Surrounding yourself with people who are doing what you aspire to do is a worthwhile endeavour on the path towards success.  I didn’t give much thought about why I admired certain individuals and felt negatively toward others until I came across a book that suggested writing down all the people you looked up to—whether famous, dead, or alive.  After completing the exercise it brought to light the kind of person I wanted to be, and mimicking the values (or lack thereof) of a character on reality TV was not on my list.

Self-help author and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, studied and read about all the people he most admired; then he began to fashion his actions and belief systems after them.  Today he is an international success.  He discovered value in mentorship and went on to be a world-renowned mentor.  Most of us could use a little guidance and mentorship to achieve our personal best.  Fear, being overwhelmed, and the demands of life may hold us back from taking necessary steps to finding the help we need.  However, if we take the time to look, the wisdom we seek may not be as out of reach as we think.

Mentorship need not be gleaned from a close relationship with people you know.  It can be your favorite Olympic athlete who inspires you to train harder.  Perhaps you want to discover a way to serve your community because of how a charitable group close to your heart does.  Who makes you feel impassioned? Why? Who do you wish you could be for a day? Once you know, read books about them, watch interviews, contact them and ask how they went about accomplishing their goals.

After I finished a book by writer Natalie Goldberg, I felt I had discovered a kindred soul.  Mentors make us feel connected and inspired.  Focus more of your energy on those you admire, and less on what social media grinds out.  Be brave and ask questions—most people love to be asked about their lives and love to help.

Imitating someone you admire is the greatest form of flattery when you aspire to be better than you were yesterday.  It’s revealing when you pinpoint who you admire and discover the reasons why.  My list includes my parents, Malala Yousafzai, Eckhart Tolle, and others.  Each person I admire for different reasons, whether their generosity, crazy sense of humor, or ability to remain true to themselves under difficult circumstances.  When you realize why you admire someone, it enriches your relationships and makes you appreciate everyone’s unique gifts.

If you’re feeling down or low on motivation, remember the saying “Fake it ‘til you make it” has worked for millions of successful people, just like you.  Keep your list of values and mentors close at hand.  Reach out to your tutor, a fellow student, or a trained counselor for further guidance.  Within these connections is a wealth of wisdom of knowledge.  Before you know it, you could be the one others seek out for advice, stories about your own life experiences, and support.