What Walt Disney taught me about work and love

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Inspiration
What Walt Disney taught me about work and love

In 2012, I resolved to work smarter and with more love, to raise the bar on creativity, and to deliver more every day for my clients and myself. This year also marked my first-ever trip to Disney World.

What do these things have in common, you ask?

I had plenty of mixed feelings about my Disney adventure at first—excited to spend time with family but not so sure Aunt Joanna would love the Disney experience itself.

Marie Forleo's Walt Disney tweetThen, like magic, shortly before my trip, Marie Forleo tweeted a new-to-me quote from Walt Disney:

“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”

Looking at Disney World through that lens really upped the appreciation factor for me. I learned that, regardless of my opinion on the work itself, it’s mighty hard to hate on someone’s work of love.

Seeing that first quote prompted me to look at more words from Walt, like this gem on how to succeed:

“Just do your best work—then try to trump it.”


Or Walt’s profit formula:

“I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversify and never miss an angle.”

Almost 50 years after his death, Walt Disney continues to be relevant and his work still oozes passion—that’s a pretty magical accomplishment.

Have you ever learned a lesson from an unexpected source? Tell me in the comments.

Sources: How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Magic Every Day of Your Life ( 2004), by Pat Williams, with Jim Denney, and “Walt’s Profit Formula: Dream, Diversity, and Never Miss an Angle” in Wall Street Journal (4 February 1958).


  1. Steve Borek
    August 21, 2012

    All the time! I was born to look for things that provide learning moments.

    Last October I had a surprise experience on a biz trip to Toronto. My blog post is titled “Front Row Seat of a Leadership Moment.” It was about a hotel manager that went the extra mile.

    Or reading a quote out of the blue that hits you at the right time. Joanna, you gave a great example.

    The key is having the mindset to expect these learning moments to come your way.

  2. Joanna Giansanti
    August 21, 2012

    Your hotel post was great, Steve. You’re right: being open to lessons and inspiration from ALL sources is key. It also makes life way more interesting!

  3. Amber @Simple Dwellings
    January 29, 2013

    What a great post! Sometimes, the best advice or lesson is when you least expect it. What great thoughts from Walt to live by!

  4. Joanna Giansanti
    January 29, 2013

    Thank you, Amber! It was fun to write. Looking forward to the meet-up!

  5. Beverly Mahone
    May 3, 2013

    Hi Joanna,

    I saw this blog post on Mitch Mitchell’s blog so I decided to come over and read it. I am NOT a fan of Walt Disney because of the derogatory comments he has been quoted as saying about black people but I do agree with his comment about not going into business to make $$$. You have t follow your heart and true passion and the money will eventually come.

    Recently I went back into corporate America after being gone for 7 years. I am learning so much about ME and my interactions with young people (college students). It has confirmed my belief that I was born to teach and I truly have something to share with others. It is a gift.

  6. Joanna Giansanti
    May 3, 2013

    Welcome Beverly! Thank you for hopping over here from Mitch’s blog! To find something that you were born to do and that helps others is a double blessing. You’re a lucky person!