How to deal with a situation when you don’t have anyone or anything to look up to

There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired some day.- Friedrich Nietzsche

Admiration is a very important emotion. It motivates us to do better, inspires us, and helps us find a course for our lives. We can see what we want to do by seeing someone we look up to or seeing something that inspires us. But what do we do if there is nothing like that?

Meet new people

One thing that can get you out of that state is meeting many new people. You are certain to come across those who inspire or surprise you, as well as people who might help you open up to new perspectives.

Look for local (or not so local) meetups, groups, classes, and events. At any of these, you have the chance of discovering a new friend or a new mentor who can inspire you to do better or learn something you never knew about.

Ask for advice

You might be unsure of where to start looking for inspiration. Ask for advice! Look for the people others find admirable or for situations that others seem to find inspirational. Often, you will find that it doesn’t resonate with you, but that’s OK. The goal is to have a lot of options and ideas. You never know when you might be hit by a burst of inspiration!

Talk to the people you trust about how you feel and ask them what inspires them. Who do they consider admirable? You might also dig into interviews with people whose work you enjoy: who do they cite as an inspiration?

Request mentorships

Many workplaces have formal and informal mentorship arrangements. But even if yours doesn’t or if you want to discover options outside your job, you can still find people to support you.

The key to finding a mentor is to ask people and to be considerate of their time. Offer them good reasons to give you some of their time and ask people who you truly want to get support from. You might ask for specific pieces of advice. Remember that a lot of useful information on the ideas of people at a high level is available through their books, courses, interviews, YouTube videos, and beyond.

Build your own board

Your inspiration doesn’t have to come from a specific person or place. It can be born out of a series of ideas and, while it might appear cliche, you can build a board that reminds you of everything that you like, admire, and want to have in your life.

Visualize a successful life for you and consider the associations it brings. What images, sounds, and impressions you associate with this? What kind of style do you like and admire? You can do a collage or find a platform like Pinterest that’s easy to use and collect inspiring ideas across the Internet. The board will always be there to remind you of what brings you admiration and awe.

Be intentional in looking for inspiration

Sometimes, inspiration and awe come when you least expect them. But when they are missing from your life, you should go looking. Seek out sights and ideas that excite you, things to admire, read books and watch documentaries.

You can find these positive experiences in many different places. Remember what you used to most admire and use that as a starting point, but from there, you can go to many different places.

Broaden your horizons

Sometimes, the old wells of awe have dried up. But this doesn’t mean that everything is lost. Try exploring something new and broaden your horizons. Discover new names and new ideas, especially in fields that you don’t have much experience or prior knowledge. Rediscover childhood favorites (did you know how many amazing scientific advances have been made in the last few years?) and find inspiration in these.

Admiration is an emotion that can lead to inspiration. You can cultivate it meaningfully in your life to help chart a course of your own and to find what matters most to you.