Who has had a profound impact on your life
and why?

Take a moment to reflect on who you admire, who inspired you, or who were your role models or heroes. We have all had people in our life who were the “wind beneath our wings” or whose influence led to a turning point.

Who were these individuals for you? How did they shape your life? Was it someone famous, a spiritual leader? Or a family member, friend or a teacher? Was it a Historical figure? A character in a book? What was it about their life or the way they carried themselves or the ideas they shared that made such a big impact?

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My Dad - My Role Model
Dad & Nurse

My Dad had courage to go against the norm. The story goes that he prepared the men to go to war. He loaded them on the ships in Brooklyn, Fort Hamilton Army base. Some were frightened and would jump ship.

He was suppose to shoot them as deserters. He dove in the water and pulled them out. gave them a shot of whiskey and put them back on the ship. He was written up as an outstanding Sergeant. The sketch of him from the newsletter was on our fireplace. He was a rescuer and I followed that lead. firstly as lifeguard. then nurse. and then trauma psychologist.

He would teach us to ride horses, put us on the ponies when we were little. His Father., my grandfather was a horse trainer for the Russian Aristocracy.. inherited a strong love of horses and animals.

These are a few but important inheritances. I do not conform to norms as I have inspiration to go beyond them for the sake of humanity. The full story related to this healing journey is in my 2003 book "Dance of Psyche: Rhythm of Consciousness."

— Dr. Christina T Campbell  


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My Most Important Teacher

How I came to Emulate Admirable Behaviors

At this time in my life, between 68 and 80 years, I spend time with my primary teacher every day. I met her 12 years ago, an unexpected surprise. I was resistant to making the kind of commitment that would be required, especially financially. I said yes.

During these years, and continuing every day, I have been presented with access to eight concepts or qualities which would make for a good life, but with which I had little familiarity.
1. End every encounter on a positive note
2. Lead with the Heart
3. Patience
4. If it isn’t working after three tries, do it differently
5. Always be authentic, your best self.
6. Be completely present, wherever you are
7. It’s not about power, but clear, honest communication
8. Ignore all of the above and you can easily get hurt

Trust has developed slowly, from the very start. From what I can see, she, too, has had experiences that betray trust. She calls out to me when she sees me coming, or hears my car approaching, but once I get there she’s quiet and seems content as we proceed.

She’s a big girl, and I could easily get hurt, but she would never hurt me intentionally. If something happened, it would be either carelessness on my part on not paying attention and honoring, her true nature.

Her name is Dakota, she weighs 1100 pounds, and she’s my Draft-mix/ mare.


— Kit Carson  

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My "Godie"

When I was a young child, I thought my grandmother was God, so I called her Godie. And that name has stuck ever since that day, when her beautiful lullabies permeated the tiny bedroom where I slept.

Her parents emigrated from Abruzzo, Italy, a region know for its culture and history. When Godie's parents arrived in Ellis Island, they hoped to find a better life.

Godie took care of her five siblings when her mother became ill. As the oldest she made sure chores were done on time. She carried these sentiments on, when I argued with her one day years later, insisting that I would put the laundry away later. "Now, put the clothes away, NOW!" I didn't argue again. I also did not protest when it was time for dinner. She would say, "Munga," and our family knew to get to the dinner table NOW!

Godie inspired me with her love of gymnastics, education (she was valedictorian of her high school), love of reading and generosity. She'd visit during the week and wash laundry to help my mother and cook meals.

She could not go to college because only the men were educated in her family due to financial hardship, but always wanted to be an English teacher. Her grammar was impeccable.

She taught me and all of her family, to be strong, resilient and to value hard work and education. So, she ultimately was, the greatest of teachers.


— MM  

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My Mommy

My Mommy - she has to be the one who influenced me the most. I always loved her fiercely and really needed her approval. It was not meant to be in this lifetime.

My mother was a true narcissist, and she never fully grew up emotionally. She was the youngest of seven children and her father died when she was a baby. My grandmother, an uneducated immigrant from the Ukraine, now had to raise seven kids on her own. It was easy to see why my Mommy demanded all attention be on her...she got lost in the shuffle growing up.

I got punished daily just for being me, the apple of my Daddy's eye. She did not seem to get that her actions were alienating my Dad, and they fought over the way she treated me.

I grew up with horrible self-esteem issues, and held myself back throughout my lifetime.

So why do I say she was the person who most influenced me? Well, deep inside she was a wonderful, loving, and caring woman-child. Somehow I always knew that. Our bond was and still is unbreakable although she no longer lives on this earth.

She taught me that I have to work to make my life happen, that I can overcome anything and everything, and that whatever I truly want and need - and is good for humanity - is worth fighting for.

I was bitter a long time. Now I rejoice in the knowledge that in spite of it all, she loved me as much as I loved her. It's palpable. I feel it. It's a gift.

Lesson learned: Make sure your life counts for something wonderful, for you are wonderful.


— D. Poppendieck, PhD  


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Role Model for Dr. Henry M. Kaiser: My Wife Peggy

My wife Peggy transformed my life. Before meeting her at a dance the second night of Freshman Orientation Week at college September 22, 1962 I knew who I was. My summer of self-discovery had occurred in 1959. I was still not clear, however, how I was going to become and live as this person I now had a vision of. The instant I met Peggy, this changed. Uncertainty vanished. Suddenly I was grounded in this acquaintance, which became a deep love; Peggy’s love gave me the missing piece of my identity and became the foundation of my life. The instant I met her, I somehow sensed that this was going to happen. This feeling endures today, after five years of dating after meeting her, and then 43 years of marriage, and now has continued during the most recent ten years since her passing.

Our melded souls gave each of us meaning. This created a sense of security and safety which made us all but impregnable to external doubts, fears, criticism, self-serving forms of opinions and other forms of adversity. This also created trust, trust so firm and solid that even in times of human imperfection, any fracture in that trust could be overcome. In a world of skepticism and Machiavellian dangers, our circumstances sometimes suffered some vulnerability, but the integrity of our shared vision for where we were trying to make our lives go, and how we were raising our children, remained intact.

Peggy never let me down. She never let either of our daughters down.


— Dr. Henry Mead Kaiser  

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My Professional Foundation
Life only Animal Assisted Therapy Farm
Baby Goat Love

Growing up in the 60s as a young passionate developing Family Therapist, I had the great Gift to have been trained by my early Role Models, Carl Whitaker, Virginia Satir, and Marty Kirschenbaum.

— Dr Jean Hayes MFT  


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My Mom - My Role Model
אמא שלי - אסיה צור -- My Mother: Assia Tsur
Mom & Dad
Values mom modeled for me and embedded in me
Engraved on her headstone what she told us and how she, literarily, died - upright

— Ofer Zur, Ph.D.  


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Make Art, Not War
Juliano Mer-Khamis: Palestinian-Arab-Jewish-Israeli. What a complex & inspiring man.
Jenin Refugee Camp, 2007
Jenin Refugee Camp, 2007
Jenin Refugee Camp, 2007

"Art cannot free you from your chains, but art can generate and mobilize discourse of freedom. Art can create debate, art can expose."
Juliano Mer-Khamis, Founder Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp

— Aviva Lev-David, Ph.D.  

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A Wife of a Last Samurai

My paternal great-grandmother was a wife of a samurai.

In fact, one from the last generation of samurais.

She was quiet, yet observant. Kind yet, strong.

She was a respectful woman and like any wife of a samurai, was expected to, lived by a principle.

She told my father "Treat people the way you wanted to be treated."

My great-grandmother was a devoted Buddhist who wished for peace.

She watched a Buddhist monk serving everyone regardless of their social status and religious background.

Although this monk was from a different Buddhist sect than hers, she joined his efforts up until the time of her death in the 1940s. Together, they walked along with those who were suffering.

Even though many years have passed since my great-grandmother's death,
she is still remembered by the elders in my family as a kind and compassionate, empathic, and noble woman.

She lived simply and did not have much, yet she shared her compassion with others who needed it.

The change begins with a small individual act.

I never met my great-grandmother, but I feel her presence.

— Saori Miyazaki, MA, LMFT  


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Heroes with a thousand faces

I am always being altered by people, feeling their presence, importance and influence. I can take your questions and think so many people into the responses because it’s such a broad construct to answer to. Every day, every week, someone does something I admire, makes me think I’d like to emulate or follow them in some way, influences me to change course, or just simply affects me.

Last week a man stood outside my block of flats, seeking to rent a garage. We recognised each other’s faces even behind our masks. Yes, he remembered he’d seen me as a GP off and on in the last 20 years, and I indeed remembered him.
I called him over, safe to tell him about his meaning to my life since now he’s retired. ‘Do you realise,’ I asked, ‘that you gave me the wrong diagnosis in 2002, meaning that my hearing loss became permanent when it could have been treated if you’d known better?’ He faltered. ‘But because of you,’ I explained, ‘I’ve affected thousands of people’s lives, giving talks, writing articles, participating in research, advocating for patients and people with hearing loss.’

I could see he still felt bad. ‘Do you remember,’ I asked, ‘that in 2000, one evening your medical practice was called out to go to a tennis court and attempt to revive a man who had collapsed? This man was my partner.’

‘ Yes, I do remember.’ he said. ‘I put a tube in his throat: when the ambulance took him away, his heart was beating again.’
‘It was, but then he had a massive heart attack when he got to the hospital. So, you see, you are my hero.’

Now shall I tell you who my hero was the week before it was the doctor? Or wait for the next?

— Jean Straus, London  

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Enemies You Love, You Tell. . .

I met Sally in Scotland’s Glasgow Airport. This was my family’s first night in Scotland. Not hers. She and her family had lived there for a year, so she showered us with advice and her advising did not stop when we landed in Machrihanish. And it took twelve months to cut her off. When she moved to a Scottish house across town, I was finally separated from the jealous rage I felt every day when I saw the “know-it-all.”

I lost contact with Sally in 1989 when we moved back to the United States, but after my brother’s suicide in 2012, she reached out through social media. She’d become a “life coach.” Reminiscent rage empowered me to thank her but refuse her support.

Three years later, complex PTSD caught up with me. Remembering Sally’s vocation, I wondered if life coaching could help heal an insurmountable feeling of hopeless dissatisfaction. I reached out to ask and she insisted on coaching for free.

Over the next year, she worked relentlessly to pull me out from under resentment, fear, and insecurity. She helped me find what made my heart tick. I rediscovered writing and started a small editing business. I explored color and design. Vibrant colors enlivened our dull surroundings. Space for new ideas replaced hoarding. I came to life that year.

With Sally's help, I learned to release material things, discovered my passions, and developed skills. But there was one lesson she taught that transcended them all: love has the power to heal.

— Lee Ann Haney  

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Alcohol: My hero, then nemesis, then hero again

I would have to say that it's a “what” rather than a “who” that has had the most profound impact on my life: alcohol.

In adolescence, I was a lost soul until I found the magic elixir of alcohol. I went from awkward, insecure and depressed, to clever, witty and brave with just a few drinks. I caught on quickly to the fine art of heavy drinking and soon had myself securely established in a peer group of tough kids that made me feel invincible. Alcohol was my hero.

But there came a point where my hero started to turn on me. The negative consequences from my drinking were piling up, yet alcohol kept promising me that it would be better during the next drunk, that the “good times” would come back. But it was lying. And by the time I caught on to its lies, it was too late: I was hooked. I got so I couldn't function without it, yet I couldn't function with it either. In desperation I checked myself into a treatment center in 1987, and have enjoyed the innumerable benefits of a strong recovery support system since then.

Oddly enough, as I sobered up, alcohol again became my hero, but in an entirely different way. I became grateful for alcohol's powerful influence on my life, because without that I would not have ended up with the wonderful life I've gotten in sobriety.


— Laura L  

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On Heroes

Joseph Campbell once said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

It is a form of self-transcendence. And it is a form of grace. Grace, it seems to me, is what is most needed in times of catastrophe. It is doing what is hard, sometimes going against the grain, and sometimes standing alone with only your beliefs and values to support you.

If I speak in a broad sense, my heroes are those people who exemplify not just the best part of humanity, but rather the most honest. The ones who fail, make mistakes, are imperfect, and yet march forward anyway, always a sense of purpose in everything they do.

There are three specific people who come to mind, and they are not people I knew well at the time. In fact, I didn’t see any of their heroic acts coming. But that is also what made them heroic to me. Because none of them knew me at the time. However, they saw my situation, much like a person notices a call to action that is not spoken, but implied.

Some people will walk by, and some cannot bear to. These were the people who restored my hope in humanity at a time when it was most needed, and most appreciated.

To them, it was simply what needed to be done. To me, it was everything.


— Claire Nana, M.A.  

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My role models: Marilyn Monroe and Mother Teresa

It was something about the way the light and air pressure changed, creating a shimmering bubble around my parents as their eyes met, putting their heads together, as they giggled at a picture on the cover of a magazine. My parents weren’t the giggling type so I was quick to leap my five-year-old body across the living room to see what was up. An early reader, I was able to catch the name Marilyn, before my mother snatched the magazine away, but it was too late. I, too, felt the light shift around the image of a woman who was open, sensual and happily embodied. A woman who was unapologetic about loving life. Without having words for it, I knew she was my Goddess, my role model...my shining star. She was wearing a red dress.

Years passed and I found myself intrigued by another woman. A tiny, wrinkled woman. The story had it that this woman grew up in a convent in India.
She was loved by the elder nuns but her high youthful energy was sometimes a bit much for them. When she came to the mother superior with a request for permission to start a hospice for the poor, destitute and dying on the streets of Calcutta , they were thrilled to grant her wish, winking at one another and whispering, “now we will have some afternoons of peace!!”

Years passed. I have become an elder. One quiet evening, while scanning Netflix offerings, my attention caught on two specific documentaries. The first, showed a young woman, happy to be alive, residing fully in her body, inviting life to come in. The light and air pressure changed creating a shimmering bubble. She was wearing a red dress.

The second documentary featured a tiny wrinkled woman whose gnarled hands cupped the ravished face of a dying man. He was all agony until she lifted his face and gazed into his eyes. His expression turned to pure bliss.

Now, I have two goddesses...two role models.

One woman offered and embraced soul and body light. She said, “Inside we’re all the same. “

“ She wears a red dress.

The other, has the stairway to heaven in her tiny body and radiant eyes. She wears a veil and a cross.


— Anonymous, MA, MFT  

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Life as a fish tank - החיים כאקוריום

Never have I had role models or cultural heroes. To explain my view I will present this parable:

Michio Kaku conceived a parable about a family of goldfish swimming in a fish tank. From their perspective, the fish are neither aware that they are swimming in a tank nor that the tank is full of water. This is simply their known world. Suddenly one of the fish leaps above the surface. “Aha!” it exclaims, “I now learned from whence I came”. He can see the tank, the water, and his fellow fish from a higher vantage point. It has become aware of a bigger world outside the tank.

And from my own vantage point, the allegory symbolizes the restraints to disciplines, which focus on isolated pieces of information and issues, or which slice knowledge into narrow fields. Furthermore, the "worship" of role models or cultural heroes, or any extrapersonal authority, detaches me from the affinity for "the spiritual intelligence.” The intelligence that gives me a unifying center that makes it possible to shift paradigms on a daily basis. A unifying authority that allows me the spontaneous creativity to convert rules, change conditions, and update the "psychological map". Under its guidance, I place my experiences in holistic contexts and judge whether to change the boundaries of the situation. It grants me the ability to refine and assuage strict rules, inspired by compassion and understanding, to judge issues of good and evil, and to think “out of the box”.

***** The original Hebrew submission:

מאז ומתמיד לא היו לי מודלים לחיקוי או גיבורי תרבות. כדי להסביר את השקפתי אציג את המשל הבא:
מיציו קאקו הגה משל אודות משפחת דגי –זהב השוחים במיכל-מים. מנקודת מבטם הדגים אינם מודעים כלל ועיקר שהם שוחים בתוך מיכל או שהמיכל מלא במים. זהו פשוט חוג עולמם המוכר.

פתאום, מזנק אחד הדגים מעל פני-המים. אהה ! הוא קורא בהתפעלות "עכשיו אני למד מניין באתי". הוא רואה את המיכל, את המים ואת בני מינו הדגים מנקודת מבט גבוהה יותר. עתה הדג הזה משכיל להבין שיש עולם גדול יותר מחוץ למיכל.
ומנקודת מבטי, המשל של קאקו מסמל את הכבילות לדסצפלינות המתמקדות בפיסות מידע ובסוגיות מבודדות, או מפלחות את הידע לתחומים צרים. יתר על כן, "הסגידה" למודלי חיקוי, או לגיבורי תרבות, או לכל סמכות חוץ אישית, מנתקת אותי מהזיקה ל"אינטליגנציה הרוחנית". זוהי האינטליגנציה המקנה לעצמי מרכז מאחד המשכיל להמיר הקשרים על בסיס יומיומי (פרדיגמות חדשות). רשות מאחדת המאפשרת לי יצירתיות ספונטנית להמיר כללים, לשנות מצבים, ולעדכן את "המפה הפסיכולוגית". בהנחייתה אני ממקם את התנסויותי בהקשרים הוליסטים ושופט אם להמיר את גבולות המצב. היא המאצילה לי את היכולת לעדן ולמתן כללים נוקשים בהשראת הבנה וחמלה, לשפוט סוגיות של טוב ורע, ולחשוב "מחוץ לקופסה".


— Efi Vinizky - אפי ויניצקי  

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Identity and Identifying: I am my mother's daughter

I am my mother's daughter. We have a little black in us. She was born and raised in the Jewish ghetto on the south side of Chicago which later became the black ghetto. I've often thought, looking at her photos, that she had an African American father. It may sound strange, especially to my family reading this, but my mom affiliated and identified with being black and with the prejudice and inequality of the black experience. When I was 13, I won a speech contest in school writing about the inequity and injustice of tenement housing. My mom wrote the speech really. When I was a 16 I went to an all black high school and had an affair with a black teacher. By the time I was 22 I was living with a black man. I am second generation Jewish American.

No one has suffocated a Jewish man because he was Jewish in a very long time. Yet I hold within me the fear of being persecuted and killed like an animal. I hold within me the fear of being hunted and hiding from sight. I am Anne Frank, I am Rosa Parks, We are Martin Luther King Jr., We are Maya Anjelou. We are identified with prejudice, hardship, struggle, painful losses and death. And the pain of being open to these feelings is excruciating. Yet we must continue to identify with all the atrocities that people perpetrate upon one another and rise up and care about those who struggle in this world in order to take care of ourselves and each other.

12. history-in-hd-39rGV19A6A0-unsplash

— Sandy Andresen MA, PhD., abd  

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