How Hard Work Leads To Success

The Garbage Man

A young wife heard a knock at the front door. When she answered the door she saw a man who she must have thought was a door-to-door salesman, a job that could appear to be hard work. He explained that he was not selling anything, rather he was conducting a survey of the community and asked to come in.

Success Comes From Hard Work

The young wife invited the stranger in the older home, located in an area common for families on meager incomes. The home was warm and welcoming as was the young woman. Inside, there was evidence that kids, love, and happiness filled the house.

Just then a young man walked in the front door. The young wife called him Joe and told him about the survey. Joe was tall and lean and a little rough around the edges. Although it was clear that Joe worked hard for a living, he couldn’t have been older than 25 by his appearance.

Living With Passion

Although they had very little in terms of material goods, they were rich in many other ways. See, Joe worked hard for the city government where he was a garbage man. Although some people may be ashamed, this family fully embraced the hard working man Joe was.

Joe was the best garbage man in the city. He regularly saved the city money by reducing multiple trips. It wasn’t luck though, Joe committed to working hard and being good at his job. That effort meant taking the time to ensure the garbage truck was stacked in a way that allowed more trash to be collected in each trip.

When so many others would be content with just showing up to collect a pay check, Joe took his job seriously and gave his all to it. Take pride in what you do. You see, a job doesn’t make the man, the man makes the job.

Hanging on the wall in their quaint home was a small sign with worlds from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”

Hard Work Pays Off

 Just like Joe and his proud wife, working hard gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment. Success comes in many forms, sometimes it may be from something as simple as finding the positives in life. Although Joe and his wife had little monetary assets, they committed to working hard to provide for the family.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, in his Pyramid of Success, said hard work was a corner stone of success. Wooden said “I have not known, heard of, or read about any individual anywhere who achieved real success without working extremely hard. In fact, the great successes we all know about are individuals who almost always have greatly outworked their competition.”

Leading is Hard Work

As a leader you must be committed to the good and the bad. The easy and the difficult. Leadership comes with responsibility to work hard to serve others, not so that others may serve you. Just as Joe was committed to his job and filled with passion to serve his community, leaders should be willing to do the dirty jobs with a fire burning inside them.


I challenge you to find a task that requires you to get “dirty” for your team. Use the opportunity to show your commitment to them through your hard work and set the bar for doing what it takes.

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