Why do you need role models?
The first step towards a successful transition to working motherhood is to construct a positive vision of what you want to achieve, or in other words, to “Picture Your Journey” . This forms the first module of the Babyproof Your Career Programme. One of the exercises in this module is to find out your ‘WHY’. As we saw in a recent blog, contentment and motivation in life comes when we are being authentic and true to our core values. If we can work out what truly matters to us as individuals, not just WHAT we want, but WHY we want it, we are far more likely to be able to find sustainable strategies to support our ambitions.
We can use self-reflection to identify our core values, and I provide tips for doing this here – but another useful technique to help clarify our goals and motivations around working motherhood is finding role models. Being able to put a human face to our dreams helps to bring them alive. It brings positivity, clarity and inspiration. ‘Look at where she’s got to and how she does it – If she can do it, I can do it too!’
However, as we’ve seen, the challenges of working motherhood mean that many women’s careers have derailed when they’ve had children, leaving few suitable role models at the very top levels of organisations. So what do you do if there are no role models in your workplace? Or you don’t identify with the values of the women around you in senior positions? The answer is simple and empowering – take ownership of your career and your future and look elsewhere for inspiration. Create your own role models.
Tips for creating your perfect role models
- Cast the net wide. Your role models do not need to be someone you know personally – there are many celebrated women throughout history who have qualities to admire and experiences to learn from. Your role models do not even need to be female. If you see a man who has achieved the career and family life balance you aspire to, use him. Use several role models – you don’t need to find all the qualities you are looking for in one individual. Take inspiration from different facets of each individual.
- Identify what you are looking for in a role model. What inspiration do you need? Don’t just concentrate on what they ‘have’ – status, financial success etc, but their qualities, values and experiences; for example confidence, or perseverance.
- Go shopping for role models – keep looking around you. Look through magazines – identify people you find authentic and genuine. Be curious about people you know and people you meet – find out their stories. Look closer to home away from your work sphere – amongst family and friends; people in your community. Look online for inspirational women – a good source is www.inspiringthefuture.org/inspiring-women
- Work out how these role models relate to you and your life ambitions. Don’t just write a list of names – work out exactly what exactly you can learn from these people. Match each to the quality, value or skill you want to model in your own life and career.
Together with self-reflection, finding good role models to emulate will help you clarify what is important in your life and secure your future as a motivated and contented career woman and mother. This is one step on the Babyproof Your Career Programme. For more resources and tips, sign up to our mailing list .
Who are your role models and why do you admire them? Join the conversation in our Linkedin group
Next time: preparing the foundations for life as a working mother.