Sometimes, we can all use a bit of inspiration that makes us smile a little wider. It can be found in people, places, or quotes. Others look for it in art, music, or movies—to each his own. Many of us feel inspired to do better, live fuller, and work harder from the motivational stories that revolve around truly exceptional individuals. Such beings are found behind the companies of Walmart, Microsoft, and Apple. These innovators have created organizations that are much more than just organizations. They have left legacies that will powerfully live on.
Sam Walton wanted to provide people with great products at a really great price. Prosperous retail chain Walmart was born out of these goals. Walton treated employees like family and lived like a regular Joe. His vehicle of choice was a red Ford pickup, and he lived in the same house in Arkansas with his wife for thirty years. Walton never lost sight of what his stores were meant to be, even though Walmart grew into one of the world’s largest companies by revenue. A valuable lesson to be learned from a narrative such as this is to always remember where you came from, no matter where you end up going. Never lose sight of why you started your business; doing so invites controversy and distrust.
Bill Gates was a Harvard University dropout and the co-owner of a company that flopped miserably. In the face of pure disappointment, he fought to maintain encouragement. Gates then went on to build Microsoft, now the world’s leading software business, out of nothing at all. He has taught the world that the first idea a great entrepreneur brings forward may not always be his best. The only way to achieve victory is to try and try again, no matter how many times you fail along the way.
Steve Jobs was removed from his own company. He had revolutionized an industry, only to have it all come crashing down on him. Jobs’ forced removal was known very publicly. He rebounded gracefully, not only finding his way back, but taking Apple from a promising company and building it into an empire. Jobs initially rose through the ranks spectacularly, was blown with a humbling fall, and then made the ultimate comeback. Defeat can come at any time, no matter how high on top of the world you stand. Remember to never allow your vision to be obscured by current success. Always fight to maintain it, and continuously grow your accomplishments.