Average of Five: My Top Role Models

I first heard the Jim Rohn quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” from Ali Brown.  She also shared another version: the size of your bank account is the average of that of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  I found that second one intriguing but it didn’t resonate with me as much as the first.

So lately I’ve been pondering… who are my most treasured role models?  Who are the entrepreneurs to whose level I’d like to elevate my game?  My one rule is these have to be people I feel close to personally, so that I’m sure I understand who they really are, rather than viewing their lives and businesses through only the media’s lens.  (Otherwise, no doubt Oprah would be on my list.)  Here are my five, in alpha order:

My list is aspirational—more about who I’d love to be like and spend lots of time with— than about with whom I actually spend the most time lately.  In fact, the people I spend the most time with are my kids, and while I appreciate that they are providing me with countless growth opportunities (just as I’d hoped for!) they’re not entrepreneurs (yet).

My guess is that everyone on this list would be surprised to see his or her name here, and a couple of them might not even see themselves as entrepreneurs.  To me, they all deserve to be featured.  Here’s what I see that they have in common:

  • They are smart and wise
  • They are passionate about their work and are constantly learning more about it
  • They express unconditional love for themselves and others, even though they are aware they are imperfect
  • They practice giving from the saucer, not from the cup (they take good care of themselves; they do not treat themselves as martyrs for a cause)
  • They are active seekers and aspirers who have achieved rapid growth in their lives and careers
  • They are highly individuated, having chosen to define their success in their own ways, rather than in ways others might
  • They are outstanding teachers and mentors
  • They have achieved true prosperity: lots of love

Who are your role models?  What do they have in common?  What do their commonalities say about your personal definition of success?


  1. Debra Woog

    Thanks, Lynn and Jenny! I love knowing that my words have a positive impact. Your comments inspire me to write more!

  2. Lynn Smith

    Just love your newsletter, Debra! It is always uplifting and inspiring.

  3. Jenny McFadden

    Wow, I am indeed shocked to find myself on this list! Thanks for the honor, Debra! I am glad you see these things in me, and to be honest, I think these are my best moments, as opposed to my all the time moments. I have plenty of moments where I am not any of those things except perhaps wholly aware of my imperfections. I've been trying to focus on being content to enjoy the current moment of my life, much like you are. Thanks for the inspiration!


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