“I believe in hard work above all else,” said Joysy John firmly. She is the CEO of 01 Founders, a network of tuition-free coding schools operating in the United Kingdom—but her path there was not straightforward. “My work ethic, adaptability, and ability to problem-solve have gotten me through incredibly difficult situations. But the day that I woke up and physically could not bring myself to go to work, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that this time I couldn’t get through on grit alone.”
Hard work was a fundamental value instilled in Joysy from a young age. Grinning, she recounted an early instance of how she overcame weaknesses with consistent and deliberate practice. She remembered getting 40 percent on a math test in primary school and dreading her parents’ response. But much to her surprise, when she handed over the exam results to her mother, she was met with a calm reaction. Her mother looked at it quietly for a few minutes, shrugged, and said, “That just means you need more practice. Let’s look at what you got right, analyze what you got wrong, and work hard to fix it.” Soon enough, 40s turned into 60s, and 60s turned into 80s, and 80s turned into 95s. Without realizing it, Joysy was building persistence, learning how to be optimistic, and slowly understanding that putting in twice the effort would pay off in results. From that moment forward, Joysy decided that hard work was her most valuable asset.
The value of hard work and persistence has served Joysy for many years. She has overcome remarkable barriers to be in the position she is in today. Relying on innate entrepreneurial traits like action orientation and the willingness to take a calculated risk, she spent her career working tirelessly to build skills that helped her to move countries three times, change industries five times, and rise to the top of the executive talent pool. Her belief that she could work her way out of anything was fundamental to her success. However, as she rose in the ranks of corporate and nonprofit organizations, she began to quietly worry if she was deserving of all the accolades. The more responsibility she gained at work, the more pressure she felt to work harder to live up to her titles—and to her own expectations. Without realizing it, an InhibitHER was growing inside her.
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