Modelling for Personal Growth

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Embracing Imperfection and Aspiring to Become a Better You

Before getting into modelling, here’s a story to create some background. Many years ago, I had a sales coach, Richard White. He was a fabulous guy who asked me every question I didn’t want to answer – which is what made him a fabulous coach.

He also had great humility and openly declared that presenting and public speaking were his kryptonite. I took the opportunity to ask him a tough question, hoping to put him on the ropes for once: “What are you doing to improve that situation?”

Great question, I thought. Nailed it.

He replied: “I signed up to the Toastmasters’ Association and my level six graduation speech is next week.”

Great reply! I hadn’t nailed it.

Runner using modelling to improve her personal development
It’s all about following in the footsteps of your role models!


Finally, Here Came the Concept of Modelling

Richard carried on to say that whenever he wanted to be better at something, he used modelling. Basically, he modelled himself on someone he thought was good at that thing. I didn’t understand this and he explained more.

“Next week, I’ll be Ian, who is a great speaker, an old boss, and whenever I get on that TA stage, I am Ian. It works for every situation, Darren!”

He further explained that it was about modelling, which was a key part of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) but I think he’d lost me in the science.

Modelling to Embrace Different Roles – A Path to Excellence

For 20 years, Richard’s advice on modelling has stuck with me and I have used it often. Personally, I have three kryptonites: networking, presenting, and leading. In situations that require these skills I ‘become’ the following people…

  • For networking, I am Simon Spence, sales director of Westbridge Foods and a long-time friend. He is a charismatic person that everyone likes.
  • For presenting, I am Jack Black, founder of Mindstore. A fabulous storyteller who has everyone on the edge of their seats.
  • For leading people, I am Paul Barber, my ex-boss at Sainsbury’s, who had the knack of gathering his team together, somehow speaking to each of them directly while in a group and motivating them all.

I’ll never be as good as these people in these disciplines. But that doesn’t matter. It’s about aspiring to be better than you were and being the very best version of you. With modelling, you can achieve greatness.

Which soft skills are you not so good at? And who are you going to be when you find yourself in those situations?

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