I was asked an interesting question the other day.

Who are your idols?

The smartest thing I ever heard anyone say was this.

If you want what I have then do what I did.

This was said to me by an alcoholic who hadn't had a drink for a few years. I hadn't had a drink in a day, and I didn't want to have any more, so the advice was well received. If I want what he has, then I should do what he did. Sounds simple enough. I did it. It worked. I haven't had a drink of alcohol since.

When it comes to other areas of achievement, though, I can't always do what my idols have done. For me to do what, say, Rob Dyrdek has done, I'd have to go back in time, become a pro skateboarder at 16, leverage that into deals that keep leveraging into other deals until I have the Fantasy Factory.

Not gonna happen.

So how can idols influence my success?

Their energy is out there for me to take advantage of. While I can't go and do exactly what Phil Jackson, Oprah, Ray Heid, Dave Letterman, Rob Dyrdek or Steve Jobs have done, I can pay attention to what they are doing, read their books, watch their shows, and keep them in my awareness as a method of keeping myself on track to achieving what I want to achieve.

Here is an incomplete (incomplete because it's always changing, people are always being added) list of my idols.

Rob Dyrdek

He created the Fantasy Factory, and has made it a lucrative endeavor at that. After becoming a pro skater as a teenager, Rob leveraged that into so many things. How he did it is a long story, so if you are interested, just watch his show. But, as you can see from the video, he took a warehouse space and made it a fantasy. Toys everywhere, skate park features, foam pits, basketball hoops, and his office, from which he keeps making more and more fantasies into realities. Dyrdek is the perfect example of creating synergy between what he loves to do and what makes him money.

Derek Jeter (pictured at top)

This one really shows how much respect and admiration I have for this man. For Pete's sake, I am from Pittsburgh! The Yankees are an old (and future) World Series rival. I am, by birth, a National League guy. Yet I still have to call Derek Jeter one of my favorite baseball players of all time.

With the way he plays the game, it's shocking that he struggled in the minor leagues in his first years. Since he stepped foot on the field he's owned it. Someone knew he was going to be something special because they had the foresight to give him a single digit jersey number. The total amount of other current Yankee players with a single digit on their back? 0.

It's because Derek is a Yankee legend in the flesh the likes of which we haven't seen since Roger Maris. There were 5 names on the all time Yankee great list, Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle and Maris. Now there are 6.

He became the King of New York, and in some ways, America, very quickly, and brought the championship title back to the Bronx for the first time in almost 2 decades (a drought Yankee fans are not used to), and the way he did it was impressive. His laser focus on what he wanted to do just goes to show what is possible with determination and hard work.

His book, The Life You Imagine, is a vote for intentions, vision boards and keeping representations of the things we want in front of us. His entire life was plastered with images the Yankees, of his favorite boyhood team. He had a Yankee gold pendant, even though he was a Michigan boy. When his draft day came, he thought he'd be sitting the bench behind Barry Larkin when the Reds took him, but then a weird twist of fate took him to his dream of New York.


I've always respected Oprah for her accomplishments, but I never watched her show or anything she was on until she launched OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The reason she is my idol is because the flagship show for OWN is Super Soul Sunday. They built a network around a show whose goal is to enlighten us. They do that by talking to spiritual writers and thinkers.

Here she is with author Marianne Williamson.

Super Soul Sunday has provided some of the best interviews I have ever seen.

It has expanded my reading list, and has brought to us authors of books that we have used as spiritual guides for a long time, like Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, and Don Miguel Ruiz.

Her network creates new programming, and it seems that they are making an attempt at being helpful to people with their creations. There seems to be a social purpose behind this network, and I look up to her because it informs the way I approach a certain issue in my own life.

I have a quota of content that I have to create for my employers. I am a Content Contributor, and thankfully, that is my job. Townsquare doesn't tell me what to create. They give me freedom and trust that I will make things that people are interested in. They also don't censor at all, so I could talk about things that are anywhere on a so called moral spectrum. I could be a critic or a cheerleader, or I could barely weigh in at all and just be a conduit to show you where other content (videos, other people's posts or articles, compilations) is. They don't care, so it's up to me to decide what I do.

Like OWN, I only want to produce things that serve. I don't want to point out tragedy, and I don't want to tear down. I am gifted with space on this beautiful website and time on the air and I hope everything I make will help someone somehow.

It's an ideal toward which I strive, and in this space of content creation, Oprah is the best.

Ray Heid

Ray Heid is a Coloradoan, a cowboy skier with Olympic experience, and a guy who does what he wants to do with his days. What he wants to do is ride horses and skis, and that's what he does. I did a trail ride at his ranch (Del's Triangle 3 near Steamboat), and was lucky enough to ride right behind him. He told me stories from the 60's Olympics, like how he was there when Billy Kidd became the first American to win an Olympic medal in skiing.

As we rode he pointed across the valley at a white chute high on the adjacent mountain.

"Skied that the other day. Sand Mountain. We ride our horses to the base and then walk up. I went right down that second biggest opening from the right." He's more than 70 years old.

It makes me excited to be able to ski in the backcountry through my 70's. Ray is my idol because he seems to have said "This is what I will do with my life", and he's done it.