For Entrepreneurs…Keeping it authentic, real

(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 YouTubevideo resources.

These mechanisms instantly expose public role models, 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 that serve as mentors to a new generation of future leaders. From icons like Donald Trump’s $1 billion bankruptcy to Tiger Wood’s 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, 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?

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 are born out of wed lock to single parent homes with no male role models?

Statistics show incarceration and murder rates sky rocketing, particularly among young African-American males. While traveling across the country on speaking engagements, many ask me the question, are we developing kids that lack faith, integrity and dreams without passion.

Countless entrepreneur leaders appear as role models like Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, and Magic Johnson, 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 of their lives.

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 a very young age, I earned over $1 million but the reality is that most 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 and perhaps less perfect. Suddenly, we are all capable of extraordinary dreams. There are no boundaries, no limits—we are all of equal stature.

It was at this time in my life, I became less awed by those traditionally put on pedestals. Instead, I became more focused on the commonalities of each human being with only razor thin margins of separation between being homeless in the ‘hood and the CEO’s of the world.

We should aspire to define our legacies of giving something of value to other peoples lives so that they too can go on to help others— a sort of Pay-It-Forward philosophy.

(Dr. Farrah Gray is the 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.’ He is chairman of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via email at or his website at

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