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Why finding a role model is important

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Looking for role models is important in international business writes blogger Cynthia Balogh. I recently attended the last of the International Women’s Day events for 2012 in what has morphed in Australasia into International Women’s fortnight. A week earlier I had the pleasure of speaking at the APEC Leadership Forum on Women, in Yokohama Japan, on how initiatives for women to network beyond borders and organisations contribute to economic growth and job creation across the region. At that forum I had the privilege to meet amazing women from many APEC countries who really have broken through the glass ceiling in their own countries and crashed through what must have seemed like insurmountable barriers on their journey. These women are true role models. The Mayor of Yokohama, Fumiko Hayashi is a case in point. In her keynote speech she recounted how, in her first job in a corporate in Japan, she was asked to come in an hour earlier than all the men, so she could clean the toilets.  Sofia Koswara, the CEO of B Channel TV in Indonesia, spoke of the difficulty of finding the balance between having harmony in her domestic life and meeting the obligations of a CEO, often having to choose to sacrifice some element. This theme was continued when Tatiana Gvilava, President of the All-Russian Public Organisations of Businesswomen tearfully acknowledged how her drive to achieve a successful career has meant sometimes sacrificing being there when her children reached developmental milestones. Given that women are biologically destined to have the babies, aligning the biology with the career is always going to produce conflict and sacrifice of some sort. Each of these women represents the combination of pain and reward that is experienced along the way, but also as exceptional role models who personify why it is worthwhile. Role models are of critical importance to us generally but more so for women who are seeking the path to professional and personal fulfilment. Role models help provide a guide for our developmental paths and help us make important decisions that affect our lives and the lives of those around us. We look to them for inspiration and a blueprint on how to do it. The common survival function is designed to help us mimic the traits of people we perceive to be successful in society, thereby helping us to be successful too. As such the correct role model will ensure that we learn the right lessons. If you find your business goals are not going the way you want or your personal objectives are not being realised, then look at your priorities and who your current influencers are. Look for role-models in your life who have achieved what you want to achieve.

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