Role models can be summed up in one word: Influence. One definition of influence is "to have an effect on the development of." "I am not a role model" was made famous by Hall of Fame basketball player and analyst Charles Barkley in a Nike commercial. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is a role model. Some of his influence is good and some not so good, but as long as people are watching, Charles has influence.
Choosing your role model
Everyone can influence somebody. It can be those who are in direct proximity or someone a world away living an extraordinary life. Who is your role model? More importantly, Why? External accoutrements may not be the best measurement of who to emulate. We have seen that people who have ascended to great heights have "hidden vices" (we all do!). We throw out the "baby" of their gifts, talents and effectiveness in an area out with the "bath water" of their weakness or indiscretion. .
Separate the life of the person from the process they use to generate success.
Tiger Woods is my golf hero only with 70+ victories and 14 majors. I can't hit the clubs that Tiger uses, but I can practice, focus, adjust my grip, etc. (ok, I admit to wearing Nike - but I don't expect a shirt with a Swoosh will help my swing, get it?). Focus on the attributes that provide an avenue to the results you want. The clothes they wear and car they drive are ancillary characteristics that only provide marketing opportunities and not a real marker to their success.
Have several role models
Doing so will give you a full dimensional view of your ideal life - Mentally, Spiritually, Socially, Physically, and Financially. One person couldn't possibly represent all the excellence you want to express in your life so choose a series of people to emulate.