In many television shows or movies a common story line is a young person not living up to their parents expectations. The student or worker may be shown as carrying around some level of shame or sense of failure because they have disappointed mum or dad by not getting into law school or winning an Olympic medal.

But what if even the basic things like a healthy lifestyle, financial security or having a job have not been important to those who in your life who’d typically play the part of role model.

Fortunately, even better movies show us stories of someone – often with very little or limited support and some significant trauma in their background – overcoming their challenges to live incredible lives.

You may not be the next Eminem, Whoopi Goldberg or Jimmy Barnes… but you can still change your life from tough beginnings and set a new path for the generations who follow you.

How? You have to find some inspiration within and take it step by step to build it.

Below is a summary with some useful tips on how to succeed when you may be lacking the role model or just feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

Here’s a link to the full article, which is definitely worth a read too. How to cope with having no one to look up to

Be your own role model and find your inspiration.

Look Inside yourself

This first step is usually the hardest. It is not easy and it can take much work to be able to face your inner self without being afraid. Often doing so ends up confronting you with the same sense of loneliness, inferiority, despair or whatever other negative emotion you're trying to deal with. The aim of the game is to grow your self-sufficiency through getting to know yourself, but the bigger goal is to not only see what is behind the motivation that drives you to need someone to look up to, but to realise it was the same person––you––who put this barrier up in the first place. Once you begin to make headway on self-discovery, the search for a role model becomes less essential to your happiness, as you feel more secure and less lost within your own mind.

Build your self-esteem.

Not liking to be alone is a coping mechanism that allows you to avoid other underlying issues, such as low self-esteem or a lack of confidence in your own abilities and skills. While not all drives to seek a role model will have this at their heart, the majority probably do and as all of your life will be impacted by low self-esteem, you owe it to yourself to improve your confidence. It's important to find ways to be a source of inspiration to yourself, so that you don't keep hoping in vain for someone else to fix your life and to smooth away the challenges––you can do this yourself, and any help will simply be an added benefit, not a necessity. Consequently, the following suggestions in the next few steps may help you find inspiration both within yourself and from others.

Get involved and help others.

Go and join hobby groups, other social groups or volunteer societies. Sometimes there are no role models because they just aren't where you're looking and sometimes by being a part, you can become a role model for others. While it's true that the blind cannot lead the blind, we're all at different levels of experience and insight, so we can be sources of aid to others, which can ultimately help our own case when we reduce or let go of our self-orientated focus.

Get a pet.

While it is not a cure-all, dogs and cats can love you as much as you love them and while animals will not replace human connection, they do offer aspects that human connection does not––such as animals not judging or criticising you, or complaining. It will also motivate you to have a sense of responsibility and to look after and provide for that animal in a way that you know it deserves. The love they will give back will remind you how important you are.

Be inspired by real achievers.

Don't read too many celebrity magazines or blogs and turn off the TV if there's nothing but a superficial show on. These sources of "infotainment" don't contain many role models and can be shallow reflections of other people. Look for magazines, stories, books and the like that depict real people, your peers, who are experiencing life as you know it. While their stories can offer inspiration, more importantly they offer you reassurance that you're doing okay and that your choices are as right and good as anybody else's.

Balance your emotions and wellbeing.

When you start to look within, you will start to be able to see your emotions as they come and go. Be conscious of your physical and mental health and try to practice gratitude for the things that are going well. Try to shift up negative emotions as they come in.

For example:

  • Consider practicing mindfulness and perhaps even meditating
  • Be creative when things seem dull. This may be to decorate your room, write poetry or a story, cook a meal, gather flowers from the garden, paint or draw
  • Practice goodwill when you're angry with others, or yourself. Just change the mood by doing something that feels good

Set some goals.

Goal setting is a very useful tool and activity that gives purpose and meaning. Your goals may vary widely from weight loss, learning how to ski or cook, saving money for a project or making something such as a gift or starting some other creative project. Goal setting is best done by yourself to begin with, before you collaborate with others, as you need to gain experience and flexibility with deadlines and strategies.