You Never Know Who’s Watching

Why You Should Be a Role Model

Growing up playing sports, my parents consistently told me something that eventually became a driving force in my life. They would always tell me, “You never know who’s watching.” That meant when I was on the court playing basketball, I always needed to be at my best. How I acted mattered; how I treated my teammates and opponents mattered; and how I carried myself in defeat or victory, mattered. Because in sports, as in life, one lapse of character could potentially have huge negative consequences.

College was a time when I was being molded and shaped into the person I am today. Especially as a freshman, I was like a sponge soaking up everything around me. Even back then though, I realized that being impressionable is both powerful and dangerous all at the same time. Knowing that I would become the average of the people I surrounded myself with, I started looking for people to model and emulate.

The summer before my freshman year at CSU-Pueblo, I met Sam and Jared. Immediately I knew, they were people who I wanted to be like. They both were extremely involved around campus, widely respected by their peers, and considered the best of the best. In order to learn as much as possible, I tried to be around them whenever I got the chance. If they hung out and talked for an hour after a networking event, I was there. When Jared spoke at the Colorado Leadership Alliance Summit, I was there. When Sam went to New Orleans over spring break for a service trip, I was there. I purposely made an effort to allow myself to be influenced by them. I would watch how they interacted with other people, I paid attention to what they said, the actions they took, then tried to emulate those things in my life.

If you asked Sam and Jared now, I bet they had no idea I was paying such close attention. But whether they knew it or not, everything they did had an impact on me, which later had an impact on the people who then watched me to model what I was doing.

Whether you’re at a party, a leadership conference, or just hanging out with some friends, what you say and do are always impacting someone else. It’s not enough just to be at your best when everyone expects it. It’s actually more important to uphold that standard when no one expects it. How you represent yourself always matters. Be a role model, because you never know who’s watching.

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