Think about that one person you've always admired. You know, your go-to role model. Maybe it's your mom, your favorite teacher, or that celebrity who really seems to have their sh*t together. Whoever it may be, I bet the person you look up to has several winning qualities.
They're probably incredibly successful, kind, and philanthropic... or all of the above. These are the traits most of us agree are admirable and great. But that's the thing about looking up to someone — we don't all have the same role models because not everyone gets starry-eyed over the same things.
"It all depends on our personal goals and personalities," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. "What do we respect? What do we aspire to? When we come across people who embody these qualities, they become role models."
So if you'd like to be someone people look up to, don't expect to win 'em all. But do keep in mind that some traits are universally admired — no matter what. With a few simple changes, you can adopt some of these habits for yourself. Read on for ways to do just that, and get yourself heading in a (very likable) direction.
1. Be More Respectful
While most of us don't wake up with the goal of being disrespectful, it can be easy to slip-up throughout the day. Think about the times you comment on someone's outfit, or crack a rude joke under your breath. While you don't mean much by it — and are probably only trying to be funny — it can take people's opinions of you down a few notches. So make it a point to be respectful of everyone, 24/7.
2. Follow Through With Promises
Did you make plans to meet up for coffee, or promise to lend your friend a book? Then do it. Even with little things like these, people really love it when you actually follow through. It means your word is good, and that's an incredibly admirable thing.
3. Don't Give Up Easily
As far as uninspiring qualities go, Martinez tells me there's nothing less admirable than people who give up over the slightest obstacle. This is why one trait most role models have in common is their drive. No matter their goal, they have a stick-with-it personality that's incredibly inspiring. If you make it a point to be the same way, people will most definitely look up to you.
4. Have Some Self-Confidence
Of course this might not be "easy" for some, but having a healthy dose of confidence will go a long way in terms of your role model status. "Be comfortable with who you are. Be consistent," said writer and mentor Denise Restauri, on Forbes. "It’s much easier for others to like you if you like yourself."
5. Offer Up More Compliments
It takes a confident, self-assured person to offer a true compliment, which is why people admire those who do. "Everyone appreciates being acknowledged," said career expert Kevin Daum on Inc.com. "A little demonstrated gratitude and acknowledgment will go a long way in bringing you the reverence of your supporters." So go ahead and dish 'em out.
6. Under-Promise & Over-Deliver
Like I said, we tend to lose respect for people who don't follow through with their promises. So if you constantly fall short, try adopting the "under-promise/over-deliver" technique, according to Daum. You'll earn all sorts of admirers when you keep people's expectations low, and then wow them by going above and beyond.
7. Be Aware Of Your Body Language
As far as role models go, not many of us look to the slouching person in the corner. So if this is your MO, try adopting a more assertive body language. "Walk up to someone, smile, make eye contact, shake hands," said Restauri. Whatever situation you might be in, this type of behavior will have people turning to you for guidance, since it's clear you've so got this.
8. Try To Be More Optimistic
There's nothing wrong with being real about your emotions, and dropping the occasional pessimistic remark. But if you're trying to win people over, optimism is definitely the way to go. "Role models tend to see the bright side in difficult situations and can find creative solutions to their problems," said psychologist Freddie Silver on Livestrong.com. This is especially true if you're at work and having people counting on you.
9. Include Everyone In Your Convo
There is something so cool about a person who can acknowledge everyone in the room. If you've ever been in the back of a group and made eye contact with one of these types, then you likely immediately looked up to them. Make it a point to be this person to somebody else — they'll likely really appreciate it.
10. Don't Be Afraid To Stay Late
Regardless of the situation, I think we can all agree that the people who work hard and stay late are the absolutely best. Maybe it's your coworker who lives at the office until she finishes a project, or your friend who always offers to help clean up after a party. They take the time and put in the effort, and it definitely doesn't go unnoticed.
11. Be A Good Listener
In this busy world of ours, it's tough to get anyone's full attention. So if you can be the one good listener in the room full of people, you'll snag yourself all sorts of respect. "Listen with interest. Pay attention. Engage. Be empathetic," Restauri said. This will make you truly stand out from the crowd.
And it will make you one heck of a role model.
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