I recently had the pleasure of reading Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch! from author and entrepreneur Jenn Aubert. The book encourages women to start or grow businesses while leveraging the power of role models as the major building block to success. As part of the project, Jenn spent more than a year researching and interviewing more than 100 successful women entrepreneurs. These inspiring ladies gave their explicit insight into what led them down the road to success and shared advice for women considering starting businesses or those looking to take theirs to the next level.
One of my favorite sections of the book talked about the necessity of having a “stable” of role models; not one or two, but many people to look to for guidance and advice. Some role models might be well-known like Beyonce and Ellen. Others might be people you know personally such as your sister or aunt. You might admire these women for years–keeping them in your stable for an extended period. Some may come and go as your life and business evolve and change. It’s okay to swap one role model for another or look to someone else for inspiration and guidance. What’s most important is keeping your stable full.
Aubert also discusses how to find role models–noting that they are “everywhere you look.” Most often people (including women) look up to those in the public spotlight such as celebrities, powerful CEOs, and athletes. High-profile role models are great to have in your stable, but you should also be on the lookout for other sources of insight and inspiration. Common places to look are in business publications, blogs and news sites, industry associations, and business conferences, among others.
Inspired by Women Entrepreneur Revolution, here are 10 unconventional places to find role models:
Whether the latest fiction crime novel or an anthology filled with true stories, books offer a terrific and endless pool of potential role models. One who immediately comes to mind is Nancy Drew. I might be dating myself a bit, but this determined, logical free-thinker was well ahead of the curve when she was solving mysteries in her neighborhood. I’m popping her in my stable now.
Television Shows and Movies
Like books, television shows and movies can provide a wonderful source of inspiration. Screenwriters create characters overflowing with traits and characteristics that can be modeled for success. Here are just a few to consider: Dr. Lisa Cuddy (House), Olivia Pope (Scandal), Jessica Pearson (Suits), Violet Crawley (Downton Abbey), Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs), and Erin Brockovich (Erin Brockovich).
Facebook groups, Google+ communities, LinkedIn groups, and other online communities, especially those that are industry focused, can turn up a wealth of role models that you might not have discovered otherwise. Just use caution and do your research. Sometimes trolls and those seeking to prey on women hide in disguise behind the walls of the Internet.
Parent Teacher Associations
If you’ve never attended a PTA meeting before, consider going to a few to meet those in your community advocating for education. Often these leaders are ideal role models, harboring the traits of successful business women.
Local Small Business Communities
We often become so wrapped up in national and international affairs that we forget there are thriving business communities in our own backyards. These small business owners, many who are women, go out on a limb starting more localized, niche businesses. They definitely have courage!
Podcasts have become a hot commodity, with many focusing on successful business women. If you’re currently looking for potential role models, consider searching Google for relevant podcasts. The guests who appear on these recorded pieces often possess the qualities that we would like to have or successes we would like to emulate.
Looking for some creative inspiration? Art exhibits are busting (literally sometimes) with artistic geniuses who spend their days creating unique, thoughtful masterpieces.
Believe it or not, there are still honest, decent politicians working hard to make sure our tax dollars are put to good use and that our voices are heard. Local representatives are quite often people from your very own community. Make contact to learn more about who they are and what they bring to the table.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and can tell a story just with imagery. A photograph of someone unknown to you might spark an idea or motivate you to emulate their success or achievement.
They put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. They’re strategic. Highly intelligent. And honorable. They are the quintessential role models.
For more on role models and to hear what 100 savvy business women have to say about entrepreneurship, pick up Jenn’s book direct on her website or Amazon today!