Don't emulate people at their peak, do what they did at the start

In high school, Kobe Bryant showed up at practice at 5 AM.

It's great to get inspired by your idols at their peak, but don't emulate their current habits. Instead, follow what they did at the start, when they were in a situation like yours.

Kobe Bryant's early mornings #

Kobe Bryant spent countless hours practicing in high school. He practiced shots alone and worked tirelessly. This hard work built his skills and confidence. It set the stage for his future success. Emulating his early dedication is key, not just the peak routines.

Steve Jobs' early hustle #

In the early days of Apple, Steve Jobs made cold calls to investors. He pitched his ideas tirelessly. His early hustle was key to Apple's success. Aspiring entrepreneurs should mimic his early efforts, not the later strategies.

Sara Blakely's persistence #

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, pitched her product to stores herself. She faced rejection but kept going. She wore Spanx in meetings to show their value. Her early persistence was crucial. Emulate her drive, not her later success.

Learning from Everyday Heroes #

Coming back to the real world, I personally enjoy the early stories of entrepreneurs like Justin Jackson and Jon Buda (Transistor), Jane Portman and Benedikt Deicke (Userlist), and Rob Walling and Derrick Reimer (Drip).

They documented their journeys and early struggles with their podcasts [1], [2], [3] and articles. These stories show that success starts with small steps, persistence, and learning.

Whether looking at Bryant, Jobs, Blakely, or my favorite tech entrepreneurs, the lesson is clear: start small, stay persistent, and learn. Success begins at the start, not the peak.

Do you have other cool examples of "well documented early days" that I can learn from? Please let me know about it on Twitter.