Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, 34, has done well for himself. He started out, like most teens, with menial high-school jobs, including washing dishes and waiting tables at Pizza Hut.
Then, in college, he and his roommate built the online platform Reddit, which is now valued at $1.8 billion.
Much of his success is due to persistence but it wasn't until he met his wife, tennis champion Serena Williams, when his perspective on work ethic changed. Up until then, "I thought I was the hardest-working person on the planet," he tells David Gelles of the New York Times. "I thought we were the hardest-working industry. That's what we tell ourselves.
"It's all malarkey."
Ohanian, who never watched tennis before meeting Williams in 2015, says he's had a "front-row seat over the last three years to greatness. It's a humbling experience seeing really what high-pressure situations actually look like professionally, seeing just what it takes to actually be that great. It is a work ethic on another level."
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, discussed her desire to be the best version of herself with Glamour in an interview last year: "I try to be the best that I can be every day. I have bad days. I had a bad day the other day. I hit for only, like, 30 minutes, and I stormed off the court. But that was the best I could do on that day."
Ohanian says watching Williams compete has changed how he measures success in business.
He tells the Times: "One thing that I have always respected in sport is it is so pure in its success metrics. In business, we can find creative ways to measure ourselves: 'Yes, well, one fund has been more successful than another because they've invested in six unicorns.'
"But in sport, there's a winner and a loser, and you can't delude yourself into thinking there's some other way to compare or measure. You're the best or you're not."
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook!