I recently attended a mixer and art showcase put on by Art of Metanoia — a brand that highlights the work of creatives in Atlanta, Georgia — and the guest speaker of the evening was none other than model and creator of Happy Fro Day and the Go With The Fro Tour, Nia The Light. Throughout the intimate discussion at the event, Nia touched on a wide array of topics ranging from distinctions between America and her home country of England, her career as an influencer, and her international travels. But I thought her most thought-provoking statement came when she was asked by an audience member about the people who inspire her. She confidently told us that she draws inspiration from the woman she envisions as her future self.

This made me stop and ask myself, “Why aren’t we all citing ourselves as our biggest role model?” I can quickly rattle off the names of powerful women whose stories and work push me to be better and hustle toward my dreams, but after listening to Nia I realized that the name that should be at the top of my inspiration list is my own.

Role models are people we hold in high regard because they lead by example and demonstrate behaviors and characteristics that deserve to be praised and imitated. The more developed form of who we are fits this mold. When it comes to shaping our lives and making moves in the right direction, looking to the version of ourselves 5, 10, or 15 years from now is the exact guiding light we need. The you that is actively combining her passion with her purpose and living her best life in her dream role is the person you want to take cues from now. Her spirit, her drive, and her attitude are the forces you want to be influenced by in the present-day.

Admiring the person you see yourself growing to be is beneficial when trying to make the right choices in the here and now. Using this approach to idols also helps provide clearer perspective and weed out behaviors and activities that aren’t helping to fulfill your grand plan.Once you picture the woman you desire to be, you can see if your current choices align with the vision of you that you have in mind. If what you’re doing now isn’t going to help push you to become who you want to be, it’s time to rethink your actions. When you’re not sure of what decision to choose or what avenue to pursue, thinking of what life looks like for your mature self can help you navigate uncertainty. The ultimate goal in the present is to navigate down a path that leads you to become your greatest older self. By drawing insight from the life that is to come now, it will help you get to where you want to be later.

Remember, it’s okay to want to emulate the boss moves that your favorites are making, but there is also value in being your own shero and wanting to be like you when you grow up.

Thank you, Nia, for sprinkling your light on my life with your remarks and shifting my perspective on self-admiration. You delivered the necessary reminder that the person we should be most motivated by is the woman that we will become.