The other day I was listening to the radio and an excerpt from an interview with Katy Perry came on in which she talked about not wanting to be a role model.
Speaking in an interview in British OK! magazine, the E.T. singer said: “If people want a role model, they can have Miley Cyrus. I was never a saint. I’m a human being and I mess up sometimes.”
Ahhh..my dear Miss Katy…that is precisely why you are a role model. People who mess up are the best role models because they are real. Because they continue on in spite of misteps or failures, and because they give us validation that it is OK to step out of our comfort zone and do that thing that we fear.
See here’s the thing…you don’t really get to choose whether or not you want to be a role model.
Whether you want to or not, you have, by the very fact that you have interacted with other human beings, become someone’s role model. You may never know it (and probably won’t), but the fact of the matter is you are a role model for someone, somewhere, at some time.
What you get to choose is what you model.
Remember back in 1993 Charles Barkley’s controversial Nike ad where he stated he was not a role model?
Being identified as a role model suggests responsibility for someone else’s actions…which is great when we inspire and motivate…not so much when someone is emulating our messes.
My daughter is expecting her first child next month and in a letter she wrote to her younger brother (who is experiencing some fine hospitality down in Parris Island courtesy of the US Marine Corp) expressed the desire that she hoped this baby grow up to be just like him.
An 18 year old boy man doesn’t really think about being role model and yet by the very nature of being himself and owning who he is…he has become a role model.
All we can do is own who we are, be authentic, and live our own best life…and that is really what being a role model is all about.
Whether we like it or not…we are role models.
What are you modeling today?