I’ve had lots of role models in my life. And, I still have them. Almost all of them don’t know that I look at them this way. But despite that, they’ve had a profound impact on me. Someday, I should make a list of anyone who’s been one of my role models. Of course, the list includes my parents, siblings, numerous teachers, coaches, friends but also complete strangers. Though it sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable, I’ll tell them how I view them. A few times, someone has said that I’ve served as a role model to them. I take that as one of the greatest possible compliments one can receive.
Over the now 20+ years that I’ve been a physician, many students have told me that I’m a role model for them. It makes me feel honored that I’m having an impact in their lives. Over the years as a triathlete and now an ultra-runner, I know I’ve inspired many to challenge themselves to be as healthy and fit as they can be. It brings me great satisfaction when people come up to me and say they started exercising or they set a goal to perhaps lose weight or they decided to work towards what they thought was a previously unrealistic goal. I know it’s cliché but I cannot emphasize enough how true this is: healthy body equals healthy mind and healthy mind equals healthy body.
If someone asked who has been my single greatest role model, I would not be able to narrow it down to one person. The contenders for the award would be my Father, my Mother, my brother Jake, my deceased brother Alan as well as some of the Fathers of my childhood classmates. Common themes among all of them are their work ethic, their self-discipline, their attempts at always trying to do the right thing, their sacrifice for others and their active and passive attempts to inspire other people do the same.
Who has been and are currently your role models? Most importantly, do you think anyone views you as a role model?
Of course, one’s actions have a much greater impact on others than one’s words. Keep that in mind. People are watching. People are ALWAYS watching.
I wish I could gather all my life’s role models into one room and tell them… “Thank you. I am so grateful.”