Economic social costs and lessons of failed leadership

(NNPA)—Today, we find the world more transparent with the advent of social media information technology and business real-time networks with mobile communications such as Twitter, Facebook, instant text messages and YouTube video resources. These mechanisms instantly expose public role models, political leadership, mentors and corporate business moguls covering every success and every failure now broadcast making headline news. No longer does the privacy barrier exist between the private and public life for those who serve as mentors to a new generation of future leaders.


From icons like Donald Trump’s $1 billion bankruptcy to Tiger Woods’ personal indiscretions that reportedly weigh heavily on the financial economics of the golf industry, in this regard, answers come from terms like reallionaire or first becoming rich from inside out.


Still, we may find valuable lessons derived from such failures that can serve as details and self-improvement tools in the development process of young leaders. Such a realistic approach ushers in a new definition of role models or leadership. Something more dynamic than a simple rosy Norman Rockwell painting—-something more real in the trenches making even those historically placed on pedestals seem more ordinary. Literally, within hours new facts can reshape a celebrity’s public image and spread instantly to millions worldwide.

The term “real” was never more important than now. Can it be so shocking that a celebrity icon saturated with beautiful women and money inflating their ego, every step of the way might mistakenly stray from their years of hard work and humble background? Do we expect too much from these human beings? Are we projecting too much of our own hopes and dreams into the illusion of perfection? Should ordinary people begin to shift away from such unrealistic role model expectations by placing more focus on improving and believing in themselves as a vehicle for change and achieving extraordinary goals?

Economically, we are a world in financial crisis, initially the results of greedy sub-prime mortgage loans that crumbled quickly in reality. Never in the history of the world has such debt amassed living well beyond our true needs. Is this a derivative of the breakdown in family units across America, where we find in many communities 70 percent of the children born out of wedlock to single parent homes with no male role models? Statistics show incarceration and murder rates sky-rocking, particularly among young African-American males. In traveling across the country on speaking engagements, many ask me if  we are developing kids who lack faith, integrity and dreams without passion.

Countless entrepreneurial leaders appear as role models like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Dave Thompson, founder of Wendy’s, among others. All first became successful by pursuing a passionate vision, overcoming countless struggles to achieve a greater purpose. These reallionaire leaders and mentors have all publicly admitted their failures along the way but each shares the common acceptance of learning from these disappointments, offering the details of such lessons to improve the lives of billions of ordinary people worldwide. The value in their accomplishments is found in the inspiration of persistent and truthful models in their lives.

As a community, we might find education as the central focus not only through entrepreneurial innovation and learning but to improve our local neighborhoods and personal relations with family loved ones. Today, the value of spinning a less than candid public image has lost its usefulness and provides only temporary disillusioned value. It is not simply the successes that make great leaders popular but rather a core bond or connection that is greater between people that share real struggles together as every human does in life. In reality, there is very little separation between the icon and everyday person only in that one has the freedom of thinking without limitations.

At the age of 14, I earned over $1 million but the reality is that anyone with the determination, honesty and hard work necessary could achieve as much or more. We are all blessed with a special talent or unique skill that holds tremendous value.

As affordable social media networks, mobile communications, entrepreneurship and small business innovations persist now increasingly accessible to ordinary people of all status levels, creeds and cultures. The definition of role models, leadership and mentors will continue to shift to include something more real, more human, perhaps less perfect. Suddenly, we are all capable of extraordinary dreams. There are no boundaries, no limits—we are all of equal stature.

(Farrah Gray is author of “The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity,” “Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success” and the international best-seller “Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.” Dr. Gray can be reached via e-mail at or his website at


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