I often get asked, “Who inspires you?” And while I have a deep respect and admiration for trailblazers like Sir Ernest Shackleton and Amelia Earhart, the people that really inspire me are those who get shit done, day in and day out — no questions asked.
They don't necessarily do extraordinary things, but they constantly demonstrate extraordinary grit.
They continue to grind each and every day because it gets the job done. They don’t have fame, money, power, or prestige. They’re your average blue collar worker that has a commitment to putting food on the table and gas in the car, and then working after hours to put something away for their family.
Perhaps I gravitate towards these people because my dad was one of them. He loved to work. He never took a day off, and sitting down wasn’t an option. He navigated a crime-filled neighborhood just enough to follow a straight line and model integrity.
A Workhorse Laid to Rest
My inspiration to write this came from one of my heroes passing away last week. His name was Alex. An Italian from Florida, I met Alex at my local general store in Vermont when he and his wife were looking for a place to stay. New to the town, he needed work. I gave him a few jobs, one of which was raking the trails on my farm ( a 50-mile endeavor, mind you). Each morning at the crack of dawn, I watched as Alex, an old man with bones of steel and a rake in hand, forged out into the forest.
He typically didn’t return until the sun had set and the sky was pitch black. These weren’t my order, though it was certainly my style. His work ethic was grounded in a simple principle: The day is done when the work is done. That was the type of person he was: a grinder, a workhorse, an inspiration.
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They’re not rich, powerful or famous. They’re the average blue collar worker. They work hard to put food on the table and even harder to put something away for their family. They just get shit done. They’re grinders. Work horses. They don’t complain or seek rewards. They work and know they will get rewarded. These are my heroes. And one of them recently passed away. His name was Alex. He was real grinder. Always got the job done. These are the people that inspire me. They put their head down and get shit done. Period.
No Handouts, Just Hard Work
It’s these types of people that truly inspire me. They don’t bitch, complain, or ask for handouts. They don’t ask for merits or bonuses. They keep their head down, their eyes on the prize, and they sweat. They know that hard work comes with its own merits and bonuses: the building of strong character.
And guess what? I’m not alone here. These types of people are loved by most. They get the job done, and then some. They own their responsibilities and refrain from offloading that responsibility onto others to make their job easier. If you want opportunities in life, follow the “Alex” method. It WILL get you ahead. I’ve hired people on the spot because their work ethic screams, "Here’s what I can do for you," rather than, "Hey, what can I get from you?"
People like Alex are hard to find, but when they step into your life, you’ll never want to let them go. They will be your greatest return on investment, and not just because of what they do, but because of WHO THEY ARE. They are inspirational and, simply put, badass.
Think less about how you can get out of doing more, and more about how you can embrace it. If you want success, embrace hard work as the vehicle. Whether you do it with a rake or a computer, keep your head down, grind, and get it done.