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20 Famously Successful People Sum Up Their Work Advice

20 Famously Successful People Sum Up Their Work Advice

We all admire people who’ve succeeded in their field – successful people who we all admire. We want to be like them, be as rich as them.  Sometimes, we want to be them.  We want to know what they know, what they did, so we can reach that pinnacle where they are standing.

Here are 20 people sharing what they did to succeed:

1. Warren Buffet, Investor

“I don’t try to jump over 7-foot hurdles; I look for 1-foot hurdles that I can step over.”

The Oracle from Omaha is the 4th richest man in the world and probably the best investor of the century.  Buffet is actually known for his meticulous and deliberate analysis of any business he is interested in.

2. Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul and Businesswoman

“Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of All Media, is one of the most successful media personalities in the world.  You can bet she got all her achievements because of her perseverance.

3. Larry Bird, Professional Basketball Player

“I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me.”

Larry Bird played for the Boston Celtics from 1979 – 1992. He is a 12-time NBA All-Star and an MVP for 3 consecutive years. Bird won 3 NBA championships and 2 NBA Finals MVP awards.

4. Tiger Woods, Professional Golfer

“No matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part.”

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Tiger Woods is one of the most successful golfers and one of the highest paid athlete in the world. Woods has been the ranked 1 golfer for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest number of weeks.

5. Stephen King, Author

“If you don’t want to work your ass of, you have no business trying to write well.”

Stephen King is one of the century’s most successful authors, with 54 novels, 200 short stories and 5 non-fiction books under his belt.  Over 350 million copies of his books have sold worldwide, many of them adapted into film and television movies.

6. Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Vince Lombardi is one of the most successful NFL coaches in history, leading the Green Bay Packers to five NFL Championships. For him, getting back up is an achievement and a vital key to winning.

7.  Bill Gates, Businessman

“Never took a day off in my 20s. Not me.”

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is one of the richest people in the world, has been since 1995. His work ethic while building Microsoft one of the reasons the company is a leader in computer technology.

8.  Twyla Tharp, Ballet Dancer and Choreographer

“Be aware of what distract you and give it up for a while.”

Twyla Tharp is a successful American ballet dancer and choreographer.  She has been awarded with 2 Emmys, a Tony, 19 honorary doctorates and various other awards, recognizing her achievements in dance.

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9. Larry Page, Computer Scientist

“Always deliver more than expected.”

Larry Page is an engineer and computer scientist who co-founded Google.  He is currently Google’s CEO.

10. Mark Cuban, Businessman and Investor

“Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”

Mark Cuban is known as the current owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.  He is a businessman and investor, who cashed in early on the first tech boom.

11. Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric

“Be candid with everyone.”

Jack Welch was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of General Electric from 1981 to 2001.  During his tenure, he increased GE’s market value from $12million to $280 billion today.

12. Stan Lee, Comic Book Writer, Editor and Publisher

“I try not to do anything that’s too close to what I’ve done before. And the nice thing is we have a big universe here. It’s filled with new ideas.”

Stan Lee is a comic book writer, editor, publisher, and former President and Chairman of Marvel Comics.  He co-created many of Marvel and DC Comics’ biggest characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, Silver Surfer and many more.

13.   Wayne Gretzky, Professional Ice Hockey Player

“I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for…”

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Wayne Gretzky is a former professional ice hockey player and is considered the greatest hockey player ever.  He leads in the NHL in number of assists and point-scoring, and is the only player to have over 200 points in one season.

14. Neil Gaiman, Author

“As an author, I’ve never forgotten how to daydream.”

Neil Gaiman is an English author of novels, comic books, graphic novels and short stories.  He has been the recipient of many awards including the Newbery and Carnegie medals.

15.  Donald Trump, Businessman

“…listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper.”

Donald Trump is a successful businessman, investor and celebrity. He is the chairman of The Trump Organization and he built his money on real estate, hospitality and entertainment.

16.  Richard Branson, Businessman and Investor

“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back.”

Richard Branson is a businessman, investor and the founder of Virgin Group, a conglomerate that is made up of more than 400 companies.  Branson is the 7th richest citizen of the United Kingdom.

17.  Simon Cowell, Producer and Talent Scout

“The secret of my success is that I make other people money.”

Simon Cowell is a producer, talent scout and celebrity who rose to fame as a judge on talent shows like American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent. Some of the talents under him include One Director and Il Divo. He is one of the richest persons in the British music industry.

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18.  Steve Jobs, Inventor and Entrepreneur

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

Steve Jobs is an inventor, businessman and the co-founder of Apple, Inc. He was the CEO of Apple, Inc and under his tenure saw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and the iPad, some of the most successful devices in the world today.

19.  Madonna, Entertainer

“I’m always looking for something new: a new inspiration, a new philosophy, a new way to look at something, new talent.”

Madonna is one of the most successful artists in the world today. She is a singer, songwriter, actress and businesswoman, known for reinventing herself and her music throughout the years. She has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is the best-selling female recording artist of all time.

20. Meryl Streep, Actress

“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertain to my work.”

Meryl Streep is one of the greatest film actors of all time. She is a three-time Academy Award winner, eight-time Golden Globe winner and was awarded the 2010 National Medal of arts and the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Featured photo credit: 04222014 – Success Boot Camp Graduation at PCP/US Department of Education via flickr.com

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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