In Celebration of Hard Work

When I came across the article People Who Worked Incredibly Hard to Succeed which celebrates the quintessential American trait of hard work, I was reminded of a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I never blame failure. There are too many complicated situations in life, but I am absolutely merciless toward lack of effort.” As the article points out, although successful people are often said to be “blessed with talent,” or just plain “lucky,” if you dig a little deeper into the stories of successful athletes, business people, and even government officials, you’ll find hard work and dedication at the core of their success.

I hope everyone, from our nation’s entrepreneurs who put it all on the line and work hard to build something to students just beginning the school year and looking to bright futures, can draw inspiration from these hard workers cited in the article:

  • NBA legend Michael Jordan spent his off seasons taking hundreds of jump shots a day
  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz continues to work from home even after putting in 13 hour days
  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t take a vacation for seven years while starting his first business
  • Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay’s workouts are so intense, others can’t make it halfway through them
  • GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt spent 24 years putting in hundred hour weeks
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook routinely begins emailing employees at 4:30 in the morning
  • American Idol host Ryan Seacrest hosts a radio show from 5 to 10 AM and runs a production company while appearing seven days a week on E!
  • Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn flies more than 150,000 miles a year
  • Venus and Serena Williams were up hitting tennis balls at 6 AM from the time they were 7 and 8 years old
  • Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant completely changed his shooting technique rather than stop playing after breaking a finger

And, yes, I did notice that the list is light on women, so I’ll add a few of my own:

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the “Iron Lady” of Europe and the lead player in the eurozone economic drama, has vowed to do everything in her power to preserve the 17-country EU.
  • Our own Secretary of State Hillary Rodman Clinton, a hardworking diplomat, has this year alone traveled to 42 countries.
  • Virginia M. Rometty, IBM’s president and chief executive officer, was recently elected as chairman of the board and has held senior leadership positions in IBM’s services, sales, strategy and marketing units.
  • Oprah Winfrey, who launched the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), now can be seen in 83 million homes.

After all, as the old adage goes, “Man may work from sun to sun. But woman’s work is never done.”

And for inspiration from local CEOs, business owners and executives, you may want to read their stories at Profiles in Success.

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