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Inspiration from J. Willard Marriott

Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes

J. Willard “Bill” Marriott, Sr. (1900–1985) was the founder of what is now Marriott International, Inc., a leading worldwide hospitality company with more than 2,600 lodging properties located around the world.

Success is learning to rely on your own judgment and initiative. “My father gave me the responsibility of a man,” said Marriott as an adult. “He would tell me what he wanted done, but never said much about how to do it. It was up to me to find out for myself.”

Success begins with determination. Determined to get an education, Marriott worked summers selling woolen goods, eventually building up a sales force of 45 college students who sold in seven states.

Success often has modest beginnings. In 1927, Marriott successfully launched a small restaurant called “Hot Shoppes,” which over the years expanded into a multi-billion dollar empire.

Success is seeing opportunity in any economy. The Depression years fueled a tremendous ingenuity in Marriott. He recognized the success of a low-cost restaurant and the failure of luxury restaurants.

Success is growth and expansion. Through the years, Marriott expanded his business from his single humble restaurant to include more locations, airlines, hotels, food chain acquisitions, theme parks, and cruise ships. 

Success is loving what you do. From the opening of Marriott’s first business in 1927, until his death 58 years later, J. Willard Marriott rarely rested. Whether adding locations, perfecting procedures, or expanding into new enterprises, Marriott breathed, ate, lived, and dreamed about his business.

Success is paying attention to the details. “It’s the little things that make the big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”

Success is living life to the fullest. “A man should keep on being constructive, and do constructive things. He should take part in the things that go on in this wonderful world. He should be someone to be reckoned with. He should live life and make every day count, to the very end. Sometimes it’s tough. But that’s what I’m going to do.”

[Sources: http://www.horatioalger.com, http://www.marriott.com, http://www.hrm.uh.edu]


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  • Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
  • Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
  • What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)
    From the Course:
    Personal Development
    Year To Success
    Bo Bennett, PhD

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    Personal Development : Personal Transformation
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