In the Shadow of Giants: How to Leverage Role Models for Maximum Motivation


Have you ever found yourself admiring someone and feeling inspired by their achievements? Role models have the power to motivate, encourage, and guide us as we strive to reach our own goals. By learning from those who have already succeeded, you can gain valuable insights and make progress in your own journey.

In this article, we will explore the concept of role models and how you can leverage their influence to propel yourself forward. Whether you're aiming to advance in your career, improve your personal life, or develop new skills, the guidance of role models can be a valuable resource.

As Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Let's explore the impact of role models and how their influence can make a lasting impression on your life and aspirations.

Understanding Role Models

Having a role model can be a powerful source of motivation. They can inspire and guide you as you work towards your own goals. Role models are individuals who have achieved success in areas you aspire to excel in. They could be celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs, or even someone in your community. As Steve Jobs once said, "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

By observing the accomplishments and character traits of your role models, you can gain valuable insights into what it takes to succeed. You can witness firsthand their dedication, perseverance, and the choices they made to overcome obstacles. Allow yourself to open up to new experiences and perspectives by immersing yourself in the lives of those whom you admire.

In his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," Nelson Mandela wrote, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." When you understand the struggles and triumphs of your role model, you will find the courage to persevere in your own challenges.

By studying the lives of different role models, you can pick and choose the qualities that resonate most with you. Perhaps you connect with the resilience of a famous athlete, or the compassion of a philanthropic leader. Embrace the diversity of role models and find the ones who can inspire your unique journey.

Choosing the Right Giants

When it comes to leveraging role models for motivation, choosing the right giants to look up to is crucial. You want to find someone who not only inspires you but also aligns with your values and goals. As author Richard Paul Evans once said, "You shouldn't compare yourself to others, they are more perfect than you."1 This means you should be selective in the giants you choose to emulate.

Consider individuals who have achieved success in areas that you aspire to excel in, whether it's in your profession, personal life, or a specific skill you want to develop. Look for someone whose journey resonates with you, as motivational speaker Tony Robbins advises, "Success leaves clues."2

Remember that giants don't have to be famous or well-known. They can be mentors, colleagues, or even friends who have overcome challenges and achieved the results you desire. The key is to find someone whose story and achievements can serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for your own path.

As you search for the right giants to emulate, keep in mind the qualities and values that are important to you. Choose someone whose character and principles you admire, someone who embodies the traits you want to cultivate in yourself. As entrepreneur and author Seth Godin once said, "You are what you share."3

Ultimately, the right giants should not only motivate you to reach for your goals but also inspire you to become a better version of yourself. Whether it's their work ethic, resilience, or integrity, their example should encourage you to strive for excellence in your own endeavors.

a group of rocks in a field with mountains in the background
Photo by Narek Hakobyan on Unsplash

Learning from Their Journey

When you choose giants as your role models, you are not just admiring them from a distance. You should also take the time to learn from their journey and understand how they achieved their success.

Research and Study: Take the time to research your role model and understand their background, career path, and the challenges they faced along the way. This will help you gain valuable insights into how they overcame obstacles and achieved their goals.

Learn from their Mistakes: Giants are not perfect, and they have likely made mistakes along the way. By learning from their failures, you can avoid making the same errors yourself. As Tony Robbins once said, "Success leaves clues. If you sow the same seeds, you'll reap the same rewards."

Embrace Their Values and Work Ethic: By understanding the values and work ethic of your role models, you can incorporate these principles into your own life. As Oprah Winfrey once said, "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams."

Seek Mentorship: If possible, seek mentorship from someone who has a similar background or career path to your role model. This can provide you with valuable guidance and support as you work towards your own goals.

By learning from the journey of your role models, you can gain valuable insights, avoid common pitfalls, and strive towards achieving your own success.

Setting Personal Goals

When you have identified your role model and learned from their journey, it's time to set your personal goals. Your role model can serve as a guide to help you understand what you want to achieve and what steps you need to take to get there.

Reflect on Your Aspirations: Take some time to reflect on the aspirations you have gained from learning about your role model. Consider what motivates you and what you are passionate about. Use this self-reflection to set specific, realistic, and achievable goals for yourself.

Align Your Goals with Your Values: As you set your personal goals, ensure that they align with your core values. By doing so, you will be more motivated and committed to working towards these goals. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins said, "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible."

Write Down Your Goals: Take the time to write down your goals. Research has shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. By putting your goals on paper, you are making a commitment to yourself and reinforcing your motivation to pursue them.

Establish a Plan of Action: Your role model's journey can provide valuable insights into creating a plan of action for yourself. Use their experiences as inspiration to map out the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals. Leslie Brown, an American motivational speaker, once said, "The goals you set will determine the person you will become."

By setting personal goals that are in line with your values, writing them down, and establishing a plan of action, you can leverage your role model's influence to guide your journey towards success and fulfillment.

selective focus photography of an arrow
Photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated can be challenging, especially when faced with obstacles and setbacks. It's essential to continue drawing inspiration from your role models to keep you on track.

One way to stay motivated is by reminding yourself of the achievements of your role models and how they overcame challenges. As Oprah Winfrey once said, "The big secret in life is that there is no secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work."

Another way to stay motivated is by visualizing your success. Imagine yourself achieving your goals, just like your role models did. Visualizing success can give you the push you need to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

Remember to celebrate your progress, no matter how small. As Bill Gates said, "It's fine to celebrate success, but it's more important to heed the lessons of failure." Acknowledge the milestones you've reached and use them as fuel to keep pushing forward.

Surround yourself with positivity and stay connected with like-minded individuals. As Simon Sinek once said, "The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when."

Lastly, keep adapting and learning from your role models' journeys. As Michelle Obama once said, "You may not always have a comfortable life, and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once, but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own."

By staying motivated and continuously drawing inspiration from your role models, you can conquer your goals and achieve success just like the giants you look up to.

Overcoming Challenges

When you look up to your role models, it's important to remember that their journey wasn't all smooth sailing. They faced challenges, setbacks, and failures, just like you do. As you strive to reach your goals, you'll encounter obstacles along the way. But don't be disheartened—remember that even giants stumble.

As Oprah Winfrey once said, "Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don't fight them. Just find a new way to stand." When you face a difficult situation, channel the resilience of your role models. Remind yourself of the obstacles they overcame and draw inspiration from their perseverance.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when things don't go as planned. However, remember that setbacks are not a sign of failure; they're an opportunity for growth. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, affirms this by saying, "Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another."

When you encounter challenges, take a step back, evaluate the situation, and think about how your role models would have navigated through it. Their experiences can guide you and give you the strength to push through. By confronting challenges with a resilient mindset, you can turn them into stepping stones for personal and professional growth.

Remember that it's okay to ask for help when you're facing difficulties. Seek guidance from mentors, peers, or even your role models themselves if possible. They can offer valuable advice and support to help you overcome the obstacles in your path.

By confronting challenges head-on and learning from your role models, you'll develop the resilience and determination needed to succeed in your own journey. As you navigate the ups and downs, keep in mind the words of Nelson Mandela: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

grayscale photo of two people walking on mountain valley
Photo by Jonathan Bell on Unsplash

Measuring Your Growth

As you continue to draw inspiration and motivation from your role models, it's important to take stock of your progress and measure your growth along the way. This will not only help you stay on track but also boost your confidence as you witness the positive changes in your life.

One way to measure your growth is by setting specific milestones based on the accomplishments of your role models. As Oprah Winfrey once said, "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." So, ask yourself: What are the achievements that I can strive for that align with the journey of my role model? By setting realistic and attainable goals, you can assess your progress and celebrate your victories along the way.

Another way to measure your growth is by reflecting on the personal development you've experienced. As you learn from the journey of your role model, take time to evaluate how you've grown in terms of mindset, discipline, and resilience. As Tony Robbins advises, "Change is inevitable. Progress is optional." Keep a journal or a personal log where you can track your personal and professional development and see how far you've come.

Lastly, seek feedback from trusted mentors, friends, or colleagues who know about your journey and can provide valuable insights. As the saying goes, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." By listening to the perspectives of others, you can gain a clearer understanding of your growth and identify areas for improvement.

Remember, measuring your growth is not about comparing yourself to your role model, but rather about assessing your progress and celebrating your achievements. As you continue to leverage the wisdom and inspiration from your role models, take the time to evaluate and appreciate how far you've come on your own journey to success.


Congrats on taking the first steps in leveraging role models for maximum motivation! Remember, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful" said Albert Schweitzer.

In conclusion, take the time to understand the role models that inspire you, choose the right giants to emulate, learn from their journey, set personal goals, stay motivated, overcome challenges, and measure your growth. By following these steps, you can leverage the power of role models to achieve your greatest aspirations.

Keep in mind Albert Einstein's words, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." Stay motivated, keep learning, and continue to be inspired by the giants who have blazed the trail before you. Remember, "Your role models not only inspire you, but they provide a roadmap to success," said Richard Branson.

Remember, you have the power to achieve your dreams and become the role model for others. Let the giants cast their long shadows and guide you on your journey to success and fulfillment.

green and white i love you printed textile
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

1Richard Paul Evans, The Four Doors: A Guide to Joy, Freedom, and a Meaningful Life (2013)
2Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement (1986)
3Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (2008)
4Tony Robbins, "Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook" (2017)
5Oprah Winfrey, "What I Know for Sure" (2014)
6Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations (2017)
7Bill Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought (1999)
8Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009)
9Michelle Obama, Becoming (2018)
10Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016)
11Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure (2014)
12Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within (1991)
13Albert Schweitzer, The Power of Thinking Big (1959)
14Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2008)