Choose Your Role Models Wisely

Before Crisp, I had a business in the nightlife and hospitality industry. We did photography and video for bars, restaurants, and concert venues. 

I had some mentors in the space that were considered “successful” in that they were at the top of their game for the work that they were doing in that particular industry.

But it quickly became clear to me that these were not role models I wanted for my life.

I did learn quite a bit from them. With most mentors, you’ll get some really great advice, even from ones that may not be the ideal mentor. 

However, there were key areas where we didn’t align — but I’ll get into that shortly.

First, a word on choosing your mentors.

For me, I always ask myself two questions:

  1. Who’s at the top of my industry? 
  2. Would I want to trade places with them?

The second question is essential.

If I keep doing what they’re doing, if I’m listening to their advice and following their example, I will create a life like the one they have. Is that the kind of life I want? 

In the nightlife and hospitality industry, I found that these “successful” entrepreneurs were out until 3:00 in the morning. There’s a lot of drinking. There’s drug abuse. Family values aren’t a thing. I saw that and I said to myself, “If this is what the top looks like, then these aren’t really the people that I want to learn from.”

Ultimately, that’s what led me to leave that industry and start Crisp years down the line. 

When asking whether you would trade places with a potential role model, I encourage you to look beyond financial success — because money will never tell you the full story.

Someone could be a financial success and be lacking in other areas of their life. What’s the relationship like with their family? Do they even have a family? How are they spending their time? What kind of physical shape are they in? What kind of mental shape are they in? 

I know some people that are financially success but are completely inadequate in all those other areas. They’re overweight. Their health has suffered. They’re a stranger to their family. They’re dependent on substances. 

That’s not someone I’d ever want to trade places with. Maybe they’ve got a nice boat or maybe they made some money, but no thank you. 

Determine what is valuable to you and what your values are. Then be sure the role models you choose are living a life you want that’s in alignment with those values.

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