We all have a favourite teacher. Perhaps a favourite family member from our youth. But what made you pick this person in particular? What did they have that eternalised them in your memory?
When you are a child, without necessarily searching for this role model, you are amazed, surprised, even touched by someone. It is a process which is very automatic, almost instinctual, in that you possess little control over these feelings of inspiration or fondness, you just…feel them.
Let me start by telling you who these important people were for me when I was younger, and how suddenly, at 52, I find myself admiring and clicking with another human being on that deeper level. Such is the feeling of admiration that I can proudly call him my role model. As I am writing this, he’s not even aware of the impact he’s having on me, so I am secretly, or not so secretly, letting him know something which he has no clue about!
That teacher who first moved me the most was my English teacher, Monsieur Bacle. I was 10, had just started secondary school and English was one of my new subjects. That same October my dad died of lung cancer.
Why am I mentioning this fact?
I don’t know, I am not a psychologist, but with the loss of my ultimate role model, I assume I needed a replacement, someone to admire pretty quickly. This particular teacher had a completely different look from other more ordinary people in my life.
First of all, he wore a blazer, which was very chic for a Parisian suburbs teacher. Not only did he look very posh, but he also had so much wit that he initiated me to sarcasm and cold humour. He also passed me the love for the English language and culture. It’s no surprise that I have been living in the UK for 23 years now, having three children with an English man and solely dating English men! I even love Mature cheddar, Marmite and Brown sauce!
The other male figure who I admired in my youth was my uncle Sylvain, my mum’s much younger brother. He was so different from other adults I knew. He drove an old French traction car. He windsurfed regularly, which back in the day was a new and exciting sport in France. He had many male friends and when they visited my home, the party was on, again a lot of wit and laughter and jokes were flying, an environment that I loved to be in. He also introduced me to music, with bands like Supertramp among his favourites.
So I guess what I’m getting at here is that he initiated me to the idea that there was more to life. There were extreme sports, joyful moments of gathered guests having fun at parties and soirées, and he shared with me his passion for music that I had never heard before.
I realise now, just how much influence these two people have had in shaping my life. Perhaps you will reply: “Well as a child you are easily impressed and influenced and you can be molded like that, picking up ideas along the way on how to be, and how to live your life, but as an adult, surely you are already shaped and that’s the job done right?”
Well, I guess not!
Noticing now how my most recent role model has impacted on my thinking and being shows that we are definitely still growing throughout our lives, and coming to this realisation is purely magical!
Any clues on who my newest role model might be?
No? Then allow me to elaborate!
I came across Nick Bolton in September 2016 at the Animas Summit. I had already decided to sign up to the Diploma in Transformational Coaching and was about to start my journey in November the same year. Whenever Nick would speak, it would flow beautifully, and felt spontaneous yet genuine. Right from the start, I knew that I belonged. I just felt it.
Listening to Nick’s ideas and vision on life and coaching gave me a new perspective on life and on myself. The more I would hear him, the more I would find myself nodding in approbation and saying to myself “yes, that’s me, that’s how I want to be, that’s who I want to show up as. This open person, empathetic, courageous and daring.”
He taught me how to be authentic and why it was OK to be ‘You’. This time round, in his goodbye email, stepping down from his operational role as the CEO, in his final talk, he showed up as a real human being with compassion for himself. He told us how one day he was on his way to lead an introductory day for the diploma for those interested in what it offered, and there on the tube, mid-commute, he realised that his energy level was really low and he just simply told himself “it’s the last time I am delivering this workshop.” And so that was the end of it. He stuck to his guns and I admire that.
He’s proving to be the master of his ship, knowing where to steer it and when to go to shore and step off the boat. Funnily enough, he’s now on his way to travel the UK on his narrow boat!
What Nick has shown me is how to be true and authentic to my own values. His talk was about mastery as a coach; he was showing me how to be a master of my own life, not being controlled by it, but controlling it instead. So empowering and liberating! I knew I was on the right path! This time, my role model wasn’t giving me new ideas or hobbies but leading the way and showing me how to be congruent at my core.
It’s so precious to see in someone else what you aspire to be in your own life, because it shows you not only that you can live an authentic life yourself but having the reassurance that someone else you admire has done it too, pushes you on even more. A very powerful moment for me!
Finally, it gives me a sense of legacy, wondering who I have touched as a teacher, a friend and a life coach. I am certainly a role model to my children, showing them that in life you can risk, you can travel, you can party and still survive. You can have a balanced lifestyle, pursue new things, fail and succeed, but should never give up at that first hurdle. I can already see that my kids, now adults, have embraced autonomy, are being resilient, resourceful and have the same passion for traveling as I have.
So now your turn! Who have been your role models and why? What inspiration have you been to others thus far in your life and who were they? Isn’t it exciting when you think about it? That your life matters because somewhere, somehow, someone will be touched and inspired by you.