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How to become a better role model quickly

russell aaron - role model

“To be the best, you have to practice with the best”. I truly believe that statement. A friend of mine told me that once. This was the same friend that got me interested in hockey. When you strive to become a better role model, that’s advice to follow.

I am trying to become a better role model. Specifically for the Vegas WordPress Meetup Group. I’m lead organizer of the group and one day I realized something….

Once a month, I speak in front of a group of WordPressers and they ask me questions. I answer their questions as best as I can. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could actually answer the questions with real advice?

That’s why I need to become a better role model.

I started writing a post status about Plugins that can help you Theme Your WordPress Dashboard. I’m doing it 50% because I want the personal exposure.

The other 50% demonstrates that I can be a guest blogger, other people can validate I know what I’m talking about and that I have a few WordPress connections.

Before I was lead organizer

John Hawkins ran the Vegas WordPress Meetup group until early 2015. While he was running the group, I wasn’t worried about being known as a “credible source”. If someone asked a question, I didn’t have to think about all of the possible outcomes that could happen by recommending a plugin or theme.

All I had to do was show up and chip in if I felt like it.

russell aaron - role model
Russell Aaron speaks at the WPVegas Meetup Group

I can’t do that now. If someone asks a question, It’s automatically directed to me. Even if the question is directed at another person. I need to listen just in case I hear bad advice.

With that being said, this is not me complaining about the group. This is not a cry for help.

This is simply me saying that I wanted to get better, for the betterment of the group. So far, it’s been going well.

We just had a meetup for the month of February. Already I saw changes in myself. I surrounded myself with other speakers that know their stuff. I made a new adventure friend and we talk constantly. Mostly about becoming a better leader.

This friend also brought me a book about leadership. It’s helping.

Become a role model

This isn’t something that I can just say I want to do and then give up on in a few months. It’s not like a new years resolution that I can make to promise to start participating in CrossFit to lose the weight I’ve gained.

That being said…..

I need to find a way to help the group become more familiar with WordPress. Talking about beginner topics for 2 years straight is not going to help me become better.

Remember what I said at the top of this post?

russell aaron - role model

“To be the best, you have to practice with the best”.

We always have repeat attendees. I love that they are dedicated to a WordPress meetup once a month. Maybe they are just bored on every 3rd Wednesday of the month? Who knows.

The point is…

I feel like I have a responsibility to them. To improve their skills and get them involved in the community more. To get them to the level that I am.

Maybe just increase their skills by 5%.

I know it’s a free meetup. I know that not everyone wants what I want for them. I get it. But if I can do for another, what John Hawkins did for me, that would be the best gift that I’ve received in a long time.

Three easy tips to being a better role model

  1. Start learning. Knowledge is power. If you want to become a better role model in math, you need to start learning as much about math as possible.
  2. Ask better questions. Ask your group members what they specifically want to learn. It’s one thing to want to help someone. It’s easier to learn about squares and circles than it is to learn about all the shapes known to humankind.
  3. Listen up and pay attention. Sometimes step number 2 can be tough to accomplish. Because group members tend to get shy and refuse to tell you what they want to learn. If you listen to their conversations. or just have a simple conversation with them, they will start to hint at things that you pick up on.


I know that these are kind of no-brainer type steps. They really do work. Sometimes simple tips and tricks do the best job.

Read Part Two

3 thoughts on “How to become a better role model quickly”

  1. I believe that being a role model, even stepping up to be a mentor, is a great thing. And many people in the WordPress community have done this.

    I don’t think that shaping the WordPress experience for beginners is a reflection on your own skillset. Rather, it’s a reflection on your heart to build up the WordPress community, not just in terms of numbers, but building up the skills of the individual. This is an important part of community, in my view. A mentored person will mentor others. That’s how a community grows.

    Thanks for being one of my role models and mentors, Russ. And I’m honored to call you friend, too.

    1. It’s fun to say that I helped shape someone’s WordPress career. It’s fun to say that Ive helped someone accomplish their goals of building a WordPress Site. Bridget, you’re nothing short of amazing.

  2. Pingback: Becoming the best role model part two. - Russell, eNVy

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