|  Diversity   |  Role Models
Nancy Choi

Role Models

Headline: “Rihanna rejects role model status.”

In an interview in 2020, Rihanna shared: “See, people … they want me to be a role model just because of the life I lead. The things I say in my songs, they expect it of me, and [being a role model] became more of my job than I wanted it to be. But no, I just want to make music. That’s it.”

And I totally understand the sentiment.

When you’re in the spotlight or in a visible position (like leadership) as one of the only __(fill in the blank)__, there can be a lot of pressure to be a Role Model of Perfection. For women and women of color, for instance, there is an inhumane standard.

What ends up happening is that the cost we pay for being the “Perfect Role Model” is our Deep Humanity… Authenticity, Creativity, Connection, and Vulnerability.

As a Recovering Perfectionist, I’ve had to let go of the idea that I can meet or exceed everyone’s expectations. The cost is too high on my inner peace.

Instead, here’s my reframe:

  • I role model vulnerability about my challenges and shortcomings.
  • I role model self-belonging by accepting my body, my story, and my truth.
  • I role model making mistakes and welcoming constructive feedback.
  • I role model how I treat myself kindly when I make mistakes.
  • I role model embracing my gifts, taking up space, and being in acts of service within my zone of excellence.
  • I role model how I treat others, irrespective of how they treat me.

Recent research from Diverse Leaders in Tech, powered by Techleap.nl shows that in Europe the next wave of executives and leaders, Millennials & Gen Z, value diverse role models almost 2X more than previous generations.

Diversity ultimately improves our technologies, our businesses, and our narratives. And Diversity improves Leadership.

What are you role-modeling with your own journey? How could you uplift this movement by bringing your uniqueness more to the table?

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