As I've always noted, it's important to have role models. We need people to look up to, to be like, to remind us of what we can do, and to give us ideas of how to be better than we are. We're social animals, we humans, and we work well with other people as references.
One of the great things about being a fanboy, fangirl, geek, otaku, etc. is that we usually have a lot of great role models and access to them. Media fans have the actors, writers, editors, and so on to look up to. Game fans have the programmers and producers to learn from. Comic geeks have artists and writers and publishers. When your geekery and your professional ambitions come together, you find yourself surrounded by people you can – and may want to – be like.
There is one thing you have to keep in mind however: You're never going to be successful like your role models.
This doesn't mean that you're not going to be a success. This doesn't mean that you won't write good books, draw good comics, make great games, and so on. It just means that you'll never duplicate the success of your role models because you're you and they're them.
Instead, you'll find your own success, equal or even greater than the success of the people you learned from.
This is an important part of leveraging good role models – figuring out what you emulate from them ends and you begin. To not go far enough in emulating the right people is to leave you without direction – to go too far leads to imitation and false ideas of success.
So remember, next time you want to be like someone, be sure to stop when your own success begins.
– Steven Savage