“There’s Always Somebody Working Harder Than You”

I am not a sports guy… but I love the Super Bowl.

Outside of Christmas and the 4th of July, this might be my favorite “holiday.” The excitement. The competition. The top two teams in nation coming face to face in a battle for the Lombardi trophy.

It’s contagious.

Yet, my focus every year is on the personalities who will take the field. More specifically the head coaches and quarterbacks. I usually take two weeks and invest time in researching the teams for who my game day pick will be.

This year – 2020 – might be one of the toughest years to choose which team to root for based on personalities. Both coaches (Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan) and both quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo) – are simply great men and great leaders. They are all disciplined, hard workers who have worked extremely hard to reach this level.

I still have time to choose my pick.

However, what I am most impressed with this year are the parents of both Jimmy Garoppolo (Tony and Denise Garoppolo) and Patrick Mahomes (Pat Mahomes and Randi Martin). It is clear these young men have reached the level they have reached due to the incredible foundations they received from their families.

And both quarterbacks heard one message time and time again during their formative years: “Work harder than everyone else.”

In an interview with Jimmy G, he recounts a story of telling his father, a hardworking electrician by trade, about his workout for the day. Seemingly, he was proud of himself. The rest of the conversation went like this:

You think you worked hard?” Tony Sr. would ask.

“I think I put in some good work,” Jimmy replied.

“There’s always someone working harder than you,” his father would tell 18-year-old Jimmy, then walk away.

The words still leave Jimmy shaking his head.


In a recent pre-game media scrum interview, Patrick Mahomes credits his father, former MLB baseball player Pat Mahomes, for showing him what it took to make the pros and his Mom, Randi Martin, for instilling In him a mindset of hard work and discipline.

Year after year, I look forward to hearing the stories of the quarterbacks who have reached the very pinnacle of American success describes their journey. Year after year, the same theme runs true: Work harder than everyone else.

Sure, there are many factors (and some downright luck) that go into any person becoming a starter in the Super Bowl. But luck and “factors” can only take a person so far. They must do the work.

As a culture strategist who is constantly thinking about the workplace, I think of how this lesson applies to the every day leader/manager/team member. They key to success is simple: Be a team player…and work harder than everyone else.

Let’s go Chiefs!

…or 49ers!

Either way, today is going to be a great day.

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