What Makes A Role Model?

Recently, I had to do an interview for the young man in charge of our new hockey team in Wilmington. He is doing his senior project on hockey and listed me as his mentor. Of course, he asked questions about the hockey program, but he also asked me if I had role models. We all have athletic heroes or celebrities we admire, but I don’t believe we have to be famous to be a role model. I admire anyone who has the courage to chase down a dream.

In 2006, we made a long road trip to Calgary, so I had plenty of time to think. I came up with what I like to call the 3 D’s of Success. I used it in speeches to physical therapy students, but got away from it because we wanted to allow more time for questioning and, as our hockey program grew, we had more to talk about. I decided that now is as good of a time as any to bring back the 3 D’s. I believe that anyone who sticks to this concept while pursuing a goal can not only achieve their goal, but also become a role model in the process.

First, is DISCIPLINE. We have to abide by rules set forth by man and God. I don’t know anyone who can accomplish their goals from prison. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or what you have accomplished, your name can be erased in an instant. Look at all the past athletes with the doping scandals. These people went from being heroes to forgotten names. Had they followed the rules, they could have become legends. Of course, there are exceptions when laws infringe on our rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but even then we should abide by them while we harass our elected officials to change such laws.

Second, is DEDICATION. There are going to be so many other things in life that can get in your way of achieving your goal. I use a business concept for this problem, which is called opportunity cost. Basically, it allows you to put a value on something by making you think about what you are giving up to gain the object. The obvious case is money. Is it worth $25 for a shirt? Maybe, if you really want it. The same concept can be used in our actions. Even with something as simple as a goal of losing weight. Do you really need that extra cookie? Is it worth the extra calories that puts you further from your goal? I’m sure we can all think of things that get in the way of our achieving our goals, but if we’re DEDICATED to them, we can achieve them.

Last, but not least, is DETERMINATION. While this is similar to dedication, I believe they are different. Dedication is when you stay focused on achieving your goal. Determination is when even after the world puts up walls preventing you from reaching your goal, you continue to strive forward until you find a way to achieve your dream. I believe this is the most important “D” because you only fail when you stop trying. If you aren’t determined, you will never persevere through anything; much less become someone’s hero.

At the end of the day the difference between success and failure lies with you. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!” Always strive to be the best you can be. Not only will it help you enjoy life, but you never know who may be watching. To someone, you may already be a hero.

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