Back To Basics. The 3 Fundamentals That Everyone Always Forget About Being a Role Model

Last night I recorded a podcast with my partner Perry about fitness. Certainly we had talked about fitness before, so that wasn’t the part that made it special. What made it special was the fact that the topic revolved around a question that his mentor asked him recently: How can I be a good role model for fitness for my daughter when I’m not fit?

I live fitness. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll already know that I’m a fitness instructor. It’s my passion. It’s been so instrumental in my life for so many years. I’ve relied on it to get through my valleys of darkness. Thankfully I haven’t had that many. But in my time of need, I knew could always rely on going to the gym to drag my ass out of the gutter.



I can certainly appreciate that most people aren’t this way. On the flip side, you should certainly appreciate that there are areas in which I am not an expert. Most other areas, in fact, I am not. I’m good with that. We can’t be good at all things. This is natural and never a problem unless people expect you to be an expert.

In consulting, people often expect us to know all things about the technology on which we have been engaged. That is what deters a lot of people from going into independent consulting themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. Consulting is definitely not for everyone. Ask my partner Andy, and he’ll be the first to tell you that not everyone can be a good consultant. But I would surmise that most people probably have more under their belt than they think to be one, and to be good one, no less.


Learn out Loud

The Tim Ferris way is to learn out loud. I’ve been taking a course called the Internet Business Mastery Academy and despite a different industry (e-commerce), one thing is common: It’s ok to learn out loud. Tim Ferris made this famous. He advocates that you don’t have to be a complete expert in something in order to teach or add value. You just have to be a few steps ahead. You need to know what you need to know for the job at hand. The rest, you can rely on being resourceful. In fact, being a consultant is more about being resourceful than actually having the knowledge. Really the client cares less how much you know, than they care how much you can bring to the table.



Fake it till you Make it?

I know you’ve heard this one before. Let’s face it. To make it in consulting, there is an element of ‘fake it till you make it.’ The question is, how do you know when you’ve made it? Years of experience? Job title? Number of reports under you? If you take a look at the pool of good CEO’s in America, despite the thousands of employees that are they’re leading, they will still admit to having moments of ‘what the eff am I doing here? I’m an imposter.’



What I’m trying to say is that if you’re looking for external sources to determine whether or not you’ve ‘made it,’ you may discover that it’s a continuous, fruitless quest. The truth is that you know you’ve made it when you feel that you have adequately added value to the client. You know you’ve made it when at the end of the day, you experience that overwhelming sense of satisfaction that you have left it all on the table. You can feel the smile spread across your face as you lie down to bed. You relish in that immense sense of satisfaction with yourself and with the world. Finally, and most importantly, you know you’ve made it when you can look in the mirror and honestly be proud of that image that looks back at you.

Based on this theory, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people that actually have ‘made it’ in reality. But we have spent years of our lives ignoring our intuition, and ignoring our inner ourselves. Instead we take queues from the negativity and perception of scarcity around us. This is the stuff that keeps us down. It reinforces how we think we’re not good enough, that we haven’t made it. We think that we have to continue pretending to be the façade whom we think would please our clients, be it internal or external.


The Myth about Being Well Rounded

Whenever I come across this, I’m always reminded of Joe Gagliardi of Recruitment Partners. A few months ago, I interviewed him for Andy and my Art of Consulting Podcast. He advocated that to sail over the competition, pick something, and be super amazing at it. “Don’t be afraid to the ‘go-to’ person in your organization for one thing that you know you are crazy good.” Everyone is an expert at something. The best way to differentiate from everyone else in the crowd is to be uniquely you.



The myth is that good consultants are good at everything. It might appear that way because good consultants brand themselves on their strengths. They don’t market their weaknesses. The play their strengths. It’s like this. My strengths are training. I know this without a shadow of doubt. My weakness is numbers, which is why I left operational accounting. Compiling a spreadsheet might be fun at first. But after the couple hours of trying to ensure that my facts are straight, it makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. So what do I do? I ask someone who is good with numbers to do a peer review. Boom. Play their strengths. The result is that I have a solid quantitative analysis, though numbers wasn’t my strength.

On the flip side, someone whose weakness is communication might ask me to put together a user guide or a mini course for their team. I would gladly do it. This cross-pollination of strengths is what makes a team strong. This leads me to my last point.


Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal

If you really want to get good in an area, find people who are successful in what you want to become. Be among them. Absorb what they did. Why re-invent the wheel when someone else has already done it? As the great Pablo Picasso once said “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Ok. Before you freak out, let’s dive into what he mean by that.




It’s one thing to copy someone, to mimic their words (That’s plagiarism, by the way), mimic their work. But the individuality is still that of the original artist. When great artists steal, what Picasso meant was that they take in all that other artists do. They absorb it. They learn from it. They get inspired by it. They ‘steal’ it just as a robber would take possession of it, though they know full well that it originated from someone else. Here’s the catch. They then put their own spin on it. They embody it. They transform the idea into something fresh and new. They do it boldly, unapologetically. The fact of the matter is that nothing is ever completely new, not art, not technology, not ideas. The cutting edge is and has always been a subsequent edition of whatever inspired it before.

Getting back to being a role model without being an expert: I want you to take comfort in that none of us have to first have achieved mastery in order to be a role model, or to influence and inspire others. People watch us as we travel on our journey. That is where the inspiration is. Knowing this, we can be excellent role models long before we have achieved mastery.

Also published on Medium.

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