The 3 Types of Role Models Everyone Needs In Their Career

Mentors. Role Models. Learning from others. Those are topics we talk about regularly here on Seeking Wisdom – but there are actually 3 types of role models to follow and watch if you want to grow in your career, business, or personally. DC and DG break down Role Models, Reverse Role Models, Anti Role Models, and more on this episode of Seeking Wisdom.

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In This Episode

0:31 Introduction to today’s topic on role models
2:00 Role models in general and why you need them
2:20 Role models allow you to see what’s possible.
3:00 Learn what works and doesn’t work from other people.
3:21 We are in a constant fight with our own egos.
4:35 We all model throughout our lives, but we get to a point when we stop modeling.
5:25 The best marketers learn faster than anyone else.
6:13 The classroom example- Whose learnings would you choose?
7:11 Selecting your Role Model(s)
7:44 Find somebody that is doing the same thing you are doing today. (peer)
7:50 Find somebody that is one level ahead of you.
7:57 Find somebody who is multiple levels ahead of you.
8:10 Reverse Role Models introduced
8:18 DG goes to a dinner event in with CMOs
10:00 Reverse Role Models help you figure out what is possible.
10:32 Anti Role Models- Find the people exhibiting the traits that never lead to the things that you want. (Charlie Munger’s Inversion Theory)
13:15 Getting caught up in equipment, what you look like
13:45 Rate & Review!

Learn more about Charlie Munger’s Inversion theory here.

Full Transcript

Dave Gerhardt: Yes.

David Cancel: That good old coffee.

DG: It’s good?

DC: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

DG: We need to upgrade the studio.

DC: We do. We were just talking about that-

DG: We’ve been talking about this for a long time.

DC: And no action.

DG: We need books, we need murals, we need fan mail.

DC: I’m afraid this doesn’t show the true character of who we are.

DG: No! I feel like we’re in … Your basement would be nicer than this. We are in your base. We are in somewhere in my basement. If I had a basement, what would it look like?

DC: [crosstalk 00:00:25] If he had a basement. What’s going on? What are we talking about?

DG: Sorry. So, you sent me this message about anti role models. It hit me, like, role models is one of the most important things that we talked about on this podcast, on this show. It’s more than a podcast to me. You talked about anti role models. I thought this would be a good opportunity to tie what anti role models, but actually let’s do a full episode on role models and let’s call this “The Three Types of Role Models Everybody Needs in Their Career”.

DC: Okay, I like it.

DG: I want to unpack each role model.

DC: And nephew had a lot of notes.

DG: I got notes. I got notes. We have a system. We’re getting a system down network. I keep this doc as we do the show and so like, if there’s things that you say or we say or whatever, I’d mark it down as a clip so then the video crew knows.

DC: What?

DG: So then Dan or Gonz where it doesn’t have to listen for 30 minutes to then pick out the good clip.

DC: Look at that! So need time jeep?

DG: No, no. I had this conversation with Dan. Shout out young Dan-

DC: Young Dan. Young, young Dan-

DG: The other day. I said, look, I want to pull out the clips that I want to write the headlines, but if you have the mindset of, “I’m going to do this for you, this is your job, you’re never going to learn it! I’m going to show you some of the things that I think would be good clips and headlines, but I want you to take this and then take it with it.” That’s how we got the clip. If you go, he sent me this great clip today, which is like, you know, one that we wrote down last time, which is the “Tail and Hiring, about management or whatever the heck it was.

DC: How to spot your future leaders.

DG: How to spot your future leaders, right! I wrote that, gave him that one and now knows.

DC: That was too good, that he should have charged for.

DG: We should charge, that was too good. I’m going to post that one later.

DC: Behind the pay wall.

DG: This episode is about role models. I want to talk about the three of them. Actually, I want you to do most of the talking. I do what I do, which is interviewing you. Let’s talk about role models. Number one, let’s talk about role models in general. There’s a good kind, right? I think this is the mistake that most people make, which is everybody wants role models, but they say, “DC I want you to be my role model. When can we get coffee? When can we get lunch?” You’re never going to have the time, so I think the biggest mistake people make with role models, we should talk about why you need them first.

DC: I was going to ask you about it. Why do we need role models and how did you get to learn about the role models.

DG: Let me answer this question a couple different ways. One of them is how I would have answered it a couple of years ago, which is well, because you need to have people to look up to, right? What you’ve helped me figure out is that actually the role models … There’s really two reasons. One of them is so you can see what’s possible. You talk about this story a lot. Where, when you were growing up, you didn’t know you were in Queens, you know you dropped out of college, you didn’t know xyz was possible. Right now you have your kids know things that are possible that you did not know.

DC: I had no Googles.

DG: No Googles, nothing. None of that stuff. The second one though, this actually been the most powerful one for me, is to learn what works or doesn’t work from other people. Right? “Oh my God, we’ve never done an event. We got to do our first event here at Drift.” I could figure out how to do it or I could go watch videos and learn from people who have thrown great events and then take that and learn what was good and what was not good.

DC: All great stuff. It all comes down to-

DG: What I miss?

DC: You didn’t miss anything there, but I’m going to take it up one level and say the reason that role models and modeling is important is because we are in a constant fight. All of us with our own egos and we get to a certain age once we become an adult and we start to think that we want to invent everything. We want to create stuff. We weren’t everything from scratch. We don’t want to do the things that have been done before. We don’t want to listen to our parents advice, because what do they know? And then you hit a certain level of maturity. Then you’re like, you look back and you’re like, “There was so many things that I had to learn the hard way that I could’ve learned the easy way, but my ego got in the way,” and so what we’re all about is short cutting. That’s where role models come in because we all have this constant. You have the young, young red headed little daughter. Follow the IG-

DG: Shout out Annie, if you’re listening.

DC: If you want to check out any checkout Annie, check of Dave Gerhardt’s IG, that’s all that’s on there 24/7.

DG: I want the follower so I post Annie-

DC: Yeah, if you look at Annie, how does one learn how to walk and he learns how to walk by trial and error by looking, observing around her, by modeling and seeing what other people are doing. That’s how she learns so many of the things that she does, is by modeling. She doesn’t learn how to walk by reading a book. She doesn’t learn how to … No one has to give her any instructions on how to learn to walk. She is modeling behavior that she sees and others and she’s emulating. That’s where modeling comes in, so we all model, but we get up to a point in life where we stopped modeling and start being stubborn and then we figure out that we finally … The shortcut is to model, right? The thing that we knew all along. I never knew, no one ever taught me about role models or I didn’t even know what that was and now I can see like, “Wow! We model so many things in life.” Let’s take a deliberate framework approach, a systematic approach to learning by using role models.

DG: I love that. Last year, back in the spring, I think it was March / April Elias and I met, we were lucky enough to meet with the CMO of Facebook in his office, an incredible experience. We’re like, “What? What are we asking this guy?” Elias said before the meeting, “He’s like, do you have questions? You better get some questions.” So we said to him, “What are the traits of the best marketers?” And he said, “The best marketers learn faster than everybody else.” Insert marketer for whatever job you are. That’s why role models, if you can learn faster than everybody else, you’re going to be more successful because if you learn faster or you can put the new ideas into play faster. You can learn what didn’t work faster, you can avoid the mistakes faster, so that line, I’ve thought about that line a lot since then. Which is I think, true in so many different roles.

DC: I love that. One of the hard things and figuring all this out is identifying who would be a good role model. Now, I was listening to my uncle, Warren Buffet, again recently. I listen to him on repeat. He’s giving this talk at … I forgot the school, was in California, old talk on Youtube and he was saying that his mentor taught him this lesson, right, and he uses it all the time when he talks to students and he’s trying to teach them on how to select how to find the right fit in a person.

He said, “Imagine this experiment. Imagine where Dave went to college. If you were to look into his class or where he went to high school and would say, “Dave, you can pick one person in this class who you can get 10% of their earnings of whatever money they make for the rest of their lives forever, but you could only choose one person. How would you choose that person?”” And what I was going to shortcut a few and what Warren says and his mentor told him was that, “It’s never going to be based on tangibles. It’s not going to be the captain of the football team that you’re going to choose. It’s not going to be that person who had all the straight A’s in class. It’s going to be someone that stands out to you because of their intangibles. Something that’s intangible that you can’t put your finger on something that stands out that’s weird, that’s special about this person and they stand out.”

The reason I bring this up today and I was recording that little rant for a little secret project I’m working on. I’ll tell the people about that a little bit more of that later, but that is important in this what we’re talking about, which is selecting your role model. So when you’re selecting for your role models, you don’t only want to look at their quantifiable things, you want to do what Warren Buffet said, you want to look beyond that and look for the intangibles. What is the thing that makes them special and selecting that role?

DG: I love that. There’s a thousand articles in episode just from this alone.

DC: Right here, right here.

DG: Another thing I forget what book this was from, we read this book, might have been “Tools for Titans” but Tim Ferris, talks about …. I think, who is the healer admiral? Was it McChrystal or McRaven, it’s one of those guys, right?

DC: McChrystal.

DG: McChrystal shout out to you Stanley McChrystal. I think he’s been in the news lately. Here’s his framework for picking role models. You want three. Number one is find somebody who’s doing the same thing you’re doing today because that becomes your peer peer groups/ therapy, right?

Number two is find someone who’s one level ahead of you, so you can kind of see the map to get to the next level and then find somebody who’s like multiple levels ahead of you, right? So then you can see what it’s going to take, what the elite levels look like. I like that as well, as an old framework.

DC: That’s a great framework.

DG: Very simple, right? You need three and here’s the three. That’s role models. So those are the good kind. You also taught me about reverse role models. Can you rebring the lesson of reverse role models to light for the people?

DC: We did an episode on this a long time ago and it was, I had sent TG out, he had been invited to some-

DG: This is one of my favorite stories.

DC: Some dinner, some event, some whatever, and he was nervous about going, he didn’t want to go or something like that and so I was pushing them to go and I said it’s important you go to this thing. I think maybe I was invited too and then I didn’t attend-

DG: This is how I came up a little bit, which is these people in early days Drift people invite DC and still invite DC to all this stuff. He says he can’t go. I get to go and it’s amazing and so this example was the group of all, it was a CMO dinner at some fancy restaurant in Cambridge and I’m showing up in my Nike’s and a backpack and walking in… I’m like, “Are you sure you want me to go to this?” And he was like, “Yeah, I want you to go.” And I was like-

DC: But I didn’t tell him why. I was just like, “You need to go to this thing.” Sohe went. He came back, this was our first office I remember, and so I was asking what did he think about that dinner? I didn’t tell him anything else and he was saying some stuff about it, but I could tell that he didn’t really want to tell me what was on his mind and then I finally said, “Hey, the reason I sent you that is because I wanted you to look at reverse role models.” Those are all CMOs there. All her muckety mucks, fancy dinners and all that stuff.

DG: Muckety mucks?

DC: Well, fancy everything, but how much they know and he was like, “They didn’t know that much,” or they didn’t know that much more he’d say all accomplished people, and I said, “That’s a reverse role model. That is what you want to look at. You wanted to see what it takes to get to that level, but you also wanted to see how you want to be different from that group.” Because that’s not what you [crosstalk 00:09:40].

DG: That was such an unlocking thing because it was like, you go there, you think you’re going to be in a different league and you realize, wait a second, this isn’t that different. Isn’t that crazy? Yeah. There are definitely no more that if I’m more experienced, but it’s not that crazy.

DC: No.

DG: It’s like, getting it, if you played basketball, you get into pickup game with a bunch of NBA players and you’re like, “Okay, I can hang.” It’s some level of that and so in my notes I’d put like a reverse role models is one of the things to have to help you overcome. Everybody has this imposter syndrome. I think reverse role models is one of the things that helps you figure out what’s possible.

DC: Because you need contrast, you always need to have contrast. You have to understand what does great look like, and what does good look like, and what is not good.

DG: It’s also, I think one of the reasons why we love talking about i and reading like founder stories is because you realize, this person didn’t have much and look at what they did and so therefore you can do it. That’s number two. Number three is the new one. Do you remember the new one? Anti-

DC: Anti role model.

DG: Anti role models. What is anti role model? Anti role models is about showing you what not to do. Right?

DC: The anti role models, which is a new one. This is the third type. Unlocking … Sometimes-

DG: We needed it, the rule of threes.

DC: Sometimes I think just give too much, give too much away. I don’t know. Some of this, we’ve got to put a pay wall behind this part.

DG: This should be paid. This is … The rest of this podcast is going to be 6.99 subscription.

DC: Free all the time, but I’ll give you the anti role model because I love the peoples. The anti role models is you want to know what behaviors don’t lead … This kind of inversion. This is basically Charlie Mungers inversion, so Charlie Munger’s inversion. What he says is, “Look, if you have a goal in mind, you want to get to this, G2 wants to be some muckety muck, big time. If you want to be the muckety muck. What you want to do is invert and say, “Now, what will it take for me to be the muckety muck?” Or what do you want to be G2?” World famous director.

DG: Casey Neistat.

DC: Casey Neistat, he wants to be Casey Neistat. Instead of saying, “What are the steps that I need to do?” Because those are hard to predict to be Casey Neistat, you say the opposite. You invert. You say, “What are the things that if I do, I know I will definitely never be Casey Neistat.” Then you go down that list and then you can basically come up with a list of things that you should never do, never pursue because they will never lead you to your goal. And so the anti role models this, find the people who are exhibiting the traits that never lead to the thing that you want.

People who may say, in this case, let’s say you want it to be Casey Neistat, people who may tell you for years that they want to be Casey Neistat, but they’ve never made any progression towards it. You take that group of people create this anti role model group and say, “What is in common with those people?” I’d say the universal one that Charlie Munger says, “Always, always is going to be the anti role model when you invert is laziness and sloth.” If you don’t put in any work, you’re just a sloth, I think it’s because it’s something else but it’s way easy-

DG: I love that because that gives you somewhere to build. Right?

During the Casey Neistat, examples like Casey was not lazy. He was not a sloth. He created 10 videos every single week.

DC: He didn’t wait for permission.

DG: You can start to make this little recipe book of like, here are the guard rails. Like one of the things that I liked that you do is when we try to solve a problem, you go up on the whiteboard and you write the guard rails. This is almost like anti role models is the guard rails.

DC: Totally!

DG: In order to … like we talked about this with pricing a lot. When we’re creating new pricing, you always write like, “Has to be simple, has to be customer friendly,” and so that then gives you some framework to like how you’re going to write out the pricing.

DC: There’re so many things in the Casey Neistat example, like with the young G2 and a Casey Neistat, that most people would fall to. What are the things that Casey Neistat doesn’t do? He doesn’t obsess around equipment, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. He often makes it a point to say the equipment doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care about how he looks or how he comes across. There’s all these things that usual people who want to do that kind of work G2 is not one of these people, but one of those people get caught up in equipment caught up in the way that they look now wanting to do anything embarrassing, wait for them to be selected into some fancy whatever.

DG: Wait for ideas. He has ideas. He could make a video about a notebook or it could be anything.

DC: It’s all about storytelling, those are the things that are correlated with it.

DG: You got there all the way because of inversion.

DC: Yes. Inversion and the anti role models.

DG: I love it.

DC: The G2, we’re giving you too much stuff. We’re educating the young G2 too much.

DG: That’s it! Just like that. We run running late today because of me. Sorry about that-

DG: We’re running late, so we need six star reviews. We are coming up on shar

DC: We need six star reviews. We are coming up on shortage, I don’t know what’s going on.

DG: If you aren’t … Look, is this can be your Thanksgiving call to action, right?

DC: Somedays I wake up and I’m like, just let’s just wrap up the podcast because I can’t get a six star review and-

DG: Let’s retire it.

DC: Let’s just retire it. G2 We’re going to shut down in any second.

DG: We’ll go out on top. Actually wouldn’t be on time because we don’t get reviews anymore.

DC: Because I don’t get it, there’s no reviews anymore.

DG: Are your apps broken?

DC: Yeah. The App is broken in the Apple store. We’re going to have to mix it up. We give, give, give, give, give, give, give. I don’t want to ask maybe a six star review soon.

DG: Alright. Happy thanksgiving everybody [crosstalk 00:14:15].

DC: Happy Thanksgiving, just joking off everyone Seeking Wisdom is going nowhere. Six star reviews only.

DG: See yah.

DC: See yah.

DG: Peace.