LOA will not help you succeed in life. Mediation will not help you succeed in life. At least not by themselves. People who work really hard do. You will not get anywhere in life unless you develop a strong work ethic. A strong work ethic will get you incredibly far in life. In fact, it will also help you overcome the hardest parts of your life by making you resilient, tough and immune to criticism. What better way to be motivated to develop such a work ethic and hard working attitude than to see some real life examples of successful people?
Mary Barra– Barra is a classic example of hard work and perseverance—she took 33 years to rise to her position of success. Barra started at the General Motors Company when she was just 18 and was quick to take advantage of access to the engineering college GM sponsored. She started inspecting parts at a plant and within half a year, she had begun her ascent up the company chain. Barra dedicated her all to the company—she was known for being the first person to show up in the morning, even though she would answer her colleague’s business emails sometimes after 11 p.m. at night. It was her willingness to do all this work, as well as the smart, forward-thinking decisions that she made that would ultimately lead to her success. After 33 years in the company, she became the first ever woman CEO at General Motors in 2013.
- All aspiring women should read the book about her career: Road to Power: How GM’s Mary Barra Shattered the Glass Ceiling (Bloomberg)
Tim Cook– Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple—with big shoes to fill after the legacy that Steve Jobs left with the company. He credits his success to being a ‘workaholic’. His workday starts with sending e-mails—at 4:30 in the morning. Like other people of success, he is the first to come to work in the morning and the last person to leave. At one point, he held Sunday night meetings with the company staff, so they could prepare for the next morning and upcoming week.
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Maria Das Gracas Silva Foster– Foster has a work ethic that stems from early childhood, when she spent her free time gathering cans to help pay for her schooling. It was 1978 when she first started as an intern at Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant. Quickly, she rose to the lead in her chosen department—field engineering. She would become the first female to hold this position. Funnily, people often refer to Foster as Caveirao, which is the name of the armored vehicles used when the police work in crime-heavy areas in Brazil because of her tireless work ethic.
Mark Cuban– Many people that are aware that the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, has a journey that started out with a little luck. He was able to capitalize on his first company by selling it when it reached peak value. With his earnings, he invested in technology stocks at just the right time to turn a profit. Even Cuban credits this with luck (though he does not refer to the law of attraction or any other wishy-washy self-help strategy). However, getting his company to a point of success where it was at peak market value was far from luck—he used to spend his nights reading information on new software developments, usually until 2 in the morning. He also did not celebrate his quick earnings with a break—Cuban reportedly went a full 7 years before taking his first vacation.
How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It is a bestseller by Mark Cuban.
Venus and Serena Williams – The Williams sisters are known for many things, but they are perhaps best known for their actions on the tennis court. The two women have won a shared total of 25 championships for the Grand Slam singles, but it is not their athletic abilities or luck that has pushed them through. They were on the tennis court from a very young age—starting from ages 7 and 8. They would wake up at 6 in the morning to get in some tennis practice before school and hit the courts once again after school. They practically lived on the courts, which is the hard work that it took to push them to their current level of success.
Jeff Bezos– CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos was memorable even in high school for his strong work ethic. He had told classmates that he wanted to valedictorian, and the rest knew that this meant the only prize to be had was runner-up. When he started Amazon, Bezos worked tirelessly to make his company a success. He often stayed up until 3 in the morning shipping books, and then worked 7 days a week doing 12-hour shifts. Even though Amazon could now be considered success, Bezos still takes the time to email teams about issues that have presented with customer service. He requires them to present the solutions to him, taking an active role in ensuring the quality of his business even though it has become a giant.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon is an amazing book about the inspirational and humble beginnings of Amazon.
- Li Ka-Shing– One of the leaders in Hong Kon business is Li Ka-Shing, who rose up to the position of factory general manager at the young age of 19. Ka-Shing started working his way up to an empire that is currently worth $31 billion—leaving him as one of the richest men in Asia. Not unlike others on the list, Ka-Shing did not attend school after high school. In fact, he left school at the age of 15 and started work at a factory specializing in plastics. Soon, he started as a salesman and was able to convince anyone to buy plastic—he outsold all the other employees and rose to the position of general manager in just four years. Capitalizing on his years of experience, Ka-Shing started his own plastics business in 1950—where he did nearly everything, even the accounting, by himself.
Sheryl Sandberg- This COO of social media giant Facebook find a balance in her life that few others of success have managed—the balance between work and home. Sandberg has managed to prioritize her family while still working long hours. She is known for being home by dinnertime, leaving the office at 5:30 each night. Then, she spends time with her children until bedtime—then it’s back to work online. Not only has she managed this balance, her hard work has led her to earn the titles of advocate for women in the workplace and successful author. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead explains why having more women in top leadership positions in companies is a good thing for all. Her Ted Talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders should be recommended learning for all high school girls.
Part Two can be found here.