People are watching you. (Don’t panic, they watch everyone!) Your actions are going to inspire someone to do what you do, for good or bad. This is especially true if you have kids or are around them a lot. If you don’t think you’re a worthy role model right now, this will either help or freak you out.

I don’t want you to second guess every action you take, but you might want to start to see how you are making your mark on the world. Do you want to be the kind of person that kids should want to be like, or the kind that they should try not to end up like? If you’re really getting worried now, let me just say that it’s not too late to choose which one you become. Stories of bad role models who decided to become good role models are as powerful as stories of great role models, if not more powerful.

Let’s say you’re not proud of how things have gone for you. You’re starting to worry that other people might try some of the things you got into when you were a teenager, and you know how that turns out. If you think about it for a minute, you might feel sad or sorry for them because you have felt the pain they are going through and you wouldn’t want someone else to have to go through that.

I have friends in this situation, and they spend their time finding places to tell their story to people who are on the same path, making sure that as many as possible understand where the path leads. It’s impossible not to have a lot of respect for these guys. No matter what they did in their past, the stuff they’re doing now to help others stay off that path makes them great role models now.

Or say you have done some pretty impressive stuff. First, congratulations – we need more good role models out there. And – none of us is perfect. Kids pick up all your flaws too. But if you can show them how a real human being deals with these, they’ll gain not only inspiration to do well like you did, but also the emotional intelligence to work through their issues rather than burying them or lashing out at the people around them.

You are a role model. And every step you take to do just a little more good for yourself and the people around you will make you a positive one.