Growing up, I really admired Ita Buttrose.
As a young girl aspiring to make my way in the print journalism industry, Ita was the epitome of everything I wanted to be – intelligence, strength and elegance. The day I got to meet her I was a stuttering mess – I lost my cool completely.
It’s funny how role models can have that effect on us – admiring someone to the point of thinking they are almost super-human (when in fact, they are just like the rest of us).
Having people in your life you admire and look up to is a wonderful means of inspiration and source of motivation. When you admire someone because of their character – who they are as a person and the work they do in the world – it can act as a driving force to your own efforts in life; being the person you truly want to be, by learning from those who have done it before us.
In my time as a wellness coach, I have noticed an alarming trend. In a world where social media is king, the young women I am seeing are gravitating towards idolising people for the way they look, above and beyond anything else.
The #fitspo trend is an example of this. This may be a generalisation, however in my own experience coaching women between the age of 18 – 40, a large majority of them are looking up to social media celebrities because of their body shape (and whether they have abs or a thigh gap) as opposed to the genuine type of people they are, and the work they are doing in the world.
Now that is not to say that you can’t be a good person with abs or a thigh gap. Of course you can! However when the admiration stems only skin deep, some real challenges can come to light – namely body image and self-worth issues.
Here are some simple ways to find a role model that leaves you inspired and uplifted, rather than feeling second-best:
Take out your phone and scroll through your Instagram feed. Any image or account that makes you feel bad about yourself – delete. Role models should leave you feeling happy and inspired, not wishing you looked a certain way.
Pay attention to the Insta-stories of the people you admire, to get a feel for what they stand for. Do you watch them and feel inspired and motivated? If yes, keep following. If not – then why are you still watching?
List your values
When was the last time you really thought about what it is you value in life? Maybe it is health and happiness? Perhaps it is loving relationships and family. Take some time to sit and journal what it is that matters most to you in your life.
Once you have a clear idea of your top 3-5 values, make a conscious effort to connect with more content related to these things. You may discover new blogs, Facebook groups and Instagram accounts aligned with your values that you didn’t even know existed. The key here is to get crystal clear on what these are BEFORE you start searching.
Take yourself off to the non-fiction aisle, or even the self-help section, in your nearest book store and start to pick up books that capture your attention. You may discover inspiring authors you would have otherwise missed.
Everybody has a story to tell – and they don’t have to be a best-seller to share a story that will inspire you. Branch out of your comfort zone and expand your book-horizon. Better yet, start a book-swap with friends of yours, where you share the books that inspired each of you. You may just discover your new favourite author.
Who is a role model in your life, and why do they inspire you?