Everything I Know About Hard Work, I Learned by the Time I was Fourteen

Growing up in a lower-middle class family on the wrong side of the tracks, there was no spare money for non-essentials, so at 8 years old I started selling seed packages door-to-door in the spring and Christmas cards packages door to door in the winter. I also had a paper route, I babysat and I even went house to house and offered to stencil house numbers of curbs for $1. I always equated putting yourself out there and hard work with the ability to make money.

Unfortunately, I did not do well in institutional education and graduated at the bottom of my class in high school. I never took SATs, because I knew college was not going to be an option for me. Not only did I not have the grades, but I could not picture myself in a classroom setting anymore. I’ve been blessed with good fortune in my career as I get to own and operate restaurants, be a management company for other people’s hospitality businesses, and tour the country conducting hospitality and leadership workshops. People often ask me what is the secret to my success. My answer is, “Because I could always work harder than anyone else.” Simply put, I could work longer, faster, and harder than a lot of my coworkers as I progressed through my career.

In fact, at fourteen years old, I got my first job in a Greek diner in New Jersey as a busboy and I always got jazzed by the fact that the servers would fight over me to be in their sections because I worked harder than all the other busboys.

There’s a lot to be said about hard work and perseverance and learning from your mistakes. I live by the adage, “Success is the result of good judgment, good judgment is the result of experience and experience is often the result of bad judgment.” The capitalism principle is simple, society rewards those that perform and you can not underestimate the rewards of hard work.


  1. Well said…

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