Every woman needs a role model in her life. Not just when she is a teenager or a young adult, but every day of her life, for as long as she lives. We need role models as we get older more than ever, as our conception of what is and what isn’t possible as we age is changing. Ideally, we all have at least one role model, but the more role models you have, the better. It might be someone you know personally, but it doesn’t have to be. It should be someone you admire, who has walked a similar path to the one you find yourself on now and who has succeeded in coping with the challenges that your chosen path presents. Knowing that someone has coped with and solved problems similar to yours is a great confidence-booster. Their situation does not absolutely need to be exactly the same as yours. You will find inspiration and motivation to succeed by choosing any female role model who has conquered her demons, despite the odds.
Confident women know how infinitely precious the example of a successful role model can be. Research shows that our confidence increases when we find out that other women have succeeded in reaching similar objectives as the ones we have set ourselves. We realise that it is possible to make our dreams come true, no matter how insurmountable the obstructions we face may seem. Even though we can be inspired by any successful woman, modelling ourselves on women who are similar to ourselves, has the greatest impact on our self-confidence. We end up thinking, “if she can do it, then so can I!”
If you want to start your own business, your role model may be a successful businesswoman (older or younger!) working in the same field as you. Same goes for artists, students, parents, teachers, carers, actors, athletes, musicians…no matter what you are trying to achieve, having a suitable role model will make it easier. Open your favourite browser and do a search. If you are a businesswoman, you may try “successful women entrepreneurs,” for example. I did a search for “successful women writers” and found loads of entries, including a very good article about “The 10 most powerful women authors.” The introductory paragraph hit me full-frontal in the gut: “The women selected for this list are powerful because of their ability to influence us through their words and ideas. Collectively, these women hold readers captivated with stories of fantastical worlds, suspense and drama, insights into the complexities of minority experiences and cultures, and fresh takes on societal issues and expectations…not to mention, book sales of up to 800M copies sold and a wealth of prestigious awards and recognition including Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.” Yes! This is the sort of writer I want to be! Some of the women mentioned I already admire and use as role models: Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Atwood, Isabelle Allende, Maya Angelou… To identify more role models, I do a search to find out more about the other writers mentioned, to read about their lives and the obstacles they had to overcome to be the successful authors they are today. Very difficult not to be inspired. Now it is your turn. Go and do a search and then come back here because I want to make a few more hopefully helpful suggestions.
When you have identified your ideal role models, follow the ones who inspire you to be the person you are striving to become, on social media. Many successful women have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube accounts…some even have blogs. You can read books, articles, blog posts etc about what these women have achieved but the best way to learn from them is still directly from the horse’s mouth. We live in a digital age, where we have access to other people’s daily thoughts, we might as well use our opportunities.
Do take care, though, not to fall into the intimidation-trap. Look up to your role model, by all means, but try not to be blinded by their achievements. Don’t think, “I’ll never be able to achieve what she has achieved!” Remember, like you, she had to start at the bottom. Remember that you are a very special person in your own right and you have your own talents, experience and skills. You might have to walk a path parallel to hers and might not be able to follow in her exact footsteps. Learn from your role models, make their skills your own but be your own woman.
So, choose your role model carefully. It needs to be someone you can relate to, who found themselves in the same situation initially and who had to face the same challenges as you do. One of the most important criteria in choosing a role model is that it should be someone who has the same values as you have and who makes decisions in line with her values. Choosing someone you cannot relate to, who do not hold the same values dear as you do, can result in feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, envy and a dramatic drop in self-confidence. And if your role model should disappoint you, move on, find another. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes.
‘I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.’ Meryl Streep (definitely one of my role models)
I have recently updated and republished two of my books: Self-Confidence made Simple -16 Frenchwomen share their Confidence Secrets and You ARE Good Enough – 10 Simple Steps to Stop Sabotaging Yourself. In both these books, you will find several more effective confidence-building strategies. Of course, the most effective way to significantly increase your self-confidence would be to attend one of my Connect with Horses Personal Empowerment workshops here in the south of France. Consider yourself to have been personally invited.
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