Article by: MaryEllen | Monday, July 25, 2011

By MaryEllen Tribby

I recently read a charming story online in USA Today about a very successful working mom, Ann Curry (from the Today show). It was entitled “Here’s how working mom, Ann Curry, makes it all work”.

In the article she essentially gave working moms 12 succinct tips around simplifying your life as a busy working mom. She emphasized some very basic yet effective concepts like accepting imperfections, depending on a support team, and eliminating the idea of multi-tasking. Overall, I thought it was a well written and a worthwhile piece and that most people would be thankful for the reminders and/or fresh ideas.

Or so I thought . . .

After I finished, I noted a remarkably high amount of comments. Thinking that folks wanted to continue the conversation and add value to what was already there, I took a peek.

Boy was I wrong!

Imagine my surprise when ninety-nine percent (yes 99%!) of the comments were harsh negative ones bashing Ann for her tremendous career success, her blissful marriage, and her (what seemed to me to be) extremely well-mannered children.

The pure resentment and intense jealousy jumped off the page faster than a bunny in heat.

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

Here is just a sampling of what I read:

“Let’s see, how DOES she do it? Nannies, housekeepers, chauffeurs, private tutors, personal assistants, maids, stylists, and a huge income. Somehow, I think her life is just a tad different than 95% of the human race.

Full time mother, she doesn’t even come close.”


“Now, let’s do a sister article on some poor single mother working for minimum wage and see how she makes it all work. I’ll bet the circumstances are a hell of a lot different than those Ann faces. Most working mothers (whether single or not/high profile or not) have way more challenges than Ann will ever see.”


“Is it me, or don’t you think an 18 and 16 year old can be responsible enough to get themselves up on time and prepare their own breakfast? This article is about what it would be like to be entitled, rich and have no idea how the rest of us live. I’m not impressed at all.

Write a story about a real working family that earns less than $40,000 a year and raises children who are responsible for their own needs, study hard, have part time jobs, and are able to avoid all the pitfalls of today’s society to become successful and upstanding members of their community.

I don’t begrudge Ann Curry, but please don’t make it sound that she is struggling to raise a family. “Gee, I have an assignment this week. Do you mind if the nanny takes you to your soccer game? vs. “I need to work overtime so I can save a little more for your college tuition.”

Instead of jumping on the “I hate Ann” bandwagon, I decided to investigate the path of Ann’s success.

I found out that she was born in Guam, spent her early years in Japan and later came to the states. She went to the University of Oregon and graduated with a BA in Journalism. She started interning at NBC right out of college and was NBC’s first female reporter.

I then wondered if those Ann haters knew what I took the time to find out. That she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. That she is now able to hire nannies and a support team because she did in fact work extremely hard.  And, she continually learned and studied her craft to get to where she is today.

But then, I wondered if it even mattered. Would these facts change the behavior and feelings these people had about her?

You see,  jealousy and resentment often push people to take on the victim role. Rather than dissecting traits of successful people and trying to learn how they can emulate that success, they find it easier to make excuses for their “non” success.

Seeing this made me realize that there are certain traits and actions one exhibits when they are either already very successful, or on their way to getting there.  In addition, there are certain behavioral traits that create “non” success as well.

The Success Indicator

The following is a chart I compiled of some characteristics, traits and behaviors seen in successful people vs. unsuccessful people:

If you are ready to kick up the success meter a bit, make a conscious effort to eliminate the traits on the right hand side of the chart above.

Hey, none of us are perfect and life does have it’s ups and downs. But, as long as we recognize and identify where we need to improve and continually strive to get there – greater success will follow.