone we admire, try to hold ourselves (even briefly) to their performance standards, and often fail. “I wish I could swim like Michael Phelps, but I’m so slow. Why do I even bother?” or “My neighbor runs four marathons a year, and I can barely make it around the block. I’ll never be in shape like that.”

Role models are best when they inspire you with their attitude or work ethic. “I want to be like my grandmother because she greeted every morning with a smile!” or “My sister really works hard to stay in shape, and she motivates me to do the same.” But when it comes to performance, athletic or otherwise, here’s an idea – be your own role model. Only you know when you’ve truly done your best. If you’ve worked hard and gotten in good enough shape to jog an entire mile without stopping, then celebrate your accomplishment! Don’t undermine yourself by saying, “Yeah, but my husband can run a mile twice as fast as I can.”

We’re all born as unique individuals with different talents, interests, and physical gifts. To hold yourself to the standard set by another defeats the purpose of anything you do to better yourself because you will never be good enough. I’m 5’9”, and I know I will never be able to dunk the ball like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy playing basketball or be pleased when I make a shot that is difficult for me.

Don’t judge yourself by another’s standard. Find role models who inspire you, but be the best YOU can be. Whether your challenge is to run a marathon or jog around the block, be diligent, work hard, and celebrate your progress. Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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